Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/299

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cause I could not go myself nor spare Leà. Those big-eating people came so early and stayed so late. After the fish we will have Poulet Vallèe D’auge, with stewed celery, and at last a Pêche Flambée—and it will be the last time, for the late peaches are about over. And now about the wine—will you pick it out or shall I? Ah!—I remember—only yesterday I found a few bottles of Moncontour Vouvray at the bottom of a shelf in my old wine-cellar. It will bring fresh courage to your hearts. When it does not do that, and you have only dull despair or thick headaches, it should be poured out on the ground”—having delivered which homily, the old man, with his eye on Coco asleep on his perch, sauntered slowly up the court in the direction of the wine-cellar, from which he emerged a few minutes later bearing two dust-encrusted bottles topped with yellow wax—a distinguishing mark which he himself had placed there some twenty years before and had forgotten.

So while Herbert read on, only looking up now and then from his book, Leà and I set the table, stripping it of its rough, heavy dishes, swabbing it off with a clean, water-soaked towel—I did the swabbing and Leà held the