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Home -> P.G. Wodehouse -> Indiscretions of Archie -> Chapter 2

Indiscretions of Archie - Chapter 2

1. Chapter 1

2. Chapter 2

3. Chapter 3

4. Chapter 4

5. Chapter 5

6. Chapter 6

7. Chapter 7

8. Chapter 8

9. Chapter 9

10. Chapter 10

11. Chapter 11

12. Chapter 12

13. Chapter 13

14. Chapter 14

15. Chapter 15

16. Chapter 16

17. Chapter 17

18. Chapter 18

19. Chapter 19

20. Chapter 20

21. Chapter 21

22. Chapter 22

23. Chapter 23

24. Chapter 24

25. Chapter 25

26. Chapter 26

27. Dedication and Contents



Mr. Daniel Brewster sat in his luxurious suite at the Cosmopolis,
smoking one of his admirable cigars and chatting with his old
friend, Professor Binstead. A stranger who had only encountered Mr.
Brewster in the lobby of the hotel would have been surprised at the
appearance of his sitting-room, for it had none of the rugged
simplicity which was the keynote of its owner's personal appearance.
Daniel Brewster was a man with a hobby, He was what Parker, his
valet, termed a connoozer. His educated taste in Art was one of the
things which went to make the Cosmopolis different from and superior
to other New York hotels. He had personally selected the tapestries
in the dining-room and the various paintings throughout the
building. And in his private capacity he was an enthusiastic
collector of things which Professor Binstead, whose tastes lay in
the same direction, would have stolen without a twinge of conscience
if he could have got the chance.

The professor, a small man of middle age who wore tortoiseshell-
rimmed spectacles, flitted covetously about the room, inspecting its
treasures with a glistening eye. In a corner, Parker, a grave, lean
individual, bent over the chafing-dish, in which he was preparing
for his employer and his guest their simple lunch.

"Brewster," said Professor Binstead, pausing at the mantelpiece.

Mr. Brewster looked up amiably. He was in placid mood to-day. Two
weeks and more had passed since the meeting with Archie recorded in
the previous chapter, and he had been able to dismiss that
disturbing affair from his mind. Since then, everything had gone
splendidly with Daniel Brewster, for he had just accomplished his
ambition of the moment by completing the negotiations for the
purchase of a site further down-town, on which he proposed to erect
a new hotel. He liked building hotels. He had the Cosmopolis, his
first-born, a summer hotel in the mountains, purchased in the
previous year, and he was toying with the idea of running over to
England and putting up another in London, That, however, would have
to wait. Meanwhile, he would concentrate on this new one down-town.
It had kept him busy and worried, arranging for securing the site;
but his troubles were over now.

"Yes?" he said.

Professor Binstead had picked up a small china figure of delicate
workmanship. It represented a warrior of pre-khaki days advancing
with a spear upon some adversary who, judging from the contented
expression on the warrior's face, was smaller than himself.

"Where did you get this?"

"That? Mawson, my agent, found it in a little shop on the east

"Where's the other? There ought to be another. These things go in
pairs. They're valueless alone."

Mr. Brewster's brow clouded.

"I know that," he said shortly. "Mawson's looking for the other one
everywhere. If you happen across it, I give you carte blanche to buy
it for me."

"It must be somewhere."

"Yes. If you find it, don't worry about the expense. I'll settle up,
no matter what it is."

"I'll bear it in mind," said Professor Binstead. "It may cost you a
lot of money. I suppose you know that."

"I told you I don't care what it costs."

"It's nice to be a millionaire," sighed Professor Binstead.

"Luncheon is served, sir," said Parker.

He had stationed himself in a statutesque pose behind Mr. Brewster's
chair, when there was a knock at the door. He went to the door, and
returned with a telegram.

"Telegram for you, sir."

Mr. Brewster nodded carelessly. The contents of the chafing-dish had
justified the advance advertising of their odour, and he was too
busy to be interrupted.

"Put it down. And you needn't wait, Parker."

"Very good, sir."

The valet withdrew, and Mr. Brewster resumed his lunch.

"Aren't you going to open it?" asked Professor Binstead, to whom a
telegram was a telegram.

"It can wait. I get them all day long. I expect it's from Lucille,
saying what train she's making."

"She returns to-day?"

"Yes, Been at Miami." Mr. Brewster, having dwelt at adequate length
on the contents of the chafing-dish, adjusted his glasses and took
up the envelope. "I shall be glad--Great Godfrey!"

He sat staring at the telegram, his mouth open. His friend eyed him

"No bad news, I hope?"

Mr. Brewster gurgled in a strangled way.

"Bad news? Bad--? Here, read it for yourself."

Professor Binstead, one of the three most inquisitive men in New
York, took the slip of paper with gratitude.

"'Returning New York to-day with darling Archie,'" he read. "'Lots
of love from us both. Lucille.'" He gaped at his host. "Who is
Archie?" he enquired.

"Who is Archie?" echoed Mr. Brewster helplessly. "Who is--? That's
just what I would like to know."

"'Darling Archie,'" murmured the professor, musing over the
telegram. "'Returning to-day with darling Archie.' Strange!"

Mr. Brewster continued to stare before him. When you send your only
daughter on a visit to Miami minus any entanglements and she
mentions in a telegram that she has acquired a darling Archie, you
are naturally startled. He rose from the table with a bound. It had
occurred to him that by neglecting a careful study of his mail
during the past week, as was his bad habit when busy, he had lost an
opportunity of keeping abreast with current happenings. He
recollected now that a letter had arrived from Lucille some time
ago, and that he had put it away unopened till he should have
leisure to read it. Lucille was a dear girl, he had felt, but her
letters when on a vacation seldom contained anything that couldn't
wait a few days for a reading. He sprang for his desk, rummaged
among his papers, and found what he was seeking.

It was a long letter, and there was silence in the room for some
moments while he mastered its contents. Then he turned to the
professor, breathing heavily.

"Good heavens!"

"Yes?" said Professor Binstead eagerly. "Yes?"

"Good Lord!"


"Good gracious!"

"What is it?" demanded the professor in an agony.

Mr. Brewster sat down again with a thud.

"She's married!"


"Married! To an Englishman!"

"Bless my soul!"

"She says," proceeded Mr. Brewster, referring to the letter again,
"that they were both so much in love that they simply had to slip
off and get married, and she hopes I won't be cross. Cross!" gasped
Mr. Brewster, gazing wildly at his friend.

"Very disturbing!"

"Disturbing! You bet it's disturbing! I don't know anything about
the fellow. Never heard of him in my life. She says he wanted a
quiet wedding because he thought a fellow looked such a chump
getting married! And I must love him, because he's all set to love
me very much!"


Mr. Brewster put the letter down.

"An Englishman!"

"I have met some very agreeable Englishmen," said Professor

"I don't like Englishmen," growled Mr. Brewster. "Parker's an

"Your valet?"

"Yes. I believe he wears my shirts on the sly,'" said Mr. Brewster
broodingly, "If I catch him--! What would you do about this,

"Do?" The professor considered the point judiciary. "Well, really,
Brewster, I do not see that there is anything you can do. You must
simply wait and meet the man. Perhaps he will turn out an admirable

"H'm!" Mr. Brewster declined to take an optimistic view. "But an
Englishman, Binstead!" he said with pathos. "Why," he went on,
memory suddenly stirring, "there was an Englishman at this hotel
only a week or two ago who went about knocking it in a way that
would have amazed you! Said it was a rotten place! MY hotel!"

Professor Binstead clicked his tongue sympathetically. He understood
his friend's warmth.

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