Monday, May 23, 2011

Clustering Round Young Bingo

'Has Jeeves thought of another scheme?'
'No, but I have.' Bingo bent forward and patted my knee affectionately. 'Look here, Bertie,' he said, 'you and I were at school together. You'll admit that?'
'Yes, but--'
'And you're a fellow who never lets a pal down.  That's well known, isn't it?'
'Yes, but listen--'
'You'll cluster round.  Of course you will.  As if,' said Bingo with a scornful laugh, 'I ever doubted it! You won't let an old school-friend down in his hour of need.  Not you.  Not Bertie Wooster.  No, no!'
'Yes, but just one moment.  What is this scheme of yours?'
Bingo massaged my shoulder soothingly.
'It's something right in your line, Bertie, old man; something that'll come as easy as pie to you.  As a matter of fact, you've done very much the same thing before-- that time you were telling me about when you pinched your uncle's Memoirs at Easby.  I suddenly remembered that and it gave me this idea.  It's--'
'Here! Listen!'
'It's all settled, Bertie.  Nothing for you to worry about.  Nothing whatever.  I see now that we have made a big mistake in ever trying to tackle this job in Jeeves's silly, roundabout way.  Much better to charge straight ahead without any of that finesse and fooling about.  And so--'
'Yes, but listen--'
'And so this afternoon I'm going to take Rosie to a matinee.  I shall leave the window of her study open, and when we have got well away you will climb in, pinch the cylinder and pop off again.  It's absurdly simple--'
'Yes, but half a second--'
'I know what you are going to say,' said bingo, raising his hand. 'How are you to find the cylinder? That's what is bothering you, isn't it?  Well, it will be quite easy.  Not a chance of a mistake.  The thing is in the top left-hand drawer of the desk, and the drawer will be left unlocked because Rosie's stenographer is to come around at four o'clock and type the article.'
'Now listen, Bingo,' I said. 'I am frightfully sorry for you and all that, but I must firmly draw the line at burglary.'
'But, dash it, I'm only asking you to do what you did at Easby.'
'No, you aren't. I was staying at Easby.  It was simply a case of having to lift a parcel off the hall table  I hadn't got to break into a house.  I'm sorry, but I simply will not break into your beastly house on any consideration whatever.'
He gazed at me, astonished and hurt.
'Is this Bertie Wooster speaking?' he said in a low voice.
'Yes, it is!'
'But, Bertie,' he said gently, 'we agreed that you were at school with me.'
'I don't care.'
'At school, Bertie.  The dear old school.'
'I don't care.  I will not--'
'I will not--'
'Oh, all right,' I said.
'There,' said young Bingo, patting me on the shoulder, 'spoke the true Bertram Wooster!'

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