Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/284

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Sir Thomas stammered. He was gradually nearing speech.

"What—what—what—" he said.

"Out with it," said Jimmy.


"I knew a man once in South Dakota who stammered," said Jimmy. "He used to chew dog-biscuit while he was speaking. It cured him—besides being nutritious. Another good way is to count ten while you're thinking what to say, and then get it out quick."

"You—you blackguard!"

Jimmy placed the necklace carefully on the dressing-table. Then, he turned to Sir Thomas, with his hands thrust into his pockets. Over the knight's head, he could see the folds of the curtain quivering gently, as if stirred by some zephyr. Evidently, the drama of the situation was not lost on Hildebrand Spencer, twelfth Earl of Dreever.

Nor was it lost on Jimmy. This was precisely the sort of situation that appealed to him. He had his plan of action clearly mapped out. He knew that it would be useless to tell the knight the true facts of the case. Sir Thomas was as deficient in simple faith as in Norman blood. Though a Londoner by birth, he had one, at least, of the characteristic traits of the natives of Missouri.

To all appearances, this was a tight corner, but Jimmy fancied that he saw his way out of it. Meanwhile, the situation appealed to him. Curiously