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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/114

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neighbors were invited—Mr. and Mrs. Tustin, who lived next door, Mr. Tibbs, with his two daughters, Miss Lally Gorham, who was Letty's most intimate friend, Hugh Farrell, and Mr. and Mrs. Don McDonald, with their nine-year-old twins, Gertie and Greta, who could not be left at home, and who came in hopes of cake. Floyd felt that his presence was making the affair solemn, but on the arrival and introduction of Mr. and Mrs. Tustin, there ceased to be the necessity for any such impression. Mrs. Tustin, a narrow-eyed, low-browed, dark woman, with a large cleft chin, closed with him at once, and the other guests breathed easier and began to talk.

"Well, I've seen you many's the time going up and down the hill with your lunch-bucket under your arm," Mrs. Tustin said,—and Floyd recognized her voice as that to which he had listened one Saturday evening with so much disgust,—"and I never could believe 't was you, Mr. Halket, lookin' so much like everybody else. But you do now, I declare, and dressed up, too."

"It's queer you should ever have seen me," said Floyd. "This is the first time I've had the pleasure, Mrs. Tuskim."

"Tustin, not Tuskim. Mrs. Bell's never spoke quite clear since she had in false teeth. I can see she's awful thankful you didn't put on more style; of course the Bells live very plain. Must be kind of hard after what you're accustomed to. Ain't a bass viol a ridiculous lookin' instrument!"

Floyd agreed that it was.

"Hugh Farrell and Letty they do everlastingly like to play before a crowd. Some says Hugh is quite a good performer on the bass viol, and I don't know but what he is, only I can't rid my mind of the clumsy way he has of drawin' the bow back and forth. You see if it ain't the clumsiest you ever saw. There now!"

Farrell was producing a few preliminary booms on his instrument.