The old man stood for a moment, looking into his eyes. Then he said,—
"Very well. I will not ask you to issue the order, Floyd."
This mildness made Floyd ashamed of his outburst, made him feel uncomfortable, as if he had been striking an attitude and spouting heroics. He laughed apologetically.
"You and I never before came so near to having a row, did we. Grandfather?" he said. "I did n't mean to be disrespectful. But honestly I can't help feeling this way about it all." And while Colonel Halket still stood with his hand on the young man's shoulder, smiling faintly and with only a trace of austerity, Floyd amplified his ideas about "the principle of the thing." He spoke now with no defiance in his manner, but confidentially, explaining the views that he held and that he was happy to think had this time prevailed. It encouraged him to believe that his grandfather was after all so amenable to reason, was truly so liberal and open-minded. Not many a man of seventy-eight would have been so tolerant of a rebuke from a grandson, so able to see the justice of it.
Three days later, when Floyd paid his next visit to New Rome, he was informed by Gregg that Tibbs's discharge had been ordered. Floyd expressed incredulity, and Gregg handed him the note from Colonel Halket.
"I never made a worse mouth over anything," said the superintendent. "I don't know as I can stand this sort of thing indefinitely, Mr. Halket; that's a fact."
Floyd was too stunned by the evidence of his grandfather's duplicity to make any remonstrance. He was still looking stupidly at the note.
"Have you done anything about it?" he asked.
"Yes, I've done it," Gregg replied. "I notified him that he'd draw a pension of fifty dollars a month. But he's a sturdy old fellow. He said he'd have none of it.