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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/15

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"You Bostonians"—she liked to tease him with the term—"make me wonder sometimes why I'm allowed here. And yet you are really very nice.—Oh, Bob, what is that crazy boy going to do?"

She appealed to her cousin, the judge. Floyd Halket had climbed up for his last performance; the other contestants had all dropped out; and now he stood, nearly thirty feet in air, balancing, glancing over his shoulder at the spot where he meant to make his plunge. He was evidently preparing for a backward dive, and that, from such a height, was a bolder thing than any that the others had dared to try.

On the beach tle little fluttering movements in the crowd were stilled, and the light sound of talk and laughter was hushed. Backward the boy went with a whirl, and as before he seemed to straighten out in mid-air and drop slenderly. Applause volleyed for a perfect dive.

"He wins," said Bob Dunbar, the judge, to Stewart. "Now, then, it's time for you fellows to get ready for the swim under water." He picked up his megaphone and spoke through it, ordering those who had entered for this contest out to the raft. Stewart stood up to jump overboard.

"Do you think you will win?" asked Lydia.

"Do you want me to win?" he answered.

"Suppose I said yes?"

"Then I'll do it or stay down till I bust."

She laughed in mild derision.

"Oh, I'll show you," he cried indignantly, and leaped far out so that he might not splash her.

"Do you think he has the least chance of winning, Bob?" she asked her cousin.

"Not the least."

She sighed twice, but her cousin had an uncomforting habit of silence.

There were only six to start in the race. When they stood in a row along the edge of the raft, ready for the dive,