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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/224

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The announcement—in which, before the appearance of the magazine article, Floyd would have rejoiced—smote now upon his ears like a threat. He foresaw for himself weeks of patient diplomacy and scheming; in the light of the published article, it seemed nothing less than essential that he should read and revise the manuscript of the book.

After dinner, when they sat smoking together in the library, Floyd suddenly put a question.

"Grandfather, you've made me general manager of the company. Does that mean that I'm to act on my own judgment in deciding questions that come before me, even though I'm pretty sure that my judgment would run counter to yours?"

"No," said Colonel Halket decisively. "When you think you're probably differing from me, you'd better refer the matter to me. What is this thing that you feel so experimental about?"

"The appointment of foreman in Rod-Mill Number Three. A fellow named Farrell is by all odds the most efficient man there, and I want to give him the place. He's younger than many of the men; he's antagonized some of them because he's always steadily set his face against the union. If he's promoted instead of one of the older men, the union is likely to regard it as an affront; and I may as well admit that, although I consider Farrell the most efficient man, I also consider it important to take a step of this kind for the very purpose of restricting the union."

"No, sir." Colonel Halket shook his head with vigorous emphasis. "It won't do. Why, it's going against the very principles I've laid down in that magazine article; it's using the policy of compulsion instead of that of conciliation. I won't hear of it, Floyd. If your appointment of a young man is going to affront a large body of our old and experienced workmen, you must appoint some one else; a slight loss in the individual efficiency of the fore-