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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/370

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A MAN OF TASTE

those buildings all completed, with the embellishment given by trees and gardens. They seemed to him as beautiful as the Greek temples from which they were derived; and the thought that he might forever be debarred from expressing in stone and marble this noble conception came upon him in his loneliness after the profitless labors of the night and filled him with a sudden anger and grief.

"To have created that—only to carry it in my brain—the best work I've ever done, the best I'll ever do!"

Floyd's inexorable figure interposed itself between him and fruition. A committee of architects, a committee of two architects and one doctor might make an award without being unduly influenced by the stern demands of the practical; but upon the committee of Floyd's choice beauty and nobility of design would be sacrificed. Floyd and the doctor would be found allied on every contention; the member of the committee who understood architecture would be overruled. Floyd was a Philistine and a materialist; his few years at college—where he had pursued only the most utilitarian studies—had done little for his development. And Floyd would be more impressed by an argument showing the inadequate size of wash-bowls than by one demonstrating that the lines of the proposed building had the grace of the Parthenon.

Stewart, sitting discouraged in the midst of his futile efforts at revision, asked himself what he should do. Should he hand in his drawings as they were, doomed to be rejected, and, with the consciousness that he had done his best, free himself from the drudgery which was chafing him, from a place which had grown hateful, and go to his wife and the sea for the rest that he had earned? Or should he with a stubborn spirit bend himself day after day, night after night, upon the dreary task of trying to improve that which could not be improved, even of building up a whole new set of plans, which could not, like these, be inspired—should he work till the last hour simply to satisfy the spirit of fight which had awakened in him,