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time：2023-12-01 10:25:27 Source: Originally writtenedit：person
With a gasp the secretary thought: 'I knew that was a plain-spoken man!'
He heard again the rumbling beside him. The chairman had gone crimson, his mouth was pursed, his little eyes were very blue.
The secretary helped him, and waited, rather breathless.
The chairman took a sip of water, and his voice, unexpectedly loud, broke an ominous hush:
"Never been so insulted in my life. My best services have been at your disposal for nineteen years; you know what measure of success this Company has attained. I am the oldest man here, and my experience of shipping is, I hope, a little greater than that of the two gentlemen who spoke last. I have done my best for you, ladies and gentlemen, and we shall see whether you are going to endorse an indictment of my judgment and of my honour, if I am to take the last speaker seriously. This purchase is for your good. 'There is a tide in the affairs of men'--and I for one am not content, never have been, to stagnate. If that is what you want, however, by all means give your support to these gentlemen and have done with it. I tell you freights will go up before the end of the year; the purchase is a sound one, more than a sound one--I, at any rate, stand or fall by it. Refuse to ratify it, if you like; if you do, I shall resign."
He sank back into his seat. The secretary, stealing a glance, thought with a sort of enthusiasm: 'Bravo! Who'd have thought he could rally his voice like that? A good touch, too, that about his honour! I believe he's knocked them.
It's still dicky, though, if that fellow at the back gets up again; the old chap can't work that stop a second time. 'Ah! here was 'old Apple-pie' on his hind legs. That was all right!
"I do not hesitate to say that I am an old friend of the chairman; we are, many of us, old friends of the chairman, and it has been painful to me, and I doubt not to others, to hear an attack made on him. If he is old in body, he is young in mental vigour and courage. I wish we were all as young. We ought to stand by him; I say, we ought to stand by him." ("Hear, hear! Hear, hear!") And the secretary thought: 'That's done it!' And he felt a sudden odd emotion, watching the chairman bobbing his body, like a wooden toy, at old Appleby; and old Appleby bobbing back. Then, seeing a shareholder close to the door get up, thought: 'Who's that? I know his face--Ah! yes; Ventnor, the solicitor--he's one of the chairman's creditors that are coming again this afternoon. What now?'
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