Money in the Bank

Money in the Bank by P. G. Wodehouse Read Free Book Online

Book: Money in the Bank by P. G. Wodehouse Read Free Book Online
Authors: P. G. Wodehouse
one would have imagined, could have failed to recognise him for what he was, a living statue of contrition.
    But Chimp Twist was peculiarly situated. London, like the Chicago which a growing unpopularity had forced him to evacuate some years previously, was full of people who asked nothing more than to take a good poke at him, and his sensitive conscience suggested that Jeff must be one of these.
    True, the latter's appearance was not familiar to him, but then one is so apt to forget faces. And the cardinal fact remained that this glarer had just been throwing lethal objects at him, though of what nature he had not yet had leisure to ascertain. Reeling back, he paused for a while in thought.
    Jeff, meanwhile, had left his post. He had hurried from the room, and was clattering on his way downstairs to apologise. He was extremely doubtful whether any apology could really meet the case, but it was obvious that one must be offered. No right-thinking young man can sock a complete stranger on the frontal bone with a rock cake and just let the thing go without a word. There is a code in these matters.
    And so it came about that when Chimp Twist leaned forth on to the landing, his momentary inaction ended and his whole being intent on making a getaway while the going was good, the first thing he beheld over the banisters was his implacable assailant bounding up the stairs, plainly with the object of renewing hostilities at close quarters. His escape was cut off.
    But there was still a way. It was for precisely this sort of emergency that he kept that tall and spacious cupboard on his premises. To dart back into the office and dive for this sanctuary like a homing rabbit was with Chimp Twist the work of a moment. A few seconds later, he was curled up in its interior, breathing very softly through the nostrils, and Jeff, arriving at journey's end, found only an empty room.
    There was the desk. There, scattered about the floor, lay his generous donation of rock cakes. But from any sign of wax-moustached little men coldly awaiting explanations the place was entirely free. The theory was one which would have been scouted by anyone at all intimate with Chimp Twist, but it really looked as if he must have been snatched up to heaven in a fiery chariot.
    Jeff found himself running what might legitimately be called the gamut of the emotions—first, amazement at what seemed to him either a miracle or a first-rate conjuring trick; then, for he had never enjoyed the prospect of having to frame that apology, relief; and finally interest.
    This was the first time he had ever been in the office of a private investigator, and it occurred to him that here was an admirable opportunity of picking up a little atmosphere, which might come in useful when the moment arrived for starting his next novel. He sat down at the desk, noting as Fact One concerning these human bloodhounds, that they apparently liked to work in dusty surroundings, no doubt in order to retain the fingerprints of callers.
    And it was as he leaned back thoughtfully in the chair, wishing that a scrupulous sense of honour did not prohibit him from searching through the drawers and reading his absent host's correspondence, that someone knocked at the door, and there entered a girl at the sight of whom his head jerked back as if struck by a rock cake.
    "Mr. Adair?" she asked, in a charming voice, soft and musical like sheep bells at sunset.
    "Absolutely," said Jeff, coming to one of those instant decisions which were so characteristic of his eager, enthusiastic nature. The idea of not being the man she was looking for seemed to him too silly to be entertained for an instant.
    It was true, of course, that he had registered a vow to be cold and distant to all girls, but naturally that had never been intended to apply to special cases like this.
     
     

 
    CHAPTER VI
     
    There was a brief pause. Jeff was too fully occupied in taking in the newcomer's many perfections to be capable of

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