Page:Tales of John Oliver Hobbes.djvu/133

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Some Emotions and a Moral.

drunk two bottles of champagne, she must be awful—perfectly awful. But they're all awful—hell-cats every man-jack of 'em. He won't listen to me. He always says, 'You're a dear old sort, Collingwood, but you're drunk.' That's the worst of letting your friends know you've got a weakness—they despise you when you want to help them. But you can get at him—he's got respect for you. He hasn't any for me.

"I can't do anything unless I have some facts to go on. You must see that yourself."

"Facts! Damn facts. I go by symptoms. I tell you the man is trying to drink himself into love—and he can't succeed. I've been trying to drink myself out of it for the last twenty years, and, take my word for it, Provence, it's a hopeless game in either case. I'm very fond of Golightly—he's been damned good to me. If he comes to grief, I shall lose my faith in human nature." He pushed the decanters towards Provence and poured out a glass of brandy for himself—which he swallowed, and again another—which he looked at.

"Have you any suspicion—any idea who she is?"

"Not the faintest. He told me I should probably know quite soon enough. He said this much, that her husband was a brick. I consider that a bad sign—his calling the husband a brick. It's too unusual. It proves conclusively the Potiphar theory."

"I will do what I can," said Provence, "but of course a matter of this kind wants very delicate handling. My wife has a great deal of tact, and he is very fond of her. I wonder if she could help us."