Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/299

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281
A DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

These were deep problems, too spacious for casual examination. Jimmy shrugged his shoulders.

"Well, I guess Sir Thomas might not have got along with George Washington, anyway," he said.

"Of course not. Well"—Spennie moved toward the door—"I'm off downstairs to see what Aunt Julia has to say about it all."

A shudder, as if from some electric shock, shook Sir Thomas. He leaped to his feet.

"Spencer," he cried, "I forbid you to say a word to your aunt."

"Oh!" said his lordship. "You do, do you?"

Sir Thomas shivered.

"She would never let me hear the last of it."

"I bet she wouldn't. I'll go and see."

"Stop!"

"Well?"

Sir Thomas dabbed at his forehead with his handkerchief. He dared not face the vision of Lady Julia in possession of the truth. At one time, the fear lest she might discover the harmless little deception he had practised had kept him awake at night, but gradually, as the days went by and the excellence of the imitation stones had continued to impose upon her and upon everyone else who saw them, the fear had diminished. But it had always been at the back of his mind. Even in her calmer moments, his wife was a source of mild terror to him. His imagination reeled at the thought of what depths of aristo-