Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/270

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vigné, monsieur. This is madame’s own chair; the one she always used when she stopped here, sometimes for days at a time, on her way to her country-seat, Les Rochers. The room which she occupied, and in which she wrote many of her famous letters, is just over our heads. If monsieur will shift his seat a little he can see the very spot in which she sat.”

But The Engineer neither shifted his seat nor rose to the bait. None of the small things of past ages appealed to him. Even mummies and the spoil of coffins three thousand years old—and he had inspected many of them—failed to stir him. It was what was built over them, and the brains and power that hoisted the stones into place, as well as the forces of wind and water—the song of the creaking crane—those were the things that thrilled him. That Herbert, after his career in the open, had contented himself with a few tools and a mass of clay was what had most surprised him when he came upon his statues in the Royal Academy.

So he kept silent until what Louis called the “bric-à-brac moment” had passed—such discussion often occurring whenever Lemois felt he had a new audience. Gradually the talk drifted into other channels. Mistaken identity