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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/160

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END OF AN APPRENTICESHIP

it has n't been bought, it has n't been wrung from the poor or defrauded from the unwary; and if I have made mistakes, they need not shame my conscience. I'll tell the story truthfully, and if it can help any American boy or young man, I shall be glad."

Expressing this high and solemn hope, he returned to his literary task.

"Dear man," murmured Mrs. Halket to Floyd, with wistfulness saddening her smile. "It's a splendid thing, Floyd, at seventy-five to be so able to enjoy success."

"Is n't it!" said Floyd. "And, you know, it's all true —I mean about the men liking him so. When he was out at the works the other day with Mr. Stark, he went round beaming and smiling and nodding to everybody, from a superintendent to a Dago water-boy—and they all loved it. They have a personal feeling for him, which is wonderful in such a big and impersonal concern. He called me from the rolls and introduced me to Mr. Stark and patted me on the back; and when I went back to work again, it was funny,—the difference in the attitude of the men toward me. You see, they kind of forget who I am; generally I'm just one of them,—but after that—oh, the respect and awe did n't wear off for about an hour." Floyd laughed. "It was quite pleasant. I think I'll hire Grandfather to come out and speak to me two or three times a week."

"Your grandfather is a very wise man," said Mrs. Halket. "He realizes the value of not displaying himself too often. In that way he retains his dignity, and when he does appear he can be as genial as you say without cheapening himself."

"How cold-blooded of you to analyze it that way!" exclaimed Floyd.

"I think," she continued, with a somewhat cynical humor, "I will ask him if he means to expose that particular bit of wisdom in the autobiography. You know he said he had nothing to conceal." She laughed and patted