Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/90

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dles—long, lank Marc bowing and scraping at her side, there escaped from each one of us, all but Lemois, a half-smothered groan which sounded like a faint wail.

What we saw was not a paragon of delicate beauty, nor a vision of surpassing loveliness, but a parallelogram stood up on end, fifty or more years of age, one unbroken perpendicular line from her shoulders to her feet—or rather to a brown velvet, close-fitting skirt that reached to her shoe-tops—which were stout as a man’s and apparently as big. About her shoulders was a reefing jacket, also of brown velvet, fastened with big horn buttons; above this came a loose cherry-red scarf of finest silk in perfect harmony with the brown of the velvet; above this again was a head surmounted by a mass of fluffy, partly gray hair, parted on one side—as Rosa Bonheur wore hers. Then came two brilliant agate eyes, two ruddy cheeks, and a sunny, happy mouth filled with pearl-white teeth.

One smile—and it came with the radiance of a flashlight—and all misgivings vanished. There was no question of her charm, of her refinement, or of her birth. Neither was there any question as to her thorough knowledge of the world.