Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/176

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dently the work of some old monk who spent his life in doing this sort of thing, and is a very rare example of that kind of craftsmanship. Be very careful, Monsieur Louis, you will break the monk’s heart, as well as my own, if you smash it.”

“Brierley is the man you want to look out for,” answered the painter, bending closer over the precious object. “He’ll be borrowing it to mix high-balls in unless you keep the cabinet locked.”

“Monsieur Brierley is too good for any such sacrilege. And now please stand aside, and you, Monsieur High-Muck, will you kindly move your arm?” and he lifted the vase from the cloth and replaced it in the cabinet, adding with a shrewd glance, “You see, it is always wise to keep the most precious things hidden away, with, perhaps, only an edge peeping out to arouse your curiosity—and I have many such.”

“Like a grisette’s slipper below a petticoat,” remarked Louis sotto voce.

“Quite like a grisette’s slipper, my dear Monsieur Louis. What a nimble wit is yours! Only, take an old man’s advice and don’t be too curious.