Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/153

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137
CHECK AND A COUNTER MOVE

party with felonious intent. The appearance of Lady Julia at dinner, wearing the famous rope of diamonds, supplied an obvious motive. The necklace had an international reputation. Probably, there was not a prominent thief in England or on the Continent who had not marked it down as a possible prey. It had already been tried for, once. It was big game, just the sort of lure that would draw the type of criminal McEachern imagined Jimmy to be.

From his seat at the far end of the table, Jimmy looked at the jewels as they gleamed on their wearer's neck. They were almost too ostentatious for what was, after all, an informal dinner. It was not a rope of diamonds. It was a collar. There was something Oriental and barbaric in the overwhelming display of jewelry. It was a prize for which a thief would risk much.

The conversation, becoming general with the fish, was not of a kind to remove from his mind the impression made by the sight of the gems. It turned on burglary.

Lord Dreever began it.

"Oh, I say," he said, "I forgot to tell you, Aunt Julia, Number Six was burgled the other night."

Number 6a, Eaton Square, was the family's London house.

"Burgled!" cried Sir Thomas.

"Well, broken into," said his lordship, gratified to find that he had got the ear of his entire audience. Even Lady Julia was silent and attentive. "Chap