Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/64

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Unfortunately for the success of this maneuver, the floor of the room was covered not with a carpet but with tastefully scattered rugs, and underneath these rugs it was very highly polished. Spike, treading on one of these islands, was instantly undone. No power of will or muscle can save a man in such a case. Spike skidded. His feet flew from under him. There was a momentary flash of red head, as of a passing meteor. The next moment, he had fallen on his back with a thud that shook the house. Even in the crisis, the thought flashed across Jimmy's mind that this was not Spike's lucky night.

Upstairs, the efforts of the canine choir had begun to resemble the "A ché la morte" duet in "Il Trovatore." Particularly good work was being done by the baritone dog.

Spike sat up, groaning. Equipped though he was by nature with a skull of the purest and most solid ivory, the fall had disconcerted him. His eyes, like those of Shakespeare's poet, rolling in a fine frenzy, did glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven. He passed his fingers tenderly through his vermilion hair.

Heavy footsteps were descending the stairs. In the distance, the soprano dog had reached A in alt., and was holding it, while his fellow artiste executed runs in the lower register.

"Get up!" hissed Jimmy. "There's somebody coming! Get up, you idiot, can't you!"

It was characteristic of Jimmy that it never even