Page:Stanwood Pier--The ancient grudge.djvu/352

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341
THE GREAT OPPORTUNITY

in the hands of a committee—an architect, a doctor, and possibly yourself—was n't that it?"

"Yes," Floyd acknowledged. He was again nervously turning the key of his desk, as he had done the day before when he began to perceive the drift of Mr. Dunbar's argument.

"Well, then I confess the idea did enter my head that you might be willing to let me submit my plans to this committee; they'd advise you whether they were suitable and had distinction; it would n't be as if you were acting entirely on your own judgment; here you'd be guided by experts—and it would be easy enough to turn me down. If the committee were really enthusiastic about the plans—more than enthusiastic—you could feel safe in following such a recommendation, could n't you? Oh, you don't know how I hate to be thrusting myself on your attention this way, Floyd; I only do it for two reasons—because I really have such complete confidence in my plans, and because I want to do personally this thing for you—this memorial—and make it as fine as the other one was contemptible. It's just because I want to do this thing well and for you."

Stewart derived emotion from the mere utterance of an appeal, and when he finished his plea, there was a gentle, wistful look in his eyes that declared his sincerity. Floyd, clicking the lock of his desk back and forth, did not glance up; his brows were knitted in a frown.

"Thank you, Stewart," he said after a moment. "We need n't talk about the other building; you've squared yourself all right. But about the hospitals—I don't see how we can manage matters as you'd like."

He hesitated, and Stewart's face hardened instantly, as if no concession had been granted him. But his voice was still soft as he asked, "Why not?"

"Because," Floyd answered, "I want the buildings to be the best attainable. Your plans may be so very good that they'd convince a committee right off—but unless