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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/326

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COLONEL HALKET'S ADDRESS

"We must have your answer," cried Tustin. "Colonel Halket, will you withdraw your plan?"

Colonel Halket raised his head feebly and looked out on the audience.

"I—I suppose so," he said in a faint voice, and then he turned and walked slowly from the platform, while the storm of applause acclaimed his surrender and retreat. He walked firmly enough until he reached the ante-room; then he leaned a little on Floyd's arm.

"Get me home, Floyd, get me home," he said feebly.

Floyd helped him in silence down the steps to the street, where the carriage was in waiting. For one moment they were in the peaceful silence of the May night, a silence across which even the grim diapason from the dragon-like mills below quivered not so ungently; then suddenly there burst from the main portico of the building a clamor of voices that seemed to the old man brutal, ferocious even, as with the thirst of pursuit. Floyd felt his hand tremble and heard him say, "Hurry, hurry!" They sat in the open carriage and drove slowly down the hill, while beside them, along the steps of the main entrance, along the sidewalk, and dimly illuminated by the yellow-globed electric lights of the portico above, streamed the crowd, boisterous, cheering, hooting. While the carriage passed, Colonel Halket sat erect, gazing ahead in the darkness as sternly as a soldier; but when the crowd had been left behind and there was no one but his grandson to see, he sank back and closed his eyes.