Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/300

This page needs to be proofread.


basin—bringing from the Marmouset our linen and china, then dragging up the big wooden chairs, which were rain-proof and never housed.

We missed Mignon, of course. Buying a fish, and the market but half a dozen blocks away, should not require a whole hour for its completion, especially since she had been told to hurry—more especially still, since Pierre’s pot was on the boil awaiting its arrival, Louis and Brierley having returned hungry as bears. Indeed I had already started in to ask Lemois the plump question as to what detained our Bunch of Roses, when Leà’s thin, sharp, fingers clutched my coat-sleeve, her eyes on Lemois. What she meant I dared not ask, but there was no doubt in my mind that it had to do with the love affair in which every man of us was mixed up as coconspirator—a conclusion which was instantly confirmed when I looked into her shrivelled face and caught the joyous, lantern flare behind her eyes.

Waiting until we were out of hearing, Lemois having gone to the kitchen, she answered with a shake of her old head:

“Mignon loiters because Gaston is well again.”

“But he has never been ill. That crack on