THE ARM-CHAIR AT THE INN
come in and find me and be so surprised, and before any one of them can say a word I will shout out that I have come to dinner! And now you’ve ruined everything, and I must say, ‘Thank you, kind gentlemen’—like any other poor parishioner—and eat my bowl of bread and milk in the corner. Was there ever anything so banal?—Oh!—I’m heartbroken over it all. No; don’t say another word—please, papa, I’ll be a good girl. So help me off with my wraps, dear Monsieur Louis. No; wait until I get inside—you see, I’ve been gardening all day, and when one does gardening——”
The two were inside the Marmouset now, the others following, the laughter increasing as Louis led her to the hearth, where a fire had just been kindled. There he proceeded to unbutton her fur-lined motor-cloak—the laughter changing to shouts of delight when freeing herself from its folds. She stood before us a veritable Lebrun portrait, in a short black-velvet gown with wide fichu of Venetian lace rolled back from her plump shoulders, her throat circled with a string of tiny jewels from which drooped a pear-shaped pearl big as a pecan-nut and worth a king’s ransom.
“There!” she cried, her brown eyes dancing,