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|Right Ho, Jeeves||P. G. Wodehouse|
|Page 2 of 9||
"I've got good news for you, Gussie."
He looked at me with a sudden sharp interest.
"Has Market Snodsbury Grammar School burned down?"
"Not that I know of."
"Have mumps broken out? Is the place closed on account of measles?"
"Then what do you mean you've got good news?"
I endeavoured to soothe.
"You mustn't take it so hard, Gussie. Why worry about a laughably simple job like distributing prizes at a school?"
"Laughably simple, eh? Do you realize I've been sweating for days and haven't been able to think of a thing to say yet, except that I won't detain them long. You bet I won't detain them long. I've been timing my speech, and it lasts five seconds. What the devil am I to say, Bertie? What do you say when you're distributing prizes?"
I considered. Once, at my private school, I had won a prize for Scripture knowledge, so I suppose I ought to have been full of inside stuff. But memory eluded me.
Then something emerged from the mists.
"You say the race is not always to the swift."
"Well, it's a good gag. It generally gets a hand."
"I mean, why isn't it? Why isn't the race to the swift?"
"Ah, there you have me. But the nibs say it isn't."
"But what does it mean?"
"I take it it's supposed to console the chaps who haven't won prizes."
"What's the good of that to me? I'm not worrying about them. It's the ones that have won prizes that I'm worrying about, the little blighters who will come up on the platform. Suppose they make faces at me."
"How do you know they won't? It's probably the first thing they'll think of. And even if they don't--Bertie, shall I tell you something?"
"I've a good mind to take that tip of yours and have a drink."
I smiled. He little knew, about summed up what I was thinking.
"Oh, you'll be all right," I said.
He became fevered again.
"How do you know I'll be all right? I'm sure to blow up in my lines."
"Or drop a prize."
"Or something. I can feel it in my bones. As sure as I'm standing here, something is going to happen this afternoon which will make everybody laugh themselves sick at me. I can hear them now. Like hyenas.... Bertie!"
"Do you remember that kids' school we went to before Eton?"
"Quite. It was there I won my Scripture prize."
"Never mind about your Scripture prize. I'm not talking about your Scripture prize. Do you recollect the Bosher incident?"
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|Right Ho, Jeeves
P. G. Wodehouse
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