Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/357

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


his inscrutable shoulders, repeating that he, of course, was only a captive, and must therefore do as he was bid, a situation which, he added with another low bow, had its good side since so charming a woman as madame held his chain.

And yet despite his gayety there was under it all a certain reserve which, although lost on the others, convinced me that the old man had not, by any means, made up his mind as to what he would do. While Mignon was not his legal ward, his care of her all these years must count for something. Madame, of course, was a difficult person to make war upon once she had set her heart on a thing—and she certainly had on this marriage, amazing as it was to him—and yet there was still the girl’s future to be considered, and with it his own. All this was in his eyes as I watched him resuming his place by the fire after some of the excitement had begun to quiet down.

But none of this—even if she, too, had studied him as I had—would have made any impression on Mignon’s champion. She was accustomed to being obeyed—the gang of mechanics who had under her directions performed two days’ work in one had found that out. And then, again, her whole purpose in life was to