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Page 37

Doctor In The House (1946)

With the third pint a strange sensation swept over me. I felt terribly pleased with myself. Damn it ! I thought. I can drink with the best of them ! Someone started on the piano and Benskin began to sing. I didn't know any of the words, but I joined in the choruses with the rest.
`Your drink, Mr Gordon,' said the Padre, handing me another tankard.
I downed the fourth glass eagerly. But I felt the party had become confused. The faces and lights blurred into one another and the voices inexplicably came sometimes from far away, sometimes right in my ear. Snatches of song floated into my brain like weed on a sluggish sea.

'Caviar comes from the virgin sturgeon,' Benskin chanted. `Virgin sturgeon, very fine fish. Virgin sturgeon needs no urgin' That's why caviar's a very rare dish.'

I wedged myself against the bar for support. Someone next to me was telling a funny story to two men and their laughter sounded far off and eerie, like the three witches'.

`That pair of red plush breeches That pair of red plush breeches,

came from the piano corner.
`That Pair of red plush bre-e-e-ches That kept John Thomas warm.'

`Are you feeling all right?' a voice said in my ear. I mumbled something.

Page 38

Doctor In The House (1946)

`What's that, old man?'
`Bit sick,' I confessed briefly.
`Hold on a moment. I'll take you back to your digs. Where's he live, Benskin? Help me to get him in the car someone. Oh, and bring something along in case he vomits.'

The next morning Grimsdyke came round to my lodgings. `How is it?' he asked cheerily. `I feel awfully ill.'
`Simply a case of hangover vulgaris, old boy. I assure you
the prognosis is excellent. Here's half a grain of codeine.' `What happened to me?' I asked. Grimsdyke grinned.
`Let's say you've been blooded,' he said.

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