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|Right Ho, Jeeves||P. G. Wodehouse|
|Page 3 of 11||
"As I had anticipated, sir."
"That's more like it. Didn't I tell you it would be a flop?"
"I remember that you did seem dubious, sir."
"Dubious is no word for it, Jeeves. I hadn't a scrap of faith in the idea from the start. When you first mooted it, I said it was rotten, and I was right. I'm not blaming you, Jeeves. It is not your fault that you have sprained your brain. But after this--forgive me if I hurt your feelings, Jeeves----I shall know better than to allow you to handle any but the simplest and most elementary problems. It is best to be candid about this, don't you think? Kindest to be frank and straightforward?"
"I mean, the surgeon's knife, what?"
"If you will pardon me for interrupting you, sir, I fancy Mrs. Travers is endeavouring to attract your attention."
And at this moment a ringing "Hoy!" which could have proceeded only from the relative in question, assured me that his view was correct.
"Just step this way a moment, Attila, if you don't mind," boomed that well-known--and under certain conditions, well-loved--voice, and I moved over.
I was not feeling unmixedly at my ease. For the first time it was beginning to steal upon me that I had not prepared a really good story in support of my questionable behaviour in ringing fire bells at such an hour, and I have known Aunt Dahlia to express herself with a hearty freedom upon far smaller provocation.
She exhibited, however, no signs of violence. More a sort of frozen calm, if you know what I mean. You could see that she was a woman who had suffered.
"Well, Bertie, dear," she said, "here we all are."
"Quite," I replied guardedly.
"Nobody missing, is there?"
"I don't think so."
"Splendid. So much healthier for us out in the open like this than frowsting in bed. I had just dropped off when you did your bell-ringing act. For it was you, my sweet child, who rang that bell, was it not?"
"I did ring the bell, yes."
"Any particular reason, or just a whim?"
"I thought there was a fire."
"What gave you that impression, dear?"
"I thought I saw flames."
"Where, darling? Tell Aunt Dahlia."
"In one of the windows."
"I see. So we have all been dragged out of bed and scared rigid because you have been seeing things."
Here Uncle Tom made a noise like a cork coming out of a bottle, and Anatole, whose moustache had hit a new low, said something about "some apes" and, if I am not mistaken, a "rogommier"--whatever that is.
"I admit I was mistaken. I am sorry."
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|Right Ho, Jeeves
P. G. Wodehouse
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