"Oh, well, I guess you can afford not to begrudge those fellows a little temporary success," Mr. Dunbar continued. "When you get back into harness again, you'll make their fur fly.—And, by the way, Stewart; about this New Rome matter that you're interesting yourself in; you know your taking such a public and radical stand in it is beginning to come back at me. My men are getting stirred up; they know you're my son-in-law, and they think I'm bound to share your sentiments. I don't believe you want to make trouble for me. Of course, in this affair—I daresay Floyd has n't been entirely wise in all his acts; I've had occasion to differ with his views, as you know;—but still on the general principle his stand is the only one according to which we manufacturers can do business and live—and I hope—"
"Father," broke in Lydia, who in an anxious glance had detected the storm gathering on her husband's face, "you must n't bother Stewart with such questions now; he's tired; you must n't bother him. Come, Stewart, and have a cup of tea—or will you lie down for a while and let me read to you?"
"Oh, all right," said Mr. Dunbar good-naturedly. "I did n't realize— Good-night, Stewart; by-by, Lydia."
He went out, and Stewart turned to his wife with an expression of gratitude for the way in which she had shielded him. "Thank you, Lydia," he said. "If you don't mind, you might make me some tea."
The tea and Lydia's gentle eagerness to entertain him developed in him a spirit of contentment; for her part she became tremulous with excitement when he put his cup down and announced that he felt a good deal better. If she could only get him into just the right mood!—and if she could only put things before him in just the right way! She hoped she might find the courage and the words. She would not try to hurry the moment; she would wait patiently. But meanwhile she had to conceal her agitation, and in the effort to do this as well as to prepare his mood,