Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/256

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cross to bear in this world. Saunders bowed with dignified resignation.

Sir Thomas led the way into his study.

"Be so good as to close the door," he said.

His lordship was so good.

Sir Thomas backed to the mantelpiece, and stood there in the attitude which for generations has been sacred to the elderly Briton, feet well apart, hands clasped beneath his coat-tails. His stare raked Lord Dreever like a searchlight.

"Now, sir!" he said.

His lordship wilted before the gaze.

"The fact is, uncle—"

"Never mind the facts. I know them! What I require is an explanation."

He spread his feet further apart. The years had rolled back, and he was plain Thomas Blunt again, of Blunt's Stores, dealing with an erring employee.

"You know what I mean," he went on. "I am not referring to the breaking-off of the engagement. What I insist upon learning is your reason for failing to inform me earlier of the contents of that letter."

His lordship said that somehow, don't you know, there didn't seem to be a chance, you know. He had several times been on the point—but—well, somehow—well, that's how it was.

"No chance?" cried Sir Thomas. "Indeed! Why did you require that money I gave you?"

"Oh, er—I wanted it for something."

"Very possibly. For what?"