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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/336

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LAST WORDS

the room and summon the nurse. He had hardly taken a step when there was a movement on the pillow and his grandfather was looking up at him with wide-open eyes.

"Floyd," Colonel Halket said with a calm distinctness, "it would please me very much if some time you would bring Marion Clark in here to me—so that I could give you both my blessing."

"Oh, if we should ever get as far as that!" Floyd replied, with embarrassment.

"It would please me very much," Colonel Halket repeated obstinately. Then he added in a tired voice, "I think I will go to sleep."

Floyd left the room, feeling mortified at the position in which he had placed not only himself but also a girl. He was not in love with Marion Clark; he had merely thought to provide his grandfather with a little harmless interest by giving him her name; and instantly Colonel Halket had jumped to conclusions which it was not the least use to refute. Indeed Floyd had frankly to confess that his naming a girl at all was misleading; if you are n't in love with her, what are you, why do you mention her? he could imagine his grandfather's exclamation. Now Colonel Halket seemed cunningly determined to drive the matter to an issue, to perform one last friendly act for his grandson, who was exhibiting a pardonable want of self-confidence. Floyd feared lest his inability—or reluctance—to produce Marion for the bestowal of the proposed blessing might be construed by his grandfather as an ungrateful neglect of a dying man's wish; he feared the coercion of a last appeal to his sympathy. Obviously it would have to be denied, cruel though the denial might seem; he regretted now the mistaken kindness of furnishing Colonel Halket with a vain clue.

That had been done impulsively; the freedom of the act puzzled him. He would not have been so wanton as to suggest to his grandfather an attachment for which no