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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/82

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of soup. Floyd fell to hungrily; his grandfather, more deliberate, asked in a complacent way, "And how did you find things, Floyd?"

"First-rate—booming," Floyd answered. "I've fixed it all up—had a good talk with Mr. Gregg—went into the works and watched the job that I'm to begin on next Monday—engaged a room—"

"Oh, Floyd!" His grandmother leaned back in her chair; she seemed distressed. "You're going to start in so soon?"

"Oh, we must n't coddle ourselves and spoil the boy," her husband said in his cheerful, authoritative voice. "The sooner he begins his apprenticeship, the sooner he'll be through with it. Open-Hearth Number Two, Gregg thought; was that it?—Hendricks, take away this soup; say to the cook that I'm surprised at his sending up soup that's burnt. Floyd, don't take any more of it; see, your grandmother can't touch it."

"I don't mind it," Floyd said. "I'm too hungry." Inwardly a whimsical question occurred to him,—whether after saying grace, one should reject in disfavor food that had possibly been blessed in answer to the prayer. He knew that it would be unwise to suggest this to his grandfather, but he thought he might amuse his grandmother with the query when they should be alone.

"There's one thing I can do," Mrs. Halket said, speaking in a resigned voice, "and that is, come out and see that you are comfortable in your rooms, Floyd. I do hope they are pleasant. I will help you to fix them up. I shall feel so much better if I know you 're comfortable."

Floyd's eyes twinkled, and he reached out and stroked his grandmother's hand.

"I have the cosiest quarters in New Rome," he said, "and I won't allow you to do a thing to them. When I get tired, I'll move somewhere else. You see, Grandmother, when you 're a mill-hand, you've got to live like one;—isn't that so, Grandfather?"