Open main menu

Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/239

This page needs to be proofread.
228
THE ANCIENT GRUDGE

'Keep your conscience money for them that needs it,' he said."

Floyd sat down in a chair and laid the note with slow bewilderment on the table. "It beats me," he murmured. "It beats me."

He could not fathom his grandfather's motive, he could not believe his grandfather was so poor a craven as to yield this point simply because he dreaded the calling of a strike and the temporary loss that would result. Colonel Halket had hidden successfully from every one, even from Floyd, his ambition of late birth, his anxiety to shine as a national figure, as the great industrial peacemaker of the modern world. And Floyd in his simplicity had never perceived what had become the ruling purpose of his grandfather's life.

"I wish," he said after a moment of vain meditation, "that you'd keep track of Tibbs for me, Mr. Gregg, so that I'll know where to find him if I ever want him—and how he gets along. Maybe we'll get him back again. There will have to be a change of policy some time. I hope you will stand by us till then, Mr. Gregg. Your advice will be needed."

"The fight will have to come pretty soon," declared Gregg. "This victory of the Knights will encourage all sorts of extreme demands. And they'll likely carry them all straight to the Colonel."

"Maybe they will find that he has conceded as much as he is prepared to concede," Floyd answered. "Well, we must wait and see."

Perhaps the union was unwilling to jeopardize the effect of its unexpected victory by making another instant demand and possibly meeting defeat; perhaps no issue at once presented itself to the minds of the leaders. At any rate the pressure which Floyd anticipated was not applied, and in a few weeks the conditions had been so altered that it was hardly to be dreaded. For the price of steel began now to decline rapidly, and with the prospect of