'I don't blame myself. It isn't exactly that. But--but, well, what would you feel like in my place?'

'A two-year-old.'

'Wouldn't you do anything?'

'I certainly would. By my halidom, I would! I would spend that money with a vim and speed that would make your respected ancestor, the Beau, look like a village miser.'

'You wouldn't--er--pop over to America and see whether something couldn't be arranged?'

'I mean--suppose you were popping in any case. Suppose you had happened to buy a ticket for New York on to-morrow's boat, wouldn't you try to get in touch with this girl when you got to America, and see if you couldn't--er--fix up something?'

Jerry Nichols looked at him in honest consternation. He had always known that old Bill was a dear old ass, but he had never dreamed that he was such an infernal old ass as this.

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'You aren't thinking of doing that?' he gasped.

'Well, you see, it's a funny coincidence, but I was going to America, anyhow, to-morrow. I don't see why I shouldn't try to fix up something with this girl.'

'What do you mean--fix up something? You don't suggest that you should give the money up, do you?'

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'I don't know. Not exactly that, perhaps. How would it be if I gave her half, what? Anyway, I should like to find out about her, see if she's hard up, and so on. I should like to nose round, you know, and--er--and so forth, don't you know. Where did you say the girl lived?'

'I didn't say, and I'm not sure that I shall. Honestly, Bill, you mustn't be so quixotic.'

'There's no harm in my nosing round, is there? Be a good chap and give me the address.'

'Well'--with misgivings--'Brookport, Long Island.'

'Bill, are you really going to make a fool of yourself?'

'Not a bit of it, old chap. I'm just going to--er--'

'To nose round?'

'To nose round,' said Bill.

Jerry Nichols accompanied his friend to the door, and once more peace reigned in the offices of Nichols, Nichols, Nichols, and Nichols.