Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/25

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Say it was all a joke? Suppose they fill you full of bullet-holes! Nice sort of fool you'll look, appealing to some outraged householder's sense of humor, while he pumps you full of lead with a Colt."

"These are the risks of the profession. You ought to know that, Arthur. Think what you went through to-night."

Arthur Mifflin looked at his friend with some uneasiness. He knew how very reckless Jimmy could be when he had set his mind on accomplishing anything, since, under the stimulus of a challenge, he ceased to be a reasoning being, amenable to argument. And, in the present case, he knew that Willett's words had driven the challenge home. Jimmy was not the man to sit still under the charge of being a fakir, no matter whether his accuser had been sober or drunk.

Jimmy, meanwhile, had produced whiskey and cigars. Now, he was lying on his back on the lounge, blowing smoke-rings at the ceiling.

"Well?" said Arthur Mifflin, at length.

"Well, what?"

"What I meant was, is this silence to be permanent, or are you going to begin shortly to amuse, elevate, and instruct? Something's happened to you, Jimmy. There was a time when you were a bright little chap, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy. Where be your gibes now; your gambols, your songs, your flashes of merriment that were wont to set the table in a roar when you