Open main menu

Page:Tono-Bungay.djvu/338

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
330
TONO-BUNGAY

snippets! After all Tono-Bungay—it's not like a turf commission agent or anything like that! . . . There have of course been some very gentlemanly commission agents. It isn't like a fool of a scientific man who can't make money!"

My uncle grunted; we'd differed on that issue before.

A malignant humour took possession of me. "What would they call you?" I speculated. "The vicar would like Duffield. Too much like Duffer! Difficult thing, a title." I ran my mind over various possibilities. "Why not take a leaf from a socialist tract I came upon yesterday. Chap says we're all getting delocalized. Beautiful word—delocalized! Why not be the first delocalized peer? That gives you—Tono-Bungay! There is a Bungay, you know. Lord Tono of Bungay—in bottles everywhere. Eh?"

My uncle astonished me by losing his temper.

"Damn it, George, you don't seem to see I'm serious! You're always sneering at Tono-Bungay! As though it w r as some sort of swindle. It was perfec'ly legitimate trade, perfec'ly legitimate. Good value and a good article. . . . When I come up here and tell you plans and exchange idees—you sneer at me. You do. You don't see—it's a big thing. It's a big thing. You got to get used to new circumstances. You got to face what lies before us. You got to drop that tone." . . .


§9

My uncle was not altogether swallowed up in business and ambition. He kept in touch with modern thought. For example, he was, I know, greatly swayed