Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/328

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interest me—he told me, with a quickening of his glance and the first smile I had seen cross his pasty face, of a certain statue of his, ‘a Masterpiece,’ which a great connoisseur had bought for his garden, and which faced one of the open spaces of Paris. I could see it any day I walked that way—indeed, if I did not mind, he would go with me—he had been housed all the morning and needed the air.

“I pleaded an excuse and left him, for I knew all about this masterpiece which had been bought by a tradesman and planted in his garden among groups of cast-iron dogs and spouting dolphins, the hedge in front cut low enough for passers-by to see the entire collection. Hardly a day elapsed that the poor fellow did not walk by, drinking in the beauty of his work, comforting himself with the effect it produced on the plain people who stopped to admire. Sometimes he would accost them and bring the conversation round to the sculptor, and then abruptly take his leave, they staring at him as he bowed his thanks.

“The following year I again looked him up; his poverty and his courage appealed to me; besides, I intended to help him. When I knocked at his door he did not cry ‘Entrez’—he kept