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|My Man Jeeves||P. G. Wodehouse|
|Page 4 of 10||
"Hello!" I said. "Couldn't you find her?"
"Yes, I found her," he replied, with one of those bitter, hollow laughs.
Freddie sank into a chair and groaned.
"This isn't her cousin, you idiot!" he said.
"He's no relation at all. He's just a kid she happened to meet on the beach. She had never seen him before in her life."
"What! Who is he, then?"
"I don't know. Oh, Lord, I've had a time! Thank goodness you'll probably spend the next few years of your life in Dartmoor for kidnapping. That's my only consolation. I'll come and jeer at you through the bars."
"Tell me all, old boy," I said.
It took him a good long time to tell the story, for he broke off in the middle of nearly every sentence to call me names, but I gathered gradually what had happened. She had listened like an iceberg while he told the story he had prepared, and then--well, she didn't actually call him a liar, but she gave him to understand in a general sort of way that if he and Dr. Cook ever happened to meet, and started swapping stories, it would be about the biggest duel on record. And then he had crawled away with the kid, licked to a splinter.
"And mind, this is your affair," he concluded. "I'm not mixed up in it at all. If you want to escape your sentence, you'd better go and find the kid's parents and return him before the police come for you."
* * * * *
By Jove, you know, till I started to tramp the place with this infernal kid, I never had a notion it would have been so deuced difficult to restore a child to its anxious parents. It's a mystery to me how kidnappers ever get caught. I searched Marvis Bay like a bloodhound, but nobody came forward to claim the infant. You'd have thought, from the lack of interest in him, that he was stopping there all by himself in a cottage of his own. It wasn't till, by an inspiration, I thought to ask the sweet-stall man that I found out that his name was Medwin, and that his parents lived at a place called Ocean Rest, in Beach Road.
I shot off there like an arrow and knocked at the door. Nobody answered. I knocked again. I could hear movements inside, but nobody came. I was just going to get to work on that knocker in such a way that the idea would filter through into these people's heads that I wasn't standing there just for the fun of the thing, when a voice from somewhere above shouted, "Hi!"
I looked up and saw a round, pink face, with grey whiskers east and west of it, staring down from an upper window."
"Hi!" it shouted again.
"What the deuce do you mean by 'Hi'?" I said.
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|My Man Jeeves
P. G. Wodehouse
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