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|My Man Jeeves||P. G. Wodehouse|
Rallying Round Old George
|Page 7 of 12||
"Am I to understand, sir, that, because you are rich and I am poor, you think that you can buy my self-respect?"
"Oh, come!" I said.
"How much?" said Voules.
So we switched to terms. You wouldn't believe the way the man haggled. You'd have thought a decent, faithful servant would have been delighted to oblige one in a little matter like that for a fiver. But not Voules. By no means. It was a hundred down, and the promise of another hundred when we had got safely away, before he was satisfied. But we fixed it up at last, and poor old George got down to his state-room and changed his clothes.
He'd hardly gone when the breakfast-party came on deck.
"Did you meet him?" I asked.
"Meet whom?" said old Marshall.
"George's twin-brother Alfred."
"I didn't know George had a brother.
"Nor did he till yesterday. It's a long story. He was kidnapped in infancy, and everyone thought he was dead. George had a letter from his uncle about him yesterday. I shouldn't wonder if that's where George has gone, to see his uncle and find out about it. In the meantime, Alfred has arrived. He's down in George's state-room now, having a brush-up. It'll amaze you, the likeness between them. You'll think it is George at first. Look! Here he comes."
And up came George, brushed and clean, in an ordinary yachting suit.
They were rattled. There was no doubt about that. They stood looking at him, as if they thought there was a catch somewhere, but weren't quite certain where it was. I introduced him, and still they looked doubtful.
"Mr. Pepper tells me my brother is not on board," said George.
"It's an amazing likeness," said old Marshall.
"Is my brother like me?" asked George amiably.
"No one could tell you apart," I said.
"I suppose twins always are alike," said George. "But if it ever came to a question of identification, there would be one way of distinguishing us. Do you know George well, Mr. Pepper?"
"He's a dear old pal of mine."
"You've been swimming with him perhaps?"
"Every day last August."
"Well, then, you would have noticed it if he had had a mole like this on the back of his neck, wouldn't you?" He turned his back and stooped and showed the mole. His collar hid it at ordinary times. I had seen it often when we were bathing together.
"Has George a mole like that?" he asked.
"No," I said. "Oh, no."
"You would have noticed it if he had?"
"Yes," I said. "Oh, yes."
"I'm glad of that," said George. "It would be a nuisance not to be able to prove one's own identity."
That seemed to satisfy them all. They couldn't get away from it. It seemed to me that from now on the thing was a walk-over. And I think George felt the same, for, when old Marshall asked him if he had had breakfast, he said he had not, went below, and pitched in as if he hadn't a care in the world.
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P. G. Wodehouse
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