Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/179

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


“Ah—that is a long story.”

Herbert clapped his hands to command attention.

“Everybody take their seats. Monsieur Lemois is going to tell us of how he burglarized a church and made off with a Madonna.”

Louis walked solemnly toward the door, his hand over his heart.

“You must excuse me, Herbert, if I leave the room before Lemois begins,” he said, turning and facing the group, “for I should certainly interrupt his recital. This whole discussion is so repulsive to me, and so far below my own high standard of what is right and wrong, that my morals are in danger of being undermined. And I——

“Dry up, Louis!” growled Brierley. “Go on, Lemois.”

“No, I mean what I say,” protested Louis. “Only a few nights ago, and at this very table, a most worthy woman, descendant of one of the oldest families in France, and our guest, confessed to wilful perjury, and now a former mayor of this village admits that he robbed a church. I have not been brought up this way, and if——

“Tie him to a chair, High-Muck!” cried