The Servant in the House eBook

Charles Rann Kennedy
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 90 pages of information about The Servant in the House.

[With sudden inspiration].  There’s one thing I can do!

MANSON.  What’s that?

ROBERT.  Renahnce ole Beelzebub an’ all ‘is bloomin’ wirks!  ’And us that brarss-band!

[He alludes to the ear-trumpet.  MANSON obeying, ROBERT jabs it into the ear of the BISHOP, who seems quite surprised.]

’Ere!  ‘Av’ you ever ’eard of ’ell?

BISHOP.  Of what?

ROBERT.  ’Ell. [Spelling.] H, E, double L, ’ell.

BISHOP.  Well, my dear sir, I think I ought to!

ROBERT.  Then, go there!  Aymen . . .

Now I’ll go an’ ‘av’ a look at our Bill’s drains, damn ’is eyes!

[He goes out through the main door, repentant.]

BISHOP.  The scoundrel!  Did you hear what he said?  I shall certainly report him to his bishop!

MANSON.  I don’t think I should. His bishop doesn’t mind a little plain speech now and again.

BISHOP.  A little plain speech!  Do you think it’s right for a clergyman to—­to direct me to perdition?

MANSON.  I think you are making a mistake:  the man who gave you your—­direction is not a clergyman.  He’s a scavenger.

BISHOP.  A scavenger!

MANSON.  Yes—­looks after drains.

BISHOP.  Do you mean to tell me that I’ve been sitting down to breakfast with a common working-man?

MANSON.  Yes; have you never done that before?

BISHOP.  My dear sir, whatever do you take me for?

MANSON.  A bishop of God’s church.

BISHOP.  Precisely!  Is it your custom to breakfast with working-men?

MANSON.  Every morning.  You see, I’m prejudiced:  I was one myself, once.

BISHOP.  You? . . .

MANSON.  Yes—­a long time ago, though:  people have forgotten.

BISHOP.  But, my dear brother, I am perfectly sure you never told people to go to . . .

MANSON.  Oh yes, quite frequently:  it would shock you to learn the language I really did use.  Perhaps, under the circumstances, it might be advisable to drop the subject at this point.

BISHOP [emphatically].  I most certainly agree with you there!  After all, it is a digression from the purpose for which we are here! . . .  Let me see, then:  where were we? . . .  Oh yes, I remember—­ Although, by the way, it was very ill-advised of you to speak your mind so openly in that man’s presence!  However . . .

To resume our—­how shall I call it ?—­our—­little understanding, eh?

MANSON.  That describes it most accurately.

BISHOP.  Now, you said, Let’s give as little, and grab as much as we can.  Of course, that is a playful way of putting it; but between ourselves, it expresses my sentiments exactly.

MANSON.  I knew that when I said it.

BISHOP [delighted].  My dear brother, your comprehension makes my heart warm.  I trust our relations may always remain as warm.

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The Servant in the House from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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