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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/24

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II

STEWART CONFERS A FAVOR

For three days Stewart lay threatened with pneumonia; then slowly he began to regain his strength. Within a week he was sitting on the piazza of his house, looking out across the tennis-court and over the rocky knoll, beyond which he could see the ocean. Sometimes when he had been dozing, he awoke with a strangling cry, with both arms raised to ward off the blind, dripping monster that knelt on his chest and crazily choked him. But wide awake, he did not dwell on the sensation of drowning; he hardly recalled it; he lay in a contented, ethereal, purifying languor.

Floyd Halket came once and sat with him, rather shy and conscious at first, for he had been dodging tributes for four days; but he responded soon to Stewart's eager and quite objective interest in the details of the rescue. "Just five minutes before it happened, I was telling Lydia Dunbar you had no business here, taking our prizes," Stewart said. "What a lucky thing for me that you were here!"

"That was a good doctor," said Floyd. "He stuck to his job."

"Like you," Stewart laughed.

The boys were both to enter Harvard that fall; in the enthusiasm roused by this mutual discovery, they exchanged certain confidences and expectations. Floyd had studied at home with a tutor and was afraid his freshman year would be lonely unless he could do something in athletics. "Oh, I'll see that you are n't lonely," Stewart assured him. "I know lots of fellows."