Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/26

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were paying for the dinner? You remind me more of a deaf-mute celebrating the Fourth of July with noiseless powder than anything else on earth. Wake up, or I shall go. Jimmy, we were practically boys together. Tell me about this girl—the girl you loved, and were idiot enough to lose."

Jimmy drew a deep breath.

"Very well," said Mifflin complacently, "sigh if you like; it's better than nothing."

Jimmy sat up.

"Yes, dozens of times," said Mifflin.

"What do you mean?"

"You were just going to ask me if I had ever been in love, weren't you?"

"I wasn't, because I know you haven't. You have no soul. You don't know what love is."

"Have it your own way," said Mifflin, resignedly.

Jimmy bumped back on the sofa.

"I don't either," he said. "That's the trouble."

Mifflin looked interested.

"I know," he said. "You've got that strange premonitory fluttering, when the heart seems to thrill within you like some baby bird singing its first song, when—"

"Oh, cut it out!"

"—when you ask yourself timidly, 'Is it? Can it really be?' and answer shyly, 'No. Yes. I believe it is!' I've been through it dozens of times; it is a recognized early symptom. Unless prompt measures are taken, it will develop into something