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If you could get at it Print E-mail
By Rudyard Kipling   
Wednesday, 04 July 2012

“That Cheyne boy’s the biggest nuisance aboard,” said a man in a frieze overcoat, shutting the door with a bang. “He isn’t wanted here. He’s too fresh.”
 
A white-haired German reached for a sandwich, and grunted between bites: “I know der breed. Ameriga is full of dot kind. I dell you should imbort ropes’ ends free under your dariff.”
 
“Pshaw! There isn’t any real harm to him. He’s more to be pitied than anything,” a man from New York drawled, as he lay at full length along the cushions under the wet skylight. “They’ve dragged him around from hotel to hotel ever since he was a kid. I was talking to his mother this morning. She’s a lovely lady, but she don’t pretend to manage him. He’s going to Europe to finish his education.”
 
“Education isn’t begun yet.” This was a Philadelphian, curled up in a corner. “That boy gets two hundred a month pocket-money, he told me. He isn’t sixteen either.”
 
“Railroads, his father, aind’t it’?” said the German.
 
“Yep. That and mines and lumber and shipping. Built one place at San Diego, the old man has; another at Los Angeles; owns half a dozen railroads, half the lumber on the Pacific slope, and lets his wife spend the money,” the Philadelphian went on lazily. “The
West don’t suit her, she says. She just tracks around with the boy and her nerves, trying to find out what’ll amuse him, I guess. Florida, Adirondacks, Lakewood, Hot Springs, New York, and round again. He isn’t much more than a second-hand hotel clerk now. When he’s finished in Europe he’ll be a holy terror.”
 
“What’s the matter with the old man attending to him personally’?” said a voice from the frieze ulster.
 
“Old man’s piling up the rocks. ‘Don’t want to be disturbed, I guess. He’ll find out his error a few years from now. ‘Pity, because there’s a heap of good in the boy if you could get at it.”

 

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