Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/57

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muscle. Louis, on the other hand, talked as he painted—with the same breeze and verve and the same wholesome cheer and sanity which have made both himself and his brush so beloved. When Herbert, therefore, took up the cudgels for the cooked pigeon, none of us were surprised to hear the hilarious painter break out with:

“Stop talking such infernal rot, Herbert, and move the matches this way. How could there be another side? What do you suppose beef and mutton were put into the world for except to feed the higher animal, man?”

“But is man higher?” returned Herbert quietly, in his low, incisive voice, passing Louis the box. “I know I’m the last fellow in the world, with my record as a hunter—and I’m sometimes ashamed of it—to advance any such theory, but as I grow older I see things in a different light, and the animal’s point of view is one of them.”

“Pity you didn’t come to that conclusion before you plastered your studio with the skins of the poor devils you murdered,” he chuckled, winking at Lemois.

“That was because I didn’t know any better—or, rather, because I didn’t think any bet-