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


'Ah, Miss Jeanne,' cried Paul, stricken, 'what is the matter? What is it? Why do you weep?'

'The patron,' sobbed Jeanne. 'He--'

'My angel,' said Paul, 'he is a pig.'

This was perfectly true. No conscientious judge of character could have denied that Paul had hit the bull's eye. Bredin was a pig. He looked like a pig; he ate like a pig; he grunted like a pig. He had the lavish embonpoint of a pig. Also a porcine soul. If you had tied a bit of blue ribbon round his neck you could have won prizes with him at a show.

Paul's eyes flashed with fury. 'I will slap him in the eye,' he roared.

'He called me a tortoise.'

'And kick him in the stomach,' added Paul.

Jeanne's sobs were running on second speed now. The anguish was diminishing. Paul took advantage of the improved conditions to slide an arm part of the way round her waist. In two minutes he had said as much as the ordinary man could have worked off in ten. All good stuff, too. No padding.

Jeanne's face rose from her apron like a full moon. She was too astounded to be angry.

Paul continued to babble. Jeanne looked at him with growing wrath. That she, who received daily the affectionate badinage of gentlemen in bowler hats and check suits, who had once been invited to the White City by a solicitor's clerk, should be addressed in this way by a waiter! It was too much. She threw off his hand.

'Wretched little man!' she cried, stamping angrily.

'My angel!' protested Paul.

Jeanne uttered a scornful laugh.

'You!' she said.

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