Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/293

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275
A DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

nouncement that her treasured rope of diamonds was a fraud. He knew enough of her to know that she would demand another necklace, and see that she got it; and that Sir Thomas was not one of those generous and expansive natures which think nothing of an expenditure of twenty thousand pounds.

This was the line of thought that had kept him cheerful during what might otherwise have been a trying interview. He was aware from the first that Sir Thomas would not believe in the purity of his motives; but he was convinced that the knight would be satisfied to secure his silence on the subject of the paste necklace at any price. He had looked forward to baffled rage, furious denunciation, and a dozen other expressions of emotion, but certainly not to collapse of this kind.

The other had begun to make strange, gurgling noises.

"Mind you," said Jimmy, "it's a very good imitation. I'll say that for it. I didn't suspect it till I had the thing in my hands. Looking at it—even quite close—I was taken in for a moment."

Sir Thomas swallowed nervously.

"How did you know?" he muttered.

Again, Jimmy was surprised. He had expected indignant denials and demands for proof, excited reiteration of the statement that the stones had cost twenty thousand pounds.

"How did I know?" he repeated. "If you mean what first made me suspect, I couldn't tell you. It