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|My Man Jeeves||P. G. Wodehouse|
Rallying Round Old George
|Page 2 of 12||
"It's a wonder you didn't raise the roof. Who was that with you?"
"Miss Pilbeam, sir; Mrs. Vanderley's maid."
"What was all the trouble about?"
"I was breaking our engagement, sir."
I couldn't help gaping. Somehow one didn't associate Voules with engagements. Then it struck me that I'd no right to butt in on his secret sorrows, so I switched the conversation.
"I think I'll get up," I said.
"I can't wait to breakfast with the rest. Can you get me some right away?"
So I had a solitary breakfast and went up on deck to smoke. It was a lovely morning. Blue sea, gleaming Casino, cloudless sky, and all the rest of the hippodrome. Presently the others began to trickle up. Stella Vanderley was one of the first. I thought she looked a bit pale and tired. She said she hadn't slept well. That accounted for it. Unless you get your eight hours, where are you?
"Seen George?" I asked.
I couldn't help thinking the name seemed to freeze her a bit. Which was queer, because all the voyage she and George had been particularly close pals. In fact, at any moment I expected George to come to me and slip his little hand in mine, and whisper: "I've done it, old scout; she loves muh!"
"I have not seen Mr. Lattaker," she said.
I didn't pursue the subject. George's stock was apparently low that a.m.
The next item in the day's programme occurred a few minutes later when the morning papers arrived.
Mrs. Vanderley opened hers and gave a scream.
"The poor, dear Prince!" she said.
"What a shocking thing!" said old Marshall.
"I knew him in Vienna," said Mrs. Vanderley. "He waltzed divinely."
Then I got at mine and saw what they were talking about. The paper was full of it. It seemed that late the night before His Serene Highness the Prince of Saxburg-Leignitz (I always wonder why they call these chaps "Serene") had been murderously assaulted in a dark street on his way back from the Casino to his yacht. Apparently he had developed the habit of going about without an escort, and some rough-neck, taking advantage of this, had laid for him and slugged him with considerable vim. The Prince had been found lying pretty well beaten up and insensible in the street by a passing pedestrian, and had been taken back to his yacht, where he still lay unconscious.
"This is going to do somebody no good," I said. "What do you get for slugging a Serene Highness? I wonder if they'll catch the fellow?"
"'Later,'" read old Marshall, "'the pedestrian who discovered His Serene Highness proves to have been Mr. Denman Sturgis, the eminent private investigator. Mr. Sturgis has offered his services to the police, and is understood to be in possession of a most important clue.' That's the fellow who had charge of that kidnapping case in Chicago. If anyone can catch the man, he can."
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|My Man Jeeves
P. G. Wodehouse
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