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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/332

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bothered myself much about your personal designs and desires."

"They've hardly been worth troubling anybody but myself with," Floyd said modestly.

"Oh, perhaps not well people," remarked Colonel Halket. "But sick people—might n't they be good enough to amuse sick people with?" he asked whimsically. "If I knew more about you, I might construct some sort of future for you in my imagination.—Are you interested in any girl?"

"Grandmother asked me that," Floyd answered. "And I had to tell her no."

"But the situation may have changed since then."

"Not materially." Floyd saw that his grandfather looked disappointed, and it at once seemed to him rather ungenerous to give the old man such negative replies. It was no doubt true that he wished employment for his mind and fancy, and if one could help him by supplying anything to build on, it was hardly less than a duty to do so. Prompted by this filial feeling, Floyd after a moment said awkwardly, "I suppose I know Marion Clark rather well. I like her very much—but I would n't say more than that."

"Marion Clark was a great favorite of your grandmother's," Colonel Halket said. "In fact, your grandmother mentioned her more than once to me in—in this connection." He smiled. "There was no better judge of women, Floyd."

"I daresay we shall never be more than friends," Floyd said cautiously. "Very likely I'll never have more than the friendly interest in her I have now; or very likely she would n't respond to anything more than that. I just meant that I knew her on the whole better than any other girl."

"You're a shy fellow; I don't believe you'd reveal to any one just what you really felt," Colonel Halket observed. "But you can't deceive me by any such old-man's