Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/292

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“‘I am sorry, your Excellency,’ he said, ‘but if you had left your shoes outside your door I could have polished them; I was afraid of disturbing you or I should have hunted for them inside.’”

Louis, as he finished, settled his big shoulders back in the chair until it creaked with his weight, and ran his eye around the table waiting for the explosion which he knew would follow. All we could do was to stare helplessly in his face. Le Blanc, who hadn’t drawn a full breath since the painter began, found his voice first.

“And he didn’t intend cutting your throat?” he roared indignantly.

“No, of course not—I never said he did. I said I was scared blue, and I was—real indigo. Oh!—an awful night—hardly got an hour’s sleep.”

“But what about the fellow on the shed, and his footsteps, and the shadow of the hand?” demanded Brierley, wholly disappointed at the outcome of the yarn.

“There was no fellow, Brierley, and no footsteps.” This came in mild, gentle tones, as if the hunter’s credulity were something surpris-