One should not doubt the integrity of one’s friends…

After the utter humiliation I suffered at Humphrey’s club, I couldn’t venture out for a week afterwards (except to visit the theatre, of course).

I vowed not to speak to that parvenu again and to remove him completely from my mind, until I remembered the matter of a small amount that I gave Bumphrey to invest on my behalf a few months ago. Therefore, against my better judgement, I picked up the telephone apparatus and gave him a call.

“What ho! Nigel, old chap!” he boomed down the wire, “How nice to hear your voice… Look old man, I’m sorry about that little incident the other week. Just a high-spirited bit of fun… Of course, you are welcome back there any time you want… You have my assurance on that… I have spoken with the right people, and let me assure that it will never happen again.”

Even though I knew that this was just another example of Humphrey’s usual flannel, I felt my resolve weakening, until I remembered why I was calling him.

“Cut out the flannel Humphrey,” I snapped. “I’m not calling you about that. I’m calling you about that small investment you encouraged me to make a while ago.”

“Jog my memory, Bookbinder old man…”

“You know damn well Bumphrey. It was the quarter of a million I gave you to invest in the ‘North Korea and Antarctica Hedge Fund’, or whatever you call it… I’ve heard nothing since I transferred that money to you. How is it doing? You know I have to subsist on my miserly Trust Fund. My resources aren’t infinite… I don’t think I’ve even seen a piece of paperwork relating this, although in general, as you know, I am not one for paperwork… But getting to the crux of the matter – Where are my returns Bumphrey?”

“Oh Nigel, stop panicking”, he replied calmly. “North Korea and Antarctica present a great investment opportunity at the moment precisely because they are so overlooked, and the common investment herd could not even begin to possess such insight as to consider investing there… So I, being your great friend, thought I would give you the opportunity to get in early before everyone else catches on… However, you won’t see magic returns over night. These of course take time….. But when it happens, you’ll have more money that you ever dreamed of…. You will be able to bathe in Champagne if you want to Nigel…”

At this point I felt rather ashamed that I had distrusted young Humphrey and apologised… “Look Humphrey, I’m sorry that I phoned you about such trifles. I guess you know best. After all, you do possess a splendid fortune. You must know a thing or two about money and investing…… As for me, well the whole thing makes my head hurt…. Actually, I think I need to go and lie down right now and drink a glass of champagne…. Anyway, I’ll leave you to it….. By the way, I’m involved in staging a couple of plays, and would like you to consider investing some cash in these.”

“Of course Nigel old chap!” he replied, “You always know I’ll be around to help. Give me a call soon.”

I felt terribly bad that I doubted young Bumphrey. I said to myself “Don’t even think about it Nigel old boy…. You’ll give yourself an ulcer…. Just let Humphrey get on with it, and listen to his advice….”

I settled down on my day bed with a pipe, a glass of champagne, and some drafts of a Play that I need to read through. Ah! Things aren’t so bad after all…. Sometimes I can get matters quite out of proportion…