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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Gold Bat - Chapter V - MILL RECEIVES VISITORS
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The Gold Bat - Chapter V - MILL RECEIVES VISITORS Post by :Donna Category :Long Stories Author :P G Wodehouse Date :June 2011 Read :2049

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Trevor's first idea was that somebody had sent the letter for a
joke,--Clowes for choice.

He sounded him on the subject after breakfast.

"Did you send me that letter?" he inquired, when Clowes came into his
study to borrow a _Sportsman_.

"What letter? Did you send the team for tomorrow up to the sporter? I
wonder what sort of a lot the Town are bringing."

"About not giving Barry his footer colours?"

Clowes was reading the paper.

"Giving whom?" he asked.

"Barry. Can't you listen?"

"Giving him what?"

"Footer colours."

"What about them?"

Trevor sprang at the paper, and tore it away from him. After which he
sat on the fragments.

"Did you send me a letter about not giving Barry his footer colours?"

Clowes surveyed him with the air of a nurse to whom the family baby has
just said some more than usually good thing.

"Don't stop," he said, "I could listen all day."

Trevor felt in his pocket for the note, and flung it at him. Clowes
picked it up, and read it gravely.

"What _are footer colours?" he asked.

"Well," said Trevor, "it's a pretty rotten sort of joke, whoever sent
it. You haven't said yet whether you did or not."

"What earthly reason should I have for sending it? And I think you're
making a mistake if you think this is meant as a joke."

"You don't really believe this League rot?"

"You didn't see Mill's study 'after treatment'. I did. Anyhow, how do
you account for the card I showed you?"

"But that sort of thing doesn't happen at school."

"Well, it _has happened, you see."

"Who do you think did send the letter, then?"

"The President of the League."

"And who the dickens is the President of the League when he's at home?"

"If I knew that, I should tell Mill, and earn his blessing. Not that I
want it."

"Then, I suppose," snorted Trevor, "you'd suggest that on the strength
of this letter I'd better leave Barry out of the team?"

"Satirically in brackets," commented Clowes.

"It's no good your jumping on _me_," he added. "I've done nothing.
All I suggest is that you'd better keep more or less of a look-out. If
this League's anything like the old one, you'll find they've all sorts
of ways of getting at people they don't love. I shouldn't like to come
down for a bath some morning, and find you already in possession, tied
up like Robinson. When they found Robinson, he was quite blue both as
to the face and speech. He didn't speak very clearly, but what one
could catch was well worth hearing. I should advise you to sleep with a
loaded revolver under your pillow."

"The first thing I shall do is find out who wrote this letter."

"I should," said Clowes, encouragingly. "Keep moving."

In Seymour's house the Mill's study incident formed the only theme of
conversation that morning. Previously the sudden elevation to the first
fifteen of Barry, who was popular in the house, at the expense of
Rand-Brown, who was unpopular, had given Seymour's something to talk
about. But the ragging of the study put this topic entirely in the shade.
The study was still on view in almost its original condition of disorder,
and all day comparative strangers flocked to see Mill in his den, in
order to inspect things. Mill was a youth with few friends, and it is
probable that more of his fellow-Seymourites crossed the threshold of
his study on the day after the occurrence than had visited him in the
entire course of his school career. Brown would come in to borrow a
knife, would sweep the room with one comprehensive glance, and depart,
to be followed at brief intervals by Smith, Robinson, and Jones, who
came respectively to learn the right time, to borrow a book, and to ask
him if he had seen a pencil anywhere. Towards the end of the day, Mill
would seem to have wearied somewhat of the proceedings, as was proved
when Master Thomas Renford, aged fourteen (who fagged for Milton, the
head of the house), burst in on the thin pretence that he had mistaken
the study for that of his rightful master, and gave vent to a prolonged
whistle of surprise and satisfaction at the sight of the ruins. On
that occasion, the incensed owner of the dismantled study, taking a
mean advantage of the fact that he was a prefect, and so entitled to
wield the rod, produced a handy swagger-stick from an adjacent corner,
and, inviting Master Renford to bend over, gave him six of the best to
remember him by. Which ceremony being concluded, he kicked him out into
the passage, and Renford went down to the junior day-room to tell his
friend Harvey about it.

"Gave me six, the cad," said he, "just because I had a look at his
beastly study. Why shouldn't I look at his study if I like? I've a
jolly good mind to go up and have another squint."

Harvey warmly approved the scheme.

"No, I don't think I will," said Renford with a yawn. "It's such a fag
going upstairs."

"Yes, isn't it?" said Harvey.

"And he's such a beast, too."

"Yes, isn't he?" said Harvey.

"I'm jolly glad his study _has been ragged," continued the
vindictive Renford.

"It's jolly exciting, isn't it?" added Harvey. "And I thought this term
was going to be slow. The Easter term generally is."

This remark seemed to suggest a train of thought to Renford, who made
the following cryptic observation. "Have you seen them today?"

To the ordinary person the words would have conveyed little meaning. To
Harvey they appeared to teem with import.

"Yes," he said, "I saw them early this morning."

"Were they all right?"

"Yes. Splendid."

"Good," said Renford.

Barry's friend Drummond was one of those who had visited the scene of
the disaster early, before Mill's energetic hand had repaired the
damage done, and his narrative was consequently in some demand.

"The place was in a frightful muck," he said. "Everything smashed
except the table; and ink all over the place. Whoever did it must have
been fairly sick with him, or he'd never have taken the trouble to do
it so thoroughly. Made a fair old hash of things, didn't he, Bertie?"

"Bertie" was the form in which the school elected to serve up the name
of De Bertini. Raoul de Bertini was a French boy who had come to Wrykyn
in the previous term. Drummond's father had met his father in Paris,
and Drummond was supposed to be looking after Bertie. They shared a
study together. Bertie could not speak much English, and what he did
speak was, like Mill's furniture, badly broken.

"Pardon?" he said.

"Doesn't matter," said Drummond, "it wasn't anything important. I was
only appealing to you for corroborative detail to give artistic
verisimilitude to a bald and unconvincing narrative."

Bertie grinned politely. He always grinned when he was not quite equal
to the intellectual pressure of the conversation. As a consequence of
which, he was generally, like Mrs Fezziwig, one vast, substantial

"I never liked Mill much," said Barry, "but I think it's rather bad
luck on the man."

"Once," announced M'Todd, solemnly, "he kicked me--for making a row in
the passage." It was plain that the recollection rankled.

Barry would probably have pointed out what an excellent and
praiseworthy act on Mill's part that had been, when Rand-Brown came in.

"Prefects' meeting?" he inquired. "Or haven't they made you a prefect
yet, M'Todd?"

M'Todd said they had not.

Nobody present liked Rand-Brown, and they looked at him rather
inquiringly, as if to ask what he had come for. A friend may drop in
for a chat. An acquaintance must justify his intrusion.

Rand-Brown ignored the silent inquiry. He seated himself on the table,
and dragged up a chair to rest his legs on.

"Talking about Mill, of course?" he said.

"Yes," said Drummond. "Have you seen his study since it happened?"


Rand-Brown smiled, as if the recollection amused him. He was one of
those people who do not look their best when they smile.

"Playing for the first tomorrow, Barry?"

"I don't know," said Barry, shortly. "I haven't seen the list."

He objected to the introduction of the topic. It is never pleasant to
have to discuss games with the very man one has ousted from the team.

Drummond, too, seemed to feel that the situation was an embarrassing
one, for a few minutes later he got up to go over to the gymnasium.

"Any of you chaps coming?" he asked.

Barry and M'Todd thought they would, and the three left the room.

"Nothing like showing a man you don't want him, eh, Bertie? What do you
think?" said Rand-Brown.

Bertie grinned politely.

Content of CHAPTER V - MILL RECEIVES VISITORS (P G Wodehouse's novel: The Gold Bat)

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CHAPTER VI - TREVOR REMAINS FIRMThe most immediate effect of telling anybody not to do a thing is tomake him do it, in order to assert his independence. Trevor's first acton receipt of the letter was to include Barry in the team against theTown. It was what he would have done in any case, but, under thecircumstances, he felt a peculiar pleasure in doing it. The incidentalso had the effect of recalling to his mind the fact that he had triedBarry in the first instance on his own responsibility, withoutconsulting the committee. The committee of the first fifteen consistedof the two

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CHAPTER IV - THE LEAGUE'S WARNINGThe team to play in any match was always put upon the notice-board atthe foot of the stairs in the senior block a day before the date of thefixture. Both first and second fifteens had matches on the Thursday ofthis week. The second were playing a team brought down by an oldWrykinian. The first had a scratch game.When Barry, accompanied by M'Todd, who shared his study at Seymour'sand rarely left him for two minutes on end, passed by the notice-boardat the quarter to eleven interval, it was to the second fifteen listthat he turned his attention.