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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/92

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BEGINS AT THE BOTTOM

complimented Mrs. Bell on her garden, climbed the two flights of stairs to the attic room, and refrained from discouraging comment. "I think you will be quite snug here, Floyd," she said. She poked the mattress and approved of it, was surprised at the roominess of the closet, and said that with the pictures she would send and a little bookcase he would be as comfortable as possible.

"I suppose that was your daughter, Mrs. Bell, that I saw at the door," she said casually.

"Yes, ma'am, my daughter Letty; she does the cataloguing at the library; but she's having her vacation now."

"She's a very handsome girl," Mrs. Halket observed.

"And as good as she is beautiful, I think," Mrs. Bell replied.

At the door Mrs. Halket shook hands with the landlady, who immediately became agitated and began to murmur unintelligible hopes and fears.

"Oh," laughed Mrs. Halket, "I know you'll take good care of him; I see that he's in good hands."

Then Mrs. Bell had one blissful moment, standing at her gate, while Mrs. Halket, from her seat in her open carriage, in full view of all the neighborhood, smiled and nodded to her as she was rolled away.

 

Floyd went to work at Open-Hearth Mill Number Two the next Monday morning. He was assigned to the squad at the furnace where a few days before he had watched operations; he found himself working with the man from whom he had derived the story of the unfortunate victim of fumes. This man looked hard at him several times, but said nothing. Floyd was kept busy obeying directions to stir the heat, to take a crowbar and turn a valve, to pitch in steel scrap or limestone, to give a hand at a hoist; he did not have much time to rest and talk; the mills were running full, and every man was eager to make his tonnage.