Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/291

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hind the ear—all at once—ker-chunk! He was so close now that I heard his fingers feeling around in the dark for the knob. A steady, gentle push with his hand near the key-hole, and he could then steal in without waking me. Whether he smelt me or not I do not know, for I made no sound—not even with my breath—but he came to a dead halt, backed away, rose to his feet and tiptoed down the corridor.

“That settled all sleep for the night, and it was just as well, for the day was breaking—first the gray, pallid light, then the yellow, and then the rose tint. Nothing like a sunrise to put a fellow’s ghosts to flight. So I picked up the basin and pitcher, unhooked my towel, had a wash, finished dressing, leaned out of the window for a while watching the rising sun warm up the little snow peaks one after another, and, shouldering my trap, started along the corridor and so on downstairs.

“The pot-bellied lump of a scoundrel was waiting for me in the square room. He gave me the same keen, scrutinizing look with which he had welcomed me the night before. This time it began with my hair and ended at my boots, which were still muddy from the tramp of the previous evening.