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The Jungle Upton Sinclair

Chapter 24

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"My fren', Mr. Rednose, Hamilton--shake han's."

The stately butler bowed his head, but made not a sound; and suddenly Master Freddie pointed an eager finger at him. "I know whuzzamatter wiz you, Hamilton--lay you a dollar I know! You think--hic--you think I'm drunk! Hey, now?"

And the butler again bowed his head. "Yes, sir," he said, at which Master Freddie hung tightly upon Jurgis's neck and went into a fit of laughter. "Hamilton, you damn ole scoundrel," he roared, "I'll 'scharge you for impudence, you see 'f I don't! Ho, ho, ho! I'm drunk! Ho, ho!"

The two waited until his fit had spent itself, to see what new whim would seize him. "Whatcha wanta do?" he queried suddenly. "Wanta see the place, ole chappie? Wamme play the guv'ner--show you roun'? State parlors--Looee Cans--Looee Sez--chairs cost three thousand apiece. Tea room Maryanntnet--picture of shepherds dancing--Ruysdael--twenty-three thousan'! Ballroom--balc'ny pillars--hic--imported--special ship--sixty-eight thousan'! Ceilin' painted in Rome--whuzzat feller's name, Hamilton--Mattatoni? Macaroni? Then this place--silver bowl--Benvenuto Cellini--rummy ole Dago! An' the organ--thirty thousan' dollars, sir--starter up, Hamilton, let Mr. Rednose hear it. No--never mind--clean forgot--says he's hungry, Hamilton--less have some supper. Only--hic--don't less have it here--come up to my place, ole sport--nice an' cosy. This way--steady now, don't slip on the floor. Hamilton, we'll have a cole spread, an' some fizz--don't leave out the fizz, by Harry. We'll have some of the eighteen-thirty Madeira. Hear me, sir?"

"Yes, sir," said the butler, "but, Master Frederick, your father left orders--"

And Master Frederick drew himself up to a stately height. "My father's orders were left to me--hic--an' not to you," he said. Then, clasping Jurgis tightly by the neck, he staggered out of the room; on the way another idea occurred to him, and he asked: "Any--hic--cable message for me, Hamilton?"

"No, sir," said the butler.

"Guv'ner must be travelin'. An' how's the twins, Hamilton?"

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"They are doing well, sir."

"Good!" said Master Freddie; and added fervently: "God bless 'em, the little lambs!"

They went up the great staircase, one step at a time; at the top of it there gleamed at them out of the shadows the figure of a nymph crouching by a fountain, a figure ravishingly beautiful, the flesh warm and glowing with the hues of life. Above was a huge court, with domed roof, the various apartments opening into it. The butler had paused below but a few minutes to give orders, and then followed them; now he pressed a button, and the hall blazed with light. He opened a door before them, and then pressed another button, as they staggered into the apartment.

It was fitted up as a study. In the center was a mahogany table, covered with books, and smokers' implements; the walls were decorated with college trophies and colors--flags, posters, photographs and knickknacks--tennis rackets, canoe paddles, golf clubs, and polo sticks. An enormous moose head, with horns six feet across, faced a buffalo head on the opposite wall, while bear and tiger skins covered the polished floor. There were lounging chairs and sofas, window seats covered with soft cushions of fantastic designs; there was one corner fitted in Persian fashion, with a huge canopy and a jeweled lamp beneath. Beyond, a door opened upon a bedroom, and beyond that was a swimming pool of the purest marble, that had cost about forty thousand dollars.

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The Jungle
Upton Sinclair

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