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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/31

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ful, humorous appeal in Floyd's answer, "But don't you see, Stewart, when a fellow has only one parlor trick, he's got to look out that he does n't get tired of it?"

Little by little Stewart was able to depose Floyd from the mental eminence on which he had at first joyously placed him; he was never willing to let any one occupy such a position long. He became able to view him with the complacency which a clever person extends to a friend who is pleasant but indisputably dull.

The opening of the college term approached. Stewart and Floyd went one day to Cambridge to engage rooms. Floyd was of little importance in the search; he was easily satisfied. If Stewart pointed out to him that here there would be no morning sun, or that the wall-paper was cold and cheerless, or that the bedrooms were too small, or that steam heat was an abomination and they must have an open fire, Floyd assented, but he did not care. With his simple tastes, he was indifferent to luxuries; with plenty of money at his command, he could spend as much or as little as the persons about him and be happy if only he liked them. So the choice of the room and afterwards the furnishing of it were dictated by Stewart. It was in a private house; this was before the era of the great new dormitories, with their marble corridors, oak wainscoting and ceilings, porcelain bath-tubs, swimming-tanks, and tennis-courts; when these institutions came to pass, Stewart sighed and felt that he had been born too soon. But considering the time in which he lived, the room of his choice was highly desirable. There was a bay window, with a maple-tree just outside; there were two bedrooms (Floyd insisted that Stewart should take the one with the sun), and there was a bath-room up only one flight.

The doors and mantel were painted an execrable light brown,—so Stewart said,—and their color was transformed to a dark green. "I should scream if I had to live with that wall-paper," said Stewart; and he spent a day, leading Floyd from one shop to another, Floyd