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ing”—here he stole a glance at Lemois—“I met Mignon in the market; she was buying a beautiful fish. I hope, Monsieur Lemois, we are to have it for dinner. Don’t bother, Leà, about the spilt wine; just get me a fresh glass. And, Louis, do you mind letting go that crusting of cobwebs so I can get another taste of that nosegay?” and thus the day was saved.

We broke loose, however, when Lemois was gone, and I told the whole story as Leà had given it, Louis, in his customary rôle of toast-master, rising in his seat and pledging the young couple, whose health and happiness we all drank, Brierley whistling the Wedding March to the accompaniment of a great clatter of knives and forks on the plates.

In fact, the very air seemed so charged with uncontrollable exhilaration that Coco, the oldest and most knowing of birds—he is sixty-five and has seen more love-making from his perch in the dormer overlooking that same court-yard than all the chaperones who ever lived—suddenly broke out into screams of delight, ruffling his feathers, curling up his celery sprout of a topknot, his eyes following Mignon, his head cocked on one side, when she raced back and forth from Pierre’s range to our big table.