Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/325

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307
THE LAST ROUND

I'm not much, but she wants me. Do the square thing by her."

He stretched out his hand, but he saw that the other did not notice the movement. McEachern was staring straight in front of him. There was a look in his eyes that Jimmy had never seen there before, a frightened, hunted look. The rugged aggressiveness of his mouth and chin showed up in strange contrast. The knuckles of his clenched fists were white.

"It's too late," he burst out. "I'll be square with her now, but it's too late. I won't stand in her way when I can make her happy. But I'll lose her! Oh, my God, I'll lose her!"

He gripped the edge of the table.

"Did you think I had never said to myself," he went on, "the things you said to me that day when we met here? Did you think I didn't know what I was? Who should know it better than myself? But she didn't. I'd kept it from her. I'd sweat for fear she would find out some day. When I came over here, I thought I was safe. And, then, you came, and I saw you together. I thought you were a crook. You were with Mullins in New York. I told her you were a crook."

"You told her that!"

"I said I knew it. I couldn't tell her the truth—why I thought so. I said I had made inquiries in New York, and found out about you."

Jimmy saw now. The mystery was solved. So, that was why Molly had allowed them to force her