THE ARM-CHAIR AT THE INN
more knowledge of human nature than I credited her with. Once that young lover of hers had learned the cruel truth he wouldn’t have lived with her another hour.’”
“I think I should have told him,” remarked Louis slowly; the story seemed to have strangely moved him. “If he really loved her he’d have worn green spectacles and taken her as she was—I would. Bad business, this separating lovers.”
“No, you wouldn’t, Louis,” remarked Herbert, “if you’d ever seen her neck. I know something of that tattoo, although mine was voluntary, and only covered a part of my arm. Madame did just right. There are times when one must tell anything but the truth.”
Everybody looked at the speaker in astonishment. Of all men in the world he kept closest to the exact hair-line; indeed, one of Herbert’s peculiarities, as I have said, was his always understating rather than overstating a fact.
“Yes,” he continued, “the only way out is to ‘lie like a gentleman,’ as the saying is, and be done with it. I’ve been through it myself and know. Your story, madame, has brought it all back to me.”
“It’s about a girl, of course,” remarked Louis, flashing a smile around the circle, “and your