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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesHead Of Kay's - Chapter XII - KENNEDY INTERVIEWS WALTON
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Head Of Kay's - Chapter XII - KENNEDY INTERVIEWS WALTON Post by :maxsim123 Category :Long Stories Author :P G Wodehouse Date :June 2011 Read :1952

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Head Of Kay's - Chapter XII - KENNEDY INTERVIEWS WALTON

CHAPTER XII - KENNEDY INTERVIEWS WALTON


"I'm very sorry," he said, when he rejoined the shivering group, "but
I'm afraid we shall have to call this match off. There seems to have
been a mistake. None of my team are anywhere about. I'm awfully sorry,
sir," he added, to Mr Blackburn, "to have given you all this trouble
for nothing."

"Not at all, Kennedy. We must try another day."

Mr Blackburn suspected that something untoward had happened in Kay's
to cause this sudden defection of the first fifteen of the house. He
knew that Kennedy was having a hard time in his new position, and he
did not wish to add to his discomfort by calling for an explanation
before an audience. It could not be pleasant for Kennedy to feel that
his enemies had scored off him. It was best to preserve a discreet
silence with regard to the whole affair, and leave him to settle it
for himself.

Jimmy Silver was more curious. He took Kennedy off to tea in his
study, sat him down in the best chair in front of the fire, and
proceeded to urge him to confess everything.

"Now, then, what's it all about?" he asked, briskly, spearing a muffin
on the fork and beginning to toast.

"It's no good asking me," said Kennedy. "I suppose it's a put-up job
to make me look a fool. I ought to have known something of this kind
would happen when I saw what they did to my first notice."

"What was that?"

Kennedy explained.

"This is getting thrilling," said Jimmy. "Just pass that plate.
Thanks. What are you going to do about it?"

"I don't know. What would you do?"

"My dear chap, I'd first find out who was at the bottom of it--there's
bound to be one man who started the whole thing--and I'd make it my
aim in life to give him the warmest ten minutes he'd ever had."

"That sounds all right. But how would you set about it?"

"Why, touch him up, of course. What else would you do? Before the
whole house, too."

"Supposing he wouldn't be touched up?"

"Wouldn't _be! He'd have to."

"You don't know Kay's, Jimmy. You're thinking what you'd do if this
had happened in Blackburn's. The two things aren't the same. Here the
man would probably take it like a lamb. The feeling of the house would
be against him. He'd find nobody to back him up. That's because
Blackburn's is a decent house instead of being a sink like Kay's. If I
tried the touching-up before the whole house game with our chaps, the
man would probably reply by going for me, assisted by the whole
strength of the company."

"Well, dash it all then, all you've got to do is to call a prefects'
meeting, and he'll get ten times worse beans from them than he'd have
got from you. It's simple."

Kennedy stared into the fire pensively.

"I don't know," he said. "I bar that prefects' meeting business. It
always seems rather feeble to me, lugging in a lot of chaps to help
settle some one you can't manage yourself. I want to carry this job
through on my own."

"Then you'd better scrap with the man."

"I think I will."

Silver stared.

"Don't be an ass," he said. "I was only rotting. You
can't go fighting all over the shop as if you were a fag. You'd lose
your prefect's cap if it came out."

"I could wear my topper," said Kennedy, with a grin. "You see," he
added, "I've not much choice. I must do something. If I took no notice
of this business there'd be no holding the house. I should be ragged to
death. It's no good talking about it. Personally, I should prefer
touching the chap up to fighting him, and I shall try it on. But he's
not likely to meet me half-way. And if he doesn't there'll be an
interesting turn-up, and you shall hold the watch. I'll send a kid
round to fetch you when things look like starting. I must go now to
interview my missing men. So long. Mind you slip round directly I send
for you."

"Wait a second. Don't be in such a beastly hurry. Who's the chap
you're going to fight?"

"I don't know yet. Walton, I should think. But I don't know."

"Walton! By Jove, it'll be worth seeing, anyhow, if we _are both
sacked for it when the Old Man finds out."

Kennedy returned to his study and changed his football boots for a
pair of gymnasium shoes. For the job he had in hand it was necessary
that he should move quickly, and football boots are a nuisance on a
board floor. When he had changed, he called Spencer.

"Go down to the senior dayroom," he said, "and tell MacPherson I want
to see him."

MacPherson was a long, weak-looking youth. He had been put down to
play for the house that day, and had not appeared.

"MacPherson!" said the fag, in a tone of astonishment, "not Walton?"

He had been looking forward to the meeting between Kennedy and his
ancient foe, and to have a miserable being like MacPherson offered as
a substitute disgusted him.

"If you have no objection," said Kennedy, politely, "I may want you to
fetch Walton later on."

Spencer vanished, hopeful once more.

"Come in, MacPherson," said Kennedy, on the arrival of the long one;
"shut the door."

MacPherson did so, feeling as if he were paying a visit to the
dentist. As long as there had been others with him in this affair he
had looked on it as a splendid idea. But to be singled out like this
was quite a different thing.

"Now," said Kennedy, "Why weren't you on the field this afternoon?"

"I--er--I was kept in."

"How long?"

"Oh--er--till about five."

"What do you call about five?"

"About twenty-five to," he replied, despondently.

"Now look here," said Kennedy, briskly, "I'm just going to explain to
you exactly how I stand in this business, so you'd better attend. I
didn't ask to be made head of this sewage depot. If I could have had
any choice, I wouldn't have touched a Kayite with a barge-pole. But
since I am head, I'm going to be it, and the sooner you and your
senior dayroom crew realise it the better. This sort of thing isn't
going on. I want to know now who it was put up this job. You wouldn't
have the cheek to start a thing like this yourself. Who was it?"

"Well--er--"

"You'd better say, and be quick, too. I can't wait. Whoever it was. I
shan't tell him you told me. And I shan't tell Kay. So now you can go
ahead. Who was it?"

"Well--er--Walton."

"I thought so. Now you can get out. If you see Spencer, send him here."

Spencer, curiously enough, was just outside the door. So close to it,
indeed, that he almost tumbled in when MacPherson opened it.

"Go and fetch Walton," said Kennedy.

Spencer dashed off delightedly, and in a couple of minutes Walton
appeared. He walked in with an air of subdued defiance, and slammed
the door.

"Don't bang the door like that," said Kennedy. "Why didn't you turn
out today?"

"I was kept in."

"Couldn't you get out in time to play?"

"No."

"When did you get out?"

"Six."

"Not before?"

"I said six."

"Then how did you manage to go down town--without leave, by the way,
but that's a detail--at half-past five?"

"All right," said Walton; "better call me a liar."

"Good suggestion," said Kennedy, cheerfully; "I will."

"It's all very well," said Walton. "You know jolly well you can say
anything you like. I can't do anything to you. You'd have me up before
the prefects."

"Not a bit of it. This is a private affair between ourselves. I'm not
going to drag the prefects into it. You seem to want to make this
house worse than it is. I want to make it more or less decent. We
can't both have what we want."

There was a pause.

"When would it be convenient for you to be touched up before the whole
house?" inquired Kennedy, pleasantly.

"What?"

"Well, you see, it seems the only thing. I must take it out of some
one for this house-match business, and you started it. Will tonight
suit you, after supper?"

"You'll get it hot if you try to touch me."

"We'll see."

"You'd funk taking me on in a scrap," said Walton.

"Would I? As a matter of fact, a scrap would suit me just as well.
Better. Are you ready now?"

"Quite, thanks," sneered Walton. "I've knocked you out before, and
I'll do it again."

"Oh, then it was you that night at camp? I thought so. I spotted your
style. Hitting a chap when he wasn't ready, you know, and so on. Now,
if you'll wait a minute, I'll send across to Blackburn's for Silver. I
told him I should probably want him as a time-keeper tonight."

"What do you want with Silver. Why won't Perry do?"

"Thanks, I'm afraid Perry's time-keeping wouldn't be impartial enough.
Silver, I think, if you don't mind."

Spencer was summoned once more, and despatched to Blackburn's. He
returned with Jimmy.

"Come in, Jimmy," said Kennedy. "Run away, Spencer. Walton and I are
just going to settle a point of order which has arisen, Jimmy. Will
you hold the watch? We ought just to have time before tea."

"Where?" asked Silver.

"My dormitory would be the best place. We can move the beds. I'll go
and get the keys."

Kennedy's dormitory was the largest in the house. After the beds had
been moved back, there was a space in the middle of fifteen feet one
way, and twelve the other--not a large ring, but large enough for two
fighters who meant business.

Walton took off his coat, waistcoat, and shirt. Kennedy, who was still
in football clothes, removed his blazer.

"Half a second," said Jimmy Silver--"what length rounds?"

"Two minutes?" said Kennedy to Walton.

"All right," growled Walton.

"Two minutes, then, and half a minute in between."

"Are you both ready?" asked Jimmy, from his seat on the chest of
drawers.

Kennedy and Walton advanced into the middle of the impromptu ring.

There was dead silence for a moment.

"Time!" said Jimmy Silver.

Content of CHAPTER XII - KENNEDY INTERVIEWS WALTON (P G Wodehouse's novel: Head of Kay's)

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