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|Right Ho, Jeeves||P. G. Wodehouse|
|Page 5 of 7||
"That was Anatole, Aunt Dahlia's chef."
"To the core."
"That explains why I couldn't make him understand. What asses these Frenchmen are. They don't seem able to grasp the simplest thing. You'd have thought if a chap saw a chap on a skylight, the chap would realize the chap wanted to be let in. But no, he just stood there."
"Waving a few fists."
"Yes. Silly idiot. Still, here I am."
"Here you are, yes--for the moment."
"I was thinking that Tuppy is probably lurking somewhere."
He leaped like a lamb in springtime.
"What shall I do?"
I considered this.
"Sneak back to your room and barricade the door. That is the manly policy."
"Suppose that's where he's lurking?"
"In that case, move elsewhere."
But on arrival at the room, it transpired that Tuppy, if anywhere, was infesting some other portion of the house. Gussie shot in, and I heard the key turn. And feeling that there was no more that I could do in that quarter, I returned to the dining-room for further fruit salad and a quiet think. And I had barely filled my plate when the door opened and Aunt Dahlia came in. She sank into a chair, looking a bit shopworn.
"Give me a drink, Bertie."
"Any sort, so long as it's strong."
Approach Bertram Wooster along these lines, and you catch him at his best. St. Bernard dogs doing the square thing by Alpine travellers could not have bustled about more assiduously. I filled the order, and for some moments nothing was to be heard but the sloshing sound of an aunt restoring her tissues.
"Shove it down, Aunt Dahlia," I said sympathetically. "These things take it out of one, don't they? You've had a toughish time, no doubt, soothing Anatole," I proceeded, helping myself to anchovy paste on toast. "Everything pretty smooth now, I trust?"
She gazed at me in a long, lingering sort of way, her brow wrinkled as if in thought.
"Attila," she said at length. "That's the name. Attila, the Hun."
"I was trying to think who you reminded me of. Somebody who went about strewing ruin and desolation and breaking up homes which, until he came along, had been happy and peaceful. Attila is the man. It's amazing." she said, drinking me in once more. "To look at you, one would think you were just an ordinary sort of amiable idiot--certifiable, perhaps, but quite harmless. Yet, in reality, you are worse a scourge than the Black Death. I tell you, Bertie, when I contemplate you I seem to come up against all the underlying sorrow and horror of life with such a thud that I feel as if I had walked into a lamp post."
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|Right Ho, Jeeves
P. G. Wodehouse
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