THE ARM-CHAIR AT THE INN
more harm in the world than any line ever written. Many a brute of a father—not mine, for he did what he thought was right—has found excuse in those half-dozen words for his temper when he beat his boy.”
“Oh, come, let us get back to dry ground, gentlemen,” broke in Brierley. “We commenced on birds and we’ve brought up on moral suasion with the help of a birch-rod. Nobody has yet answered my argument: What about the birds and the way they play it on Peter and me?” and again Brierley winked at me.
“It’s because you tricked them first, Brierley,” returned Herbert in all seriousness and in all sincerity. “They got suspicious and outwitted you, and they will every time. A beast never forgets treachery. I know of a dozen instances to prove it.”
“Now I think of it, I know of one case, too,” remarked Louis gravely, in the voice of a savant uncovering a matter of great weight; “that is, if I may be allowed to tell it in the presence of the big Nimrod of the Congo—he of a hundred pairs of tusks, to say nothing of skins galore.”
Herbert nodded assent and with an air of