Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/154

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got in through the scullery window about one o'clock in the morning."

"And what did you do?" inquired Sir Thomas.

"Oh, I—er—I was out at the time," said Lord Dreever. "But something frightened the feller," he went on hurriedly, "and he made a bolt for it without taking anything."

"Burglary," said a young man, whom Jimmy subsequently discovered to be the drama-loving Charteris, leaning back and taking advantage of a pause, "is the hobby of the sportsman and the life work of the avaricious." He took a little pencil from his waistcoat pocket, and made a rapid note on his cuff.

Everybody seemed to have something to say on the subject. One young lady gave it as her opinion that she would not like to find a burglar under her bed. Somebody else had heard of a fellow whose father had fired at the butler, under the impression that he was a house-breaker, and had broken a valuable bust of Socrates. Lord Dreever had known a man at college whose brother wrote lyrics for musical comedy, and had done one about a burglar's best friend being his mother.

"Life," said Charteris, who had had time for reflection, "is a house which we all burgle. We enter it uninvited, take all that we can lay hands on, and go out again." He scribbled, "Life—house—burgle," on his cuff, and replaced the pencil.

"This man's brother I was telling you about," said