Blandings Castle and Elsewhere

Blandings Castle and Elsewhere by P. G. Wodehouse Read Free Book Online

Book: Blandings Castle and Elsewhere by P. G. Wodehouse Read Free Book Online
Authors: P. G. Wodehouse
uncomfortable
than it already was. He saw now that he had been
mistaken in this view. Agony beyond his liveliest dreams
flamed through his shrinking frame.
    The girl regarded him with a somewhat baffled look.
    'H'm!' she said disappointedly. 'It seems to be real. Unless,' she
continued, on a more optimistic note, 'he's fixed it on with
specially strong fish-glue or something. I'd better try again.'
    'No, don't,' said his lordship's daughter-in-law. 'It isn't Freddie.
I would have recognized him at once.'
    'Then he's a crook after all. Kindly step into that cupboard,
George, while I phone for the constabulary.'
    Lord Emsworth danced a few steps.
    'I will not step into cupboards. I insist on being heard. I don't
know who this woman is—'
    'My name's Jane Yorke, if you're curious.'
    'Ah! The woman who poisons my son's wife's mind against
him! I know all about you.' He turned to the girl in the kimono.
'Yesterday my son Frederick implored me by telegram to come to
London. I saw him at my club. Stop that dog barking!'
    'Why shouldn't he bark?' said Miss Yorke. 'He's in his own
home.'
    'He told me,' proceeded Lord Emsworth, raising his voice,
'that there had been a little misunderstanding between you—'
    'Little misunderstanding is good,' said Miss Yorke.
    'He dined with that woman for a purpose.'
    'And directly I saw them,' said Miss Yorke, 'I knew what the
purpose was.'
    The Hon. Mrs Threepwood looked at her friend,
wavering.
    'I believe it's true,' she said, 'and he really is Lord Emsworth.
He seems to know all that happened. How could he know if
Freddie hadn't told him?'
    'If this fellow is a crook from the other side, of course he
would know. The thing was in Broadway Whispers and Town
Gossip, wasn't it?'
    All the same—'
    The telephone bell rang sharply.
    'I assure you—' began Lord Emsworth.
    'Right!' said the unpleasant Miss Yorke, at the receiver.
'Send him right up.' She regarded his lordship with a brightly
triumphant eye. 'You're out of luck, my friend,' she said. 'Lord
Emsworth has just arrived, and he's on his way up now.'
    There are certain situations in which the human brain may be
excused for reeling. Lord Emsworth's did not so much reel as
perform a kind of dance, as if it were in danger of coming
unstuck. Always a dreamy and absent-minded man, unequal to
the rough hurly-burly of life, he had passed this afternoon
through an ordeal which might well have unsettled the most
practical. And this extraordinary announcement, coming on top
of all he had been through, was too much for him. He tottered
into the sitting-room and sank into a chair. It seemed to him
that he was living in a nightmare.
    And certainly in the figure that entered a few moments later
there was nothing whatever to correct this impression. It might
have stepped straight into anybody's nightmare and felt perfectly
at home right from the start.
    The figure was that of a tall, thin man with white hair and a
long and flowing beard of the same venerable hue. Strange as it
seemed that a person of such appearance should not have been
shot on sight early in his career, he had obviously reached an
extremely advanced age. He was either a man of about a hundred
and fifty who was rather young for his years or a man of about a
hundred and ten who had been aged by trouble.
    'My dear child!' piped the figure in a weak, quavering voice.
    'Freddie!' cried the girl in the kimono.
    'Oh, dash it!' said the figure.
    There was a pause, broken by a sort of gasping moan from
Lord Emsworth. More and more every minute his lordship was
feeling the strain.
    'Good God, guv'nor!' said the figure, sighting him.
    His wife pointed at Lord Emsworth.
    'Freddie, is that your father?'
    'Oh, yes. Rather. Of course. Absolutely. But he said he wasn't
coming.'
    'I changed my mind,' said Lord Emsworth in a low, stricken
voice.
    'I told you so, Jane,' said the girl. 'I thought he was Lord
Emsworth all the time. Surely you can see the likeness now?'
    A kind of wail escaped his

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