Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/147

This page needs to be proofread.


lifted eyes and the furtive glance of gratitude she gave him.

It was a wild dash up the coast; Le Blanc driving, Herbert handling the siren, the others packed in, crouching close, Gaston holding to the foot-board, where he roared in our ears the details of the impending calamity, his breath having now come back to him. The cliff, he explained, that supported the tennis court of an adjoining villa had given way, taking with it a slice of madame’s lawn, leaving only the gravel walk under her library windows. The surf, goaded by the thrash of the wind, was, when he left, cutting great gashes in the toe of the newly exposed slope. Another hour’s work like the last—and it was not high water until four o’clock—would send the cottage heels over head into the sea. Madame was in Paris, and the caretakers—an old fisherman and his wife—too old to work—were panic-stricken, calling piteously for Monsieur Lemois, whom their mistress trusted most of all the people in and about the village.

The end of the shore road had now been reached, our siren blowing continuously. With a twist of the wheel we swerved from the main