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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/268

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257
A PHILANTHROPIST'S IDEA

that any profit that accrues to me is merely incidental; it is n't that that I'm after. It's the profit to the cause of labor that I think of—that has inspired my plan. Kindly bear that in mind,—and you will not accuse me of injustice or inhumanity."

The futility of argument became apparent to Floyd. He bade his grandfather good-night and went up to his room, but when he was undressed he sat for a long time before the fire, pondering on the situation that would be created for him by the adoption of Colonel Halket's plans. It was not difficult for him to realize what that situation would be, though it was difficult enough to decide how he should face it.

The business of making and selling steel beams, armor-plate, rods, axles, and all the multiform products of the New Rome mills had not grown more attractive to Floyd in the years which he had given to it. The one department that held for him a personal interest was the chemist's laboratory; in the tests and analyses and experiments to improve the quality of steel he found the element of play that distinguishes work from drudgery. As for the general management of the mills and all the various small and large responsibilities that it entailed, he viewed it with an odd mingling of distaste and unconcern. His training had been so thorough and his natural methods were so direct and simple that it did not take him long to acquire confidence in his ability to fill the position; but the performance of his executive duties became, as he soon learned, largely a matter of routine, and it irked him to give his attention to them instead of to the discovery of new formulas. He would have preferred not to be in the steel business at all; being in it, he would have chosen, had there been any freedom of choice for him, to be the chemist for the company; instead, he had not been permitted to specialize, but had been compelled to prepare himself for the general supervision of the works.

He had looked forward to a certain human interest in