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Home -> P.G. Wodehouse -> Mike and Psmith -> Chapter 10

Mike and Psmith - Chapter 10

1. Preface

2. Chapter 1

3. Chapter 2

4. Chapter 3

5. Chapter 4

6. Chapter 5

7. Chapter 6

8. Chapter 7

9. Chapter 8

10. Chapter 9

11. Chapter 10

12. Chapter 11

13. Chapter 12

14. Chapter 13

15. Chapter 14

16. Chapter 15

17. Chapter 16

18. Chapter 17

19. Chapter 18

20. Chapter 19

21. Chapter 20

22. Chapter 21

23. Chapter 22

24. Chapter 23

25. Chapter 24

26. Chapter 25

27. Chapter 26

28. Chapter 27

29. Chapter 28

30. Chapter 29

31. Chapter 30



They say misfortunes never come singly. As Mike sat brooding over his
wrongs in his study, after the Sammy incident, Jellicoe came into the
room, and, without preamble, asked for the loan of a pound.

When one has been in the habit of confining one's lendings and
borrowings to sixpences and shillings, a request for a pound comes as
something of a blow.

"What on earth for?" asked Mike.

"I say, do you mind if I don't tell you? I don't want to tell anybody.
The fact is, I'm in a beastly hole."

"Oh, sorry," said Mike. "As a matter of fact, I do happen to have a
quid. You can freeze on to it, if you like. But it's about all I have
got, so don't be shy about paying it back."

Jellicoe was profuse in his thanks, and disappeared in a cloud of

Mike felt that Fate was treating him badly. Being kept in on Saturday
meant that he would be unable to turn out for Little Borlock against
Claythorpe, the return match. In the previous game he had scored
ninety-eight, and there was a lob bowler in the Claythorpe ranks whom he
was particularly anxious to meet again. Having to yield a sovereign to
Jellicoe--why on earth did the man want all that?--meant that, unless a
carefully worded letter to his brother Bob at Oxford had the desired
effect, he would be practically penniless for weeks.

In a gloomy frame of mind he sat down to write to Bob, who was playing
regularly for the Varsity this season, and only the previous week had
made a century against Sussex, so might be expected to be in a
sufficiently softened mood to advance the needful. (Which, it may be
stated at once, he did, by return of post.)

Mike was struggling with the opening sentences of this letter--he was
never a very ready writer--when Stone and Robinson burst into the room.

Mike put down his pen, and got up. He was in warlike mood, and welcomed
the intrusion. If Stone and Robinson wanted battle, they should have it.

But the motives of the expedition were obviously friendly. Stone beamed.
Robinson was laughing.

"You're a sportsman," said Robinson.

"What did he give you?" asked Stone.

They sat down, Robinson on the table, Stone in Psmith's deck chair.
Mike's heart warmed to them. The little disturbance in the dormitory was
a thing of the past, done with, forgotten, contemporary with Julius
Caesar. He felt that he, Stone and Robinson must learn to know and
appreciate one another.

There was, as a matter of fact, nothing much wrong with Stone and
Robinson. They were just ordinary raggers of the type found at every
public school, small and large. They were absolutely free from brain.
They had a certain amount of muscle, and a vast store of animal spirits.
They looked on school life purely as a vehicle for ragging. The Stones
and Robinsons are the swashbucklers of the school world. They go about,
loud and boisterous, with a wholehearted and cheerful indifference to
other people's feelings, treading on the toes of their neighbor and
shoving him off the pavement, and always with an eye wide open for any
adventure. As to the kind of adventure, they are not particular so long
as it promises excitement. Sometimes they go through their whole school
career without accident. More often they run up against a snag in the
shape of some serious-minded and muscular person, who objects to having
his toes trodden on and being shoved off the pavement, and then they
usually sober down, to the mutual advantage of themselves and the rest
of the community.

One's opinion of this type of youth varies according to one's point of
view. Small boys whom they had occasion to kick, either from pure high
spirits or as a punishment for some slip from the narrow path which the
ideal small boy should tread, regarded Stone and Robinson as bullies of
the genuine "Eric" and "St. Winifred's" brand. Masters were rather
afraid of them. Adair had a smouldering dislike for them. They were
useful at cricket, but apt not to take Sedleigh as seriously as he could
have wished.

As for Mike, he now found them pleasant company, and began to get out
the tea things.

"Those Fire Brigade meetings," said Stone, "are a rag. You can do what
you like, and you never get more than a hundred lines."

"Don't you!" said Mike. "I got Saturday afternoon."


"Is Wilson in too?"

"No. He got a hundred lines."

Stone and Robinson were quite concerned.

"What a beastly swindle!"

"That's because you don't play cricket. Old Downing lets you do what you
like if you join the Fire Brigade and play cricket."

"'We are, above all, a keen school,'" quoted Stone. "Don't you ever

"I have played a bit," said Mike.

"Well, why don't you have a shot? We aren't such flyers here. If you
know one end of a bat from the other, you could get into some sort of a
team. Were you at school anywhere before you came here?"

"I was at Wrykyn."

"Why on earth did you leave?" asked Stone. "Were you sacked?"

"No. My father took me away."

"Wrykyn?" said Robinson. "Are you any relation of the Jacksons
there--J.W. and the others?"



"Well, didn't you play at all there?"

"Yes," said Mike, "I did. I was in the team three years, and I should
have been captain this year, if I'd stopped on."

There was a profound and gratifying sensation. Stone gaped, and Robinson
nearly dropped his teacup.

Stone broke the silence.

"But I mean to say--look here? What I mean is, why aren't you playing?
Why don't you play now?"

"I do. I play for a village near here. Place called Lower Borlock. A man
who played against Wrykyn for the Free Foresters captains them. He asked
me if I'd like some games for them."

"But why not for the school?"

"Why should I? It's much better fun for the village. You don't get
ordered about by Adair, for a start."

"Adair sticks on side," said Stone.

"Enough for six," agreed Robinson.

"By Jove," said Stone, "I've got an idea. My word, what a rag!"

"What's wrong now?" inquired Mike politely.

"Why, look here. Tomorrow's Mid-Term Service Day. It's nowhere near the
middle of the term, but they always have it in the fourth week. There's
chapel at half past nine till half past ten. Then the rest of the day's
a whole holiday. There are always house matches. We're playing
Downing's. Why don't you play and let's smash them?"

"By Jove, yes," said Robinson. "Why don't you? They're always sticking
on side because they've won the house cup three years running. I say, do
you bat or bowl?"

"Bat. Why?"

Robinson rocked on the table.

"Why, old Downing fancies himself as a bowler. You _must_ play, and
knock the cover off him."

"Masters don't play in house matches, surely?"

"This isn't a real house match. Only a friendly. Downing always turns
out on Mid-Term Service Day. I say, do play."

"Think of the rag."

"But the team's full," said Mike.

"The list isn't up yet. We'll nip across to Barnes's study, and make him
alter it."

They dashed out of the room. From down the passage Mike heard yells of
"_Barnes_!" the closing of a door, and a murmur of excited conversation.
Then footsteps returning down the passage.

Barnes appeared, on his face the look of one who has seen visions.

"I say," he said, "is it true? Or is Stone rotting? About Wrykyn, I

"Yes, I was in the team."

Barnes was an enthusiastic cricketer. He studied his _Wisden_, and he
had an immense respect for Wrykyn cricket.

"Are you the M. Jackson, then, who had an average of fifty-one point
naught three last year?"


Barnes's manner became like that of a curate talking to a bishop.

"I say," he said, "then--er--will you play against Downing's tomorrow?"

"Rather," said Mike. "Thanks awfully. Have some tea?"

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