Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/32

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lord, Lemois. For as this inn is no ordinary inn, this banquet room no ordinary room, and this kitchen no ordinary kitchen, so, too, is Monsieur Lemois no ordinary landlord. A small, gray, gently moving, low-voiced man with thoughtful, contented face, past the prime of life; a passionate lover of animals, flowers, and all beautiful things; quick of temper, but over in a moment; a poet withal, yet a man with so quaint a humor and of so odd a taste, and so completely absorbed in his pets, cuisine, garden, and collection, that it is easy to believe that when he is missed from his carnal body, he will be found wandering as a ghost among these very flower-beds or looking down from the walls of the Marmouset—doubtless an old haunt of his prior to this his latest incarnation. Only here would he be really happy, and only here, perhaps, among his treasures, would he be fully understood.

One of the rarest of these—a superb Florentine chair—the most important chair he owns, stood within reach of my hand as I sat listening to him before the crackling blaze.

“Unquestionably of the sixteenth century!” he exclaimed with his customary enthusiasm, as I admired it anew, for, although I had heard