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THE ANCIENT GRUDGE

private talk with you; just a few minutes, Hugh Farrell; tell—tell her."

Farrell spoke to his partner, who released him; then he rose and walked with Floyd across to the stairs.

"Come outside just a moment," Floyd urged. "I—I can't have private talk with you here."

He was losing control over his speech as well as over his legs, but his head was clear. Farrell was quite willing to humor him and descended the stairs. Floyd drew him across the street, and still clinging to him leaned against the fence inclosing a vacant lot.

"Hugh Farrell," he said, "you're a friend of mine—and I like you. You're engaged to a girl that's a friend of mine—and I like her. She loves you, and you've given her to understand that you love her. Now you think I'm drunk—'nd I am. I can't walk straight—'nd I can't talk straight—but I can see straight—you—you understand?"

He looked Farrell in the eyes, even while he clung to him, wobbling.

"No," said Farrell doggedly.

"Then—then you must have patience while I explain. You must be patient—for 'n this condition I must pick and choose my words—pick and choose—Look here," Floyd stiffened himself. "A man that loves a girl—and then runs with a woman—he's a cad—and he's a—he's a human skunk—"

Farrell cursed under his breath and tried to shake himself free, but Floyd clung fast.

"I tell you he is," he cried earnestly; "I know, for I have so mighty near been one myself—so mighty near—but I'm not—I swear I'm not! And, Hugh Farrell, I don't want you to be one—for you're my friend, and I like you, and you're a man, a man—and Letty—you know, Hugh Farrell, she loves you and you can have her, she's yours," Floyd burst out with a sudden intense passion and came to a full stop, clutching Farrell's coat