Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/220

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


close. Even the big back log, which had been crooning a song of the woods all the evening, ceased its hum as if to listen, while overhead long wraiths of tobacco smoke drifted silently, dimming the glint and sparkle of copper, brass, and silver that looked down at us from the walls.

“And now, madame,” said Herbert with a smile, when both Leà and Mignon had at last left the room, “you were good enough to say you had a story for us.”

“No,” she answered gayly. “It is not for you. It is for our dear Lemois here,” and she shook her head at him in mock reproval. “You are all too fine and splendid, every one of you. You keep houses from tumbling to pieces and rescue lovers and do no end of beauteous things. He goes about cutting and slashing heads and hearts, and never cares whom he hurts.”

Lemois rose from his seat, put his hand on his shirt-front—a favorite gesture of his—bowed humbly, and sat down again.

“Yes, I mean it,” she cried with a toss of her head, “and I have just been telling these gentlemen that I am going to put a stop to it just as soon as I can find out whether this young hero with the broken head is worth the saving, and that I shall decide the moment I get my