Three Unsigned Pieces by P. G. Wodehouse
As is now well known, my friend Mr DUDLEY JONES perished under painful circumstances on the top of Mount Vesuvius. His passion for research induced him to lean over the edge of the crater in such a way as to upset his equipoise. When we retrieved him he was a good deal charred, and, to be brief, of very little use to anybody. One of our noblest poets speaks of a cat which was useless except to roast. In the case of DUDLEY JONES, even that poor exception would not have held good. He was done to a turn.
DUDLEY JONES was a man who devoted his best energy to the extinction of bores. With a clear-sightedness which few modern philanthropists possess, he recognised that, though Society had many enemies, none was so deadly as the bore. Burglars, indeed, JONES regarded with disapproval, and I have known him to be positively rude to a man who confessed in the course of conversation to being a forger. But his real foes were the bores, and all that one man could do to eliminate that noxious tribe, that did DUDLEY JONES do with all his might.
Of all his cases none seems to me so fraught with importance as the adventure of the Unwelcome Guest. It was, as JONES remarked at intervals of ten minutes, a black business. This guest-- but I will begin at the beginning.
We were standing at the window of our sitting-room in Grocer Square on the morning of June 8, 189--, when a new brougham swept clean up to our door. We heard the bell ring, and footsteps ascending the stairs.
There was a knock.
'Come in,' said JONES; and our visitor entered.
'My name is Miss PETTIGREW,' she observed, by way of breaking the ice.
'Please take a seat,' said JONES in his smooth professional accents. 'This is my friend WUDDUS. I generally allow him to remain during my consultations. You see, he makes himself useful in a lot of little ways, taking notes and so on. And then, if we