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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/406

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395
A LETTER TO A NEWSPAPER

misery of Labor? This work is only carrying on the same idea."

"But," said Lydia, bewildered, "architecture—your architecture, Stewart—"

"I shall probably keep on doing what I can. But, whether the buildings are ever built or not, I've done, in the Hospitals, my best work. I've got up to a height that I know, inside me, I can never rise above. Here is a new thing that is more important, that interests me beyond anything else; and I feel that I have a useful message to give; I don't see why the fact that I started in as an architect should prevent my uttering it. I've gone so far now that the people who build houses are n't likely any more to come to me as clients. I counted that in as part of the cost. I'm satisfied with what is ahead of me—satisfied and eager to be at it—and it's a greater work, if once it can be done, than building all the churches and hospitals in Avalon."

Lydia remained bewildered, unable to reply. She had come home prepared to deal with a far less comprehensive and humanitarian programme; this case was beyond her simple treatment. She could not approve, she could not believe, she could not sympathize in what Stewart so vaguely planned to do; but she knew not how to interfere. And as she sat wondering what should be a wife's course, a memory came to her unsummoned out of the distant past—of herself wantonly, gayly reaching out from a boat with an oar and pushing a confused swimmer down.

She remained silent.