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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 297 pages of information about Youth Challenges.

“Foote,” said Bonbright.

Him?”

“Yes,” said Bonbright.

The man paused before he spoke, and there was something not kindly that came into his eyes.  “Speakin’ perty well of yourself, wasn’t you?” he said, caustically, and, turning his back, he walked away. ...  That action cut Bonbright more deeply than any of the few affronts that had been put upon him in his life had cut.  He wanted to call the man back and demand that he listen to the truth.  He wanted to explain, to set himself right.  He wanted that man and all men to know he was not the Bonbright Foote who had brought on the strike and fought it with such vindictive ruthlessness.  He wanted to prove that he was innocent, and to wring from them the right to meet and to be received by his fellow laborers as one of themselves. ...

He saw the man stop beside a group, say something, turn, and point to him.  Other men turned and stared.  Some snickered.  Bonbright could not bear it.  He jostled his way through the crowd and sought refuge in the shop.

The morning had been a happy one; the afternoon was dismal.  He knew he was marked.  He saw men pointing at him, whispering about him, and could imagine what they were saying.  In the morning he had been received casually as an equal.  Nobody had welcomed him, nobody had paid particular attention to him.  That was as it should be.  He was simply accepted as another workman. ...  The attitude of the men was quite the opposite now.  He was a sort of museum freak to them.  From a distance they regarded him with curiosity, but their manner set him apart from them.  He did not belong.  He felt their hostility. ...  If they had lined up and jeered him Bonbright would not have felt the hurt so much, for there would have been something to arouse his fighting spirit.

One remark he overheard, which stood aptly for the attitude of all.  “Well, he’s gettin’ what’s comin’ to him,” was the sentence.  It showed him that the reputation his father had given him was his to wear, and that here he would find no friends, scant toleration, probably open hostility. ...  He got no pleasure that afternoon from watching his cake of metal move backward and forward with the planer-bed.

When the whistle blew again he hurried out, looking into no man’s face, avoiding contacts.  He sneaked away. ...  And in his heart burned a hot resentment against the father that had done this thing. ...

CHAPTER XXIII

Such pretense as Bonbright’s and Ruth’s is possible only to the morbid, the eccentric, or the unhealthy.  Neither of them was morbid, neither eccentric, both abundantly well.  Ruth saw the failure of it days before Bonbright had even a hint.  After Dulac burst in upon her she perceived the game must be brought to an end; that their life of make-believe was weighted with danger for her.  She determined to end it—­but, ironically enough, to end

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