Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/254

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further. The color of his florid face deepened. Suddenly, he chuckled.

Molly looked at him, amazed. Sir Thomas was indeed behaving unexpectedly to-night.

"I see it," he wheezed. "You're having a joke with me! So, this is what you were hatching as I came downstairs! Don't tell me! If you had really thrown him over, you wouldn't have been laughing together like that. It's no good, my dear. I might have been taken in, if I had not seen you, but I did."

"No, no," cried Molly. "You're wrong. You're quite wrong. When you saw us, we were just agreeing that we should be very good friends. That was all. I broke off the engagement before that. I—"

She was aware that his lordship had emitted a hollow croak, but she took it as his method of endorsing her statement, not as a warning.

"I wrote Lord Dreever a note this evening," she went on, "telling him that I couldn't possibly—"

She broke off in alarm. With the beginning of her last speech, Sir Thomas had begun to swell, until now he looked as if he were in imminent danger of bursting. His face was purple. To Molly's lively imagination, his eyes appeared to move slowly out of his head, like a snail's. From the back of his throat came strange noises.

"S-s-so—" he stammered.

He gulped, and tried again.

"So this," he said, "so this—! So that was what was in that letter, eh?"