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|Right Ho, Jeeves||P. G. Wodehouse|
|Page 3 of 9||
I did, indeed. It was one of the high spots of my youth.
"Major-General Sir Wilfred Bosher came to distribute the prizes at that school," proceeded Gussie in a dull, toneless voice. "He dropped a book. He stooped to pick it up. And, as he stooped, his trousers split up the back."
"How we roared!"
Gussie's face twisted.
"We did, little swine that we were. Instead of remaining silent and exhibiting a decent sympathy for a gallant officer at a peculiarly embarrassing moment, we howled and yelled with mirth. I loudest of any. That is what will happen to me this afternoon, Bertie. It will be a judgment on me for laughing like that at Major-General Sir Wilfred Bosher."
"No, no, Gussie, old man. Your trousers won't split."
"How do you know they won't? Better men than I have split their trousers. General Bosher was a D.S.O., with a fine record of service on the north-western frontier of India, and his trousers split. I shall be a mockery and a scorn. I know it. And you, fully cognizant of what I am in for, come babbling about good news. What news could possibly be good to me at this moment except the information that bubonic plague had broken out among the scholars of Market Snodsbury Grammar School, and that they were all confined to their beds with spots?"
The moment had come for me to speak. I laid a hand gently on his shoulder. He brushed it off. I laid it on again. He brushed it off once more. I was endeavouring to lay it on for the third time, when he moved aside and desired, with a certain petulance, to be informed if I thought I was a ruddy osteopath.
I found his manner trying, but one has to make allowances. I was telling myself that I should be seeing a very different Gussie after lunch.
"When I said I had good news, old man, I meant about Madeline Bassett."
The febrile gleam died out of his eyes, to be replaced by a look of infinite sadness.
"You can't have good news about her. I've dished myself there completely."
"Not at all. I am convinced that if you take another whack at her, all will be well."
And, keeping it snappy, I related what had passed between the Bassett and myself on the previous night.
"So all you have to do is play a return date, and you cannot fail to swing the voting. You are her dream man."
He shook his head.
"What do you mean?"
"Not a bit of good trying."
"But I tell you she said in so many words----"
"It doesn't make any difference. She may have loved me once. Last night will have killed all that."
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|Right Ho, Jeeves
P. G. Wodehouse
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