Open main menu

Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/459

This page needs to be proofread.

would cease to be with the workingmen and would turn to him. Stewart has got himself into a frame of mind where he seriously believes that; how, tell me, please, am I to meet such an argument as that?—how, how am I to persuade him?"

Her voice had gathered a passionate swiftness and feeling as she spoke; now she waited, looking at Marion with despairing yet eager eyes.

"Ah, how can he believe that!" Marion exclaimed. "Floyd trying to provoke violence—when his whole purpose from the beginning has been to prevent it! Why else did he shut down the works? You might ask Stewart that. The very thing that Stewart takes as proof—why, Floyd tried to send those men in quietly and secretly, so that there would n't be any trouble. And now—this very night, at eleven o'clock—expressly to prevent violence he's going to land two hundred guards; he's sending them up the river—sending them by night, by boat—by coal-barges even, so that nobody shall see them or suspect and cause a riot; he's sending them just to protect the works and the men who want to work, and to prevent any more violence. His one thought now is to guard the safety of all his men—those opposed to him as well as those who are friendly. If you were to tell Stewart all these things, I don't see how he could any longer believe that Floyd is capable of such—such awful thoughts."

Lydia shook her head. "I feel that Stewart holds things in reserve," she answered. "I appeal to him in one way; he finds a reply in another.—Oh, I can't explain it to you, Marion," she broke off abruptly, "but I'm afraid it's hopeless, hopeless. I daresay I ought n't to give up trying; I've grown discouraged. I'll do what I can; I'll do what I can—to make Stewart feel more justly toward Floyd; but I'll do nothing to turn him from a work in which he believes."

Marion recognized the declaration as the pathetic effort to display faith and loyalty when they could no longer be