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THE ANCIENT GRUDGE

how deeply the definition cut him. "Of course, Stewart could do an heroic thing, don't you think so, Floyd?"

"Yes, oh yes, indeed," Floyd hastened to declare.

"If he could n't," Lydia continued vaguely, "I'm sure he would n't be so—so lovable. And everybody feels that he is—don't they, Floyd?"

"Yes, everybody," Floyd answered.

They rode silently together, side by side, and Floyd looked at her with a kind of rage, because she was so beautiful and yet was not for him. He clinched his teeth and his lips and turned away from looking at her. And then in a moment he would glance round again, and she, catching the movement and thinking he was about to speak, would turn towards him with an expectant smile. That smile, so cajoling and so gentle, must soften the most churlish companion. It summed up all the light of fellowship and liking in the gray eyes, all the sweetness and humor of the flexible, light lips, the poetry of the temples, the courage and spirit of the chin; it was Lydia. And the figure of the girl, erect on her horse, outlined beneath the tight-fitting black coat, had something of the same frankness, clearness, and simplicity of beauty as her face,—slim-waisted, deep of chest and bust; and more and more as Floyd rode with her the feeling of her spring from his hand to the saddle tingled through him, making him cognizant of her subtle strength and lightness.

A wish was swelling and stifling in his bosom—a wish to show her that he was no monstrosity of self-immolation, such as she seemed to conceive him, but a man, greedy, selfish, passionate, turbulent, loving—loving—loving. He was close by her side; Stewart—in Paris—intervened. The arrogance of utter conviction possessed Floyd; if he chose to show himself, to make the effort, he could win her from Stewart; he looked at her again, and again the conviction cried out arrogantly within him and urged him on. Conquest would not be his at once, but