Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/310

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merriest day of all the glad New Year, the day on which he had utterly routed the powers of evil, as represented by Sir Thomas, was impossible. He decided, rather, on a let-us-be-reasonable attitude.

"It wouldn't have done, don't you know," he said. "We weren't suited. What I mean to say is, I'm a bit of a dashed sort of silly ass in some ways, if you know what I mean. A girl like Miss McEachern couldn't have been happy with me. She wants one of these capable, energetic fellers."

This struck him as a good beginning—modest, but not groveling. He continued, tapping quite a respectably deep vein of philosophy as he spoke.

"You see, dear old top—I mean, sir, you see, it's like this. As far as women are concerned, fellers are divided into two classes. There's the masterful, capable Johnnies, and the—er—the other sort. Now, I'm the other sort. My idea of the happy married life is to be—well, not exactly downtrodden, but—you know what I mean—kind of second fiddle. I want a wife—" his voice grew soft and dreamy—"who'll pet me a good deal, don't you know, stroke my hair a lot, and all that. I haven't it in me to do the master-in-my-own-house business. For me, the silent-devotion touch. Sleeping on the mat outside her door, don't you know, when she wasn't feeling well, and being found there in the morning and being rather cosseted for my thoughtfulness. That's the sort of idea. Hard to put it quite O. K., but you know the sort of thing I mean.