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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/449

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"Why should I not have it?" he asked her bitterly. "Day before yesterday he ordered me out of his office—held the door for me, while I walked out! To-day he cut me as I sat opposite him in a street-car. Who talks of animus!"

She looked dazed. "But why—what had you done, Stewart?"

"Yes, that's the way." He took his cigar from his mouth and indulged in an unpleasant laugh. "'What had I done?' I'd given provocation, of course; it was all my fault, of course; Floyd could never do anything unjust or wrong, of course,—without being driven to it. Well, if you want to know—I'd dropped into his office to pass some entirely proper comments on the hospital award."

"Stewart! You had no more dignity than that!"

"How quick you are to think the worst! Allow me to reassure you, my dear; I behaved with the utmost dignity. Floyd, to be sure, lost both his head and his temper—with the unseemly result which I have stated. And apparently, judging by his performance to-day in the street-car, he has not yet recovered them."

"Even if that is so—"

"You could express more incredulity, my dear, by saying 'Even if that were so,'" he observed sarcastically.

Tears came into Lydia's eyes, and she was silent a few moments; at last she said in a subdued voice,—

"I was only going to ask you, Stewart, if you could not forgive something to Floyd."

"I have been trying to forgive him all my life."

"For saving your life?"

"For making me forever conscious of that obligation. I have made a greater effort to conquer a great natural disinclination toward him than I ever made for any man. I did everything in my power for him when we were in college together; I have tried to do everything that a friend could do since. But it does n't work out; it does n't