Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/171

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"But, my darling, it wasn't so. I was angry, but it wasn't with you."

"With—? Were you angry with Mr. Pitt?"

McEachern saw that he had traveled too far. He had intended that Jimmy's existence should be forgotten for the time being. He had other things to discuss. But it was too late now. He must go forward.

"I didn't like to see you out here alone with Mr. Pitt, dear," he said. "I was afraid—"

He saw that he must go still further forward. It was more than awkward. He wished to hint at the undesirability of an entanglement with Jimmy without admitting the possibility of it. Not being a man of nimble brain, he found this somewhat beyond his powers.

"I don't like him," he said, briefly. "He's crooked."

Molly's eyes opened wide. The color had gone from her face.

"Crooked, father?"

McEachern perceived that he had traveled very much too far, almost to disaster. He longed to denounce Jimmy, but he was gagged. If Molly were to ask the question that Jimmy had asked in the bedroom—that fatal, unanswerable question! The price was too great to pay.

He spoke cautiously, vaguely, feeling his way.

"I couldn't explain to you, my dear. You