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Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/468

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STEWART TAKES THE FIELD

you were n't being quite fair to Floyd. I told her that you had been acting all along as you believed—and that you thought Floyd had been to blame—and especially for deliberately trying to provoke violence. And then she gave me her side—Floyd's side—and asked me if I wouldn't put it before you; she did it in really the nicest spirit, Stewart—and I thought you might like to hear."

He did not answer at once; he did not even respond with his eyes to her anxious glance; and the sanguine confidence went from her heart. While she waited for him to speak, she became aware of the coldness that had settled on her hands; she clasped them together, waiting.

"Well, what did Marion say?" he asked. The enthusiasm which had rung in his voice and which had led her on so hopefully had all at once failed; she recognized the unrelenting quality that she had come to dread.

"Why, about the riot the other morning," she began; and then she hurried the story, as if afraid that he might cut her short before she had reached her strongest plea. "Floyd meant to send the men in so quietly—he didn't think any one would know—he did n't expect there would be any trouble—and he'd especially warned them not to get into trouble, Marion says. She says that he's been trying his best to get through without any one's being hurt on either side. To show me how thorough and careful and anxious he is to take every precaution for this, she told me what he's doing to-night."

"What's that?" asked Stewart; and because he betrayed more interest, Lydia's hope rose again and she said eagerly,—

"He wants to keep everybody protected; there are n't police enough in New Rome to do it when the people are excited as they are now; and he's sending up two hundred watchmen, all armed, so that men won't dare to get into riots around the mills any more."

"That's interesting," said Stewart, in a tone that con-