Page:Hopkinson Smith--armchair at the inn.djvu/93

This page needs to be proofread.


nated everything. “Nobody but Lemois would have brought them all together. What a genius he is! Think of his putting that wooden angel where its golden crown can become an aureole in the candle-light: he has done that since my last visit. And that other one—really the rarest thing he owns—in the dark corner by the fireplace. May I tell you about it before he comes back? It is of the fifteenth century, and is called the ‘Bella Nigra’—the Black Virgin. Look at it, all of you, while I hold the candle. You see the face is black, the legend running, ‘I am beautiful though black because the sun has looked at me so long.’ You notice, too, that she has neither arms nor legs—a symbol of nobility, showing she need neither work nor walk, and the triple crown means that she is Queen of Heaven, Earth, and Sea. Why he pokes her in a dark corner I cannot imagine, except that it is just like him to do the queerest things—and say them too. And yet, he is such a dear—and so funny! You cannot think what funny things he does and says until you watch him as I have. Why is it, Monsieur Brierley, that you have never put him into one of your books—you who write such charming