"The way you look—something in your face—you've changed since I last saw you," said Lydia. "I think feel things about some people, and—you're one."
They walked on in silence for a few moments.
"The trouble is," Floyd said abruptly, "most young fellows have nothing particular they want to do, or if they have, it's not worth doing. Now," and he laughed a little, "I've always been fonder of doing stunts in athletics than anything else—but you would n't want me to go in for that, would you?"
"That's not the only thing," Lydia insisted. "Stewart's told me that you're a wonder in chemistry."
"It's good fun playing in a laboratory," Floyd said. "But some time I can have my own laboratory out at the works and do as I please with that.—No," he broke out suddenly, "I won't pretend I'm doing just what I most like. But it's a responsibility I can't dodge. The works are there and I must be trained up to take charge of them some day."
"But why—if you don't want to? Why can't you sell them?—why can't you turn them over to somebody else to run? Why can't you just drop the whole business of steel and become a great chemist, or a college professor, or whatever you want to be?"
"Because there are ten thousand people in New Rome who depend for their living on the Halket works," Floyd answered. "The business has been conducted in a certain way, the men have grown accustomed to expect a certain kind of treatment, perhaps there has been all along an attempt to keep on friendly terms with the men and to do things for their comfort—more than would be done in other places,—and it's a matter not only of pride to me, but of justice to them that there should n't be a change. Sell out and there's bound to be a change. A few days ago I heard a labor agitator talking to some of the men, talking about my grandfather. 'He may be wanting to do for labor more than labor wants to do for itself,' said the