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|Right Ho, Jeeves||P. G. Wodehouse|
|Page 2 of 6||
She paused at this point and gave me a look. "I had been meaning to speak freely to you about your behaviour in that matter, Bertie," she said. "I had some good things all stored up. But, as you've rallied round like this, I suppose I shall have to let you off. And, anyway, it is probably all for the best that you evaded your obligations in that sickeningly craven way. I have an idea that this Spink-Bottle of yours is going to be good. If only he can keep off newts."
"Has he been talking about newts?"
"He has. Fixing me with a glittering eye, like the Ancient Mariner. But if that was the worst I had to bear, I wouldn't mind. What I'm worrying about is what Tom says when he starts talking."
"I wish there was something else you could call him except 'Uncle Tom'," said Aunt Dahlia a little testily. "Every time you do it, I expect to see him turn black and start playing the banjo. Yes, Uncle Tom, if you must have it. I shall have to tell him soon about losing all that money at baccarat, and, when I do, he will go up like a rocket."
"Still, no doubt Time, the great healer----"
"Time, the great healer, be blowed. I've got to get a cheque for five hundred pounds out of him for Milady's Boudoir by August the third at the latest."
I was concerned. Apart from a nephew's natural interest in an aunt's refined weekly paper, I had always had a soft spot in my heart for Milady's Boudoir ever since I contributed that article to it on What the Well-Dressed Man is Wearing. Sentimental, possibly, but we old journalists do have these feelings.
"Is the Boudoir on the rocks?"
"It will be if Tom doesn't cough up. It needs help till it has turned the corner."
"But wasn't it turning the corner two years ago?"
"It was. And it's still at it. Till you've run a weekly paper for women, you don't know what corners are."
"And you think the chances of getting into uncle--into my uncle by marriage's ribs are slight?"
"I'll tell you, Bertie. Up till now, when these subsidies were required, I have always been able to come to Tom in the gay, confident spirit of an only child touching an indulgent father for chocolate cream. But he's just had a demand from the income-tax people for an additional fifty-eight pounds, one and threepence, and all he's been talking about since I got back has been ruin and the sinister trend of socialistic legislation and what will become of us all."
I could readily believe it. This Tom has a peculiarity I've noticed in other very oofy men. Nick him for the paltriest sum, and he lets out a squawk you can hear at Land's End. He has the stuff in gobs, but he hates giving up.
"If it wasn't for Anatole's cooking, I doubt if he would bother to carry on. Thank God for Anatole, I say."
I bowed my head reverently.
"Good old Anatole," I said.
"Amen," said Aunt Dahlia.
Then the look of holy ecstasy, which is always the result of letting the mind dwell, however briefly, on Anatole's cooking, died out of her face.
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|Right Ho, Jeeves
P. G. Wodehouse
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