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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/95

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and was roused at five by Letty or her mother knocking at his door. He began to receive letters from his grandmother at Ridgewood; the lake was beautiful, the country lovely after the smoke and grime of Avalon, his grandfather was like a boy again; if only they could have Floyd with them! She hoped he was not having too hard a time; she could hardly wait to hear, and he must write frankly. The letters that he sent in reply were cheerful; it was hard work, but he was learning how to make steel; his studies in chemistry had helped him and he thought he should graduate from the open-hearth furnaces in a few months. Three nights a week he sat with Mrs. Bell and Letty after supper and talked or read Dickens aloud—taking turns in this with Letty; the other three nights he went up to his room and read by himself or wrote letters, "for on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays," he explained, "the young roller, Hugh Farrell, comes to see Letty. They pretend they're not engaged, but you ought to see me get Letty rattled whenever I want to. She's a pretty good girl, too, and does n't get rattled about other things. I'm quite one of the family now." And he wrote in an equally cheerful vein about his work. "Plenty of time for breathing-spells when you once get on to your job," he assured his grandmother. "And you soon get used to being a salamander. At noon we gobble our lunch; then Joe Shelton and I pitch quoits with Tom and Bill the rest of the hour. We're pretty even now; they used to beat us. Joe and I can pretty near lick any team in the works. They say there are a couple of coons over at Open-Hearth One that are the champions; when we get a little better, we'll challenge them. Mr. Gregg is very nice; he had me round at his house to dinner last Sunday. It made me a little uncomfortable, though, because Mrs. G. had so evidently laid herself out on my account; she was worried all through lest things shouldn't be done just right, and it was n't half as natural as it is at the Bells'. It's kind of hard luck on Mrs. Gregg; I guess she's