Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/114

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“Rather a tight place, old man, awful tight place,” and his voice trembled. “But where does the lie come in? You told her the truth, after all.”

“Told her the truth! I thought you understood. Why I lied straight through! There was no grave—there never had been! Her son and his three black carriers had been trapped by cannibals and eaten.”

Madame started from her chair and clutched Herbert’s hand.

“Oh!—how terrible! No! you could not have told her!—I would never have liked you again if you had told her. Oh! I am so glad you didn’t!”

“There was nothing else to do, madame,” said Herbert thoughtfully, his eyes gazing into space as if the recital had again brought the scene before him.

“Pray God she never found out!” said the marquise under her breath.

“That has always been my consolation, madame. So far as I know she never did find out. She is dead now.”

“And I wish we had never found out either!” groaned Louis. “Why in the world do you want to make goose-flesh crawl all over a fel-