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Chapter 9 (continued)
'What do you mean--"Now, Nutty"? What's the use of looking at a fellow like that and saying "Now, Nutty"? Where's the sense--'
His voice trailed off. He was not a very intelligent young man, but even he could see that his was not a position where righteous indignation could be assumed with any solid chance of success. As a substitute he tried pathos.
'Oo-oo, my head does ache!'
'I wish it would burst,' said his sister, unkindly.
'That's a nice thing to say to a fellow!'
'I'm sorry. I wouldn't have said it--'
'Only I couldn't think of anything worse.'
It began to seem to Nutty that pathos was a bit of a failure too. As a last resort he fell back on silence. He wriggled as far down as he could beneath the sheets and breathed in a soft and wounded sort of way. Elizabeth took up the conversation.
'Nutty,' she said, 'I've struggled for years against the conviction that you were a perfect idiot. I've forced myself, against my better judgement, to try to look on you as sane, but now I give in. I can't believe you are responsible for your actions. Don't imagine that I am going to heap you with reproaches because you sneaked off to New York. I'm not even going to tell you what I thought of you for not sending me a telegram, letting me know where you were. I can understand all that. You were disappointed because Uncle Ira had not left you his money, and I suppose that was your way of working it off. If you had just run away and come back again with a headache, I'd have treated you like the Prodigal Son. But there are some things which are too much, and bringing a perfect stranger back with you for an indefinite period is one of them. I'm not saying anything against Mr Chalmers personally. I haven't had time to find out much about him, except that he's an Englishman; but he looks respectable. Which, as he's a friend of yours, is more or less of a miracle.'
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