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THE ANCIENT GRUDGE

for you out there. Why don't you cut it often and come in here to us? You must be able to do as you please."

"Is anybody?" Floyd asked. "Just think how much more fortunate I am than Stewart. I'll be entering upon what I consider civilization about the time he's quitting his idea of it. When one has to live in Avalon, maybe a term in New Rome is a better preliminary than one in Paris."

"But Stewart will love to be a civilizing influence," said Lydia, laughing. And then she added, "How different you two are! I can't imagine Stewart working out there at New Rome the way you're doing. Tell me, do you really like it?"

"Not altogether," Floyd confessed.

"I never could understand," said Lydia, "why men don't always do the thing they like—when they can. Stewart's doing it; why don't you?"

"Lydia, my dear," interposed her mother, "don't ask impertinent questions."

"Oh, I don't mind answering," Floyd said. "Only, I'm not sure that I've thought out the answer."

"Well, don't bother with it now, for goodness' sake," Lydia urged. "I certainly did n't mean to get you down here to brood on life.—What do you say to a walk this afternoon,—or a ride?"

"I have a new saddle horse that I'd be glad to have you try," said Mr. Dunbar.

"I'm hardly dressed for riding," Floyd answered. "But if you'd just as soon walk—"

"Yes, that's better," Lydia agreed. "Besides, I don't think Mamma quite approves of my riding on Sunday when we 're in town."

"Lydia has such nice afterthoughts," said Mrs. Dunbar mildly.

It was a very genial family, Floyd thought; they all liked to tease one another and to be teased, they all seemed in spirits to be of the same age—and that was Lydia's. Mrs.