Open main menu

Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/79

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

that his grandfather had given to the city. Avalon as well as New Rome had its Halket Park. The electric lamps here had been lighted and shone at intervals among the trees. In the near foreground the Casino was illuminated and the strains of band music came faintly from it up the hill. Floyd, hurrying toward the house, had a moment's thought of the families he had passed who spent their summer evenings in the street. The city park was at the doors of the rich, and remote from the poor. "Downtown," where the poor lived, there was no place for parks—not a green square or public grass-plot; land could not be wasted upon such purposes. There was not much gayety in Avalon.

The Halket house had not been built; it had been contrived from time to time. Its one homogeneous feature was the yellow brick, for which in all his constructive undertakings its owner had so marked a liking. Originally a square building with a mansard roof and conventional tower, it now bristled with additions; on each side a new wing had been built, and these wings had in turn received accessions,—on the right, a great dome-like music-room, on the left a long, flat-topped bowling-alley. Jutting out in front from one end of the piazza was the conservatory, and projecting from the upper part of the house were afterthoughts in the way of bath-rooms and canopied galleries.

Floyd crossed the loggia of red tiles that had the year before replaced the old wooden piazza, pushed open the iron gateway and then the ponderous iron-bound and barred door, and entered the house. The hall had recently been done over into what Colonel Halket termed "early baronial;" its dark panels were hung with tapestries and armor, under which were heavy carved stalls; at the back rose the winding staircase; great candelabra of twisted iron stood on the newel-posts, every antler tipped with an incandescent light. Over the stairway was a stained-glass window, representing the combat of Saint