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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/251

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that the picture was now finished thought he saw how greatly it had been improved. "I tell you," Stewart said to him, as they stood in front of it, "there's a field for painters here that has never been touched. Here's the place to paint the laboring-man—the type of American labor and industry. By George! it's a great idea—and the chance for picturesqueness in the backgrounds—mills and forges and lurid lights and red-hot iron and all kinds of things! You know, it's just occurred to me; I think I'll have to try my hand at it!"

"I'll find you subjects enough," said Floyd. "Come out to our mills; you'll see all kinds of faces there."

"I'll do it," declared Stewart. "Business is light downtown; I can get away now and then—"

"You might come out some evening; it's more picturesque at night."

"That's a good idea; an iron mill at night—a splendid subject!" Stewart's sudden enthusiasm had kindled his imagination. "Labor in the fields has been represented by painters—but not the labor of the mills; it's a chance for an artist—a great chance. Yes, sir, I'll try my hand at it and make a date with you right now."

Floyd made the "date" and carried home his picture. He set it up against the wall in his study, and looked at it with a scrutiny which was at first impersonal, but gradually became meditative and melancholy. His own appearance had always been exceedingly vague and nebulous to him; the thought of himself had never called up a distinct image in his mind; it carried with it only the suggestion of a dark, loutish young man pushing a sullen way through a crowd. Stewart's picture represented him as not so ill-looking as the creature of his mind, yet as wholly aggressive, black, and hard. He sighed after a while, concluding that he must impress people as such an inexorable and pushing person, and took the picture into the library that his grandfather might see it. M. Sevier was there also, having just finished the day's sitting.