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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/314

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Works with others into one great corporation has excited some alarm among the employees of Halket & Company. How far that report is true I do not know; but I believe that probably the apprehension of my friends has been diminishing as they have given more thought to the matter. It was perhaps, natural that they should feel some alarm. They were enjoying prosperity; they had been in the enjoyment of prosperity for many years; they could not at once see any advantage to them in a change; they were quite contented to have things go as they were. Indeed, I may confess frankly that my own greatest pride has been in their prosperity and in the comfort they all took in their prosperity."

Floyd suppressed a groan. About him he heard low murmurs of dissatisfaction. He wondered what more unfortunate thing his grandfather could have done than to extol the prosperity of men who had assembled with a grievance. Colonel Halket, however, did not hear the murmurs; he was attentive only to his own line of thought and to the choice of words which might best express it.

"When I come to New Rome and observe its commodious and well-kept homes, and see the bright, happy faces of its women and children, and mark upon its streets the confident, manly tread of its men, and note the many elevating and refining influences with which it has been supplied by the admirable spirit of its citizens, can I wonder that your prosperity is dear to you, and that you must view with suspicion any policy that might tend to derange it? Can I wonder that you wish to cling to a condition that is happy beyond that of other workingmen"—(Floyd detected an exchange of smiles and shrugs among the members of the reception committee, and observed that one sombre, continuous nudge seemed to traverse the audience)—"a condition that you yourselves have created?—For though much has been done for you, you have done even more for yourselves."