Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/112

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"When the servant returned, I was conducted up the broad staircase and into a small room hung with wonderful embroideries and pictures and filled with flowers. In one corner on an easel was Brion's portrait in the uniform of an officer, while all about were other portraits—some taken when he was a child, others as a boy—a kind of sanctuary, really, in which the mother worshipped this one idol of her life."

Herbert stopped, drew the tiny glass of cognac toward him, sipped its contents slowly, the tenderness of tone increasing as he went on:

"She greeted me simply and kindly, and led me to a seat on the sofa beside her, where she thanked me for the trouble I had taken, her soft blue eyes fixed on mine, her gentle, high-bred features illumined with her gratitude, her silver-gray hair forming an aureole in the light of the window behind her, as she poured out her heart. Then followed question after question; she wanting every incident, every word he had uttered; what his nursing had been—all the things a mother would want to know. Altogether it was the severest ordeal I had been through since I left home—and I have had some trying ones.