Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/242

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two or three—for you can’t get rid of that kind of a nightmare in a minute.”

“You were different from me, Herbert,” remarked Le Blanc. “You went to the wilds because you loved them; I went because they locked the front and back gates on me. I suppose I deserved it, for nobody got much sleep when I was twenty. But it sounds funny to have you say it would take you two years to make up your mind whether you’d come home or not. It wouldn’t have taken me five seconds.”

“Sometimes it didn’t take that long,” and a quick laugh escaped Herbert’s lips as if to conceal his serious mood. “Those things depend on how you feel and what has started your thinking apparatus to working. I walked out of a kraal in Australia one summer’s night when the home-hunger was on me and never stopped until I reached Sydney—the last hundred miles barefoot. You must have known about it, for I met you right after”—and he turned to The Engineer, who nodded in an amused way. “That was before we struck Borneo, if I remember?”

“Why barefooted, Herbert?” asked Louis, hitching his chair the closer.