P. G. Wodehouse: Uneasy Money

Chapter 25

Bill made his way along the swaying train to the smoking-car, which was almost empty. It had come upon him overwhelmingly that he needed tobacco. He was in the mood when a man must either smoke or give up altogether the struggle with Fate. He lit his pipe, and looked out of the window at Long Island racing past him. It was only a blur to him.

The conductor was asking for tickets. Bill showed his mechanically, and the conductor passed on. Then he settled down once more to his thoughts. He could not think coherently yet. His walk to the station had been like a walk in a dream. He was conscious of a great, dull pain that weighed on his mind, smothering it. The trees and houses still moved past him in the same indistinguishable blur.

He became aware that the conductor was standing beside him, saying something about a ticket. He produced his once more, but this did not seem to satisfy the conductor. To get rid of the man, who was becoming a nuisance, he gave him his whole attention, as far as that smothering weight would allow him to give his whole attention to anything, and found that the man was saying strange things. He thought that he could not have heard him correctly.

'What?' he said.

'Lady back there told me to collect her fare from you,' repeated the conductor. 'Said you would pay.'

Bill blinked. Either there was some mistake or trouble had turned his brain. He pushed himself together with a supreme effort.

'A lady said I would pay her fare?'


'But--but why?' demanded Bill, feebly.

The conductor seemed unwilling to go into first causes.

'Search me!' he replied.

'Pay her fare!'

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