Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/334

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“Don’t ask me any questions; I am too happy to tell you any lies and I won’t tell you the truth. Ah!—see how cold monsieur’s milk is—let me run to Pierre for another”—and she was off; her flying sabots, like the upturned feet of a duck chased to cover, kicking away behind her short skirts.

Lemois, too, had heard the song and, picking up Coco, strolled toward me his fingers caressing the bird, his uneasy glance directed toward the happy girl as he walked, wondering, like the rest of us, at the change in her manner. To watch them together as I have done these many times, the old man smoothing its plumage and Coco rubbing his black beak tenderly against his master’s cheek, is to get a deeper insight into our landlord’s character and the subtle sympathy which binds the two.

The bird once settled comfortably on his wrist, Lemois looked my way.

“You should get him a mate, monsieur,” I called to him in answer to his glance, throwing this out as a general drag-net.

The old man shifted the bird to his shoulder, stopped, and looked down at me.

“He is better without one. Half the trouble in the world comes from wanting mates; the