Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/373

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


walk—beside her, and bundled up on the back seat two lean withered fishwomen in black bombazine and close-fitting white caps—a cousin and an aunt of the groom—the first time any one of the three had ever stepped foot in a car.

As madame and her strange crew entered the court, I turned instinctively to Lemois, wondering how he would deport himself when the crucial moment arrived—and a car-load of relatives certainly seemed to express that fatality—but he was equal to the occasion.

“Ah, madame!” he said in his courtliest manner, his hand over his heart, “who else in the wide world would have thought of so kindly an act? These poor people will bless you to their dying day. And it is delightful to see you again, Monsieur Marc. You have, I know, come to help madame in her good works. As I have so often told her, she is——

“And why should I not give them pleasure, you dear Lemois? See how happy they are. And this is not half of them! No, don’t get out, mère Francine—you are all to keep on to the church and get into your seats before the village people crowd it full; and you, Auguste”—this to her chauffeur—“are to go back to Buez-