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|Right Ho, Jeeves||P. G. Wodehouse|
|Page 5 of 8||
"I know. And I disapproved. This habit of the younger g. of scattering 'darlings' about like birdseed is one that I deprecate. Lax, is how I should describe it."
"You tickled her ankles."
"In a purely cousinly spirit. It didn't mean a thing. Why, dash it, you must know that in the deeper and truer sense I wouldn't touch Angela with a barge pole."
"Oh? And why not? Not good enough for you?"
"You misunderstand me," I hastened to reply. "When I say I wouldn't touch Angela with a barge pole, I intend merely to convey that my feelings towards her are those of distant, though cordial, esteem. In other words, you may rest assured that between this young prune and myself there never has been and never could be any sentiment warmer and stronger than that of ordinary friendship."
"I believe it was you who tipped her off that I was in the larder last night, so that she could find me there with that pie, thus damaging my prestige."
"My dear Tuppy! A Wooster?" I was shocked. "You think a Wooster would do that?"
He breathed heavily.
"Listen," he said. "It's no good your standing there arguing. You can't get away from the facts. Somebody stole her from me at Cannes. You told me yourself that she was with you all the time at Cannes and hardly saw anybody else. You gloated over the mixed bathing, and those moonlight walks you had together----"
"Not gloated. Just mentioned them."
"So now you understand why, as soon as I can get you clear of this damned bench, I am going to tear you limb from limb. Why they have these bally benches in gardens," said Tuppy discontentedly, "is more than I can see. They only get in the way."
He ceased, and, grabbing out, missed me by a hair's breadth.
It was a moment for swift thinking, and it is at such moments, as I have already indicated, that Bertram Wooster is at his best. I suddenly remembered the recent misunderstanding with the Bassett, and with a flash of clear vision saw that this was where it was going to come in handy.
"You've got it all wrong, Tuppy," I said, moving to the left. "True, I saw a lot of Angela, but my dealings with her were on a basis from start to finish of the purest and most wholesome camaraderie. I can prove it. During that sojourn in Cannes my affections were engaged elsewhere."
"Engaged elsewhere. My affections. During that sojourn."
I had struck the right note. He stopped sidling. His clutching hand fell to his side.
"Is that true?"
"Who was she?"
"My dear Tuppy, does one bandy a woman's name?"
"One does if one doesn't want one's ruddy head pulled off."
I saw that it was a special case.
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|Right Ho, Jeeves
P. G. Wodehouse
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