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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/253

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again at the picture. Perhaps, if M. Sevier was right, the stupid, aggressive hardness of that face was not really characteristic, but was attributable to technical deficiency on the part of the artist. It was such a cheerful thought that Floyd could not spare much sympathy for Stewart in the predestined failure of his large designs.

M. Sevier of course spoke with authority, and yet before accepting his judgment upon Stewart as final, Floyd waited to see for himself something of the Frenchman's work. The portrait of Colonel Halket was finished and hung in the hall of the house, and Floyd no longer doubted M. Sevier's authority. It seemed to him almost a cruel thing that the painter had done, yet his grandfather was proud and delighted. To Floyd the picture of Colonel Halket standing with his left hand in his trousers pocket and holding a roll of manuscript in his right suggested all his pompousness and love of prominence and oratorical display; and what was worse, Floyd seemed to see in the admirable painting of the old man's handsome head the subtle showing of his selfishness and foolishness and shrewdness, which Floyd had come by slow degrees to understand and yet was striving all the time to deny.

"This portrait, Floyd," Colonel Halket said to him, "I want always to stay in the family. It may be,"—he spoke with a certain self-conscious modesty,—"of course I hardly expect it, but some time. there might be a—a general desire to have a portrait of me in some public institution of the city. If any such desire should ever be expressed—and you felt inclined to gratify it, I should prefer that you would do so with the portrait which Theobald Smith painted of me four years ago—the one that hangs in the hall upstairs. This one I want always to be preserved as the family portrait."

"I'll see to that," Floyd assured him. "And if I should die, and the mayor should want a picture of me to hang in the city hall, why here's this one of Stewart Lee's. It's the only one I've got, and it will be hard for