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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/112

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DIVERSIONS OF A WORKINGMAN

can't you play 'em off against one another—keep the fashion in some of 'em non-union?"

"That's Mr. Gregg's idea," Floyd answered. "The open-hearth mill, where I'm working now, has a good deal of union spirit; the rod-mill, that I go to next, is almost entirely free from it. And that's the way it is at present; the feeling varies a good deal."

"Some day," Mr. Dunbar laughed at the jocose idea, "we'll have to form an Employers' Union to equalize matters."

They sat talking together for some time, until Mr. Dunbar, looking at his watch, announced that he must go to keep an appointment. "But why should n't you dine with me here to-night?" he said. "You have nothing to do, have you?"

"Nothing except get back to New Rome," Floyd answered, and he accepted the invitation cheerfully.

The more he was with Mr. Dunbar, the more curiously did he find himself reminded of Lydia. No one could have been less like her in appearance than her father, with his large head and pompous little figure, yet every now and then some tone of his voice, or some turn of expression that he used came to recall the girl enchantingly. And remote from her as he was in personal appearance, there was in his presence that honest sturdiness which Floyd instinctively attributed to her character. Floyd was enough of a sentimentalist to be moved by these similarities; once or twice he caught himself almost accepting the little man as an impersonation of Lydia, grotesque yet not unsympathetic. Melancholy descended upon him during the ride back to New Rome that evening. Perhaps while he had been abroad and since the beginning of his apprenticeship he had not exercised himself much with thoughts of her; there was little enough opportunity among the pits and cranes of the open-hearth mill, or even in his tiny room at night, for then, when he was not occupied with letters or reading, he went at once