Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/82

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"I paid twenty thousand pounds for that rope of diamonds," said Sir Thomas, obstinately. Switch things upon a cash basis, and he was more at ease.

"May I ask if you suspect any of our guests of being criminals?" inquired Lady Julia, with a glance of chill disdain.

Sir Thomas looked out of the window. At the moment, the sternest censor could have found nothing to cavil at in the movements of such of the house-party as were in sight. Some were playing tennis, some clock-golf, and others were smoking.

"Why, no," he admitted.

"Of course. Absurd—quite absurd!"

"But the servants. We have engaged a number of new servants lately."

"With excellent recommendations."

Sir Thomas was on the point of suggesting that the recommendations might be forged, but his courage failed him. Julia was sometimes so abrupt in these little discussions! She did not enter into his point of view. He was always a trifle inclined to treat the castle as a branch of Blunt's Stores. As proprietor of the stores, he had made a point of suspecting everybody, and the results had been excellent. In Blunt's Stores, you could hardly move in any direction without bumping into a gentlemanly detective, efficiently disguised. For the life of him, Sir Thomas could not see why the same principle should not obtain at Dreever. Guests at a country house do not as a rule steal their host's possessions, but then