Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/260

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At dinner, you looked as if you had influenza. What's your trouble? For goodness' sake, bear up till the show's over. Don't go swooning on the stage, or anything. Do you know your lines?"

"The fact is," said his lordship eagerly, "it's this way. I happen to want— Can you lend me a fiver?"

"All I have in the world at this moment," said Charteris, "is eleven shillings and a postage-stamp. If the stamp would be of any use to you as a start—? No? You know, it's from small beginnings like that that great fortunes are amassed. However—"

Two minutes later, Lord Dreever had resumed his hunt.

The path of the borrower is a thorny one, especially if, like Spennie, his reputation as a payer-back is not of the best.

Spennie, in his time, had extracted small loans from most of his male acquaintances, rarely repaying the same. He had a tendency to forget that he had borrowed half-a-crown here to pay a cab and ten shillings there to settle up for a dinner; and his memory was not much more retentive of larger sums. This made his friends somewhat wary. The consequence was that the great treasure-hunt was a failure from start to finish. He got friendly smiles. He got honeyed apologies. He got earnest assurances of good-will. But he got no money, except from Jimmy Pitt.

He had approached Jimmy in the early stages of the hunt; and Jimmy, being in the mood when he