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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/241

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THE ANCIENT GRUDGE

paper editorial articles commending the appointment he read and reread and treasured in volume X of his scrap-book. But events such as these were only intermittent flashes. If he had been a younger man, he might easily have become governor or gone to the Senate; he began mournfully to reflect on what he might have done had he not modestly confined himself for so long to winning merely local recognition. The truth emerged upon him with gradual distinctness: he had after all attained the ambition of his latter days so far as it was attainable; he stood, a figure known and admired throughout the land for his industrial achievement and progressive ideas. And the realization that he had gone as far and gained as much as would ever be possible for him deepened his melancholy. "It seems that when a man finishes his autobiography, he's practically finished his life too," he thought. "That had never occurred to me."

Only one occupation remained for him—that unlovely one of sitting tight and seeing that he lost not one inch of place that he had gained. He must live up to his reputation to the end; what people thought him, that must he be and seem. He had outlived the close and eager interest in his business; he had outlived the sense of individual justice; he was absorbed in larger things.