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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/286

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TWO AMATEURS

coming to him with a timorous desire to be reassured. They were afraid that when this big combination was organized, the office force might be reduced.

"I hope there will be no change in the policy," Floyd said to each one in turn. "I shall certainly use all the influence I have to prevent a change."

They thanked him and departed confidently; he wished there was better ground for their confidence. His influence with his grandfather! Floyd felt that Colonel Halket would listen neither to argument nor to appeal. Never yet had he suffered Floyd's advice to deflect him from a purpose; and though he might be silenced by argument, he always remained, as Floyd had found, undaunted and unshaken.

Tustin, Shelton, and a man named Caskey, representing the executive committee of the Affiliated, called that afternoon. Tustin explained that on behalf of the men they wished to inquire if the changes of which the newspapers had given the first warning foreshadowed a change in policy toward employees.

"I can express nothing but a personal opinion," replied Floyd. "That is, that the workmen at New Rome have nothing to fear. If you wish for any more definite expression, I must refer you to headquarters—to Colonel Halket. And I cannot promise that even then you will get anything more definite."

Tustin, who was a suspicious and distrustful man, looked at him with narrow eyes. The other two delegates were silent. At last Shelton, with an effort, said: "I—I kind of thought, Mr. Halket, from the way you spoke to me a while ago that there was no danger of this thing going through."

"At that time I was not at liberty to speak freely," Floyd answered. "I am very sorry if what I said misled you. But I think that the workmen at New Rome are in no danger of suffering by the proposed change."

"I've worked," said Shelton, "for Colonel Halket a