Open main menu

Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/367

This page needs to be proofread.
356
A MAN OF TASTE

possessed. The drawings which 3tewart had brooded over with such affection and confidence had been only those for the exterior general scheme of the buildings, and he had allowed a month to glide by without bringing them much nearer completion. The straightening out of little difficulties which confronted him at the outset seemed too tedious and mechanical a task for him to undertake; and he had assigned this work to his assistants. Now after a month of labor they had brought him results that plainly would not do; and after severely censuring them for the glaring imperfections and hearing their defense, which was that the restrictions he had imposed made awkwardness, inconvenience, and wastefulness of arrangement necessary, he had set about solving by his own ingenuity the perplexities for which his assistants were unequal. It was uncongenial work, and more difficult than he had supposed. Although he had no doubt of his ultimate ability, it was unpleasant at this juncture to be reminded of the knack of his former draughtsman of whom he had been despoiled. Bennett, however, had means of keeping in touch with what took place in Stewart's office and could judge very nicely the most effective moment for administering a prick. His son was one of his draughtsmen and was a friend of one of Stewart's assistants.

The summer wore on, and Stewart felt at last that he had extricated himself creditably from his difficulties—the more creditably since he had depended on no one but himself. He knew that there were one or two weak spots, but they did not seem to him important; and the original beauty of the design had been preserved. So sure was he that only minor points remained to be dealt with that he wrote to Lydia saying that in a week or ten days she would see him at Chester. She sent him a letter in reply, rejoicing over the news and especially over the indication that he had finished his work and found it so satisfactory. "And now that it's all done, I'm sure it will win," she wrote.