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NEW ROME AND AVALON

work out. And now, so far as I am concerned, he has put himself beyond the pale."

"By choosing to manage his own business in his own way!" She felt goaded into an argument sustaining Floyd's cause against that which Stewart had so passionately adopted. But she stopped at once, repressed by the almost superstitious warning; if he was honestly struggling, groping, she must not interfere, she must not thrust him down. "Of course," she continued mildly, "I'm not criticising you, Stewart, for supporting the side that you think is in the right—and when it means a sacrifice to give such support, I think it's a fine thing for a man to stand by his belief. But it seems to me you could do that and not assail Floyd personally; that is all I mean."

"There you show that you do not understand the situation," Stewart replied. "Floyd is himself the source of all the trouble. He precipitated it, and since the first fell, he has plotted other troubles to follow. You cannot carry on a fight against evil without assailing the evil-doer. And when he is prompted to his work by the basest motives—motives lower than those of mere avarice and greed—"

"Stewart!" cried Lydia. "What do you mean?"

"I have said enough—more than I meant," he answered darkly.

"Floyd never had a base motive in his life!"

"Have you so intimate a knowledge of him?"

"Yes."

"Is it so much more intimate than mine?"

"If you suspect him—yes."

"I do not suspect him. I know. You think, my dear, that you know Floyd intimately. I thought a month ago that I did. But no one ever knows intimately another man. Something is always hidden—something that one may stumble upon some time by chance—or that may perhaps never be revealed. I have learned a thing about Floyd recently which, well as I knew him, I should never have suspected; a thing which explains his treatment of