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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/365

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A MAN OF TASTE

became quite clear that he was still under the ban of Stewart's displeasure. After asking Stewart twice to come home and dine with him—and he put the invitation rather wistfully,—and being repulsed with the thin excuse that Stewart liked to dine downtown every night in order to be able afterwards to drop into his office and work on his plans, Floyd desisted from conciliatory efforts. He began to think that the only thing which could terminate Stewart's ill feeling towards him would be a favorable issue to the competition. Floyd hoped for this with all his heart; but the more he saw of Stewart sitting in the club or tramping upon the golf links and the more he considered the manner in which his friend's character was revealing itself, the less promising did Stewart's chance of success appear. And though Floyd was innocent both of the intention and of the fact, he seemed to Stewart the embodiment of the spirit of reproach—mild, sorrowful, uncomplaining, altogether maddening.

Bennett, toward whom Stewart had always maintained an air of cold reserve, was disagreeably good-natured and insistent upon the establishment of friendlier relations, now that they were rivals in an important competition. He would sit down at Stewart's table at the club and smoke a cigar and chat about the problems involved; and Stewart was so much on his dignity at these moments that he never observed the shrewd, cynical eyes with which Bennett was studying him or the meditative smile that slanted upward from Bennett's cigar.

"I suppose," Bennett said to him once, "we're both of us fools—wasting our summer here in this way. With all that New York talent entered, a local man doesn't stand much chance—and we might as well make up our minds to it now, you and I, that we're going to have our labor for our pains."

"It's something of an advantage to be on the ground," Stewart said indifferently.

"Well, I don't see how you can work a pull in a com-