Ruggles of Red Gap

Harry Leon Wilson
Ruggles of Red Gap

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Title: Ruggles of Red Gap
Author: Harry Leon Wilson
Release Date: October, 2005 [EBook #9151] [Yes, we are more than
one year ahead of schedule] [This file was first posted on September 8,

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Language: English
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Harry Leon Wilson

At 6:30 in our Paris apartment I had finished the Honourable George,
performing those final touches that make the difference between a man
well turned out and a man merely dressed. In the main I was not
dissatisfied. His dress waistcoats, it is true, no longer permit the
inhalation of anything like a full breath, and his collars clasp too
closely. (I have always held that a collar may provide quite ample room

for the throat without sacrifice of smartness if the depth be at least two
and one quarter inches.) And it is no secret to either the Honourable
George or our intimates that I have never approved his fashion of beard,
a reddish, enveloping, brushlike affair never nicely enough trimmed. I
prefer, indeed, no beard at all, but he stubbornly refuses to shave,
possessing a difficult chin. Still, I repeat, he was not nearly impossible
as he now left my hands.
"Dining with the Americans," he remarked, as I conveyed the hat,
gloves, and stick to him in their proper order.
"Yes, sir," I replied. "And might I suggest, sir, that your choice be a
grilled undercut or something simple, bearing in mind the undoubted
effects of shell-fish upon one's complexion?" The hard truth is that after
even a very little lobster the Honourable George has a way of coming
out in spots. A single oyster patty, too, will often spot him quite all
"What cheek! Decide that for myself," he retorted with a lame effort at
dignity which he was unable to sustain. His eyes fell from mine.
"Besides, I'm almost quite certain that the last time it was the melon.
Wretched things, melons!"
Then, as if to divert me, he rather fussily refused the correct evening
stick I had chosen for him and seized a knobby bit of thornwood
suitable only for moor and upland work, and brazenly quite discarded
the gloves.
"Feel a silly fool wearing gloves when there's no reason!" he exclaimed
"Quite so, sir," I replied, freezing instantly.
"Now, don't play the juggins," he retorted. "Let me be comfortable.
And I don't mind telling you I stand to win a hundred quid this very
"I dare say," I replied. The sum was more than needed, but I had cause

to be thus cynical.
"From the American Johnny with the eyebrows," he went on with a
quite pathetic enthusiasm. "We're to play their American game of
poker--drawing poker as they call it. I've watched them play for near a
fortnight. It's beastly simple. One has only to know when to bluff."
"A hundred pounds, yes, sir. And if one loses----"
He flashed me a look so deucedly queer that it fair chilled me.
"I fancy you'll be even more interested than I if I lose," he remarked in
tones of a curious evenness that were somehow rather deadly. The
words seemed pregnant with meaning, but before I could weigh them I
heard him noisily descending the stairs. It was only then I recalled
having noticed that he had not changed to his varnished boots, having
still on his feet the doggish and battered pair he most favoured. It was a
trick of his to evade me with them. I did for them each day all that
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