Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/351

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you it was a bitter mortification to me, and I hope it taught me a lesson. A thing you were doing for your grandmother—not to do it well—I felt sore enough at myself, you can believe. And when I heard of the hospitals that your grandfather had committed to you to build as a memorial to her, I set to work making plans—not because I had the least expectation of being given the work after my other performance, but just from the feeling that if by any toss-up or turn of chance whatever I should have something to do with it, I should be prepared to do it decently—perhaps well enough to atone in some measure for the other thing. You see I'm making a perfectly clean breast of it, Floyd."

"Oh, that's all right," Floyd answered. He was a little embarrassed by Stewart's unusual self-abasement.

"Well, that's the way it started," continued Stewart. "Then I got more and more interested in the matter; finally I could n't think of anything else, and I practically threw over all my other work to give all my time to developing the hospital scheme that had come to me. Why,"—he laughed,—"I used to work downtown till midnight, and kept my draughtsmen working too, I got so interested. But there was n't ever any idea on my part of coming to you and asking you out of friendship to give me the job."

"Oh, I understand," Floyd said. "I understand perfectly. You don't need to feel obliged to explain anything, Stewart."

"Ah, but I must, to satisfy my New England conscience if not you," Stewart insisted genially. "Well, the trouble all resulted from my getting too enthusiastic over my plans and showing them to Mr. Dunbar. He became even more enthusiastic than I was, and rushed off to you—to urge my claims. Of course I should n't have made any such appeal—much as I should like to have the opportunity of redeeming myself in your eyes for that fiasco, and confident as I feel that this would square me. But Mr. Dunbar tells me that you mean to place the decision