Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/335

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other half comes from not knowing that this is true. My good Coco is not so stupid”—and he reached up and stroked the bird’s crest and neck. “All day long he ponders over what is going on down below him. And just think, monsieur, what does go on down below him in the season! The wrong man and the wrong woman most of the time, and the pressure of the small foot under the table, and the little note slipped under the napkin. Ah!—they don’t humbug Coco! He laughs all day to himself—and I laugh too. There is nothing, if you think about it, so comical as life. It is really a Punch-and-Judy show, with one doll whacking away at the other—‘Now, will you be good!—Now, will you be good!’—and they are never good. No—no—never a mate for my Coco—never a mate for anybody if I can help it.”

“Would you have given the same advice thirty years ago to madame la marquise?” Madame was the one and only subject Lemois ever seemed to approach with any degree of hesitancy. My objective point was, of course, Mignon; but I had opened madame’s gate, hoping for a short cut.

“Ah!—madame is quite different,” he re-