Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/309

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red end of his cigarette closely. "As a matter of fact, it's kind of broken off."

The other's exclamation jarred on him. Rotten, having to talk about this sort of thing!

"Broken off?"

Spennie nodded.

"Miss McEachern thought it over, don't you know," he said, "and came to the conclusion that it wasn't good enough."

Now that it was said, he felt easier. It had merely been the awkwardness of having to touch on the thing that had troubled him. That his news might be a blow to McEachern did not cross his mind. He was a singularly modest youth, and, though he realized vaguely that his title had a certain value in some persons' eyes, he could not understand anyone mourning over the loss of him as a son-in-law. Katie's father, the old general, thought him a fool, and once, during an attack of gout, had said so. Spennie was wont to accept this as the view which a prospective father-in-law might be expected to entertain regarding himself.

Oblivious, therefore, to the storm raging a yard away from him, he smoked on with great contentment, till suddenly it struck him that, for a presumably devout lover, jilted that very night, he was displaying too little emotion. He debated swiftly within himself whether or not he should have a dash at manly grief, but came to the conclusion that it could not be done. Melancholy on this maddest,