Love among the Chickens

by P. G. Wodehouse


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P. G. Wodehouse
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Excerpt: ... shall never forgive him for trying to drown papa." My heart bled for Mr. Henry Hawk, that modern martyr. "When I met him," said Tom Chase, "he looked as if he had been trying to drown his sorrow as well." "I knew he drank," said Phyllis severely, "the very first time I saw him." "You might have warned the professor," murmured Mr. Chase. "He couldnt have upset the boat if he had been sober." "You never know. He may have done it on purpose." "Tom, how absurd." "Rather rough on the man, arent you?" I said. "Merely a suggestion," continued Mr. Chase airily. "Ive been reading sensational novels lately, and it seems to me that Mr. Hawks cut out to be a minion. Probably some secret foe of the professors bribed him." My heart stood still. Did he know, I wondered, and was this all a roundabout way of telling me he knew? "The professor may be a member of an Anarchist League, or something, and this is his punishment for refusing to assassinate some sportsman." "Have another cup of tea, Tom, and stop talking nonsense." Mr. Chase handed in his cup. "What gave me the idea that the upset was done on purpose was this. I saw the whole thing from the Ware Cliff. The spill looked to me just like dozens I had seen at Malta." "Why do they upset themselves on purpose at Malta particularly?" inquired Phyllis. "Listen carefully, my dear, and youll know more about the ways of the Navy that guards your coasts than you did before. When men are allowed on shore at Malta, the owner has a fancy to see them snugly on board again at a certain reasonable hour. After that hour any Maltese policeman who brings them aboard gets one sovereign, cash. But he has to do all the bringing part of it on his own. Consequence is, you see boats rowing out to the ship, carrying men who have overstayed their leave; and when they get near enough, the able-bodied gentleman in custody jumps to his feet, upsets the boat, and swims for the gangway. The policemen, if they arent...

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