Open main menu

Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/287

This page needs to be proofread.
276
THE ANCIENT GRUDGE

good many years; I was expecting to work for you a good many more,—and no kick coming. Working for a man that you like and respect, that's one thing; but working for a trust that you don't know nothing about, that's another; and I don't relish the change. And it seems hardly fair, Mr. Halket, to transfer a whole lot of men that have kind of grown up with one order, so to speak, just by a stroke of the pen, to another order—and never giving them no say about it at all."

"No doubt they will be less affected by the change than they fear," Floyd answered. "Although I don't yet know all the details of the plan, I do know this—that in what he is doing. Colonel Halket has the welfare of the people at New Rome very much at heart."

The words had a hypocritical sound, and Floyd felt that Tustin at least believed he was a hypocrite. It would not have surprised him could he have known that when the men had departed Tustin denounced him bitterly to the two others as a double-dealer, and that Shelton had not the heart or the ability to undertake his defense. And because he was conscious of the impression which he had necessarily made, the interview left him depressed.

The telephone call sounded; Floyd's ungracious "Hello" was succeeded by a more amiable tone. "Oh, is that you, Stewart?" He detected an unusual excitement in Stewart's voice, even before he deciphered the announcement, "It's a boy!" Stewart was crying to him; and then it seemed to Floyd that he felt the elation traveling over the wires. "A great, fat, bald-headed little kid. Born early this morning.—Yes, Lydia's as well as can be—and so's the baby. I wanted to let you know about it at once; we re going to call him—if you don't mind—Floyd Halket."

"What?" Floyd cried into the telephone.

"Floyd Halket—H-a-l-k-e-t. Got it? That's to be his name. Lydia suggested it—but I want some credit for seconding a good idea."