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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/434

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WIDENING THE BREACH

unpitying gravity in his gaze, and his voice was stern as he said,—

"Your hypothesis presupposes that before the committee made the award I had resorted to the improper act of secretly identifying each set of plans."

"The result presupposes that," Stewart answered jauntily. "The selection of the one utterly incompetent architect among all the competitors."

"You assume," continued Floyd, "that in making the award I was guilty not only of impropriety, but also of dishonesty."

"I assume nothing in dispute of the facts," Stewart replied.

The outer door of the office opened suddenly; the two men turned their heads and saw Hugh Farrell.

"Please go into that room, Mr. Farrell." Floyd pointed to a door. "I will see you in a few moments." He waited until Farrell had disappeared. "And now, sir, this door for you." He walked abruptly to that by which Farrell had entered and flung it open. "I will do you the courtesy to hold it for you myself, instead of calling the office boy."

"And not one word in denial!" cried Stewart triumphantly as he passed out.

Going down in the elevator he was still quivering with the excitement of the meeting. But he was joyous, exultant; he felt that he had issued triumphant from the field. The dignified yet scathing irony, the unassailable logic of his denunciation gave him in the retrospect a gradually increasing satisfaction. As he thought of the silence and impotence of his ungifted victim, he began to feel an easy, almost a forgiving contempt. Then as he was walking up the street he recalled Hugh Farrell's entrance, and began to speculate on its significance. Whatever the purpose of Farrell's visit, it was undoubtedly not undertaken in the interests of the union. Stewart determined to go at once to New Rome and inform Tustin of this suspicious con-