Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/89

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75
FRIENDS, NEW AND OLD

tables away. The party consisted of a girl, rather pretty, a lady of middle age and stately demeanor, plainly her mother, and a light-haired, weedy young man in the twenties. It had been the almost incessant prattle of this youth and the peculiarly high-pitched, gurgling laugh which shot from him at short intervals that had drawn Jimmy's notice upon them. And it was the curious cessation of both prattle and laugh that now made him look again in their direction.

The young man faced Jimmy; and Jimmy, looking at him, could see that all was not well with him. He was pale. He talked at random. A slight perspiration was noticeable on his forhead.

Jimmy caught his eye. There was a hunted look in it.

Given the time and the place, there were only two things that could have caused this look. Either the light-haired young man had seen a ghost, or he had suddenly realized that he had not enough money to pay the check.

Jimmy's heart went out to the sufferer. He took a card from his case, scribbled the words, "Can I help?" on it, and gave it to a waiter to take to the young man, who was now in a state bordering on collapse.

The next moment, the light-haired one was at his table, talking in a feverish whisper.

"I say," he said, "it's frightfully good of you, old chap! It's frightfully awkward. I've come out