Open main menu

Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/13

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
2
THE ANCIENT GRUDGE

He had drawn himself up again on the sunny raft when another of the swimmers climbed the tower to dive. This was a black-haired, thick-set boy; standing on the top, he presented a sturdy but not a gracefully heroic figure. And he did not start vibrating the sympathetic nerve in the women and girls.

Suddenly he gathered himself and leaped with clumsy but impetuous power. At the height in mid-air, giving a frog-like kick, he straightened out and descended into the water with arrowy calmness. There was applause for that, too, but diving deep, he did not arise to hear it; and the clapping was of a careless kind and dwindled before his head emerged.

The boy with the yellow hair took a low, shooting dive from the raft and came up close to the judge's rowboat, which was moored near by. He addressed not the judge but the girl sitting in the stern.

"May I come in, Lydia?"

"You will be so messy," she objected.

Without regarding this protest, he paddled round to the bow and climbed aboard. The girl's face showed an ingenuous satisfaction; the judge, a young man in white flannels, said, without taking his eyes from the raft,—

"I could n't give you a prize now if I wanted to, Stewart. It would n't look right."

"I'm letting this event go by default," Stewart anwered.

"Why?" asked the girl.

"I did my best first thing."

"Floyd Halket beat you by six feet."

"Yes, that's why I'm stopping."

"Lydia," said the judge patiently, "would you just as soon ask your young friend to come over into the stern with you? He is very distracting."

Stewart changed his position with alacrity, and sitting in the bottom of the boat at the girl's feet, he embraced his bare knees with his bare arms.