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|My Man Jeeves||P. G. Wodehouse|
Rallying Round Old George
|Page 6 of 12||
I read it through twice, and the second time I had one of those ideas I do sometimes get, though admittedly a chump of the premier class. I have seldom had such a thoroughly corking brain-wave.
"Why, old top," I said, "this lets you out."
"Lets me out of half the darned money, if that's what you mean. If this chap's not an imposter--and there's no earthly reason to suppose he is, though I've never heard my father say a word about him--we shall have to split the money. Aunt Emily's will left the money to my father, or, failing him, his 'offspring.' I thought that meant me, but apparently there are a crowd of us. I call it rotten work, springing unexpected offspring on a fellow at the eleventh hour like this."
"Why, you chump," I said, "it's going to save you. This lets you out of your spectacular dash across the frontier. All you've got to do is to stay here and be your brother Alfred. It came to me in a flash."
He looked at me in a kind of dazed way.
"You ought to be in some sort of a home, Reggie."
"Ass!" I cried. "Don't you understand? Have you ever heard of twin-brothers who weren't exactly alike? Who's to say you aren't Alfred if you swear you are? Your uncle will be there to back you up that you have a brother Alfred."
"And Alfred will be there to call me a liar."
"He won't. It's not as if you had to keep it up for the rest of your life. It's only for an hour or two, till we can get this detective off the yacht. We sail for England to-morrow morning."
At last the thing seemed to sink into him. His face brightened.
"Why, I really do believe it would work," he said.
"Of course it would work. If they want proof, show them your mole. I'll swear George hadn't one."
"And as Alfred I should get a chance of talking to Stella and making things all right for George. Reggie, old top, you're a genius."
"Well, it's only sometimes. I can't keep it up."
And just then there was a gentle cough behind us. We spun round.
"What the devil are you doing here, Voules," I said.
"I beg your pardon, sir. I have heard all."
I looked at George. George looked at me.
"Voules is all right," I said. "Decent Voules! Voules wouldn't give us away, would you, Voules?"
"But, Voules, old man," I said, "be sensible. What would you gain by it?"
"Financially, sir, nothing."
"Whereas, by keeping quiet"--I tapped him on the chest--"by holding your tongue, Voules, by saying nothing about it to anybody, Voules, old fellow, you might gain a considerable sum."
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P. G. Wodehouse
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