Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/283

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FOR a man whose intentions toward the jewels and their owner were so innocent, and even benevolent, Jimmy was in a singularly compromising position. It would have been difficult even under more favorable conditions to have explained to Sir Thomas's satisfaction his presence in the dressing-room. As things stood, it was even harder, for his lordship's last action before seeking cover had been to fling the necklace from him like a burning coal. For the second time in ten minutes, it had fallen to the carpet, and it was just as Jimmy straightened himself after picking it up that Sir Thomas got a full view of him.

The knight stood in the doorway, his face expressing the most lively astonishment. His bulging eyes were fixed upon the necklace in Jimmy's hand. Jimmy could see him struggling to find words to cope with so special a situation, and felt rather sorry for him. Excitement of this kind was bad for a short-necked man of Sir Thomas's type.

With kindly tact, he endeavored to help his host out.

"Good-evening," he said, pleasantly.