Open main menu

Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/248

This page needs to be proofread.

"Grandfather's going to have his portrait painted by a Frenchman that he's bringing over for the purpose," Floyd announced. "I'll tell him that I'm disappointed in him; he's always professed to stand for the protection of home industries. When can we get together, Stewart?"

They arranged to have the sittings on Sunday mornings in the music-room at Floyd's house, the room in which Colonel Halket was to sit for his portrait before the eminent Frenchman. But after the first two meetings, Stewart was discouraged. "I'll never finish it this way," he said. "Could n't you get off, Floyd, at noon two or three days this week and come up here for an hour or so? I'll manage it if you can." Floyd good-naturedly managed it, and Stewart in three consecutive sittings almost finished the picture. While he was working on it, he neglected his office duties; they annoyed him. "There's no fun equal to that of doing what you like when you ought to be doing things you don't care about," he said to Floyd. "I suppose I ought to be building stables and warehouses at this moment; they may go to the devil."

Having had his burst of speed and nearly finished the portrait, he could get no further with it; Floyd could not see wherein it was unfinished, but it made Stewart so impatient merely to suggest this idea that Floyd after suggesting it held his tongue. Under the artist's persuasion Floyd, at some inconvenience, made two more trips uptown at noon, only to see Stewart putter and dawdle and hear him murmur under his breath. He bore this amiably enough, but at the end of the second day he told Stewart that they had better go back to their Sunday mornings.

"Oh, all right," said the painter moodily. "You're not of much use to me now, anyway. I've got to work the thing out for myself."

Temporarily, it was the one piece of work on which his enthusiasm was set, and he was restless thinking about it; he slid through his day or his half-day at the office and hurried away to study his canvas. There was never any