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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/247

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She laughed, touched the horses with the whip, and let them run. Then as she sat erect, holding the reins taut and looking ahead with steady eyes, but with the warm blood still reddening her cheeks, Stewart leaned back comfortably. He wondered why he should ever have been discontented.

His new interest in life did not at once lapse, even though he had come home to find his office work as light and unpromising as ever. He got out his paint brushes and palette and easel, and set himself to making a portrait of Lydia. She was delighted with this revival of an old talent. His enthusiasm in exercising it seemed to have been intensified by long disuse; he worked with an absorption that quite awed Lydia into silence. She admired the picture when it was finished; even Stewart admitted he thought it was rather good, considering. "I wish I'd gone in for painting," he sighed. "That's what I really was cut out for." He extended to himself the complacent, indulgent pity of a man who idly meditates on what great things he might have done had he only been led into the right career. When he had painted Lydia's portrait and hung it in the dining-room, he painted her father and then her mother. They were very tolerable amateur portraits, and Stewart looked on them all with an indulgent eye.

"Yes," he said again one day to Lydia, "I almost wish I'd gone in for painting instead of architecture."

"You have a lot of talent," she answered. "Why can't you do both things?"

"Well, I will," he declared. "But I wish I'd studied."

Floyd, looking at the pictures one Sunday, suggested, with a laugh, that Stewart owed him a portrait. "For that college caricature you once did of me. Remember, Stewart?"

Stewart remembered, in some embarrassment. "It would n't be that kind of a picture," he said. "I wish you would give me a few sittings, Floyd."