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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/340

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THE GREAT OPPORTUNITY

effort to develop its value. Now it was about to become the property of the city.

Stewart Lee walked about on it, studying the outlook from all points; he walked up and down the street and sat in the park, viewing the stretch of open land with a critical interest, and now and then making a sketch in a note-book. A method of dealing with the problem sprang suddenly into his mind; a few swift pencil strokes gave him more distinctly the visual image. From that ardent moment he never questioned that he had conceived the arrangement ideally adapted to the site. His eyes sparkled and he closed the note-book with a snap, congratulating himself on the flash of insight that had presented the solution so immediately. Indeed he tingled with the ecstatic conviction of creation; instead of groping in discouragement for days for a fundamental motive, he had suddenly developed, as by an unconscious involuntary mental process, a complete architectural plan which he saw vividly and which filled him with delight. His first impulse was to reward himself for this inspiration by taking a holiday and playing golf all the afternoon; but a spirit of unusual sternness ruled him; he returned hastily to his office, meaning to proceed at once to work; then he spread out a lot of photographs and looked at them idly for a couple of hours, turning them over and whistling in vast contentment. The next day he threw himself with energy into the patient contriving of detail; he began to read up on hospitals; for practical advice he went to an eminent family physician; he personally consulted builders, steam-fitters, electricians, stone-cutters, and plumbers about matters which he usually left in the hands of Ayres, his first assistant.

Stewart did not confide the purpose of all this enterprise to Lydia until several days of it had made him thoroughly sanguine. Then one evening after dinner, as they sat together on the vine-screened piazza, he said to her,—