Excerpt from “Vile Bodies” by Evelyn Waugh ~~Thousand pounds~~

picture-VileBodies-Waugh‘What would you do if you suddenly got a thousand pounds?’ Adam asked.
‘A thousand pound,’ said the King, his eyes growing dreamy at the absurd vision. ‘Well, first I should buy a house and a motor car and a yacht and a new pair of gloves, and then I would start one little newspaper in my country to say that I must come back and be the King, and then I don’t know what I do, but I have such fun and grandness again.’
‘But you can’t do all that with a thousand pounds, you know, sir.’
‘No . . . can’t I not? . . . not with thousand pound . . . . Oh, well, then I think I buy a gold pen with eagles on him like the Liberals stole.’
‘I know what I’d do,’ said the Major. ‘I’d put it on a horse.’
‘What horse?’
‘I can tell you a likely outsider for the November Handicap. Horse named Indian Runner. It’s at twenty to one at present, and the odds are likely to lengthen. Now if you were to put a thousand on him to win and he won, why you’d be rich, wouldn’t you?’
‘Yes, so I would. How marvellous. D’you know, I think I’ll do that. It’s a very good idea. How can I do it?’
‘Just you give me the thousand and I’ll arrange it.’
‘I say, that’s awfully nice of you.’
‘Not at all.’
‘No, really, I think that’s frightfully nice of you. Look, here’s the money. Have a drink, won’t you?’
‘No, you have one with me.’
‘I said it first.’
‘Let’s both have one, then.’
‘Wait a minute though, I must go and telephone about this.’
He rang up the Ritz and got on to Nina.
‘Darling, you do telephone a lot, don’t you?’
‘Nina, I’ve something very important to say.’
‘Yes, darling.’
‘Nina, have you heard of a horse called Indian Runner?’
‘Yes, I think so. Why?’
‘What sort of a horse is it?’
‘My dear, quite the worst sort of horse. Mary Mouse’s mother owns it.’
‘Not a good horse.’
‘No.’
‘Not likely to win the November Handicap, I mean.’
‘Quite sure not to. I don’t suppose it’ll run even. Why?’
‘I say, Nina, d’you know I don’t think we shall be able to get married after all.’
‘Why not, my sweet?’
‘You see, I’ve put my thousand pounds on Indian Runner.’
‘That was silly. Can’t you get it back?’
‘I gave it to a Major.’
‘What sort of a Major?’
‘Rather a drunk one. I don’t know his name.’
‘Well, I should try and catch him. I must go back and eat now. Good-bye.’
But when he got back to Lottie’s parlour the Major was gone.
‘What Major?’ said Lottie, when he asked about him. ‘I never saw a Major.’
‘The one you introduced me to in the corner.’
‘How d’you know he’s a Major?’
‘You said he was.’

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1 Comment

Filed under Fiction, Literature

One response to “Excerpt from “Vile Bodies” by Evelyn Waugh ~~Thousand pounds~~

  1. Evelyn Waugh was born in London, England on 28 October 1903, and died on 10 April 1966, aged 62 years. ‘Vile Bodies’ was published in 1930.

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