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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/193

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building a hundred thousand dollar house for his father-in-law.

"The trouble with workingmen's houses," he said to Floyd, "is that they have no dignity. You see a street of workingmen's houses, and you're not impressed with the dignity of labor or the beauty of simplicity; you're only impressed with the dreariness of labor and the squalor of the commonplace. Now that's unnecessary. The laboring-man can have a dignified house, one that will help his self-respect. It's a thing worth working out."

When the people who had been away from Avalon for the summer returned, and the winter gayeties began, Stewart and Lydia became so involved in social interests that Floyd, adhering to his renunciation of such matters, saw much less of them. Now and then his grandmother gave a dinner party, and sometimes he made a casual appearance at the Country Club, but he was known among the young women as the Recluse, the Hermit, the "man too busy to bother with us." The girls invited to Mrs. Halket's dinners underwent each of them a certain hopeful curiosity as to whom Floyd would take down; and because Marion Clark was twice thus honored during the winter, she was much teased by her friends. She herself would have been glad to know whether Floyd had expressed a preference for her society or whether it had been merely a matter of Mrs. Halket's arranging. However that was, she had to confess that Floyd did not follow up his advantage.

Stewart laughed cheerfully when people complained to him, as they often did, about his friend's inaccessibility. "Why, we know you a great deal better than we do him," they would say. "Though he went out all through one winter, I'm afraid he did n't like us. What is the matter? You know him well enough to say." Stewart replied that he guessed Floyd was simply shy and afraid of girls; he said that he had never been able to induce him to go anywhere in Boston. And then he would extol Floyd's