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|Right Ho, Jeeves||P. G. Wodehouse|
|Page 6 of 9||
"Well, every little helps. You had better go and tell it to him."
"Very good, sir."
He passed from the room, and I unscrewed the flask and tilted into the jug a generous modicum of its contents. And scarcely had I done so, when there came to my ears the sound of footsteps without. I had only just time to shove the jug behind the photograph of Uncle Tom on the mantelpiece before the door opened and in came Gussie, curveting like a circus horse.
"What-ho, Bertie," he said. "What-ho, what-ho, what-ho, and again what-ho. What a beautiful world this is, Bertie. One of the nicest I ever met."
I stared at him, speechless. We Woosters are as quick as lightning, and I saw at once that something had happened.
I mean to say, I told you about him walking round in circles. I recorded what passed between us on the lawn. And if I portrayed the scene with anything like adequate skill, the picture you will have retained of this Fink-Nottle will have been that of a nervous wreck, sagging at the knees, green about the gills, and picking feverishly at the lapels of his coat in an ecstasy of craven fear. In a word, defeatist. Gussie, during that interview, had, in fine, exhibited all the earmarks of one licked to a custard.
Vastly different was the Gussie who stood before me now. Self-confidence seemed to ooze from the fellow's every pore. His face was flushed, there was a jovial light in his eyes, the lips were parted in a swashbuckling smile. And when with a genial hand he sloshed me on the back before I could sidestep, it was as if I had been kicked by a mule.
"Well, Bertie," he proceeded, as blithely as a linnet without a thing on his mind, "you will be glad to hear that you were right. Your theory has been tested and proved correct. I feel like a fighting cock."
My brain ceased to reel. I saw all.
"Have you been having a drink?"
"I have. As you advised. Unpleasant stuff. Like medicine. Burns your throat, too, and makes one as thirsty as the dickens. How anyone can mop it up, as you do, for pleasure, beats me. Still, I would be the last to deny that it tunes up the system. I could bite a tiger."
"What did you have?"
"Whisky. At least, that was the label on the decanter, and I have no reason to suppose that a woman like your aunt--staunch, true-blue, British--would deliberately deceive the public. If she labels her decanters Whisky, then I consider that we know where we are."
"A whisky and soda, eh? You couldn't have done better."
"Soda?" said Gussie thoughtfully. "I knew there was something I had forgotten."
"Didn't you put any soda in it?"
"It never occurred to me. I just nipped into the dining-room and drank out of the decanter."
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|Right Ho, Jeeves
P. G. Wodehouse
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