Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/128

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117
LYDIA

that they die off by thousands every year because they never heard of open plumbing. And being a Bostonian he has a very strong sense of public duty and is interested in the spread of civilization. And he thinks that architecturally Boston is the last cry of beauty in this country, and that there's not much chance there for a new man to put his stamp on the city the way there is in one of the cruder towns. So if everything goes well, he'll be here in about two years to wage war on the cupola and the mansard roof."

"Yes," said Mrs. Dunbar. "And while he's studying, Lydia is to go about here and say to everybody, 'Of course you don't know, but your house is a perfect fright and all wrong, and you ought to have it torn down and rebuilt, in order to help beautify the city. And if you will put this in the hands of the only competent man for the purpose, it will help him and me so much towards building a nice attractive house of our own.'"

"That's our scheme," said Lydia. "Don't you think you could persuade your grandfather, Floyd, to have his house torn down and let—oh—" and she flushed with embarrassment—"I—I did n't mean what that sounds like—honestly I did n't."

Floyd only laughed, and then she joined him merrily.

Mr. Dunbar gazed at her with an assumption of severity. "When you and your mother get frivolous, Lydia,"—he began.

"Mamma, be serious at once," Lydia commanded. "Wait, I'll sober you; I've thought of a joke. Floyd, does pig-iron, when it's made into chains, become sausage?"

"Not legally," Floyd answered. "That would he forging a name," and he felt quite elated because this far-fetched effort seemed to amuse Mr. and Mrs. Dunbar and drew a distressed groan from Lydia.

"Dear me!" she said, "to think such brightness is being wasted on the people of New Rome!" And then she cried quite seriously, "Oh, Floyd, it must be awfully forlorn