Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/92

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on. “Next to you, I hope, my dear Monsieur Herbert. You do not know me—never heard of me, perhaps—but I know all about you and the wonderful things you have accomplished. And you too, Monsieur Louis. I remember your first success as I do those of most of the young men who have won their medals for twenty years back. And you, Monsieur Brierley—and—can I say it?—Monsieur High-Muck”—and she nodded gayly at me. “And now you will all please give your imagination free rein. Try and remember that I am not a hideous old woman in corduroys and high boots, but a most delightful and bewitching demoiselle; and please remember, too, that I can wear a décolleté gown if I please, only I don’t please, and haven’t pleased for ten years or more.”

Her perfect poise and freedom from all conventionality put us at once at our ease, making us forget she had only been among us a few minutes.

“And how clever you are to have chosen this room for these delightful meetings, of which Monsieur Marc has told me,” she continued, her eyes wandering again over the several objects, while her personality completely domi-