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THE ANCIENT GRUDGE

not," replied Stewart. "But it is my unalterable rule never to build the same house twice." With cynical amusement, he had advised each of the applicants to go to Bennett, who had lately been quite disagreeable. Those who followed this recommendation were told that it was out of the question to build such a house as they wanted for three thousand dollars. They protested that Mr. Lee had done it, whereupon Bennett referred them again to Lee, saying that as for himself he did n't profess to work miracles.

Each applicant went back to New Rome discouraged and angry. Tustin was especially bitter. He openly attributed Hugh Farrell's good fortune to the fact that he had been befriended and petted by Floyd Halket, who had got this fashionable young architect to build Farrell a fine house as a special favor.

"It's a mighty bad thing when favoritism gets into a concern like this," grumbled Tustin.

His wife was even more resentful; it was she who had given him no rest until he had made the effort to build a house as fine as the Farrells'. An undercurrent of enmity to Hugh began flowing; somebody even started a story that Floyd Halket had presented him with the house. Some one else altered this story into one that drew an unpleasant inference about Floyd's past relations with Letty. But Hugh and Letty and Mrs. Bell occupied their new house and enjoyed their prosperity, unconscious of slur or slander.