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|Right Ho, Jeeves||P. G. Wodehouse|
|Page 3 of 4||
"You mean one of the governesses."
"I don't mean one of the governesses. Listen, ass. There was a board of governors at Eton, wasn't there? Very well. So there is at Market Snodsbury Grammar School, and I'm a member of it. And they left the arrangements for the summer prize-giving to me. This prize-giving takes place on the last--or thirty-first--day of this month. Have you got that clear?"
I took another oz. of the life-saving and inclined my head. Even after a Pongo Twistleton birthday party, I was capable of grasping simple facts like these.
"I follow you, yes. I see the point you are trying to make, certainly. Market ... Snodsbury ... Grammar School ... Board of governors ... Prize-giving.... Quite. But what's it got to do with me?"
"You're going to give away the prizes."
I goggled. Her words did not appear to make sense. They seemed the mere aimless vapouring of an aunt who has been sitting out in the sun without a hat.
I goggled again.
"You don't mean me?"
"I mean you in person."
I goggled a third time.
"You're pulling my leg."
"I am not pulling your leg. Nothing would induce me to touch your beastly leg. The vicar was to have officiated, but when I got home I found a letter from him saying that he had strained a fetlock and must scratch his nomination. You can imagine the state I was in. I telephoned all over the place. Nobody would take it on. And then suddenly I thought of you."
I decided to check all this rot at the outset. Nobody is more eager to oblige deserving aunts than Bertram Wooster, but there are limits, and sharply denned limits, at that.
"So you think I'm going to strew prizes at this bally Dotheboys Hall of yours?"
"And make a speech?"
I laughed derisively.
"For goodness' sake, don't start gargling now. This is serious."
"I was laughing."
"Oh, were you? Well, I'm glad to see you taking it in this merry spirit."
"Derisively," I explained. "I won't do it. That's final. I simply will not do it."
"You will do it, young Bertie, or never darken my doors again. And you know what that means. No more of Anatole's dinners for you."
A strong shudder shook me. She was alluding to her chef, that superb artist. A monarch of his profession, unsurpassed--nay, unequalled--at dishing up the raw material so that it melted in the mouth of the ultimate consumer, Anatole had always been a magnet that drew me to Brinkley Court with my tongue hanging out. Many of my happiest moments had been those which I had spent champing this great man's roasts and ragouts, and the prospect of being barred from digging into them in the future was a numbing one.
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|Right Ho, Jeeves
P. G. Wodehouse
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