Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/56

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CHAPTER VI


AN EXHIBITION PERFORMANCE


COLD reason may disapprove of wagers, but without a doubt there is something joyous and lovable in the type of mind that rushes at the least provocation into the making of them, something smacking of the spacious days of the Regency. Nowadays, the spirit seems to have deserted England. When Mr. Asquith became Premier of Great Britain, no earnest forms were to be observed rolling peanuts along the Strand with a toothpick. When Mr. Asquith is dethroned, it is improbable that any Briton will allow his beard to remain unshaved until the Liberal party returns to office. It is in the United States that the wager has found a home. It is characteristic of some minds to dash into a wager with the fearlessness of a soldier in a forlorn hope, and, once in, to regard it almost as a sacred trust. Some men never grow up out of the schoolboy spirit of "daring."

To this class Jimmy Pitt belonged. He was of the same type as the man in the comic opera who proposed to the lady because somebody bet him he wouldn't. There had never been a time when a challenge, a "dare," had not acted as a spur to him. In

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