Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/305

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287
A DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

"As for you—" he cried.

"Never mind about Pitt," said his lordship. "He's a dashed good fellow, Pitt. I wish there were more like him. And he wasn't pinching the stuff, either. If you had only listened when he tried to tell you, you mightn't be in such a frightful hole. He was putting the things back, as he said. I know all about it. Well, what's the answer?"

For a moment, Sir Thomas seemed on the point of refusal. But, just as he was about to speak, his lordship opened the door, and at the movement he collapsed again.

"I will," he cried. "I will!"

"Good," said his lordship with satisfaction. "That's a bargain. Coming downstairs, Pitt, old man? We shall be wanted on the stage in about half a minute."

"As an antidote to stage fright," said Jimmy, as they went along the corridor, "little discussions of that kind may be highly recommended. I shouldn't mind betting that you feel fit for anything?"

"I feel like a two-year-old," assented his lordship, enthusiastically. "I've forgotten all my part, but I don't care. I'll just go on and talk to them."

"That," said Jimmy, "is the right spirit. Charteris will get heart-disease, but it's the right spirit. A little more of that sort of thing, and amateur theatricals would be worth listening to. Step lively, Roscius; the stage waits."