Open main menu

Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/350

This page needs to be proofread.
339
THE GREAT OPPORTUNITY

tributed the ill success of the interview to his father-in-law's want of tact. He decided to make an appeal to Floyd in person; in a matter of this importance one had to pocket one's pride.

Arming himself with some of his drawings one morning, he set out for Floyd's office. He had seen Floyd once before since Colonel Halket's death, and had thought then that the sadness of his friend's face was only a passing expression. Now, though Floyd came forward to welcome him with a smile, it was with the same air of sadness, and it chilled Stewart a little; he began to feel that it was a permanent habit of mind which had fastened on Floyd, and which somehow would render him less accessible. In black, too, Floyd seemed more sophisticated than Stewart had liked to think him; formerly his careless way of wearing his clothes had borne out Stewart's conception of him as still not much more than a raw, undeveloped boy. But in black he seemed very different; he seemed not only to have aged in experience but also to have gained in grace. Altogether the undisturbed confidence with which he led his visitor to a seat and said, "Well, Stewart, what's the news to-day?" was not reassuring.

Stewart nevertheless plunged into the subject at once.

"I'm afraid my father-in-law made rather a mess of things," he said. "As nearly as I can make out, he must have represented me as bidding for the job of architect of the hospitals; he seems to have made himself a sort of advance agent for my boom. When I found it out, Floyd, I wanted to come and clear myself of the suspicion of having tried to work you."

"Oh, that's all right," Floyd said. "I know Mr. Dunbar; and I did n't suppose you were trying to work me."

"The fact is, I may as well tell you frankly," Stewart proceeded, "that ever since I built that Women's Club at New Rome, I've had it on my mind. You were good to say so little about it—but I appreciated just the same what a great disappointment it was to you; I can tell