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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/292

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A few days later he came to Floyd with a triumphant expression on his face and said, "Here is an object-lesson in how to handle men."

He gave Floyd the draft of a proclamation addressed "To the Employees of Halket & Company."

"I'm going to have big broadsides struck off and posted up all about the works," he explained.

The proclamation was brief.

"On October 1st, Halket & Company and other steel manufacturing companies will be united, forming the Central Steel Company. The individuality of the Halket works will, however, be preserved. On Thursday evening. May 15th, at 8 o'clock, Colonel Robert Halket will address employees of the company in the auditorium of the Halket Library. As the purpose of this address is to remove any misconception as to the effect of the new merger upon employees of these works, a full attendance is desired."

"Well," said Floyd, "it's good as far as it goes. The important thing of course is the address."

"I'll take care of that," Colonel Halket replied confidently.

"It's worth working over," Floyd warned him. "I'm afraid it won't be an easy victory; you've got to convince men who, because of the delay in giving them your confidence, have grown distrustful and afraid. They don't like the scheme; you've got to give them mighty good reasons to make them like it."

"Floyd," his grandfather said, and though he began patiently he soon grew irritable, "I don't know what has turned you into such a pessimist; it is deplorable in so young a man. It annoys me; it annoys me exceedingly. After my experience of all these years in handling men—my men—this constant nagging advice on your part is presumptuous—impertinent. I—it seems to me I am entitled to your support, not your criticism. I—it annoys me—it annoys me exceedingly."