THE ARM-CHAIR AT THE INN
of my last looks—an old habit of mine in a place I love. There I found him hunched up in Herbert’s chair at one corner of the fireplace, his head on his hand.
“Well, you have won your fight,” he had said in a low, measured voice, speaking into the bare chimney, his fingers still supporting his forehead. “You will take my child from me and leave me alone.”
“But she will be much happier,” I now ventured.
“Perhaps so—I cannot tell. I have seen many a bright sunrise end in a storm. But none of you have understood me. You thought it was money, and what the man could bring her, and that I objected because the boy was poor and a fisherman. What am I but a man of the people?—what is she but a peasant?—and her mother and grandmother before her. Who are we that we should try to rise above our station, making ourselves a laughing-stock? Had he been a land-owner with a thousand head of cattle it would have been the same with me. Nothing will be as it was any more. I am an old man and she is all the child I have. When she was eight years old she would come into this very room and nestle close in my lap,