Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/40

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“None of your cheap wit, Herbert! Marc, the lunatic, would have said that and thought it funny—you can’t afford to. Move up, I tell you, you bloated mud-dauber, and give me more room; you’d spread yourself over two chairs with four heads on their corners if you could fill them.”

Whereupon there followed one of those good-natured rough-and-tumble dog-plays which the two had kept up through their whole friendship. Indeed, a wrestling match started it. Herbert, then known to the world as an explorer and writer, was studying at Julien’s at the time. Louis, who was also a pupil, was off in Holland painting. Their fellow students, noting Herbert’s compact physique, had bided the hour until the two men should meet, and it was when the room looked as if a cyclone had struck it—with Herbert on top one moment and Louis the next—that the friendship began. The big-hearted Louis, too, was the first to recognize his comrade’s genius as a sculptor. Herbert had a wad of clay sent home from which he modelled an elephant. This was finally tossed into a corner. There it lay a shapeless mass until his conscience smote him and the whole was transformed into a Congo