THE ARM-CHAIR AT THE INN
all beautiful things, and yet he is worse than one of the cannibals that Monsieur Herbert tells us about. They eat their young girls and have done with them—Lemois kills his by slow torture—and so I ask you again, dear Lemois—why?”
Everybody sat up straight. How would Lemois take it? His fingers began to work, and the corners of his mouth straightened. A sudden flush crossed his habitually pale face. We were sure now of an outbreak: what would happen then none of us dared think.
“Madame la marquise,” he began slowly—too slowly for anything but ill-suppressed feeling—“there is no one that I know for whom I have a higher respect; you must yourself have seen that in the many years I have known you. You are a very good and a very noble woman; all your life people have loved you—they still love you. It is one of your many gifts—one you should be thankful for. Some of us do not win this affection. You are, if you will permit me to say it, never lonely nor alone, except by your own choosing. Some of us cannot claim that—I for one. Do you not now understand?” He was still boiling inside, but the patience of the trained landlord and the