Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/224

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


last part of it, and so I left them, and kept on my rounds through the village and outlying district.

“It was a lovely summer day—in June, if I remember—too late for May-poles, but I didn’t care—and long before the hour arrived our lawn was thronged with peasants and their sons and daughters, and our stables and paddocks crowded with their carts and vehicles. My father had provided a tent where the young people should change their clothes, but I took my little maid up into my own room, and my femme de chambre and I dressed her at our leisure.

“It is astonishing what you find underneath the rough garments worn by some of our peasants. I have often heard one of my friends—a figure painter—express the same surprise over his models. What appears in coarse cloth to be an ill-shaped arm turns out to be beautifully modelled when bared to the overhead light of a studio. So it was with this girl. She had the dearest, trimmest little figure, her shoulders temptingly dimpled, her throat and neck with that exquisite modelling only seen in a beautifully formed girl just bursting into womanhood. And then, too, her hair—what a