Uneasy Money
317 Pages
English

Uneasy Money

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Uneasy Money, by P.G. Wodehouse #9 in our series by P.G. WodehouseCopyright laws are changing all over the world. Be sure to check the copyright laws for your country before downloadingor redistributing this or any other Project Gutenberg eBook.This header should be the first thing seen when viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not remove it. Do notchange or edit the header without written permission.Please read the "legal small print," and other information about the eBook and Project Gutenberg at the bottom of thisfile. Included is important information about your specific rights and restrictions in how the file may be used. You can alsofind out about how to make a donation to Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla Electronic Texts****eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By Computers, Since 1971*******These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands of Volunteers!*****Title: Uneasy MoneyAuthor: P.G. WodehouseRelease Date: October, 2004 [EBook #6684] [Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule] [This file was firstposted on January 12, 2003] [Date last updated: February 27, 2005]Edition: 10Language: English*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK UNEASY MONEY ***Produced by Suzanne L. Shell, Tom Allen, Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.UNEASY MONEYBy P. G. Wodehouse1In a day in June, at the hour when London moves abroad in quest of lunch, ...

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Uneasy Money,
by P.G. Wodehouse #9 in our series by P.G.
Wodehouse
Copyright laws are changing all over the world. Be
sure to check the copyright laws for your country
before downloading or redistributing this or any
other Project Gutenberg eBook.
This header should be the first thing seen when
viewing this Project Gutenberg file. Please do not
remove it. Do not change or edit the header
without written permission.
Please read the "legal small print," and other
information about the eBook and Project
Gutenberg at the bottom of this file. Included is
important information about your specific rights and
restrictions in how the file may be used. You can
also find out about how to make a donation to
Project Gutenberg, and how to get involved.
**Welcome To The World of Free Plain Vanilla
Electronic Texts**
**eBooks Readable By Both Humans and By
Computers, Since 1971**
*****These eBooks Were Prepared By Thousands
of Volunteers!*****
Title: Uneasy MoneyAuthor: P.G. Wodehouse
Release Date: October, 2004 [EBook #6684] [Yes,
we are more than one year ahead of schedule]
[This file was first posted on January 12, 2003]
[Date last updated: February 27, 2005]
Edition: 10
Language: English
*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG
EBOOK UNEASY MONEY ***
Produced by Suzanne L. Shell, Tom Allen, Charles
Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading
Team.UNEASY MONEY
By P. G. Wodehouse
1
In a day in June, at the hour when London moves
abroad in quest of lunch, a young man stood at the
entrance of the Bandolero Restaurant looking
earnestly up Shaftesbury Avenue—a large young
man in excellent condition, with a pleasant, good-
humoured, brown, clean-cut face. He paid no
attention to the stream of humanity that flowed
past him. His mouth was set and his eyes wore a
serious, almost a wistful expression. He was
frowning slightly. One would have said that here
was a man with a secret sorrow.
William FitzWilliam Delamere Chalmers, Lord
Dawlish, had no secret sorrow. All that he was
thinking of at that moment was the best method of
laying a golf ball dead in front of the Palace
Theatre. It was his habit to pass the time in mental
golf when Claire Fenwick was late in keeping her
appointments with him. On one occasion she hadkept him waiting so long that he had been able to
do nine holes, starting at the Savoy Grill and
finishing up near Hammersmith. His was a simple
mind, able to amuse itself with simple things.
As he stood there, gazing into the middle distance,
an individual of dishevelled aspect sidled up, a
vagrant of almost the maximum seediness, from
whose midriff there protruded a trayful of a strange
welter of collar-studs, shoe-laces, rubber rings,
buttonhooks, and dying roosters. For some
minutes he had been eyeing his lordship
appraisingly from the edge of the kerb, and now,
secure in the fact that there seemed to be no
policeman in the immediate vicinity, he anchored
himself in front of him and observed that he had a
wife and four children at home, all starving.
This sort of thing was always happening to Lord
Dawlish. There was something about him, some
atmosphere of unaffected kindliness, that invited it.
In these days when everything, from the shape of
a man's hat to his method of dealing with
asparagus, is supposed to be an index to
character, it is possible to form some estimate of
Lord Dawlish from the fact that his vigil in front of
the Bandolero had been expensive even before the
advent of the Benedict with the studs and laces. In
London, as in New York, there are spots where it is
unsafe for a man of yielding disposition to stand
still, and the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and
Piccadilly Circus is one of them. Scrubby,
impecunious men drift to and fro there, waiting forthe gods to provide something easy; and the
prudent man, conscious of the possession of loose
change, whizzes through the danger zone at his
best speed, 'like one that on a lonesome road doth
walk in fear and dread, and having once turned
round walks on, and turns no more his head,
because he knows a frightful fiend doth close
behind him tread.' In the seven minutes he had
been waiting two frightful fiends closed in on Lord
Dawlish, requesting loans of five shillings till
Wednesday week and Saturday week respectively,
and he had parted with the money without a
murmur.
A further clue to his character is supplied by the
fact that both these needy persons seemed to
know him intimately, and that each called him Bill.
All Lord Dawlish's friends called him Bill, and he
had a catholic list of them, ranging from men
whose names were in 'Debrett' to men whose
names were on the notice boards of obscure clubs
in connexion with the non-payment of dues. He
was the sort of man one instinctively calls Bill.
The anti-race-suicide enthusiast with the rubber
rings did not call Lord Dawlish Bill, but otherwise
his manner was intimate. His lordship's gaze being
a little slow in returning from the middle distance—
for it was not a matter to be decided carelessly and
without thought, this problem of carrying the length
of Shaftesbury Avenue with a single brassy shot—
he repeated the gossip from the home. Lord
Dawlish regarded him thoughtfully.'It could be done,' he said, 'but you'd want a bit of
pull on it.
I'm sorry; I didn't catch what you said.'
The other obliged with his remark for the third time,
with increased pathos, for constant repetition was
making him almost believe it himself.
'Four starving children?'
'Four, guv'nor, so help me!'
'I suppose you don't get much time for golf then,
what?' said Lord
Dawlish, sympathetically.
It was precisely three days, said the man,
mournfully inflating a dying rooster, since his
offspring had tasted bread.
This did not touch Lord Dawlish deeply. He was not
very fond of bread. But it seemed to be troubling
the poor fellow with the studs a great deal, so,
realizing that tastes differ and that there is no
accounting for them, he looked at him
commiseratingly.
'Of course, if they like bread, that makes it rather
rotten, doesn't it? What are you going to do about
it?'
'Buy a dying rooster, guv'nor,' he advised. 'Causes
great fun and laughter.'
Lord Dawlish eyed the strange fowl withoutenthusiasm.
'No,' he said, with a slight shudder.
There was a pause. The situation had the
appearance of being at a deadlock.
'I'll tell you what,' said Lord Dawlish, with the air of
one who, having pondered, has been rewarded
with a great idea: 'the fact is, I really don't want to
buy anything. You seem by bad luck to be stocked
up with just the sort of things I wouldn't be seen
dead in a ditch with. I can't stand rubber rings,
never could. I'm not really keen on buttonhooks.
And I don't want to hurt your feelings, but I think
that squeaking bird of yours is about the beastliest
thing I ever met. So suppose I give you a shilling
and call it square, what?'
'Gawd bless yer, guv'nor.'
'Not at all. You'll be able to get those children of
yours some bread—I expect you can get a lot of
bread for a shilling. Do they really like it? Rum
kids!'
And having concluded this delicate financial deal
Lord Dawlish turned, the movement bringing him
face to face with a tall girl in white.
During the business talk which had just come to an
end this girl had been making her way up the side
street which forms a short cut between Coventry
Street and the Bandolero, and several admirers of
feminine beauty who happened to be using thesame route had almost dislocated their necks
looking after her. She was a strikingly handsome
girl. She was tall and willowy. Her eyes, shaded by
her hat, were large and grey. Her nose was small
and straight, her mouth, though somewhat hard,
admirably shaped, and she carried herself
magnificently. One cannot blame the policeman on
duty in Leicester Square for remarking to a
cabman as she passed that he envied the bloke
that that was going to meet.
Bill Dawlish was this fortunate bloke, but, from the
look of him as he caught sight of her, one would
have said that he did not appreciate his luck. The
fact of the matter was that he had only just finished
giving the father of the family his shilling, and he
was afraid that Claire had seen him doing it. For
Claire, dear girl, was apt to be unreasonable about
these little generosities of his. He cast a furtive
glance behind him in the hope that the
disseminator of expiring roosters had vanished, but
the man was still at his elbow. Worse, he faced
them, and in a hoarse but carrying voice he was
instructing Heaven to bless his benefactor.
'Halloa, Claire darling!' said Lord Dawlish, with a
sort of sheepish breeziness. 'Here you are.'
Claire was looking after the stud merchant, as,
grasping his wealth, he scuttled up the avenue.
'Only a bob,' his lordship hastened to say. 'Rather
a sad case, don't you know. Squads of children at
home demanding bread. Didn't want much else,apparently, but were frightfully keen on bread.'
'He has just gone into a public-house.'
'He may have gone to telephone or something,
what?'
'I wish,' said Claire, fretfully, leading the way down
the grillroom stairs, 'that you wouldn't let all London
sponge on you like this. I keep telling you not to. I
should have thought that if any one needed to
keep what little money he has got it was you.'
Certainly Lord Dawlish would have been more
prudent not to have parted with even eleven
shillings, for he was not a rich man. Indeed, with
the single exception of the Earl of Wetherby,
whose finances were so irregular that he could not
be said to possess an income at all, he was the
poorest man of his rank in the British Isles.
It was in the days of the Regency that the Dawlish
coffers first began to show signs of cracking under
the strain, in the era of the then celebrated Beau
Dawlish. Nor were his successors backward in the
spending art. A breezy disregard for the
preservation of the pence was a family trait. Bill
was at Cambridge when his predecessor in the
title, his Uncle Philip, was performing the
concluding exercises of the dissipation of the
Dawlish doubloons, a feat which he achieved so
neatly that when he died there was just enough
cash to pay the doctors, and no more. Bill found
himself the possessor of that most ironical thing, a
moneyless title. He was then twenty-three.