Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/277

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supports. I’d have bunked in with the goats if I’d had anything to cover me from the cold—and it gets pretty cold there at night. Then again I knew from experience that a goatherd’s sour bread and raw onions were not filling at any price. What I really wanted was two rooms in some private house, or over a wine-shop or village store, with a good bed and a place where I could work in bad weather. I had found just such a place the summer before, on the Swiss side of the mountains, belonging to an old woman who kept a cheap grocery and who gave me for a franc a day her two upper rooms—and mighty comfortable rooms they were, and with a good north light. So I hung the wet canvas where the goats couldn’t lick off my undertones, shouldered my knapsack, and started downhill to the village.

“I found that the red-tiled houses followed a tangle of streets, no two of them straight, but all twisting in and out with an eye on the campanile, and so I struck into the crookedest, wormed my way around back stoops, water barrels, and stone walls with a ripening pumpkin here and there lolling over their edges, and reached the church porch just as the bell was ringing for vespers. When you want to