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|My Man Jeeves||P. G. Wodehouse|
Jeeves And The Hard-Boiled Egg
|Page 5 of 14||
"The duke has arrived, Jeeves."
"That'll be him at the door now."
Jeeves made a long arm and opened the front door, and the old boy crawled in, looking licked to a splinter.
"How do you do, sir?" I said, bustling up and being the ray of sunshine. "Your nephew went down to the dock to meet you, but you must have missed him. My name's Wooster, don't you know. Great pal of Bicky's, and all that sort of thing. I'm staying with him, you know. Would you like a cup of tea? Jeeves, bring a cup of tea."
Old Chiswick had sunk into an arm-chair and was looking about the room.
"Does this luxurious flat belong to my nephew Francis?"
"It must be terribly expensive."
"Pretty well, of course. Everything costs a lot over here, you know."
He moaned. Jeeves filtered in with the tea. Old Chiswick took a stab at it to restore his tissues, and nodded.
"A terrible country, Mr. Wooster! A terrible country! Nearly eight shillings for a short cab-drive! Iniquitous!" He took another look round the room. It seemed to fascinate him. "Have you any idea how much my nephew pays for this flat, Mr. Wooster?"
"About two hundred dollars a month, I believe."
"What! Forty pounds a month!"
I began to see that, unless I made the thing a bit more plausible, the scheme might turn out a frost. I could guess what the old boy was thinking. He was trying to square all this prosperity with what he knew of poor old Bicky. And one had to admit that it took a lot of squaring, for dear old Bicky, though a stout fellow and absolutely unrivalled as an imitator of bull-terriers and cats, was in many ways one of the most pronounced fatheads that ever pulled on a suit of gent's underwear.
"I suppose it seems rummy to you," I said, "but the fact is New York often bucks chappies up and makes them show a flash of speed that you wouldn't have imagined them capable of. It sort of develops them. Something in the air, don't you know. I imagine that Bicky in the past, when you knew him, may have been something of a chump, but it's quite different now. Devilish efficient sort of chappie, and looked on in commercial circles as quite the nib!"
"I am amazed! What is the nature of my nephew's business, Mr. Wooster?"
"Oh, just business, don't you know. The same sort of thing Carnegie and Rockefeller and all these coves do, you know." I slid for the door. "Awfully sorry to leave you, but I've got to meet some of the lads elsewhere."
Coming out of the lift I met Bicky bustling in from the street.
"Halloa, Bertie! I missed him. Has he turned up?
"He's upstairs now, having some tea."
"What does he think of it all?"
"He's absolutely rattled."
"Ripping! I'll be toddling up, then. Toodle-oo, Bertie, old man. See you later."
"Pip-pip, Bicky, dear boy."
He trotted off, full of merriment and good cheer, and I went off to the club to sit in the window and watch the traffic coming up one way and going down the other.
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|My Man Jeeves
P. G. Wodehouse
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