The Girl in Blue

Free The Girl in Blue by P.G. Wodehouse

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Authors: P.G. Wodehouse
got
talking of other things and I sort of overlooked it.
    A sigh
came over the wire.
    ‘I’ve
been afraid something like this would happen ever since you were dropped on
your head as a baby. Goodbye, Jerry.’
    ‘No,
no, wait, Uncle Bill, don’t hang up. You know this girl. She came to see you
this afternoon about a letter you wrote her. You told her that if she got in
touch with you, she would learn of something to her advantage.’
    A snort
at the other end of the wire told Jerry that he had at last succeeded in
enchaining his uncle’s interest.
    ‘Good
Lord! Was that the one? I remember now she said something about having met you.
Her name’s Hunnicut. Jane Hunnicut. She’s an air hostess.’
    ‘I
know.’
    ‘But I
don’t suppose she’ll be one much longer. She’s come unto money.
    ‘I
thought she might.’
    ‘From
some old man of the name of Donahue she appears to have met in the course of
her air-hostessing. He died the other day. I haven’t all the particulars, but I’ve
been on the phone with the New York lawyers, and they tell me he had no near
relations, so no chance of the will being contested. The whole pile comes to
Jane, and good luck to her. She struck me as a very nice girl, who thoroughly
deserves to hit the jackpot. She’ll get between one and two million dollars.
Goodbye, curse you, I must rush, or I’ll miss that blasted train.’
     
     
    3
     
    Thus spoke Willoughby, and
with no further delay he bounded off with his suitcase and his golf clubs.
    He left
an affectionate nephew staring before him with unseeing eyes, his general
aspect that of one who, like Lot’s wife, has been unexpectedly turned into a
pillar of salt.
    Jerry
was frankly appalled. To Jane Hunnicut, he presumed, these pennies from heaven,
if that was where old Mr Donahue had gone, had brought happiness and rejoicing,
for even in this era of depressed currencies between one and two million
dollars is always well worth having, but he saw in her sudden access to the
higher income tax brackets the crashing of all his hopes and dreams.
    Everyone’s
squeamishness starts somewhere, and his sprang into life at the thought of
becoming that familiar figure of farce, the impecunious suitor who is trying to
marry the heiress. For no matter how sincere the love of such a man may be, if
he shows a disposition to woo a millionairess, the world sniggers: and anyone
who has had a world sniggering at him will testify that the experience is a
most disagreeable one.
    We
pencil Jerry in, then, as a soul in torment and turn to Mabel the receptionist.

 
     
     
    CHAPTER SEVEN
     
     
     
     
     
    For the greater part of the day Mabel sat at her desk thinking of
absolutely nothing, coming out of her coma only when some caller arrived and it
was necessary to ask his name; but towards the end of the afternoon it was as
if new life had been breathed into the inert frame. Her thoughts had turned to
tea. Today this moment had coincided with Willoughby’s dash through the
waiting-room and disappearance into the world beyond. As his flying coat tails
vanished and all was still again a strong yearning filled her for the evening
cuppa.
    Usually
she sent Percy the office boy out for it, but with her employer absent it
seemed an excellent opportunity to refresh herself for once from a china cup
instead of one of those cardboard things. She welcomed, too, the chance of
doing a little window shopping.
    Percy,
when not running errands, spent his tine in a small cubbyhole down the corridor
reading the comics. He-could be summoned by a bell, and she went into
Willoughby’s office to press the requisite button.
    ‘I’m
going out, young Perce,’ she said when he appeared. ‘I shan’t be long. Park
yourself at my desk and take any telephone calls. Tell anyone who wants Mr
Scrope that he’s gone off for a short holiday and would they care to leave a
message. And be careful when you answer the phone to say “Office of Scrope,
Ashby and Pemberton” and

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