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Home -> P.G. Wodehouse -> Indiscretions of Archie -> Chapter 3

Indiscretions of Archie - Chapter 3

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



At about the same moment that Professor Binstead was clicking his
tongue in Mr. Brewster's sitting-room, Archie Moffam sat
contemplating his bride in a drawing-room on the express from Miami.
He was thinking that this was too good to be true. His brain had
been in something of a whirl these last few days, but this was one
thought that never failed to emerge clearly from the welter.

Mrs. Archie Moffam, nee Lucille Brewster, was small and slender. She
had a little animated face, set in a cloud of dark hair. She was so
altogether perfect that Archie had frequently found himself
compelled to take the marriage-certificate out of his inside pocket
and study it furtively, to make himself realise that this miracle of
good fortune had actually happened to him.

"Honestly, old bean--I mean, dear old thing,--I mean, darling," said
Archie, "I can't believe it!"


"What I mean is, I can't understand why you should have married a
blighter like me."

Lucille's eyes opened. She squeezed his hand.

"Why, you're the most wonderful thing in the world, precious!--
Surely you know that?"

"Absolutely escaped my notice. Are you sure?"

"Of course I'm sure! You wonder-child! Nobody could see you without
loving you!"

Archie heaved an ecstatic sigh. Then a thought crossed his mind. It
was a thought which frequently came to mar his bliss.

"I say, I wonder if your father will think that!"

"Of course he will!"

"We rather sprung this, as it were, on the old lad," said Archie
dubiously. "What sort of a man IS your father?"

"Father's a darling, too."

"Rummy thing he should own that hotel," said Archie. "I had a
frightful row with a blighter of a manager there just before I left
for Miami. Your father ought to sack that chap. He was a blot on the

It had been settled by Lucille during the journey that Archie should
be broken gently to his father-in-law. That is to say, instead of
bounding blithely into Mr. Brewster's presence hand in hand, the
happy pair should separate for half an hour or so, Archie hanging
around in the offing while Lucille saw her father and told him the
whole story, or those chapters of it which she had omitted from her
letter for want of space. Then, having impressed Mr. Brewster
sufficiently with his luck in having acquired Archie for a son-in-
law, she would lead him to where his bit of good fortune awaited

The programme worked out admirably in its earlier stages. When the
two emerged from Mr. Brewster's room to meet Archie, Mr. Brewster's
general idea was that fortune had smiled upon him in an almost
unbelievable fashion and had presented him with a son-in-law who
combined in almost equal parts the more admirable characteristics of
Apollo, Sir Galahad, and Marcus Aurelius. True, he had gathered in
the course of the conversation that dear Archie had no occupation
and no private means; but Mr. Brewster felt that a great-souled man
like Archie didn't need them. You can't have everything, and Archie,
according to Lucille's account, was practically a hundred per cent
man in soul, looks, manners, amiability, and breeding. These are the
things that count. Mr. Brewster proceeded to the lobby in a glow of
optimism and geniality.

Consequently, when he perceived Archie, he got a bit of a shock.

"Hullo--ullo--ullo!" said Archie, advancing happily.

"Archie, darling, this is father," said Lucille.

"Good Lord!" said Archie.

There was one of those silences. Mr. Brewster looked at Archie.
Archie gazed at Mr. Brewster. Lucille, perceiving without
understanding why that the big introduction scene had stubbed its
toe on some unlooked-for obstacle, waited anxiously for
enlightenment. Meanwhile, Archie continued to inspect Mr. Brewster,
and Mr. Brewster continued to drink in Archie.

After an awkward pause of about three and a quarter minutes, Mr.
Brewster swallowed once or twice, and finally spoke.


"Yes, father?"

"Is this true?"

Lucille's grey eyes clouded over with perplexity and apprehension.


"Have you really inflicted this--THIS on me for a son-in-law?"
Mr. Brewster swallowed a few more times, Archie the while watching
with a frozen fascination the rapid shimmying of his new relative's
Adam's-apple. "Go away! I want to have a few words alone with this--
This--WASSYOURDAMNAME?" he demanded, in an overwrought manner,
addressing Archie for the first time.

"I told you, father. It's Moom."


"It's spelt M-o-f-f-a-m, but pronounced Moom."

"To rhyme," said Archie, helpfully, "with Bluffinghame."

"Lu," said Mr. Brewster, "run away! I want to speak to-to-to--"

"You called me THIS before," said Archie.

"You aren't angry, father, dear?" said Lucilla

"Oh no! Oh no! I'm tickled to death!"

When his daughter had withdrawn, Mr. Brewster drew a long breath.

"Now then!" he said.

"Bit embarrassing, all this, what!" said Archie, chattily. "I mean
to say, having met before in less happy circs. and what not. Rum
coincidence and so forth! How would it be to bury the jolly old
hatchet--start a new life--forgive and forget--learn to love each
other--and all that sort of rot? I'm game if you are. How do we go?
Is it a bet?"

Mr. Brewster remained entirely unsoftened by this manly appeal to
his better feelings.

"What the devil do you mean by marrying my daughter?"

Archie reflected.

"Well, it sort of happened, don't you know! You know how these
things ARE! Young yourself once, and all that. I was most
frightfully in love, and Lu seemed to think it wouldn't be a bad
scheme, and one thing led to another, and--well, there you are,
don't you know!"

"And I suppose you think you've done pretty well for yourself?"

"Oh, absolutely! As far as I'm concerned, everything's topping! I've
never felt so braced in my life!"

"Yes!" said Mr. Brewster, with bitterness, "I suppose, from your
view-point, everything IS 'topping.' You haven't a cent to your
name, and you've managed to fool a rich man's daughter into marrying
you. I suppose you looked me up in Bradstreet before committing

This aspect of the matter had not struck Archie until this moment.

"I say!" he observed, with dismay. "I never looked at it like that
before! I can see that, from your point of view, this must look like
a bit of a wash-out!"

"How do you propose to support Lucille, anyway?"

Archie ran a finger round the inside of his collar. He felt
embarrassed, His father-in-law was opening up all kinds of new lines
of thought.

"Well, there, old bean," he admitted, frankly, "you rather have me!"
He turned the matter over for a moment. "I had a sort of idea of, as
it were, working, if you know what I mean."

"Working at what?"

"Now, there again you stump me somewhat! The general scheme was that
I should kind of look round, you know, and nose about and buzz to
and fro till something turned up. That was, broadly speaking, the

"And how did you suppose my daughter was to live while you were
doing all this?"

"Well, I think," said Archie, "I THINK we rather expected YOU to
rally round a bit for the nonce!"

"I see! You expected to live on me?"

"Well, you put it a bit crudely, but--as far as I had mapped
anything out--that WAS what you might call the general scheme of
procedure. You don't think much of it, what? Yes? No?"

Mr. Brewster exploded.

"No! I do not think much of it! Good God! You go out of my hotel--MY
hotel--calling it all the names you could think of--roasting it to
beat the band--"

"Trifle hasty!" murmured Archie, apologetically. "Spoke without
thinking. Dashed tap had gone DRIP-DRIP-DRIP all night--kept me
awake--hadn't had breakfast--bygones be bygones--!"

"Don't interrupt! I say, you go out of my hotel, knocking it as no
one has ever knocked it since it was built, and you sneak straight
off and marry my daughter without my knowledge."

"Did think of wiring for blessing. Slipped the old bean, somehow.
You know how one forgets things!"

"And now you come back and calmly expect me to fling my arms round
you and kiss you, and support you for the rest of your life!"

"Only while I'm nosing about and buzzing to and fro."

"Well, I suppose I've got to support you. There seems no way out of
it. I'll tell you exactly what I propose to do. You think my hotel
is a pretty poor hotel, eh? Well, you'll have plenty of opportunity
of judging, because you're coming to live here. I'll let you have a
suite and I'll let you have your meals, but outside of that--nothing
doing! Nothing doing! Do you understand what I mean?"

"Absolutely! You mean, 'Napoo!'"

"You can sign bills for a reasonable amount in my restaurant, and
the hotel will look after your laundry. But not a cent do you get
out me. And, if you want your shoes shined, you can pay for it
yourself in the basement. If you leave them outside your door, I'll
instruct the floor-waiter to throw them down the air-shaft. Do you
understand? Good! Now, is there anything more you want to ask?"

Archie smiled a propitiatory smile.

"Well, as a matter of fact, I was going to ask if you would stagger
along and have a bite with us in the grill-room?"

"I will not!"

"I'll sign the bill," said Archie, ingratiatingly. "You don't think
much of it? Oh, right-o!"

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