Open main menu

Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/328

This page needs to be proofread.
317
LAST WORDS

"They don't know you yet; when they know you, they'll come," Floyd assured him.

"Ah, but how are they going to know me?" Colonel Halket asked. "I keep changing so from day to day; I can hardly expect a human being, let alone a bird, to recognize me."

One day a sparrow did hop on the window-sill and peck at the crumbs, and Colonel Halket described the episode to Floyd with more animation than he had shown during his illness.

"I think I have heard they like caraway seeds," he remarked. "Something or some one must like caraway seeds. I will try them to-morrow for the birds."

So daily he planned and watched; this little thing which he had never done before had now become the chief occupation of his days. He did not care to have people read to him, he did not care to have people sit with him and talk, he manifested no interest in business or in the situation which had developed as the outcome of his surrender at New Rome; and so long as he remained indifferent, Floyd had not the slightest desire to inform him. The accounts in the newspapers had been sufficiently sensational, and there had been some rather unpleasant correspondence with Kerr the banker, as well as interviews with disappointed manufacturers who had been prepared to realize a large profit on the sale of their works to the corporation and were disposed to blame any one of the house of Halket now that the plan was frustrated; Floyd did not concern himself much with these complaints. But he made a special effort to conciliate the workmen at New Rome, and to bring about a better feeling in the mills; it seemed to him that any concession might be justified which would permit Colonel Halket to die in tranquillity. So he received the delegations and committees and told them he was convinced the only serious question that had for some time been at issue and had provoked a sense of general distrust was that of the combination;