Wednesday, October 6, 2010


"In the outer office Miss Elphinstone was on the telephone.
"Oh, just a minute," she said as she saw Bill. She put a hand over the mouthpiece. "It's a girl."
"And I always wanted a boy. Too bad."
"Do you know anything about some pictures?"
"I know everything about all pictures."
"It's a Miss Benedick about some pictures she says she saw Mr. Gish about them the day before yesterday belonging to her uncle, Lord Buffenham."
"Ye gods, child, your syntax! What you mean, I presume, is that a Miss Benedick is calling with reference to certain paintings at present the property of her uncle, Lord Uffenham--not Buffenham--concerning which she has been in conference with my employer with a view to his selling them. Yes, I've been briefed about those. Out of the way, Elphinstone, let me grapple with this. Hello? Miss Benedick?"
"Oh, good morning. I'm speaking for my uncle, Lord Uffenham," said a voice, and Bill nearly dropped the receiver.
For the voice was a voice in a million, a voice that cast a spell and wooed the ear to listen, a voice that stole into a man's heart and stirred him up as with a ten-foot pole. He had never in his life heard anything that made so instant an appeal to him, and strange thrills ran up his spine and out at the roots of his hair.
With difficulty he contrived to speak.
"Was . . . was it about those pictures of Lord Uffenham's?"
"Yes."
"Down at Shipley Hall?"
"Yes."
"You called here about them the other day."
"Yes."
Bill wished that she would not confine herself to monosyllables. He wanted long, lovely sentences.
"I'm going to Shipley Hall this afternoon to look at them."
"Oh, good. Who are you?"
"Mr. Gish's assistant. Ah, shut up, woman."
"I beg your pardon?"
"I'm sorry. I was addressing the fatheaded lady receptionist at my elbow. She said she betted I couldn't say 'Mr. Gish's assistant' ten times quick."
"And can you?"
"I'm not sure."
"Well do try. And thank you ever so much. I'll tell my uncle." " ~The Butler did it --P.G. Wodehouse

1 comment:

Katya said...

Oh, delightful!
I will have to read it one of these days. :)