Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/135

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119
MAKING A START

"Never make a scene." Scenes, he had gathered, were of all things what polite society most resolutely abhorred. The natural man in him must be bound in chains. The sturdy blow must give way to the honeyed word. A cold, "Really!" was the most vigorous retort that the best circles would countenance. It had cost Mr. McEachern some pains to learn this lesson, but he had done it. He shook hands, and gruffly acknowledged the acquaintanceship.

"Really, really!" chirped Sir Thomas, amiably. "So, you find yourself among old friends, Mr. Pitt."

"Old friends," echoed Jimmy, painfully conscious of the ex-policeman's eyes, which were boring holes in him.

"Excellent, excellent! Let me take you to your room. It is just opposite my own. This way."

In his younger days, Sir Thomas had been a floor-walker of no mean caliber. A touch of the professional still lingered in his brisk movements. He preceded Jimmy upstairs with the restrained suavity that can be learned in no other school.

They parted from Mr. McEachern on the first landing, but Jimmy could still feel those eyes. The policeman's stare had been of the sort that turns corners, goes upstairs, and pierces walls.