THE ARM-CHAIR AT THE INN
lowed by Lemois, who, instead of helping, as was his invariable custom, in the arrangement of the table, walked to the hearth and stood gazing into the coals. He, too, was thoughtful, and after a moment asked if we would permit Mignon to replace him at the coffee-table that evening, as he must be off for a few hours, and possibly all night, explaining in answer to our questions that the storm had already reached the danger line, and he felt that as ex-mayor of the village he should be within reach if any calamity overtook the people and fishermen in and around Buezval. We all, of course, offered to go with him—Louis being especially eager—but Lemois insisted that we had better finish our meal, promising to send for us if we were really needed.
His departure only intensified our apprehensions as to the gravity of the situation. What had seemed to us at first picturesque, then threatening, assumed alarming proportions. The gale too, during luncheon, had gone on increasing. Great puffs of smoke belched from the throat of the chimney into the room, and we heard the thrash of the rain and shrill wails of the burglarious wind rising and falling as it fingered the cracks and crevices of the old