Open main menu

Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/294

This page needs to be proofread.

seemed to have been narrowed; and the tremor of his hands when he was agitated, his lack of self-control, and the readiness with which he became agitated, all marked the swift progress of decay. That in this condition he should be burdening himself with first the construction and then the administration of a greater business enterprise than any upon which he had hitherto embarked seemed to Floyd lamentable; it could only, he thought, damage his grandfather in health and reputation and prove costly to all who were concerned in it—except perhaps the small group of mill-owners and financiers. Moreover, the situation made Floyd unhappy on his own account; after having lived in intimate relations with his grandfather for so many years, it was hard for him to feel that they were no longer sympathetic, and that Colonel Halket, instead of confiding in him as formerly, now took precautions to keep him in ignorance, fearing his criticism.

In a few days Colonel Halket's "broadsides" were printed and posted on the mill offices, on the stockade surrounding the works, in the street cars, in the Halket Public Library, on telegraph poles. The notices provoked little comment beyond an expression of curiosity as to what Colonel Halket would have to say. That the proclamation had not the completely, disarming effect anticipated by its author was evident to Floyd when Gregg reported to him the proceedings at the meeting of the union on the Sunday after it was posted. The hall was crowded, though it was a warm, clear afternoon such as would ordinarily have denoted a slim attendance. Tustin addressed the meeting from the chair; he urged every member of the union to be on hand when Colonel Halket made his speech.

"This conspiracy of capital is going through," Tustin cried in his harangue, "and what laboring-man has been consulted? Your allegiance is to be transferred, your services are to be disposed of, you are yourselves in fact to