Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/366

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


As for the Inn’s inhabitants, everybody seems to have lost their wits: Pierre has gone entirely mad. When butter, or eggs, or milk, or a pint of sherry—or something he needs, or thinks he needs—is wanted, he does not wait until his under-chef can bring it from the storage-cave where they are kept—he rushes out himself, grabbing up a basket, or pitcher, or cup as he goes, and comes back on the double-quick to begin again his stirring, chopping, and basting—the roasting-spit turning merrily all the while.

Leà is even more restless. Her activities, however, are confined to clattering along the upstairs corridors, her arms full of freshly ironed clothes—skirts and things—and to the banging of chamber doors—one especially, behind which sits an old fishwoman, yellow as a dried mackerel and as stiff, helping a young girl dress.

The only one who seems to have kept his head is Lemois. His nervousness is none the less in evidence, but he gets rid of his pent-up steam in a different way. He lets the others hustle, while he stands still just inside the gate giving orders to hurrying market boys with baskets of fish; signing receipts for cases