Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/233

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

of heroism and self-sacrifice that had been brought out in the daily life at the mills; these descriptions were vivid and real and introduced a likable human quality into the midst of what was often dull and pretentious. And one chapter moved Floyd deeply, the last; it was called "My Wife," and it told, simply and without sentimentality, what part Mrs. Halket had taken in building up New Rome and helping the women of the town. In this most difficult chapter of all there was no violation of taste, no undignified airing of the writer's love and bereavement; intimacies were not exposed, and yet no reader could miss the tenderness and reverence behind the words, or the self-contained, unasking sorrow. Floyd laid the book down with a different feeling from that which had possessed him when he was in the midst of it. "The end redeems all its mistakes," he thought—"for me at least." He awaited with more cheerfulness the disagreeable events that he believed certain to follow.

They did not come at once; even the dissatisfaction among the officers of the works was less than he had expected to find it; rather, it was resignation; their feeling seemed to be that the magazine article had already done all the harm that it was possible for a printed thing to do. The comment of the press was, with but few exceptions, respectful and favorable. In Avalon one graceless newspaper, to be sure, which was a scoffer at all things established and decent, paid the book the compliment of a sarcastic review. "An adept at solitaire performances with bouquets," it began, "Colonel Halket is here exhibited in the act of presenting himself with the choicest nosegays of his collection. The Colonel's reminiscences have what might be called an old-world charm in their ambrosial fragrance and cloying sweetness. We confess that after lounging the better part of a day in the Colonel's garden and observing him as he decks himself all down the front with boutonnieres, we have a hankering to see him take a hoe out behind the barn and grub up