P. G. Wodehouse: The Man Upstairs and Other Stories

5. BY ADVICE OF COUNSEL (continued)

'Well, we seen a good deal of Miss Jane in the next week or so. We keeps Jerry under--what's it the heroine says in the melodrama? "Oh, cruel, cruel, S.P. something." Espionage, that's it. We keeps Jerry under espionage, and whenever he goes trickling round after the girl, we goes trickling round after him.

'"Things is running our way," says Gentleman to me, after one of these meetings. "That girl is getting cross with Jerry. She wants Reckless Rudolf, not a man who stands and grins when other men butt in on him and his girl. Mark my words, Jack. She'll get tired of Jerry, and go off and marry a soldier, and we'll live happy ever after." "Think so?" I says. "Sure of it," said Gentleman.

'It was the Sunday after this that Jerry Moore announces to us, wriggling, that he had an engagement to take supper with Jane and her folks. He'd have liked to have slipped away secret, but we was keeping him under espionage too crisp for that, so he has to tell us. "Excellent," said Gentleman. "It will be a great treat to Jack and myself to meet the family. We will go along with you." So off we all goes, and pushes our boots in sociable fashion under the Tuxton table. I looked at Miss Jane out of the corner of my eye; and, honest, that chin of hers was sticking out a foot, and Jerry didn't dare look at her. Love's young dream, I muses to myself, how swift it fades when a man has the nature and disposition of a lop-eared rabbit!

'The Tuxtons was four in number, not counting the parrot, and all male. There was Pa Tuxton, an old feller with a beard and glasses; a fat uncle; a big brother, who worked in a bank and was dressed like Moses in all his glory; and a little brother with a snub nose, that cheeky you'd have been surprised. And the parrot in its cage and a fat yellow dog. And they're all making themselves pleasant to Jerry, the wealthy future son-in-law, something awful. It's "How are the fowls, Mr Moore?" and "A little bit of this pie, Mr Moore; Jane made it," and Jerry sitting there with a feeble grin, saying "Yes" and "No" and nothing much more, while Miss Jane's eyes are snapping like Fifth of November fireworks. I could feel Jerry's chances going back a mile a minute. I felt as happy as a little child that evening. I sang going back home.

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