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XVI

STEWART ACQUIRES SOME NEW INTERESTS

The same conditions which depressed the steel manufacturers caused slackness and gloom among the architects. First, strikes in the building trades, and then the pinch of hard times had caused stagnation in Stewart Lee's office. This would have given him little concern, had it not been apparent to him that Bennett & Durant were getting more work than he. It was to no purpose that he maintained downtown an air of great activity, that he walked at full speed into the club at luncheon-time, and after luncheon went from the dining-room into the reading-room with the excessively brisk step that he had adopted at the outset of his promising career. Bennett from his table in the corner noted it and smiled cynically.

Stewart's pride was such that to no one but his wife would he confess that he had really nothing to do. From her he made little effort to conceal his discontent. He railed against the town—her native place. "For a man who's not so busy that he has n't time to think, Avalon is the devil," he would grumble. To ride out in the country that had once been so beautiful and was now marred by the blight of human industry afflicted his spirits. It was late autumn. To play golf bored him. To sit at home in front of the monotonous natural gas fire was of all things the dullest. Boston became a word that knelled in Lydia's ears. It was not that he was unmanly in his complaining; he exhibited his dissatisfaction on the whole in very cheerful witticisms, and when he was really bitter it would be in an extravagant diatribe that was not meant to be taken too seriously—that one could, if one chose, regard as an exercise of voice and vocabulary. As a husband he could not have been more devoted. When he and Lydia walked together on the street, he would place himself between her and the curb as scrupulously as he had always done in his courtship, and if they crossed the street, he would at once slip round behind her and again take the outside. His faithful, constant chivalry in small things such as this made his unhappiness in the larger order of his life the more poignant to Lydia.

She loved her native town in spite of its ugliness, in spite of its disregard of charm as a necessary element for well-being. "The people, anyway," she laughed back at one of Stewart's flashes of censure,—"I don't see how you can help liking the people." Stewart did not reply that he found them less interesting and attractive since they had receded from their first ready welcome of him as the long-expected architect of Avalon. But he had certainly cooled toward them in a degree corresponding to that by which they were pruning their first exuberance about his work.

Lydia fell into a long silence one evening after Stewart had been exercising his wit at the expense of the natural gas fire which burned in the library grate, and before which they sat. She usually laughed back at his attacks and kept alive a spirit of light-heartedness. But now he realized after a few moments that she was pained. He rose and seated himself on the arm of her chair.

"Look here, dear," he said, taking her hands, "you're not hurt by my remarks about the old fire, are you? There was n't anything personal intended, you know."

She smiled up at him affectionately. "Oh, I understand, Stewart," she said. "I was n't feeling hurt—just sorry because—because you aren't happier. Why would n't it be a good thing for you to move away from Avalon, since you don't like it? Would n't you be better satisfied to live in New York—or Boston?"

But you would n't!" he exclaimed.

"Oh, I like living here, of course," she answered simply. "But that's nothing. I want to live where you'll be happiest."

He kissed her. "When you talk like that, you make me perfectly—uxorious!" he declared. "Foolishly fond of my wife—according to the dictionaries. They don't know much; how could anybody be foolishly fond of such a wife!"

He drew her head round under his arm, and with the other hand stroked the soft brown hair and pinched the little ear.

"I do want you to be happy, Stewart," she murmured. "I'm wedded to you—not to a town."

A reluctance to speak fell upon him; in the presence of his wife he found himself suddenly not knowing what to say—not knowing even what his own inclinations were. There was no reason that he could give for not preferring New York or Boston to Avalon. Yet he knew that however more congenial to his tastes these cities might be they could neither of them hold out to him any more happiness.

"Oh, I just like to growl sometimes," he said. "I'm all right; I like the place—and I'm not going to quit beaten. I want to fight it out, and get on top of the whole bunch here, and some time have my own way in things and build up the town."

A manly declaration served to cloak a coward consciousness. His own soul told him that he had slipped back and back, that in the competition of the larger, older cities he could not win a place and must lag behind with the undistinguished. And doing that, he would never be happy. It would be more easy for him to regain what he had lost here in Avalon, where the competition was of men whom he did not fear, than to hew out his niche in New York among men of whom in his secret heart he was afraid.

But he could not say this to his wife. She admired him because of his determination to make the dismal, uphill fight. With a new consideration for her, he tried to refrain from the little jeers which had distressed her.

Floyd came to him one day that autumn with a proposal that they should join a shooting party in Tennessee. To Stewart, who had not been on such an expedition since his marriage, the idea was exhilarating. Lydia was delighted.

"It will be just the thing for you," she said.

"You don't mind my going off and leaving you?" Stewart asked.

She was pleased by such anxiety. "I'll content myself by being just as gay as I can while you're away," she answered. "You won't let him forget me, will you, Floyd?"

She said it laughing, heedlessly, and then something in Floyd's eyes reminded her of that which she had forgotten. She flushed, and there was an awkwardness that Stewart felt without understanding.

The two weeks' shooting had a very soothing influence on Stewart's mind. He was the crack shot of the party, and no one was ever happier than Stewart when he was able to excel. The weather was good, game plentiful, the life not too rough; and he returned North knowing that he was admired by his companions as a marksman, a clever and accomplished gentleman, and a good fellow. He was ready to have another fling at architecture and be admired for his skill in that.

At the little suburban station on the edge of Avalon, Lydia was waiting for him. He had his first glimpse of her through the window—sitting expectant on the high seat of the trap and holding the reins over the cobs that had been his birthday present to her. The cobs were restless, rocking the trap back and forth, and she was steadying them with a competent hand, and at the same time looking eagerly towards the train. Then for just a moment he lost sight of her; but when he appeared on the platform she waved her whip in salute and laughed; and he silently cursed the fat man in front of him who was so slow in getting down the steps.

When he climbed up into the seat beside his wife and kissed her, he felt, with the sympathetic sensitiveness that was his peculiar endowment, that something wonderful and important to them both had taken place.

"Oh, Stewart!" she said, and then, with a smile on her lips and tears in her eyes, she was silent. She turned the horses round; they wanted to trot, but she held them in and made them walk along the maple-bordered street, though they tossed their heads protestingly. Then she spoke, with a tremor of exultation in her voice. "I wanted to tell you at once—I could hardly wait—I wanted to write it to you—but somehow it was n't anything I could write—Stewart!"

He looked at her oddly, wondering.

"What is it, dear?" he asked.

"Can't you guess? Oh, Stewart—we're going to be so much happier!"

He put his arm round her and murmured into her ear.

"Yes," she answered. "Oh, I'm so glad! Stewart, aren't you glad?"

He made no reply, but he pressed her more tightly with his arm. After a moment he said soberly,—

"I believe that's what I've been wanting all along—only I did n't know—"

"I knew," she answered. "It was because of that you were so unhappy, dear."

She looked round at him with a serene confidence in her explanation, and an unselfish gladness that she was able to bring him this happiness. He understood it and was touched. It drew from him a boyish expression of love, and even the levity with which he followed it was caressing and tender.

"How terribly handsome you are, Lydia!" he said, and then he added, with a smile, "I'll bet the little one will be a peach!"

She laughed, touched the horses with the whip, and let them run. Then as she sat erect, holding the reins taut and looking ahead with steady eyes, but with the warm blood still reddening her cheeks, Stewart leaned back comfortably. He wondered why he should ever have been discontented.

His new interest in life did not at once lapse, even though he had come home to find his office work as light and unpromising as ever. He got out his paint brushes and palette and easel, and set himself to making a portrait of Lydia. She was delighted with this revival of an old talent. His enthusiasm in exercising it seemed to have been intensified by long disuse; he worked with an absorption that quite awed Lydia into silence. She admired the picture when it was finished; even Stewart admitted he thought it was rather good, considering. "I wish I'd gone in for painting," he sighed. "That's what I really was cut out for." He extended to himself the complacent, indulgent pity of a man who idly meditates on what great things he might have done had he only been led into the right career. When he had painted Lydia's portrait and hung it in the dining-room, he painted her father and then her mother. They were very tolerable amateur portraits, and Stewart looked on them all with an indulgent eye.

"Yes," he said again one day to Lydia, "I almost wish I'd gone in for painting instead of architecture."

"You have a lot of talent," she answered. "Why can't you do both things?"

"Well, I will," he declared. "But I wish I'd studied."

Floyd, looking at the pictures one Sunday, suggested, with a laugh, that Stewart owed him a portrait. "For that college caricature you once did of me. Remember, Stewart?"

Stewart remembered, in some embarrassment. "It would n't be that kind of a picture," he said. "I wish you would give me a few sittings, Floyd."

"Grandfather's going to have his portrait painted by a Frenchman that he's bringing over for the purpose," Floyd announced. "I'll tell him that I'm disappointed in him; he's always professed to stand for the protection of home industries. When can we get together, Stewart?"

They arranged to have the sittings on Sunday mornings in the music-room at Floyd's house, the room in which Colonel Halket was to sit for his portrait before the eminent Frenchman. But after the first two meetings, Stewart was discouraged. "I'll never finish it this way," he said. "Could n't you get off, Floyd, at noon two or three days this week and come up here for an hour or so? I'll manage it if you can." Floyd good-naturedly managed it, and Stewart in three consecutive sittings almost finished the picture. While he was working on it, he neglected his office duties; they annoyed him. "There's no fun equal to that of doing what you like when you ought to be doing things you don't care about," he said to Floyd. "I suppose I ought to be building stables and warehouses at this moment; they may go to the devil."

Having had his burst of speed and nearly finished the portrait, he could get no further with it; Floyd could not see wherein it was unfinished, but it made Stewart so impatient merely to suggest this idea that Floyd after suggesting it held his tongue. Under the artist's persuasion Floyd, at some inconvenience, made two more trips uptown at noon, only to see Stewart putter and dawdle and hear him murmur under his breath. He bore this amiably enough, but at the end of the second day he told Stewart that they had better go back to their Sunday mornings.

"Oh, all right," said the painter moodily. "You're not of much use to me now, anyway. I've got to work the thing out for myself."

Temporarily, it was the one piece of work on which his enthusiasm was set, and he was restless thinking about it; he slid through his day or his half-day at the office and hurried away to study his canvas. There was never any one to bother him; and he was free to go and come in the Halket house. But one morning when he was entering the door of the music-room he stopped short. Colonel Halket and a short thick-set man were walking down toward the farther end where his painting rested on its easel. Suddenly the stranger threw both hands up and out in a gesture of light disdain, towards the canvas, and twice he repeated this gesture, laughing merrily. With a question to Colonel Halket and another laugh, he went forward and deliberately turned the easel round until the picture faced the wall. Then he flung out both hands to Colonel Halket, chattering gayly as if he were rejoicing in his childish performance.

Stewart compressed his lips for an instant, and walked with great dignity down the long room. Colonel Halket, seeing him, looked for one moment confused; but he raised his hands and placed his thumbs in the armholes of his waistcoat, an attitude which at least gave him the appearance of his usual calm. He awaited Stewart thus with a swelling blandness.

"I am very glad you've come, Mr. Lee," he said. "It gives me an opportunity to present you to my friend, M. Sevier—Mr. Lee."

"I regret I had not heard M. Sevier was coming to-day," Stewart said, as he and the Frenchman shook hands. He addressed M. Sevier directly in French. He had had the reputation while abroad of being one of three Americans who spoke French like a Parisian. He pointed at his picture with a smile. "I should not have left my amateur work where it would offend M. Sevier."

"Ah, Mr. Lee," said the painter deprecatingly, "pardon an impertinence. But—artists are a jealous breed—is it not so, Mr. Lee?" He offered Stewart an appealing and apologetic smile.

"M. Sevier does me the honor to suggest that he is jealous. It is a compliment that I shall cherish. It is a thing to remember with affection,—that in jealousy M, Sevier once turned the poor amateur's uncompleted picture toward the wall."

He spoke as sardonically as was compatible with the polite utterance of his faultless French. M. Sevier understood that his offense was unpardonable; he looked at Stewart piteously.

"Pardon," he said, and bowed.

"I don't get more than half of it," struck in Colonel Halket amiably, "but I gather that you two gentlemen are paying each other compliments. Maybe M. Sevier will be willing for you to come in and watch him paint, seeing you're so interested and have a talent for it, Mr. Lee."

The Frenchman sent a conciliatoiy glance to accompany this ill-timed suggestion, but Stewart was inexorable. "Thank you. Colonel Halket," he replied, and as he spoke he took down his canvas from the easel. "But I'm afraid I should n't have time; in fact I shall have to finish this picture of my own at home in odd moments. Good-by, Colonel Halket. Please tell Floyd I'll have it ready for him before long. Good-by, M. Sevier."

He bowed and walked out, carrying his picture. Nor did he have one qualm of compunction for the severity with which he had treated the unfortunate painter. A slight to his dignity, an affront to his importance he resented with a wholeheartedness that always drove him to excessive efforts for retaliation. Now, when he arrived at home with the picture, he sat down and worked until the failing afternoon light put a stop to his labors. "It's more nearly right now," he said to himself, as he washed his brushes. He was quite sure that he knew why Sevier had been so displeased with the picture; the colors needed toning down, a small fault. He did not feel disheartened by the criticism of an academic Frenchman, who, however well he painted in a conventional method, was obviously unable to recognize the superiority of a great natural gift over mere technique. Thus Stewart met scorn with scorn.

Floyd was sufficiently appreciative, and on being told that the picture was now finished thought he saw how greatly it had been improved. "I tell you," Stewart said to him, as they stood in front of it, "there's a field for painters here that has never been touched. Here's the place to paint the laboring-man—the type of American labor and industry. By George! it's a great idea—and the chance for picturesqueness in the backgrounds—mills and forges and lurid lights and red-hot iron and all kinds of things! You know, it's just occurred to me; I think I'll have to try my hand at it!"

"I'll find you subjects enough," said Floyd. "Come out to our mills; you'll see all kinds of faces there."

"I'll do it," declared Stewart. "Business is light downtown; I can get away now and then—"

"You might come out some evening; it's more picturesque at night."

"That's a good idea; an iron mill at night—a splendid subject!" Stewart's sudden enthusiasm had kindled his imagination. "Labor in the fields has been represented by painters—but not the labor of the mills; it's a chance for an artist—a great chance. Yes, sir, I'll try my hand at it and make a date with you right now."

Floyd made the "date" and carried home his picture. He set it up against the wall in his study, and looked at it with a scrutiny which was at first impersonal, but gradually became meditative and melancholy. His own appearance had always been exceedingly vague and nebulous to him; the thought of himself had never called up a distinct image in his mind; it carried with it only the suggestion of a dark, loutish young man pushing a sullen way through a crowd. Stewart's picture represented him as not so ill-looking as the creature of his mind, yet as wholly aggressive, black, and hard. He sighed after a while, concluding that he must impress people as such an inexorable and pushing person, and took the picture into the library that his grandfather might see it. M. Sevier was there also, having just finished the day's sitting.

"I've been having my portrait painted too, M. Sevier," Floyd said to him innocently, setting Stewart's masterpiece up against the book-shelves.

M. Sevier bowed and smiled. Colonel Halket put on his glasses and paced off to get the range.

"Ah—yes," he said conservatively, "he's caught a likeness—eh, M. Sevier? Eh"—he added in a more doubtful tone as the Frenchman did not answer—"eh, M. Sevier?"

"Of a blue cravat and a pearl pin—yes," agreed M. Sevier politely.

"You don't think much of it?" Floyd asked.

M. Sevier shrugged his shoulders and spread out his palms. "What can I say?"

"Of course it's only by an amateur painter," Floyd explained. "Is n't it pretty good for an amateur?"

Again M. Sevier shrugged his shoulders. "Oh—perhaps."

"M. Sevier has seen it before," Colonel Halket said. "It was here when he first came—and," he added, with a faint smile, "he felt obliged to turn it to the wall."

"Pardon," said the Frenchman, bowing to Floyd. "Yes, I so far forgot myself."

Floyd laughed. "Well—it must hurt to look at a face like that. But—if you don't mind telling me—what's out about it, M. Sevier?"

"It is not you—and it is not a picture, Mr. Halket," replied the painter. "Therefore it is not good. But see—the face, it is of wood, and stares; it is of no interest, it is nothing. But it is a very careful coat—and flower in the button-hole, and pearl pin, and cravat. They are all of an interest equal with the face."

"But," insisted Floyd, "does n't it really show a lot of talent—in an amateur?"

"It would have shown more—not to paint it."

Floyd thought of Stewart's large ambition expressed that afternoon, to be the painter of Labor, and looked again at the picture. Perhaps, if M. Sevier was right, the stupid, aggressive hardness of that face was not really characteristic, but was attributable to technical deficiency on the part of the artist. It was such a cheerful thought that Floyd could not spare much sympathy for Stewart in the predestined failure of his large designs.

M. Sevier of course spoke with authority, and yet before accepting his judgment upon Stewart as final, Floyd waited to see for himself something of the Frenchman's work. The portrait of Colonel Halket was finished and hung in the hall of the house, and Floyd no longer doubted M. Sevier's authority. It seemed to him almost a cruel thing that the painter had done, yet his grandfather was proud and delighted. To Floyd the picture of Colonel Halket standing with his left hand in his trousers pocket and holding a roll of manuscript in his right suggested all his pompousness and love of prominence and oratorical display; and what was worse, Floyd seemed to see in the admirable painting of the old man's handsome head the subtle showing of his selfishness and foolishness and shrewdness, which Floyd had come by slow degrees to understand and yet was striving all the time to deny.

"This portrait, Floyd," Colonel Halket said to him, "I want always to stay in the family. It may be,"—he spoke with a certain self-conscious modesty,—"of course I hardly expect it, but some time. there might be a—a general desire to have a portrait of me in some public institution of the city. If any such desire should ever be expressed—and you felt inclined to gratify it, I should prefer that you would do so with the portrait which Theobald Smith painted of me four years ago—the one that hangs in the hall upstairs. This one I want always to be preserved as the family portrait."

"I'll see to that," Floyd assured him. "And if I should die, and the mayor should want a picture of me to hang in the city hall, why here's this one of Stewart Lee's. It's the only one I've got, and it will be hard for you to part with it, but you're so public-spirited, Grandfather, that if the people do clamor to have it where they can see it—"

"Young man," said Colonel Halket stiffly, though his lip was twitching, "don't be impudent." He turned away to conceal a grin. It was only of late that his grandson had adopted the occasional habit of chaffing him, and his dignity did not permit him openly to encourage it. But he owned to himself that be liked it now and then; it was a thing that he had missed since his wife had died. No one else ever ventured upon it.

Indeed, he was remarkably cheerful in these days. Floyd noticed it and was pleased even while he wondered what new mischief was brewing. His grandfather was in a remarkably studious mood; he sat at home and collated statistics of the iron trade. He seemed to Floyd to have grown once more dangerously non-communicative. But the situation at the mills was reassuring, the men were quiet, and business was picking up; therefore Floyd did not waste much time in speculating on what would be the next source of trouble.

He had not forgotten the promise he had made to Stewart, and he had several times taken the budding painter out to New Rome and put him in the way of finding material. Floyd had thought that Hugh Farrell would be a promising subject for a painter, and he called Stewart's attention to him with the remark that there was the most picturesque figure in the mills. "The best type of laboring-man, too," Floyd added. But the sight of Hugh only awoke in Stewart the recollection of his immature and costly effort to build ideal houses for working-men, and he could not dwell with any satisfaction upon one who evoked such an unpleasant memory. Much to Floyd's surprise and somewhat to his disappointment, Stewart found in Tustin sitting at the great slab-mill a more worthy subject for his brush. "No, he's not beautiful," Stewart said, as they stood watching him, "but he's splendidly grim. Now, he's really a man," and Stewart laughed, "of whom it might be said that the iron has entered into his soul. Not like that fellow Farrell, who's too lively and genial-looking; this man's much more my idea of the typical iron-worker."

Tustin ignored them, sitting with his two helpers beside the rolls of which he had charge. He kept his right hand on the lever that controlled the great hammer and gazed sullenly at the white-hot slab that was being thinned and elongated before his eyes. A pipe held in one corner of his mouth contributed to the dogged, meditative sourness of his expression. He was a powerfully built man; his suspenders, crossed upon his blue flannel shirt, marked out the thick muscles of his shoulders.

At the end of the building was a row of furnaces in front of which passed a car, a great leviathan with a long arm which it would stretch forward into a red-hot furnace mouth. In a moment this arm would be withdrawn, clutching a huge white-hot slab of steel, which the leviathan would rapidly carry on to a great double hook suspended by a traveling chain. The hook would then swing forward and lay the slab on the series of cylinders before which Tustin sat. The cylinders would be set in motion, passing the white-hot slab back and forth under a hammer that squeezed down on it, gradually flattening and elongating it. Three times at least was the slab passed back and forth and sometimes four; this was decided by Tustin, who after the third passage would leave his seat and test the edge of the steel with a pair of tongs. After the slab had been under the hammer twice, one of the helpers would turn on the water-cocks of the engine and spray it; clouds of steam would hiss up, and the streams of water would be illuminated, turning green, purple, and orange, as the hot metal came groaning under them. And when this point was reached, the great double hook was always waiting with another white-hot slab in its clutch, holding it patiently till it should be time to lay it on the rolls.

"Oh, if one could only paint light and fire!" cried Stewart. "Nobody can really do it—but I'm going to try."

And one clear November night when Floyd had taken him up to the hilltop that overlooked the mills and the river, Stewart was for a long time silent. "I did n't know it was anything like this," he said presently, and then was silent again. Two miles of iron works lay before him, vast, shadowy forms of buildings weirdly illuminated by irregular leaps and jets of flame. The trains bearing the hot ingots crawled about through the yards like huge glow-worms. Flags of fire sprang out of tall chimneys, signaled for a moment, and died away. At intervals from heights in mid-air caldrons of metal were spilled with a roar, and the shower of vari-colored fire and flame sent sparks soaring skyward even after it had been itself licked up by the night. The steady red glow of open furnaces, the red shuttling of beams on the rollers in the plate-mills and of rods in the rod-mills, and the gigantic flow of molten metal at blast furnaces and converter made a spectacular and dramatic display that appealed deeply to Stewart. "Oh, but this is the real thing!" he exclaimed at last. "I had no idea it was so gorgeous and magnificent. If a man could only paint this—but he'd need a mile of canvas! But parts of it—there, those three figures down there in the light of that furnace, Floyd! Just little glimpses like that—would n't they be pictures!"

In the way of painting such nocturnes, indeed, in the way of painting any pictures at the mills, there were practical difficulties to be surmounted. Some things had to be worked up at home from rough pencil sketches and memory. Others Stewart, with the enterprise of enthusiasm, determined to paint upon the spot. In two or three visits on which Floyd did not accompany him, he succeeded in breaking down Tustin's antipathy, When Stewart deliberately set out to win a man, he never failed. By the use of judicious speech he not only secured permission from Tustin to paint him as he sat at the rolls, but he pleased him by making the request. Soon after that was to be observed the unprecedented spectacle in the New Rome mills of a painter at work with easel and palette and canvas. The other men joked Tustin about sitting for his portrait; but he was clever enough to see that they regarded it as a distinction. It contributed in a small way to his eminence among them. When he found that Stewart had a great idea of the sufferings, privations, and hardships of iron-workers, he lost no time in confirming the impression. He uttered no personal complaints; his incidental anecdotes, delivered in a calm, matter-of-fact way and showing how pitiable was the life of an iron-worker, filled Stewart with sympathetic indignation. He went to Floyd with a protest, but Floyd was provokingly cool and undisturbed, and either belittled or laughed at Tustin's charges. "Of course it's a hard life," he said. "It can't be anything else. But the men get the very best wages that skilled labor gets anywhere, and we do all we can for their comfort." As to specific cases that Stewart cited, Floyd thought they were very likely misrepresentations. Still he would look into them. Stewart felt that Floyd as an employer of labor might not be much better than many others; he felt after hearing Tustin talk that iron manufacturers were a sinister class.

His vague ideas of doing a great missionary work through his painting took a stronger hold upon his imagination. He saw himself as possibly the Verestchagin of Labor, the painter who should awaken the apathetic public to a consciousness of the dramatic horrors of a wage-earner's life. To be sure, in his portrait of Tustin, a sturdy man sitting comfortably with his hand upon a lever, this purpose was not realized; and he was dissatisfied, not with the picture, but with the impossibility of expressing in painting the true inward misery of such employment. There were opportunities enough, though, to portray strained faces and contorted muscles, and violent effort, at the blast furnaces, and in the open-hearth and rolling-mills. A series of subjects took form in his mind.

With this new enterprise to occupy him, he found it possible to spend only the mornings at his office. But there was not work enough coming in to keep him busy, and what he had was of an uninteresting character, hedged in by restrictions of the clients,—the sort of work that in Stewart's opinion could be done perfunctorily as well as in any other way. His father-in-law, Mr. Dunbar, was disposed to question the wisdom of such indifference, but Stewart naturally enough reflected that Mr. Dunbar was merely a business man, a Philistine.

"But what is there in painting, Stewart?" Mr. Dunbar asked. "It's well enough as a recreation, but you can't follow a profession for just half the time this way, or soon you'll have none to follow. You 're sacrificing it, are n't you, for a recreation? Or if you are n't, what is there in painting?"

Stewart replied that he did not look at it as altogether a recreation, but as a profession that he could pursue along with that of architecture. It was not necessarily unremunerative; painters of merit received large prices for their work. And quite apart from pecuniary considerations, he felt that this was something he must do; he had ideas to express and he should not be happy until they were expressed.

"And so far from being a drawback," Stewart concluded, "if I get a reputation as a painter, it will help me as an architect."

Mr. Dunbar bowed to the young man's superior wisdom. Art and architecture were matters of which he had little knowledge.