Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/47

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her his address. Oh, he’s a Cap and Bells when there’s a woman around!”

A shout outside sent every man to his feet; the door was flung back and a setter dog bounded in followed by the laughing face of a man who looked twenty-five of his forty years. He was clad in a leather shooting-jacket and leggings, spattered to his hips with mud, and carried a double-barrelled breech-loading gun. Howls of derision welcomed him.

“Oh!—what a spectacle!” cried Louis. “Don’t let Brierley sit down, High-Muck, until he’s scrubbed! Go and scrape yourself, you ruffian—you are the worst looking dog of the two.”

The Man from the Latin Quarter, as he is often called, clutched his gun like a club, made a mock movement as if to brain the speaker, then rested it tenderly and with the greatest care against one corner of the fireplace.

“Sorry, High-Muck, but I couldn’t help it. I’d have missed your dinner if I had gone back to my bungalow for clothes. I’ve been out on the marsh since sunup and got cut off by the tide. Down with you, Peter! Let him thaw out a little, Herbert; he’s worked like a beaver all day, and all we got were three plover