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


The traveller champed meditatively at his steak. He paid no attention to the altercation which was in progress between the waiter and the man at the other end of the dingy room. The sounds of strife ceased. The waiter came over to the traveller's table and stood behind his chair. He was ruffled.

'If he meant lamb,' he said, querulously, 'why didn't he say "lamb", so's a feller could hear him? I thought he said "ham", so I brought ham. Now Lord Percy gets all peevish.'

He laughed bitterly. The traveller made no reply.

'If people spoke distinct,' said the waiter, 'there wouldn't be half the trouble there is in the world. Not half the trouble there wouldn't be. I shouldn't be here, for one thing. In this restawrong, I mean.' A sigh escaped him.

'I shouldn't,' he said, 'and that's the truth. I should be getting up when I pleased, eating and drinking all I wanted, and carrying on same as in the good old days. You wouldn't think, to look at me, would you now, that I was once like the lily of the field?'

The waiter was a tall, stringy man, who gave the impression of having no spine. In that he drooped, he might have been said to resemble a flower, but in no other respect. He had sandy hair, weak eyes set close together, and a day's growth of red stubble on his chin. One could not see him in the lily class.

'What I mean to say is, I didn't toil, neither did I spin. Ah, them was happy days! Lying on me back, plenty of tobacco, something cool in a jug--'

He sighed once more.

'Did you ever know a man of the name of Moore? Jerry Moore?'

The traveller applied himself to his steak in silence.

This is page 74 of 328. [Mark this Page]
Mark any page to add this title to Your Bookshelf. (0 / 10 books on shelf)
Customize text appearance:
Color: A A A A A   Font: Aa Aa   Size: 1 2 3 4 5   Defaults
(c) 2003-2012 LiteraturePage.com and Michael Moncur. All rights reserved.
For information about public domain texts appearing here, read the copyright information and disclaimer.