Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/161

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145
MR. M'EACHERN INTERVENES

opposed to the true spirit of civilization. At the close of each day, he cursed Charteris with unfailing regularity.

There was another thing that disturbed him. That he should be unable to talk with Molly was an evil, but a negative evil. It was supplemented by one that was positive. Even in the midst of the chaos of rehearsals, he could not help noticing that Molly and Lord Dreever were very much together. Also—and this was even more sinister—he observed that both Sir Thomas Blunt and Mr. McEachern were making determined efforts to foster the state of affairs.

Of this, he had sufficient proof one evening when, after scheming and plotting in a way that had made the great efforts of Machiavelli and Richlieu seem like the work of raw novices, he had cut Molly out from the throng, and carried her off for the alleged purpose of helping him feed the chickens. There were, as he had suspected, chickens attached to the castle. They lived in a little world of noise and smells at the back of the stables. Bearing an iron pot full of a poisonous-looking mash, and accompanied by Molly, he had felt for perhaps a minute and a half like a successful general. It is difficult to be romantic when you are laden with chicken-feed in an unwieldy iron pot, but he had resolved that this portion of the proceedings should be brief. The birds should dine that evening on the quick-lunch principle. Then—to the more fitting sur-