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|Right Ho, Jeeves||P. G. Wodehouse|
|Page 2 of 7||
"Oh!" she said.
I have always found that there is nothing that helps to ease you over one of these awkward moments like a spot of stage business. Find something to do with your hands, and it's half the battle. I grabbed a plate and hastened forward.
"A touch of salmon?"
"With a suspicion of salad?"
"If you please."
"And to drink? Name the poison."
"I think I would like a little orange juice."
She gave a gulp. Not at the orange juice, I don't mean, because she hadn't got it yet, but at all the tender associations those two words provoked. It was as if someone had mentioned spaghetti to the relict of an Italian organ-grinder. Her face flushed a deeper shade, she registered anguish, and I saw that it was no longer within the sphere of practical politics to try to confine the conversation to neutral topics like cold boiled salmon.
So did she, I imagine, for when I, as a preliminary to getting down to brass tacks, said "Er," she said "Er," too, simultaneously, the brace of "Ers" clashing in mid-air.
"I beg your pardon."
"You were saying----"
"You were saying----"
"No, please go on."
I straightened the tie, my habit when in this girl's society, and had at it:
"With reference to yours of even date----"
She flushed again, and took a rather strained forkful of salmon.
"You got my note?"
"Yes, I got your note."
"I gave it to Jeeves to give it to you."
"Yes, he gave it to me. That's how I got it."
There was another silence. And as she was plainly shrinking from talking turkey, I was reluctantly compelled to do so. I mean, somebody had got to. Too dashed silly, a male and female in our position simply standing eating salmon and cheese at one another without a word.
"Yes, I got it all right."
"I see. You got it."
"Yes, I got it. I've just been reading it. And what I was rather wanting to ask you, if we happened to run into each other, was--well, what about it?"
"What about it?"
"That's what I say: What about it?"
"But it was quite clear."
"Oh, quite. Perfectly clear. Very well expressed and all that. But--I mean--Well, I mean, deeply sensible of the honour, and so forth--but---- Well, dash it!"
She had polished off her salmon, and now put the plate down.
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|Right Ho, Jeeves
P. G. Wodehouse
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