Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/165

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pride in such unconventional independence. "It's romance," he said to Floyd one day, meeting him at luncheon at the club. "They could n't wait. A year's housekeeping in Paris—I suppose an old fellow like me can't see the glamour of it. Mrs. Dunbar's staying over a couple of months to get them started right." He sighed a little over the vanished dream of a wedding at home—a wedding on which, as he said, he would have liked to lay himself out. "I'd almost got her to thinking that was what she wanted,—after another year," he complained. "She changed her mind suddenly."

"She was afraid—she was afraid of me, after all," thought Floyd. And that was his barren triumph.

In June of that year Letty and Hugh Farrell were married; at the wedding-supper at Mrs. Bell's—which Floyd had begged as a great privilege to be allowed to supply—he was the gayest of the party. He proposed the health of the bride and groom in a speech which the New Rome Gazette of that week, in its extensive comment upon the affair, declared to be "replete with witticisms." He distributed the rice with which the fleeing couple were pelted, and he himself hurled the slipper that landed on the roof of the carriage as they were driven away.

After the guests had dispersed and Mrs. Bell, who at the last had given way to tears, had been comforted, Floyd went up to his room to finish his packing. He had marked a period in his life. His work as a laborer in the mills was at an end. He was leaving forever the lowly people who had been his companions for a year; his friends they might always be, but never again his companions. He had failed in love; but failure, even in this, must not always cloud his face. The sound of Mrs. Bell moving about below in the lonely house, the thought of Letty and Hugh sitting together in their bedecked carriage made him feel somehow that in friendship at least he had not failed. What he had accomplished or gained, how he advanced to meet the future, he did not know; a year had passed and