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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/291

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portion where the value of their property was concerned," Floyd said cynically.

"Floyd," Colonel Halket answered, "you must be more receptive; you must endeavor to cultivate and imbibe more progressive ideas. Otherwise—I must tell you frankly—you will be unable to hold the commanding position which should be yours. To control successfully a tremendous enterprise, such as ours now is, a man must be abreast of modern business methods—and ahead of them. Always a pioneer—that is the motto for a young man; it has been my motto as an old one. I have heard men say, 'Pioneering doesn't pay;' I have found it contains all kinds of rewards, and most satisfactory of all, the consciousness of improving upon conditions, of creative achievement. When you stand off and instead of coöperating in a great movement affect to belittle it and question the motives behind it, you show a flaw in your character, a most serious flaw, a wretched dilettantism for which in the industrial world there is no place, and a carping spirit of criticism that is, to say the least, most unbecoming. And I repeat: if you have no other pride or ambition in the matter—if only for your own good—it is essential that you try to stand for advanced policies and break away from this benumbing conservatism; for the place which I hold and to which you should sometime succeed is not one where a man may sit still; it demands of him activity and progress, and if he does not respond, it will demand some one who will."

"You think I am trying to place obstacles in your way because I try to represent to you the true sentiment of your workmen," Floyd said. "I believe when you come into actual contact with them yourself on this matter, you will be surprised; you may find it advisable to modify your plans."

"I have been used to handling men all my life," Colonel Halket declared haughtily. "I have never had any trouble with them; and I do not expect to have any now."