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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/297

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Floyd did not wear off for some time. And although henceforth Floyd avoided expressing any opinion or criticism that might irritate his grandfather and tried to show him only his gayest, most light-hearted, and affectionate feelings, he knew that between them there was hardly more than a pretense of intimacy. Colonel Halket knew it too; Floyd might be as cheerful and lively as he pleased, but he did not sympathize with the crowning purpose and ambition of Colonel Halket's life; and not all the incidental gentleness and playfulness and affection in the world could atone for this essential disloyalty.

Floyd attended the christening of Lydia's baby and after the ceremony was over was allowed to hold the infant in his arms. It was a fat, hairless child, with an unblinking eye, and after looking up at its godfather for some moments it contorted its whole little frame in a chuckle of silent laughter; it was a most agreeable baby. Floyd restored it to the arms of its nurse with an unchristian envy of Stewart's happiness. Stewart stood by, bland, satisfied, smiling; Floyd thought it an impertinence to nature that a man should so soon grow complacent over so wonderful a gift and accept it as a matter of course.

Two weeks later Stewart gave a private exhibition of his "Pictures of Industrial Life," in the Art Room of the Avalon Club. As private views go, it was a success, for the room was so crowded with friends of the painter as to make a critical inspection of the pictures impossible. The visitors all possessed themselves of the neatly printed little catalogues which were piled on a table by the door, and holding these open in their hands went about connecting each picture with its title; after this casual examination they would seize their opportunity to compliment Stewart on his work, and would then form little groups for general talk and gossip. Lydia was there; it was the first time that Floyd had seen her since the baby was born, and he went up to her at once and said that he was glad she was out again. Then he wondered if that was an awkward