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Very Good Jeeves

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    VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

WHAT THIS BOOK" IS ABOUT 

Jeeves! Who does not know him — the 
perfect servant, the cream of gentlemen's 
gentlemen, the inimitable Jeeves! No situa- 
tion is ever too obscure for Jeeves, no cause 
is ever lost while Jeeves has a hand in the 
matter, the most nerve-shattering shocks 
cannot ruffle his equanimity or baffle his 
resource. Jeeves is incomparable. He is 
one of P. G. Wodehouse's greatest creations. 
In this new volume are related various further 
episodes in the career of Jeeves ; Mr. Wode- 
house has never written with gt eater sparkle 
or vivacity, and Jeeves has never been more 
superb. 

VERY GOOD, 
JEEVES ! 

BY 

P. G. WODEHOUSE 

HERBERT JENKINS LIMITED 
3 YORK STREET, ST. JAMES'S 
LONDON, S.W.i ffl S © 


To E. PHILLIPS OPPENHEIM 

PREFACE 

THE question of how long an author is to be 
allowed to* go on recording the adventures of 
any given character or characters is one that 
has frequently engaged the attention of thinking men. 
The publication of this book brings it once again into 
the foreground of national affairs. 

It is now some fourteen summers since, an eager 
lad in my early thirties, I started to write Jeeves 
stories: and many people think this nuisance should 
now cease. Carpers say that enough is enough. 
Cavillers say the same. They look down the vista 
of the years and see these chronicles multiplying like 
rabbits, and the prospect appals them. But against 
this must be set the fact that writing Jeeves stories 
gives me a great deal of pleasure and keeps me out of 
the public-houses. 

At what conclusion, then, do we arrive? The whole 
thing is undoubtedly very moot. 

From the welter of recrimination and argument one 
fact emerges — that we have here the third volume of 
a series. And what I do feel very strongly is that, 
if a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing well and 
thoroughly. It is perfectly possible, no doubt, to 
read Very Good, Jeeves / as a detached effort — or, 
indeed, not to read it at all : but I like to think that 
this country contains men of spirit who will not rest 

vii 


PREFACE 


content till they have dug down into the old oak chest 
and fetched up the sum necessary for the purchase of 
its two predecessors — The Inimitable Jeeves and Carry 
On, Jeeves ! Only so can the best results be obtained. 
Only so will allusions in the present volume to incidents 
occurring in the previous volumes become intelligible, 
instead of mystifying and befogging. 

We do you these two books at the laughable price 
of half-a-crown apiece, and the method of acquiring 
them is simplicity itself. 

All you have to do is to go to the nearest bookseller, 
when the following dialogue will take place: 

Yourself: Good morning, Mr. Bookseller. 
Bookseller: Good morning, Mr. Everyman. 
Yourself: I want The Inimitable Jeeves and Carry 
On, Jeeves I 

Bookseller: Certainly, Mr. Everyman. You make 
the easy payment of five shillings, and they will 
be delivered at your door in a plain van. 

Yourself: Good morning, Mr. Bookseller. 

Bookseller: Good morning, Mr. Everyman. 

Or take the case of a French visitor to London, 
whom, for want of a better name, we will call Jules 
St. Xavier Popinot. In this instance the little scene 
will run on these lines: 

AU COIN DE LIVRES 

Popinot: Bon jour, Monsieur le marchand de livres. 
Marchand: Bon jour, Monsieur. Quel beau temps 
aujourdhui, n'est-ce-pas? 



PREFACE 

ix 



Popinot: Absolument. Eskervous avez le Jeeves 
Inimitable et le Continuez, Jeeves! du maitre 
Vodeouse? 

Marchand: Mais certainement, Monsieur. 
Popinot: Donnez-moi les deux, s'il vous plait. 
Marchand: Oui, par exemple, morbleu. Et aussi 

la plume, Fencre, et la tante du jardiniere? 
Popinot: Je m^en fiche de cela. Je desire seulement 

le Vodeouse. 

Marchand : Pas de chemises, de cravats, ou le tonic 

pour les cheveux? 
Popinot: Seulement le Vodeouse, je vous assure. 
Marchand: Parfaitement, Monsieur. Deux-et-six 

pour chaque bibelot — exactement cinq roberts. 
Popinot: Bon jour, Monsieur. 
Marchand: Bon jour, Monsieur. 

As simple as that. 

See that the name "Wodehouse" is on every label. 



P. G. W. 



CONTENTS 



CHAP. 

I. Jeeves and the Impending Doom 



II. The Inferiority Complex of Old Si 

III. Jeeves and the Yule-Tide Spirit 

IV. Jeeves and the Song of Songs . 
V. Episode of the Dog McIntosh . 

VI. The Spot of Art 

VII, Jeeves and the Kid Clementina 

VIII. The Love That Purifies . 

IX. Jeeves and the Old School Chum 

X. Indian Summer of an Uncle 

XI. The Ordeal of Young Tuppy . 


VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



"CHAPTER I 

JEEVES AND THE IMPENDING DOOM 

IT was the morning of the day on which I was 
slated to pop down to my Aunt Agatha's place 
at Woollam Chersey in the county of Herts for 
a visit of three solid weeks; and. as I seated myself 
at the breakfast table, I don't mind confessing that 
the heart was singularly heavy. We Woosters are 
men of iron, but beneath my intrepid exterior at that 
moment there lurked a nameless dread. 

"Jeeves," I said, "I am not the old merry self this 
morning." 

" Indeed, sir? " 

"No, Jeeves. Far from it. Far from the old merry 
self." 

"I am sorry to hear that, sir." 

He uncovered the fragrant eggs and b., and I 
pronged a moody forkful. 

"Why — this is what I keep asking myself, Jeeves, 
— why has my Aunt Agatha invited me to her country 
seat?" 

"I could not say, sir." 

"Not because she is fond of me." 

"No, sir." 

15 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES f 



" It is a well-established fact that I give her a pain 
in the neck. How it happens I cannot say, but every 
time our paths cross, so to speak, it seems to be a 
mere matter of time before T perpetrate some ghastly 
floater and have her hopping atte*- me with her hatchet. 
The result being that she regards mi as a worm and 
an outcast. Am I right or wrcng, Jeeves?" 



"And yet now she has absolutely insisted on my 
scratching all previous engagements and buzzing down 
to Woollam Cherscy. She must have some sinister 
reason of which we know nothing. Can you blame 
me, Jeeves, if the heart is heavy?" 

" No, sir. Excuse me, sir, I fancy I heard the front- 
door bell." 

He shimmered out, and I took another listless stab 
at the e. and bacon. 

"A telegram, sir," said Jeeves, re-entering the 
presence. 

' ' Open it, Jeeves, and read contents. Who is it from ? ' ' 
"It is unsigned, sir." 

"You mean there's no name at the end of it?" 
"That is precisely what I was endeavouring to 
convey, sir." 
"Let's have a Iook." 

I scanned the thing. It was a rummy communica- 
tion. Rummy. No other word. 
As follows: 

Remember when you come here absolutely vital meet 
perfect strangers. 

We Woosters are not Very strong in the head, 
particularly at breakfast-time; and I was conscious 
of a dull ache between the eyebrows. 



Perfectly correct, sir. 




JEEVES AND THE IMPENDING DOOM 17 

"What does it mean, Jeeves?" 

"I could not say, sir." 

"It says 'come here.' Where's here?" 

"You will notice that the message was handed in 
at.Woollam Chcrsey, sir." 

"You're absolutely right. At Woollam, as you 
very cleverly spotted, Chcrsey. This tells us something, 
Jeeves." § 

"What, sir?" ' 

"I don't know. It couldn't be from my Aunt 
Agatha, do you think?" 
"Hardly, sir." 

" No ; you're right again. Then all we can say is that 
some person unknown, resident at Woollam Chcrsey, 
considers it absolutely vital for me to meet perfect 
strangers. But why should I meet perfect strangers, 
Jeeves? " 

"I could not say, sir." 

"And yet, looking at it from another angle, why 
shouldn't I?" 
"Precisely, sir." 

" Then what it comes to is that the thing is a mystery 
which time alone can solve. We must wait and see, 
Jeeves." 

"The very expression I was about to employ, sir." 

I hit Woollam Chcrsey at about four o'clock, and 
found Aunt Agatha in her lair, writing letters. And, 
from what I know of her, probably offensive letters, 
with nasty postscripts. She regarded me with not 
a fearful lot of joy. 

"Oh, there you are, Bertie." 

"Yes, here I am." 

"There's a smut on your nose." 



18 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

I plied the handkerchief. 

"I am glad you have arrived so early. 1 want to 
have a word with you before you meet Mr. Filmer." 
"Who?" 

"Mr. Filmcr, the Cabinet Minister. He is staying 
in the house. Surely even you must have heard of 
Mr. Filmer?" 

"Oh, rather/' I said, thougl^as a matter of fact 
the bird was completely unknown v to me. What with 
one thing and another, I'm not frightfully up in the 
personnel of the political world. 

"I particularly wish you to make a good impres- 
sion on Mr. Filmer." 

"Right-ho." 

"Don't speak in that casual way, as if you sup- 
posed that it was perfectly natural that you would 
make a good impression upon him. Mr. Filmer is a 
serious-minded man of high character and purpose, and 
you are just the type of vapid and frivolous wastrel 
against which he is most likely to be prejudiced." 

Hard words, of course, from one's own flesh and 
blood, but well in keeping with past form. 

"You will endeavour, therefore, while you are here 
not to display yourself in the role of a vapid and 
frivolous wastrel. In the first place, you will give up 
smoking during your visit." 

"Oh, I say!" 

"Mr. Filmer is president of the Anti-Tobacco 
League. Nor will you drink alcoholic stimulants." 
"Oh, dash it!" 

"And you will kindly exclude from your conver- 
sation all that is suggestive of the bar, the billiard- 
room, and the stage-door. Mr. Filmer will judge you 
largely by your conversation." 



JEEVES AND THE IMPENDING DOOM 19 
I rose to a point of order. 

"Yes, but why have T got to make an impression 
on this — on Mr. Filmer?" 

"Because," said the old relative, giving me the 
eye, "I particularly wish it." 

Not, perhaps, a notably snappy come-back as 
come-backs go; but it was enough to show me that 
that was more or lesr/that ; and I beetled out with an 
aching heart. 

I headed for the garden, and I'm dashed if the 
first person I saw wasn't young Bingo Little. 

Bingo Little and I have been pals practically from 
birth. Born in the same village within a couple of 
days of one another, we went through kindergarten, 
Eton, and Oxford together; and, grown to riper years 
we have enjoyed in the old metrop. full many a first- 
class binge in each other's society. If there was one 
fellow in the world, I felt, who could alleviate the 
horrors of this blighted visit of mine, that bloke was 
young Bingo Little. 

But how he came to be there was more than I could 
understand. Some time before, you sec, he had 
married the celebrated authoress, Rosie M. Banks; 
and the last I had seen of him he had been on the 
point of accompanying her to America on a lecture 
tour. I distinctly remembered him cursing rather 
freely because the trip would mean his missing Ascot. 

Still, rummy as it might seem, here he was. And 
aching for the sight of a friendly face, I gave tongue 
like a bloodhound. 

"Bingo!" 

He spun round; and, by. Jove, his face wasn't 
friendly after all. It was what they call contorted. 
He waved his arms at me like a semaphore. 



20 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

'"Sh!" he hissed. " Would you ruin me?" 
"Eh?" 

"Didn't you get my telegram?" 
"Was that your telegram?" 
"Of course it was my telegram." 
"Then why didn't you sign it?" 
"I did sign it." 

"No, you didn't. I couldnV make out what it 
was all about." 

"Well, you got my letter." 
"What letter?" 
"Mv letter." 

"I didn't get any letter." 

"Then I must have forgotten to post it. It 
was to tell you that I was down here tutoring your 
Cousin Thomas, and that it was essential that, 
when we met, you should treat me as a perfect 
stranger." 

"But why?" 

"Because, if your aunt supposed that I was a pal 
of yours, she would naturally sack me on the spot." 
"Why? " 

Bingo raised his eyebrows. 

"Why? Be reasonable, Bertie. If you were your 
aunt, and you knew the sort of chap you were, would 
you let a fellow you knew to be your best pal tutor 
your son?" 

This made the old head swim a bit, but I got his 
meaning after awhile, and I had to admit that there 
was much rugged guod sense in what he said. Still, 
he hadn't explained what you might call the nub or 
gist of the mystery. 

" I thought you were in America," I said. 
. "Well, I'm not." 



JEEVES AND THE IMPENDING DOOM 21 

"Why not?" 

"Never mind why nol. I'm not." 

"But why have you taken a tutoring job?" 

"Never mind why. I have my reasons. And I 
want you to get it into your head, Bertie — to get it 
right through tic concrete —that you and I must not 
be seen hobnobbing. Your foul cousin was caught 
smoking in the shrrobcry the day before yesterday, 
and that has made my position pretty tottery, because 
your aunt said that, if I had exercised an adequate 
surveillance over him, it couldn't have happened. If, 
after that, she finds out I'ma friend of yours, nothing 
can save me from being shot out. And it is vital that 
I am not shot out." 

"Why?" 

"Never mind why." 

At this point he seemed to think he heard some- 
body coming, for he suddenly leaped with incredible 
agility into a laurel bush. And I toddled along to 
consult Jeeves about these rummy happenings. 

"Jeeves," I said, repairing to the bedroom, where 
he was unpacking my things, "you remember that 
telegram?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"It was from Mr. Little. He's here, tutoring my 
young Cousin Thomas." 
"Indeed, sir?" 

"I can't understand it. He appears to be a free 
agent, if you know what I mean ; and yet would any 
man who was a free agent wantonly come to a house 
which contained my Aunt Agatha?" 

"It seems peculiar, sir." • 

"Moreover, would anybody of his own free-will 
and as a mere pleasure-seeker tutor my Cousin Thomas, 



22 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

who is notoriously a tough egg and a fiend in human 
shape? " 

"Most improbable, sir." 

"These are deep waters, Jeeves." 

"Precisely, sir." 

"And the ghastly part of it all is that he seems to 
consider it necessary, in order to keep his job, to treat 
me like a long-lost leper. Thus khling my only chance 
of having anything approaching a decent time in this 
abode of desolation. For do you realize, Jeeves, 
that my aunt says I mustn't smoke while I'm here? " 

"Indeed, sir?" 

"Nor drink." 

"Why is this, sir?" 

" Because she wants mc — for some dark and furtive 
reason which she will not explain — to impress a fellow 
named Filmer." 

"Too bad, sir. However, many doctors, I under- 
stand, advocate such abstinence as the secret of health. 
They say it promotes a freer circulation of the blood 
and insures the arteries against premature hardening." 

"Oh, do they? Well, you can tell them next time 
you see them that they are silly asses." . 

"Very good, sir." 

And so began what, looking back along a fairly 
eventful career, I think I can confidently say was the 
scaliest visit I have ever experienced in the course 
of my life. What with the agony of missing the life- 
giving cocktail before dinner; the painful necessity 
of being obliged, every time I wanted a quiet cigarette, 
to lie on the floor in my bedroom and puff the smoke 
up the chimney; the constant discomfort of meeting 
Aunt Agatha round unexpected corners ; and the fear- 



JEEVES AND THE IMPENDING DOOM 23 

fill strain on the morale of having to chum with the 
Right Hon. A. B. Filmer, it was not long before Bertram 
was up against it to an extent hitherto undreamed of. 

I played golf with the Right Hon. every day, and 
it was only by biting the Wooster lip and clenching the 
fists till the knuokles stood out white under the strain 
that I managed to p^ull through. The Right Hon. 
punctuated some of the ghastliest golf I have ever 
seen with a flow of conversation which, as far as I was 
concerned, went completely over the top; and, all in 
all, I was beginning to feel pretty sorry for myself 
when, one night as I was in my room listlessly donning 
the soup-and-fish in preparation for the evening meal, 
in trickled young Bingo and took my mind off my 
own troubles. 

For when it is a question of a pal being in the soup, 
we Woosters no longer think of self ; and that poor old 
Bingo was knee-deep in the bisque was made plain by 
his mere appearance — which was that of a cat which 
has just been struck by a half-brick and is expecting 
another shortly. 

"Bertie," said Bingo, having sat down on the bed 
and diffused silent gloom for a moment, "how is 
Jeevcs's brain these days?" 

"Fairly strong on the wing, I fancy. How is the 
grey matter. Jeeves? Surging about pretty freely?" 

" Yes, sir." 

"Thank Heaven for that," said young Bingo, "for 
I require your soundest counsel. Unless right-thinking 
people take strong steps through the proper channels, 
my name will be mud." 

"What's wrong, old thing jl" I asked, sympatheti- 
cally. 

Bingo plucked at the coverlet. 



24 VERY GOOD, JEEVES I 

"I will tell you," he said. "I will also now reveal 
why I am staying in this pest-house, tutoring a kid 
who requires not education in the Greek and Latin 
languages but a swift slosh on the base of the skull 
with a black-jack. I came here, Bertie, because it 
was the only thing I could do. At the last moment 
before she sailed to America, Rqsie decided that I had 
better stay behind and look after the Peke. She left 
me a couple of hundred quid to see me through till 
her return. This sum, judiciously expended over the 
period of her absence, would have been enough to 
keep Peke and self in moderate affluence. But you 
know how it is." 

"How what is?" 

" When someone comes slinking up to you in the club 
and tells you that some cripple of a horse can't help 
winning even if it develops lumbago and the botts 
ten yards from the starting-post. I tell you, I regarded 
the thing as a cautious and conservative investment." 

"You mean you planked the entire capital on a 
horse?" 

Bingo laughed bitterly. 

"If you could call the thing a horse. If it hadn't 
shown a flash of speed in the straight, it would have 
got mixed up with the next race. It came in last, 
putting me in a dashed delicate position. Somehow 
or other I had to find the funds to keep me going, 
so that I could win through till Rosie's return without 
her knowing what had occurred. Rosie is the dearest 
girl in the world; but if you were a married man, 
Bertie, you would be aware that the best of wives 
is apt to cut up rough if she finds that her husband 
has dropped six weeks' housekeeping money on a 
single race. Isn't that so, Jeeves?" 



JEEVES AND THE IMPENDING DOOM 25 

"Yes, sir. Women are odd in that respect." 

"It was a moment for swift thinking. There 
was enough left from the wreck to board the Peke 
out at a comfortable home. I signed him up for 
six weeks at the Kosy Komfort Kennels at Kings- 
bridge, Kent, and tottered out, a broken man, to 
get a tutoring job. I landed the kid Thomas. And 
here I am." 

It was a sad story, of course, but it seemed to me 
that, awful as it might be to be in constant associa- 
tion with my Aunt Agatha and young Thos, he 
had got rather well out of a tight place. 

"All you have to do," I said, "is to carry on here 
for a few weeks more, and everything will be oojah- 
cum-spiff." 

Bingo barked bleakly. 

" A few weeks more ! I shall be lucky if I 
stay two days. You remember I told you that 
your aunt's faith in me as a guardian of her blighted 
son was shaken a few days ago by the fact that 
he was caught smoking. I now find that the person 
who caught him smoking was the man Filmer. 
And ten minutes ago young Thomas told me that 
he was proposing to inflict some hideous revenge 
on Filmer for having reported him to your aunt. 
I don't know what he is going to do, but if he does 
it, out I inevitably go on my left ear. Your aunt 
thinks the world of Filmer, and would sack me on 
the spot. And three weeks before Rosie gets 
back!" 

I saw all. 

"Jeeves," I said. 

"Sir?" 

"I see all. Do you see all?" 



26 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"Yes, sir." 

"Then flock round." 

"I fear, sir " 

Bingo gave a low moan. 

"Don't tell me, Jeeves," he said, brokenly, "that 
nothing suggests itself." » 

"Nothing at the moment, I, regret to say, sir." 

Bingo uttered a stricken woofle like a bull-dog 
that has been refused cake. 

"Well, then, the only thing I can do, I suppose," 
he said sombrely, "is not to let the pie-faced little 
thug out of my sight for a second." 

"Absolutely," I said. "Ceaseless vigilance, eh, 
Jeeves? " 

"Precisely, sii." 

"But meanwhile, Jeeves," said Bingo in a low, 
earnest voice, "you will be devoting your best 
thought to the matter, won't you ? " 

"Most certainly, sir." 

"Thank you, Jeeves." 

"Not at all, sir," 

I will say for young Bingo that, once the need 
for action arrived, he behaved with an energy and 
determination which compelled respect. i sup- 
pose there was not a minute during the next two 
days when the kid Thos was able to say to himself, 
"Alone at last!" But on the evening of the second 
day Aunt Agatha announced that some people were 
coming over on the morrow for a spot of tennis, 
and I feared that the worst must now befall. 

Young Bingo, you scq, is one of those fellows 
who, once their fingers close over the handle of a 
tennis racket, fall into a sort of trance in which 



JEEVES AND THE IMPENDING DOOM 27 

nothing outside the radius of the lawn exists for them. 
If you came up to Bingo in the middle of a set and 
told him that panthers were devouring his best 
friend in the kitchen garden, he would look at you 
and say, "Oh, ah?" or words to that effect. I knew 
that he would rot give a thought to young Thomas 
and the Right Hon. Jtill the last ball had bounced, 
and, as I dressed for dinner that night, I was conscious 
of an impending doom. 

"Jeeves," I said, "have you ever pondered on 
Life? " 

"From time to time, sir, in my leisure moments." 
"Grim, isn't it, what?" 
"Grim, sir?" 

" ( mean to say, the difference between things 
as they look and things as they are." 

''Tb*\ trouseir perhaps a half-inch higher, sir. 
A vory slight adjustment of the braces will effect 
the necessary alteration. You were saying, sir?" 

"I mean, here at Woollam Chersev we have 
apparently a happy, care-free country-house party. 
Hut beneath the glittering surface, Jeeves, dark 
currents are running. One gazes at the Right Hon. 
wrapping himself round the salmon mayonnaise at 
lunch, and lie seems a man without a care in the 
world. Yet all the while a dreadful fate is hanging 
over him. creeping nearer and nearer. What exact 
steps do you think the kid Thomas intends to take?" 

" In the course of an informal conversation which 
J had with the young gentleman this afternoon, 
sir, he informed me that he had been reading a 
romance entitled Treasure Island, and had been much 
struck by the character and actions of a certain 
Captain Flint. I gathered that he was weighing the 



28 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

advisability of modelling his own conduct on that of 
the Captain." 

"But, good heavens, Jeeves! If I remember 
Treasure Island, Flint was the bird who went about 
hitting people with a cu+Jass. You don't think 
young Thomas would bean Mr. tFilmer with a 
cutlass? " 

"Possibly he does not possess a cutlass, sir." 
"Well, with anything." 

"We can but wait and see, sir. The tie, if I might 
suggest it, sir, a shade more tightly knotted. One aims 
at the perfect butterfly effect. If you will permit 
me 

"What do ties matter, Jeeves, at a time like this? 
Do you realize that Mr. Little's domestic happiness 
is hanging in the scale?" 

"There is no time, sir, at which ties do not matter." 

I could see the man was pained, but I did not try to 
heal the wound. What's the word I want? Pre- 
occupied. I was too preoccupied, don't you know. 
And distrait. Not to say careworn. 

I was still careworn when, next day at half-past 
two, the revels commenced on the tennis lawn. It 
was one of those close, baking days, with thunder 
rumbling just round the corner; and it seemed to me 
that there was a brooding menace in the air. 

"Bingo," I said, as we pushed forth to do our bit 
in the first doubles, " I wonder what young Thos will 
be up to this afteiaoon, with the eye of authority 
no longer on him?" 

"Eh?" said Bingo, absently. Already the tennis 
look had come into his face, and his eye was glazed. 
He swung his racket and snorted a little. 



JEEVES AND THE IMPENDING DOOM 29 

"I don't see him anywhere," I said. 

"You don't what?" 

"See him." 

"Who?" 

"Young Thos." 

"What about .him?" 

I let it go. t 

The only consolation I had in the black period of the 
opening of the tourney was the fact that the Right 
Hon. had taken a seat among the spectators and was 
wedged in between a couple of females with parasols. 
Reason told me that even a kid so steeped in sin as 
young Thomas would hardly perpetrate any outrage 
on a man in such a strong strategic position. Con- 
siderably relieved, I gave myself up to the game ; and 
was in the act of putting it across the local curate with 
a good deal of vim when there was a roll of thunder 
and the rain started to come down in buckets. 

We all stampeded for the house, and had gathered 
in the drawing-room for tea, when suddenly Aunt 
Agatha, looking up from a cucumber-sandwich, said: 

"Has anybody seen Mr. Filmer?" 

It was one of the nastiest jars I have ever experienced. 
What with my fast serve zipping sweetly over the net 
and the man of God utterly unable to cope with my 
slow bending return down the centre-line, I had for 
some little time been living, as it were, in another 
world. I now came down to earth with a bang: and 
my slice of cake, slipping from my nerveless fingers, 
fell to the ground and was wolfed by Aunt Agatha's 
spaniel, Robert. Once more I seemed to become 
conscious of an impending doom. 

For this man Filmer, you must understand, was 
not one of those men who are lightly kept from the 



30 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

tea-table. A hearty trencherman, and perticularly 
fond of his five o'clock couple of cups and bite of 
muffin, he had until this afternoon always been well 
up among the leaders in the race for the food-trough. 
If one thing was certain, it was that only the machin- 
ations of some enemy could be Jo* -ping him from being 
in the drawing-room now, complete with nose-bag. 

"He must have got caught in the rain and be 
sheltering somewhere in the grounds," said Aunt 
Agatha. "Bertie, go out and find him. Take a 
raincoat to him." 

" Right-ho ! " I said. My only desire in life now was 
to find the Right Hon. And I hoped it wouldn't be 
merely his body. 

I put on a raincoat and tucked another under my 
arm, and was sallying forth, when in the hall I ran 
into Jeeves. 

"Jeeves," I said, "I fear the worst. Mr. Filmer 
is missing." 
"Yes, sir." 

"I am about to scour the grounds in search of 
him." 

" I can save you the trouble, sir. Mr. Filmer is on 
the island in the middle of the lake." 

" In this rain? Why doesn't the chump row back? " 

"He has no boat, sir." 

"Then how can he be on the island?" 

"He rowed there, sir. But Master Thomas rowed 
after him and set his boat adrift. He was informing 
me of the circumstances a moment ago, sir. It ap- 
pears that Captain Flint was in the habit of maroon- 
ing people on islands, and Master Thomas felt that he 
could pursue no more judicious course than to follow 
his example." 



JEEVES AND THE IMPENDING DOOM 31 

" But, good Lord, Jeeves! The man must be getting 
soaked." 

"Yes, sir. Master Thomas commented upon that 
aspect of the matter." 
It was a time for action. 
"Come with me, Jeeves!" 
"Very good, sir." 
I buzzed for the boathouse. 

My Aunt Agatha's husband, Spenser Gregson, who 
is on the Stock Exchange, had recently cleaned up 
to an amazing extent in Sumatra Rubber; and Aunt 
Agatha, in selecting a country estate, had lashed out 
on an impressive scale. There were miles of what 
they call rolling parkland, trees in considerable profu- 
sion well provided with doves and what not cooing in 
no uncertain voice, gardens full of roses, and also 
stables, outhouses, and messuages, the whole forming 
a rather fruity tout ensemble. But the feature of the 
place was the lake. 

It stood to the east of the house, beyond the rose 
garden, and covered several acres. In the middle 
of it was an island. In the middle of the island was a 
building known as the Octagon. And in the middle 
of the Octagon, seated on the roof and spouting 
water like a public fountain, was the Right Hon. A. B. 
Filmcr. As we drew nearer, striking a fast clip with 
self at the oars and Jeeves handling the tiller-ropes, 
we heard cries of gradually increasing volume, if 
that's the expression I want; and presently, up aloft, 
looking from a distance as if he were perched on top 
of the bushes, I located the Right Hon. It seemed 
to me that even a Cabinet Minister ought to have had 
more sense than to stay right out in the open like that 
when there were trees to shelter under. 



32 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"A little more to the right, Jeeves." 

"Very good, sir." 

I made a neat landing. 

"Wait here, Jeeves." 

"Very good, sir. The head gardener was informing 
me this morning, sir, that one oi I he swans had recently 
nested on this island." 

"This is no time for natural history gossip, Jeeves," 
I said, a little severely, for the rain was coming down 
harder than ever and the Wooster trouser-legs were 
already considerably moistened. 

"Very good, sir." 

I pushed my way through the bushes. The going 
was sticky and took about eight and elevenpence 
off the value of my Sure-Grip tennis shoes in the first 
two yards : but I persevered, and presently came out 
in the open and found myself in a sort of clearing 
facing the Octagon. 

This building was run up somewhere in the last 
century, I have been told, to enable the grandfather 
of the late owner to have some quiet place out of 
earshot of the house where he could practise the 
fiddle. From what I know of fiddlers, I should im- 
agine that he had produced some fairly frightful 
sounds there in his time: but they can have been 
nothing to the ones t±iat were coming from the roof 
of the place now. The Right Hon., not having spotted 
the arrival of the rescue-party, was apparently try- 
ing to make his voice carry across the waste of waters 
to the house; and I'm not saying it was not a good 
sporting effort. He had one of those highish tenors, 
and his yowls seemed to screech over my head like 
shells. 

I thought it about time to slip him the glad news 



JEEVES AND THE IMPENDING DOOM 33 

that assistance had arrived, before he strained a 
vocal cord. 

"Hi!" I shouted, waiting for a lull. 

He poked his head over the edge. 

"Hi!" he bellowed, looking in every direction but 
the right one, of course. 

"Hi!" 

"Hi!" 

"Hi!" 

"Hi!" 

"Oh!" he said, spotting me at last. 

"What-ho!" I replied, sort of clinching Ihe thing. 

I suppose the conversation can't be said to have 
touched a frightfully high level up to this moment ; 
but probably we should have got a good deal brainier 
very shortly — only just then, at the very instant when 
I was getting ready to say something good, there was 
a hissing noise like a tyre bursting in a nest of cobras, 
and out of the bushes to my left there popped something 
so large and white and active that, thinking quicker 
than I have ever done in my puff, T rose like a rock- 
eting pheasant, and, before I knew what I was doing, 
had begun to climb for life. Something slapped against 
the wall about an inch below my right ankle, ami any 
doubts I may have had about remaining below van- 
ished. The lad who bore 'mid snow and ice the ban- 
ner with the strange device " Excelsior! " was the model 
for T3ertram. 

"Be careful!" yipped the Right Hon. 

I was. 

Whoever built the Octagon might have constructed 
it especially for this sort of crisis. Its walls had grooves 
at regular intervals which were just right for the hands 
and feet, and it wasn't very long before I was parked 



34 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES I 



up on the roof beside the Right Hon., gazing down at 
one of the largest and shortest-tempered swans I had 
ever seen. It was standing below, stretching up a neck 
like a hosepipe, just where a bit of brick, judiciously 
bunged, would catch it amidships. 

I bunged the brick and scored a bull's-eye. 

The Right Hon. didn't seem any too well pleased. 

"Don't tease it!" he said. * 

"It teased me," I said. 

The swan extended another eight feet of neck and 
gave an imitation of steam escaping from a leaky 
pipe. The rain continued to lash down with what 
you might call indescribable fury, and I was sorry 
that in the agitation inseparable from shinning up a 
stone wall at practically a second's notice I had dropped 
the raincoat which I had been bringing with me for 
my fellow-rooster. For a moment I thought of offer- 
ing him mine, but wiser counsels prevailed. 

"How near did it come to getting you?" I asked. 

"Within an ace," replied my companion, gazing 
down with a look of marked dislike. "I had to make 
a very rapid spring." 

The Right Hon. was a tubby little chap who 
looked as if he had been poured into his clothes and 
had forgotten to say "When!" and the picture he 
conjured up, if you know what I mean, was rather 
pleasing. 

" It is no laughing matter," he said, shifting the look 
of dislike to me. 
"Sorry." 

"I might have been seriously injured." 
"Would you consider bunging another brick at the 
bird? " " • 

"Do nothing of the sort. It will only annoy him." 



JEEVES AND THE IMPENDING DOOM 35 

"Well, why not annoy him? He hasn't shown such 
a dashed lot of consideration for our feelings." 

The Right Hon. now turned to another aspect of 
the matter. 

"I cannot understand how my boat, which I fast- 
ened securely to the stump of a willow-tree, can have 
drifted away." 

"Dashed mysterious.* 

"I begin to suspect that it was deliberately set 
loose by some mischievous person." 

"Oh, I say, no, hardly likely, that. You'd have 
seen them doing it." 

" No, Mr. Wooster. For the bushes form an effective 
screen. Moreover, rendered drowsy by the unusual 
warmth of the afternoon, I dozed off for some little 
time almost immediately I reached the island." 

This wasn't the sort of thing I wanted his mind 
dwelling on, so I changed the subject. 

"Wet, isn't it, what?" I said. 

"I had already observed it," said the Right Hon. 
in one of those nasty, bitter voices. "I thank you, 
however, for drawing the matter to my attention." 

Chit-chat about the weather hadn't gone with much 
of a bang, I perceived. I had a shot at Bird Life in 
the Home Counties. 

"Have you ever noticed," I said, "how a swan's 
eyebrows sort of meet in the middle?" 

"I have had every opportunity of observing all 
that there is to observe about swans." 

"Gives them a sort of peevish look, what?" 

"The look to which you allude has not escaped me." 

"Rummy," I said, rather warming to my subject, 
"how bad an effect family life has on a swan's dis- 
position." 



36 VERY GOOD, JEEVES 1 

"I wish you would select some other topic of con- 
versation than swans." 

"No, but, really, it's rather interesting. I mean 
to say, our old pal down there is probably a perfect 
ray of sunshine in normal circumstances. Quite the 
domestic pet, don't you know. But purely and simply 
because the little woman happens +o be nesting " 

I paused. You will scarcely believe me, but until 
this moment, what with all the recent bustle and 
activity, I had clean forgotten that, while we were 
treed up on the roof like this, there lurked all the 
time in the background one whose giant brain, if 
notified of the emergency and requested to flock round, 
would probably be able to think up half-a-dozen 
schemes for solving our little difficulties in a couple 
of minutes. 

" Jeeves!" I shouted. 

"Sir?" came a faint respectful voice from the great 
open spaces. 

"My man," I explained to the Right Hon. "A 
fellow of infinite resource and sagacity. He'll have 
us out of this in a minute. Jeeves!" 

"Sir?" 

"I'm sitting on the roof." 
"Very good, sh." 

"Don't say 'Very good.' Come and help us. Mr. 
Filmcr and I are treed, Jeeves." 
"Very good, sir." 

"Don't keep saying 'Very good.' It's nothing of 
the kind. The place is alive with swans." 

" I will attend to the matter immediately, sir." 

I turned to the Right Hon. I even went so far as 
to pat him on the back. It was like slapping a wet 
sponge. 



JEEVES AND THE IMPENDING DOOM 37 

"All is well," I said. "Jeeves is coining." 
"What can he do?" 

I frowned a trifle. The man's tone had been peevish, 
and I didn't like it. 

"That," I replied with a touch of stiffness, "we 
cannot say until .we see him in action, lie may pur- 
sue one course, or he^ay pursue another. But on 
one thing you can rely with the utmost confidence — 
Jeeves will find a way. See, here he comes stealing 
through the undergrowth, his face shining with the 
light of pure intelligence. There f^re no limits to 
Jecves's brain-power. He virtually lives on lish." 

I bent over the edge and peered into the abyss. 

"Look out for the swan, Jeeves." 

" I have the bird under close observation, sir." 

The swan had been uncoiling a further supply of 
neck in our direction; but now he whipped round. 
The sound of a voice speaking in his rear seemed to 
affect him powerfully. He subjected Jeeves to a 
short, keen scrutiny ; and then, taking in some breath 
for hissing purposes, gave a sort of jump and charged 
ahead. 

"Look out, Jeeves!" 

"Very good, sir." 

Well, I could have told that swan it was no use. 
As swans go, he may have been well up in the ranks 
of the intelligentsia; but, when it came to pitting 
his brains against Jeeves, he was simply wasting his 
time. He might just as well have gone home at once. 

Every young man starting life ought to know how 
to cope with an angry swan, so I will briefly relate 
the proper procedure. You begin by picking up the 
raincoat which somebody 4 has dropped; and then, 
judging the distance to a nicety, you simply shove 



38 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



the raincoat over the bird's head; and, taking the 
boat-hook which you have prudently brought with 
you, you insert it underneath the swan and heave. 
The swan goes into a bush and starts trying to un- 
scramble itself ; and you saunter back to your boat, 
taking with you any friends who m^y happen at the 
moment to be sitting on roofs^in the vicinity. That 
was Jeeves's method, and I cannot see how it could 
have been improved upon. 

The Right Hon. showing a turn of speed of which 
I would not have believed him capable, we were in the 
boat in considerably under two ticks. 

"You behaved very intelligently, my man," said 
the Right Hon. as we pushed away from the shore. 

"I endeavour to give satisfaction, sir." 

The Right Hon. appeared to have said his say for 
the time being. From that moment he seemed to 
sort of huddle up and meditate. Dashed absorbed he 
was. Even when I caught a crab and shot about a 
pint of water down his neck he didn't seem to notice it. 

It was only when we were landing that he came to 
life again. 

"Mr. Wooster." 

"Oh, ah?" 

"I have been thinking of that matter of which I 
spoke to you some ime back — the problem of how 
my boat can have got adrift." 

I didn't like this. 

"The dickens of a problem," I said. "Better not 
bother about it any more. You'll never solve it." 

"On the contrary, I have arrived at a solution, 
and one which I think, is the only feasible solution. 
I am convinced that my boat was set adrift by the 
boy Thomas, my hostess's son." 



JEEVES AND THE IMPENDING DOOM 39 
"Oh, I say, no! Why?" 

"He had a grudge against me. And it is the sort 
of thing only a boy, or one who is practically an 
imbecile, would have thought of doing." 

He legged it for the house ; and I turned to Jeeves, 
aghast. Yes, you. might say aghast. 

"You heard, Jeeves?}' 

"Yes, sir." 

"What's to be done?" 

" Perhaps Mr. Filmer, on thinking the matter over, 
will decide that his suspicions are unjust." 
"But they aren't unjust." 
"No, sir." 

"Then what's to be done?" 
"I could not say, sir." 

I pushed off rather smartly to the house and reported 
to Aunt Agatha that the Right Hon. had been salved ; 
and then I toddled upstairs to have a hot bath, being 
considerably soaked from stem to stern as the result 
of my rambles. While I was enjoying the grateful 
warmth, a knock came at the door. 

It was Purvis, Aunt Agatha's butler. 

" Mrs. Gregson desires me to say, sir, that she would 
be glad to see you as soon as you are ready." 

"But she has seen me." 

" I gather that she wishes to see you again, sir." 
"Oh, right-ho." 

I lay beneath the surface for another few minutes; 
then, having dried the frame, went along the corridor 
to my room. Jeeves was there, fiddling about with 
underclothing. 

"Oh, Jeeves," I said, "I've just been thinking. 
Oughtn't somebody to go and give Mr. Filmer a spot 
of quinine or something? Errand of mercy, what?" 



4o VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"I have already done so, sir." 

"Good. I wouldn't say I like the man frightfully, 
but I don't want him to get a cold in the head." I 
shoved on a sock. "Jeeves/* I said, "I suppose 
you know that we've pot to think of something 
pretty quick? I mean to say, .you realize the 
position? Mr. Filmer suspects young Thomas of 
doing exactly what he did do, and if he brings home 
the charge Aunt Agatha will undoubtedly fire Mr. 
Little, and then Mrs. Little will find out what Mr. 
Little has been up to, and what will be the upshot 
and outcome, Jeeves? I will tell you. It will mean 
that Mrs. Little will get the goods on Mr. Little to an 
extent to which, though only a bachelor myself, I 
should say that no wife ought to get the goods on her 
husband if the proper give and take of married life 
— what you might call the essential balance, as it were 
— is to be preserved. Women bring these things up, 
Jeeves. They do not forget and forgive." 

"Very true, sir." 

"Then how about it?" 

"I have already attended to the matter, sir." 
"You have?" 

" Yes, sir. I had scarcely left you when the solution 
of the affair presented itself to me. It was a remark 
of Mr. Filmcr's thai gave me the idea." 

"Jeeves, you're a marvel!" 

"Thank you very much, sir." 

"What was the solution?" 

44 1 conceived tr 2 notion of going to Mr. Filmer and 
saying that it was you who had stolen his boat, sir." 

The man flickered before me. I clutched a sock in 
a feverish grip. 

"Saying— what?" 



JEEVES AND THE IMPENDING DOOM 41 

"At first Mr. Filmcr was reluctant to credit my 
statement. But I pointed out to him that you had 
certainly known that he was on the island— a fact 
which he agreed was highly significant. I pointed out, 
furthermore, that you were a light-hearted young 
gentleman, sir, who might well do such a thing as a 
practical joke. I left, him quite convinced, and there 
is now no danger of his attributing the action to 
Master Thomas." 

I gazed at the blighter spellbound. 

"And that's what you consider a neat solution?' 1 
I said. 

"Yes, sir. Mr. Little will now retain his position 
as desired." 
"And what about me?" 
"You are also benefited, sir." 
"Oh, I am, am I?" 

"Yes, sir. I have ascertained that Mrs. Cregson's 
motive in inviting you to this house was that she 
might present you to Mr. Filmer with a view to your 
becoming his private secretary." 

"What!" 

"Yes, sir. Purvis, the butler, chanced to overhear 
Mrs. Gregson in conversation with Mr. Filmer on the 
matter." 

"Secretary to that superfatted bore! Jeeves, I 
could never have survived it." 

"No, sir. I fancy you would not have found it 
agreeable. Mr. Filmer is scarcely a congenial com- 
panion for you. Yet, had Mrs. Gregson secured the 
position for you, you might have found it embarrass- 
ing to decline to accept it." , 

"Embarrassing is right!" 

"Yes, sir." 



42 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"But I say, Jeeves, there's just one point which 
you seem to have overlooked. Where exactly do I 
get off?" 

"Sir?" 

" I mean to say, Aunt Agatha sent word by Purvis 
just now that she wanted to see me. Probably she's 
polishing up her hatchet at thievery moment." 

"It might be the most judicious plan not to meet 
her, sir." 

"But how can I help it?" 

"There is a good, stout waterpipe running down 
the wall immediately outside this window, sir. And 
I could have the two-seater waiting outside the park 
gates in twenty minutes." 

I eyed him with reverence. 

"Jeeves," I said, "you are always right. You 
couldn't make it five, could you?" 
" Let us say ten, sir." 

"Ten it is. Lay out some raiment suitable for 
travel, and leave the rest to me. Where is this water- 
pipe of which you speak so highly? " 



CHAPTER II 



j 

THE INFERIORITY COMPLEX OF OLD SIPPY 

I CHECKED the man with one of my glances. I 
was astounded and shocked. 
"Not another word, Jeeves," I said. "You 
have gone too far. Hats, yes. Socks, yes. Coats, 
trousers, shirts, ties, and spats, absolutely. On all 
these things I defer to your judgment. But when it 
comes to vases, no." 
"Very good, sir." 

"You say that this vase is not in harmony with 
the appointments of the room — whatever that means, 
if anything. I deny this, Jeeves, in toto. I like this 
vase. I call it decorative, striking, and, all in all, an 
exceedingly good fifteen bob's worth." 

"Very good, sir." 

"That's that, then. If anybody rings up, I shall 
be closeted during the next hour with Mr. Sipperley 
at the offices of The May fair Gazette.'* 

I beetled off with a fairish amount of restrained 
hauteur, for I was displeased with the man. On the 
previous afternoon, while sauntering along the Strand, 
I had found myself wedged into one of those sort of 
alcove places where fellows with voices like fog-horns 
stand all day selling things by auction. And, though 
I was still vague as to how exactly it had happened, I 
had somehow become the possessor of a large china 

43 



44 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



vase with crimson dragons on it. And not only 
dragons, but birds, dogs, snakes, and a thing that 
looked like a leopard. This menagerie was now sta- 
tioned on a bracket over the door of my sitting-room. 

I liked the thing. It was bright and cheerful. It 
caught the eye. And that was why, when Jeeves, 
wincing a bit, had weighed iv wilh some perfectly 
gratuitous art-criticism, I ticked him off with no little 
vim. Ne sutor ultra whatever-it-is, I would have said 
to him, if I'd thought of it. I mean to say, where 
does a valet get off, censoring vases? Does it fall 
within his province to knock the young master's 
chinaware? Absolutely not, and so I told him. 

I was still pretty heartily hipped when I reached 
the office of The Mayfair Gazette, and it would have 
been a relief to my feelings to have decanted my 
troubles on to old Sippy, who, being a very dear 
old pal of mine, would no doubt have understood 
and sympathized. But when the office-boy had 
slipped me through into the inner cubbyhole where 
the old lad performed his editorial duties, he seemed 
so preoccupied that I hadn't the heart. 

All these editor blokes, I understand, get pretty 
careworn after they've been at the job for awhile. 
Six months before, Sippy had been a cheery cove, 
full of happy laughter; but at that time he was what 
they call q free-lance, bunging in a short story here 
and a set of verses there and generally enjoying him- 
self. Ever since he had become editor of this rag, 
I had sensed a change, so to speak. 

To-day he looked more editorial then ever ; so, 
shelving my own worries for the nonce, I endeavoured 
to cheer him up by telling him how much I had en- 
joyed his last issue. As a matter of fact, I hadn't 



INFERIORITY COMPLEX OF OLD SIPPY 45 

read it, but we Woosters do not shrink from subter- 
fuge when it is a question of bracing up a buddy. 

The treatment was effective. He showed anima- 
tion and verve. 

"You really liked it?" 

"Red-hot, old thing." 

"Full of good stuff, -eh?' 

"Packed." 

" That poem— Solitude ? " 

"What a gem!" 

"A genuine masterpiece." 

"Pure tabasco. Who wrote it?" 

" It was signed," said Sippy, a little coldly. 

"I keep forgetting names." 

"It was written," said Sippy, "by Miss Gwendolen 
Moon. Have you ever met Miss Moon, Bertie?" 
"Not to my knowledge. Nice girl?" 
"My God!" said Sippy. 

I looked at him keenly. If you ask my Aunt 
Agatha she will tell you — in fact, she is quite likely 
to tell you even if you don't ask her - -that I am a 
vapid and irreflective chump. Barely sentient, was 
the way she once described me: and I'm not saying 
that in a broad, general sense she isn't right. But 
there is one department of life in which I am Hawk- 
shaw the detective in person. I can recognize Love's 
Young Dream more quickly than any other bloke of 
my weight and age in the Metropolis. So many of 
my pals have copped it in the past few years that 
now I can spot it a mile off on a foggy day. Sippy 
was leaning back in his chair, chewing a piece of 
indiarubber with a far-off lopk in his eyes, and I 
formed my diagnosis instantly. 

"Tell me all, laddie," I said. 



46 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"Bertie, I love her." 
"Have you told her so?" 
"How can I?" 

"I don't see why not. Quite easy to bring into 
the general conversation." 
Sippy groaned hollowly. 

" Do you know what it is, Berjie, to feel the humility 
of a worm?" 

"Rather! I do sometimes with Jeeves. But 
today he went too far. You will scarcely credit it, 
old man, but he had the crust to criticize a vase 
which " 

"She is so far above me." 

"Tall girl? 1 ' 

"Spiritually. She is all soul. And what am I? 
Earthy." 
"Would you say that?" 

"I would. Have you forgotten that a year ago I 
did thirty days without the option for punching a 
policeman in the stomach on Boat-Race night?" 

"But you were whiffled at the time." 

"Exactly. What right has an inebriated jail-bird 
to aspire to a goddess?" 

My heart bled for the poor old chap. 

"Aren't you exaggerating things a trifle, old lad?" 
I said. "Everybody who has had a gentle upbring- 
ing gets a bit sozzled on Boat-Race night, and the better 
element nearly always have trouble with the gen- 
darmes." 

He shook his head. 

"It's no good, Bertie. You mean well, but words 
are useless. No, I can but worship from afar. When 
I am in her presence a strange dumbness comes 
over me. My tongue seems to get entangled with 



INFERIORITY COMPLEX OF OLD SIPPY 47 

my tonsils. I could no more muster up the nerve 
to propose to her than . . . Come in!" he 
shouted. 

For, just as he was beginning to go nicely and 
display a bit of eloquence, a knock had sounded on 
the door. In fact, not so much a knock as a bang — 
or even a slosh. AnoV there now entered a large, 
important-looking bird with penetrating eyes, a 
Roman nose, and high check-bones. Authoritative. 
That's the word I want. I didn't like his collar, 
and Jeeves would have had a thing or two to say 
about the sit of his trousers ; but, nevertheless, he was 
authoritative. There was something compelling about 
the man. He looked like a traffic-policeman. 

"Ah, Sipperley!" he said. 

Old Sippy displayed a good deal of agitation. He 
had leaped from his chair, and was now standing 
in a constrained attitude, with a sort of pop-eyed 
expression on his face. 

"Pray be seated, Sipperley," said the cove. He 
took no notice of me. After one keen glance and a 
brief waggle of the nose in my direction, he had washed 
Bertram out of his life. 14 1 have brought you another 
little offering — ha! Look it over at your leisure, my 
dear fellow." 

"Yes, sir," said Sippy. 

"I think you will enjoy it. But there is just one 
thing. I should be glad, Sipperley, if you would 
give it a leetle better display, a rather more prominent 
position in the paper than you accorded to my ' Land- 
marks of Old Tuscany.* I am quite aware that in 
a weekly journal space is a desideratum, but one 
does not like one's efforts to be — I can only say pushed 
away in a back corner among advertisements of 



48 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

bespoke tailors and places of amusement/' He 
paused, and a nasty gleam came into his eyes. " You 
will bear this in mind, Sipperley?" 
"Yes, sir," said Sippy. 

"I am greatly obliged, my dear fellow," said the 
cove, becoming genial again. " You must forgive my 
mentioning it. 1 would be th* last person to attempt 
to dictate the — ha! — editorial policy, but — —Well, 
good afternoon, Sipperley. I will call for your 
decision at three o'clock to-morrow." 

He withdrew, leaving a gap in the atmosphere 
about ten feet by six. When this had closed in, I 
sat up. 

"What was it?" I said. 

I was startled to observe poor old Sippy apparently 
go off his onion. He raised his hands over his head, 
clutched his hair, wrenched it about for a while, 
kicked a table with great violence, and then flung 
himself into his chair. 

"Curse him!" said Sippy. "May he tread on a 
banana-skin on his way to chapel and sprain both 
ankles ! " 

"Who was he?" 

"May he get frog-in-the-throat and be unable to 
deliver the end-of-term sermon!" 

"Yes, but who w«*s he?" 

"My old head master, Bertie," said Sippy. 

"Yes, but, my dear old soul " 

"Head master of my old school." He gazed at 
me in a distraugh' sort of way. " Good Lord ! Can't 
you understand the position?" 

"Not by a jugful, Jacjdie." 

Sippy sprang from his chair and took a turn or two 
up and down the carpet. 



INFERIORITY COMPLEX OF OLD SIPPY 49 

"How do you feel/' he said, "when you meet the 
head master of your old school?" 
"I never do. He's dead." 

" Well, I'll tell you how I feel. I feel as if I were 
in the Lower Forth again, and had been sent up by 
my form-master for creating a disturbance in school. 
That happened once, Bertie, and the memory still 
lingers. I can recall as if it were yesterday knocking 
at old Waterbury's door and hearing him say, ' Come 
in ! * like a lion roaring at an early Christian, and going 
in and shuffling my feet on the mat and him looking 
at me and me explaining — and then, after what seemed 
a lifetime, bending over and receiving six of the 
juiciest on the old spot with a cane that bit like an 
adder. And whenever he comes into my office now 
the old wound begins to trouble me, and I just say, 
1 Yes, sir/ and 4 No, sir/ and feel like a kid of fourteen." 

I began to grasp the posish. The whole trouble 
with these fellows like Sippy, who go in for writing, 
is that they develop the artistic temperament, and you 
never know when it is going to break out. 

"He comes in here with his pockets full of articles 
on 'The Old School Cloisters' and 'Some Little- 
Known Aspects of Tacitus/ and muck like that, and 
I haven't the nerve to refuse them. And this is 
supposed to be a paper devoted to the lighter interests 
of Society." 

"You must be firm, Sippy. Firm, old thing." 

"How can I, when the sight of him makes me • 
feel like a piece of chewed blotting-paper? When he 
looks at me over that nose, my morale goes blue at the 
roots and I am back at school again. It's persecution, 
Bertie. And the next thing that'll happen is that 
my proprietor will spot one of those articles, assume 



50 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

with perfect justice that, if I can print that sort of 
thing, I must be going off my chump, and fire me." 

I pondered. It was a tough problem. 

" How would it be ? " I said. 

"That's no good." 

" Only a suggestion," I said. 

"Jeeves," I said, when I got home, "surge round!" 
"Sir?" 

"Burnish the old bean. I have a case that calls 
for one of your best efforts. Have you ever heard of 
a Miss Gwendolen Moon?" 

"Authoress of Autumn Leaves, 'Twas on an English 
June, and other works. Yes, sir." 

" Great Scott, Jeeves, you seem to know everything." 

"Thank you very much, sir." 

"Well, Mr. Sipperley is in love with Miss Moon." 

"Yes, sir." 

"But fears to speak." 
"It is often the way, sir." 
"Deeming himself unworthy." 
"Precisely, sir." 

"Right! But that is not all. Tuck that away 
in a corner of the mind, Jeeves, and absorb the rest 
of the facts. Mr. Sipperley, as you are aware, is the 
editor of a weekly paper devoted to the interests of 
the lighter Society. And now the head master of his 
old school has started calling at the office and unloading 
on him junk entirely unsuited to the lighter Society. 
All clear? " 

"I follow you perfectly, sir." 

" And this drip Mr. Sipperley is compelled to publish, 
much against his own wishes, purely because he lacks 
the nerve to tell the man to go to blazes. The whole 



INFERIORITY COMPLEX OF OLD SIPPY 51 



trouble being, Jeeves, that he has got one of those things 
that fellows do get — it's on the tip of my tongue." 

"An inferiority complex, sir?" 

" Exactly. An inferiority complex. I have one myself 
with regard to my Aunt Agatha. You know me, Jeeves. 
You know that if it were a question of volunteers to 
man the lifeboat, I would spring to the task. If anyone 
said, 'Don't go down the coal-mine, daddy/ it would 
have not the slightest effect on my resolution " 

"Undoubtedly, sir." 

"And yet — and this is where I want you to follow 
me very closely, Jeeves — when I hear that my Aunt 
Agatha is out with her hatchet and moving in my 
direction, I run like a rabbit. Why? Because she 
gives me an inferiority complex. And so it is with Mr. 
Sipperley. He would, if called upon, mount the deadly 
breach, and do it without a tremor; but he cannot 
bring himself to propose to Miss Moon, and he cannot 
kick his old head master in the stomach and tell him 
to take his beastly essays on 'The Old School Cloisters' 
elsewhere, because he has an inferiority complex. So 
what about it, Jeeves?" 

" I fear I have no plan which I could advance with 
any confidence on the spur of the moment, sir." 

"You want time to think, eh?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Take it, Jeeves, take it. You may feel brainier 
after a night's sleep. What is it Shakespeare calls 
sleep, Jeeves?" 

"Tired Nature's sweet restorer, sir." 

"Exactly. Well, there you are, then." 

■ 

t 

You know, there's nothing like sleeping on a thing. 
Scarcely had I woken up next morning when I 



52 VERY GOOD, JEEVES I 

discovered that, while I slept, I had got the whole 
binge neatly into order and worked out a plan Foch 
might have been proud of. I rang the bell for 
Jeeves to bring me my tea. 

I rang again. But it mu^t have been five minutes 
before the man showed up with the steaming. 

" I beg your pardon, sir," he said, when I reproached 
him. "I did not hear the bell. I was in the sitting- 
room, sir." 

"Ah?" I said, sucking down a spot of the mixture. 
"Doing this and that, no doubt? " 

"Dusting your new vase, sir." 

My heart warmed to the fellow. If there's one 
person I like, it's the chap who is not too proud to 
admit it when he's in the wrong. No actual state- 
ment to that effect had passed his lips, of course, but we 
Woosters can read between the lines. I could see 
that he was learning to love the vase. 

"How does it look?" 

"Yes, sir." 

A bit cryptic, but I let it go. 

"Jeeves," I said. 

"Sir?" 

"That matter we were in conference about 
yestereen." 

"The matter of Mr. Sipperley, sir?" 

" Precisely. Don't worry yourself any further. Stop 
the brain working. I shall not require your services. 
I have found the solution. It came on me like a 
flash." 

"Indeed, sir?" 

"Just like a flash. In" a matter of this kind, Jeeves, 
the first thing to do is to study— what's the word I 
want?" 



INFERIORITY CO [PLEX OF OLD SIPPY 53 



"I could not say, sir. 

"Quite a common w xd — though long/' 

"Psychology, sir?" 

" The exact noun. It is a noun? " 

"Yes, sir." 

"Spoken like a manj Well, Jeeves, direct your 
attention to the psychology of old Sippy. Mr. 
Sipperley, if you follow me, is in the position of a man 
from whose eyes the scales have not fallen. The task 
that faced me, Jeeves, was to discover some scheme 
which would cause those scales to fall. You get me? " 

"Not entirely, sir." 

"Well, what I'm driving at is this. At present this 
head master bloke, this Waterbury, is tramping all 
over Mr. Sipperley because he is hedged about with 
dignity, if you understand what I mean. Years have 
passed; Mr. Sipperley now shaves daily and is in an 
important editorial position; but he can never forget 
that this bird once gave him six of the juiciest. Result : 
an inferiority complex. The only way to remove that 
complex, Jeeves, is to arrange that Mr. Sipperley shall 
see this Waterbury in a thoroughly undignified position. 
This done, the scales will fall from his eyes. You 
must see that for yourself, Jeeves. Take your own 
case. No doubt there are a number of your friends 
and relations who look up to you and respect you 
greatly. But suppose one night they were to see 
you, in an advanced state of intoxication, dancing 
the Charleston in your underwear in the middle of 
Piccadilly Circus?" 

"The contingency is remote, sir." 

"Ah, but suppose they did. * The scales would fall 
from their eyes, what?" 

"Very possibly, sir." 

54 VERY GOOD, ( JEEVES I 

"Take another case. Do jjou remember a year or 
so ago the occasion when nw Aunt Agatha accused 
the maid at that French hotel of pinching her pearls, 
only to discover that they were still in her drawer?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Whereupon she looked the most priceless ass. 
You'll admit that." 

" Certainly I have seen Mrs. Spenser Gregson appear 
to greater advantage than at that moment, sir." 

" Exactly. Now follow me like a leopard. Observ- 
ing my Aunt Agatha in her downfall; watching her 
turn bright mauve and listening to her being told 
off in liquid French by a whiskered hotel proprietor 
without coming back with so much as a single lift of 
the eyebrows, I felt as if the scales had fallen from my 
eyes. For the first time in my life, Jeeves, the awe 
with which this woman had inspired me from child- 
hood's days left me. It came back later, I'll admit; 
but at the moment I saw my Aunt Agatha for what 
she was — not, as I had long imagined, a sort of man- 
eating fish at the very mention of whose name strong 
men quivered like aspens, but a poor goop who had 
just dropped a very serious brick. At that moment, 
Jeeves, I could have told her precisely where she 
got off; and only a too chivalrous regard for the sex 
kept me from doing so. You won't dispute that?" 

"No, sir." 

"Well, then, my firm conviction is that the scales 
will fall from Mr. Sipperley's eyes when he sees this 
Waterbury, this old head master, stagger into his 
office covered from head to foot with flour." 

"Flour, sir?" 

"Flour, Jeeves." 

"But why should he pursue such a course, sir? " 



INFERIORITY CC dPLEX OF OLD SIPPY 55 

" Because he won't b\ able to help it. The stuff will 
be balanced on top of tl door, and the force of gravity 
will do the rest. I prop fee to set a booby-trap for this 
Waterbury, Jeeves." 

"Really, sir, I would scarcely advocate " 

I raised my hand. 
- "Peace, Jeeves! There is more to come. You 
have not forgotten that Mr. Sipperley loves Miss 
Gwendolen Moon, t)ut fears to speak. I bet you'd 
forgotten that." 

"No, sir." 

" Well, then, my belief is that, once he finds he has 
lost his awe of this Waterbury, he will be so supremely 
braced that there will be no holding him. He will 
rush right off and bung his heart at her feet, Jeeves." 

"Well, sir " 

"Jeeves," I said, a little severely, "whenever I 
suggest a plan or scheme or course of action, you are 
too apt to say 'Well, sir/ in a nasty tone of voice. 
I do not like it, and it is a habit you should check. 
The plan or scheme or course of action which I have 
outlined contains no flaw. If it does, I should like 
to hear it." 

"Well, sir " 

"Jeeves!" 

"I beg your pardon, sir. I was about to remark 
that, in my opinion, you are approaching Mr. Sip- 
perley 's problems in the wrong order." 

"How do you mean, the wrong order?" 

"Well, I fancy, sir, that better results would be 
obtained by first inducing Mr. Sipperley to offer 
marriage to Miss Moon. In the event of the young 
lady proving agreeable, I* think that Mr. Sipperley 
would be in such an elevated frame of mind that he 



56 VERY GOOD, [fEEVES! 

would have no difficulty in asserting himself with 
Mr. Waterbury." 

" Ah, but you are then stymtf d by the question — How 
is he to be induced?" 

" It had occurred to me, sir, that, as Miss Moon is a 
poetess and of a romantic nature, it might have weight 
with her if she heard that Mr. bipperley had met with 
a serious injury and was mentioning her name." 

"Calling for her brokenly, you mean?" 

"Calling for her, as you say, sir, brokenly." 

I sat up in bed, and pointed at him rather coldly 
with the teaspoon. 

" Jeeves," I said, " I would be the last man to accuse 
you of dithering, but this is not like you. It is not the 
old form, Jeeves. You are losing your grip. It might 
be years before Mr. Sipperley had a serious injury." 

"There is that to be considered, sir." 

"I cannot believe that it is you, Jeeves, who are 
meekly suggesting that we should suspend all ac- 
tivities in this matter year after year, on the chance 
that some day Mr. Sipperley may fall under a truck 
or something. No ! The programme will be as I have 
sketched it out, Jeeves. After breakfast, kindly step 
out, and purcha.se about a pound and a half of 
the best flour. The rest you may leave to me." 

"Very good, sir." 

The first thing you need in matters of this kind, as 
every general knows, is a thorough knowledge of the 
terrain. Not know the terrain, and where are you? 
Look at Napoleon and that sunken road at Waterloo. 
Silly ass! 

I had a thorough knowledge of the terrain of Sippy's 
office, and it ran as follows. I won't draw a plan. 



INFERIORITY CCIMPLEX OF OLD SIPPY 57 

because my experience! is that, when you're reading 
one of those detective stories and come to the bit 
where the author draw a plan of the Manor, show- 
ing room where body was found, stairs leading to 
passage-way, and all the rest of it, one just skips. 
I'll simply explain in a^few brief words. 

The offices of The May/air Gazette were on the first 
floor of a mouldy old building off Covent Garden. 
You went in at a front door and ahead of you was a 
passage leading to the premises of Bellamy Bros., 
dealers in seeds and garden produce. Ignoring the 
Bros. Bellamy, you proceeded upstairs and found two 
doors opposite you. One, marked Private, opened into 
Sippy's editorial sanctum. The other — sub-title: 
Inquiries— shot you into a small room where an office- 
boy sat, eating peppermints and reading the adven- 
tures of Tarzan. If you got past the office-boy, you 
went through another door and there you were in 
Sippy's room, just as if you had nipped through the 
door marked Private. Perfectly simple. 

It was over the door marked Inquiries that I pro- 
posed to suspend the flour. 

Now, setting a booby-trap for a respectable citizen 
like a head master (even of an inferior school to your 
own) is not a matter to be approached lightly and with- 
out careful preparation. I don't suppose I've ever 
selected a lunch with more thought than I did that 
day. And after a nicely-balanced meal, preceded by 
a couple of dry Martinis, washed down with half a bot. 
of a nice light, dry champagne, and followed by a 
spot of brandy, I could have set a booby-trap for a 
bishop. 

The only really difficult "part of the campaign was 
to get rid of the office-boy; for naturally you don't 



58 



VERY GOOD, EEVES! 



want witnesses when you're s oving bags of flour on 
doors. Fortunately, every nan has his price, and 
it wasn't long before I contri£ id to persuade the lad 
that there was sickness at home and he was needed 
at Cricklewood. This done, I mounted a chair and 
got to work. 

It was many, many years since I had tackled this 
kind of job, but the old skill came back as good as 
ever. Having got the bag so nicely poised that a 
touch on the door would do all that was necessary, I 
skipped down from my chair, popped off through 
Sippy's room, and went into the street. Sippy had 
not shown up yet, which was all to the good, but I 
knew he usually trickled in at about five to three. I 
hung about in the street, and presently round the 
corner came the bloke Waterbury. He went in at 
the front door, and I started off for a short stroll. 
It was no part of my policy to be in the offing when 
things began to happen. 

It seemed to me that, allowing for wind and weather, « 
the scales should have fallen from old Sippy's eyes by 
about three-fifteen, Greenwich mean time; so, having 
prowled around Covent Garden among the spuds 
and cabbages for twenty minutes or so, I retraced my 
steps and pushed up the stairs. I went in at the 
door marked Private, fully expecting to see old Sippy, 
and conceive of my astonishment and chagrin when 
I found on entering only the bloke Waterbury. He 
was seated at Sippy's desk, reading a paper, as if the 
place belonged to him. 

And, moreover, there was of flour on his person 
not a trace. 

"Great Scott!" I said. 



INFERIORITY COMPLEX OF OLD SIPPY 59 

It was a case of the sunken road, after all. But, 
dash it, how could I h ve been expected to take into 
consideration the pos: ibility that this cove, head 
master though he was, could have had the cold nerve 
to walk into Sippy's private office instead of pushing 
in a normal and orderly manner through the public 
door? 

He raised the nose, and focused me over it. 
- Yes? " 

"I was looking for old Sippy." 

"Mr. Sipperley has not yet arrived." 

He spoke with a good deal of pique, seeming to be 
a man who was not used to being kept waiting. 

"Well, how is everything?" I said, to ease things 
along. 

He started reading again. He looked up as if he 
found me pretty superfluous. 
"I beg your pardon?" 
,f Oh, nothing." 
"You spoke." 

" I only said ' How is everything? ' don't you know." 

"How is what?" 

"Everything." 

"I fail to understand you." 

"Let it go," I said. 

I found a certain difficulty in boosting along the 
chit-chat. He was not a responsive cove. 
"Nice day," I said. 
"Quite." 

" But they say the crops need rain." 
He had buried himself in his paper once more, and 
seemed peeved this time on being lugged to the surface. 
"What?" 
"The crops." 



60 VERY GOOD, jfEEVES! 

"The crops?" 

"Crops." 

"What crops?" 

"Oh, just crops." 

He laid down his paper. 

"You appear to be desiro v is of giving me some 
information about crops. What is it?" 
"I hear they need rain." 
"Indeed?" 

That concluded the small-talk. He went on reading, 
and I found a chair and sat down and sucked the 
handle of my stick. And so the long day wore on. 

It may have been some two hours later, or it may 
have been about five minutes, when there became 
audible in the passage outside a strange wailing sound, 
as of some creature in pain. The bloke Waterbury 
looked up. I looked up. 

The wailing came closer. It came into the room. 
It was Sippy, singing. 

" 1 love you. That's all that I can say. I love 

you, I lo-o-ve you. The same old " 

He suspended the chant, not too soon for me. 

"Oh, hullo!" he said. 

I was amazed. The last time I had seen old Sippy, 
you must remember he had had all the appearance 
of a man who didn't know it was loaded. Haggard. 
Drawn face. Circles under the eyes. All that sort 
of thing. And now, not much more than twenty-four 
hours later, he was simply radiant. His eyes sparkled. 
His mobile lips were curved in a happy smile. He 
looked as if he had been taking as much as will cover 
a sixpence every morning before breakfast for years. 

"Hullo, Bertie!" he said! "Hullo, Waterbury old 
man! Sorry I'm late." 



INFERIORITY COMPLEX OF OLD SIPPY 61 

The bloke Waterbury' seemed by no means pleased 
at this cordial form of address. He froze visibly. 

"You arc exceedingly |late. I may mention that 
I have been waiting for Upwards of half an hour, and 
my time is not without its value." 

"Sorry, sorry, sorry,/ sorry, sorry," said Sippy, 
jovially. "You wanted to see me about that article 
on the Elizabethan dramatists you left here yesterday, 
didn't you? Well, I've read it, and I'm sorry to say, 
Waterbury, my dear chap, that it's N.G." 

"I beg your pardon?" 

"No earthly use to us. Quite the wrong sort of stuff. 
This paper is supposed to be all light Society interest. 
What the debutante will wear for Goodwood, you 
know, and I saw Lady Betty Bootle in the Park 
yesterday — she is, of course, the sister-in-law of the 
Duches of Peebles, 'Cuckoo* to her intimates — all 
that kind of rot. My readers don't want stuff about 
Elizabethan dramatists. ' ' 

"Sipperlcy !" 

Old Sippy reached out and patted him in a paternal 
manner on the back. 

"Now listen, Waterbury," he said, kindly. "You 
know as well as I do that I hate to turn down an old 
pal. But I have my duty to the paper. Still, don't 
be discouraged. Keep trying, and you'll do fine. 
There is a lot of promise in your stuff, but you want 
to study your market. Keep your eyes open and see 
what editors need. Now, just as a suggestion, why 
not have a dash at a light, breezy article on pet dogs. 
You've probably noticed that the pug, once so fashion- 
able, has been superseded by the Peke, the griffon, 
and the Sealyham. Work on that line and " 

The bloke Waterbury navigated towards the door. 



62 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"I have no desire to work on that line, as you put 
it," he said, stiffly. "If you do not require 
my paper on the Elizabethan dramatists I shall no 
doubt be able to find another editor whose tastes 
are more in accord with my work." 

"The right spirit absolutely. Waterbury," said 
Sippy, cordially. "Never give in. Perseverance 
brings home the gravy. If you get an article accepted, 
send another article to that editor. If you get an 
article refused, send that article to another editor. 
Carry on, Waterbury. I shall watch your future 
progress with considerable interest." 

"Thank you," said the bloke Waterbury, bitterly. 
"This expert advice should prove most useful." 

He biffed off, banging the door behind him, and I 
turned to Sippy, who was swerving about the room 
like an exuberant snipe. 

" Sippy " 

"Eh? What? Can't stop, Bertie, can't stop. Only 
looked in to tell you the news. I'm taking Gwendolen 
to tea at the Carlton. I'm the happiest man in the 
world, Bertie. Engaged, you know. Betrothed. 
All washed up and signed on the dotted line. Wedding, 
June the first, at eleven a.m. sharp, at St. Peter's, 
Eaton Square. Presents should be delivered before 
the end of May." 

"But, Sippy! Come to roost for a second. How 
did this happen? I thought " 

"Well, it's a long story. Much too long to tell you 
now. Ask Jeeves. He came along with me, and is 
waiting outside. But when I found her bending over 
me, weeping, I knew that a word from me was all 
that was needed. I took her little hand in mine 
and " 



INFERIORITY COMPLEX OF OLD SIPPY 63 



"What do you mean, bending over you? Where?" 

"In your sitting-room." 

"Why?" 

"Why what?" J 

"Why was she bendijg over you?" 

"Because I was on tye floor, ass. Naturally a girl 
would bend over a fellow who was on the floor. Good- 
bye, Bertie. I must rush." 

He was out of the room before I knew he had started. 
I followed at a high rate of speed, but he was down 
the stairs before I reached the passage. I legged 
it after him, but when I got into the street it was 
empty. 

No, not absolutely empty. Jeeves was standing 
on the pavement, gazing dreamily at a brussels sprout 
which lay in the fairway. 

"Mr. Sipperley has this moment gone, sir," he said, 
as I came charging out. 

I halted and mopped the brow. 

"Jeeves," I said, "what has been happening?" 

"As far as Mr. Sipperley's romance is concerned, 
sir, all, I am happy to report, is well. He and Miss 
Moon have arrived at a satisfactory settlement." 

" I know. They're engaged. But how did it happen?" 

" I took the liberty of telephoning to Mr. Sipperlcy 
in your name, asking him to come immediately to 
to the flat, sir." 

"Oh, that's how he came to be at the flat? Well? " 

"I then took the liberty of telephoning to Miss 
Moon and informing her that Mr Sipperley had met with 
a nasty accident. As I anticipated, the young lady 
was strongly moved and announced her intention of 
coming to see Mr. Sipperley immediately. When 
she arrived, it required only a few moments to arrange 



6 4 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



the matter. It seems that Miss Moon has long loved 
Mr. Sipperley, sir, and " 

"I should have thought that, when she turned up 
and found he hadn't had a ntsty accident, she would 
have been thoroughly pipped at being fooled." 

"Mr. Sipperley had had a tysty accident, sir." 

"He had?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Rummy coincidence. I mean, after what you 
were saying this morning." 

"Not altogether, sir. Before telephoning to Miss 
Moon, I took the further liberty of striking Mr. Sip- 
perley a sharp blow on the head with one of your 
golf -clubs, which was fortunately lying in a corner 
of the room. The putter, I believe, sir. If you recollect, 
you were practising with it this morning before you 
left." 

I gaped at the blighter. I had always known Jeeves 
for a man of infinite sagacity, sound beyond belief on 
any question of tics or spats; but never before had I 
suspected him capable of strong-arm work like this. 
It seemed to open up an entirely new aspect of the 
fellow. I can't put it better than by saying that, as 
I gazed at him, the scales seemed to fall from my 
eyes. 

"Good heavens, Jeeves!" 

"I did it with the utmost regret, sir. It appeared 
to me the only course." 

"But look here, Jeeves. I don't get this. Wasn't 
Mr. Sipperley pretLy shirty when he came to and 
found that you had been soaking him with putters?" 

" He was not aware that I had done so, sir. I took 
the precaution of waiting ilntil his back was momen- 
tarily turned." 



INFERIORITY COMPLEX OF OLD SIPPY 65 

"But how did you explain the bump on his head?" 

"I informed him that your new vase had fallen 
on him, sir." 

"Why on earth would She believe that? The vase 
would have been smashes." 

" The vase was smashe*, sir." 

"What!" 

" In order to achieve verisimilitude, I was reluctantly 
compelled to break it, sir. And in my excitement, sir, 
I am sorry to say I broke it beyond repair." 

I drew myself up. 

"Jeeves!" I said. 

" Pardon me, sir, but would it not be wiser to wear 
a hat? There is a keen wind." 
I blinked. 

"Aren't I wearing a hat?" 
"No, sir." 

I put up a hand and felt the lemon. He was per- 
fectly right. 

"Nor I am! I must have left it in Sippy's office. 
Wait here, Jeeves, while I fetch it." 
"Very good, sir." 
" I have much to say to you." 
"Thank you, sir." 

I galloped up the stairs and dashed in at the door. 
And something squashy fell on my neck, and the next 
minute the whole world was a solid mass of flour. 
In the agitation of the moment I had gone in at the 
wrong door; and what it all boils down to is that, if 
any more of my pals get inferiority complexes, they 
can jolly well get rid of them for themselves. Bertram 
is through. 



CHAPTER III 

JEEVES AND THE YULE-TIDE SPIRIT 

THE letter arrived on the morning of the 
sixteenth. I was pushing a bit of breakfast 
into the Wooster face at the moment and, 
feeling fairly well-fortified with coffee and kippers, 
I decided to break the news to Jeeves without delay. 
As Shakespeare says, if you're going to do a thing 
you might just as well pop right at it and get it over. 
The man would be disappointed, of course, and 
possibly even chagrined: but, dash it all, a splash 
of disappointment here and there docs a fellow 
good. Makes him realize that life is stern and life is 
earnest. 

"Oh, Jeeves," I said. 
"Sir?" 

"We have here a communication from Lady 
Wickham. She has written inviting me to Skcldings 
for the festives. So you will see about bunging the 
necessaries together. We repair thither on the twenty- 
third. Plenty of white ties, Jeeves, also a few hearty 
country suits fur use in the daytime. We shall be 
there some little time, I expect." 

There was a pause. I could feel he was directing a 
frosty gaze at me, but I dug into the marmalade and 
refused to meet it. 

66 



JEEVES AND THE YULE-TIDE SPIRIT 67 

"I thought I understood you to say, sir, that you 
proposed to visit Monte Carlo immediately after 
Christmas." 

"I know. But that is all off. Plans changed." 



At this point the te/ephonc bell rang, tiding over 
very nicely what had threatened to be an awkward 
moment. Jeeves unhooked the receiver. 

"Yes? . . . Yes, madam . . . Very good, 
madam. Here is Mr. Wooster." He handed me the 
instrument. "Mrs. Spenser Gregson, sir." 

You know, every now and then I can't help feeling 
that Jeeves is losing his grip. In his prime it would 
have been with him the work of a moment to have 
told Aunt Agatha that I was not at home. I gave 
him one of those reproachful glances, and took the 
machine. 

"Hullo?" I said. "Yes? Hullo? Hullo? Bertie 
speaking. Hullo? Hullo? Hullo?" 

"Don't keep on saying Hullo," yipped the old 
relative in her customary curt manner. " You're not 
a parrot. Sometimes I wish you were, because then 
you might have a little sense." 

Quite the wrong sort of tone to adopt towards 
a fellow in the early morning, of course, but what 
can one do? 

"Bertie, Lady Wickham tells me she has invited 
you to Skeldings for Christmas. Are you going? " 
"Rather!" 

"Well, mind you behave yourself. Lady Wickham 
is an old friend of mine." 

I was in no mood for this sort of thing over the tele- 
phone. Face to face, I'm "not saying, but at the end 
of a wire, no. 



Very good, sir. 



9 1 




68 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"I shall naturally endeavour, Aunt Agatha," I 
replied stiffly, " to conduct myself in a manner befitting 
an English gentleman paying a visit " 

"What did you say ? Sp'iak up. I can't hear." 

"I said Right-ho." 

"Oh? Well, uoind you do. And there's another 
reason why I particularly wish you to be as little of 
an imbecile as you can manage while at Skeldings. 
Sir Roderick Glossop will be there." 

"What!" 

"Don't bellow like that. You nearly deafened 
me." 

"Did you say Sir Roderick Glossop?" 
"I did." 

"You don't mean Tuppy Glossop?" 

"I mean Sir Roderick Glossop. Which was my 
reason for saying Sir Roderick Glossop. Now, Bertie, 
I want you to listen to me attentively. Are you 
there?" 

"Yes. Still here." 

" Well, then, listen. I have at last succeeded, after 
incredible difficulty, and in face of all the evidence, 
in almost persuading Sir Roderick that you are not 
actually insane. He is prepared to suspend judgment 
until he has seen you once more. On your behaviour at 
Skeldings, therefore " 

But I had hung up the receiver. Shaken. That's 
what I was. S. to the core. 

Stop me if I've told you this before: but, in case 
you don't know, let me just mention the facts in the 
matter of this Glossop. He was a formidable old 
bird with a bald head 'and out-size eyebrows, by pro- 
fession a loony-doctor. How it happened, I couldn't 
tell you to this day, but I once got engaged to his 



JEEVES AND THE YTTLE-TIDE SPIRIT 69 

daughter, Honoria, a ghastly dynamic exhibit who 
read Nietzsche and had a laugh like waves breaking 
on a stern and rock-bound coast. The fixture was 
scratched owing to events occurring which convinced 



the old boy that I wasloff my napper; and since then 



he has always had my" name at the top of his list of 
" Loonies I have Lunched With." 

It seemed to me that even at Christmas time, with 
all the peace on earth and goodwill towards men that 
there is knocking about at that season, a reunion with 
this bloke was likely to be tough going. If I hadn't 
had more than one particularly good reason for wanting 
to go to Skcldings, I'd have called the thing off. 

"Jeeves," I said, all of a twitter, "Do you know 
what? Sir Roderick Glossop is going to be at Lady 
Wickham's." 

"Very good, sir. If you have finished breakfast, 
I will cleiir away." 

Cold and haughty. 'No symp. None of the rallying- 
round spirit which one likes to see. As I had 
anticipated, the information that we were not 
going to Monte Carlo had got in amongst him. There 
is a keen sporting streak in Jeeves, and I knew he 
had been looking forward to a little flutter at the 
tables. 

We Woosters can wear the mask. I ignored his 
lack of decent feeling. 

"Do so, Jeeves," I said proudly., "and with al. 
convenient speed." 

Relations continued pretty fairly strained all 
through the rest of the week. There was a frigid 
detachment in the way the* man brought me mv dollop 
of tea in the mornings. Going down to Skeldings in 

 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

the car on the afternoon of the twenty-thiid, he was 
aloof and reserved. And before dinner on the first 
night of my visit he put the studs in my dress-shirt 
in what I can only call a marked manner. The whole 
thing was extremely painful, Jmd it seemed to me, as 
I lay in bed on the morning of the twenty-fourth, 
that the only step to take was to put the whole facts 
of the case before him and trust to his native good 
sense to effect an understanding. 

I was feeling considerably in the pink that morning. 
Everything had gone like a breeze. My hostess, Lady 
Wickham, was a beaky female built far too closely on 
the lines of my Aunt Agatha for comfort, but she had 
seemed matey enough on my arrival. Her daughter, 
Roberta, had welcomed me with a warmth which, I'm 
bound to say, had set the old heart-strings fluttering 
a bit. And Sir Roderick, in the brief moment we had 
had together, appeared to have let the Yule-Tide 
spirit soak into him to the most amazing extent. 
When he saw me, his mouth sort of flickered at one 
corner, which I took to be his idea of smiling, 
and he said "Ha, young man!" Not particularly 
chummily, but he said it: and my view was that it 
practically amounted to the lion lying down with 
the lamb. 

So, all in all, life at this juncture seemed pretty 
well all to the mustard, and I decided to tell Jeeves 
exactly how matters stood. 

"Jeeves," I said, as he appeared with the steaming. 

"Sir?" 

"Touching on this business of our being here, I 
would like to say a few words of explanation. I 
consider that you have a right to the facts." 

"Sir?" 



JEEVES AND THE YUT,E-TIDE SPIRIT 71 

"I'm afraid scratching that Monte Carlo trip has 
been a bit of a jar for you, Jeeves." 
"Not at all, sir." 

"Oh, yes, it has. The heart was set on wintering 
in the world's good old? Plague Spot, I know. I saw 
your eye light-up when I said we were due for a visit 
there. You snorted a bit and your fingers twitched. 
I know, I know. And now that there has been a 
change of programme the iron has entered into your 
soul." 

"Not at all, sir." 

" Oh, yes, it has. I've seen it. Very well, then, what 
I wish to impress upon you, Jeeves, is that I have not 
been actuated in this matter by any mere idle whim. 
It was through no light and airy caprice that I 
accepted this invitation to Lady Wickham's. I have 
been angling for it for weeks, prompted by many 
considerations. In the first place, does one get the 
Yule-tide spirit at a spot like Monte Carlo?" 

"Does one dcsiie the Yule-tide spirit, sir?" 

"Certainly one does. I am all for it. Well, that's 
one thing. Now here's another. It was imperative 
that I should come to Skeldings for Christmas, Jeeves, 
because 1 knew that young Tuppy Glossop was going 
to be here." 

"Sir Roderick Glossop, sir?" 

"His nephew. You may have observed hanging 
about the place a fellow with light hair and a Cheshire- 
cat grin. That is Tuppy, and I have been anxious for 
some time to get to grips with him, I have it in 
for that man of wrath. Listen to the facts, Jeeves, 
and tell me if I am not Justified in planning a 
hideous vengeance." I took a sip of tea, for the mere 
memory of my wrongs had shaken me. "In spite of 



72 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

the fact that young Tuppy is the nephew of Sir 
Roderick Glossop, at whose hands, Jeeves, as you 
are aware, I have suffered much, I fraternized with 
him freely, both at the Drones Club and elsewhere. 
I said to myself that a man is not to be blamed 
for his relations, and that I would hate to have 
my pals hold my Aunt Agatha, for instance, against 
me. Broad-minded, Jeeves, I think?" 
"Extremely, sir." 

"Well, then, as I say, I sought this Tuppy out, 
Jeeves, and hobnobbed, and what do you think he 
did?" 

" I could not say, sir." 

"I will tell you. One night after dinner at the 
Drones he betted me I wouldn't swing myself across 
the swimming-bath by the ropes and rings. I took 
him on and was buzzing along in great style until I 
came to the last ring. And then I found that this 
fiend in human shape had looped it back against the 
rail, thus leaving me hanging in the void with no 
means of getting ashore to my home and loved 
ones. There was nothing for it but to drop into the 
water. He told me that he had often caught fellows 
that way : and what I maintain, Jeeves, is that, if I 
can't get back at him somehow at Skeldings — with 
all the vast resources which a country-house affords 
at my disposal — I am not the man I was." 

"I see, sir." 

There was still something in his manner which told 
me that even now he lacked complete sympathy and 
understanding, so, delicate though the subject was, 
1 decided to put all my cards on the table. 

" And now, Jeeves, we come to the most important 
reason why I had to spend Christmas at Skeldings. 



JEEVES AND THE YULE-TIDE SPIRIT 73 

Jeeves," I said, diving into the old cup once more for 
a moment and bringing myself out wreathed in blushes, 
"the fact of the matter is, I'm in love." 
"Indeed, sir ?" 

"You've seen Miss Roberta Wickham?" 
"Yes, sir." 
"Very well, then." 

There was a pause, while I let it sink in. 

"During your stay here, Jeeves," I said, "you will, 
no doubt, be thrown a good deal together with Miss 
Wickham 's maid. On such occasions, pitch it strong." 

"Sir?" 

"You know what I mean. Tell her I'm rather a 
good chap. Mention my hidden depths. These things 
get round. Dwell on the fact that I have a kind 
heart and was runner-up in the Squash Handicap at 
the Drones this year. A boost is never wasted, 
Jeeves." 

" Very good, sir. But " 

"But what?" 

"Well, sir " 

"I wish you wouldn't say 'Well, sir' in that soupy 
tone of voice. I have had to speak of this before. 
The habit is one that is growing upon you. Check it. 
What's on your mind?" 

"I hardly like to take the liberty " 

"Carry on, Jeeves. We are always glad to hear 
from you, always." 

"What I was about to remark, if you will excuse 
me, sir, was that I would scarcely have thought Miss 
Wickham a suitable " 

"Jeeves," I said coldly, "if you have anything to 
say against that lady, it had better not be said in 
my presence." 



74 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"Very good, sir." 

" Or anywhere else, for that matter. What is your 
kick against Miss Wickham?" 
"Oh, really, sir!" 

" Jeeves, I insist. This is a time for plain speaking. 
You have beefed about Miss Wickham. I wish to 
know why." 

" It merely crossed my mind, sir, that for a gentle- 
man of your description Miss Wickham is not a 
suitable mate." 

" What do you mean by a gentleman of my descrip- 
tion?" 

"Well, sir " 

"Jeeves!" 

"I beg your pardon, sir. The expression escaped 
me inadvertently. I was about to observe that I can 
only asseverate " 

"Only what?" 

'jjl can only say that, as you have invited my 

opinion " 

"But I didn't." 

"I was under the impression that you desired to 
canvass my views on the matter, sir." 

"Oh? Well, let's have them, anyway." 

"Very good, si*" Then briefly, if I may say 
so, sir, though Miss Wickham is a charming young 
lady " 

" There, Jeeves, you spoke an imperial quart. What 
eyes!" 

"Yes, sir." 
"What hair!" 
"Very true, sir." • 

"And what espieglerie, if that's the word I want." 
"The exact word, sir." 



JEEVES AND THE YULE-TIDE SPIRIT 75 

"All right, then. Carry on." 

"I grant Miss Wickham the possession of all these 
desirable qualities, sir. Nevertheless, considered 
as a matrimonial prospect for a gentleman of your 
description, I cannot look upon her as suitable. In 
my opinion Miss Wickham lacks seriousness, sir. She 
is too volatile and frivolous. To qualify as Miss 
Wickham's husband, a gentleman would need to 
possess a commanding personality and considerable 
strength of character." 

"Exactly!" 

"I would always hesitate to recommend as a life's 
companion a young lady with quite such a vivid 
shade of red hair. Red hair, sir, in my opinion, is 
dangerous." 

I eyed the blighter squarely. 

"Jeeves," I said, "you're talking rot." 

"Very good, sir." 

"Absolute drivel." 

"Very good, sir." 

"Pure mashed potatoes." 

"Very good, sir." 

"Very good, sir — I mean very good Jeeves, that 
will be all," I said. 

And I drank a modicum of tea, with a good deal 
of hauteur. 

It isn't often that I find myself able to prove Jeeves 
in the wrong, but by dinner-time that night I was in a 
position to do so, and I did it without delay. 

"Touching on that matter we were touching on, 
Jeeves," I said, coming in from the bath and tackling 
him as he studied the shirt, " I should be glad if you 
would give me your careful attention for a moment. 



76 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

I warn you that what I am about to say is going to 
make you look pretty silly." 
"Indeed, sir?" 

"Yes, Jeeves. Pretty dashed silly it's going to 
make you look. It may load you to be rather more 
careful in future about broadcasting these estimates 
of yours of people's characters. This morning, if I 
remember rightly; you stated that Miss Wickham 
was volatile, frivolous and lacking in seriousness. 
Am I correct?" 

"Quite correct, sir." 

"Then what I have to tell you may cause you to 
alter that opinion. I went for a walk with Miss Wick- 
ham this afternoon: and, as we walked, I told her 
about what young Tuppy Glossop did to me in the 
swimming-bath at the Drones. She hung upon my 
words, Jeeves, and was full of sympathy." 

" Indeed, sir? " 

"Dripping with it. And that's not all. Almost 
before I had finished, she was suggesting the ripest, 
fruitiest, brainiest scheme for bringing young Tuppy's 
grey hairs in sorrow to the grave that anyone could 
possibly imagine." 

"That is very gratifying, sir." 

"Gratifying is + he word. It appears that at the 
girls' school where Miss Wickham was educated, 
Jeeves, it used to become necessary from time to time 
for the right-thinking element of the community to 
slip it across certain of the baser sort. Do you know 
what they did, Jeeves?" 

"No, sir." 

"They took a long stick, Jeeves, and — follow me 
closely here — they tied a darning-needle to the end 
of it. Then at dead of night, it appears, they sneaked 



JEEVES AND THE YULE TIDE SPIRIT 77 

privily into the party of the second part's cubicle and 
shoved the needle through the bed-clothes and punc- 
tured her hot-water bottle. Girls are much subtler 
in these matters than boys, Jeeves. At my old school 
one would occasionally heave a jug of water over 
another bloke during the night-watches, but we never 
thought of effecting the same result in this particularly 
neat and scientific manner. Well, Jeeves, that was the 
scheme which Miss Wickham suggested I should work 
on young Tuppy, and that is the girl you call frivolous 
and lacking in seriousness. Any girl who can think 
up a wheeze like that is my idea of a helpmeet. I 
shall be glad, Jeeves, if by the time I come to bed 
to-night you have waiting for me in this room a 
stout stick with a good sharp darning needle 
attached." 

"Well, sir " 

I raised my hand. 

"Jeeves," I said. "Not another word. Stick, one, 
and needle, darning, good, sharp, one, without fail 
in this room at eleven-thirty to-night." 

"Very good, sir." 

"Have you any idea where young Tuppy sleeps?" 
"I could ascertain, sir." 
"Do so, Jeeves." 

In a few minutes he was back with the necessary 
informash. 

"Mr. Glossop is established in the Moat Room, 
sir." 

"Where's that?" 

"The second door on the floor below this, sir." 
"Right ho, Jeeves. Are the studs in my shirt?" 
"Yes, sir." 

"And the links also?" 



7 8 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



"Yes, sir." 

"Then push me into it." 

The more I thought about this enterprise which a 
sense of duty and good citizenship had thrust upon me, 
the better it seemed to me. T am not a vindictive man, 
but I felt, as anybody would have felt in my place, 
that if fellows like young Tuppy are allowed to get 
away with it the whole fabric of Society and Civiliza- 
tion must inevitably crumble. The task to which I 
had set myself was one that involved hardship and dis- 
comfort, for it meant sitting up till well into the small 
hours and then padding down a cold corridor, but I 
did not shrink from it. After all, there is a lot to be 
said for family tradition. We Woosters did our bit 
in the Crusades. 

It being Christmas Eve, there was, as I had fore- 
seen, a good deal of revelry and what not. First, the 
village choir surged round and sang carols outside the 
front door, and then somebody suggested a dance, 
and after that we hung around chatting of this and 
that, so that it wasn't till past one that I got to my 
room. Allowing for everything, it didn't seem that 
it was going to be safe to start my little expedition 
till half -past twt at the earliest: and I'm bound to 
say that it was onJv the utmost resolution that kept 
me from snuggling into the sheets and calling it a day. 
I'm not much of a lad now for late hours. 

However, by half-past two everything appeared 
to be quiet. I shook off the mists of sleep, grabbed 
the good old stick-and-needle and off along the 
corridor. And presently, pausing outside the Moat 
Room, I turned the handle, found the door wasn't 
locked, and went in. 



JEEVES AND THE YULE-TIDE SPIRIT 79 

I suppose a burglar — I mean a real professional who 
works at the job six nights a week all the year round — 
gets so that finding himself standing in the dark in 
somebody else's bedroom means absolutely nothing 
to him. But for a bird like me, who has had no pre- 
vious experience, there's a lot to be said in favour of 
washing the whole thing out and closing the door 
gently and popping back to bed again. It was only by 
summoning up all the old bull-dog courage of the 
Woostcrs, and reminding myself that, if I let this 
opportunity slip another might never occur, that I 
managed to stick out what you might call the initial 
minute of the binge. Then the weakness passed, and 
Bertram was himself again. 

At first when I beetled in, the room had seemed as 
black as a coal-cellar: but after a bit things began to 
lighten. The curtains weren't quite drawn over the 
window and I could see a trifle of the scenery here and 
there. The bed was opposite the window, with the 
head against the wall and the end where the feet were 
jutting out towards where I stood, thus rendering it 
possible after one had sown the seed, so to speak, to 
make a quick getaway. There only remained now the 
rather tricky problem of locating the old hot-water 
bottle. I mean to say, the one thing you can't do if 
you want to carry a job like this through with secrecy 
and dispatch is to stand at the end of a fellow's bed, 
jabbing the blankets at random with a darning-needle. 
Before proceeding to anything in the nature of definite 
steps, it is imperative that you locate the bot. 

I was a good deal cheered at this juncture to hear a 
fruity snore from the direction of the pillows. Reason 
told me that a bloke who could snore like that wasn't 
going to be awakened by a trifle. I edged forward and 



80 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

ran a hand in a gingerly sort of way over ihe coverlet. 
A moment later I had found the bulge. I steered the 
good old darning-needle on to it, gripped the stick, 
and shoved. Then, pulling out the weapon, I sidled 
towards the door, and in another moment would 
have been outside, buzzing for home and the good 
night's rest, when suddenly there was a crash that sent 
my spine shooting up through the top of my head 
and the contents of the bed sat up like a jack-in-the- 
box and said: 
"Who's that?" 

It just shows how your most careful strategic moves 
can be the very ones that dish your campaign. In 
order to facilitate the orderly retreat according to 
plan I had left the door open, and the beastly thing 
had slammed like a bomb. 

But I wasn't giving much thought to the causes of 
the explosion, having other things to occupy my 
mind. What was disturbing me was the discovery 
that, whoever else the bloke in the bed might be, he 
was not young Tuppy. Tuppy has one of those high, 
squeaky voices that sound like the tenor of the village 
choir failing to hit a high note. This one was something 
in between the last Trump and a tiger calling for break- 
fast after being on a diet for a day or two. It was the 
sort of nasty, rasping voice you hear shouting ' Fore ! 1 
when you're one of a slow foursome on the links and 
are holding up a couple of retired colonels. Among 
the qualities it lacked were kindliness, suavity and 
that sort of dove-like cooing note which makes a 
fellow feel he has found a friend. 

I did not linger. Getting swiftly off the mark, I 
dived for the door-handle and was off and away, 
banging the door behind me. I may be a chump in 



JEEVES AND THE YULE-TIDE SPIRIT Si 

many ways, as my Aunt Agatlia will freely attest, 
but I know when and when not to be among those 
present. 

And I was just about to do the stretch of corridor 
leading to the stairs in a split second under the record 
time for the course, when something brought me up 
with a sudden jerk. One moment, I was all dash and 
fire and speed; the next, an irresistible force had 
checked me in my stride and was holding me straining 
at the leash, as it were. 

You know, sometimes it seems to me as if Fate 
were going out of its way to such an extent to snooter 
you that you wonder if it's worth while continuing 
to struggle. The night being a trifle chillier than the 
dickens, I had donned for this expedition a dressing- 
gown. It was the tail of this infernal garment that 
had caught in the door and pipped me at the eleventh 
hour. 

The next moment the door had opened, light was 
streaming through it, and the bloke with the voice 
had grabbed me by the arm. 

It was Sir Roderick Glossop. 

The next thing that happened was a bit of a lull 
in the proceedings. For about three and a quarter 
seconds or possibly more we just stood there, drinking 
each other in, so to speak, the old boy still attached 
with a limpet-like grip to my elbow. If I hadn't been 
in a dressing-gown and he in pink pyjamas with a 
blue stripe, and if he hadn't been glaring quite so much 
as if he were shortly going to commit a murder, the 
tableau would have looked rather like one of those 
advertisements you see in the magazines, where the 
experienced elder is patting the young man's arm, 



82 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

and saying to him, 'My boy, if you subscribe to the 
Mutt- Jeff Correspondence School of Oswego, Kan., as 
I did, you may some day, like me become Third Assis- 
tant Vice-President of the Schenectady Consolidated 
Nail-File and Eyebrow Tweezer Corporation/ 

" You! " said Sir Roderick finally. And in this con- 
nection I want to state that it's all rot to say you can't 
hiss a word that hasn't an ' s * in it. The way he pushed 
out that 'You!' sounded like an angry cobra, and I 
am betraying no secrets when I mention that it did 
me no good whatsoever. 

By rights, I suppose, at this point I ought to have 
said something. The best I could manage, however, 
was a faint, soft bleating sound. Even on ordinary 
social occasions, when meeting this bloke as man to 
man and with a clear conscience, I could never be 
completely at my ease: and now those eyebrows 
seemed to pierce me like a knife. 

" Come in here," he said, lugging me into the room. 
"We don't want to wake the whole house. Now," 
he said, depositing me on the carpet and closing the 
door and doing a bit of eyebrow work, " kindly inform 
me what is this latest manifestation of insanity?" 

It seemed to me that a light and cheery laugh might 
help the thing along. So I had a pop at one. 

"Don't gibber!" said my genial host. And I'm 
bound to admit tha.. the light and cheery hadn't come 
out quite as I'd intended. 

I pulled myself together with a strong effort. 

"Awfully sorry about all this," I said in a hearty 
sort of voice. "The fact is, I thought you were 
Tuppy." 

" Kindly refrain from inflicting your idiotic slang on 
me. What do you mean by the adjective 'tuppy'?" 



JEEVES AND THE YULE-TIDE SPIRIT 83 

"It isn't so much an adjective, don't you know. 
More of a noun, I should think, if you examine it 
squarely. What I mean to say is, I thought you were 
your nephew." 

"You thought I was my nephew? Why should I 
be my nephew?" 

"What I'm driving at is, I thought this was his 
room." 

" My nephew and I changed rooms. I have a great 
dislike for sleeping on an upper floor. I am nervous 
about fire." 

For the first time since this interview had started, 
I braced up a trifle. The injustice of the whole thing 
stirred me to such an extent that for a moment I 
lost that sense of being a toad under the harrow which 
had been cramping my style up till now. I even went 
so far as to eye this pink-pyjamed poltroon with a 
good deal of contempt and loathing. Just because he 
had this craven fear of fire and this selfish preference 
for letting Tuppy be cooked instead of himself should 
the emergency occur, my nicely-reasoned plans had 
gone up the spout. I gave him a look, and I think I 
may even have snorted a bit. 

"I should have thought that your man-servant 
would have informed you," said Sir Roderick, "that 
we contemplated making this change. I met him 
shortly before luncheon and told him to tell you." 

I reeled. Yes, it is not too much to say that I 
reeled. This extraordinary statement had taken me 
amidships without any preparation, and it staggered 
me. That Jeeves had been aware all along that this 
old crumb would be the occupant of the bed which 
I was proposing to prod with darning-needles and had 
let me rush upon my doom without a word of warning 



8 4 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



was almost beyond belief. You might say I was 
aghast. Yes, practically aghast. 

"You told Jeeves that you were going to sleep in 
this room?" I gasped. 

" I did. I was aware that you and my nephew were 
on terms of intimacy, and I wished to spare myself 
the possibility of a visit from you. I confess that it 
never occurred to me that such a visit was to be antici- 
pated at three o'clock in the morning. What the 
devil do you mean," he barked, suddenly hotting up, 
"by prowling about the house at this hour? And 
what is that thing in your hand? " 

I looked down, and found that I was still grasping 
the stick. I give you my honest word that, what 
with the maelstrom of emotions into which his revela- 
tion about Jeeves had cast me, the discovery came 
as an absolute surprise. 

"This?" I said. "Oh, yes." 

"What do you mean, Oh yes? What is it? " 

"Well, it's a long story " 

"We have the night before us." 

"It's this way. I will ask you to picture me some 
weeks ago, perfectly peaceful and inoffensive, after 
dinner at the Drones, smoking a thoughtful cigarette 
and " 

I broke off. The man wasn't listening. He was 
goggling in a rapt sort of way at the end of the bed, 
from which there had now begun to drip on to the 
carpet a series of drops. 

"Good heavens!" 

" thoughtfux cigarette and chatting pleasantly 

of this and that " 

I broke off again. He had lifted the sheets and 
was gazing at the corpse of the hot-water bottle. 



JEEVES AND THE YULE-TIDE SPIRIT 85 

"Did you do this? " he said in a low, strangled sort 
of voice. 

"Er — yes. As a matter of fact, yes. I was just 
going to tell you " 

"And your aunt tried to persuade me that you 
were not insane!" 

"I'm not. Absolutely not. If you'll just let me 
explain." 

"I will do nothing of the kind." 

"It all began " 

"Silence!" 

"Right-ho." 

He did some deep-breathing exercises through the 
nose. 

"My bed is drenched!" 
"The way it all began " 

"Be quiet!" He heaved somewhat for awhile. 
"You wretched, miserable idiot," he said, "kindly 
inform me which bedroom you are supposed to be 
occupying? " 

"It's on the floor above. The Clock Room." 

" Thank you. I will find it." 

"Eh?" 

He gave me the eyebrow. 

" I propose," he said, "to pass the remainder of the 
night in your room, where, I presume, there is a bed 
in a condition to be slept in. You may bestow your- 
self as comfortably as you can here. I will wish you 
good-night." 

He buzzed off, leaving me flat. 

Well, we Woosters are old campaigners. We can 
take the rough with the smootn. But to say that I 
liked the prospect now before me would be paltering 



86 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

with the truth. One glance at the bed i.old me that 
any idea of sleeping there was out. A goldfish could 
have done it, but not Bertram. After a bit of a look 
round, I decided that the best chance of getting a 
sort of night's rest was to doss as well as I could in 
the arm-chair. I pinched a couple of pillows off the 
bed, shoved the hearth-rug over my knees, and sat 
down and started counting sheep. 

But it wasn't any good. The old lemon was sizzling 
much too much to admit of anything in the nature of 
slumber. This hideous revelation of the blackness of 
Jeeves's treachery kept coming back to me every time 
I nearly succeeded in dropping off : and, what's more, 
it seemed to get colder and colder as the long night 
wore on. I was just wondering if I would ever get to 
sleep again in this world when a voice at my elbow 
said 'Good-morning, sir,' and I sat up with a jerk. 

I could have sworn I hadn't so much as dozed off 
for even a minute, but apparently I had. For the 
curtains were drawn back and daylight was coming 
in through the window and there was Jeeves standing 
beside me with a cup of tea on a tray. 

"Merry Christmas, sir!" 

I reached out a feeble hand for the restoring brew. 
I swallowed a mouthful or two, and felt a little better. 
I was aching in cverv limb and the dome felt like lead, 
but I was now able to think with a certain amount of 
clearness, and I fixed the man with a stony eye and 
prepared to let him have it. 

"You think so, do you?" I said. "Much, let me 
tell you, depends on what you mean by the adjective 
'merry'. If, moreover, you suppose that it is going 
to be merry for you, correct that impression. Jeeves," 
I said, taking another half-oz. of tea and speaking in 



JEEVES AND THE YULE-TIDE SPIRIT 87 

a cold, measured voice, " I wish to ask you one question. 
Did you or did you not know that Sir Roderick Glossop 
was sleeping in this room last night?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"You admit it!" 

"Yes, sir." 

"And you didn't tell me!" 

"No, sir. I thought it would be more judicious 
not to do so." 
"Jeeves " 

"If you will allow me to explain, sir." 
"Explain!" 

"I was aware that my silence might lead to some- 
thing in the nature of an embarrassing contretemps, 
sir " 

" You thought that, did you? " 

"Yes, sir." 

"You were a good guesser," I said, sucking down 
further Bohea. 

"But it seemed to me, sir, that whatever might 
occur was all for the best." 

I would have put in a crisp word or two here, but 
he carried on without giving me the opp. 

"I thought that possibly, on reflection, sir, your 
views being what they are, you would prefer your 
relations with Sir Roderick Glossop and his family 
to be distant rather than cordial." 

"My views? What do you mean, my views?" 

"As regards a matrimonial alliance with Miss 
Honoria Glossop, sir." 

Something like an electric shock seemed to zip 
through me. The man had opened up a new line of 
thought. I suddenly saw what He was driving at, and 
realized all in a flash that I had been wronging this 



88 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



faithful fellow. All the while I supposed he had been 
landing me in the soup, he had really bien steering 
me away from it. It was like those stories one used 
to read as a kid about the traveller going along on a 
dark night and his dog grabs him by the leg of his 
trousers and he says 'Down, sir! What are you doing, 
Rover? ' and the dog hangs on and he gets rather hot 
under the collar and curses a bit bat the dog won't 
let him go and then suddenly the moon shines through 
the clouds and he finds he's been standing on the edge 

of a precipice and one more step would have 

well, anyway, you get the idea : and what I'm driving 
at is that much the same sort of thing seemed to have 
been happening now. 

It's perfectly amazing how a fellow will let himself 
get off his guard and ignore the perils which surround 
him. I give you my honest word, it had never struck 
me till this moment that my Aunt Agatha had been 
scheming to get me in right with Sir Roderick so that 
I should eventually be received back into the fold, 
if you see what I mean, and subsequently pushed off 
on Honoria. 

"My God, Jeeves!" I said, paling. 

"Precisely, sir." 

"You think there was a risk?" 

"I do, sir. A very grave risk." 

A disturbing thought struck me. 

" But, Jeeves, on calm reflection won't Sir Roderick 
have gathered by now that my objective was young 
Tuppy and that puncturing his hot-water bottle was 
just one of those things that occur when the Yule- 
Tide spirit is abroad — one of those things that have 
to be overlooked and taken with the indulgent smile 
and the fatherly shake of the head? I mean to say, 



JEEVES AND THE YULE-TIDE SPIRIT 89 

Young Blood and all that sort of thing? What I 
mean is he'll realize that I wasn't trying to snooter 
him, and then all the good work will have been 
wasted." 

"No, sir. I fancy not. That might possibly have 
been Sir Roderick's mental reaction, had it not been 
for the second incident." 

"The second incident?" 

"During the night, sir, while Sir Roderick was 
occupying your bed, somebody entered the room, 
pierced his 1 sot-water bottle with some sharp instru- 
ment, and vanished in the darkness." 

I could make nothing of this. 

"What! Do you think I walked in my sleep?" 

" No, sir. It was young Mr. Glossop who did it. I 
encountered him this morning, sir, shortly before I 
came here. He was in cheerful spirits and enquired 
of me how you were feeling about the incident. Not 
being aware that his victim had been Sir Roderick." 

"But, Jeeves, what an amazing coincidence!" 

"Sir?" 

" Why, young Tuppy getting exactly the same idea 
as I did. Or, rather, as Miss Wickham did. You 
can't say that's not rummy. A miracle, I call it." 

"Not altogether, sir. It appears that he received 
the suggestion from the young lady." 

"From Miss Wickham?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"You mean to say that, after she had put me up 
to the scheme of puncturing Tuppy's hot-water bottle, 
she went away and tipped Tuppy off to puncturing 
mine?" 

" Precisely, sir. She is a. young lady with a keen 
sense of humour, sir." 



go VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

I sat there, you might say stunned. Whon I thought 
how near I had come to offering the hear and hand 
to a girl capable of double-crossing a strong man's 
honest love like that, I shivered. 

"Are you cold, sir?" 

"No, Jeeves. Just shuddering." 

"The occurrence, if I may take the liberty of saying 
so, sir, will perhaps lend colour to the view which I 
put forward yesterday that Miss Wickham, though 
in many respects a charming young lady " 

I raised the hand. 

"Say no more, Jeeves," I replied. "Love is dead." 

"Very good, sir." 

I brooded for a while. 

"You've seen Sir Roderick this morning, then?" 
"Yes, sir." 

"How did he seem?" 
"A trifle feverish, sir/' 
"Feverish?" 

" A little emotional, sir. He expressed a strong desire 
to meet you, sir." 

"What would you advise?" 

"If you were to slip out by the back entrance as 
soon as you are dressed, sir, it would be possible for 
you to make your way across the field without being 
observed, and reach the village, where you could hire 
an automobile to take you to London. I could bring 
on your effects later in your own car." 

"But London, Jeeves? Is any man safe? My 
Aunt Agatha is in London." 

"Yes, sir." 

"Well, then?" 

He regarded me for a moment with a fathomless eye, 
" I think the best plan, sir, would be for you to leave 



JEEVES AND THE YULE-TIDE SPIRIT 91 

England, which is not pleasant at this time of the 
year, for some little while. I would not take the liberty 
of dictating your movements, sir, but as you already 
have accommodation engaged on the Blue Train for 
Monte Carlo for the day after to-morrow " 

"But you cancelled the booking?" 

"No, sir." 

"I thought you had." 

"No, sir." 

"I told you to." 

"Yes, sir. It was remiss of me, but the matter 
slipped my mind." 
"Oh?" 
"Yes, sir." 

"All right, Jeeves. Monte Carlo ho, then." 
"Very good, sir." 

"It's lucky, as things have turned out, that you 
forgot to cancel that booking." 

"Very fortunate indeed, sir. If you will wait here, 
sir, I will return to your room and procure a suit of 
clothes." 



CHATTER IV 



JEEVES AND THE SONG OF SONGS 

A NOTHER day had dawned all hot and fresh 
/ \ and, in pursuance of my unswerving policy at 
A. \^ that time, I was singing 'Sonny Boy* in my 
bath, when there was a soft step without and Jeeves's 
voice came filtering through the woodwork. 
"I beg your pardon, sir." 

I had just got to that bit about the Angels being 
lonely, where you need every ounce of concentration 
in order to make the spectacular finish, but I signed 
off courteously. 

"Yes, Jeeves? Say on." 

"Mr. Glossop, sir." 

"What about him?" 

"He is in the sitting-room, sir." 

"Young Tuppy Glossop?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"In the sitting-room?" 
"Yes, sir." 

"Desiring speech with me?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"H*m!" 

"Sir?" 

" I only said H*m. " 

And I'll tell you why I said H'm. It was because the 
man's story had interested me strangely. The news 

92 



JEEVES AND THE SONG OF SONGS 93 

that Tuppy was visiting me at my flat, at an hour 
when he must have known that I would be in my 
bath and consequently in a strong strategic position 
to heave a wet sponge at him, surprised me con- 
siderably. 

I hopped out with some briskness and. slipping a 
couple of towels about the limbs and torso, made 
for the sitting-room. I found young Tuppy at the 
piano, playing 'Sonny Boy' with one fingtr. 

"What ho!" I said, not without a certain hauteur. 

"Oh, hullo, Bertie/' said young Tuppy. "I say, 
Bertie, I want to see you about something important." 

It seemed to me that the bloke was embtrrassed. 
He had moved to the mantelpiece, and now ie broke 
a vase in rather a constrained way. 

"The fact is, Bertie, I'm engaged." 

"Engaged?" 

"Engaged," said young Tuppy, coyly dropping a 
photograph frame into the fender. *' Practically that 
is." 

"Practically?" 

"Yes. You'll like her, Bertie. Her name is "ora 
Bellinger. She's studying for Opera. Wonderful v>ice 
she has. Also dark, flashing eyes and a great soU." 

"How do you mean, practically?" 

"Well, it's this way. Before ordering the trousseai, 
there is one little point she wants cleared up. Ycu 
see, what with her great soul and all that, she has* 
rather serious outlook on life: and the one thinj 
she absolutely bars is anything in the shape of heartj 
humour. You know, practical joking and so forth 
She said if she thought I was a practical joker she 
would never speak to me again. And unfortunately 
she appears to have heard about that little affair at 



94 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

the Drones — I expect you have forgotten all about 
that, Bertie?" 
"I have not!" 

"No, no, not forgotten exactly. What I mean is, 
nobody laughs more heartily at the recollection than 
you. And vphat I want you to do, old man, is to seize 
an early opportunity of taking Cora aside and cate- 
gorically denying that there is any truth in the story. 
My happiness, Bertie, is in your hands, if you know 
what I mean." 

Well, cf course, if he put it like that, what could I 
do? We Woosters have our code. 

"Oh, til right," I said, but far from brightly. 

"Splendid fellow!" 

"When do I meet this blighted female?" 

"Don't call her 'this blighted female,' Bertie, old 
man. I have planned all that out. I will bring her 
round here to-day for a spot of lunch." 

"Wiat!" 

"A) one-thirty. Right. Good. Fine. Thanks. 
I know I could rely on you." 

Hi pushed off, and I turned to Jeeves, who had 
shinmered in with the morning meal. 

'Xunch for three to-day, Jeeves," I said. 

'Very good, sir." 

/ You know, Jeeves, it's a bit thick. You remember 
mp telling you about what Mr. Glossop did to me that 
nfeht at the Drones?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"For months I have been cherishing dreams of 
Jetting a bit of my own back. And now, so far from 
pushing him into the dust, I've got to fill him and 
fiancee with rich food and generally rally round and 
pe the good angel." 



JEEVES AND THE SONG OF SONGS 95 
" Life is like that, sir." 

"True, Jeeves. What have we here?" I asked, 
inspecting the tray. 

"Kippered herrings, sir." 

"And I shouldn't wonder/' I said, for I was in 
thoughtful mood, "if even herrings haven't troubles 
of their own." 

"Quite possibly, sir." 

"I mean, apart from getting kippered." • 

"Yes, sir." 

"And so it goes on, Jeeves, so it goes on." 

I can't say I exactly saw eye to eye with young 
Tuppy in his admiration for the Bellinger female. 
Delivered on the mat at one-twenty-five, she proved 
to be an upstanding light-heavyweight of some thirty 
summers, with a commanding eye and a square chin 
which I, personally, would have steered clear of. She 
seemed to me a good deal like what Cleopatra would 
have been after going in too freely for the starches and 
cereals. I don't know why it is, but women who have 
anything to do with Opera, even if they're only study- 
ing for it, always appear to run to surplus poundage. 

Tuppy, however, was obviously all for her. His 
whole demeanour, both before and during lunch, was 
that of one striving to be worthy of a noble soul. 
When Jeeves offered him a cocktail, he practically 
recoiled as from a serpent. It was terrible to see the 
change which love had effected in the man. The spec- 
tacle put me off my food. 

At half-past two, the Bellinger left to go to a singing 
lesson. Tuppy trotted after her to the door, bleating 
and frisking a goodish bit, and 'then came back and 
looked at me in a goofy sort of way. 

VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 


"Well, Bertie?" 

"Well, what?" 

"I mean, isn't she?" 

"Oh, rather," I said, humouring the poor fish. 

"Wonderful eyes?" 

"Oh, rather." 

"Wonderful figure?" 

"Oh, quite." 

"Wonderful voice?" 

Here I was able to intone the response with a little 
more heartiness. The Bellinger, at Tuppy's request, 
had sung us a few songs before digging in at the 
trough, and nobody could have denied that her pipes 
were in great shape. Plaster was still falling from the 
ceiling. 

"Terrific," I said. 

Tuppy sighed, and, having helped himself to about 
four inches of whisky and one of soda, took a deep, 
refreshing draught. 

"Ah!" he said. "I needed that." 

"Why didn't you have it at lunch?" 

"Well, it's this way," said Tuppy. "I have not 
actually ascertained what Cora's opinions are on the 
subject of the taking of slight snorts from time to 
time, but I thought it more prudent to lay off. The 
view I took was *hat laying off would seem to indicate 
the serious mind. It is touch-and-go, as you might 
say, at the moment, and the smallest thing may turn 
the scale." 

"What beats me is how on earth you expect to 
make her think you've got a mind at all — let alone a 
serious one." 

"I have my methods." 

"I bet they're rotten." 



JEEVES AND THE SONG OF SONGS 97 

"You do, do you?" said Tuppy warmly. "Well, 
let me tell you, my lad, that that's exactly what 
they're anything but. I am handling this affair with 
consummate generalship. Do you remember Beefy 
Bingham who was at Oxford with us?" 

" I ran into him only the other day. He's a parson 
now." 

"Yes. Down in the East End. Well, he runs a 
Lads' Club for the local toughs — you know the sort 
of thing — cocoa and back-gammon in the reading- 
room and occasional clean, bright entertainments in 
the Oddfellows' Hall: and I've been helping him. I 
don't suppose I've passed an evening away from the 
back-gammon board for weeks. Cora is extremely 
pleased. I've got her to promise to sing on Tuesday 
at Beefy 's next clean, bright entertainment." 

"You have?" 

"I absolutely have. And now mark my devilish 
ingenuity, Bertie. I'm going to sing, too." 

" Why do you suppose that's going to get you any- 
where? " 

"Because the way I intend to sing the song I intend 
to sing will prove to her that there are great deeps 
in my nature, whose existence she has not suspected. 
She will see that rough, unlettered audience wiping 
the tears out of its bally eyes and she will say to her- 
self ' What ho ! The old egg really has a soul ! ' For 
it is not one of your mouldy comic songs, Bertie. No 
low buffoonery of that sort for me. It is all about 
Angels being lonely and what not " 

1 uttered a sharp cry. 

"You don't mean you're going to sing 'Sonny 
Boy*?" 

" I jolly well do." 



98 VERY GOOD, JEEVES 1 

I was shocked. Yes, dash it, I was shocked. You 
see, I held strong views on ' Sonny Boy/ I considered 
it a song only to be attempted by a few of the elect 
in the privacy of the bathroom. And the thought 
of it being murdered in open Oddfellows' Hall by a 
man who could treat a pal as young Tuppy had 
treated me that night at the Drones sickened me. Yes, 
sickened me. 

I hadn't time, however, to express my horror and 
disgust, for at this juncture Jeeves came in. 

"Mrs. Travers has just rung up on the telephone, 
sir. She desired me to say that she will be calling 
to see you in a few minutes." 

"Contents noted, Jeeves," I said. "Now listen, 
Tuppy " 

I stopped. The fellow wasn't there. 

"What have you done with him, Jeeves?" I asked. 

"Mr. Glossop has left, sir." 

"Left? How can he have left? He was sitting 
there " 

"That is the front door closing now, sir." 
"But what made him shoot off like that?" 
"Possibly Mr. Glossop did not wish to meet Mrs. 
Travers, sir." 
"Why not?" 

"I could not say, sir. But undoubtedly at the 
mention of Mrs. Travers' name he rose very swiftly." 
"Strange, Jeeves." 
"Yes, sir." 

I turned to a subject of more moment. 

"Jeeves," I said, "Mr. Glossop proposes to sing 
'Sonny Boy' at an entertainment down in the East 
End next Tuesday." 

"Indeed, sir?" 



JEEVES AND THE SONG OF SONGS 99 

"Before an audience consisting mainly of coster- 
mongers, with a sprinkling of whelk-stall owners, 
purveyors of blood-oranges, and minor pugilists." 

" Indeed, sir?" 

"Make a note to remind me to be there. He will 
infallibly get the bird, and I want to witness his 
downfall." 

"Very good, sir." 

"And when Mrs. Travers arrives, I shall be in the 
sitting-room." 

Those who know Bertram Wooster best are aware 
that in his journey through life he is impeded and 
generally snootered by about as scaly a platoon of 
aunts as was ever assembled. But there is one 
exception to the general ghastliness — viz., my Aunt 
Dahlia. She married old Tom Travers the year Blue- 
bottle won the Cambridgeshire, and is one of the 
best. It is always a pleasure to me to chat with her, 
and it was with a courtly geniality that I rose to 
receive her as she sailed over the threshold at about 
two fifty-five. 

She seemed somewhat perturbed, and snapped into 
the agenda without delay. Aunt Dahlia is one of those 
big, hearty women. She used to go in a lot for hunting, 
and she generally speaks as if she had just sighted a 
fox on a hillside half a mile away. 

"Bertie," she cried, in the manner of one encourag- 
ing a bevy of hounds to renewed efforts. "I want 
your help." 

"And you shall have it, Aunt Dahlia," I replied 
suavely. " I can honestly say that there is no one to 
whom I would more readily do a good turn than your- 
self ; no one to whom I am more delighted to be " 



ioo VERY GOOD,^ JEEVES! 

"Less of it," she begged, "less of it. You know 
that friend of yours, young Glossop? " 

"He's just been lunching here." 

" He has, has he? Well, I wish you'd poisoned his 
soup." 

" We didn't have soup. And, w3 ien you describe him 
as a friend of mine, I wouldn't quitt say the term 
absolutely squared with the facts. Some time ago, 
one night when we had been dining together at the 
Drones " 

At this point Aunt Dahlia — a little brusquely, it 
seemed to me — said that she would rather wait for 
the story of my life till she could get it in book-form. 
I could see now that she was definitely not her usual 
sunny self, so I shelved my personal grievances and 
asked what was biting her. 

"It's that young hound Glossop," she said. 

"What's he been doing?" 

"Breaking Angela's heart." (Angela. Daughter 
of above. My cousin. Quite a good egg.) 
"Breaking Angela's heart?" 

"Yes . . . Breaking . . . Angela's . . . HEART!" 

"You say he's breaking Angela's heart?" 

She begged me in rather a feverish^way to suspend 
the vaudeville cross-talk stuff. 

"How's he doing that?" I asked. 

"With his neglect. With his low, callous, double- 
crossing duplicity." 

"Duplicity is the word, Aunt Dahlia," I said. "In 
treating of young Tuppy Glossop, it springs naturally 
to the lips. Let me just tell you what he did to me one 
night at the Drones. '"We had finished dinner " 

"Ever since the beginning of the season, up till 
about three weeks ago, he was all over Angela. The 



JEEVES AND THE SONG OF SONGS 101 

sort of thing which, when I was a girl, we should 

have described as courting " 

"Or wooing?" 

"Wooing or courting, whichever you like." 
"Whichever you like, Aunt Dahlia," I said 
courteously. 

"Well, anyway, he haunted the house, lapped up 
daily lunches, danced with her half the night, and so 
on, till naturally the poor kid, who's quite off her 
oats about him, took it for granted that it was only 
a question of time before he suggested that they 
should feed for life out of the same crib. And now 
he's gone and dropped her like a hot brick, and I 
hear he's infatuated with some girl he met at a Chelsea 
tea-party —a girl named — now, what was it?" 

"Cora Bellinger." 

"How do you know?" 

"She was lunching here to-day." 

"He brought her?" 

"Yes." 

"What's she like?" 

" Pretty massive. In shape, a bit on the lines of the 
Albert Hall." 

"Did he seem very fond of her?" 

"Couldn't take his eyes off the chassis." 

"The modern young man," said Aunt Dahlia, "is 
a congenital idiot and wants a nurse to lead him by 
the hand and some strong attendant to kick him 
regularly at intervals of a quarter of an hour." 

I tried to point out the silver lining. 

"If you ask me, Aunt Dahlia," I said, "I think 
Angela is well out of it. Thi? GIossop is a tough baby. 
One of London's toughest. I was trying to tell you 
just now what he did to me one night at the Drones. 



102 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



First having got me in sporting mood with a bottle 
of the ripest, he betted I wouldn't swing myself across 
the swimming-bath by the ropes and rings. I knew 
I could do it on my head, so I took him on, exulting 
in the fun, so to speak. And when I'd done half the 
trip and was going as strong as dammit, I found he 
had looped the last rope back against the rail, leaving 
me no alternative but to drop into the depths and 
swim ashore in correct evening costume." 
"He did?" 

"He certainly did. It was months ago, and I 
haven't got really dry yet. You wouldn't want your 
daughter to marry a man capable of a thing like 
that?" 

"On the contrary, you restore my faith in the 
young hound. I see that there must be lots of good in 
him, after all. And I want this Bellinger business 
broken up, Bertie." 

"How?" 

"I don't care how. Any way you please." 
"But what can I do?" 

"Do? Why, put the whole thing before your man 
Jeeves. Jeeves will find a way. One of the most capable 
fellers I ever met. Put the thing squarely up to Jeeves 
and tell him to let his mind play round the topic." 

"There may be something in what you say, Aunt 
Dahlia," I said thoughtfully. 

" Of course there is," said Aunt Dahlia. " A little 
thing like this will be child's play to Jeeves. Get him 
working on it, and I'll look in to-morrow to hear the 
resjjlt." 

With which, she biffed, off, and I summoned Jeeves 
to the presence. 
"Jeeves," I said, "you have heard all?" 



JEEVES AND THE SONG OF SONGS 103 
"Yes, sir." 

" I thought you would. My Aunt Dahlia has what 
you might call a carrying voice. Has it ever occurred 
to you that, if all other sources of income failed, she 
could make a good living calling the cattle home across 
the Sands of Dee?" 

"I had not considered the point, sir, but no doubt 
you are right." 

"Well, how do we go? What is your reaction? I 
think we should do our best to help and assist." 

"Yes, sir." 

" I am fond of my Aunt Dahlia and I am fond of my 
cousin Angela. Fond of them both, if you get my 
drift. What the misguided girl finds to attract her in 
young Tuppy, I cannot say, Jeeves, and you cannot 
say. But apparently she loves the man — which shows 
it can be done, a thing I wouldn't have believed myself 
— and is pining away like " 

"Patience on a monument, sir." 

"Like Patience, as you very shrewdly remark, on 
a monument. So we must cluster round. Bend your 
brain to the problem, Jeeves. It is one that will tax 
you to the uttermost." 

Aunt Dahlia blew in on the morrow, and I rang the 
bell for Jeeves. He appeared looking brainier than 
one could have believed possible — sheer intellect 
shining from every feature — and I could see at once 
that the engine had been turning over. 

"Speak, Jeeves," I said. 

"Very good, sir." 

"You have brooded?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"With what success?" 



104 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



"I have a plan, sir, which I fancy may produce 
satisfactory results. ' ' 

"Let's have it," said Aunt Dahlia. 

"In affairs of this description, madam, the first 
essential is to study the psychology of the individual." 

"The what of the individual?" 

"The psychology, madam." 

"He means the psychology," I said. "And by 
psychology, Jeeves, you imply ? " 

"The natures and dispositions of the principals in 
the matter, sir." 

"You mean, what they're like?" 

"Precisely, sir." 

"Does he talk like this to you when you're alone, 
Bertie?" asked Aunt Dahlia. 

"Sometimes. Occasionally. And, on the other 
hand, sometimes not. Proceed, Jeeves." 

" Well, sir, if I may say so, the thing that struck me 
most forcibly about Miss Bellinger when she was under 
my observation was that hers was a somewhat hard 
and intolerant nature. I could envisage Miss Bellinger 
applauding success. 1 could not so easily see her pitying 
and sympathizing with failure. Possibly you will 
recall, sir, her attitude when Mr. Glossop endeavoured 
to light her cigarette with his automatic lighter? I 
thought I detected a certain impatience at his inability 
to produce the necessary flame." 

"True, Jeeves. She ticked him off." 

"Precisely, sir." 

"Let me get this straight," said Aunt Dahlia, 
looking a bit fogged. "You think that, if he goes on 
trying to light her "cigarettes with his automatic 
lighter long enough, she will eventually get fed up 
and hand him the mitten? Is that the idea?" 



JEEVES AND THE SONG OF SONGS 105 

"I merely mentioned the episode, madam, as an 
indication of Miss Bellinger's somewhat ruthless 
nature." 

" Ruthless/' I said, "is right. The Bellinger is hard- 
boiled. Those eyes. That chin. I could read them. 
A woman of blood and iron, if ever there was one." 

*' Precisely, sir. I think, therefore, that, should Miss 
Bellinger be a witness of Mr. Glossop appearing to 
disadvantage in public, she would cease to entertain 
affection for him. In the event, for instance, of his 
failing to please the audience on Tuesday with his 
singing " 

I saw daylight. 

"By Jove, Jeeves! You mean if he gets the bird, 
all will be off?" 

" I shall be greatly surprised if such is not the case, 
sir." 

I shook my head. 

"We cannot leave this thing to chance, Jeeves. 
Young Tuppy, singing 'Sonny Boy,' is the likeliest 
prospect for the bird that I can think of — but, no — 
you must see for yourself that we can't simply trust 
to luck." 

"We need not trust to luck, sir. I would suggest 
that you approach your friend, Mr. Bingham, and 
volunteer your services as a performer at his forth- 
coming entertainment. It could readily be arranged 
that you sang immediately before Mr. Glossop. I 
fancy, sir, that, if Mr. Glossop were to sing 'Sonny 
Boy' directly after you, too, had sung 'Sonny Boy', 
the audience would respond satisfactorily. By the 
time Mr. Glossop began to sing, .they would have lost 
their taste for that particular song and would express 
their feelings warmly." 



106 VERY GOOD, JEEVES I 

"Jeeves," said Aunt Dahlia, "you're a marvel!" 

"Thank you, madam." 

"Jeeves," I said, "you're an ass!" 

"What do you mean, he's an ass?" said Aunt 
Dahlia hotly. "I think it's the greatest scheme I 
ever heard." 

"Me sing 'Sonny Boy' at Beef} 7 Bingham's clean, 
bright entertainment? I can see myself!" 

" You sing it daily in your bath, sir. Mr. Wooster," 
said Jeeves, turning to Aunt Dahlia, " has a pleasant, 
light baritone " 

" I bet he has," said Aunt Dahlia. 

I froze the man with a look. 

"Between singing 'Sonny Boy' in one's bath, 
Jeeves, and singing it before a hall full of assorted 
blood-orange merchants and their young, there is a 
substantial difference." 

" Bertie," said Aunt Dahlia," you'll sing, and like it ! " 

"I will not." 

"Bertie!" 

"Nothing will induce " 

"Bertie," said Aunt Dahlia firmly, "you will sing 
'Sonny Boy' on Tuesday, the third prox., and sing it 
like a lark at sunrise, or may an aunt's curse " 

" I won't ! " 

"Think of Angela'" 

"Dash Angela!" 

"Bertie!" 

"No, I mean, hang it all!" 
"You won't?" 
"No, I won t." 

"That is your last word, is it?" 
"It is. Once and for all, Aunt Dahlia, nothing will 
induce me to let out so much as a single note." 



JEEVES AND THE SONG OF SONGS 107 

And so that afternoon I sent a pre-paid wire to 
Beefy Bingham, offering my services in the cause, and 
by nightfall the thing was fixed up. I was billed to 
perform next but one after the intermission. Following 
me, came Tuppy. And, immediately after him, Miss 
Cora Bellinger, the well-known operatic soprano. 

"Jeeves," I said that evening — and I said it coldly 
— "I shall be obliged if you will pop round to the 
nearest music-shop and procure me a copy of 'Sonny 
Boy. ' It will now be necessary for me to learn both 
verse and refrain. Of the trouble and nervous strain 
which this will involve, I say nothing." 

"Very good, sir." 

"But this I do say " 

"I had better be starting immediately, sir, or the 
shop will be closed." 
"Ha!" I said. 
And I meant it to sting. 

Although I had steeled myself to the ordeal before 
me and had set out full of the calm, quiet courage which 
makes men do desperate deeds with careless smiles, I 
must admit that there was a moment, just after I 
had entered the Oddfellows' Hall at Bermondsey 
East and run an eye over the assembled pleasure- 
seekers, when it needed all the bull-dog pluck of the 
Woosters to keep me from calling it a day and taking 
a cab back to civilization. The clean, bright enter- 
tainment was in full swing when I arrived, and some- 
body who looked as if he might be the local undertaker 
was reciting 'Gunga Din.' And the audience, though 
not actually chi-yiking in the full technical sense of 
the term, had a grim look which I didn't like at all. 



108 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

The mere sight of them gave me the sort of feeling 
Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego must have had 
when preparing to enter the burning, fiery furnace. 

Scanning the multitude, it seemed to me that 
they were for the nonce suspending judgment. Did 
you ever tap on the door of one of those New York 
speakeasy places and see the grille snap back and a 
Face appear? There is one long, silent moment when 
its eyes are fixed on yours and all your past life seems 
to rise up before you. Then you say that you are a 
friend of Mr. Zinzinheimer and he told you they would 
treat you right if you mentioned his name, and the 
strain relaxes. Well, these costermongers and whelk- 
stallers appeared to me to be looking just like that 
Face. Start something, they seemed to say, and they 
would know what to do about it. And I couldn't 
help feeling that my singing ' Sonny Boy ' would come, 
in their opinion, under the head of starting something. 

"A nice, full house, sir," said a voice at my elbow. 
It was Jeeves, watching the proceedings with an indul- 
gent eye. 

"You here, Jeeves?" I said, coldly. 
" Yes, sir. I have been present since the commence- 
ment." 

" Oh? " I said. " Any casualties yet? " 
"Sir?" 

"You know what I mean, Jeeves," I said sternly, 
" and don't pretend you don't. Anybody got the bird 
yet?" 

"Oh, no, sir." 

"I shall be the first, you think?" 
" No, sir. I see no rfias©n to expect such a misfortune. 
I anticipate that you will be well received." 
A sudden thought struck me. 



JEEVES AND THE SONG OF SONGS 109 

"And you think everything will go according to 
plan?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Well, I don't," I said. "And I'll tell you why I 
don't. I've spotted a flaw in your beastly scheme." 
"A flaw, sir?" 

" Yes. Do you suppose for a moment that, if when 
Mr. Glossop hears me singing that dashed song, he'll 
come calmly on a minute after me and sing it too? 
Use your intelligence, Jeeves. He will perceive the 
chasm in his path and pause in time. He will back out 
and refuse to go on at all." 

"Mr. Glossop will not hear you sing, sir. At my 
advice, he has stepped across the road to the Jug and 
ISottle, an establishment immediately opposite the 
hall, and he intends to remain there until it is time 
for him to appear on the platform." 

"Oh?" I said. 

" If I might suggest it, sir, there is another house 
named the Goat and Grapes only a short distance 
down the street. I think it might be a judicious 
move " 

"If I were to put a bit of custom in their way?" 

"It would ease the nervous strain of waiting, sir." 

I had not been feeling any too pleased with the man 
for having let me in for this ghastly binge, but at 
these words, I'm bound to say, my austerity softened 
a trifle. He was undoubtedly right. He had studied 
the psychology of the individual, and it had not led 
him astray. A quiet ten minutes at the Goat and 
Grapes was exactly what my system required. To 
buzz off there and inhale a couple of swift whisky- 
and-sodas was with Bertram Wooster the work of a 
moment. 



no VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

The treatment worked like magic. What they had 
put into the stuff, besides vitriol, I could not have said ; 
but it completely altered my outlook on life. That 
curious, gulpy feeling passed. I was no longer conscious 
of the sagging sensation at the knees. The limbs 
ceased to quiver gently, the tongue became loosened in 
its socket, and the backbone stiffened. Pausing merely 
to order and swallow another of the same, I bade 
the barmaid a cheery good night, nodded affably to 
one or two fellows in the bar whose faces I liked, 
and came prancing back to the hall, ready for anything. 

And shortly afterwards I was on the platform with 
about a million bulging eyes goggling up at me. There 
was a rummy sort of buzzing in my ears, and then 
through the buzzing I heard the sound of a piano 
starting to tinkle : and, commending my soul to God, 
I took a good, long breath and charged in. 

Well, it was a close thing. The whole incident is a 
bit blurred, but I seem to recollect a kind of murmur 
as I hit the refrain. I thought at the time it was an 
attempt on the part of the many-headed to join in the 
chorus, and at the moment it rather encouraged me. 
I passed the thing o\ jr the larynx with all the vim at 
my disposal, hit the high note, and off gracefully into 
the wings. I didn't come on again to take a bow. I 
just receded and oiled round to where Jeeves awaited 
me among the standees at the back. 

"Well, Jeeves," I said, anchoring myself at his side 
and brushing the honest sweat from the brow, "they 
didn't rush the platform." 

"No, sir." • . 

"But you can spread it about that that's the last 
time I perform outside my bath. My swan-song, 



JEEVES AND THE SONG OF SONGS m 

Jeeves. Anybody who wants to hear me in future 
must present himself at the bathroom door and shove 
his ear against the keyhole. I may be wrong, but it 
seemed to me that towards the end they were hotting 
up a trifle. The bird was hovering in the air. I could 
hear the beating of its wings." 

"I did detect a certain restlessness, sir, in the 
audience. I fancy they had lost their taste for that 
particular melody." 

" Eh ? " 

"I should have informed you earlier, sir, that the 
song had already been sung twice before you arrived." 
"What!" 

" Yes, sir. Once by a lady and once by a gentleman. 
It is a very popular song, sir." 

I gaped at the man. That, with this knowledge, he 
could calmly have allowed the young master to step 
straight into the jaws of death, so to speak, paralyzed 
me. It seemed to show that the old feudal spirit had 
passed away altogether. I was about to give him my 
views on the matter in no uncertain fashion, when I 
was stopped by the spectacle of young Tuppy lurching 
on to the platform. 

Young Tuppy had the unmistakable air of a man 
who has recently been round to the Jug and Bottle. 
A few cheery cries of welcome, presumably from some 
of his backgammon-playing pals who felt that blood 
was thicker than water, had the effect of causing the 
genial smile on his face to widen till it nearly met 
at the back. He was plainly feeling about as good 
as a man can feel and still remain on his feet. He 
waved a kindly hand to his. supporters, and bowed 
in a regal sort of manner, rather like an Eastern 
monarch acknowledging the plaudits of the mob. 



112 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



Then the female at the piano struck up the opening 
bars of 'Sonny Boy/ and Tuppy swelled like a 
balloon, clasped his hands together, rolled his eyes 
up at the ceiling in a manner denoting Soul, and 
began. 

I think the populace was too stunned for the moment 
to take immediate steps. It may seem incredible, 
but I give you my word that young Tuppy got right 
through the verse without so much as a murmur. 
Then they all seemed to pull themselves together. 

A costermonger, roused, is a terrible thing. I had 
never seen the proletariat really stirred before, and 
I'm bound to say it rather awed me. I mean, it gave 
you some idea of what it must have been like during 
the French Revolution. From cverv corner of the 
hall there proceeded simultaneously the sort of noise 
which you hear, they tell me, at one of those East 
End boxing places when the referee disqualifies the 
popular favourite and makes the quick dash for life. 
And then they passed beyond mere words and began 
to introduce the vegetable motive. 

I don't know why, but somehow I had got it into 
my head that the fir c t thing thrown at Tuppy would 
be a potato. One gets these fancies. It was, however, 
as a matter of fact, a banana, and I saw in an instant 
that the choice had been made by wiser heads than 
mine. These blokes who have grown up from child- 
hood in the knowledge of how to treat a dramatic 
entertainment that doesn't please them are aware by 
a sort of instinct just what to do for the best, and the 
moment I saw that banana splash on Tuppy's shirt- 
front I realized how infinitely more effective and 
artistic it was than any potato could have been. 



JEEVES AND THE SONG OF SONGS 113 

Not that the potato j-chooL of thought had not also 
its supporters. As the proceedings warmed up, I 
noticed several intelligent-looking fellows who threw 
nothing else. 

The effect on young Tuppy was rather remarkable. 
Kis eyes bulged and his hair seemed to stand up, 
and yet his mouth went on opening and shutting, 
and you could see that in a dazed, automatic way 
he was still singing 'Sonny Boy.' Then, coming out 
of his trance, he began to pull for the shore with some 
rapidity. The last seen of him, he was beating a 
tomato to the exit by a short head. 

Presently the tumult and the shouting died. I turned 
to Jeeves. 

" Painful, Jeeves," I said. " But what would you? " 
"Yes, sir." 

"The surgeon's knife, what?" 
"Precisely, sir." 

"Well, with this happening beneath her eyes, I 
think we may definitely consider the Glossop-Bellinger 
romance off." 

"Yes, sir." 

At this point old Beefy Bingham came out on to 
the platform. 

" Ladies and gentlemen," said old Beefy. 

I supposed that he was about to rebuke his flock for 
the recent expression of feeling. But such was not 
the case. No doubt he was accustomed by now to the 
wholesome give-and-take of these clean, bright enter- 
tainments and had ceased to think it worth while to make 
any comment when there was a certain liveliness. 

" Ladies and gentlemen," said ©Id Beefy, " the next 
item on the programme was to have been Songs by 
Miss Cora Bellinger, the well-known operatic soprano. 



H4 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

I have just received a *telephone-message from Miss 
Bellinger, saying that her car has broken down. She 
is, however, on her way here in a cab and will arrive 
shortly. Meanwhile, our friend Mr. Enoch Simpson 
will recite 'Dangerous Dan McGrewV 

I clutched at Jeeves. 

"Jeeves! You heard?" 

" Yes, sir." 

"She wasn't there!" 

"No, sir." 

"She saw nothing of Tuppy's Waterloo." 
"No, sir." 

"The whole bally scheme has blown a fuse." 
"Yes, sir." 

"Come, Jeeves," I said, and those standing by 
wondered, no doubt, what had caused that clean-cut 
face to grow so pale and set. " I have been subjected 
to a nervous strain unparalleled since the days of 
the early Martyrs. I have lost pounds in weight and 
permanently injured my entire system. I have gone 
through an ordeal, the recollection of which will make 
me wake up screaming in the night for months to come. 
And all for nothing. Let us go." 

"If you have no objection, sir, I would like to 
witness the remainder of the entertainment." 

"Suit yourself, Jeeves," I said moodily. "Per- 
sonally, my heart is dead and I am going to look in 
at the Goat and Grapes for another of their cyanide 
specials and then home." 

It must have been about half-past ten, and I was 
in the old sitting-room fombrely sucking down a more 
or less final restorative, when the front door bell rang, 
and there on the mat was young Tuppy. He looked 



JEEVES AND THE SONG OF SONGS 115 

like a man who has passed through some great exper- 
ience and stood face to face with his soul. He had the 
beginnings of a black eye. 

"Oh, hullo, Bertie/' said young Tuppy. 

He came in, and hovered about the mantelpiece as 
if he were looking for things to fiddle with and break. 

"I've just been singing at Beefy Bingham's enter- 
tainment," he said after a pause. 

"Oh? " I said. "How did you go?" 

"Like a breeze," said young Tuppy. "Held them 
spellbound." 

"Knocked 'em, eh?" 

"Cold," said young Tuppy. "Not a dry eye." 

And this, mark you, a man who had had a good 
upbringing and had, no doubt, spent years at his 
mother's knee being taught to tell the truth. 

"I suppose Miss Bellinger is pleased?" 

"Oh, yes. Delighted." 

"So now everything's all right?" 

"Oh, quite." 

Tuppy paused. 

" On the other hand, Bertie " 

"Yes?" 

"Well, I've been thinking things over. Somehow 
I don't believe Miss Bellinger is the mate for me, 
after all." 

"You don't?" 

"No, I don't." 

"Why don't you?" 

"Oh, I don't know. These things sort of flash on 
you. I respect Miss Bellinger, Bertie. I admire her. 
But — er — well, I can't help feeling now that a sweet, 
gentle girl er — like your cousin Angela, for in- 
stance, Bertie, would — er — in fact well, what 



n6 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

I came round for was to ask if you would 'phone 
Angela and find out how she reacts to the idea of 
coming out with me to-night to the Berkeley for a 
segment of supper and a spot of dancing." 

"Go ahead. There's the 'phone.' 1 

"No, I'd rather you asked her, Bertie. What with 

one thing and another, if you paved the way You 

see, there's just a chance that she may be I mean, 

you know how misunderstandings occur and 

well, what I'm driving at, Bertie, old man, is that I'd 
rather you surged round and did a bit of paving, if 
you don't mind." 

I went to the 'phone and called up Aunt Dahlia's. 

"She says come right along," I said. 

"Tell her," said Tuppy in a devout sort of voice, 
" that I will be with her in something under a couple 
of ticks." 

He had barely biffed, when I heard a click in the 
keyhole and a soft padding in the passage without. 
"Jeeves," I called. 

"Sir?" said Jeeves, manifesting himself. 

"Jeeves, a remarkably rummy thing has happened. 
Mr. Glossop has just been here. He tells me that it 
is all off between him and Miss Bellinger." 

"Yes, sir." 

"You don't seem surprised." 

"No, sir. I confess I had anticipated some such 
eventuality." 

"Eh? What gave you that idea?" 

" It came to me, sir, when I observed Miss Bellinger 
strike Mr. Glossop in the eye." 

"Strike him!" * . 

"Yes, sir." 

"In the eye?" 



JEEVES AND THE SONG OF SONGS 117 

"The right eye, sir." 

I clutched the brow 

"What 011 earth made her do that?" 

" I fancy she was a little upset, sir, at the reception 
accorded to her singing." 

"Great Scott! Don't tell me she got the bird, 
too?" 

"Yes. sir." 

"But why? She's got a red-hot voice." 

"Yes, sir. But I think the audience resented her 
choice of a song." 

"Jeeves!" Reason was beginning to do a bit of 
tottering on its throne. " You aren't going to stand 
there and tell me that Miss Bellinger sang 'Sonny 
Boy,' too!" 

" Yes, sir. And — rashly, in my opinion — brought a 
large doll on to the platform to sing it to. The audience 
affected to mistake it for a ventriloquist's dummy, 
and there was some little disturbance." 

" But, Jeeves, what a coincidence!" 

" Not altogether, sir I ventured to take the liberty 
of accosting Miss Bellinger on her arrival at the hall 
and recalling my^lf to her recollection. I then said 
that Mr. Glossop had asked me to request her that 
as a particular favour to him the song being a fav- 
ourite of his she would sing ' Sonny Boy.' And when 
she found that you and Mr. « Jossop had also sung 
the song immediately before her, I rather fancy that 
she supposed that she had been made the victim of 
a practical pleasantry by Mr. Glossop. Will there be 
anything further, sir? " 

"No. thanks." 

" Good night, sir " 

"Good night, Jeeves," I said reverently. 



CHAPTER V 



EPISODE OF THE DOG McINTOSH 

I WAS jerked from the dreamless by a sound like 
the rolling of distant thunder ; and, the mists of 
sleep clearing away, was enabled to diagnose this 
and trace it to its source. It was my Aunt Agatha's 
dog, Mcintosh, scratching at the door. The above, 
an Aberdeen terrier of weak intellect, had been left 
in my charge by the old relative while she went off 
to Aix-les-Bains to take the cure, and I had never 
been able to make it see eye to eye with mc on the 
subject of early rising. Although a glance at my 
watch informed me that it was barely ten, here was 
the animal absolutely up and about. 

I pressed the bell, and presently in shimmered 
Jeeves, complete with tea-tray and preceded by dog, 
which leaped upon the bed, licked me smartly in the 
right eye, and immediately curled up and fell into a 
deep slumber. And where the sense is in getting up 
at some ungodly hour of the morning and coming 
scratching at people's doors, when you intend at the 
first opportunity to go to sleep again, beats me. 
Nevertheless, every day for the last five weeks this 
loony hound had pursued the same policy, and I 
confess I was getting r bit fed. 

There were one or two letters on the tray; and, 
having slipped a ref eshing half-cupful into the abyss, 

118 



EPISODE OF THE DOG McINTOSH 119 

I felt equal to dealing with them. The one on top was 
from my Aunt Agatha. 

"Ha!" I said. 

"Sir?" 

"I said 'Ha! 1 Jeeves. And I meant 'Ha!' I was 
registering relief. My Aunt Agatha returns this 
evening. She will be at her town residence between 
the hours of six and seven, and she expects to find 
Mcintosh waiting for her on the mat." 

"Indeed, sir? I shall miss the little fellow." 

"I, too, Jeeves. Despite his habit of rising with the 
milk and being hearty before breakfast, there is sterling 
stuff in Mcintosh. Nevertheless, I cannot but feel 
relieved at the prospect of shooting him back to the 
old home. It has been a guardianship fraught with 
anxiety. You know what my Aunt Agatha is. She 
lavishes on that dog a love which might better be 
bestowed on a nephew: and if the slightest thing 
had gone wrong with him while I was in loco parentis ; 
if, while in my charge, he had devoloped rabies or 
staggers or the botts, I should have been blamed." 

"Very true, sir." 

"And, as you are aware, London is not big enough 
to hold Aunt Agatha and anybody she happens to 
be blaming." 

I had opened the second letter, and was giving it 
the eye. 

"Ha!" I said. 

"Sir?" 

"Once again f Ha!' Jeeves, but this time signifying 
mild surprise. This letter is from Miss Wickham." 
"Indeed, sir?" 

I sensed — if that is the word I want — the note of 
concern in the man's voice, and I knew he was saying 



120 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



to himself 'Is the young master about to slip?' You 
see, there was a time when the Wooster heart was to 
some extent what you might call ensnared by this 
Roberta Wickham, and Jeeves had never approved 
of her. He considered her volatile and frivolous and 
more or less of a menace to man and beast. And 
events, I'm bound to say, had rather borne out his 
view. 

"She wants me to give her lunch to-day." 

"Indeed, sir?" 

"And two friends of hers." 

"Indeed, sir?" 

"Here. At one-thirty." 

"Indeed, sir?" 

I was piqued. 

"Correct this parrot-complex, Jeeves," I said, 
waving a slice of bread-and-butter rather sternly at 
the man. "There is no need for you to stand there 
saying 'Indeed, sir?' I know what you're thinking, 
and you're wrong. As far as Miss Wickham is con- 
cerned, Bertram Wooster is chilled steel. I see no 
earthly reason why I should not comply with this 
request. A Wooster may have ceased to love, but he 
can still be civil." 

"Very good, sir." 

"Employ the rest of the morning, then, in buzzing 
to and fro and collecting provender. The old King 
W T enceslas touch, Jeeves. You remember? Bring 
me fish and bring me fowl " 

"Bring me flesh and bring me wine, sir." 

"Just as you say. You know best. Oh, and roly- 
poly pudding, Jeeves." 

"Sir?" 

" Roly-poly puddi g with lots of jam in it. Miss 



EPISODE OF THE DOG McINTOSH 121 



Wickham specifically mentions this. Mysterious, 
what?" 

"Extremely, sir." 

"Also oysters, ice-cream, and plerty of chocolates 
with that goo-ey, slithery stuff in the middle. Makes 
you sick to think of it, eh?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Me, too. But that's what she says. I think she 
must be on some kind of diet. Well, be that as it may, 
see to it, Jeeves, will you?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"At one-thirty of the clock." 
"Very good, sir." 
"Very good, Jeeves." 

At half past twelve I took the dog Mcintosh for 
his morning saunter in the Park; and, returning 
at about one-ten, found young Bobbie Wickham 
in the sitting-room, smoking a cigarette and 
chatting to Jeeves, who seemed a bit distant, I 
thought. 

I have an idea I've told you about this Bobbie 
Wickham. She was the red-haired girl who let me 
down so disgracefully in the sinister affair of Tuppy 
Glossop and the hot-water bottle, that Christmas 
when I went to stay at Skeldings Hall, her mother's 
place in Hertfordshire. Her mother is Lady Wickham, 
who writes novels which. I believe, command a ready 
sale among those who like their literature pretty 
sloppy. A formidable old bird, rather like my Aunt 
Agatha in appearance. Bobbie does not resemble her, 
being constructed more on the* lines of Clara Bow. 
She greeted me cordially as I entered— in fact, so 
cordially that I saw Jeeves pause at the door before 



122 



VEJRY GOOD, JEEVES! 



biffing off to mix the cocktails and shoot me the sort 
of grave, warning look a wise old father might pass 
out to the effervescent son on seeing him going fairly 
strong with the local vamp. I nodded back, as much 
as to say 'Chilled steel!' and he oozed out, leaving 
me to play the sparkling host. 

"It was awfully sporting of you to give us this 
lunch, Bertie," said Bobbie. 

"Don't mention it, my dear old thing," I said. 
"Always a pleasure." 

"You got all the stuff I told you about?" 

"The garbage, as specified, is in the kitchen. But 
since when have you become a roly-poly pudding 
addict?" 

"That isn't for me. There's a small boy coming." 
"What!" 

"I'm awfully sorry," she said, noting my agitation. 
"I know just how you feel, and I'm not going to 
pretend that this child isn't pretty near the edge. In 
fact, he has to be seen to be believed. But it's 
simply vital that he be cosseted and sucked up to 
and generally treated as the guest of honour, because 
everything depends on him." 

"How do you mean?" 

"I'll tell you. You know mother?" 

"Whose mother?" 

"My mother." 

"Oh, yes. I thought you meant the kid's mother." 

" He hasn't got a mother. Only a father, who is a 
big theatrical manager in America. I met him at a 
party the other night." 

"The father?" * 

"Yes, the father." 

"Not the kid?" 



EPISODE OF THE DOG McINTOSH 123 

"No, not the kid." 

" Right. All clear so far. Proceed." 

" Well, mother — my mother — has dramatized one of 
her novels, and when I met this father, this theatrical 
manager father, and, between ourselves, made rather 
a hit with him, I said to myself, 'Why not?' " 

"Why not what?" 

"Why not plant mother's play on him." 
"Your mother's play?" 

"Yes, not his mother's play. He is like his son, he 
hasn't got a mother, either." 

"These things run in families, don't they?" 

" You see, Bertie, what with one thing and another, 
my stock isn't very high with mother just now. There 
was that matter of my smashing up the car — oh, and 
several things. So I thought, here is where I get a 
chance to put myself right. I cooed to old Blumcn- 
feld " 

"Name sounds familiar." 

" Oh, yes, he's a big man over in America. He has 
come to London to see if there's anything in the play 
line worth buying. So I cooed to him a goodish bit 
and then asked him if he would listen to mother's play. 
He said he would, so I asked him to come to lunch and 
I'd read it to him." 

"You're going to read your mother's play — here?" 
I said, paling. 

"Yes." 

"My God!" 

"I know what you mean," she said. "I admit it's 
pretty sticky stuff. But I have an idea that I shall 
put it over. It all depends on *how the kid likes it. 
You see, old Blumenfeld, for some reason, always 
banks on his verdict. I suppose he thinks the child's 



124 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

intelligence is exactly the same as an average audience's 
and " 

I uttered a slight yelp, causing Jeeves, who had 
entered with cocktails, to look at me in a pained sort 
of way. I had remembered. 

"Jeeves!" 

"Sir?" 

"Do you recollect, when we were in New York, a 
dish-faced kid of the name of Blumenfeld who on 
a memorable occasion snootered Cyril Bassington- 
Bassington when the latter tried to go on the 
stage?" 

"Very vividly, sir." 

"Well, prepare yourself for a shock. He's coming 
to lunch." 

"Indeed, sir?" 

" I'm glad you can speak in that light, careless way. 
I only met the young stoup of arsenic for a few brief 
minutes, but I don't mind telling you the prospect 
of hob-nobbing with him again makes me tremble like 
a leaf." 

"Indeed, sir?" 

"Don't keep saying 'Indeed, sir?' You* have seen 
this kid in action and you know what he's like. He 
told Cyril Bassington-Bassington, a fellow to whom 
he had never been formally introduced, that he had 
a face like a fish. And this not thirty seconds after 
their initial meeting. I give you fair warning that, 
if he tells me I have a face like a fish, I shall clump 
his head." 

"Bertie!" cried the Wickham, contorted with 
anguish and apprehension and what not. 
"Yes, I shall." 

"Then you'll sin ply ruin the whole thing." 



EPISODE OF THE DOG McINTOSH 125 

"I don't care. We Woosters have our pride." 

"Perhaps the young gentleman will not notice 
that you have a face like a fish, sir," suggested 
Jeeves. 

" Ah ! There's that, of course." 

"But we can't just trust to luck," said Bobbie. 
"It's probably the first thing he will notice." 

"In that case, miss," said Jeeves, "it might be 
the best plan if Mr. Wooster did not attend the 
luncheon." 

I beamed on the man. As always, he had found 
the wav. 

"But Mr. Blumenfeld will think it so odd." 

" Well, tell him I'm eccentric. Tell him I have these 
moods, which come upon me quite suddenly, when I 
can't stand the sight of people. Tell him what you 
like." 

" He'll be offended." 

"Not half so offended as if I socked his son on the 
upper maxillary bone." 

"I really think it would be the best plan, 
miss." 

"Oh, all right," said Bobbie. "Push off, then. 
But I wanted you to be here to listen to the play 
and laugh in the proper places." 

" I don't suppose there are any proper places," I 
said. And with these words I reached the hall in 
two bounds, grabbed a hat, and made for the street. 
A cab was just pulling up at the door as I reached it, 
and inside it were Pop Blumenfeld and his foul son. 
With a slight sinking of the old heart, I saw that the 
kid had recognised me. * 

" Hullo ! " he said. 

"Hullo!" I said. 



126 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



"Where are you off to?" said the kid. 
"Ha, ha!" I said, and legged it for the great open 
spaces. 

I lunched at the Drones, doing myself fairly well 
and lingering pretty considerably over the coffee and 
cigarettes. At four o'clock I thought it would be safe 
to think about getting back ; but, not wishing to take 
any chances, I went to the 'phone and rang up the 
flat. 

"All clear, Jeeves?" 
"Yes, sir." 

"Blumenfekl junior nowhere about?" 
"No, sir." 

"Not hiding in any nook or cranny, what?" 
"No, sir." 

"How did everything go off?" 
"Quite satisfactorily, I fancy, sir." 
"Was I missed?" 

" I think Mr. Blumenfeld and young Master Blumen- 
fekl were somewhat surprised at your absence, sir. 
Apparcntty they encountered you as you were leaving 
the building." 

"They did. An awkward moment, Jeeves. The 
kid appeared to desire speech with me, but I laughed 
hollowly and passed on. Did they comment on this 
at all? " 

"Yes, sir. Indeed, young Master Blumenfeld was 
somewhat outspoken." 
"What did he say?" 

"I cannot recall his exact words, sir, but he drew 
a comparison between your mentality and that of a 
cuckoo." 

"A cuckoo, eh?' 



EPISODE OF THE DOG McINTOSH 127 

"Yes, sir. To the bird's advantage." 

"He did, did he? Now you see how right I was 
to come away. Just one crack like that out of him 
face to face, and I should infallibly have done his 
upper maxillary a bit of no good. It was wise of you 
to suggest that I should lunch out." 

"Thank you, sir." 

"Well, the coast being clear, I will now return 
home." 

" Before you start, sir, perhaps you would ring Miss 
Wickham up. She instructed me to desire you to da 
so. 

"You mean she asked you to ask me?" 
"Precisely, sir." 

" Right ho. And the number? " 

"Sloane 8090. I fancy it is the residence of Miss 
Wickham's aunt, in Eaton Square." 

I got the number. And presently young Bobbie's 
voice came floating over the wire. From the timbre 
I gathered that she was extremely bucked. 

"Hullo? Is that you, Bertie?" 

"In person. What's the news?" 

" Wonderful. Everything went off splendidly. The 
lunch was just right. The child stuffed himself to 
the eyebrows and got more and more amiable, till by 
the time he had had his third go of ice-cream he was 
ready to say that any play — even one of mother's — was 
the goods. I fired it at him before he could come out 
from under the influence, and he sat there absorbing 
it in a sort of gorged way, and at the end old Blumen- 
feld said 'Well, sonny, how about it?' and the child 
gave a sort of faint smile, as if he* wa^ thinking about 
roly-poly pudding, and said 'O.K., pop,' and that's 
all there was to it. Old Blumenfeld has taken him 



128 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

off to the movies, and I'm to look in at the Savoy at 
live-thirty to sign the contract. I've just been talk- 
ing to mother on the 'phone, and she's quite consuincdly 
braced." 
"Terrific!" 

" I knew you'd be pleased. Oh, Bertie, there's just 
one other thing. You remember sayine to me once 
that there wasn't anything in the world you wouldn't 
do for me?" 

I paused a trifle warily. It is true thai I had ex- 
pressed myself in some such terms as she had indicated, 
but that was before the affair of Tuppy and the hot- 
water bottle, and in the cahner frame of mind induced 
by that episode I wasn't feeling H nite so spacious. You 
know how it is. Love's flame flickers and dies, Reason 
returns to her throne, and you aren't nearly as ready 
to hop about and jump through hoops as in the first 
pristine glow of the divine passion. 

"What do you want me to do?" 

"Well, it's nothing 1 actually want you to do. It's 
something I've done that I hope you won't be sticky 
about. Just before 1 began reading the play, that dog 
of yours, the Aberdeen terriei, came into the room. 
The child I Shimon (old was very much taken with it 
and said he wished he had a dog like that, looking 
at me in a meaning sort of way. So naturally, I had 
to say 'Oh, I'll give you this one!'" 

I swayed somewhat. 

"You. . . . You. . . . What was that?" 

"I gave him the dog. I knew you wouldn't mind. 
You see :i was vital to keep cosseting him. If I'd 
refused would have cut up rough and all that 
rolv-poly pudding and stuff would have been thrown 
. .'.av You see '' 



EPISODE OF THE DOG McINTOSH 129 

I hung up. The jaw had fallen, the eyes were pro- 
truding. 1 tottered from the booth and, reeling out 
of the club, hailed a taxi. I got to the flat and yelled 

for Jeeves. 
"Jeeves!" 
"Sir?" 

"Do you know what?" 
"No. "sir." 

"The dog . . . my Aunt Agatha's dog . . . 
Mcintosh ..." 

"I have not seen him for some little while, sir. He 
left me after the conclusion of luncheon. Possibly 
he is in your bedroom." 

" Yes, and possibly he jolly dashed well isn't. If you 
want to know where he is, he's in a suite at the Savoy." 

"Sir?" 

"Miss Wickham has just told nieshc gave him to 
Blumenfeld junior." 
"Sir?" 

"Gave him to jumenfeld bhmior, 1 1 ell you. As 
a piosent. As a gift. With warm personal regards " 

"What was her motive in doing that, sir?" 

I explained the circs. Jeeves did a bit of respectful 
tongue-clicking. 

"I have al\va3 T s maintained, if you will remember, 
sir," he said, when I had finished, "that Miss Wickham, 
though a charming young lady — " 

" Yes, yes, never mind about that. What are we 
going to do? That's the point. Aunt Agatha is due 
back between the hours of six and seven. She will 
find herself short one Aberdeen terrier. And, as 
she will probably have been considerably sea-sick 
all the way over, you will readily perceive, Jeeves, 
that, when I break the news thai her dog has been 



130 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

given away to a total stranger, I shall find her in no 
mood of gentle charity." 

"I see, sir. Most disturbing." 

"What did you say it was?" 

"Most disturbing, sir." 

I snorted a trifle. 

"Oh?" I said. ''And I suppose, ii you had been 
in San Francisco when the earthquake started, you 
would just have lifted up your finger anc said 'Tweet, 
tweet! Shush, shush! 1 Now, now! Corne, come!' 
The English language, they used to tell me at school, 
is the richest in the world, crammed full from end to 
end with about a million red-hot adjectives. Yet 
the only one you can find describe this ghastly 
business is the adjective 'disturbing.' It is not dis- 
turbing, Jeeves. It is . . . what's the word I want? 

"Cataclysmal, sir?" 

"I shouldn't wonder. Well, what's to be done?" 
"I will bring you a whisky-and-soda, sir." 
"What's the good of that?" 

"It will refresh you, sir. And in the meantime, if 
it is your wish, I will give the matter consideration." 
Larry on. 

" Very good, sir. I assume that it is not your desire 
to do anything that may in any way jeopardize the 
cordial relations which now exist between Miss Wick- 
ham and Mr. and Master Blunienfeld? " 

"Eh?" 

"You would not, for example, contemplate proceed- 
ing to the Savoy Hotel and demanding the return of 

till- dm' 3 " 

It v.. is a tempting thought, but I shook the old 
nmun In inly. There are things which a Wboster can 
do and things winch, if you follow me, a Wooster 



EPISODE OF THE DOG McINTOSH 131 

cannot do. The procedure which he had indicated 
would undoubtedly have brought home the bacon, 
but the thwarted kid would have been bound to 
turn nasty and change his mind about the play. And, 
while I didn't think that any drama written by Bobbie's 
mother was likely to do the theatre-going public much 
good, I couldn't dash the cup of happiness, so to speak, 
from the blighted girl's lips, as it were. Noblesse 
oblige about sums the thing up. 

"No, Jeeves," I said. "But if you can think of 
some way by which I can oil privily into the suite 
and sneak the animal out of it without causing any 
hard feelings, spill it." 

"I will endeavour to do so, sir." 

"Snap into it, then, without delay. They say 
fish are good for the brain. Have a go at the sardines 
and come back and report." 

"Very good, sir." 

It was about ten minutes later that he entered the 
presence once more. 

"I fancy, sir " 

"Yes, Jeeves?" 

"I rather fancy, sir, that I have discovered a plan 
of action." 
"Or scheme." 

" Or scheme, sir. A plan of action or scheme which 
will meet the situation. If I understood you rightly, 
sir, Mr. and Master Blumcnfeld have attended a 
motion-picture performance? " 

"Correct." 

" In which case, they should not return to the hotel 
before five-fifteen? " 

"Correct once more. Miss Wickham is scheduled 
to blow in at five-thirty to sign the contract." 



132 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"The suite, therefore, is at present unoccupied." 
"Except for Mcintosh." 

"Except for Mcintosh, sir. Everything, accord- 
ingly, must depend on whether Mr. Blumenfeld left 
instructions that, in the event of her arriving before 
he did, Miss Wickham was to be shown straight up 
to the suite, to await his return." 

"Why does everything depend on th.it?" 

"Should he h;ive done so, the matt r becomes 
quite simple. All that is necessary is that Miss Wickham 
shall present herself at the hotel at five o'clock. She 
will go up to the suite. You will also have arrived 
at the hotel at five, sir, and will have made your way 
to the corridor outside the sue;;. If Mr. and Master 
Blumeiifeld have not returned, Ml-:s Wickham will 
open the door and come out and you will go in, 
secure the dog, and take your departure." 

J stared at the man. 

" How many tins of sardines did you eat, Jeeves?" 

"None, sir. I am not fond of sardines." 

" You mean, you thought of this great, this ripe, 
this amazing schema entirely without the impetus 
given to the brain bv fish?" 

" Yes, sir." 

"You stand alone, Jeeves." 
" '1 hank vuii, sir." 
"Hut I say!" 
"Sir?" 

"Suppose the dog won't come away with me? You 
know hi iv. nit agre his intelligence is. By this time, 
• - j »• i ! -j 1 \.hen he's got used to a new place, he may 
h.i'.e if:, -it en me completely and will look on me as 
. | h i li s i st ranger." 

" 1 had thought of that, sir. The most judicious 



EPISODE OF THE DOG McINTOSH 133 

move will be for you to sprinkle your trousers with 

aniseed." 
" Aniseed?" 

" Yes, sir. It is extensively used in the dog-stealing 
industry." 

"But, Jeeves . . . dash it . . . aniseed?" 

"I consider it essential, sir." 

"But where do you get the stuff?" 

"At any chemist's, sir. If you will go out now 
and procure a small bottle, 1 will be telephoning to 
Miss Wickham to apprise her of the contemplated 
arrangements and ascertain whether she is to be 
admitted to the suite." 

I don't know what the record is for pupping out 
and buying aniseed, but I should think I hold it. 
The thought ol Aunt Agatha getting nearer and nearer 
to the Metropolis every minute induced a rare burst 
of speed. I was back at the Hal so quick that I nearly 
met myself coming out. 

Jeeves had good news. 

"Everything is perlectly satisfactory, sir. Mr 
fUumenfeld did leave instructions that Miss Wickham 
was to be admitted to his suite. The young lady is 
now on her way to the hotel. ]iy the time you reach 
it, you will find her there." 

You know, whatever you may say against old 
Jeeves — ami I, for one, have never wavered in my 
opinion that his views on shirts for evening wear are 
hidebound and reactionary to a degree —you've got 
to admit that the man can plan a campaign. Napoleon 
could have taken his correspondence course. When 
he sketches out a scheme, all you have to do is to follow 
it in every detail, and there you are. 



134 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

On the present occasion everything went absolutely 
according to plan. I had never realized before that 
dog-stealing could be so simple, having always regarded 
it rather as something that called fur the ice-cool 
brain and the nerve of steel. I see now that a child 
can do it, if directed by Jeeves. I got to the hotel, 
sneaked up the stairs, hung about in the corridor 
trying to look like a potted palm in case anybody came 
along, and presently the door of the suite opened and 
Bobbie appeared, and suddenly, as I approached, out 
shot Mcintosh, sniffing passionately, and the next 
moment his nose was up against my Spring trouserings 
and he was drinking me m with every evidence of 
enjoyment. If I had been a bud that had been dead 
about five days, he could not have nuzzled me more 
heartily. Aniseed isn't a scent that I care for particu- 
larly myself, but it seemed to speak straight to the 
deeps in Mcintosh's soul. 

The connection, as it were, having been established 
in this manner, the rest was simple. I merely with- 
drew, followed by the animal in the order named. We 
passed down the stairs in good shape, self recking to 
heaven and animal inhaling the bouquet, and after 
a few anxious moments were safe in a cab, homeward 
bound. As smooth a bit of work as London had 
seen that day. 

Arrived at the flat, I handed Mcintosh to Jeeves 
and instructed him to shut him up in the bathroom 
or somewhere where the spell cast by my trousers 
would rease to operate. This done, I again paid the 
1 1 i.i n ;> ii.uked tribute. 

"Jeeves," I s? : d, ^I^have had occasion to express 
the view before, and I now express it again fearlessly 
- you stand in a class of your own." 



EPISODE OF THE DOG McINTOSH 135 

" Thank you very much, sir. I am glad that every- 
thing proceeded satisfactorily." 

"The festivities went like a breeze from start to 
finish. Tell me, were you always like this, or did it 
come on suddenly?" 

"Sir?" 

"The brain. The grey matter. Were you an out- 
standingly brilliant boy?" 

"My mother thought me intelligent, sir." 

"You can't go by that. My mother thought me 
intelligent. Anyway, setting that aside for the 
moment, would a fiver be any use to you?" 

"Thank you very much, sir." 

"Not that a fiver begins to cover it. Figure to 
yourself, Jeeves — try to envisage, if you follow what 
I mean, the probable behaviour of my Aunt Agatha 
if I had gone to her between the hours of six and 
seven and told her that Mcintosh had passed out of 
the picture. I should have had to leave London and 
grow a beard." 

"1 can readily imagine, sir, that she would have 
been somewhat perturbed." 

" She would. And on the occasions when my Aunt 
Agatha is perturbed heroes dive down drain-pipes to 
get out of her way. However, as it is, all has ended 
happily. . . . Oh, great Scott!" 

"Sir?" 

I hesitated. It seemed a shame lo cast a damper 
on the man just when he had extended himself so 
notably in the cause, but it had to be done. 

"You've overlooked something, Joeves." 

"Surely not, sir?" 

" Yes, Jeeves, I regret to say that the late scheme 
or plan of action, while gilt-edged as far as I am 



136 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

concerned, has rather landed Miss Wickham in the 
cart." 

"In what way, sir?" 

" Why, don't yon see that, if they know that she 
was in the suite at the time of the outrage, the 
tthuncnfclds, father and son, will instantly assume 
that she was mixed up in Mcintosh's disappearance, 
with the result that in their pique ana chagrin they 
will call off the deal about the play? i in surprised 
at you not spotting that, Jeeves. You'd have done 
much better to eat those sardines, as I advised." 

[ waggled the head rather sadly, and at this moment 
there was a ring at the front-door bell. And not an 
•ordinary ring, mind you, but one of those resounding 
peals that suggest thai somebody with a high blood- 
piessure and a grievance stands without. I leaped 
in my tracks. My busy afternoon had left the old 
nervous system not quite in mid-season form. 

"Good Lord, Jeeves!" 

"Somebody at the door, sir." 
\ es. 

" Probably Mr. Iilumenfeld, senior, sir." 
"What!"" 

"He n.ng up on the telephone, sir, shortly L.* fore 
you returned, to say that he was about to pav you 
a fall." 

"You don't mean that?" 
1 es, sir. 

"Advise me, Jeeves." 

"1 fancy the most judicious procedure would be 
v«r ^, i ;(» conceal yourself behind the settee, sir." 

I - tu that hi advice was good. I had never met 
.his Hlmnenfeld socially, but I had seen him from afar 
.hi «he occasion when he and Cyiil l>a.ssinglon- 



EPISODE OF THE DOG McINTOSH 137 

Bassington had had their falling out, and he hadn't 
struck me then as a bloke with whom, if in one of his 
emotional moods, it would be at all agreeable to be 
shut up in a small room. A large, round, flat, over- 
flowing bird, who might quite easily, if stirred, fall 
on a fellow and flatten him to the carpet. 

So I nestled behind the settee, and in about five 
seconds there was a sound like a mighty, rushing 
wind and something extraordinarily substantial 
bounded into the sitiing-room. 

" This guy Wooster," bellowed a voice that had 
been i t lengthened by a lifetime of ticking actors off 
at dress-rehearsals from the back of the theatre. 
"Where is he?" 

Jeeves continued suave. 

"I could not sa}', sir." 

" He's sneaked my son's dog." 

" fndeed. sir? " 

"Walked into my suite as cool as dammit and 
took the animal away." 

" .Most disturbing, sir." 

"And you don't know where he is?" ' 

"Mr. Wooster may be anywhere, sir. He is uncer- 
tain in his movements." 

Ihe bloke Blumenfeld gave a loud sniff. 

"Odd smell here!" 

"Yes, sir?" 

"What is it?" 

"Aniseed, sir." 

"Aniseed?" 

" Yes, sir. Mr. Wooster sprinkles it on his trousers." 
"Sprinkles it on his trousers 7 '" 
"Yes, sir." 

"What on earth does he do that for?" 



138 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"I could not say, sir. Mr. Wooster's motives are 
always somewhat hard to follow. He is eccentric." 
"Eccentric? He must be a loony." 
"Yes, sir." 
" You mean he is? " 
"Yes, sir!" 

There was a pause. A long one. 

"Oh?" said old Blumcnfeld, and it seemed to me 
that a good deal of what you might call the vim had 
gone out of his voice. 

He paused again. 

"Not dangerous?" 

" Yes, sir, when roused " 

" Er — what rouses him chiefly? ' 

"One of Mr. Wooster's peculiarities is that he 
does not like the sight of gentlemen of full habit, sir. 
They seem to infuriate him." 

"You mean, fat men?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Why?" 

"One cannot say, sir." 
'I here was another pause. 

"I'm fat!" said old Blumcnfeld in a rather pensive 
sort of voice. 

" f would not have ventured to suggest it myself, 
sir, but as you say so. . . . You may recollect that, 
on being informed that you were to be a member of 
the luncheon party, Mr. Wooster, doubting his power 
of self-control, refused to be present." 

"That's right. He went rushing out just as I 
aniu-l I thought it odd at the time. My son 
th-u^hl it odd. We both thought it odd." 

" Yes. sir. Mr. Wooster, I imagine, wished to avoid 
diiv TnK^ihlc unpleasantness, such as has occurred 



EPISODE OF THE DOG McINTOSH 139 

before. . . . With regard to the smell of aniseed, 
sir, I fancy I have now located it. Unless I am mis- 
taken it proceeds from behind the settee. No doubt 
Mr. Wooster is sleeping there." 

"Doing what?" 

"Sleeping, sir." 

"Does he often sleep on the floor?" 
"Most afternoons, sir. Would you desire me to 
wake him?" 
"No!" 

"I thought you had something that you wished 
to say to Mr. Wooster, sir." 

Old Blumcnfcld drew a deep breath. "So did I," 
he said. "But I find I haven't. Just get me alive 
out of here, that's all I ask." 

I heard the door close, and a little while later the 
front door banged. I crawled out. It hadn't been 
any too cosy behind the settee, and I was glad to be 
elsewhere. Jeeves came trickling back. 

"Gone, Jeeves?" 

"Yes, sir." 

I bestowed an approving look on him. 
"One of your best efforts, Jeeves." 
"Thank you, sir." 

" But what beats me is why he ever came here 
What made him think that I had sneaked Mcintosh 
away? " 

" I took the liberty of recommending Miss Wickham 
to tell Mr. Blumenfeld that she had observed you 
removing the animal from his suite, sir. The point 
which you raised regarding the possibility of her 
being suspected of complicity in 'the affair, had not 
escaped me. It seemed to me that this would estab- 
lish her solidly in Mr. Blumenfeld's good opinion." 



140 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"I see. Risky, of course, but possibly justified. 
Yes, on the whole, justified. What's that you've 
got there?" 

"A five pound note, sir." 

"Ah, the one I gave you?" 

"No, sir. The one Mr. BJumenfeld gave me." 

"Eh? Why did he give you a fiver?" 

"He very kindly presented it to me on my handing 
him the dog, sir." 

1 gaped at the man. 

" You don't mean to say ? " 

mi 

"Not Mcintosh, sir. Mcintosh is at present in my 
bed-room. This was another animal of the same 
species which I purchased at the shop in Bond 
Street during your absence. Except to the eve 
of love, one Aberdeen terrier looks very much like 
another Aberdeen terrier, sir. Mr. Blumcnfeld, 1 
am happy to say, did not detect the innocent 
subterfuge." 

"Jeeves," I said - and 1 am not ashamed to con- 
fess that there was ;i spot of chokiness in the voice 
--"there is none like von, none." 

"Thank you very murli, sir." 

"Owing solely to the fact that your head bulges 
in unexpected snots, thus enabling you to do about 
twice as much bright thinking in any given time as 
any oilier two men in existence, happiness, you might 
say, reigns supreme. Aunt Ag.it ha is on velvet, I 
am on velvet, the Wiekhains, mother and daughter, 
are on velvet, the lilumenfelds, father and son, are 
..... As far as the eye can reach, a solid mass 
of huiiiiiiity, owing to you, all on velvet. 
A fiver is not Millit ieut, Jeeves. 
If I thought the would thought 
that rotten Woofer thought a measly five pounds an 


EPISODE OF THE DOG McINTOSH 141 

adequate reward for such services as yours, I should 
never hold my head up again. Have another?" 

"Thank you, sir." 

"And one more?" 

"Thank you very much, sir." 

"And a third for luck?" 

"Really, sir, I am exceedingly obliged. Excuse 
me, sir, I fancy I heard the telephone." 

He pushed out into the hall, and I heard him doing 
a good deal of the 'Yes, madam/ 'Certainly, madam!' 
stuff. Then he came back. 

"Mrs. Spencer Gregson on the telephone, sir." 

"Aunt Agatha?" 

"Yes, sir. Speaking from Victoria Station. She 
desires to communicate with you with reference to 
vhe dog Mcintosh. I gather that she wishes to hear 
from your own lips that all is well with the little 
fellow, sir." 

I straightened the tic. I pulled down the waist- 
coat. I shot the cuffs. I felt absolutely all-righto. 
"Lead me to her," I s-aid. 



CHAPTER VI 



THE SPOT OF ART 



WAS lunching at my Aunt Dahlia's, and despite 



the fact that Anatole, her outstanding cook, had 



JL rather excelled himself in the matter of the bill- 
of-fare, I'm bound to say the food was more or less 
turning to ashes in my iur'ith. You see, I had some 
bad news to break to her — always a prospect that 
takes the edge off the appetite. She wouldn't be 
pleased, I knew, nnd when not pleased Aunt Dahlia, 
having spent most of her youth in the hunting-field, 
has a crispish way of expressing herself. 

However, I supposed I had better have a dash at it 
and get it over. 

"Aunt Dahlia," I said, facing the issue squarely. 
"Hullo?" 

"You know that cruise of yours?" 



" That jolly cruise in your yacht in the Mediterranean 
to which you so kindly invited me and to which I 
have been looking forward with such keen antici- 


" on. fathead, what about it?" 
1 swaHnwed a. chunk of colelctte-suprcme-aux-clionx- 
jL urs and slipped her the distressing info'. 

142 

Yes." 


That yachting-cruise you are planning? 



THE SPOT OF ART 143 

"I'm frightfully sorry, Aunt Dahlia/' I said, "but 
I shan't be able to come." 
As I had foreseen, she goggled. 
"What!" 
"I'm afraid not." 

" You poor, miserable hell-hound, what do you mean, 
you won't be able to come?" 
"Well, I won't." 
"Why not?" 

"Matters of the ino-t extreme urgency render my 
presence in the Metropolis imperative." 
She sniffed. 

"I suppose what you really mean is that you're 
hanging round some unfortunate girl again?" 

I didn't like the way she put it, but I admit I was, 
stunned by her penetration, if that's the word I want. 
I mean the sort of thing detectives have. 

"Yes, Aunt Dahlia," I said, "you have guessed my 
secret. I do indeed love." 

"Who is she?" 

"A Miss Pendlebury. Christian name, Gwladys. 
She spells it with a ' w. ' " 
"With a 'g,' you mean." 
"With a *w' and a *g.'" 
"Not Gwladys?" 
"That's it." 

The relative uttered a yowl. 

" You sit there and tell me you haven't enough sense 
to steer clear of a girl who calls herself Gwladys? 
Listen, Bertie," said Aunt Dahlia earnestly, "I'm 
an older woman than you arc— well, you know what 
I mean- and I can tell you a tiling or two. And one 
of them is that no good can come of association with 
anything labelled Gwladys or Ysobel or Ethyl or 



r44 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

Mabelle or Kathryn. But particularly Gwladys. 
What sort of girl is she? " 
"Slightly divine." 

"She isn't that female I saw driving you at sixty 
miles p.h. in the Park the other day. In a red two- 
seater? " 

"She did drive me in the Park the other day. I 
thought it rather a hopeful sign. And her Widgeon 
Seven is red." 

Aunt Dahlia looked relieved. 

" Oh well, then, she'll probably break your silly fat 
neck before she can get you to the altar. That's some 
consolation. Where did you meet her?" 

"At a party in Chelsea. Slip's an artist." 

"Ye gods!" 

"And swings a jolly fine brush, let me tell you. 
She's painted a portrait of me. Jeeves and I hung it 
up in the flat this morning. I have an idea Jeeves 
doesn't like it." 

" Well, if it's anything like you I don't see why he 
should. An artist ! Calls herself Gwladvs ! And drives a 
car in the sort of way Segrave would if he were pressed 
for time." She brooded awhile. " Well, it's all very sad, 
but I can't see why you won't come on the yacht." 

I explained. 

" It would be madness to leave the metrop. at this 
juncture," I said. " You know what girls are. They 
forget the absent face. And I'm not at all easy in my 
mind about a certain cove of the name of Lucius Pirn. 
Apart from the fact that he's an artist, too, which 
forms a bond, his hair waves. One must never discount 
wavy hair, Aunt Datilia. Moreover, this bloke is one 
of those strong, masterful men. He treats Gwladys 
as if she were less than the dust beneath his taxi wheels. 



THE SPOT OF ART 145 

He criticizes her hats and says nasty things about her 
chiaroscuro. For some reason, I've often noticed, 
this always seems to fascinate girls, and it has some- 
times occurred to me that, being myself more the 
parfait gentle knight, if you know what I mean, I 
am in grave danger of getting the short end. Taking 
all these things into consideration, then, I cannot 
breeze off to the Mediterranean, leaving this Pirn a 
clear field. You must see that?" 

Aunt Dahlia laughed. Rather a nasty laugh. Scorn 
in its timbre, or so it seemed to me. 

"I shouldn't worry," she said. " You don't suppose 
for a moment that Jeeves will sanction the match ? " 

I was stung. 

"Do you imply, Aunt Dahlia," I said— and I can't 
remember if I rapped the table with the handle of my 
fork or not, but I rather think I did — "that I allow 
Jeeves to boss mc to the extent of stopping me marrying 
somebody I want to marry?" 

" Well, he stopped you wearing a moustache, didn't 
he? And purple socks. And soft-fronted shirts with 
dress-clothes." 

"That is a different matter altogether." 

"Well, I'm prepared to make a small bet with you, 
Bertie. Jeeves will stop this match." 

"What absolute rot!" 

"And if he doesn't like that portrait, he will get 
rid of it." 

"I never heard such dashed nonsense in my life." 

"And, finally, you wretched, pie-faced wambler, he 
will present you on board my yacht at the appointed 
hour. I don't know how he will do it, but you will be 
there, all complete with yachting-cap and spare pair 
of socks." 



146 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"Let us change the subject, Aunt Dahlia," I said 
coldly. 

Being a good deal stirred up by the attitude of the 
flesh -and-blood at the luncheon-table, I had to go for 
a bit of a walk in the Park after leaving, to soothe the 
nervous system. By about four-thirty the ganglions 
had ceased to vibrate, and I returned to the flat. 
Jeeves was in the sitting-room, A looking at the 
portrait. 

I felt a trifle embarrassed in the man's presence, 
because just before leaving I had informed him of 
my intention to scratch the yacht-trip, and he had 
taken it on the chin a bit. You see, he had been looking 
forward to it rather. From the moment I had accepted 
the invitation, there had been a sort of nautical 
glitter in his eye, and I'm not sure I hadn't heard him 
trolling Chanties in the kitchen. I think some ancestor 
of his must have been one of Nelson's tars or something, 
for he has always had the urge of the salt sea in his 
blood. I have noticed him on liners, when we were 
going to America, striding the deck with a sailorly 
roll and giving the distinct impression of being just 
about to heave the main-brace or splice the binnacle. 

So, though I had explained my reasons, taking the 
man fully into my confidence and concealing nothing, 
I knew that he was distinctly peeved; and my first 
act, on entering, was to do the cheery a bit. I joined 
him in front of the portrait. 

"Looks good, Jeeves, what?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Nothing like a« spot of art for brightening the 
home." 
"No, sir." 



THE SPOT OF ART 147 
"Seems to lend the room a certain — what shall I 



"Yes, sir." 

The responses were all right, but his manner was 
far from hearty, and I decided to tackle him squarely. 
I mean, dash it, I mean, I don't know if you have 
ever had your portrait painted, but if you have you 
will understand my feelings. The spectacle of one's 
portrait hanging on the wall creates in one a sort of 
paternal fondness for the thing : and what you demand 
from the outside public is approval and enthusiasm — 
not the curling lip, the twitching nostril, and the kind 
of supercilious look which you see in the eye of a dead 
mackerel. Especially is this so when the artist is a girl 
for whom you have conceived sentiments deeper and 
warmer than those of ordinary friendship. 

"Jeeves," I said, "you don't like this spot of art." 

"Oh, yes, sir." 

"No. Subterfuge is useless. I can read you like a 
book. For some reason this spot of art fails to appeal 
to you. What do you object to about it?" 

"Is not the colour-scheme a trifle bright, sir?" 

"I had not observed it, Jeeves. Anything else?" 

" Well, in my opinion, sir, Miss Pendlebury has given 
you a somewhat too hungry expression." 

"Hungry?" 

" A little like that of a dog regarding a distant bone, 
sir." 

I checked the fellow. 

"There is no resemblance whatever, Jeeves, to a 
dog regarding a distant bone. The look to which you 
allude is wistful and denotes Soul." 

"I see, sir." 

I proceeded to another subject. 



148 VERY GOOD, JEEVES I 

" Miss Pendlebury said she might look in this after- 
noon to inspect the portrait. Did she turn up? " 
"Yes, sir." 
"But has left?" 
"Yes, sir." 

"You mean she's gone, what?" 
"Precisely, sir." 

"She didn't say anything about coming back, I 
suppose?" 

" No, sir. I received the impression that it was not 
Miss Pendlebury's intention to return. She was a 
little upset, sir, and expressed a desire to go to her 
studio and rest." 

"Upset? What was she upset about?" 

"The accident, sir." 

I didn't actually clutch the brow, but I did a bit of 
mental brow-clutching, as it were. 
"Don't tell me she had an accident!" 
"Yes, sir." 

"What sort of accident?" 

"Automobile, sir." 

"Was she hurt?" 

"No, sir. Only the gentleman." 

"What gentleman?" 

"Miss Pendlebury had the misfortune to run over 
a gentleman in her car almost immediately opposite 
this building. He sustained a slight fracture of the 
leg." 

"Too bad! But Miss Pendlebury is all right?" 

" Physically, sir, her condition appeared to be satis- 
factory. She was suffering a certain distress of 
mind." 

" Of course, with her beautiful, sympathetic nature. 
Naturally; It's a hard world for a girl, Jeeves, with 



THE SPOT OF ART 149 

fellows flinging themselves under the wheels of her 
car in one long, unending stream. It must have 
been a great shock to her. What became of the 
chump?" 

"The gentleman, sir?" 

"Yes." 

"He is in your spare bedroom, sir." 

"What!" 

"Yes, sir." 

"In my spare bedroom?" 

"Yes, sir. It was Miss Pendlebury's desire that he 
should be taken there. She instructed me to telegraph 
to the gentleman's sister, sir, who is in Paris, advising 
her of the accident. I also summoned a medical man, 
who gave it as his opinion that the patient should 
remain for the time being in statu quo." 

"You mean, the corpse is on the premises for an 
indefinite visit?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Jeeves, this is a bit thick!" 
"Yes, sir." 

And I meant it, dash it. I mean to say, a girl can be 
pretty heftily divine and ensnare the heart and what 
not, but she's no right to turn a fellow's flat into 
a morgue. I'm bound to say that for a moment 
passion ebbed a trifle. 

" Well, I suppose I'd better go and introduce myself 
to the blighter. After all, I am his host. Has he a 
name? " 

"Mr. Pirn, sir." 

"Pirn!" 

"Yes, sir. And the young JaGy addressed him as 
Lucius. It was owing to the fact that he was on his 
way here to examine the portrait which she had painted 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



that Mr. Pirn happened to be in the roadway at the 
moment when Miss Pendlebury turned the corner." 

I headed for the spare bedroom. I was perturbed 
to a degree. I don't know if you have ever loved and 
been handicapped in your wooing by a wavy-haired 
rival, but one of the things you don't want in such circs, 
is the rival parking himself on the premises with a 
broken leg. Apart from anything else, the advantage 
the position gives him is obviously terrific. There he is, 
sitting up and toying with a grape and looking pale 
and interesting, the object of the girl's pity and con- 
cern, and where do you get off, bounding about the 
place in morning costume and spats and with the rude 
flush of health on the cheek? It seemed to me that 
things were beginning to look pretty mouldy. 

I found Lucius Pirn lying in bed, draped in a suit 
of my pyjamas, smoking one of my cigarettes, and 
reading a detective story. He waved the cigarette 
at me in what I considered a dashed patronising 
manner, 

"Ah, Woostcr!" he said. 

"Not so much of the f Ah, Wooster!'" I replied 
brusquely. "How soon can you be moved?" 
"In a week or so, I fancy." 
"In a week!" 

"Or so. For the moment, the doctor insists on 
perfect quiet and repose. So forgive me, old man, 
for asking you not to raise your voice. A hushed 
whisper is the stuff to give the troops. And now, 
Wooster, about this accident. We must come to*an 
understanding." 

"Are you sure yo*u can't be moved?" 

"Ouite. The doctor said so." 

rw 

"I think wc oi'ght to get a second opinion." 



THE SPOT OF ART 151 

" Useless, my dear fellow. He was most emphatic, 
and evidently a man who knew his job. Don't worry 
about my not being comfortable here. I shall be quite 
all right. I like this bed. And now, to return to 
the subject of this accident. My sister will be arriving 
to-morrow. She will be greatly upset. I am her 
favourite brother." 

"You are?" 

"I am." 

" How many of you are there? " 
"Six." 

"And you're her favourite?" 
1 am. 

It seemed to me that the other five must be pretty 
fairly sub-human, but I didn't say so. We Woosters 
can curb the tongue. 

"She married a bird named Slingsby. Slingsby's 
Superb Soups. He rolls in money. But do you 
think I can get him to lend a trifle from time to 
time to a needy brother-in-law?" said Lucius Pirn 
bitterly. "No, sir! However, that is neither here 
nor there. The point is that my sister loves me 
devotedly: and, this being the case, she might try 
to prosecute and persecute and generally bite 
pieces out of poor little Gwladys if she knew that 
it was she who was driving the car that laid me 
out. She must never know, Wooster. I appeal 
to you as a man of honour to keep your mouth 
shut." 

"Naturally." 

"I'm glad you grasp the point so readily, Wooster. 
You are not the fool people take Jrou for." 
"Who takes me for a fool?" 
The Pirn raised his eyebrows slightly. 



152 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"Don't people?" he said. "Well, well. Anyway, 
that's settled. Unless I can think of something better 
I shall tell my sister that I was knocked down by a 
car which drove on without stopping and I didn't 
get its number. And now perhaps you had better 
leave me. The doctor made a point of quiet and 
repose. Moreover, I want to go on with this story. 
The villain has just dropped a cobra down the heroine's 
chimney, and I must be at her side. It is impossible 
not to be thrilled by Edgar Wallace. I'll ring if I 
want anything." 

I headed for the sitting-room. I found Jeeves there, 
staring at the portrait in rather a marked manner, as 
if it hurt him. 

"Jeeves," I said, "Mr. Pim appears to be a fixture." 

"Yes, sir." 

"For the nonce, at any rate. And to-morrow we 
shall have his sister, Mrs. Slingsby, of Slingsby's Superb 
Soups, in our midst." 

"Yes, sir. I telegraphed to Mrs. Slingsby shortly 
before four. Assuming her to have been at her hotel 
in Paris at the moment of the telegram's delivery, 
she will no doubt take a boat early to-morrow after- 
noon, reaching Dover— or, should she prefer the alter- 
native route, Folkestone — in time to begin the railway 
journey at an hour which will enable her to arrive in 
London at about seven. She will possibly proceed 
first to her London residence " 

"Yes, Jeeves," I said, "Yes. A gripping story, full 
of action and human interest. You must have it set 
to music some time and sing it. Meanwhile, get this 
into your head. If is imperative that Mrs. Slingsby 
docs not learn that it was Miss Pendlebury who broke 
her brother in twr places. I shall require you, there- 



THE SPOT OF ART 153 

fore, to approach Mr. Pirn before she arrives, ascertain 
exactly what tale he intends to tell, and be prepared 
to back it up in every particular." 
"Very good, sir." 

"And now, Jeeves, what of Miss Pendlebury?" 
"Sir?" 

"She's sure to call to make enquiries." 
"Yes, sir." 

"Well, she mustn't find me here. You know all 
about women, Jeeves?" 
"Yes, sir." 

"Then tell me this. Am I not right in supposing 
that if Miss Pendlebury is in a position to go into the 
sick-room, take a long look at the interesting invalid, 
and then pop out, with the memory of that look 
fresh in her mind, and get a square sight of me loung- 
ing about in sponge-bag trousers, she will draw damag- 
ing comparisons? You see what I mean? Look on 
this picture and on that — the one romantic, the other 
not . . . Eh?" 

" Very true, sir. It is a point which I had intended 
to bring to your attention. An invalid undoubtedly 
exercises a powerful appeal to the motlierliness which 
exists in every woman's heart, sir. Invalids seem to 
stir their deepest feelings. The poet Scott has put 
the matter neatly in the lines — 'Oh, Woman in our 
hours of case uncertain, coy, and hard to please. . . . 
When pain and anguish rack the brow "' 

I held up a hand. 

"At some other time, Jeeves," I said, "I shall be 
delighted to hear you your piece, but just now I am 
not in the mood. The position being as I have 
outlined, I propose to clear out earlv to-morrow 
morning and not to reappear until nightfall. I 



154 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

shall take the car and dash down to Brighton for 
the day." 
"Very good, sir." 

"It is better so, is it not, Jeeves?" 
"Indubitably, sir." 

" I think so, too. The sea breezes will tone up my 
system, which sadly needs a dollop of toning. I leave 
you in charge of the old home." 

"Very good, sir." 

"Convey my regrets and sympathy to Miss 
Pendlcbury and tell her I have been called away on 
business." 

"Yes, sir." 

" Should the Slingsby require refreshment, feed 
her in moderation." 
"Very good, sir." 

" And, in poisoning Mr. Pirn's soup, don't use arsenic, 
which is readily detected. Go to a good chemist and 
get something that leaves no traces." 

I sighed, and cocked an eye at the portrait. 

"All this is very wonky, Jeeves." 

"Yes, sir." 

"When that portrait was painted, I was a happy 
man." 

"Yes, sir." 

"Ah, well, Jeeves!" 

"Very true, sir." 

And we left it at that. 

It was lateish when I got back on the following 
evening. What with a bit of ozone-sniffing, a good 
dinner, and a nice "run home in the moonlight with 
the old car goir.g as sweet as a nut, I was feeling in 
pretty good shape once more. In fact, coming through 



THE SPOT OF ART 155 

Purley, I went so far as to sing a trifle. The spirit of 
the Woosters is a buoyant spirit, and optimism had 
begun to reign again, in the W. bosom. 

The way I looked at it was, I saw I had been 
mistaken in assuming that a girl must neccessarily 
love a fellow just because he has broken a leg. At first, 
no doubt, Gwladys Pendlebury would feel strangely 
drawn to the Pim when she saw him lying there a 
more or less total loss. But it would not be long 
before other reflections crept in. She would ask her- 
self if she were wise m trusting her life's happiness to 
a man who hadn't enough sense to leap out of the 
way when he saw a car coming. She would tell her- 
self that, if this sort of thing had happened once, who 
knew that it might not go on happening again and 
again all down the long years. And she would recoil 
from a married life which consisted entirely of going 
to hospitals and taking her husband fruit. She would 
realise how much better off she would be, teamed 
up with a fellow like Bertram Wooster, who, what- 
ever his faults, at least walked on the pavement and 
looked up and down a street before he crossed it. 

It was in excellent spirits, accordingly, that I put 
the car in the garage, and it was with a merry Tra-la 
on my lips that I let myself into the flat as Big Ben 
began to strike eleven. I rang the bell and presently, 
as if he had divined my wishes, Jeeves came in with 
siphon and decanter. 

"Home again, Jeeves," I said, mixing a spot. 

"Yes, sir." 

"What has been happening in my absence? Did 
Miss Pendlebury call?" 
"Yes, sir. At about two o'clock." 
"And left?" 



156 VERY GOOD, JEEVES I 

"At about six, sir." 

I didn't like this so much. A four-hour visit struck 
me as a bit sinister. However, there was nothing to 
be done about it. 

"And Mrs. Slingsby?" 

" She arrived shortly after eight and left at ten, sir." 
"Ah? Agitated?" 

"Yes, sir. Particularly when she left. She was 
very desirous of seeing you, sir." 
"Seeing me?" 
"Yes, sir." 

" Wanted to thank me brokenly, I suppose, for so 
courteously allowing her favourite brother a place to 
have his game legs in. Eh? " 

" Possibly, sir. On the other hand, she alluded to 
you in terms suggestive of disapprobation, sir." 

"She— what?" 

"'Feckless idiot* was one of the expressions she 
employed, sir." 
"Feckless idiot?" 
"Yes, sir." 

I couldn't make it out. I simply couldn't see what 
the woman had based her judgment on. My Aunt 
Agatha has frequently said that sort of thing about 
rnc, but she has known me from a boy. 

" I must look into this, Jeeves. Is Mr. Pirn asleep? " 

"No, sir. He rang the bell a moment ago to en- 
quire if we had not a better brand of cigarette in the 
flat." 

"He did, did he?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"The accident doesn't seem to have affected his 
nerve." 
"No, sir." 



THE SPOT OF ART 157 

I found Lucius Pirn sitting propped up among the 
pillows, reading his detective story. 

" Ah, Wooster," he said. " Welcome home. I say, 
in case you were worrying, it's all right about that 
cobra. The hero had got at it without the villain's 
knowledge and extracted its poison-fangs. With the 
result that when it fell down the chimney and started 
trying to bite the heroine its efforts were null and 
void. I doubt if a cobra has ever felt so silly." 

"Never mind about cobras." 

"It's no good saying Never mind about cobras," 
said Lucius Pirn in a gentle, rebuking sort of voice. 
" You've ]olly well got to mind about cobras, if they 
haven't had their poison-fangs extracted. Ask any- 
one. By the way, my sister looked in. She wants to 
have a word with you." 

"And I want to have a word with her." 

" ' Two minds with but a single thought. ' What 
she wants to talk to you about is this accident of 
mine. You remember that story I was to tell her? 
About the car driving on? Well the understanding 
was, if you recollect, that I was only to tell it if I 
couldn't think of something better. Fortunately, I 
thought of something much better. It came to me 
in a flash as I lay in bed looking at the ceiling. You 
see, that driving-on story was thin. People don't 
knock fellows down and break their legs and go driving 
on. The thing wouldn't have held water for a minute. 
So I told her you did it." 
"What!" 

"I said it was you who did it in your car. Much 
more likely. Makes the whole thing neat and well- 
rounded. I knew you would approve. At all costs 
we have got to keep it from her that I was outed by 



158 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



Gwladys. I made it as easy for you as I could, saying 
that you were a bit pickled at the time and so not to 
be blamed for what you did. Some fellows wouldn't 
have thought of that. Still," said Lucius Pirn with a 
sigh, " I'm afraid she's not any too pleased with you." 
"She isn't, isn't she?" 

"No, she is not. And I strongly recommend you, 
if you want anything like a pleasant interview to- 
morrow, to sweeten her a bit overnight." 

"How do you mean, sweeten her?" 

"I'd suggest you sent her some flowers. It would 
be a graceful gesture. Roses are her favourites. Shoot 
her in a few roses — Number Three, Hill Street is the 
address — and it may make all the difference. I think 
it my duty to inform you, old man, that my sister 
Beatrice is rather a tough egg, when roused. My 
brother-in-law is due back from New York at any 
moment, and the danger, as I see it, is that Beatrice, 
unless sweetened, will get at him and make him bring 
actions against you for torts and malfeasances and 
what not and get thumping damages. He isn't over- 
fond of me and, left to himself, would rather approve 
than otherwise of people who broke my legs: but 
he's crazy about Beatrice and will do anything she 
asks him to. So my advice is, Gather ye rose-buds, 
while ye may and bung them in to Number Three, 
Hill Street. Otherwise, the case of Slingsby v. Wooster 
will be on the calendar before you can say What-ho." 

I gave the fellow a look. Lost on him, of course. 

"It's a pity you didn't think of all that before," 
I said. And it wasn't so much the actual words, if you 
know what I mean, as the way I said it. 

" I thought of it all right," said Lucius Pirn. " But, 
as we were both agreed that at all costs " 



THE SPOT OF ART 159 

"Oh, all right/' I said. "All right, all right." 
"You aren't annoyed?" said Lucius Pirn, look- 
ing at me with a touch of surprise. 
"Oh, no!" 

"Splendid," said Lucius Pirn, relieved. "I knew 
you would feel that I had done the only possible thing. 
It would have been awful if Beatrice had found out 
about Gwladys. I daresay you have noticed, Wooster, 
that when women find themselves in a position to 
take a running kick at one of their own sex they are 
twice as rough on her as they would be on a man. Now, 
you, being of the male persuasion, will find every- 
thing made nice and smooth for you. A quart of 
assorted roses, a few smiles, a tactful word or two, 
and she'll have melted before you know where you 
are. Play your cards properly, and you and Beatrice 
will be laughing merrily and having a game of Round 
and Round the Mulberry Bush together in about 
five minutes. Better not let Slingsby's Soups catch 
you at it, however. He's very jealous where Beatrice 
is concerned. And now you'll forgive me, old chap, 
if I send you away. The doctor says I ought not to 
talk too much for a day or two. Besides, it 's time for 
bye-bye." 

The more I thought it over, the better that idea of 
sending those roses looked. Lucius Pirn was not a 
man I was fond of — in fact, if I had had to choose 
between him and a cockroach as a companion for a 
walking-tour, the cockroach would have had it by a 
short head — but there was no' doubt that he had out- 
lined the right policy. His advice was good, and I 
decided to follow it. Rising next morning at ten- 
fifteen, I swallowed a strengthening breakfast and 
legged it off to that flower-shop in Piccadilly. I 



i6o VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



couldn't leave the thing to Jeeves. It was essentially 
a mission that demanded the personal touch. I laid 
out a couple of quid on a sizeable bouquet, sent it 
with my card to Hill. Street, and then looked in at the 
Drones for a brief refresher. It is a thing I don't 
often do in the morning, but this threatened to be 
rather a special morning. 

It was about noon when I got back to the flat. I 
went into the sitting-room and tried to adjust the 
mind to the coming interview. It had to be faced, 
of course, but it wasn't any good my telling myself 
that it was going to be one of those jolly scenes the 
memory of which cheer you up as you sit ton sting 
your toes at the fire in your old age. I stood or fell 
by the roses. If they sweetened the Slingsby, all 
would be well. If they failed to sweeten her, Bertram 
was undoubtedly for it. 

The clock ticked on, but she did not come. A late 
riser, I took it, and was slightly encouraged by the 
reflection. My experience of women has been that the 
earlier they leave the hay the more vicious specimens 
they arc apt to be. My Aunt Agatha, for instance, 
is always up with the lark, and look at her 

Still, you couldn't be sure that this rule always 
worked, and after a while the suspense began to get 
in amongst me a bit. To divert the mind. I fetched 
the old putter out of its bag and began to practise 
putts into a glass. After all, even if the Slingsby 
turned out to be all that I had pictured her in my 
gloomier moments, I should have improved my close- 
to-the-hole work on the green and be that much up, 
at any rate. 

It was while I was shaping for a rather tricky shot 
that the front-door bell went. 



THE SPOT OF ART. 161 

I picked up the glass and shoved the putter behind 
the settee. It struck me that if the woman found 
me engaged on what you might call a frivolous pursuit 
she might take it to indicate lack of remorse and 
proper feeling. I straightened the collar, pulled down 
the waistcoat, and managed to fasten on the face a 
sort of sad half-smile which was welcoming without 
being actually jovial. It looked nil right in the mirror, 
and I held it as the door opened. 

"Mr. Slingsby," announced Jeeves. 

And, having spoken these words, he closed the 
door and left us alone together. 

For quite a time there wasn't anything in the 
way of chit-chat. The shock of expecting Mrs. Slingsby 
and finding myself confronted by something entirely 
different — in fact, not the same thing at all — seemed 
to have affected the vocal chords. And the visitor 
didn't appear to be disposed to make light conversa- 
tion himself. He stood there looking strong and 
silent. I suppose you have to be like that if you 
want to manufacture anything in the nature of a 
really convincing soup. 

Slingsby's Superb Soups was a Roman Emperor- 
looking sort of bird, with keen, penetrating eyes and 
one of those jutting chins. The eyes seemed to be fixed 
on me in a dashed unpleasant stare and, unless I was 
mistaken, he was grinding his teeth a trifle. For 
some reason he appeared to have taken a strong dis- 
like to me at sight, and I'm bound to say this rather 
puzzled me. I don't pretend to have one of those 
Fascinating Personalities which you get from study- 
ing the booklets advertised in the back pages of the 
magazines, but I couldn't recall another case in the 



l62 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



whole of my career where a single glimpse of the eld 
map had been enough to make anyone look as if he 
wanted to foam at the mouth. Usually, when people 
meet me for the first time, they don't seem to know 
I'm there. 

4 However, I exerted myself to play the host. 
"Mr. Slingsby?" 
"That is my name." 
"Just got back from America?" 
"I landed this morning." 
"Sooner than you were expected, what?" 
"So I imagine." 
"Very glad to see you." 
"You will not be long." 

I took time off to do a bit of gulping. I saw now 
what had happened. This bloke had been home, 
seen his wife, heard the story of the accident, and had 
hastened round to the flat to slip it across me. Evi- 
dently those roses had not sweetened the female of the 
species. The only thing to do now seemed to be to 
take a stab at sweetening the male. 

"Have a drink?" I said. 

"No!" 

"A cigarette?" 
"No!" 
"A chair?" 
"No!" 

I went into the silence once more. These non- 
drinking, non-smoking non-sitters are hard birds to 
handle. 

"Don't grin at me, sir!" 

I shot a glance at myself in the mirror, and saw 
what he meant. The sad half-smile had slopped over 
a bit. I adjusted it, and there was another pause. 



THE SPOT OF ART 163 

"Now, sir," said the Superb Souper. "To business. 
I think I need scarcely tell you why I am here." 

"No. Of course. Absolutely. It's about that 
little matter " 

He gave a snort which nearly upset a vase on the 
mantelpiece. 

" Little matter? So you consider it a little matter, 
do you?" 
"Well " 

"Let me tell you, sir, that when I find that during 
my absence from the country a man has been annoy- 
ing my wife with his importunities I regard it as 
anything but a little matter. And I shall endeavour," 
said the Souper, the eyes gleaming a trifle brighter as 
he rubbed his hands together in a hideous, menacing 
way, " to make you see the thing in the same light." 

I couldn't make head or tail of this. I simply 
couldn't follow him. The lemon began to swim. 

"Eh?" I said. "Your wife?" 

"You heard me." 

"There must be some mistake." 

"There is. You made it." 

"But I don't know your wife." 

"Ha!" 

"I've never even met her." 
"Tchah!" 

"Honestly, I haven't." 
"Bah!" 

He drank me in for a moment. 

"Do you deny you sent her flowers?" 

I felt the heart turn a double somersault. I began 
to catch his drift. 

"Flowers!" he proceeded. "Roses, sir. Great, 
fat, beastly roses. Enough of them to sink a ship. 



164 VERY GOOD, JEEVES I 



Your card was attached to them by a small pin " 

His voice died away in a sort of gurgle, and I saw 
that he was staring at something behind me. I spun 
round, and there, in the doorway — I hadn't seen it 
open, because during the last spasm of dialogue I 
had been backing cautiously towards it — there in the 
doorway stood a female. One glance was enough to 
tell me who she was. No woman could look so like 
Lucius Pim who hadn't the misfortune to be related 
to him. It was Sister Beatrice, the tough egg. I saw 
all. She had left home before the flowers had arrived : 
she had sneaked, unsweetened, into the flat, while I 
was fortifying the system at the Drones: and here 
she was. 

"Er " I said. 

"Alexander!" said the female. 

"Goo!" said the Souper. Or it may have been 
'Coo.' 

Whatever it was, it was in the nature of a battle- 
cry or slogan of war. The Souper's worst suspicions 
had obviously been confirmed. His eyes shone with 
a strange light. His chin pushed itself out another 
couple of inches. He clenched and unclenched his 
fingers once or twice, as if to make sure that they 
were working properly and could be relied on to do a 
good, clean job of strangling. Then, once more 
observing 'Coo!' (or 'Gool'), he sprang forward, trod 
on the golf-ball I had been practising putting with, 
and took one of the finest tosses I have ever witnessed. 
The purler of a lifetime. For a moment the air 
seemed to be full of arms and legs, and then, with a 
thud that nearly dislocated the flat, he made a forced 
landing against the wall. 

And, feeling I had had about all I wanted, I oiled 


THE SPOT OF ART 165 

from the room and was in the act of grabbing my hat 
from the rack in the hall, when Jeeves appeared. 

"I fancied I heard a noise, sir," said Jeeves. 

"Quite possibly," I said. "It was Mr. Slingsby." 

" Sir? " 

"Mr. Slingsby practising Russian dances," I ex- 
plained. "I rather think he has fractured an assort- 
ment of limbs. Better go in and see." 

"Very good, sir." 

" If he is the wreck I imagine, put him in my room 
and send for the doctor. The flat is filling up nicely 
with the various units of the Pirn family and its 
connections, eh, Jeeves?" 

"Yes, sir." 

" I think the supply is about exhausted, but should 
any aunts or uncles by marriage come along and 
break their limbs, bed them out on the Chesterfield." 

"Very good, sir." 

"1, personally, Jeeves," I said, opening the front 
door and pausing on the threshold, "am off to Paris. 
I will wire you the address. Notify me in due course 
when the place is free from Pirns and completely 
purged of Slingsbys, and I will return. Oh, and 
Jeeves." 

"Sir?" 

" Spare no effort to mollify these birds. They think 
— at least, Slingsby (female) thinks, and what she 
thinks to-day he will think to-morrow — that it was I 
who ran over Mr. Pirn in my car. Endeavour during 
my absence to sweeten them." 

"Very good, sir." • 

" And now perhaps you had better be going in and 
viewing the body. I shall proceed to the Drones, 
where I shall lunch, subsequently catching the two 



166 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

o'clock train at Charing Cross. Meet me there with 
an assortment of luggage." 

It was a matter of three weeks or so before Jeeves 
sent me the 'All clear* signal. I spent the time pot- 
tering pretty perturbedly about Paris and environs. 
It is a city I am fairly fond of, but I was glad to be 
able to return to the old home. I hopiped on to a 
passing aeroplane and a couple of hours later was 
bowling through Croydon on my way to the centre 
of things. It was somewhere down in the Sloane 
Square neighbourhood that I first caught sight of 
the posters. 

A traffic block had occurred, and I was glancing idly 
this way and that, when suddenly my eye was caught 
by something that looked familiar. And then I saw 
what it was. 

Pasted on a blank wall and measuring about a hun- 
dred feet each way was an enormous poster, mostly 
red and blue. At the top of it were the words : — 

SLINGSBY'S SUPERB SOUPS 
and at the bottom: — 

SUCCULENT AND STRENGTHENING 

And, in between, me. Yes, dash it, Bertram 
Wooster in person. A reproduction of the Pendlebury 
portrait, perfect in every detail. 

It was the sort of thing to make a fellow's eyes 
flicker, and mine flickered. You might say a mist 
seemed to roll before them. Then it lifted, and I 
was able to get a good long look before the traffic 
moved on. 



THE SPOT OF ART 167 

Of all the absolutely foul sights I have ever seen, 
this took the biscuit with ridiculous ease. The thing 
was a bally libel on the Wooster face, and yet it was 
as unmistakable as if it had had my name under 
it. I saw now what Jeeves had meant when he 
said that the portrait had given me a hungry look. 
In the poster this look had become one of bestial 
greed. There I sat absolutely slavering through 
a monocle about six inches in circumference at a 
plateful of soup, looking as if I hadn't had a 
ineal for weeks. The whole thing seemed to take 
one straight away into a different and a dreadful 
world. 

I woke from a species of trance or coma to find 
myself at the door of the block of flats. To buzz 
upstairs and charge into the home was with me the 
work of a moment. 

Jeeves came shimmering down the hall, the respect- 
ful beam of welcome on his face. 

"I am glad to see you back, sir." 

"Never mind about that," I yipped. "What 
about ?" 

"The posters, sir? I was wondering if you might 
have observed them." 
"I observed them!" 
"Striking, sir?" 

"Very striking. Now, perhaps you'll kindly 
explain " 

" You instructed me, if you recollect, sir, to spare 
no effort to mollify Mr. Slingsbv." 
"Yes, but " 

" It proved a somewhat difficult task, sir. For some 
time Mr. Slingsby, on the advice and owing to the 
persuasion of Mrs. Slingsby, appeared to be resolved 



168 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



to institute an action in law against you — a procedure 
which I knew you would find most distasteful." 
"Yes, but " 

"And then, the first day he was able to leave his 
bed, he observed the portrait, and it seemed to me 
judicious to point out to him its possibilities as an 
advertising medium. He readily fell in with the 
suggestion and, on my assurance that, should he 
abandon the projected action in law, you would 
willingly permit the use of the portrait, he entered into 
negotiations with Miss Pendlebury for the purchase 
of the copyright." 

"Oh? Well, I hope she's got something out of it, 
at any rate?" 

"Yes, sir. Mr. Pirn, acting as Miss Pendlebury's 
agent, drove, I understand, an extremely satisfactory 
bargain." 

"He acted as her agent, eh?" 

"Yes, sir. In his capacity as fiancS to the young 
lady, sir." 

"Fiance!" 

"Yes, sir." 

It shows how the sight of that poster had got into 
my ribs when I state that, instead of being laid 
out cold by this announcement, I merely said 'Ha!' 
or ' HoJ ' or it may have been ' H'm '. After the poster, 
nothing seemed to matter. 

"After that poster, Jeeves," I said, "nothing 
seems to matter." 

"No, sir?" 

"No, Jeeves. A woman has tossed my heart 
lightly away, but what of it?" 
"Exactly, sir." 

"The voice of L^ve seemed to call to me, but it 



THE SPOT OF ART 169 

was a wrong number. Is that going to crush me?" 
JNo, sir. 

"No, Jeeves. It is not. But what does matter is 
this ghastly business of my face being spread from end 
to end of the Metropolis with the eyes fixed on a 
Dlate of Slingsbys' Superb Soup. I must leave London, 
.he lads at the Drones will kid me without ceasing." 

"Yes, sir. And Mrs. Spenser Gregson " 

I paled visibly. I hadn't thought of Aunt Agatha 
and what she might have to say about letting down 
the family prestige. 

"You don't mean to say she has been ringing up? " 

"Several times daily, sir." 

"Jeeves, flight is the only resource." 

"Yes, sir." 

"Back to Paris, what?" 

"I should not recommend the move, sir. The 
posters are, I understand, shortly to appear in that 
city also, advertising the Bouillon Supreme. Mr. 
Slingsby's products command a large sale in France. 
The sight would be painful for you, sir." 

"Then where?" 

"If I might make a suggestion, sir, why not adhere 
to your original intention of cruising in Mrs. Travers' 
yacht in the Mediterranean? On the yacht you would 
be free from the annoyance of these advertising 
displays." 

The man seemed to me to be drivelling. 

"But the yacht started weeks ago. It may be 
anywhere by now." 

"No, sir. The cruise was postponed for a month 
owing to the illness of Mr. Travers' chef, Anatole, 
who contracted influenza. Mr. Travers refused to 
sail without him." 



170 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"You mean they haven't started?" 
"Not yet, sir. The yacht sails from Southampton 
on Tuesday next." 

"Why, then, dash it, nothing could be sweeter." 
"No, sir." 

"Ring up Aunt Dahlia and tell her we'll be there." 
"I ventured to take the liberty of doing so a few 
moments before you arrived, sir." 
"You did?" 

"Yes, sir. I thought it probable that the plan 
would meet with your approval." 

"It does! I've wished all along I was going on 
that cruise." 

"I, too, sir. It should be extremely pleasant." 

"The tang of the salt breezes, Jeeves!" 

"Yes, sir." 

"The moonlight on the water!" 
"Precisely, sir." 

"The gentle heaving of the waves!" 
"Exactly, sir." 

I felt absolutely in the pink. Gwladys — pah! 
The posters — bah! That was the way I looked at it. 

"Yo-ho-ho, Jeeves!" I said, giving the trousers a 
bit of a hitch. 

"Yes, sir." 

"In fact, I will go further. Yo-ho-ho and a bottle 
of rum!" 

"Very good, sir. I will bring it immediately." 



CHAPTER VII 



JEEVES AND THE KID CLEMENTINA 

IT has been well said of Bertram Wooster by those 
who know him best that, whatever other sporting 
functions he may see fit to oil out of, you will 
always find him battling to his sixteen handicap at 
the annual Golf tournament of the Drones Club. 
Nevertheless, when I heard that this year they were 
holding it at Bingley-on-Sea, I confess I hesitated. 
As I stood gazing out of the window of my suite at 
the Splendide on the morning of the opening day, I 
was not exactly a-twitter, if you understand me, but 
I couldn't help feeling I might have been rather 
rash. 

"Jeeves/' I said, " Now that we have actually arrived, 
I find myself wondering if it was quite prudent to come 
here." 

"It is a pleasant spot, sir." 

"Where every prospect pleases," I agreed. "But 
though the spicy breezes blow fair o'er Bingley-on- 
Sea, we must never forget that this is where my Aunt 
Agatha's old friend, Miss Mapleton, runs a girls' school. 
If the relative knew I was here, she would expect 
me to call on Miss Mapleton." 

" Very true, sir." 

I shivered somewhat. 

171 



172 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"I met her once, Jeeves. 'Twas on a summer's 
evening in my tent, the day I overcame the Nervii. 
Or, rather, at lunch at Aunt Agatha's a year ago come 
Lammas Eve. It is not an experience I would willingly 
undergo again." 

"Indeed, sir?" 

"Besides, you remember what happened last time 
I got into a girls' school?" 
"Yes, sir." 

"Secrecy and silence, then. My visit here must 
be strictly incog. If Aunt Agatha happens to ask 
you where I spent this week, tell I went to Harrogate 
for the cure." 

"Very good, sir. Pardon me, sir, are you proposing 
to appear in those garments in public?" 

Up to this point our conversation had been friendly 
and cordial, but I now perceived that the jarring note 
had been struck. I had been wondering when my 
new plus-fours would come under discussion, and I 
was prepared to battle for them like a tigress for 
her young. 

"Certainly, Jeeves," I said. "Why? Don't you like 
them?" 
"No, sir." 

"You think them on the bright side?" 
"Yes, sir." 

"A little vivid, they strike you as?" 
"Yes, sir." 

"Well, I think highly of them, Jeeves," I said 
firmly. 

There already being a certain amount of chilliness 
in the air, it seemed to me a suitable moment for 
springing another item of information which I had 
been keeping from him for some time. 



JEEVES AND THE KID CLEMENTINA 173 

"Er — Jeeves," I said. 
"Sir?" 

"I ran into Miss Wickham the other day. After 
chatting of this and that, she invited me to join a 
party she is getting up to go to the Antibes this 
summer." 

"Indeed, sir?" 

He now looked definitely squiggle-eyed. Jeeves, as 
I think I have mentioned before, does not approve 
of Bobbie Wickham. 

There was what you might call a tense silence. I 
braced myself for an exhibition of the good old Wooster 
determination. I mean to say, one has got to take 
a firm stand from time to time. The trouble with 
Jeeves is that he tends occasionally to get above 
himself. Just because he has surged round and — I 
admit it freely—done the young master a bit of good 
in one or two crises, he has a nasty way of conveying 
the impression that he looks on Bertram Wooster as 
a sort of idiot child who, but for him, would conk in 
the first chukka. I resent this. 

"I have accepted, Jeeves," I said in a quiet, level 
voice, lighting a cigarette with a careless flick of the 
wrist. 

"Indeed, sir?" 

" You will like Antibes." 

"Yes, sir?" 

"So shall I." 

"Yes, sir?" 

" That's settled, then." 

" Yes, sir." 

I was pleased. The firm stand, I saw, had done its 
work. It was plain that the man was crushed beneath 
the iron heel — cowed, if you know what I mean. 



174 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"Right-ho, then, Jeeves." 
"Very good, sir." 

I had not expected to return from the arena until 
well on in the evening, but circumstances so arranged 
themselves that it was barely three o'clock when I 
found myself back again. I was wandering moodily 
to and fro on the pier, when I observed Jeeves 
shimmering towards me. 

"Good afternoon, sir," he said. "I had not sup- 
posed that you would be returning quite so soon, or 
I would have remained at the hotel." 

"I had not supposed that I would be returning 
quite so soon myself, Jeeves," I said, sighing somewhat. 
"I was outed in the first round, I regret to say." 

"Indeed, sir? I am sorry to hear that." 

"And, to increase the mortification of defeat, 
Jeeves, by a blighter who had not spared himself 
at the luncheon table and was quite noticeably sozzled. 
I couldn't seem to do anything right." 

"Possibly you omitted to keep your eye on the 
ball with sufficient assiduity, sir?" 

"Something of that nature, no doubt. Anyway, 
here I am, a game and popular loser and ..." I 
paused, and scanned the horizon with some interest. 
"Great Scott, Jeeves! Look at that girl just coming 
on to the pier. I never saw anybody so extraordinarily 
like Miss Wickham. How do you account for these 
resemblances? " 

"In the present instance, sir, I attribute the 
similarity to the fact that the young lady is Miss 
Wickham." 

"Eh?" 

"Yes, sir. If yuu notice, she is waving to you now." 



JEEVES AND THE KID CLEMENTINA 175 

"But what on earth is she doing down here?" 
"I am unable to say, sir." 

His voice was chilly and seemed to suggest that, 
whatever had brought Bobbie Wickham to Bingley- 
on-Sea, it could not, in his opinion, be anything good. 
He dropped back into the offing, registering alarm and 
despondency, and I removed the old Homburg and 
waggled it genially. 

" \Vhat-ho ! " I said. 

Bobbie came to anchor alongside. 

" Hullo, Bertie," she said. " I didn't know you were 
here." 

"I am," I assured her. 

"In mourning?" she asked, eyeing the trouserings. 

"Rather natty, aren't they?" I said, following her 
gaze. "Jeeves doesn't like them, but then he's 
notoriously hidebound in the matter of leg-wear. 
What are you doing in Bingley? " 

"My cousin Clementina is at school here. It's her 
birthday and I thought I would come down and see 
her. I'm just off there now. Are you staying here 
to-night?" 

"Yes. At the Splcndide." 

"You can give me dinner there if you like." 

Jeeves was behind me, and I couldn't see him, but 
at these words I felt his eye slap warningly against 
the back of my neck. I knew what it was that he was 
trying to broadcast — viz. that it would be tempting 
Providence to mix with Bobbie Wickham even to the 
extent of giving her a bite to eat. Dashed absurd, 
was my verdict. Get entangled with young Bobbie 
in the intricate life of a country-house, where almost 
anything can happen, and I'm not saying. But how 
any doom or disaster could lurk behind the simple 



176 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

pronging of a spot of dinner together, I failed to see. 
I ignored the man. 

"Of course. Certainly. Rather. Absolutely," I 
said. 

"That'll be fine. I've got to get back to London 
to-night for revelry of sorts at the Berkeley, but it 
doesn't matter if I'm a bit late. We'll turn up at 
about seven-thirty, and you can take us to the movies 
afterwards." 

"We? Us?" 

"Clementina and me." 

" You don't mean you intend to bring your ghastly 
cousin? " 

"Of course I do. Don't you want the child to 
have a little pleasure on her birthday? And she isn't 
ghastly. She's a dear. She won't be any trouble. 
All you'll have to do is take her back to the school 
afterwards. You can manage that without straining 
a sinew, can't you?" 

I eyed her keenly. 

"What does it involve?" 

" How do you mean, what does it involve? " 

"The last time I was lured into a girls' school, a 
headmistress with an eye like a gimlet insisted on 
my addressing the chain-gang on Ideals and the Life 
To Come. This will not happen to-night?" 

"Of course not. You just go to the front door, 
ring the bell, and bung her in." 

I mused. 

"That would appear to be well within our scope. 
Eh, Jeeves? " 

" I should be disposed to imagine so, sir." 

The man's tone was cold and soupy : and, scanning 
his face, I observ d on it an ' If -you- would-only-be- 



JEEVES AND THE KID CLEMENTINA 177 

guided-by-me ' expression which annoyed me intensely. 
There are moments when Jeeves looks just like an 
aunt. 

"Right," I said, ignoring him once more — and 
rather pointedly, at that. "Then I'll expect you at 
seven-thirty. Don't be late. And see," I added, just 
to show the girl that beneath the smiling exterior I 
was a man of iron, " that the kid has her hands washed 
and does not sniff." 

I had not, I confess, looked forward with any great 
keenness to hobnobbing with Kobbie Wickham's 
cousin Clementina, but I'm bound to admit that she 
might have been considerably worse. Small girls as 
a rule, I have noticed, are inclined, when confronted 
with me, to giggle a good deal. They snigger and they 
stare. I look up and find their eyes glued on me in an 
incredulous manner, as if they were reluctant to believe 
that I was really true. I suspect them of being in 
the process of memorizing any little peculiarities of 
deportment that I may possess, in order to reproduce 
them later for the entertainment of their fellow- 
inmates. 

With the kid Clementina there was nothing of this 
description. She was a quiet, saintlike child of about 
thirteen — in fact, seeing that this was her birthday, 
exactly thirteen — and her gaze revealed only silent 
admiration. Her hands were spotless; she had not a 
cold in the head; and at dinner, during which her 
behaviour was unexceptionable, she proved a sym- 
pathetic listener, hanging on my lips, so to speak, 
when with the aid of a fork and two peas I explained 
to her how my opponent that afternoon had stymied 
me on the tenth. 



178 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

She was equally above criticism at the movies, and at 
the conclusion of the proceedings thanked me for the 
treat with visible emotion. I was pleased with the 
child, and said as much to Bobbie while assisting her 
into her two-seater. 

*'Yes, I told you she was a dear," said Bobbie, 
treading on the self-starter in preparation for the 
dash to London. "I always insist that they misjudge 
her at that school. They're always misjudging people. 
They misjudged me when I was there." 
'Misjudge her? How?" 

"Oh, in various ways. But, then, what can you 
expect of a dump like St. Monica's?" 

I started. 

"St. Monica's?" 

"That's the name of the place." 

"You don't mean the kid is at Miss Mapleton's 
school?" 

" Why shouldn't she be?" 

"But Miss Mapleton is my Aunt Agatha's oldest 
friend." 

" I know. It was your Aunt Agatha who got mother 
to send me there when I was a kid." 

"I say," I said earnestly, "when you were there 
this afternoon you didn't mention having met me down 
here?" 

"No." 

"That's all right." I was relieved. "You see, if 
Miss Mapleton knew I was in Bingley, she would expect 
me to call. I shall be leaving to-morrow morning, so 
all will be well. But, dash it," I said, spotting the snag, 
"how about to-night?" 

"What about to-night?" 

"Well, shan't I have to see her? I can't just ring 



JEEVES AND THE KID CLEMENTINA 179 

the front door bell, sling the kid in, and leg it. I should 
never hear the last of it from Aunt Agatha." 

Bobbie looked at me in an odd, meditative sort of 
way. 

"As a matter of fact, Bertie," she said, "I had been 
meaning to touch on that point. I think, if I were 
you, I wouldn't ring the front door bell." 

"Eh? Why not?" 

" Well, it's like this, you see. Clementina is supposed 
to be in bed. They sent her there just as I was leaving 
this afternoon. Think of itl On her birthday — right 
plumb spang in the middle of her birthday — and all 
for putting sherbet in the ink to make it fizz!" 

I reeled. 

"You aren't telling me that this foul kid came 
out without leave?" 

"Yes, I am. That's exactly it. She got up and 
sneaked out when nobody was looking. She had set 
her heart on getting a squrre meal. I suppose I really 
ought to have told you rigiit at the start, but I didn't 
want to spoil your evening." 

As a general rule, in ir._. dealings with the delicately- 
nurtured, I am the soul of knightly chivalry — suave, 
genial and polished. But I can on occasion say the 
bitter, cutting thing, and I said it now. 

"Oh?" I said. 

"But it's all right." 

"Yes," I said, speaking, if I recollect, between my 
clenched teeth, "nothing could be sweeter, could it ? 
The situation is one which it would be impossible to 
view with concern, what? I shrvll turn up with the kid, 
get looked at through steel-rimmed spectacles by the 
Mapleton, and after an agreeable five minutes shall 
back out, leaving the Mapleton to go to her escritoire 



180 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

and write a full account of the proceedings to my Aunt 
Agatha. And, contemplating what will happen after 
that, the imagination totters. I confidently expect 
my Aunt Agatha to beat all previous records." 

The girl clicked her tongue chidingly. 

"Don't make such heavy weather, Bertie. You 
must learn not to fuss so." 

"I must, must I?" 

"Everything's going to be all right. I'm not saying 
it won't be necessary to exercise a little strategy in 
getting Clem into the house, but it will be perfectly 
simple, if you'll only listen carefully to what I'm 
going to tell you. First, you will need a good long 
piece of string." 

" String? " 

"String. Surely even you know what string is?" 

I stiffened rather haughtily. 

"Certainly," I replied. "You mean string." 

" That's right. String. \ ou take this with you- " 

"And soften the Maplete-n's heart by doing tricks 
with it, I suppose?" 

Bitter, I know. But I was deeply stirred. 

"You take this string with you," proceeded Bobbie 
patiently, "and when you get into the garden you go 
through it till you come to a conservatory near the 
house. Inside it you will find a lot of flower-pots. How 
are you on recognizing a flower-pot when you see 
one, Bertie?" 

" I am thoroughly familiar with flowcr-pots. If, as 
I suppose, you mean those sort of pot things they 
put flowers in." 

"That's exactly what I do mean. All right, then. 
Grab an armful of these flower-pots and go round the 
conservatory till yo- come to a tree. Climb this, tie 



JEEVES AND THE KID CLEMENTINA 181 

a string to one of the pots, balance it on a handy 
branch which you will find overhangs the conservatory, 
and then, having stationed Clem near the front door, 
retire into the middle distance and jerk the string. 
The flower-pot will fall and smash the glass, someone 
in the house w r ill hear the noise and come out to 
investigate, and while the door is open and nobody 
near Clem will sneak in and g-> up to bed." 

"But suppose no one conies out?" 

"Then you repeat the process with another pot." 

It seemed sound enough. 

"You're sure it will work?" 

" It's never failed yet. That's the way I always 
used to get in after lock-up when I was at St. Monica's. 
Now, you're sure you've got it clear, Bertie? Let's 
have a quick run-through to make certain, and then 
I really must be off. String." 

"String." 

"Conservatory." 

"Or greenhouse." 

"Flower-pot." 

"Flower-pot." 

" Tree. Climb. Branch. Climb down. Jerk. Smash. 
And then off to bcddy-bye. Got it?" 

"I've got it. But," I said sternly, "let me tell you 
just one thing " 

" I haven't time. I must rush. Write to me about it, 
using one side of the paper only. Good-bye." 

She rolled off, and after following her with burning 
eyes for a moment I returned to Jeeves, who was in 
the background showing the kid Clementina how to 
make a rabbit with a pocket handkei chief. I drew 
him aside. I was feeling a little better now, for I 
perceived that an admirable opportunity had presented 



182 VERY GOOD, JEEVES I 

itself for putting the man in his place and correcting 
his view that he is the onlv member of our establish- 
ment with brains and resource. 

11 Jeeves," I said, "You will doubtless be surprised 
to learn that something in the nature of a hitch has 
occurred." 

"Not at all, sir." 

"No?" 

" No, sir. It matters where Miss Wickham is involved. 
I am, if I may take the liberty of saying so, always 
on the alert for hitches. If you recollect, sir, I have 
frequently observed that Miss Wickham, while a 
charming young lady, is apt " 

"Yes, yes, Jeeves. I know." 

"What would the precise nature of the trouble be 
this time, sir?" 

I explained the circs. 

"The kid is A.W.O.L. They sent her to bed for 
putting sherbet in the ink, and in bed they imagine 
her to have spent the evening. Instead of which, she 
was out with me, wolfing the eight-course table- 
d'hote dinner at seven and six, and then going on to 
the Marine Plaza to enjoy an entertainment on the 
silver screen. It is our task to get her back into the 
house without anyone knowing. I may mention, 
Jeeves, that the school in which this young excrescence 
is serving her sentence is the one run by my Aunt 
Agatha's old friend, Miss Maplcton." 

"Indeed, sir?" 

"A problem, Jeeves, what?" 
\es, sir. 

"In fact, one might say a pretty problem?" 

"Undoubtedly, sir. If I might suggest " 

I was expecting this. I raised a hand. 



JEEVES AND THE KID CLEMENTINA 183 

"I do not require any suggestions, Jeeves. I can 
handle this matter myself." 

"I was merely about to propose " 

I raised the hand again. 

"Peace, Jeeves. I have the situation well under 
control. I have had one of my ideas. It may interest 
you to hear how my brain worked. It occurred to me, 
thinking the thing over, that a house like St. Monica's 
would be likely to have near it a conservatory con- 
taining flower-pots. Then, like a flash, the whole 
thing came to me. i propose to procure some string, 
to tie it to a flower-pot, to balance the pot on a branch 
—there will, no doubt, be a tree near the conservatory 
with a branch overhanging it— and to retire to a 
distance, holding the string. You will station yourself 
with the kid near the front door, taking care to keep 
carefully concealed. I shall then jerk the string, the 
pot will smash the glass, the noise will bring someone 
out, and while the front door is open you will shoot 
the kid in and leave the rest to her personal judg- 
ment. Your share in the proceedings, you will notice, 
is simplicity itself — mere routine- work -and should 
not tax you unduly. How about it?" 

"Well," sir " 

" Jeeves, I have had occasion before to comment on 
this habit of yours of saying 'Well, sir' whenever I 
suggest anything in the nature of a ruse or piece of 
strategy. 1 dislike it more every time you do it. Hut 
I shall be glad to hear what possible criticism you can 
find to make." 

"I was merely about to express the opinion, sir, 
that the plan seems a trifle elaborate." 

"In a place as tight as this you have got to be 
elaborate." 



184 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"Not necessarily, sir. The alternative scheme which 

I was about to propose " 

I shushed the man. 

"There will be no need for alternative schemes, 
Jeeves. We will carry on along the lines I have 
indicated. I will give you ten minutes' start. That 
will enable you to take up your position near the front 
door and self to collect the string. At the conclusion 
of that period I will come along and do all the difficult 
part. So no more discussion. Snap into it, Jeeves." 

"Very good, sir/' 

I felt pretty bucked as I tooled up the hill to St. 
Monica's and equally burked as I pushed open the 
front gate and stepped into the dark garden. But, 
just as I started to cross the lawn, there suddenly 
came upon me a rummy sensation as if all my bones 
had been removed and spaghetti substituted, and I 
paused. 

I don't know if you have ever had the experience 
of starting off on a binge filled with a sort of glow of 
exhilaration, if that's the word I want, and then, 
without a moment's warning, having it disappear as 
if somebody had pressed a switch. That is what 
happened to me at this juncture, and a most unpleasant 
feeling it was— rather like when you take one of those 
express elevators in New York at the top of the 
building and discover, on reaching the twenty-seventh 
floor, that you have carelessly left all your insides up 
on the thirty-second, and too late now to stop and 
fetch them back. » 

The truth came to me like a bit of ice down the neck. 
I perceived that I had been a dashed sight too impul- 
sive. Purely in order to score off Jeeves, I had gone 



JEEVES AND THE KID CLEMENTINA 185 

and let myself in for what promised to be the mouldiest 
ordeal of a lifetime. And the nearer 1 got to the 
house, the more I wished that I had been a bit less 
haughty with the man when he had tried to outline that 
alternative scheme of his. An alternative scheme was 
just what I felt I could have done with, and the more 
alternative it was the better I would have liked it. 

At this point I found myself at the conservatory 
door, and a few moments later I was inside, scooping 
up the pots. 

Then ho, for the tree, bearing 'mid snow and ice 
the banner with the strange device 'Excelsior!* 

I will say for that tree that it might have been 
placed there for the purpose. My views on the broad, 
general principle of leaping from branch to branch 
in a garden belonging to Aunt Agatha's closest friend 
remained unaltered; but I had to admit that, if it 
was to be done, this was undoubtedly the tree to do it 
on. It was a cedar of sorts ; and almost before I knew 
where I was, I was sitting on top of the world with the 
conservatory roof gleaming below me. I balanced 
the flower-pot on my knee and began to tic the string 
round it. 

And, as I tied, my thoughts turned in a moody sort 
of way to the subject of Woman. 

I was suffering from a considerable strain of the old 
nerves at the moment, of course, and, looking back, 
it may be that I was too harsh ; but the way 1 felt in 
that dark, roosting hour was that you can say what 
you like, but the more a thoughtful man has to do 
with women, the more extraordinary it seems to him 
that such a sex should be allowed to clutter up the 
earth. 



i86 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



Women, the way I looked at it, simply wouldn't do. 
Take the females who were mixed up in this present 
business. Aunt Agatha, to start with, better known 
as the Pest of Pont Street, the human snapping-turtle. 
Aunt Agatha's closest friend, Miss Mapleton, of whom 
I can only say that on the single occasion on which 
I had met her she had struck me as just the sort of 
person who would be Aunt Agatha's closest friend. 
Bobbie Wickham, a girl who went about the place 
letting the pure in heart in for the sort of thing I was 
doing now. And Bobbie Wickham's cousin Clementina, 
who, instead of sticking sedulously to her studies and 
learning to be a good wife and mother, spent the spring- 
time of her life filling inkpots with sherbet 

What a crew! What a crew! 

I mean to say, what a crew! 

I had just worked myself up into rather an impres- 
sive state of moral indignation, and was preparing to 
go even further, when a sudden bright light shone 
upon me from below and a voice spoke. 

"Ho!" it said. 

It was a policeman. Apart from the fact of his 
having a lantern, I knew it was a policeman because he 
had said ' Mo ! ' I don't know if you recollect my telling 
you of the time I broke into Bingo Little's house to 
pinch the dictaphone record of the mushy article his 
wife had written about him and sailed out of the 
study window right into the arms of the Force? On 
that occasion the guardian of the Law had said ' Ho ! ' 
and kept on saying it, so evidently policemen are 
taught this as parr^of their training. And after all, 
it's not a bad way of opening conversation in the 
sort of circs, in which they generally have to chat 
with people. 



JEEVES AND THE KID CLEMENTINA 187 

"You come on down out of that," he said. 

I came on down. I had just got the flower-pot 
balanced on its branch, and I left it there, feeling 
rather as if I had touched off the time-fuse of a bomb. 
Much seemed to me to depend on its stability and poise, 
as it were. If it continued to balance, an easy non- 
chalance might still get me out of this delicate position. 
If it fell, I saw things being a bit hard to explain. 
In fact, even as it was, I couldn't see my way to any 
explanation which would be really convincing. 

However, I had a stab at it. 

"Ah, officer," I said. 

It sounded weak. I said it again, this time with the 
emphasis on the f Ah!' It sounded weaker than ever. 
I saw that Bertram would have to do better than this. 

"It's all right, officer," I said. 

"All right, is it?" 

"Oh, yes. Oh, yes." 

"What you doing up there?" 

"Me, officer?" 

"Yes, you." 

"Nothing, sergeant." 

"Ho!" 

We eased into the silence, but it wasn't one of those 
restful silences that occur in talks between old friends. 
Embarrassing. Awkward. 

"You'd better come along with me," said the 
gendarme. 

The last time I had heard those words from a 
similar source had been in Leicester Square one Boat 
Race night when, on my advice/ my old pal Oliver 
Randolph Sipperley had endeavoured to steal a police- 
man's helmet at a moment when the policeman was 
inside it. On that occasion they had been addressed to 



188 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

young Sippy, and they hadn't sounded any too good, 
even so. Addressed to me, they more or less froze the 
marrow. 

" No, I say, dash it ! " I said. 

And it was at this crisis, when Bertram had frankly 
shot his bolt and could only have been described as 
nonplussed, that a soft step sounded beside us and a 
soft voice broke the silence. 

"Have you got them, officer? No, I see. It is Mr. 
Wooster." 

The policeman switched the lantern round. 
"Who are you?" 

"I am Mr. Wooster's personal gentleman's gentle- 
man/ ' 

"Whose?" 

"Mr. Wooster's." 

"Is this man's name Wooster?" 

"This gentleman's name is Mr. Wooster. I am in his 
employment as gentleman's personal gentleman." 

I think the cop was awed by the man's majesty of 
demeanour, but he came back strongly. 

"Ho!" he said. "Not in Miss Mapleton's 
employment? " 

"Miss Mapleton does not employ a gentleman's 
personal gentleman." 

"Then what are you doing in her garden?" 

"I was in conference with Miss Mapleton inside the 
house, and she desired me to step out and ascertain 
whether Mr. Wooster had been successful in appre- 
hending the intruders." 

"What intruders'?" 

"The suspicious characters whom Mr. Wooster and 
I had observed passing through the garden as we 
entered it." 



JEEVES AND THE KID CLEMENTINA 189 

"And what were you doing entering it?" 

"Mr. Wooster had come to pay a call on Miss Maple- 
ton, who is a close friend of his family. We noticed 
suspicious characters crossing the lawn. On perceiving 
these suspicious characters, Mr. Wooster despatched 
me to warn and reassure Miss Mapleton, he himself 
remaining to investigate." 

"I found him up a tree." 

" If Mr. Wooster was up a tree, I have no doubt he 
was actuated by excellent motives and had only Miss 
Mapleton's best interests at heart." 

The policeman brooded. 

"Ho!" he said. "Well, if you want to know, I 
don't believe a word of it. We had a telephone call 
at the station saying there was somebody in Miss 
Mapleton's garden, and I found this fellow up a tree. 
It's my belief you're both in this, and I'm going to 
take you in to the lady for identification." 

Jeeves inclined his head gracefully. 

"I shall be delighted to accompany you, officer, if 
such is your wish. And I feel sure that in this connec- 
tion I may speak for Mr. Wooster also. He too, I am 
confident,will interpose no obstacle in the way of your 
plans. If you consider that circumstances have 
placed Mr. Wooster in a position that may be termed 
equivocal, or even compromising, it will naturally be his 
wish to exculpate himself at the earliest possible 

" Here ! " said the policeman, slightly rattled. 

"Officer?" 

"Less of it." 

"Just as you say, officer." 
"Switch it off and come along." 
"Very good, officer." 



190 VERY GOOD, JEEVES' 

I must say that I have enjoyed functions more than 
that walk to the front door. It seemed to me that the 
doom had come upon me, so to speak, and I thought 
it hard that a gallant effort like Jeeves 's, well reasoned 
and nicely planned, should have failed to click. Even to 
me his story had rung almost true in spots, and it was 
a great blow that the man behind the lantern had not 
sucked it in without question. There's no doubt about 
it, being a policeman warps a man's mind and ruins 
that sunny faith in his fellow human beings which 
is the foundation of a lovable character. There seems 
no way of avoiding this. 

I could see no gleam of light in the situation. True, 
the Mapleton would identify me as the nephew of her 
old friend, thus putting the stopper on the stroll to 
the police station and the night in the prison cell, 
but, when you came right down to it, a fat lot of use 
that was. The kid Clementina was presumably still 
out in the night somewhere, and she would be lugged 
in and the full facts revealed, and then the burning 
glance, the few cold words and the long letter to 
Aunt Agatha. I wasn't sure that a good straight 
term of penal servitude wouldn't have been a happier 
ending. 

So, what with one consideration and another, the 
heart, as I toddled in through the front door, was 
more or less bowed down with weight of woe. We 
went along the passage and into the study, and there, 
standing behind a desk with the steel-rimmed spec- 
tacles glittering as nastily as on the day when I had 
seen them across* Aunt Agatha's luncheon-table, was 
the boss in person. I gave her one swift look, then 
shut my eyes. 

"Ah!" said M''ss Mapleton. 



JEEVES AND THE KID CLEMENTINA 191 

Now, uttered in a certain way — dragged out, if 
you know what I mean, and starting high up and 
going down into the lower register, the word 'Ah!' 
can be as sinister and devastating as the word ' Ho ! ' 
In fact, it is a very moot question which is the scalier. 
But what stunned me was that this wasn't the way she 
had said it. It had been, or my ears deceived me, a 
genial 'Ah!\ A matey *Ah!\ The 'Ah!' of one old 
buddy to another. And this startled me so much 
that, forgetting the dictates of prudence, I actually 
ventured to look at her again. And a stifled exclama- 
tion burst from Bertram's lips. 

The breath-taking exhibit before me was in person 
a bit on the short side. I mean to say, she didn't 
tower above one, or anything like that. But, to 
compensate for this lack of inches, she possessed to a 
remarkable degree that sort of quiet air of being un- 
willing to stand any rannygazoo which females who 
run schools always have. I had noticed the same thing 
when in statu ptipiltari, in my old head master, one 
glance from whose eye had invariably been sufficient 
to make me confess all. Sergeant-majors are like that, 
too. Also traffic-cops and some post office girls. It's 
something in the way they purse up their lips and 
look through you. 

In short, through years of disciplining the young — 
ticking off Isabel and speaking with quiet severity 
to Gertrude and that sort of thing — Miss Maplcton 
had acquired in the process of time rather the air 
of a female lion-tamer ; and it was this air which had 
caused me after the first swift looV to shut my eyes 
and utter a short prayer. But now, though 
she still resembled a lion-tamei, her bearing had 
most surprisingly become that of a chummy lion- 



192 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



tamer — a tamer who, after tucking the lions in for the 
night, relaxes in the society of the boys. 

"So you did not find them, Mr. Wooster?" 
she said. "I am sorry. But I am none the less 
grateful for the trouble you have taken, nor lacking 
in appreciation of your courage. I consider that you 
have behaved splendidly." 

I felt the mouth opening feebly and the vocal chords 
twitching, but I couldn't manage to sav anything. I 
was simply unable to follow her train >f thought. I 
was astonished. Amazed. In fact, dumbfounded 
about sums it up. 

The hell-hound of the Law gave a sort of yelp, 
rather like a wolf that s^es its Russian peasant getting 
away. 

"You identify this man, ma'am?" 

"Identify him? In what way indentify him?" 

Jeeves joined the symposium. 

" I fancy the officer is under the impression, madam 
that Mr. Wooster was in your garden for some un- 
lawful purpose. I informed him that Mr. Wooster 
was the nephew of your friend, Mrs. Spenser Gregson, 
but he refused to credit me." 

There was a pause. Miss Mapleton eyed the con- 
stable for an instant as if she had caught him sucking 
acid-drops during the Scripture lesson. 

"Do you mean to tell me, officer," she said, in a 
voice that hit him just under the third button of the 
tunic and went straight through to the spinal column, 
"that you have had the imbecility to bungle 
this whole affair^ by mistaking Mr. Wooster for a 
burglar? " 

"He was up a tree, ma'am." 

"And why should he not be up a tree? No doubt 



JEEVES AND THE KID CLEMENTINA 193 

you had climbed the tree in order to watch the better, 
Mr. Wooster?" 

I could answer that. The first shock over, the old 
sang-froid was beginning to return. 

"Yes. Rather. That's it. Of course. Certainly. 
Absolutely," I said. "Watch the better. That's it 
in a nutshell." 

" I took the liberty of suggesting that to the officer, 
madam, but he declined to accept the theory as 
tenable." 

"The officer is a fool/' said Miss Mapleton. It 
seemed a close thing for a moment whether or not 
she would rap him on the knuckles with a ruler. " By 
this time, no doubt, owing to his idiocy, the miscreants 
have made good their escape. And it is for this," 
said Miss Mapleton, "that we pay rates and taxes!" 

"Awful!" I said. 

"Iniquitous." 

"A bally shame." 

"A crying scandal," said Miss Mapleton. 
"A grim show," I agreed. 

In fact, we were just becoming more like a couple 
of love-birds than anything, when through the open 
window there suddenly breezed a noise. 

I'm never at my best at describing things. At 
school, when we used to do essays and English com- 
position, my report generally read 'Has little or no 
ability, but does his best,' or words to that effect. 
True, in the course of years I have picked up a 
vocabulary of sorts from Jeeves, but even so I'm not 
nearly hot enough to draw a word-picture that would 
do justice to that extraordinarily hefty crash. Try 
to imagine the Albert Hall falling on the Crystal 
Palace, and you will have got the rough idea. 



194 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

All four of us, even Jeeves, sprang several inches 
from the floor. The policeman uttered a startled 
"Ho!" 

Miss Mapleton was her calm masterful self again 
in a second. 

"One of the men appears to have fallen through 
the conservatory roof," she said. "Perhaps you will 
endeavour at the eleventh hour to justify your 
existence, officer, by proceeding there and making 
investigations." 

"Yes, ma'am." 

"And try not to bungle matters this time." 
"No, ma'am." 

" Please hurry, then. Do you intend to stand there 
gaping all night?" 

"Yes, ma'am. No, ma'am. Yes, ma'am." 
It was pretty to hear him. 

"It is an odd coincidence, Mr. Wooster," said Miss 
Mapleton, becoming instantly matey once more as 
the outcast removed himself. "I had just finished 
writing a letter to your aunt when you arrived. I 
shall certainly reopen it to tell her how gallantly you 
have behaved to-night. I have not in the past en- 
tertained a very high opinion of the modern young 
man, but you have caused me to alter it. To track 
these men unarmed through a dark garden argues 
courage of a high order. And it was most courteous 
of you to think of calling upon me. I appreciate it. 
Are you making a long stay in Bingley?" 

This was another one I could answer. 

"No," I said. '"Afraid not. Must be in London 
to-morrow." 

"Perhaps you could lunch before your depar- 
ture?" 



JEEVES AND THE KID CLEMENTINA 195 

"Afraid not. Thanks most awfully. Very import- 
ant engagement that I can't get out of. Eh, Jeeves? " 
"Yes, sir." 

"Have to catch the ten- thirty train, what?" 
"Without fail, sir." 

"I am sorry," said Miss Mapleton. "I had hoped 
that you would be able to say a few words to my girls. 
Some other time perhaps?" 

"Absolutely." 

"You must let me know when you are coming to 
Bingley again." 

"When I come to Bingley again," I said, "I will 
certainly let you know." 

"If I remember your plans correctly, sir, you are 
not likely to be in Bingley for some little time, sir." 

"Not for some considerable time, Jeeves," I said. 

The front door closed. I passed a hand across the 
brow. 

"Tell me all, Jeeves," I said. 
"Sir?" 

"I say, tell me all. I am fogged." 

"It is quite simple, sir. I ventured to take the 
liberty, on my own responsibility, of putting into 
operation the alternative scheme which, if you re- 
member, I wished to outline to you." 

"What was it?" 

"It occurred to me, sir, that it would be most 
judicious for me to call at the back door and desire 
an interview with Miss Mapleton, This, I fancied, 
would enable me, while the maid had gone to convey 
my request to Miss Mapleton, to introduce the young 
lady into the house unobserved." 

"And did you?" 



196 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"Yes, sir. She proceeded up the back stairs and is 
now safely in bed." 

I frowned. The thought of the kid Clementina 
jarred upon me. 

" She is, is she? " I said. "A murrain on her, Jeeves, 
and may she be stood in the corner next Sunday for 
not knowing her Collect. And then you saw Miss 
Mapleton?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"And told her that I was out in the garden, 
chivvying burglars with my bare hands? " 
"Yes, sir." 

"And had been on my way to call upon 
her?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"And now she's busy adding a postscript to her 
letter to Aunt Agatha, speaking of me in terms of 
unstinted praise." 

"Yes, sir." 

I drew a deep breath. It was too dark for me to 
see the superhuman intelligence which must have been 
sloshing about all over the surface of the man's features. 
I tried to, but couldn't make it. 

"Jeeves," I said, "I should have been guided by 
you from the first." 

"It might have spared you some temporary 
unpleasantness, sir. ' ' 

"Unpleasantness is right. When that lantern shone 
up at me in the silent night, Jeeves, just as I had 
finished poising tb$ pot, I thought I had unshipped a 
rib. Jeeves!" 

"Sir?" 

"That Antibes expedition is off." 
"I am glad to near it, sir." 



JEEVES AND THE KID CLEMENTINA 19; 

" If young Bobbie Wickham can get me into a mess 
like this in a quiet spot like Bingley-on-Sea, what might 
she not be able to accomplish at a really lively resort 
like Antibes?" 

" Precisely, sir. Miss Wickham, as I have sometimes 
said, though a charming " 

"Yes, yes, Jeeves. There is no necessity to stress 
the point. The Wooster eyes are definitely opened." 

I hesitated. 

"Jeeves." 

'VSir? " 

"Those plus-fours." 
"Yes, sir?" 

"You may give them to the poor." 
"Thank you very much, sir." 
I sighed. 

"It is my heart's blood, Jeeves." 

"I appreciate the sacrifice, sir. But, once the first 
pang of separation is over, you will feel much easier 
without them." 

"You think so?" 

"I am convinced of it, sir." 

"So be it, then, Jeeves," I said, "so be it.' 



CHAPTER VIII 



THE LOVE THAT PURIFIES 

THERE is a ghastly moment in the year, gene- 
rally about the beginning of August, when 
Jeeves insists on taking a holiday, the slacker, 
and legs it off to some seaside resort for a couple of 
weeks, leaving me stranded. This moment had now 
arrived, and we were discussing what was to be done 
with the young master. 

"I had gathered the impression, sir," said Jeeves, 
"that you were proposing to accept Mr. Sipperley's 
invitation to join him at his Hampshire residence." 
I laughed. One of those bitter, rasping ones. 
"Correct, Jeeves. I was. But mercifully I was 
enabled to discover young Sippy's foul plot in time. 
Do you know what?" 
"No, sir." 

"My spies informed me that Sippy's fiancee, Miss 
Moon, was to be there. Also his fiancee's mother, 
Mrs. Moon, and his fiancee's small brother, Master 
Moon. You see the hideous treachery lurking behind 
the invitation? You see the man's loathsome de- 
sign? Obviously my job was to be the task of keeping 
Mrs. Moon and little Sebastian Moon interested and 
amused while Sippy and his blighted girl went olf 
for the day, roaming the pleasant woodlands] and 
talking of this an J that. I doubt if anyone has 

198 



THE LOVE THAT PURIFIES 199 



ever had a narrower escape. You remember little 
Sebastian?" 
"Yes, sir." 

"His goggle eyes? His golden curls?" 
"Yes, sir." 

" I don't know why it is, but I've never been able 
to bear with fortitude anything in the shape of a kid 
with golden curls. Confronted with one, I feel the 
urge to step on him or drop things on him from a 
height." 

"Many strong natures are affected in the same 
way, sir." 

"So no chez Sippy for me. Was that the front- 
door bell ringing? " 
"Yes, sir." 

"Somebody stands without." 
"Yes, sir." 

"Better go and see who it is." 
"Yes, sir." 

He oozed off, to return a moment later bearing a 
telegram. I opened it, and a soft smile played about 
the lips. 

"Amazing how often things happen as if on a cue, 
Jeeves. This is from my Aunt Dahlia, inviting me 
down to her place in Worcestershire." 

"Most satisfactory, sir." 

"Yes. How I came to overlook her when search- 
ing for a haven, I can't think. The ideal home from 
home. Picturesque surroundings. Company's own 
water, and the best cook in England. You have not 
forgotten Anatole?" 

"No, sir." 

"And above all, Jeeves, at Aunt Dahlia's there 
should be an almost total shortage of blasted kids. 



200 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



True, there is her son Bonzo, who, I take it, will be 
home for the holidays, but I don't mind Bonzo. Buzz 
off and send a wire, accepting." 
" Yes, sir." 

"And then shove a few necessaries together, in- 
cluding golf-clubs and tennis racquet." 

" Very good, sir. I am glad that matters have been 
so happily adjusted." 

I think I have mentioned before that my Aunt 
Dahlia stands alone in the grim regiment of my aunts 
as a real good sort and a chirpy sportsman. She is 
the one, if you remember, who married old Tom 
Travers and, with the assistance of Jeeves, lured Mrs. 
Bingo Little's French cook, Anatole, away from Mrs. 
B. L. and into her own employment. To visit her is 
always a pleasure. She generally has some cheery 
birds staying with her, and there is none of that rot 
about getting up for breakfast which one is sadly apt 
to find at country houses. 

It was, accordingly, with unalloyed lightness of 
heart that I edged the two-seater into the garage at 
Brinkley Court, Wore, and strolled round to the 
house by way of the shrubbery and the tennis-lawn, 
to report arrival. I had just got across the lawn when 
a head poked itself out of the smoking-room window 
and beamed at me in an amiable sort of way. 

"Ah, Mr. Wooster," it said. "Ha, ha!" 

"IIo, ho!" I replied, not to be outdone in the 
courtesies. v 

It had taken me a couple of seconds to place this 
head. I now perceived that it belonged to a rather 
moth-eaten septuagenarian of the name of Anstruther, 
an old friend of Aunt Dahlia's late father. I had met 



THE LOVE THAT PURIFIES 



him at her house in London once or twice. An agree- 
able cove, but somewhat given to nervous break- 
downs. 

"Just arrived?" he asked, beaming as before. 

"This minute," I said, also beaming. 

"I fancy you will find our good hostess in the 
drawing-room." 

"Right," I said, and after a bit more beaming to 
and fro I pushed on. 

Aunt Dahlia was in the drawing-room, and welcomed 
me with gratifying enthusiasm. She beamed, too. 
It was one of those big days for beamers. 

" Hullo, ugly," she said. " So here you are. Thank 
heaven you were able to come." 

It was the right tone, and one I should be glad 
to hear in others of the family circle, notably my 
Aunt Agatha. 

"Always a pleasure to enjoy your hosp., Aunt 
Dahlia," I said cordially. "I anticipate a delightful 
and restful visit. I see you've got Mr. Anstruther 
staying here. Anybody else?" 

"Do vou know Lord Snettisham?" 

"I've met him, racing." 

"He's here, and Lady Snettisham." 

"And Bonzo, of course?" 

" Yes. And Thomas." 

"Uncle Thomas?" 

"No, he's in Scotland. Your cousin Thomas." 
"You don't mean Aunt Agatha's loathly 
son?" 

"Of course I do. How many cousin Thomases do 
you think you've got, fathead? Agatha has gone to 
Homburg and planted the child on me." 

I was visibly agitated. 



202 VERY GOOD, JEEVES 1 

* 

"But, Aunt Dahlia! Do you realise what you've 
taken on? Have you an inkling of the sort of scourge 
you've introduced into your home? In the society 
of young Thos., strong men quail. He is England's 
premier fiend in human shape. There is no devilry 
beyond his scope." 

" That's what I have always gathered from the form 
book," agreed the relative. "But just now, curse him, 
he's behaving like something out of a Sunday School 
story. You sec, poor old Mr. Anstruther is very frail 
these days, and when he found he was in a house con- 
taining two small boys he acted promptly. He offered 
a prize of five pounds to whichever behaved best 
during his stay. The consequence is that, ever since, 
Thomas has had large white wings sprouting out of 
his shoulders." A shadow seemed to pass across her 
face. She appeared embittered. "Mercenary little 
brute!" she said. "I never saw such a sickeningly 
well-behaved kid in my life. It's enough to make one 
despair of human nature." 

I couldn't follow her. 

"But isn't that all to the good?" 

"No, it's not." 

"I can't see why. Surely a smug, oily Thos. 
about the house is better than a Thos., raging hither 
and thither and being a menace to society? Stands 
to reason." 

"It doesn't stand to anything of the kind. You 
see, Bertie, this Good Conduct prize has made matters 
a bit complex. There are wheels within wheels. The 
thing stirred Jane^nettisham's sporting blood to such 
an extent that she insisted on having a bet on the result. " 

A great light shone upon me. I got what she was 
driving at. 



THE LOVE THAT PURIFIES 203 

"Ah!" I said. "Now I follow. Now I see. Now 
I comprehend. She's betting on Thos. , is she ? " 

"Yes. And naturally, knowing him, I thought 
the thing was in the bag." 

"Of course." 

"I couldn't see myself losing. Heaven knows I 
have no illusions about my darling Bonzo. Bonzo is 
and has been from the cradle, a pest. But to back him 
to win a Good Conduct contest with Thomas seemed 
to me simply money for jam." 
- "Absolutely." 

"When it comes to devilry, Bonzo is just a good, 
ordinary selling-plater. Whereas Thomas is a classic 
yearling." 

"Exactly. I don't see that you have any cause to 
worry, Aunt Dahlia. Thos., can't last. He's bound to 
crack." 

"Yes. But before that the mischief may be 
done." 
"Mischief?" 

"Yes. There is dirty work afoot, Bertie," said 
Aunt Dahlia gravely. "When I booked this bet, I 
reckoned without the hideous blackness of the 
Snettishams' souls. Only yesterday it came to my 
knowledge that Jack Snettisham had been urging 
Bonzo to climb on the roof and boo down Mr. 
Anstruther's chimney." 

"No!" 

" Yes. Mr. Anstmther is very frail, poor old fellow, 
and it would have frightened him intpii fit. On coming 
out of which, his first action would have been to dis- 
qualify Bonzo and declare Thomas the winner by 
default." 

. "But Bonzo did not boo?" 



204 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



"No," said Aunt Dahlia, and a mother's pride rang 
in her voice. "He firmly refused to boo. Mercifully, 
he is in love at the moment, and it has quite altered 
his nature. He scorned the tempter." 

"In love? Who with?" 

"Lilian Gish. We had an old film of hers at the 
Bijou Dream in the village a week ago, and Bonzo saw 
her for the first time. He came out with a pale, set 
face, and ever since has been trying to lead a finer, 
better life. So the peril was averted." 

"That's good." 

" Yes. But now it's my turn. You don't suppose 
I am going to take a thing like that lying down, do 
you? Treat me right, and I am fairness itself: but 
try any of this nobbling of starters, and I can play 
that game, too. If this Good Conduct contest is to 
be run on rough lines, I can do my bit as well as any- 
one. Far too much hangs on the issue for me to 
handicap myself by remembering the lessons I learned 
at my mother's knee." 

"Lot of money involved?" 

" Much more than mere money. I've betted Anatole 
against Jane Snettisham's kitchen-maid." 

"Great Scott! Uncle Thomas will have something 
to say if he comes back and finds Anatole gone." 

"And won't he say it!" 

"Pretty long odds you gave her, didn't you? 1 
mean. Anatole is famed far and wide as a hash-slingcr 
without peer." 

"Well, Jane Snettisham's kitchen-maid is not to 
be sneezed at. She is very hot stuff, they tell me, 
and good kitchen-maids nowadays are about as rare 
as original Holbeins. Besides, I had to give her a 
shade the best 01 the odds. She stood out for it. 



THE LOVE THAT PURIFIES 



Well, anyway, to get back to what I was saying, if the 
opposition are going to place temptations in Bonzo's 
path, they shall jolly well be placed in Thomas* 
path, too, and plenty of them. So ring for Jeeves 
and let him get his brain working." 

"But I haven't brought Jeeves." 

"You haven't brought Jeeves?" 

"No. He always takes his holiday at this time of 
year. He's down at Bognor for the shrimping." 

Aunt Dahlia registered deep concern 

"Then send for him at once! What earthly use 
do you suppose you are without Jeeves, you poor 
ditherer?" 

I drew myself up a trifle — in fact, to my 
full height. Nobody has a greater respect for 
Jeeves than I have, but the Wooster pride was 
stung. 

"Jeeves isn't the only one with brains," I said 
coldly. "Leave this thing to me, Aunt Dahlia. By 
dinner-time to-night I shall hope to have a fully 
matured scheme to submit for your approval. If I 
can't thoroughly encompass this Thos., I'll eat my 
hat." 

"About all you'll get to eat if Anatole leaves," said 
Aunt Dahlia in a pessimistic manner which I did not 
like to see. 

I was brooding pretty tensely as I left the presence. 
I have always had a suspicion that Aunt Dahlia, while 
invariably matey and bonhomous ard seeming to take 
pleasure in my society, has a lower opinion of my 
intelligence than I quite like. Too often it is her 
practice to address me as 'fathead/ and if I put 
forward any little thought of idea or fancy in her 



206 VERY GOOD, JEEVES I 



hearing it is apt to be greeted with the affectionate 
but jarring guffaw. In our recent interview she had 
hinted quite plainly that she considered me negligible 
in a crisis which, like the present one, called for initia- 
tive and resource. It was my intention to show her 
how greatly she had underestimated me. 

To let you see the sort of fellow I really am, I got 
a ripe, excellent idea before I had gone half-way down 
the corridor. I examined it for the space of one and 
a half cigarettes, and could see no flaw in it, provided 
— I say, provided old Mr. Anstruther's notion of what 
constituted bad conduct squared with mine. 

The great thing on these occasions, as Jeeves will 
tell you, is to get a toe-hold on the psychology of 
the individual. Study the individual, and you will 
bring home the bacon. Now, I had been studying 
young Thos. for years, and I knew his psychology from 
caviare to nuts. He is one of those kids who never 
let the sun go down on their wrath, if you know what 
I mean. I mean to say, do something to annoy or 
offend or upset this juvenile thug, and he will proceed 
at the earliest possible opp. to wreak a hideous 
vengeance upon you. Only the previous summer, 
for instance, it having been drawn to his attention 
that the latter had reported him for smoking, he had 
marooned a Cabinet Minister on an island in the lake, 
at Aunt Agatha's place in Hertfordshire — in the rain, 
mark you, and with no company but that of one of 
the nastiest-minded swans I have ever encountered. 
Well, I mean! 

So now it seemed to me that a few well-chosen 
taunts, or jibes, directed at his more sensitive points, 
must infallibly induce in this Thos. a frame of mind 
which would leaa to his working some sensational 



THE LOVE THAT PURIFIES 207 

violence upon me. And, if you wonder that I was 
willing to sacrifice myself to this frightful extent in 
order to do Aunt Dahlia a bit of good, I can only say 
that we Woosters are like that. 

The one point that seemed to me to want a spot of 
clearing up was this: viz., would old Mr. Anstruther 
consider an outrage perpetrated on the person of 
Bertram Wooster a crime sufficiently black to cause 
him to rule Thos. out of the race? Or would he just 
give a senile chuckle and mumble something about 
boys being boys? Because, if the latter, the thing was 
off. I decided to have a word with the old boy and 
make sure. 

He was still in the smoking-room, looking very frail 
over the morning Times. I got to the point at 
once. 

"Oh, Mr. Anstruther," I said. "What ho!" 

"I don't like the way the American market is 
shaping," he said. "I don't like this strong Bear 
movement." 

" No ? " I said. " Well, be that as it may, about this 
Good Conduct prize of yours?" 

"Ah, you have heard of that, eh?" 

"I don't quite understand how you are doing the 
judging." 

"No? It is very simple. I have a system of daily 
marks. At the beginning of each day I accord the 
two lads twenty marks apiece. These are subject to 
withdrawal either in small or large quantities accord- 
ing to the magnitude of the offence. r To take a simple 
example, shouting outside my bedroom in the early 
morning would involve a loss of three marks, — whistling 
two. The penalty for a more serious lapse would be 
correspondingly greater. Before retiring to rest at 



208 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



night I record the day's marks in my little book. Simple, 
but, I think, ingenious, Mr. Wooster? " 
"Absolutely/' 

"So far the result has been extremely gratifying. 
Neither of the little fellows has lost a single mark, 
and my nervous system is acquiring a tone which, 
when I learned that two lads of immature years would 
be staying in the house during my visit, I confess I 
had not dared to anticipate." 

"I see," I said. "Great work. And how do you 
react to what I might call general moral turpitude? " 

"I beg your pardon?* 1 

"Well, I mean when the thing doesn't affect you 
personally. Suppose one of them did something to 
me, for instance? Set a booby-trap or something? 
Or, shall we say, put a toad or so in my bed? " 

He seemed shocked at the very idea. 

"I would certainly in such circumstances deprive 
the culprit of a full ten marks." 

"Only ten?" 

"Fifteen, then." 

"Twenty is a nice, round number." 
"Well, possibly even twenty. I have a peculiar 
horror of practical joking." 
"Me, too." 

"You will not fail to advise me, Mr. Wooster, 
should such an outrage occur? " 

"You shall have the news before anyone," I assured 
him. 

And so out into the garden, ranging to and fro in 
quest of young Thos. I knew where I was now. 
Bertram's feet were on solid ground. 

I hadn't been hunting long before I found him in 
the summer-house, reading an improving book. 



THE LOVE THAT PURIFIES 209 

"Hullo," he said, smiling a saintlike smile. 

This scourge of humanity was a chunky kid whom 
a too indulgent public had allowed to infest the 
country for a matter of fourteen years. His nose 
was snub, his eyes green, his general aspect that of one 
studying to be a gangster. I had never liked his looks 
much, and with a saintlike smile added to them they 
became ghastly to a degree. 

I ran over in my mind a few assorted taunts. 

"Well, young Thos.," I said. "So there you are. 
You're getting as fat as a pig." 

It seemed as good an opening as any other. 
Experience had taught me that if there was a subject 
on which he was unlikely to accept persiflage in a spirit 
of amused geniality it was this matter of his bulging 
turn. On the last occasion when I made a remark of 
this nature, he had replied to me, child though he was, 
in terms which I would have been proud to have had 
in my own vocabulary. But now, though a sort of 
wistful gleam did flit for a moment into his eyes; 
he merely smiled in a more saintlike manner than 
ever. 

"Yes, I think I have been putting on a little weight," 
he said gently. "I must try and exercise a lot while 
I'm here. Won't you sit down, Bertie? " he asked, 
rising. "You must be tired after your journey. I'll 
get you a cushion. Have you cigarettes? And matches? 
I could bring you some from the smoking-room. 
Would you like me to fetch you something to drink? " 

It is not too much to say that I felt baffled. In spite 
of what Aunt Dahlia had told me, I dan't think that 
until this moment I had really believed there could 
have been anything in the nature of a genuinely sensa- 
tional change in this young plugugly's attitude towards 



210 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES* 



his fellows. But now, hearing him talk as if he were 
a combination of Boy Scout and delivery wagon, I 
felt definitely baffled. However, I stuck at it in the old 
bull-dog way. 

"Are you still at that rotten kids' school of yours? " 
I asked. 

He might have been proof* against jibes at his 
embonpoint, but it seemed to me incredible that he 
could have sold himself for gold so completely as to 
lie down under taunts directed at his school. I was 
wrong. The money-lust evidently held him in its grip. 
He merely shook his head. 

"I left this term. I'm going to Pevenhurst next 
term." 

"They wear mortar-boards there, don't they?" 
"Yes." 

"With pink tassels?" 
"Yes." 

"What a priceless ass you'll look!" I said, but 
without much hope. And I laughed heartily. 

"I expect I shall," he said, and laughed still more 
heartily. 

" Mortar-boards!" 

"Ha, ha!" 

"Pink tassels!" 

"Ha, ha!" 

I gave the thing up. 

"Well, tcuf-teuf," I said moodily, and withdrew. 

A couple of days later I realized that the virus had 
gone even deeper than I had thought. The kid was 
irredeemably sardid. 

It was old* Mr. Anstruthcr who sprang the bad news. 

"Oh, Mr. W r ooster," he said, meeting me on the 
stairs as I came down after a refreshing breakfast. 



THE LOVE THAT PURIFIES 211 



" You were good enough to express an interest in this 
little prize for Good Conduct which I am offering." 
"Oh, ah?" 

"I explained to you my system of marking, I 
believe. Well, this morning I was impelled to vary it 
somewhat. The circumstances seemed to me to 
demand it. I happened to encounter our hostess's 
nephew, the boy Thomas, returning to the house, 
his aspect somewhat weary, it appeared to me, and 
travel-stained. I inquired of him where he had been 
at that early hour— it was not yet breakfast-time — 
and he replied that he had heard you mention over- 
night a regret that you had omitted to order the 
Sporting Times to be sent to you before leaving London, 
and he had actually walked all the way to the railway- 
station, a distance of more than three miles, to procure 
it for you." 

The old boy swam before my eyes. He looked like 
two old Mr, Anstruthers, .both flickering at the edges. 
"What!" 

"I can understand your emotion, Mr. Wooster, 
I can appreciate it. It is indeed rarely that one 
encounters such unselfish kindliness in a lad of his 
age. So genuinely touched was I by the goodness of 
heart which the episode showed that I have deviated 
from my original system and awarded the little fellow 
a bonus of fifteen marks." 

"Fifteen!" 

" On second thoughts, I shall make it twenty. That, 
as you yourself suggested, is a nice, round number." 

He doddered away, and I bounded ^ff to find Aunt 
Dahlia. 

"Aunt Dahlia," I said, "matters have taken a 
sinister turn." 



212 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES I 



"You bet your Sunday spats they have," agreed 
Aunt Dahlia emphatically. "Do you know what 
happened just now? That crook Snettisham, who 
ought to be warned off the turf and hounded out of 
his clubs, offered Bonzo ten shillings if he would burst 
a paper bag behind Mr. Anstruther's chair at breakfast. 
Thank heaven the love of a good woman triumphed 
again. My sweet Bonzo merely looked at him and 
walked away in a marked manner. But it just shows 
you what we are up against." 

" We arc up against worse than that, Aunt Dahlia," 
I said. And I told her what had happened. 

She was stunned. Aghast, you might call it. 

"Thomas did that?" 

"Thos. in person." 

" Walked six miles to get you a paper? " 
"Six miles and a bit." 

"The young hound! Good heavens, Bertie, do you 
realize that he may go on doing these Acts of Kindness 
daily — perhaps twice a day? Is there no way of 
stopping him?" 

"None that I can think of. No, Aunt Dahlia, I 
must confess it. I am baffled. There is only one 
thing to do. We must send for Jeeves." 

"And about time," said the relative churlishly. 
"He ought to have been here from the start. Wire 
him this morning." 

' There is good stuff in Jeeves. His heart is in the 
right place. The acid test does not find him wanting. 
Many men yf his position, summoned back by 
telegram in the middle of their annual vacation, 
might • have cut up rough a bit. But not Jeeves. 
On the following afternoon in he blew, looking 



THE LOVE THAT PURIFIES 213 

bronzed and fit, and I gave him the scenario without 
delay. 

"So there you have it, Jeeves," I said, having 
sketched out the facts. " The problem is one that will 
exercise your intelligence to the utmost. Rest now, 
and to-night, after a light repast, withdraw to some 
solitary place and get down to it. Is there any particu- 
larly stimulating food or bevt-rage you would like for 
dinner? Anything that you feel would give the old 
brain just that extra fillip? If so, name it." 

" Thank you very much, sir, but I have already hit 
upon a plan which should, I fancy, prove effective." 

I gazed at the man with some awe. 

"Already?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Not already?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Something to do with the psychology of the 
individual?" 
"Precisely, sir." 

I shook my head, a bit discouraged. Doubts had 
begun to creep in. 

"Well, spring it, Jeeves," I said. "But I have not 
much hope. Having only just arrived, you cannot 
possibly be aware of the frightful change that has 
taken place in young Thos. You are probably building 
on your knowledge of him, when last seen. Useless, 
Jeeves. Stirred by the prospect of getting his hooks 
on five of the best, this blighted boy has become so 
dashed virtuous that his armour seems to contain no 
chink. I mocked at his waistline ana sneered at his 
school and he merely smiled in a pale,* dying-duck 
sort of way. Well, that'll show you. However, let us 
hear what you have to suggest." 



214 VERY GOOD, JEEVES f 



"It occurred to me, sir, that the most judicious 
plan in the circumstances would be for you to request 
Mrs. Travers to invite Master Sebastian Moon here for 
a short visit." 

I shook the onion again. The scheme sounded to 
me like apple sauce, and Grade A apple sauce, at that. 

"What earthly good would that do?" I asked, not 
without a touch of asperity. "Why Sebastian Moon? " 

"He has golden curls, sir." 

"What of it?" 

"The strongest natures are sometimes not proof 
against long golden curls." 

Well, it was a thought, of course. But I can't say 
I was leaping about to airy great extent. It might be 
that the sight of Sebastian Moon would break down 
Thos.'s iron self-control to the extent of causing him 
to inflict mayhem on the person, but I wasn't any too 
hopeful. 

"It may be so, Jeeves." 

"I do not think I am too sanguine, sir. You must 
remember that Master Moon, apart from his curls, 
has a personality which is not uniformly pleasing. He 
is apt to express himself with a breezy candour which 
I fancy Master Thomas might feel inclined to resent 
in one some years his junior." 

I had had a feeling all along that there was a flaw 
somewhere, and now it seemed to me that I had 
spotted it. 

"But, Jeeves. Granted that little Sebastian is the 
pot of poison you indicate, why won't he act just as 
forcibly on yoking Bonzo as on Thos.? Pretty silly 
we should look if our nominee started putting it across 
him. Never forget that already Bonzo is twenty 
marks down and billing back in the betting." 



THE LOVE THAT PURIFIES 215 

"I do not anticipate any such contingency, sir. 
Master Travers is in love, and love is a very powerful 
restraining influence at the age of thirteen." 

"H'm." I mused. "Well, we can but try, Jeeves/' 

"Yes, sir." 

"I'll get Aunt Dahlia to write to Sippy to-night.' 1 

I'm bound to say that the spectacle of little 
Sebastian when he arrived two days later did much 
to remove pessimism from my outlook. If ever there 
was a kid whose whole appearance seemed to call 
aloud to any right-minded boy to lure him into a quiet 
spot and inflict violence upon him, that kid was 
undeniably Sebastian Moon. He reminded me strongly 
of Little Lord Fauntleroy. I marked young Thos.'s 
demeanour closely at the moment of their meeting 
and, unless I was much mistaken, there came into his 
eyes the sort of look which would come into those of 
an Indian chief — Chinchagook, let us say, or Sitting 
Bull — just before he started reaching for his scalping- 
knife. He had the air of one who is about ready to 
begin. 

True, his manner as he shook hands was guarded. 
Only a keen observer could have detected that he was 
stirred to his depths. But I had seen, and I summoned 
Jeeves forthwith. 

"Jeeves," I said, "if I appeared to think poorly of 
that scheme of yours, I now withdraw my remarks. I 
believe you have found the way. I was noticing Thos. 
at the moment of impact. His eyes had a strange 
gleam." 

"Indeed, sir?" \ 
" He shifted uneasily on his feet and his ears wiggled. 
He had, in short, the appearance of a boy who was 



2l6 



VERY GOOD, JEEVESl 



holding himself in with an effort almost too great for 
his frail body." 
"Yes, sir?" 

"Yes, Jeeves. I received a distinct impression of 
something being on the point of exploding. To-morrow 
I shall ask Aunt Dahlia to take the two warts for a 
country ramble, to lose them in some sequestered spot, 
and to leave the rest to Nature." 

"It is a good idea, sir." 

"It is more than a good idea, Jeeves," I said. "It 
is a pip." 

You know, the older I get the more firmly do I 
become convinced that there is no such thing as 
a pip in existence. Again and again have I seen 
the apparently sure thing go phut, and now it is 
rarely indeed that I can be lured from my aloof 
scepticism. Fellows come sidling up to mc at the 
Drones and elsewhere, urging me to invest on some 
horse that can't lose even if it gets struck by lightning 
at the starting-post, but Bertram Wooster shakes his 
head. He has seen too much of life to be certain of 
anything. 

If anyone had told me that my Cousin Thos., left 
alone for an extended period of time with a kid of the 
superlative foulness of Sebastian Moon, would not 
only refrain from cutting off his curls with a pocket- 
knife and chasing him across country into a muddy 
pond but would actually return home carrying the 
gruesome kid on his back because he had got a blister 
on his foot, I would have laughed scornfully. I knew 
Thos. I kn0r his work. I had seen him in action. And 
I was convinced that not even the prospect of collecting 
five pounds woulc 1 be enough to give him pause. 



THE LOVE THAT PURIFIES 217 

And yet what happened? In the quiet evenfall, when 
the little birds were singing their sweetest and all 
Nature seemed to whisper of hope and happiness, the 
blow fell. I was chatting with old Mr. Anstruther on 
the terrace when suddenly round a bend in the drive 
the two kids hove in view. Sebastian, seated on Thos.'s 
back, his hat off and his golden curls floating on the 
breeze, was singing as much ns he could remember of 
a comic song, and Thos., bowed down by the burden 
but carrying on gamely, was trudging along, smiling 
that bally saintlike smile of his. He parked the kid 
on the front steps and came across to us. 

"Sebastian got a nail in his shoe," he said in a low, 
virtuous voice. " It hurt him to walk, so I gave him a 
piggy-back." 

I heard old Mr. Anstruther draw in his breath 
sharply. 
"All the way home?" 
"Yes, sir." 

"In this hot sunshine?" 
"Yes, sir." 

"But was he not very heavy?" 

"He was a little, sir," said Thos., uncorking the 
saintlike once more. "But it would have hurt him 
awfully to walk." 

I pushed off. I had had enough. If ever a septua- 
genarian looked on the point of handing out another 
bonus, that .septuagenarian was old Mr. Anstruther. 
He had the unmistakable bonus glitter in his eye. 
I withdrew, and found Jeeves in my bedroom messing 
about with ties and things. 

He pursed the lips a bit on hearing th~ news. 

"Serious, sir." 

"Very serious, Jeeves." 



218 ' VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



"I had feared this, sir." 

"Had you? I hadn't. I was convinced Thos. would 
have massacred young Sebastian. I banked on it. 
It just shows what the greed for money will do. This 



would cheerfully have forfeited five quid in order to 
deal faithfully with a kid like Sebastian. I would 
have considered it money well spent." 

"You are mistaken, sir, in your estimate of the 
motives actuating Master Thomas. It was not a mere 
desire to win five pounds that caused him to curb his 
natural impulses." 

"Eh?" 

" I have ascertained the true reason for his change of 
heart, sir." 
I felt fogged. 
"Religion, Jeeves?" 
"No, sir. Love." 
"Love?" 

"Yes, sir. The yonng gentleman confided in me 
during a brief conversation in the hall shortly after 
luncheon. We had been speaking for a while on neutral 
subjects, when he suddenly turned a deeper shade of 
pink and after some slight hesitation inquired of me 
if I did not think Miss Greta Garbo the most beautiful 
woman at present in existence." 

I clutched the brow. 

"Jeeves! Don't tell me Thos. is in love with Greta 
Garbo?" 

"Yes, sir. Unfortunately such is the case. He gave 
me to understand that it had been coming on for some 
time, and hej,last picture settled the issue. His voice 
shook with an emotion which it was impossible to 
misread. I gathered from his observations, sir, that 



is a commercial age, Jeeves. 




# THE LOVE THAT PURIFIES 219 

he proposes to spend the remainder of his life trying 
to make himself worthy of her." 

It was a knock-out. This was the end. 

" This is the end, Jeeves," I said. " Bonzo must be 
a good forty marks behind by now. Only some sensa- 
tional and spectacular outrage upon the public weal 
on the part of young Thos. could have enabled him to 
wipe out the lead. And of that there is now, apparently, 
no chance." 

"The eventuality does appear remote, sir." 

I brooded. 

" Uncle Thomas will have a fit when he comes back 
and finds Anatole gone." 
"Yes, sir." 

"Aunt Dahlia will drain the bitter cup to the dregs." 
"Yes, sir." 

"And, speaking from a purely selfish point of view, 
the finest cooking I have ever bitten will pass out of 
my life for ever, unless the Snettishams invite me in 
some night to take pot luck. And that eventuality is 
also remote." 

"Yes, sir." 

" Then the only thing I can do is square the shoulders 
and face the inevitable." 
"Yes, sir." 

"Like some aristocrat of the French Revolution 
popping into the tumbril, what? The brave smile. 
The stiff upper lip." 

"Yes, sir." 

"Right ho, then. Is the shirt studded?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"The tic chosen?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"The collar and evening underwear all in order?" 



220 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"Yes, sir." 

"Then I'll have a bath and be with you in two 
ticks." 

It is all very well to talk about the brave smile 
and the stiff upper lip, but my experience — and I 
daresay others have found the same — is that they are 
a dashed sight easier to talk about than actually to 
fix on the face. For the next few days, I'm bound to 
admit, I found myself, in spite of every effort, regis- 
tering gloom pretty consistently. For, as if to make 
things tougher than they might have been, Anatole 
at this juncture suddenly developed a cooking streak 
which put all his previous efforts in the shade. 

Night after night we sat at the dinner-table, the food 
melting in our mouths, and Aunt Dahlia would look 
at me and I would look at Aunt Dahlia, and the male 
Snettisham would ask the female Sncttisham in a 
ghastly, gloating sort of way if she had ever tasted 
such cooking and the female Snettisham would smirk 
at the male Sncttisham and say she never had in all 
her puff, and I would look at Aunt Dahlia and Aunt 
Dahlia would look at me and our eyes would be full 
of unshed tears, if you know what I mean. 

And all the time old Mr. Anstruther's visit drawing 
to a close. 

The sands running out, so to speak. 

And then, on the very last afternoon of his stay, 
the thing happened. 

It was one of those warm, drowsy, peaceful after- 
noons. I was up in my bedroom, getting off a spot of 
corresponVnce which I had neglected of late, and 
from where I sat T looked down on the shady lawn, 



THE LOVE THAT PURIFIES 



221 



fringed with its gay flower-beds. There was a bird 
or two hopping about, a butterfly or so fluttering to 
and fro, and an assortment of bees buzzing hither and 
thither. In a garden-chair sat old Mr. Anstruther, 
getting his eight hours. It was a sight which, had I 
had less on my mind, would no doubt have soothed 
the old soul a bit. The only blot on the landscape 
was Lady Snettisham, walking among the flower- 
beds and probably sketching out future menus, 
curse her. 

And so for a time everything carried on. The birds 
hopped, the butterflies fluttered, the bees buzzed, and 
old Mr. Anstruther snored — all in accordance with the 
programme. And I worked through a letter to my 
tailor to the point where I proposed to say some- 
thing pretty strong about the way the right sleeve 
of my last coat bagged. 

There was a tap on the door, and Jeeves entered, 
bringing the second post. I laid the letters listlessly 
on the table beside me. 

"Well, Jeeves," X said sombrely. 

"Sir?" * 

"Mr. Anstruther leaves to-morrow." 
"Yes, sir." 

I gazed down at the sleeping septuagenarian. 

"In my young days, Jeeves," I said, "however 
much I might have been in love, I could never have 
resisted the spectacle of an old gentleman asleep like 
that in a deck-chair. I would have done something 
to him, no matter what the cost." 

"Indeed, sir?" 

" Yes. Probably with a pea-shooter. But the modern 
boy is degenerate. He has lost his vim. I suppose Thos. 
is indoors on this lovely afternoon, showing Sebastian 



222 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



his stamp-album or something. Ha!" I said, and I 
said it rather nastily. 

" I fancy Master Thomas and Master Sebastian are 
playing in the stable-yard, sir. I encountered Master 
Sebastian not long back and he informed me he was 
on his way thither." 

"The motion-pictures, Jeeves," I said, "are the 
curse of the age. But for them, if Thos. had found 
himself alone in a stable-yard with a kid like 
Sebastian " 

I broke off. From some point to the south-west, 
out of my line of vision, there had proceeded a piercing 
squeal. 

It cut through the air like a knife, and old Mr. 
Anstruther leaped up as if it had run into the fleshy 
part of his leg. And the next moment little Sebastian 
appeared, going well and followed at a short interval 
by Thos., who was going even better. In spite of the 
fact that he was hampered in his movements by a 
large stable-bucket which he bore in his right hand, 
Thos. was running a great race. He had almost come 
up with Sebastian, when the latter, with great presence 
of mind, dodged behind Mr. Anstruther, and there 
for a moment the matter rested. 

But only for a moment. Thos., for some reason 
plainly stirred to the depths of his being, moved 
adroitly to one side and, poising the bucket for an 
instant, discharged its contents. And Mr. Anstruther, 
who had just moved to the same side, received, as 
far as I could gather from a distance, the entire con- 
signment. In one second, without any previous train- 
ing or upbringing, he had become the wettest man in 
Worcestershire. 

"Jeeves!" I cri^d. 



THE LOVE THAT PURIFIES 223 

"Yes, indeed, sir," said Jeeves, and seemed to me 
to put the whole thing in a nutshell. 

Down below, things were hotting up nicely. Old 
Mr. Anstruther may have been frail, but he un- 
doubtedly had his moments. I have rarely seen 
a man of his years conduct himself with such a lissom 
abandon. There was a stick lying beside the chair, 
and with this in hand he went into action like a two- 
year-old. A moment later, he and Thos. had passed 
out of the picture round the side of the house, Thos. 
cutting out a rare pace but, judging from the sounds 
of anguish, not quite good enough to distance the 
field. 

The tumult and the shouting died ; and, after gazing 
for a while with considerable satisfaction at the Snetti- 
sham, who was standing there with a sand-bagged look 
watching her nominee pass right out of the betting, 
I turned to Jeeves. I felt quietly triumphant. It 
is not often that I score off him, but now I had scored 
in no uncertain manner. 

"You sec, Jeeves," I said, "I was right and you 
were wrong. Blood' will tell. Once a Thos., always 
a Thos. Can the leopard change his spots or the 
Ethiopian his what-not? What was that thing they 
used to teach us at school about expelling Nature?" 

"You may expel Nature with a pitchfork, sir, 
but she will always return? In the original 
Latin " 

"Never mind about the original Latin. The point 
is that I told you Thos. could not resist those curls, 
and he couldn't. You would have it that he could." 

"I do not fancy it was the curls that caused the 
upheaval, sir." % 

"Must have been." 



224 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



"No, sir. I think Master Sebastian had been 
speaking disparagingly of Miss Garbo." 

"Eh? Why would he do that? " 

"I suggested that he should do so, sir, not long 
ago when I encountered him on his way to the stable- 
yard. It was a move which he was very willing to 
take, as he informed me that in his opinion Miss Garbo 
was definitely inferior both in beauty and talent to 
Miss Clara Bow, for whom he has long nourished a 
deep regard. From what we have just witnessed, sir, 
I imagine that Master Sebastian must have intro- 
duced the topic into the conversation at an early 
point." 

I sank into a chair. The Wooster system can stand 
just so much. 
"Jeeves!" 
"Sir?" 

"You tell me that Sebastian Moon, a stripling of 
such tender years that he can go about the place with 
long curls without causing mob violence, is in love 
with Clara Bow?" 

"And has been for some little time, he gave me to 
understand, sir." 

"Jeeves, this Younger Generation is hot stuff." 

"Yes, sir." 

"Were you like that in your day? " 
"No, sir." 

"Nor I, Jeeves. At the age of fourteen I once 
wrote to Marie Lloyd for her autograph, but apart from 
that my private life could bear the strictest investi- 
gation. However, that is not the point. The point 
is, Jeeves, that once more I must pay you a marked 
tribute." j 

"Thank you verv much, sir." 



THE LOVE THAT PURIFIES 225 

"Once more you have stepped forward like the 
great man you are and spread sweetness and light 
in no uncertain measure." 

"I am glad to have given satisfaction, sir. Would 
you be requiring my services any further? " 

"You mean you wish to return to Bognor and its 
shrimps? Do so, Jeeves, and stay there another 
fortnight, if you wish. And may success attend 
your net." 

"Thank you very much, sir." 

I eyed the man fixedly. His head stuck out at the 
back, and his eyes sparkled with the light of pure 
intelligence. 

"I am sorry for the shrimp that tries to pit its 
feeble cunning against you, Jeeves," I said. 
And I meant it. 



CHAPTER IX 



JEEVES AND THE OLD SCHOOL CHUM 

IN the autumn of the year in which Yorkshire Pud- 
ding won the Manchester November Handicap, the 
fortunes of my old pal Richard ('Bingo') Little 
seemed to have reached their — what's the word I 
want? He was, to all appearances, absolutely on 
plush. He ate well, slept well, was happily married ; 
and, his Uncle Wilberforce having at last handed in 
his dinner-pail, respected by all, had come into pos- 
session of a large income and a fine old place in the 
country about thirty miles from Norwich. Buzzing 
down there for a brief visit, I came away convinced 
that, if ever a bird was sitting on top of the world, 
that bird was Bingo. 

I had to come away because the family were shooting 
rne off to Harrogate to chaperone my Uncle George, 
whose liver had been giving him the elbow again. 
But, as we sat pushing down the morning meal on. 
the day of my departure, I readily agreed to pay 
a return date as soon as ever I could fight my way 
back to civilization. 

"Come in time for the Lakenham races," urged 
young Bingo. He took aboard a second cargo of 
sausages and bacon, for he had always been a 
good trencherman and the country air seemed to 
improve his appetite. "We're going to motor 

226 



JEEVES AND THE OLD SCHOOL CHUM 227 

over with a luncheon basket, and more or less 
revel." 

I was just about to say that I would make a point 
of it, when Mrs. Bingo, who was opening letters behind 
the coffee-apparatus, suddenly uttered a pleased yowl. 

"Oh, sweetie-lambkin!" she cried. 

Mrs. B., if you remember, before her marriage, was 
the celebrated female novelist, Rosie M. Banks, and 
it is in some such ghastly fashion that she habitually 
addresses the other half of the sketch. She has got 
that way, I take it, from a lifetime of writing heart- 
throb fiction for the masses. Bingo doesn't seem to 
mind. I suppose, seeing that the little woman is the 
author of such outstanding bilge as Mervyn Keene, 
Clubman, and Only A Factory Girl, he is thankful it 
isn't anything worse. 

"Oh, sweetie-lambkin, isn't that lovely?" 

"What?" 

"Laura Pyke wants to come here." 
"Who?" 

"You must have heard me speak of Laura Pyke. 
She was my dearest friend at school. I simply 
worshipped her. She always had such a wonderful 
mind. She wants us to put her up for a week or 
two." 

"Right ho. Bung her in." 

"You're sure you don't mind?" 

"Of course not. Any pal of yours " 

"Darling!" said Mrs. Bingo, blowing him a kiss. 

"Angel!" said Bingo, going on with the sausages. 

All very charming, in fact. Pleasant domestic 
scene, I mean. Cheery give-and-take in the home 
and all that. I said as much to Jeeves as wc drove 
off. 



228 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"In these days of unrest, Jeeves," I said, "with 
wives yearning to fulfil themselves and husbands 
slipping round the corner to do what they shouldn't, 
and the home, generally speaking, in the melting-pot, 
as it were, it is nice to find a thoroughly united couple." 

"Decidedly agreeable, sir." 

"I allude to the Bingos — Mr. and Mrs." 

"Exactly, sir." 

"What was it the poet said of couples like the 
Bingecse? " 

" ' Two minds with but a single thought, two hearts 
that beat as one/ sir." 

"A dashed good description, Jeeves." 

"It has, I believe, giv*n uniform satisfaction, sir." 

And yet, if I had only known, what I had been 
listening to that a.m. was the first faint rumble of 
the coming storm. Unseen, in the background, Fate 
was quietly slipping the lead into the boxing-glove. 

I managed to give Uncle George a miss at a fairly 
early date and, leaving him wallowing in the waters, 
sent a wire to the Bingos, announcing my return. It 
was a longish drive and I fetched up at my destina- 
tion only just in time to dress for dinner. I had done 
a quick dash into the soup and fish and was feeling 
pretty good at the prospect of a cocktail and the 
well-cooked, when the door opened and Bingo appeared. 

"Hello, Bertie," he said. "Ah, Jeeves." 

He spoke in one of those toneless voices : and, catch- 
ing Jeeves' eye as I adjusted the old cravat, I exchanged 
a questioning glance with it. From its expression I 
gathered that the same thing had struck him that had 
struck me^- viz., that our host, the young Squire, 
was none too chirpy. The brow was furrowed, the 



JEEVES AND THE OLD SCHOOL CHUM 229 

eye lacked that hearty sparkle, and the general bear- 
ing and demeanour were those of a body discovered 
after being several days in the water. 

"Anything up, Bingo?" I asked, with the natural 
anxiety of a boyhood friend. "You have a mouldy 
look. Are you sickening for some sort of plague?" 

"I've got it." 

"Got wnat?" 

"The plague." 

"How do you mean?" 

"She's on the premises now," said Bingo, and 
laughed in an unpleasant, hacking manner, as if he 
were missing on one tonsil. 

I couldn't follow him. The old egg seemed to me 
to speak in riddles. 

"You seem to me, old egg," I said, "to speak 
in riddles. Don't you think he speaks in riddles, 
Jeeves?" 

"Yes, sir." 

" I'm talking about the Pyke," said Bingo. 
"What pike?" 

"Laura Pyke. Don't you remember ?" 

"Oh, ah. Of course. The school chum. The 
seminary crony. Is she still here?" 

"Yes, and looks like staying for ever. Kosie's 
absolutely potty about her. Hangs on her lips." 

"The glamour of the old days still persists, eh?" 

"I should say it does," said young Bingo. "This 
business of schoolgirl friendships beats me. Hypnotic 
is the only word. I can't understand it. Men aren't 
like that. You and I were at school together, Bertie, 
but, my gosh, I don't look on you as a sort of master- 
mind." . 

"You don't?" 



230 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



"I don't treat your lightest utterance as a pearl 
of wisdom." 
"Why not?" 

"Yet Rosie does with this Pyke. In the hands of 
the Pyke she is mere putty. If you want to see 
what was once a first-class Garden of Eden 
becoming utterly ruined as a desirable residence by 
the machinations of a Serpent, take a look round 
this place." 

"Why, what's the trouble?" 

"Laura Pyke," said young Bingo with intense 
bitterness, "is a food crank, curse her. She says we 
all eat too much and eat it too quickly and, anyway, 
ought not to be eating it at all but living on parsnips 
and similar muck. And Rosic. instead of telling the 
woman not to be a fathead, gazes at her in wide- 
eyed admiration, taking it in through the pores. The 
result is that the cuisine of this house has been shot 
to pieces, and I am starving on my feet. Well, when 
I tell you that it's weeks since a beefsteak pudding 
raised its head in the home, you'll understand what 
I mean." 

At this point the gong went. Bingo listened with 
a moody frown. 

"I don't know why they still bang that damned 
thing," he said. "There's nothing to bang it for. 
By the way, Bertie, would you like a cocktail?" 

"I would." 

"Well, you won't get one. We don't have cock- 
tails any more. The girl friend says they corrode 
the stomachic tissues." 

I was appalled. I had had no idea that the evil 
had spread as far as this. 

"No cocktails!" 



JEEVES AND THE OLD SCHOOL CHUM 231 

"No. And you'll be dashed lucky if it isn't a 
vegetarian dinner." 

"Bingo," I cried, deeply moved, "you must act. 
You must assert yourself. You must put your foot 
down. You must take a strong stand. You must 
be master in the home." 

He looked at me. A long, strange look. 

"You aren't married, are you, Bertie?" 

"You know I'm not." 

1 

"I should have guessed it, anyway. Come on." 

Well, the dinner wasn't absolutely vegetarian, but 
when you had said that you had said everything. 
It was sparse, meagre, not at all the jolly, chunky 
repast for which the old turn was standing up and 
clamouring after its long motor ride. And what there 
was of it was turned to ashes in the mouth by the 
conversation of Miss Laura Pyke. 

In happier circs., and if 1 had not been informed 
in advance of the warped nature of her soul, I might 
have been favourably impressed by this female at 
the moment of our meeting. She was really rather 
a good-looking girl, a bit strong in the face but never- 
theless quite reasonably attractive. But had she 
been a thing of radiant beauty, she could never have 
clicked with Bertram Wooster. Her conversation was 
of a kind which would have queered Helen of Troy 
with any right-thinking man. 

During dinner she talked all the time, and it did 
not take me long to see why the iron had entered 
into Bingo's soul. Practically all she said was about 
food and Bingo's tendency to shovel it down in exces- 
sive quantities, thereby handing the lemjon to his 
stomachic tissues. She didn't seem particularly 



232 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

interested in my stomachic tissues, rather giving the 
impression that if Bertram burst it would be all right 
with her. It was on young Bingo that she concen- 
trated as the brand to be saved from the burning. 
Gazing at him like a high priestess at the favourite, 
though erring, disciple, she told him all the things 
that were happening to his inside because he would 
insist on eating stuff lacking in fat-soluble vitamins. 
She spoke freely of proteins, carbohydrates, and 
the physiological requirements of the average 
individual. She was not a girl who believed in mincing 
her words, and a racy little anecdote she told about 
a man who refused to eat prunes had the effect 
of causing me to be a non-starter for the last two 
courses. 

"Jeeves," I said, on reaching the sleeping chambei 
that night, "I don't like the look of things." 
"No, sir?" 

"No, Jeeves, I do not. I view the situation with 
concern. Things are worse than I thought they were. 
Mr. Little's remarks before dinner may have given 
you the impression that the Pyke merely lectured on 
food-reform in a general sort of way. Such, I now 
find, is not the case. By way of illustrating her 
theme, she points to Mr. Little as the awful example. 
She criticises him, Jeeves." 

"Indeed, sir?" 

"Yes. Openly. Keeps telling him he eats toe 
much, drinks too much, and gobbles his food. I 
wish you could have heard a comparison she drew 
between him and the late Mr. Gladstone, considering 
them in the capacity of food chewers. It left young 
Bingo veiy much with the short end of the stick. 
And the sinister thing is that Mrs. Bingo approves. 



JEEVES AND THE OLD SCHOOL CHUM 233 

Are wives often like that? Welcoming criticism of 
the lord and master, I mean?" 

"They are generally open to suggestions from the 
outside public with regard to the improvement of 
their husbands, sir." 

"That is why married men are wan, what?" 

"Yes, sir." 

I had had the foresight to send the man down- 
stairs for a plate of biscuits. I bit a representative 
specimen thoughtfully. 

"Do you know what I think, Jeeves?" 

"No, sir." 

"I think Mr. Little doesn't realise the full extent 
of the peril which threatens his domestic happiness. 
I'm beginning to understand this business of matri- 
mony. I'm beginning to see how the thing works. 
Would you care to hear how I figure it out, Jeeves? " 

"Extremely, sir." 

" Well, it's like this. Take a couple of birds. These 
birds get married, and for a while all is gas and gaiters. 
The female regards her mate as about the best thing 
that ever came a girl's way. He is her king, if you 
know what I mean. She looks up to him and respects 
him. Joy, as you might say, reigns supreme. Eh? " 

"Very true, sir." 

"Then gradually, by degrees— little by little, if I 
may use the expression — disillusionment sets in. She 
sees him eating a poached egg, and the glamour starts 
to fade. She watches him mangling a chop, and it 
continues to fade. And so on and so on, if you follow 
me, and so forth." 

"I follow you perfectly, sir." 

"But mark this, Jeeves. This is the point. Here 
we approach the nub. Usually it is all right, because, 



234 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



as I say, the disillusionment comes gradually and 
the female has time to adjust herself. But in the 
case of young Bingo, owing to the indecent outspoken- 
ness of the Pyke, it's coming in a rush. Absolutely 
in a flash, without any previous preparation, Mrs. 
Bingo is having Bingo presented to her as a sort of 
human boa-constrictor full of unpleasantly jumbled 
interior organs. The picture which the Pyke is 
building up for her in her mind is that of one of those 
men you see in restaurants with three chins, bulging 
eyes, and the veins starting out on the forehead. A 
little more of this, and love must wither." 
"You think so, sir?" 

" I'm sure of it. No affection can stand the strain. 
Twice during dinner to-nighl the Pyke said things 
about young Bingo's intestinal canal which I shouldn't 
have thought would have been possible in mixed 
company even in this lax post- War era. Well, you 
see what I mean. You can't go on knocking a man's 
intestinal canal indefinitely without causing his wife 
to stop and ponder. The danger, as I see it, is that 
after a bit more of this Mrs. Little will decide that 
tinkering is no use and that the only thing to do 
is to scrap Bingo and get a newer model." 

"Most disturbing, sir." 

" Something must be done, Jeeves. You must act. 
Unless you can find some way of getting this Pyke 
out of the woodwork, and that right speedily, the 
home's number is up. You see, what makes matters 
worse is that Mrs. Bingo is romantic. Women like 
her, who consider the day illspent if they have not 
churned out five thousand words of superfatted fiction, 
are apt even at the best of times to yearn a trifle. 
The ink gets into their heads. I mean to say, I 



JEEVES AND THE OLD SCHOOL CHUM 235 

shouldn't wonder if right from the start Mrs. Bingo 
hasn't had a sort of sneaking regret that Bingo isn't 
one of those strong, curt, Empire-building kind of 
Englishmen she puts into her books, with sad, un- 
fathomable eyes, lean, sensitive hands, and riding- 
boots. You see what I mean?" 

"Precisely, sir. You imply that Miss Pyke's crit- 
icisms will have been instrumental in moving the 
hitherto unformulated dissatisfaction from the sub- 
conscious to the conscious mind." 

"Once again, Jeeves?" I said, trying to grab it as 
it came off the bat, but missing it by several yards. 

He repeated the dose. 

"Well, I daresay you're right," I said. "Anyway, 
the point is, P.M.G. Pyke must go. How do you 
propose to set about it?" 

" I fear I have nothing to suggest at the moment, 
sir. 

"Come, come, Jeeves." 

"I fear not, sir. Possibly after I have seen the 
lady " 

"You mean, you'want to study the psychology of 
the individual and what not? " 
"Precisely, sir." 

"Well, T don't know how you're going to do it. 
After all, I mean, you can hardly cluster round the 
dinner- table and drink in the Pyke's small talk." 

"There is that difficulty, sir." 

" Your best chance, it seems to me, will be when 
we go to the Lakenham races on Thursday. We shall 
feed out of a luncheon-basket in God's air, and there's 
nothing to stop you hanging about and passing the 
sandwiches. Prick the ears and be at your most 
observant then, is my advice." 



236 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



"Very good, sir." 

" Very good, Jeeves. Be there, then, with the eyes 
popping. And, meanwhile, dash downstairs and see 
if you can dig up another instalment of these biscuits. 
I need them sorely." 

The morning of the Lakenham races dawned bright 
and juicy. A casual observer would have said 
that God was in His Heaven and all right with 
the world. It was one of those days you sometimes 
get lateish in the autumn when the sun beams, the 
birds toot, and there is a bracing tang in the air 
that sends the blood beetling briskly through the 
veins. 

Personally, however, I wasn't any too keen on the 
bracing tang. It made me feel so exceptionally fit 
that almost immediately after breakfast I found my- 
self beginning to wonder what there would be for 
lunch. And the thought of what there probably 
would be for lunch, if the Pyke's influence made itself 
felt, lowered my spirits considerably. 

"I fear the worst, Jeeves," I said. "Last night at 
dinner Miss Pyke threw out the remark that the carrot 
was the best of all vegetables, having an astonishing 
effect on the blood and beautifying the complexion. 
Now, I am all for anything that bucks up the Wooster 
blood. Also, I would like to give the natives a treat 
by letting them take a look at my rosy, glowing 
cheeks. But not at the expense of lunching on raw 
carrots. To avoid any rannygazoo, therefore, I think 
it will be best if you add a bit for the young master to 
your personal packet of sandwiches. I don't want 
to be caught short." 

"Very good, sir." 



JEEVES AND THE OLD SCHOOL CHUM 237 

At this point, young Bingo came up. I hadn't 
seen him look so jaunty for days. 

"I've just been superintending the packing of the 
lunch-basket, Bertie," he said. "I stood over the 
butler and saw that there was no nonsense." 

"All pretty sound?" I asked, relieved. 

"All indubitably sound." 

"No carrots?" 

"No carrots," said young Bingo. "There's ham 
sandwiches," he proceeded, a strange, soft light 
in his eyes, "and tongue sandwiches and potted meat 
sandwiches and game sandwiches and hard-boiled eggs 
and lobster and a cold chicken and sardines and a 
cake and a couple of bottles of Bollinger and some 
old brandy " 

"It has the right ring," I said. "And if we want 
a bite to eat after that, of course we can go to the 
pub." 

"What pub?" 

" Isn't there a pub on the course? " 

"There's not a pub for miles. That's why I was 
so particularly careful that there should be no funny 
work about the basket. The common where these 
races are held is a desert without an oasis. Practically 
a death-trap. I met a fellow the other day who told 
me he got there last year and unpacked his basket 
and found that the champagne had burst and, to- 
gether with the salad dressing, had soaked into the 
ham, which in its turn had got mixed up with 
the gorgonzola cheese, forming a sort of paste. 
He had had rather a bumpy bit of road to travel 
over." 

"What did he do?" 

"Oh, he ate the mixture. It was the only course. 



238 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

But he said he could still taste it sometimes, even 
now." 

In ordinary circs. I can't say I should have been any 
too braced at the news that we were going to split up 
for the journey in the following order — Bingo and 
Mrs. Bingo in their car and the Pyke in mine, 
with Jeeves sitting behind in the dickey. But, 
things being as they were, the arrangement had 
its points. It meant that Jeeves would be able 
to study the back of her head and draw his deduc- 
tions, while I could engage her in conversation and 
let him see for himself what manner of female she 
was. 

I started, accordingly, directly we had rolled off and 
all through the journey until we fetched up at the 
course she gave of her best. It was with considerable 
satisfaction that I parked the car beside a tree and 
hopped out. 

"You were listening, Jeeves?" I said gravely. 

"Yes, sir." 

"A tough baby?" 

"Undeniably, sir." 

Bingo and Mrs. Bingo came up. 

" The first race won't be for half an hour," said Bingo. 
"We'd better lunch now. Fish the basket out, Jeeves, 
would you mind? " 

"Sir?" 

"The luncheon-basket," said Bingo in a devout 
sort of voice, licking his lips slightly. 

"The basket is not in Mr. Wooster's car, sir.' 1 
"What!" 

" I assu;ned that you were bringing it in your own, 
sir." 



JEEVES AND THE OLD SCHOOL CHUM 239 

I have never seen the sunshine fade out of anybody's 
face as quickly as it did out of Bingo's. He uttered 
a sharp, wailing cry. 

"Rosie!" 

"Yes, sweetie-pie?" 

"The bunch! The lasket!" 

"What, darling?" 

"The luncheon-basket!" 

"What about it, precious?" 

"It's been left behind!" 

"Oh, has it?" said Mrs. Bingo. 

I confess she had never fallen lower in my estima- 
tion. I had always known her as a woman with as 
healthy an appreciation of her meals as any of my 
acquaintance. A few years previously, when my 
Aunt Dahlia had stolen her French cook, Anatole, 
she had called Aunt Dahlia some names in my pres- 
ence which had impressed me profoundly. Yet now, 
when informed that she was marooned on a bally 
prairie without bite or sup, all she could find to say was, 
"Oh, has it?" I had never fully realised before the 
extent to which she had allowed herself to be 
dominated by the deleterious influence of the 
Pyke. 

The Pyke, for her part, touched an even lower 
level. 

" It is just as well," she said, and her voice seemed 
to cut Bingo like a knife. " Luncheon is a meal better 
omitted. If taken, it should consist merely of a few 
muscatels, bananas and grated carrots. It is a well- 
known fact " 

And she went on to speak at some length of the 
gastric juices in a vein far from suited to any gather- 
ing at which gentlemen were present. 



240 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"So, you see, darling," said Mrs. Bingo, "you will 
really feel ever so much better and brighter for not 
having eaten a lot of indigestible food. It is much 
the best thing that could have happened." 

Bingo gave her a long, lingering look. 

" I see," he said. " Well, if you will excuse me, I'll 
just go off somewhere where I can cheer a bit without 
exciting comment." 

I perceived Jeeves withdrawing in a meaning man- 
ner, and I followed him, hoping for the best. My 
trust was not misplaced. He had brought enough 
sandwiches for two. In fact, enough for three. I 
whistled to Bingo, and he came slinking up, and we 
restored the tissues in a makeshift sort of way be- 
hind a hedge. Then Bingo went off to interview 
bookies about the first race, and Jeeves gave a cough. 

"Swallowed a crumb the wrong way?" I said. 

" No, sir, I thank you. It is merely that I desired 
to express a hope that I had not been guilty of taking 
a liberty, sir." 

"How?" 

"In removing the luncheon-basket from the car 
before we started, sir." 

I quivered like an aspen. I stared at the man. 
Aghast. Shocked to the core. 

"You, Jeeves?" I said, and I should rather think 
Caesar spoke in the same sort of voice on finding 
Brutus puncturing him with the sharp instrument. 
" You mean to tell me it was you who deliberately, if 
that's the word I want ?" 

"Yes, sir. It seemed to me the most judicious 
course to pursue. It would not have been prudent, 
in my opinion, to have allowed Mrs. Little, in her 
present frame of mind, to witness Mr. Little eating 



JEEVES AND THE OLD SCHOOL CHUM 241 

a meal on the scale which he outlined in his remarks 
this morning." 
I saw his point. 

"True, Jeeves," I said thoughtfully. "I see what 
3'ou mean. If young Bingo has a fault, it is that, 
when in the society of a sandwich, he is apt to get 
a bit rough. I've picnicked with him before, many 
a time and oft, and his method of approach to the 
ordinary tongue or ham sandwich rather resembles 
that of the lion, the king of beasts, tucking into an 
antelope. Add lobster and cold chicken, and I 
admit the spectacle might have been something of a 
jar for the consort. . . . Still ... all the 
same . . . nevertheless " 

"And there is another aspect of the matter, sir." 

"What's that?" 

"A day spent without nourishment in the keen 
autumnal air may induce in Mrs. Little a frame of 
mind not altogether in sympathy with Miss Pyke's 
views on diet." 

"You mean, hunger will gnaw and she'll be apt to 
bite at the Pyke when she talks about how jolly it is 
for the gastric juices to get a day off?" 

"Exactly, sir." 

I shook the head. I hated to damp the man's 
pretty enthusiasm, but it had to be done. 

"Abandon the idea, Jeeves," I said. "I fear you 
have not studied the sex as I have. Missing her lunch 
means little or nothing to the female of the species. 
The feminine attitude towards lunch is notoriously 
airy and casual. Where you have made your bloomer 
is in confusing lunch with tea. Hell, it is well known, 
has no fury like a woman who wants her, tea and 
can't get it. At such times the most amiable of the 



242 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

sex become mere bombs which a spark may ignite. 
But lunch, Jeeves, no. I should have thought you 
would have known that— a bird of your established 
intelligence." 

"No doubt you are right, sir." 

"If you could somehow arrange for Mrs. Little to 
miss her tea . . . but these are idle dreams, Jeeves. 
By tea-time she will be back at the old home, in the 
midst of plenty. It only takes an hour to do the trip. 
The last race is over shortly after four. By five 
o'clock Mrs. Little will have her feet tucked under the 
table and will be revelling in buttered toast. I am 
sorry, Jeeves, but your scheme was a wash-out from 
the start. No earthly. A dud." 

" I appreciate the point you have raised, sir. What 
you say is extremely true." 

" Unfortunately. Well, there it is. The only thing 
to do seems to be to get back to the course and try 
to skin a bookie or two and forget." 

Well, the long clay wore on, so to speak. I can't 
say I enjoyed myself much. I was distrait, if you 
know what I mean. Preoccupied. From time to 
time assorted clusters of spavined local horses clumped 
down the course with farmers on top of them, but I 
watched them with a languid eye. To get into the 
spirit of one of these rural meetings, it is essential that 
the subject have a good, fat lunch inside him. Sub- 
tract the lunch, and what ensues? Ennui. Not once 
but many times during the afternoon I found myself 
thinking hard thoughts about Jeeves. The man 
seemed to me to be losing his grip. A child could 
have tolcj 4iim that that footling scheme of his would 
not have got him anywhere. 



JEEVE6 AND THE OLD SCHOOL CHUM 243 

I mean to say, when you reflect that the average 
woman considers she has lunched luxuriously if she 
swallows a couple of macaroons, half a chocolate eclair 
and a raspberry vinegar, is she going to be peevish 
because you do her out of a midday sandwich? 
Of course not. Perfectly ridiculous. Too silly for 
words. All that Jeeves had accomplished by his bally 
trying to be clever was to give me a feeling as if 
foxes were gnawing my vitals and a strong desire for 
home. 

It was a relief, therefore, when, as the shades of 
evening were beginning to fall, Mrs. Bingo announced 
her intention of calling it a day and shifting. 

" Would you mind very much missing the last race, 
Mr. Wooster? " she asked. 

"I am all for it," I replied cordially. "The 
last race means little or nothing in my life. 
Besides, I am a shilling and sixpence ahead of the 
game, and the time to leave off is when you're 
winning." 

"Laura and I thought we would go home. I feel 
I should like an early cup of tea. Bingo says he will 
stay on. So I thought you could drive our car, and 
he would follow later in yours, with Jeeves." 

"Right ho." 

"You know the way?" 

"Oh yes. Main road as far as that turning by the 
pond, and then across country." 

"I can direct you from there." 

I sent Jeeves to fetch the car, and presently we 
were bowling off in good shape. The short afternoon 
had turned into a rather chilly, misty sort of evening, 
the kind of evening that sends a fellow's* thoughts 
straying off in the direction of hot Scotch-and-watcr 



244 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! ■ 

with a spot of lemon in it. I put the foot firmly on 
the accelerator, and we did the five or six miles of 
main road in quick time. 

Turning eastward at the pond, I had to go a bit 
slower, for w r e had struck a wildish stretch of country 
where the going wasn't so good. I don't know any 
part of England where you feel so off the map as on 
the by-roads of Norfolk. Occasionally we would 
meet a cow or two, but otherwise we had the world 
pretty much to ourselves. 

I began to think about that drink again, and the 
more I thought the better it looked. It's rummy 
how people differ in this matter of selecting the bever- 
age that is to touch the spot It's what Jeeves would 
call the psychology of the individual. Some fellows 
in my position might have voted for a tankard of ale, 
and the Pykc's idea of a refreshing snort was, as I 
knew from what she had told me on the journey out, 
a cupful of tepid pip-and-peel water or, failing that, 
what she called the fruit-liquor. You make this, 
apparently, by soaking raisins in cold water and 
adding the juice of a lemon. After which, I suppose, 
you invite a couple of old friends in and have an orgy, 
burying the bodies in the morning. 

Personally, I had no doubts. I never wavered. 
Hot Scotch-and-water was the stuff for me — stressing 
the Scotch, if you know what I mean, and going fairly 
easy on the H 3 0. I seemed to see the beaker smiling 
at me across the misty fields, beckoning me on, as it 
were, and saying "Courage, Bertram! It will not be 
long now!" And with renewed energy I bunged the 
old foot down on the accelerator and tried to send the 
needle up to sixty. 

Instead of whic'i, if you follow my drift, the bally 



JEEVES AND THE OLD SCHOOL CHUM 245 

thing flickered for a moment to thirty-five and then 
gave the business up as a bad job. Quite suddenly 
and unexpectedly, no one more surprised than myself, 
the car let out a faint gurgle like a sick moose and 
stopped in its tracks. And there we were, somewhere 
in Norfolk, with darkness coming on and a cold wind 
that smelled of guano and dead mangowurtzels playing 
searchingly about the spinal column. 

The back-seat drivers gave tongue. 

"What's the matter? What has happened? Why 
don't you go on? What are you stopping for? " 

I explained. 

"I'm not stopping. It's the car." 
" Why has the car stopped? " 

"Ah!" I said, with a manly frankness that became 
me well. "There you have me." 

You see, I'm one of those birds who drive a lot but 
don't know the first thing about the works. The 
policy I pursue is to get aboard, prod the self-starter, 
and leave the rest to Nature. If anything goes wrong, 
I scream for an A„A. scout. It's a system that answers 
admirably as a rule, but on the present occasion it 
blew a fuse owing to the fact that there wasn't an 
A. A. scout within miles. I explained as much to the 
fair cargo and received in return a ' Tchah ! ' from the 
Pyke that nearly lifted the top of my head off. What 
with having a covey of female relations who have 
regarded me from childhood as about ten degrees 
short of a half-wit, I have become rather a connoisseur 
of 'Tchahs,' and the Pykc's seemed to me well up in 
Class A, possessing much of the timbre and brio of my 
Aunt Agatha's. 

"Perhaps I can find out what the trouble is," she 
said, becoming calmer. "I understand cars." 



246 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! « 

She got out and began peering into the thing's 
vitals. I thought for a moment of suggesting that 
its gastric juices might have taken a turn for the worse 
owing to lack of fat-soluble vitamins, but decided on 
the whole not. I'm a pretty close observer, and it 
didn't seem to me that she was in the mood. 

And yet, as a matter of fact, I should have been 
about right, at that. For after fiddling with the 
engine for awhile in a discontented sort of way the 
female was suddenly struck with an idea. She tested 
it, and it was proved correct. There was not a drop 
of petrol in the tank. No gas. In other words, a 
complete lack of fat-soluble vitamins. What it 
amounted to was that the job now before us was to 
get the old bus home purely by will-power. 

Feeling that, from whatever angle they regarded 
the regrettable occurrence, they could hardly blame 
me, I braced up a trifle — in fact, to the extent of a 
hearty "Well, well, well!" 

" No petrol," I said. " Fancy that." 

"But Bingo told me he was going to fill the tank 
this morning," said Mrs. Bingo. 

" I suppose he forgot," said the Pyke. " He would ! " 

"What do you mean by that?" said Mrs. Bingo, 
and I noted in her voice a touch of what-is-it. 

" I mean he is just the sort of man who would forget 
to fill the tank," replied the Pyke, who also appeared 
somewhat moved. 

" I should be very much obliged, Laura," said Mrs. 
Bingo, doing the heavy loyal-little-woman stuff, "if 
you would refrain from criticizing my husband." 

"Tchah!" said the Pyke. 

"And don't say 'Tchah!'" said Mrs. Bingo. 

"I shall say whate ^er I please," said the Pyke. 



JEEVES AND THE OLD SCHOOL CHUM 247 

" Ladies, ladies ! " I said. " Ladies, ladies, ladies ! " 

It was rash. Looking back, I can see that. One 
of the first lessons life teaches us is that on these 
occasions of back-chat between the delicately-nurtured 
a man should retire into the offing, curl up in a ball, 
and imitate the prudent tactics of the opossum, 
which, when danger is in the air, pretends to be dead, 
frequently going to the length of hanging out crepe 
and instructing its friends to stand round and say 
what a pity it all is. The only result of my dash at 
the soothing intervention was that the Pyke turned 
on me like a wounded leopardess. 

"Well!" she said. "Aren't you proposing to do 
anything, Mr. Wooster?" 

"What can I do?" 

" There's a house over there. I should have thought 
it would be well within even your powers to go and 
borrow a tin of petrol." 

I looked. There was a house. And one of the lower 
windows was lighted, indicating to the trained mind 
the presence of a ratepayer. 

"A very sound and brainy scheme," I said ingratiat- 
ingly. " I will first honk a little on the horn to show 
we're here, and then rapid action." 

I honked, with the most gratifying results. Almost 
immediately a human form appeared in the window. 
It seemed to be waving its arms in a matey and 
welcoming sort of way. Stimulated and encouraged, 
I hastened to the front door and gave it a breezy bang 
with the knocker. Things, I felt, were moving. 

The first bang produced no result. I had just lifted 
the knocker for the encore, when it was wrenched out 
of my hand. The door flew open, and there was a bloke 
with spectacles on his face and all round the spectacles 



248 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

an expression of strained anguish. A bloke with a secret 
sorrow. 

I was sorry he had troubles, of course, but, having 
some of my own, I came right down to the agenda 
without delay. 

" I say . . ."I began. 

The bloke's hair was standing up in a kind of tousled 
mass, and at this juncture, as if afraid it would not 
stay like that without assistance, he ran a band through 
it. And for the first time I noted that the spectacles 
had a hostile gleam. 

"Was that you making that infernal noise?" he 
asked. 

"Er— yes," I said. "I did toot." 

"Toot once more — just once." said the bloke, 
speaking in a low, strangled voice, ' and I'll shred you 
up into little bits with my bare hands. My wife's gone 
out for the evening and after hours of ceaseless toil 
I've at last managed to get the baby to sleep, and you 
come along making that hideous din with your damned 
horn. What do you mean by it, blast you?" 

"Er " 

"Well, that's how matters stand," said the bloke, 
summing up. "One more toot — just one single, 
solitary suggestion of the faintest shadow or suspicion 
of anything remotely approaching a toot — and may 
the Lord have mercv on your soul." 

"What I want," I said, "is petrol." 

"What you'll get," said the bloke, "is a thick car." 

And, closing the door with the delicate caution of 
one brushing flies off a sleeping Venus, he passed out 
of my life. 

Women as a sex are always apt to be a trifle down on 
the defeated warrior. Returning to the car, I was not 



JEEVES AND THE OLD SCHOOL CHUM 249 

well received. The impression seemed to be that 
Bertram had not acquitted himself in a fashion worthy 
of his Crusading ancestors. I did my best to smooth 
matters over, but you know how it is. When you've 
broken down on a chilly autumn evening miles from 
anywhere and have missed lunch and look like missing 
tea as well, mere charm of manner can never be a really 
satisfactory substitute for a tinful of the juice. 

Things got so noticeably unpleasant, in fact, that 
after a while, mumbling something about getting help, 
I sidled off down the road. And, by Jove, I hadn't 
gone half a mile before I saw lights in the distance and 
there, in the middle of this forsaken desert, was a 
car. 

I stood in the road and whooped as I had never 
whooped before. 

"Hi!" I shouted. "I say! Hi! Half a minute! 
Hi! Ho! I say! Ho! Hi! Just a second if you don't 
mind." 

The car reached me and slowed up. A voice spoke. 
"Is that you, Bertie?" 

"Hullo, Bingo!" Is that you? I say, Bingo, we've 
broken down." 
Bingo hopped out. 

"Give us five minutes, Jeeves," he said, " and then 
drive slowly on." 
"Very good, sir." 
Bingo joined me. 

"We aren't going to walk, arc we?" I asked. 
"Where's the sense?" 

" Yes, walk, laddie," said Bingo, "and warily withal. 
I want to make sure of something. Bertie, how were 
things when you left? Hotting up?" 

"A trifle." 



250 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

i 

"You observed symptoms of a row, a quarrel, a 

parting of brass rags between Rosie and the Pyke?" 
" There did seem a certain liveliness." 
"Tell me." 

I related what had occurred. He listened intently. 

"Bertie," he said as we walked along, "you are 
present at a crisis in your old friend's life. It may be 
that this vigil in a broken-down car will cause Rosie 
to see what you'd have thought she ought to have seen 
years ago — viz: that the Pyke is entirely unfit for 
human consumption and must be cast into outer 
darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth. 
I am not betting on it, but stranger things have 
happened. Rosie is the sweetest girl in the world, but, 
like all women, she gets edgy towards tea-time. 
And to-day, having missed lunch . . . Hark!" 

He grabbed my arm, and we paused. Tense. Agog. 
From down the road came the sound of voices, and 
a mere instant was enough to tell us that it was Mrs. 
Bingo and the Pyke talking things over. 

I had never listened in on a real, genuine female 
row before, and I'm bound to say it was pretty 
impressive. During my absence, matters appeared to 
have developed on rather a spacious scale. They had 
reached the stage now where the combatants had 
begun to dig into the past and rake up old scores. 
Mrs. Bingo was saying that the Pyke would never have 
got into the hockey team at St. Adela's if she hadn't 
flattered and fawned upon the captain in a way that it 
made Mrs. Bingo, even after all these years, sick to 
think of. The Pyke replied that she had refrained from 
mentioning it until now, having always felt it better 
to let bygones be bygones, but that if Mrs. Bingo 
supposed Ker to be unaware that Mrs. Bingo had won 



JEEVE$ AND THE OLD SCHOOL CHUM 251 

the Scripture prize by taking a list of the Kings of 
Judah into the examination room, tucked into her 
middy-blouse, Mrs. Bingo was vastly mistaken. 

Furthermore, the Pyke proceeded, Mrs. Bingo was 
also labouring under an error if she imagined that the 
Pyke proposed to remain a night longer under her roof. 
It had been in a moment of weakness, a moment of 
mistaken kindliness, supposing her to be lonely and in 
need of intellectual society, that the Pyke had decided 
to pay her a visit at all. Her intention now was, if 
ever Providence sent them aid and enabled her to 
get out of this beastly car and back to her trunks, to 
pack those trunks and leave by the next train, even 
if that train was a milk-train, stopping at every station. 
Indeed, rather than endure another night at Mrs. 
Bingo's, the Pyke was quite willing to walk to London. 

To this, Mrs. Bingo's reply was long and eloquent 
and touched on the fact that in her last term at St. 
Adcla's a girl named Simpson had told her (Mrs. Bingo) 
that a girl named Waddesley had told her (the Simpson) 
that the Pyke, while pretending to be a friend of hers 
(the Bingo's), had told her (the Waddesley) that she 
(the Bingo) couldn't eat strawberries and cream with- 
out coming out in spots, and, in addition, had spoken 
in the most catty manner about the shape of her nose. 
It could all have been condensed, however, into the 
words "Right ho/' 

It was when the Pyke had begun to say that she 
had never had such a hearty laugh in her life as 
when she read the scene in Mrs. Bingo's last novel 
where the heroine's little boy dies of croup that we 
felt it best to call the meeting to order before blood- 
shed set in. Jeeves had come up in the car, and Bingo, 
removing a tin of petrol from the dickey, placed it in 



252 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! , 

the shadows at the side of the road. Then we hopped 
on and made the spectacular entry. 

"Hullo, hullo, hullo/' said Bingo brightly. "Bertie 
tells me you've had a breakdown." 

"Oh, Bingo!" cried Mrs. Bingo, wifely love thrilling 
in every syllable. "Thank goodness you've come." 

"Now, perhaps," said the Pyke, "I can get home 
and do my packing. If Mr. Wooster will allow me to 
use his car, his man can drive me back to the house 
in time to catch the six-fifteen." 

"You aren't leaving us?" said Bingo. 

"I am," said the Pyke. 

"Too bad," said Bingo. 

She climbed in beside J°eves and they popped off. 
There was a short silence after they had gone. It was 
too dark to see her, but I could feel Mrs. Bingo 
struggling between love of her mate and the natural 
urge to say something crisp about his forgetting to 
fill the petrol tank that morning. Eventually nature 
took its course. 

" I must say, sweetie-pie," she said, " it was a little 
careless of you to leave the tank almost empty when 
we started to-day. You promised me you would fill it, 
darling." 

"But I did fill it, darling." 

"But, darling, it's empty." 

"It can't be, darling." 

"Laura said it was." 

"The woman's an ass," said Bingo. "There's 
plenty of petrol. What's wrong is probably that the 
sprockets aren't running true with the differential 
gear. It happens that way sometimes. I'll fix it in a 
second. But I don't want you to sit freezing out here 
while I'm doing it Why not go to that house over 



JEEVE V S AND THE OLD SCHOOL CHUM 253 

there and ask them if you can't come in and sit down 
for ten minutes? They might give you a cup of tea, 
too." 

A soft moan escaped Mrs. Bingo. 

"Tea!'* I heard her whisper. 

I had to bust Bingo's daydream. 

"I'm sorry, old man/' I said, "but I fear the old 
English hospitality which you outline is off. That 
house is inhabited by a sort of bandit. As unfriendly 
a bird as I ever met. His wife's out and he's just got 
the baby to sleep, and this has darkened his outlook. 
Tap even lightly on his front door and you take your 
life into your hands." 

"Nonsense," said Bingo. "Come along." 

He banged the knocker, and produced an immediate 
reaction. 

"Hell!" said the Bandit, appearing as if out of a 
trap. 

"I say," said young Bingo, "I'm just fixing our car 
outside. Would you object to my wife coming in 
out of the cold for, a few minutes? " 

"Yes," said the Bandit, "I would." 

"And you might give her a cup of tea." 

"I might," said the Bandit, "but I won't." 

"You won't?" 

"No. And for heaven's sake don't talk so loud. 
I know that baby. A whisper sometimes does it." 

"Let us get this straight," said Bingo. "You 
refuse to give my wife tea?" 

"Yes." 

"You would see a woman starve?" 
"Yes." 

"Well, you jolly well aren't going to," said young 
Bingo. "Unless you go straight to your kitchen, 



254 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! K 

put the kettle on, and start slicing bread for the 
buttered toast, 111 yell and wake the baby." 

The Bandit turned ashen. 

" You wouldn't do that? " 

"I would." 

" Have you no heart? " 
"No." 

" No human feeling? " 
"No." 

The Bandit turned to Mrs. Bingo. You could see 
his spirit was broken. 

"Do your shoes squeak?" he asked humbly. 
"No." 

"Then come on in." 

"Thank you," said Mrs. Bingo. 

She turned for an instant to Bingo, and there was 
a look in her eyes that one of those damsels in distress 
might have given the knight as he shot his cuffs and 
turned away from the dead dragon. It was a look of 
adoration, of almost reverent respect. Just the sort 
of look, in fact, that a husband likes to see. 

"Darling!" she said. 

"Darling!" said Bingo. 

"Angel! " said Mrs. Bingo. 

" Precious ! " said Bingo. " Come along, Bertie, let's 
get at that car." 

He was silent till he had fetched the tin of petrol 
and filled the tank and screwed the cap on again. 
Then he drew a deep breath. 

"Bertie," he said, "I am ashamed to admit it, but 
occasionally in the course of a lengthy acquaintance 
there have been moments when I have temporarily 
lost faith jn Jeeves." 

"My dear chap!" T said, shocked. 



JEEVES AND THE OLD SCHOOL CHUM 255 
« 

" Yes, Bertie, there have. Sometimes my belief in 
him has wobbled. I have said to myself, 1 Has he the 
old speed, the ancient vim?' I shall never say it 
again. From now on, childlike trust. It was his 
idea, Bertie, that if a couple of women headed for tea 
suddenly found the cup snatched from their lips, so 
to speak, they would turn and rend one another. 
Observe the result." 

"But, dash it, Jeeves couldn't have known that 
the car would break down." 

" On the contrary. He let all the petrol out of the 
tank when you sent him to fetch the machine— all 
except just enough to carry it well into the wilds 
beyond the reach of human aid. He foresaw what 
would happen. I tell you, Bertie, Jeeves stands 
alone." 

"Absolutely." 

"He's a marvel." 

"A wonder." 

"A wizard." 

"A stout fellow," I agreed. "Full of fat-soluble 
vitamins." 

"The exact expression," said young Bingo. "And 
now let's go and tell Rosie the car is fixed, „and then 
home to the tankard of ale." 

"Not the tankard of ale, old man," I said firmly. 
"The hot Scotch-and-water with a spot of lemon in 
it." 

"You're absolutely right," said Bingo. "What a 
flair you have in these matters, Bertie. Hot Scotch- 
and-water it is." 



CHAPTER X 



INDIAN SUMMER OF AN UNCLE 

SK anyone at the Drones, and they will tell 



you that Bertram Wooster is a fellow whom 



JL JL it is dashed difficult to deceive. Old Lynx- 
Eye is about what it amounts to. I observe and 
deduce. I weigh the evidence and draw my conclu- 
sions. And that is why Uncle George had not been 
in my midst more than about two minutes before I, 
so to speak, saw all. To my trained eye the thing 
stuck out a mile. 

And yet it seemed so dashed absurd. Consider the 
facts, if you know what I mean. 

I mean to say, for years, right' back to the time 
when I first went to school, this bulging relative had 
been one of the recognised eyesores of London. He 
was fat then, and day by day in every way has been 
getting fatter ever since, till now tailors measure him 
just for the sake of the exercise. He is what they 
call a prominent London clubman — one of those birds 
in tight morning-coats and grey toppers whom you 
see toddling along St. James's Street on fine after- 
noons, puffing a bit as they make the grade. Slip a 
ferret into any good club between Piccadilly and 
Pall Mall, and you would start half a dozen Uncle 
Georges. 




256 



INDIAN SUMMER OF AN UNCLE 257 

He spends his time lunching and dining at the 
Buffers and, between meals, sucking down spots in 
the smoking-room and talking to anyone who will 
listen about the lining of his stomach. About twice 
a year his liver lodges a formal protest and he goes 
off to Harrogate or Carlsbad to get planed down. 
Then back again and on with the programme. The 
last bloke in the world, in short, who you would think 
would ever fall a victim to the divine pash. And 
yet, if you will believe me, that was absolutely the 
strength of it. 

This old pestilence blew in on me one morning at 
about the hour of the after-breakfast cigarette. 

"Oh, Bertie," he said. 

" Hullo ?" 

" You know those ties you've been wearing. Where 
did you get them?" 
"Blucher's, in the Burlington Arcade." 
"Thanks." 

He walked across to the mirror and stood in front 
of it, gazing at himself in an earnest manner. 

"Smut on your'nose?" I asked courteously. 

Then I suddenly perceived that he was wearing a 
sort of horrible simper, and I confess it chilled the 
blood to no little extent. Uncle George, with face 
in repose, is hard enough on the eye. Simpering, he 
goes right above the odds. 

"Ha!" he said. 

He heaved a long sigh, and turned away. Not 
too soon, for the mirror was on the point of cracking. 
"I'm not so old," he said, in a musing sort of voice. 
"So old as what?" 

"Properly considered, I'm in my prime. Besides, 
what a young and inexperienced girl needs *is a man 



258 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

of weight and years to lean on. The sturdy oak; not 
the sapling." 

It was at this point that, as I said above, I saw 
all. 

"Great Scott, uncle George!" I said. "You aren't 
thinking of getting married?" 
"Who isn't?" he said. 
"You aren't," I said. 
"Yes, lam. Why not?" 
"Oh, well " 

"Marriage is an honourable state." 
"Oh, absolutely." 

"It might make you a better man, Bertie." 
"Who says so?" 

" I say so. Marriage might turn you from a frivol- 
ous young scallywag into — er — a non-scallywag. Yes, 
confound you, I am thinking of getting married, and 
if Agatha comes sticking her oar in I'll — I'll — well, 
I shall know what to do about it." 

He exited on the big line, and I rang the bell for 
Jeeves. The situation seemed to me one that called 
for a cosy talk. 

"Jeeves," I said. 

" Sir? " 

"You know my Uncle George?" 

"Yes, sir. His lordship has been familiar to me 
for some years." 

"I don't mean do you know my Uncle George. 
I mean do you know what my Uncle George is thinking 
of doing?" 

"Contracting a matrimonial alliance, sir." 

" Good Lord ! Did he tell you? " 

" No, sir. Oddly enough, I chance to be acquainted 
with the other party in the matter." 



INDIAN SUMMER OF AN UNCLE 259 
"The girf?" 

"The young person, yes, sir. It was from her 
aunt, with whom she resides, that I received the 
information that his lordship was contemplating 
matrimony." 

"Who is she?" 

" A Miss Piatt, sir. Miss Rhoda Piatt. Of Wistaria 
Lodge, Kitchener Road, East Pulwich." 
"Young?" 
"Yes, sir." 
"The old fathead!" 

" Yes, sir. The expression is one which I would, of 
course, not have ventured to employ myself, but I 
confess to thinking his lordship somewhat ill-advised. 
One must remember, however, that it is not unusual 
to find gentlemen of a certain age yielding to what 
might be described as a sentimental urge. They 
appear to experience what I may term a sort of Indian 
summer, a kind of temporarily renewed youth. The 
phenomenon is particularly noticeable, I am given to 
understand, in the United States of America among 
the wealthier inhabitants of the city of Pittsburg. 
It is notorious, I am told, that sooner or later, unless 
restrained, they always endeavour to marry chorus- 
girls. Why this should be so, I am at a loss to say, 
but " 

I saw that this was going to take some time. I 
tuned out. 

" From something in Uncle George's manner, Jeeves, 
as he referred to my Aunt Agatha's probable recep- 
tion of the news, I gather that this Miss Piatt is not 
of the noblesse.' 3 

"No, sir. She is a waitress at his lordship's club." 

"My God! The proletariat!" 



260 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"The lower middle classes, sir." 
"Well, yes, by stretching it a bit, perhaps. Still, 
you know what I mean." 
"Yes, sir." 

" Rummy thing, Jeeves," I said thoughtfully, " this 
modern tendency to marry waitresses. If you remem- 
ber, before he settled down, young Bingo Little was 
repeatedly trying to do it." 

"Yes, sir." 

"Odd!" 

"Yes, sir." 

"Still, there it is. of course. The point to be con- 
sidered now is, What will Aunt Agatha do about 
this? You know her, Jeeves. She is not like me. 
I'm broad-minded. If Uncle George wants to marry 
waitresses, let him, say I. I hold that the rank is 
but the penny stamp " 

"Guinea stamp, sir." 

"All right, guinea stamp. Though I don't believe 
there is such a thing. I shouldn't have thought they 
came higher than five bob. Well, as I was saying, 
I maintain that the rank is but the guinea stamp 
and a girl's a girl for all that." 

"'For #' that,' sir. The poet Burns wrote in the 
North British dialect." 

"Well, 'a* that,* then, if you prefer it." 

"I have no preference in the matter, sir. It is 
simply that the poet Burns " 

"Never mind about the poet Burns." 

"No, sir." 

"Forget the poet Burns." 
"Very good, sir." 

"Expunge the poet Burns from your mind." 
"I will 'do so immediately, sir." 



INDIAN SUMMER OF AN UNCLE 261 

"What we h:ive to consider is not the poet Burns 
but the Aunt Agatha. She will kick, Jeeves." 
"Very probably, sir." 

"And, what's worse, she will lug me into the mess. 
There is only one thing to be done. Pack the tooth- 
brush and let us escape while we may, leaving no 
address." 

"Very good, sir." 

At this moment the bell rang. 

"Ha!" I said. "Someone at the door." 

"Yes, sir." 

"Probably Uncle George back again. I'll answer 
it. You go and get ahead with the packing." 
"Very good, sir." 

I sauntered along the passage, whistling carelessly, 
and there on the mat was Aunt Agatha. Herself. 
Not a picture. 

A nasty jar. 

"Oh, hullo!" I said, it seeming but little good to 
tell her I was out of town and not expected back 
for some weeks. 

"I wish to speak to you, Bertie," said the Family 
Curse. "I am greatly upset." 

She legged it into the sitting-room and volplaned 
into a chair. I followed, thinking wistfully of Jeeves 
packing in the bedroom. That suitcase would not 
be needed now. I knew what she must have come 
about. 

"I've just seen Uncle George," I said, giving her 
a lead. 

"So have I," said Aunt Agatha, shivering in a 
marked manner. " He called on me while I was still 
in bed to inform me of his intention of marrying some 
impossible girl from South Norwood." * 



262 VERY GOOD, JEEVES'. 

"East Dulwich, the cognoscenti inform 'me." 
"Well, East Dulwich, then. It is the same thing. 
But who told you? " 
"Jeeves." 

"And how, pray, does Jeeves come to know all 
about it?" 

"There are very few things in this world, Aunt 
Agatha," I said gravely, "that Jeeves doesn't know 
all about. He's met the girl." 

"Who is she?" 

"One of the waitresses at the Buffers." 

I had expected this to register, and it did. The 
relative let out a screech rather like the Cornish 
Express going through a junction. 

"I take it from your manner. Aunt Agatha," I 
said, "that you want this thing stopped." 

"Of course it must be stopped." 

"Then there is but one policy to pursue. Let me 
ring for Jeeves and ask his advice." 

Aunt Agatha stiffened - visibly. Very much the 
grande dame of the old rdgime. 

" Are you seriously suggesting ' that we should 
discuss this intimate family matter with your man- 
servant?/' 

"Absolutely. Jeeves will find the way." 

"I have always known that you were an imbecile, 
Bertie," said the flesh-and-blood, now down at about 
three degrees Fahrenheit, " but I did suppose that you 
had some proper feeling, some pride, some respect for 
your position." 

"Well, you know what the poet Burns says." 

She squelched me with a glance. 

"Obviously the only thing to do," she said, "is to 
offer this girl money." 



INDIAN SUMMER OF AN UNCLE 263 
"Money?'' 

" Certainly. It will not be the first time your uncle 
has made such a course necessary." 

We sat for a bit, brooding. The family always sits 
brooding when the subject of Uncle George's early 
romance comes up. I was too young to be actually 
in on it at the time, but I've had the details frequently 
from many sources, including Uncle George. Let him 
get even the slightest bit pickled, and he will tell you 
the whole story, sometimes twice in an evening. It 
was a barmaid at the Criterion, just before he came 
into the title. Her name was Maudie and he loved 
her dearly, but the family would have none of it. 
They dug down into the sock and paid her off. Just 
one of those human-interest stories, if you know what 
I mean. 

I wasn't so sold on this money-offering scheme. 

"Well, just as you like, of course," I said, "but 
you're taking an awful chance. I mean, whenever 
people do it in novels and plays, they always get the 
dickens of a welt. The girl gets the sympathy of the 
audience every time. She just draws herself up and 
looks at them with clear, steady eyes, causing them 
to feel not a little chcesey. If I were you, I would sit 
tight and let Nature take its course." 

"I don't understand you." 

"Well, consider for a moment what Uncle George 
looks like. No Greta Garbo, believe me. I should 
simply let the girl go on looking at him. Take it 
from me, Aunt Agatha, I've studied human nature 
and I don't believe there's a female in the world who 
could sec Uncle George fairly often in those waistcoats 
he wears without feeling that it was due to her better 
self to give him the gate. Besides, this *girl sees 



264 VERY GOOD. JEEVES! 

him at meal-times, and Uncle George with his 
head down among the food-stuffs is a spectacle 
which- " 

"If it is not troubling you too much, Bertie, I 
should be greatly obliged if you would stop 
drivelling." 

"Just as you say. All the same, I think you're 
going to find it dashed embarrassing, offering this girl 
money." 

" I am not proposing to do so. You will undertake 
the negotiations." 
"Me?" 

"Certainly. I should think a hundred pounds 
would be ample. But I will give you a blank cheque, 
and you are at liberty to fill il in for a higher sum if 
it becomes necessary. The essential point is that, 
cost what it may, your uncle must be released from 
this entanglement." 

"So you're going to shove this off on me?" 

"It is quite time you did something for the 
family." 

"And when she draws herself up and looks at 
me with clear, steady eyes, what do I do for an 
encore?" 

" There is no need to discuss the matter any further. 
You can get down to East Dulwich in half an hour. 
There is a frequent service of trains. I will remain 
here to await your report." 

"But, listen!" 

"Bertie, you will go and sec this woman immedi- 
ately." 

" Yes, but dash it ! " 
"Bertie!" 

I threv^ in the towel. 



INDIAN SUMMER OF AN UNCLE 265 

"Oh, right ho, if you say so." 
" 1 do say so." 

"Oh, well, in that case, right ho." 

I don't know if you have ever tooled off to East 
Dulwich to offer a strange female a hundred smackers 
to release your Uncle George. In case you haven't, 
I may tell you that there are plenty of things that 
arc lots better fun. I didn't feel any too good driving 
to the station. I didn't feel any too good in the train. 
And I didn't feel any too good as I walked to Kitchener 
Road. But the moment when I felt least good was 
when I had actually pressed the front-door bell and 
a rather grubby-looking maid had let me in and shown 
me down a passage and into a room with pink paper 
on the walls, a piano in the corner and a lot of photo- 
graphs on the mantelpiece. 

Barring a dentist's waiting-room, which it rather 
resembles, there isn't anything that quells the spirit 
much more than one of these suburban parlours. 
They are extremely apt to have stuffed birds in glass 
cases standing about on small tables, and if there is 
one thing which gives the man of sensibility that sinking 
feeling it is the cold, accusing eye of a ptarmigan or 
whatever it may be that has had its interior organs 
removed and sawdust substituted. 

There were three of these cases in the parlour of 
Wistaria Lodge, so that, wherever you looked, you 
were sure to connect. Two were singletons, the third 
a family group, consisting of a father bullfinch, a 
mother bullfinch, and little Master Bullfinch, the last- 
named of whom wore an expression that was definitely 
that of a thug, and did more to damp my joie de vivre 
than all the rest of them put together. 



266 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

I had moved to the window and was examining the 
aspidistra in order to avoid this creature's gaze, when 
I heard the door open and, turning, found myself 
confronted by something which, *since it could hardly 
be the girl, I took to be the aunt. 

" Oh, what ho," I said. " Good morning." 

The words came out rather roopily, for I was feeling 
a bit on the stunned side. I mean to say, the room 
being so small and this exhibit so large, I had got 
that sensation of wanting air. There are some people 
who don't seem to be intended to be seen close to, 
and this aunt was one of them. Billowy curves, if 
you know what I mean. I should think that in her 
day she must have been a very handsome girl, though 
even then on the substantial side. By the time she 
came into my life, she had taken on a good deal of 
excess weight. She looked like a photograph of an 
opera singer of the 'eighties. Also the orange hair 
and the magenta dress. 

However, she was a friendly soul. She seemed glad 
to see Bertram. She smiled broadly. 

"So here you are at last!" she said. 

I couldn't make anything of this. 

"Eh?" 

"But I don't think you had better see my niece 
just yet. She's just having a nap." 

"Oh, in that case " 

"Seems a pity to wake her, doesn't it? " 

"Oh, absolutely," I said, relieved. 

"When you get the influenza, you don't sleep at 
night, and then if you doze off in the morning — well, 
it seems a pity to wake someone, doesn't it? " 

" Miss Piatt h is influenza? " 

" That'# what we think it is. But, of course, you'll 



INDIAN SUMMER OF AN UNCLE 267 

be able to say. But we needn't waste time. Since 
you're here, you can be taking a look at my knee." 
"Your knee?" 

I am all for knees at their proper time and, as you 
might say, in their proper place, but somehow this 
didn't seem the moment. However, she carried on 
according to plan. 

"What do you think of that knee?" she asked, 
lifting the seven veils. 

Well, of course, one has to be polite. 

"Terrific!" I said. 

"You wouldn't believe how it hurts me sometimes." 
"Really?" 

" A sort of shooting pain. It just comes and goes. 
And I'll tell you a funny thing." 

"What's that?" I said, feeling I could do with a 
good laugh. 

"Lately I've been having the same pain just here, 
at the end of the spine." 
"You don't mean it!" 

" I do. Like red-hot needles. I wish you'd have a 
look at it." 

" At your spine? " 
"Yes." 

I shook my head. Nobody is fonder of a bit 
of fun than myself, and I am all for Bohemian 
camaraderie and making a party go, and all that. 
But there is a line, and we Woosters know when to 
draw it. 

"It can't be done," I said austerely. "Not spines. 
Knees, yes. Spines, no," I said. 
She seemed surprised. 

"Well," she said, "you're a funny sort of doctor, 
I must say." 



268 VERY GOOD, JEEVES I 

I'm pretty quick, as I said before, ancl I began to 
sec that somefhing in the nature of a misunderstanding 
must have arisen. 

*' Doctor? " 

"Well, you call yourself a doctor, don't you?" 
" Did you think I was a doctor? " 
"Aren't you a doctor?" 
"No. Not a doctor." 

We had got it straightened out. The scales had 
fallen from our eyes. We knew where we were. 

I had suspected that she was a genial soul. She 
now endorsed this view. I don't think I have ever 
heard a woman laugh so heartily. 

"Well, that's the be?t thing!" she said, borrowing 
my handkerchief to wipe hei eyes. "Did you ever! 
But, if you aren't the doctor, who are you?" 

" Wooster's the name. I came to see Miss Piatt." 

"What about?" 

This was the moment, of course, when I should 
have come out with the cheque and sprung the big 
effort. But somehow I couldn't make it. You know 
how it is. Offering people money to release your 
uncle is a scaly enough job at best, and when the 
atmosphere's not right the shot simply isn't on the 
board. 

"Oh, just came to see her, you know." I had 
rather a bright idea. " My uncle heard she was seedy, 
don't you know, and asked me to look in and make 
enquiries," I said. 

"Your uncle?" 

"Lord Yaxley." 

"Oh! So you are Lord Yaxley's nephew?" 
"That's right. I suppose he's always popping in 
and ouyicre, what?" 



INDIAN SUMMER OF AN UNCLE 269 

"No. I've never met him." 
** You haven't?" 

"No. Rhoda talks a lot about him, of course, but 
for some reason she's never so much as asked him to 
look in for a cup of tea." 

I began to see that this Rhoda knew her business. 
If I'd been a girl with someone wanting to marry me 
and knew that there was an exhibit like this aunt 
hanging around the home, I, too, should have thought 
twice about inviting him to call until the ceremony 
was over and he had actually signed on the dotted 
line. I mean to say, a thoroughly good soul heart 
of gold beyond a doubt- but not the sort of thing 
you wanted to spring on Romeo before the time was 
ripe. 

"I suppose you were all very surprised when you 
heard about it?" she said. 
"Surprised is right." 

"Of course, nothing is definitely settled yet." 

"You don't mean that? I thought " 

"Oh, no. She's thinking it over." 
1 see. 

"Of course, she feels it's a great compliment. But 
then sometimes she wonders if he isn't too old." 

"My Aunt Agatha has rather the same idea." 

"Of course, a title is a title." 

"Yes, there's that. What do you think about it 
yourself? " 

" Oh, it doesn't matter what I think. There's no 
doing anything with girls these days, is there? " 
"Not much." 

"What I often say is, I wonder what girls are 
coming to. Still, there it is." 
"Absolutely." 



270 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



There didn't seem much reason why the conversa- 
tion shouldn't go on for ever. She had the air of a 
woman who had settled down for the day. But at 
this point the maid came in and said the doctor had 
arrived. 

I got up. 

"I'll be tooling off, then." 
"If you must." 
"I think I'd better." 
"Well, pip pip." 

"Toodle-oo," I said, and out into the fresh air. 

Knowing what was waiting for me at home, I would 
have preferred to hav* 1 gone to the club and spent 
the rest of the day there. But the thing had to 
be faced. 

"Well?" said Aunt Agatha, as I trickled into the 
sitting-room. 

Well, yes and no," I replied. 

"What do you mean? Did she refuse the money? " 

"Not exactly." 

"She accepted it?" 

"Well, there, again, not precisely." 

I explained what had happened. I wasn't expect- 
ing her to be any too frightfully pleased, and it's as 
well that I wasn't, because she wasn't. In fact, as 
the story unfolded, her comments became fruitier 
and fruitier, and when I had finished she uttered an 
exclamation that nearly broke a window. It sounded 
something like 'Gor!' as if she had started to say 
' Gorblimey ! ' and had remembered her ancient lineage 
just in time. 

"I'm sorry," I said. "And can a man say more? 
I lost my nerve. The old morale suddenly turned 



INDIAN SUMMER OF AN UNCLE 271 

blue on me. 'It's the sort of thing that might have 
happened to anyone." 

" I never heard of anything so spineless in my life." 

I shivered, likp a warrior whose old wound hurts 
him. 

"I'd be most awfully obliged, Aunt Agatha," I 
said, "if you would not use that word spine. It 
awakens memories." 

The door opened. Jeeves appeared. 

"Sir?" 

"Yes, Jeeves?" 

"I thought you called, sir." 

"No, Jeeves." 

"Very good, sir." 

There are moments when, even under the eye 
of Aunt Agatha, I can take the firm line. And 
now, seeing Jeeves standing there with the light 
of intelligence simply fizzing in every feature, 
I suddenly felt how perfectly footling it was to 
give this preeminent source of balm and com- 
fort the go-by simply because Aunt Agatha had 
prejudices against' discussing family affairs with 
the staff. It might make her say 'Gor!' again, 
but I decided to do as we ought to have 
done right from the start — put the case in his 
hands. 

"Jeeves," I said, "this matter of Uncle George." 
"Yes, sir." 

"You know the circs?" 
"Yes, sir." 

"You know what we want." 
"Yes, sir." 

"Then advise us. And make it snappy. Think 
on your feet." 



272 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

I heard Aunt Agatha rumble like a* volcano just 
before it starts to set about the neighbours, but I did 
not wilt. I had seen the sparkle in Jeeves' eye which 
indicated that an idea was on the way. 

" I understand that you have been visiting the young 
person's home, sir?" 

"Just got back." 

" Then you no doubt encountered the young person's 
aunt?" 

"Jeeves, I encountered nothing else but." 

"Then the suggestion which I am about to make 
will, I feel sure, appeal to you, sir. I would recom- 
mend that you confronted his lordship with this 
woman. It has alwayb been her intention to con- 
tinue residing with her niece after the latter's mar- 
riage. Should he meet her, this reflection might 
give his lordship pause. As you are aware, sir, 
she is a kind-hearted woman, but definitely of the 
people." 

"Jeeves, you are right! Apart from anything else, 
that orange hair!" 
"Exactly, sir." 

"Not to mention the magenta dress." 
"Precisely, sir." 

" I'll ask her to lunch to-morrow, to meet him. You 
see," I said to Aunt Agatha, who was still fermenting 
in the background, " a ripe suggestion first crack out 
of the box. Did I or did I not tell you " 

"That will do, Jeeves," said Aunt Agatha. 

"Very goou, madam." 

For some minutes after he had gone, Aunt Agatha 
strayed from the point a bit, confining her remarks 
to what she thought of a Wooster who could lower 
the prestige of th*» clan by allowing menials to get 



INDIAN SUMMER OF AN UNCLE 273 

above themseWes. Then she returned to what you 
might call the main issue. 

"Bertie," she said, "you will go and see this girl 
again to-morrow, and this time you will do as I told 
you." 

"But, dash it! With this excellent alternative 
scheme, based firmly on the psychology of the in- 
dividual " 

"That is quite enough, Bertie. You heard what I 
said. I am going. Good-bye." 

She buzzed off, little knowing of what stuff Bertram 
Wooster was made. The door had hardly closed 
before I was shouting for Jeeves. 

"Jeeves," I said, "the recent aunt will have 
none of your excellent alternative schemes, but 
none the less I propose to go through with it un- 
swervingly. I consider it a ball of fire. Can you 
get hold of this female and bring her here for lunch 
to-morrow? " 

"Yes, sir." 

"Good. Meanwhile, I will be 'phoning Uncle 
George. We will do Aunt Agatha good despite her- 
self. What is it the poet says, Jeeves? " 

"The poet Burns, sir?" 

"Not the poet Burns. Some other poet. About 
doing good by stealth." 
" ' These little acts of unremembered kindness, ' sir? " 
"That's it in a nutshell, Jeeves." 

I suppose doing good by stealth ought to give one 
a glow, but I can't say I found myself exactly looking 
forward to the binge in prospect. Uncle George by 
himself is a mouldy enough luncheon companion, being 
extremely apt to collar the conversation and confine 



274 VERY GOOD, JEEVES I 

it to a description of his symptoms, he being one of 
those birds who can never be brought to believe that 
the general public isn't agog to hear all about the 
lining of his stomach. Add the aunt, and you have 
a little gathering which might well dismay the stoutest. 
The moment I woke, I felt conscious of some impending 
doom, and the cloud, if you know what I mean, grew 
darker all the morning. By the time Jeeves came in 
with the cocktails, I was feeling pretty low. 

"For two pins, Jeeves," I said, "I would turn the 
whole thing up and leg it to the Drones." 

"I can readily imagine that this will prove some- 
thing of an ordeal, sir." 

" How did you get to know these people, Jeeves? " 

" It was through a young follow of my acquaintance, 
sir, Colonel Mainwaring-Smith's personal gentleman's 
gentleman. He and the young person had an under- 
standing at the time, and he desired me to accompany 
him to Wistaria Lodge and meet her." 

"They were engaged?" 

"Not precisely engaged, sir. An understanding." 

" What did they quarrel about? " 

"They did not quarrel, sir. When his lordship 
began to pay his addresses, the young person, naturally 
flattered, began to waver between love and ambition. 
But even now she has not formally rescinded the 
understanding." 

"Then, if your scheme works and Uncle George 
edges out, it will do your pal a bit of good? " 

"Yes, sir. Smethurst — his name is Smethurst — 
would consider it a consummation devoutly to be 
wished." 

"Rather well put, that, Jeeves. Your own? " 
"No, sir. The Swan of Avon, sir." 



INDIAN SUMMER OF AN UNCLE 275 

An unseen hand without tootled on the bell, 
and I braced myself to play the host. The binge 
was on. 

" Mrs. Wilberforce, sir," announced Jeeves. 

"And how I'm to keep a straight face with you 
standing behind and saying ' Madam, can I tempt you 
with a potato? ' is more than I know," said the aunt, 
sailing in, looking larger and pinker and matier than 
ever. "I know him, you know," she said, jerking a 
thumb after Jeeves. " He's been round and taken tea 
with us." 

"So he told me." 

She gave the sitting-room the once-over. 

"You've got a nice place here," she said. "Though 
I like more pink about. It's so cheerful. What's 
that you've got there? Cocktails?" 

"Martini with a spot of absinthe," I said, beginning 
to pour. 

She gave a girlish squeal. 

"Don't you try to make me drink that stuff! Do 
you know what would happen if I touched one of those 
things? I'd be racked with pain. What they do to 
the lining of your stomach! " 

"Oh, I don't know." 

"I do. If you had been a barmaid as long as I 
was, you'd know, too." 

" Oh — er — were you a barmaid? " 

"For years, when I was younger than I am. At 
the Criterion." 

I dropped the shaker. 

"There!" she said, pointing the moral. "That's 
through drinking that stuff. Makes your hand wobble. 
What I always used to say to the boys was. ' Port, if 
you like. Port's wholesome. I appreciate a drop of 



276 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

port myself. "But these new-fangled fnesses from 

America, no.' But they would never listen to me." 

I was eyeing her warily. Of course, there must 
have been thousands of barmaids at the Criterion in 
its time, but still it gave one a bit of a start. It 
was years ago that Uncle George's dash at a mesal- 
liance had occurred — long before he came into the 
title — but the Wooster clan still quivered at the name 
of the Criterion. 

"Er — when you were at the Cri.," I said, "did you 
ever happen to run into a fellow of my name?" 

"I've forgotten what it is. I'm always silly about 
names." 

"Wooster." 

"Wooster! When you were there yesterday I 
thought you said Foster. Wooster! Did I run into 
a fellow named Wooster? Well! Why, George 
Wooster and me — Piggy, I used to call him — were 
going off to the registrar's, only his family heard of 
it and interfered. They offered me a lot of money 
to give him up, and, like a silly girl, I let them per- 
suade me. If I've wondered once what became of 
him, I've wondered a thousand times. Is he a relation 
of yours? " 

"Excuse me," I said. "I just want a word with 
Jeeves." 

I legged it for the pantry. 

"Jeeves!" 

"Sir?" 

"Do you know what's happened?" 
"No, sir." 

"This female " 

"Sir?" 

" She's. Uncle George's barmaid!" 



INDIAN SUMMER OF AN UNCLE 177 
"Sir?" " 

"Oh, dash it, you must have heard of Uncle George's 
barmaid. You know all the family history. The 
barmaid he wanted to marry years ago." 

"Ah, yes, sir." 

"She's the only woman he ever loved. He's told 
me so a million times. Every time he gets to the 
fourth whisky-and-potash, he always becomes maudlin 
about this female. What a dashed bit of bad luck! 
The first thing we know, the call of the past will be 
echoing in his heart. I can feel it, Jeeves. She's 
just his sort. The first thing she did when she came 
in was to start talking about the lining of her stomach. 
You see the hideous significance of that, Jeeves? 
The lining of his stomach is Uncle George's favourite 
topic of conversation. It means that he and she are 
kindred souls. This woman and he will be like " 

"Deep calling to deep, sir?" 

"Exactly." 

"Most disturbing, sir." 
"What's to be.done?" 
"I could not say, sir." 

"I'll tell you what I'm going to do — 'phone him 
and say the lunch is off." 

" Scarcely feasible, sir. I fancy that is his lordship 
at the door now." 

And so it was. Jeeves let him in, and I followed 
him as he navigated down the passage to the sitting- 
room. There was a stunned silence as he went in, 
and then a couple of the startled yelps you hear when 
old buddies get together after long separation. 

"Piggy?" 

"Maudie!" 
"Well, I never!" 



27fc VILUY GOOD, 3E,E,VES\ 

"Well, I'm dashed!" 

"Did you ever!" 

"Well, bless my soul!" 

" Fancy you being Lord Yaxley! " 

"Came into the title soon after we parted." 

"Just to think!" 

" You could have knocked me down with a feather! " 

I hung about in the offing, now on this leg, now on 
that. For all the notice they took of me, I might just 
have well been the late Bertram Wooster. disembodied. 

"Maudie, you don't look a day older, dash it!" 

"Nor do you, Piggy." 

"How have you been all these years?" 

"Pretty well. The liniag of my stomach isn't all 
it should be." 

"Good Gad! You don't say so? I have trouble 
with the lining of my stomach." 

"It's a sort of heavy feeling after meals." 

"/ get a sort of heavy feeling after meals. What 
are you trying for it?" 

"I've been taking Perkins' Digestine." 

"My dear girl, no use! No use at all. Tried it 
myself for years and got no relief. Now, if you really 
want something that is some good " 

I slid away. The last I saw of them, Uncle George 
was down beside her on the Chesterfield, buzzing 
hard. 

"Jeeves," I said, tottering into the pantry. 
"Sir?" 

"There will only be two for lunch. Count me out. 
If they notice I'm not there, tell them I was called 
away by an urgent 'phone message. The situation 
has got beyond Bertram, Jeeves. You will find me 
at the Drones." 



INDIAN SUMMER OF AN UNCLE 279 

"Very good, sir." 

It was lateish in the evening when one of the waiters 
came to me as I played a distrait game of snooker 
pool and informed me that Aunt Agatha was on the 
'phone. 

"Bertie!" 

" Hullo? " 

I was amazed to note that her voice was that of 
an aunt who feels that things are breaking right. It 
had the birdlike trill. 

"Bertie, have you that cheque I gave you?" 

"Yes." 

"Then tear it up. It will not be needed." 
"Eh?" 

" I say it will not be needed. Your uncle has been 
speaking to me on the telephone. He is not going 
to marry that girl." 

"Not?" 

"No. Apparently he has been thinking it over 
and sees how unsuitable it would have been. But 
what is astonishing is that he is going to be married! " 

"He is?" 

"Yes, to an old friend of his, a Mrs. Wilberforce. 
A woman of a sensible age, he gave me to under- 
stand. I wonder which Wilberforces that would be. 
There are two main branches of the family — the 
Essex Wilberforces and the Cumberland Wilberforces. 
I believe there is also a cadet branch somewhere in 
Shropshire." 

"And one in East Dulwich." 

" What did you say? " 

"Nothing," I said. "Nothing." 

I hung up. Then back to the old fiat, feeling a 
trifle sand-bagged. 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



"Well, Jeeves," I said, and there was censure 
in the eyes. "So I gather everything is nicely 
settled?" 

"Yes, sir. His lordship formally announced the 
engagement between the sweet and cheese courses, 
sir." 

"He did, did he?" 
"Yes, sir." 

I eyed the man sternly. 

"You do not appear to be aware of it, Jeeves," 
I said, in a cold, level voice, "but this binge has depre- 
ciated your stock very considerably. I have always 
been accustomed to look upon you as a counsellor 
without equal. I have, so to speak, hung upon your 
lips. And now see what you have done. All this 
is the direct consequence of your scheme, based on 
the psychology of the individual. I should have 
thought, Jeeves, that, knowing the woman — meeting 
her socially, as you might say, over the afternoon 
cup of tea — you might have ascertained that she was 
Uncle George's barmaid." 

"I did, sir." 

"What!" 

" I was aware of the fact, sir." 
"Then you must have known what would happen 
if she came to lunch and met him." 
"Yes, sir." 
"Well, I'm dashed!" 

" If I might explain, sir. The young man Smethurst, 
who is greatly attached to the young person, is an 
intimate friend of mine. He applied to me some 
little while back in the hope that I might be able to 
do something to ensure that the young person followed 
the dictates of her Leart and refrained from permitting 



INDIAN SUMMER OF AN UNCLE 281 



herself to be* lured by gold and the glamour of his 
lordship's position. There will now be no obstacle to 
their union." 

"I see. 'Little acts of unremembered kindness,' 
what? " 

"Precisely, sir." 

"And how about Uncle George? You've landed 
him pretty nicely in the cart." 

"No, sir, if I may take the liberty of opposing 
your view. I fancy that Mrs. Wilberforce should 
make an ideal mate for his lordship. If there was 
a defect in his lordship's mode of life, it was that 
he was a little unduly attached to the pleasures of 
the table " 

"Ate like a pig, you mean?" 

" I would not have ventured to put it in quite that 
way, sir, but the expression does meet the facts of 
the case. He was also inclined to drink rather more 
than his medical adviser would have approved of. 
Elderly bachelors who are wealthy and without occu- 
pation tend somewhat frequently to fall into this 
error, sir. The future Lady Yaxley will check this. 
Indeed, I overheard her ladyship saying as much as 
I brought in the fish. She was commenting on a 
certain puffiness of the face which had been absent 
in his lordship's appearance in the earlier days of 
their acquaintanceship, and she observed that his 
lordship needed looking after. I fancy, sir, that you 
will find the union will turn out an extremely satis- 
factory one." 

It was — what's the word I want? — it was plausible, 
of course, but still I shook the onion. - 

"But, Jeeves!" 

"Sir?" 



282 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"She is, as you remarked not long ago, definitely 
of the people." 
He looked at me in a reproachful sort of way. 
"Sturdy lower middle class stock, sir." 
"H'm!" 
"Sir?" 

"I said 'H'm!' Jeeves/' 

"Besides, sir, remember what the poet Tennyson 
said: 'Kind hearts are more than coronets '." 

"And which of us is going to tell Aunt Agatha 
that?" 

" If I might make the suggestion, sir, I would advise 
that we omitted to communicate with Mrs. Spenser 
Gregson in any way. I have your suit-case practically 
packed. It would be a matter of but a few minutes 
to bring the car round from the garage " 

"And off over the horizon to where men are men? " 

"Precisely, sir." 

"Jeeves," I said. "I'm not sure that even now 
I can altogether see eye to eye with you regarding 
your recent activities. You think you have scattered 
light and sweetness on every side. * I am not so sure. 
However, with this latest suggestion you have rung 
the bell. I examine it narrowly and I find no flaw 
in it. It is the goods. I'll get the car at once." 

"Very good, sir." 

"Remember what the poet Shakespeare said, 
Jeeves." 
"What was that, sir?" 

" 'Exit hurriedly, pursued by a bear.' You'll find 
it in one of his plays. I remember drawing a picture 
of it on the side of the page, when I was at school." 



CHAPTER XI 



THE ORDEAL OF YOLNG TUPPY 

WHAT-HO, Jeeves!" I said, entering the 
room where he waded knee-deep in suit- 
cases and shirts and winter suitings, like 
a sea-beast among rocks. "Packing?" 

"Yes, sir," replied the honest fellow, for there are 
no secrets between us. 

"Pack on!" I said approvingly. "Pack, Jeeves, 
pack with care. Pack in the presence of the passen- 
jare." And I rather fancy I added the words ' Tra-la ! ' 
for I was in merry mood. 

Every year, starting about the middle of November, 
there is a good deal of anxiety and apprehension 
among owners of "the better-class of country-house 
throughout England as to who will get Bertram 
Wooster's patronage for the Christmas holidays. It 
may be one or it may be another. As my Aunt 
Dahlia says, you never know where the blow will fall. 

This year, however, I had decided early. It couldn't 
have been later than Nov. 10 when a sigh of 
relief went up from a dozen stately homes as it be- 
came known that the short straw had been drawn 
by Sir Reginald Witherspoon, Bart, of Bleaching 
Court, Upper Bleaching, Hants. 

In coming to the decision to give this Witherspoon 
my custom, I had been actuated by several reasons, 

283 



284 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



not counting the fact that, having rnarried Aunt 
Dahlia's husband's younger sister Katherine, he is by 
way of being a sort of uncle of mine. In the first 
place, the Bart, does one extraordinarily well, both 
browsing and sluicing being above criticism. Then, 
again, his stables always contain something worth 
riding, which is a consideration. And, thirdly, there 
is no danger of getting lugged into a party of amateur 
Waits and having to tramp the countryside in the 
rain, singing, ' When Shepherds Watched Their Flocks 
By Night.' Or for the matter of that, 'Noel! Noel!' 

All these things counted with me, but what really 
drew me to Bleaching Court like a magnet was the 
knowledge that young Tuppy Glossop would be 
among those present. 

I feel sure I have told you before about this black- 
hearted bird, but I will give you the strength of it 
once again, just to keep the records straight. He 
was the fellow, if you remember, who, ignoring a 
lifelong friendship in the course of which he had 
frequently eaten my bread and salt, betted me one 
night at the Drones that I wouldn't swing myself 
across the swimming-bath by the ropes and rings and 
then, with almost inconceivable treachery, went and 
looped back the last ring, causing me to drop into 
the fluid and ruin one of the nattiest suits of dress- 
clothes in London. 

To execute a fitting vengeance on this bloke hud 
been the ruling passion of my life ever since. 

"You are bearing in mind, Jeeves," I said, "the 
fact that Mr. Glossop will be at Bleaching?" 

"Yes, sir." 

"And, consequently, are not forgetting to put in 
the Giant Squirt? "' 



THE ORDEAL OF YOUNG TUPPY «85 
"No, sir/" 

"Nor the Luminous Rabbit?" 
"No, sir." 

"Good! I am rather pinning my faith on the 
Luminous Rabbit, Jeeves. I hear excellent reports 
of it on all sides. You wind it up and put in it some- 
body's room in the night watches, and it shines in 
the dark and jumps about, making odd, squeaking 
noises the while. The whole performance being, I 
should imagine, well calculated to scare young Tuppy 
into a decline." 

"Very possibly, sir." 

"Should that fail, there is always the Giant Squirt. 
We must leave no stone unturned to put it across 
the man somehow," I said. "The Wooster honour 
is at stake." 

I would have spoken further on this subject, but 
just then the front-door bell buzzed. 

" I'll answer it," I said. " I expect it's Aunt Dahlia. 
She 'phoned that she would be calling this morning." 

It was not Aunt Dahlia. It was a tclcgraph-boy 
with telegram. I opened it, read it, and carried it 
back to the bedroom, the brow a bit knitted. 

"Jeeves," I said. "A rummy communication has 
arrived. From Mr. Glossop." 

"Indeed, sir?" 

"I will read it to you. Handed in at Upper 
Bleaching. Message runs as follows: 

' When you come to-morrow, bring my football boots. 
Also, if humanly possible, Irish water-spaniel. Urgent. 
Regards. Tuppy/ 

"What do you make of that, Jeeves?" 



286 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



"As I interpret the document, sir, Mr. Glossop 
wishes you, when you come to-morrow, to bring his 
football boots. Also, if humanly possible, an Irish 
water-spaniel. He hints that the matter is urgent, 
and sends his regards." 

"Yes, that's how I read it, too. But why football 
boots?" 

"Perhaps Mr. Glossop wishes to play football, sir." 
I considered this. 

"Yes," I said. "That may be the solution. But 
why would a man, staying peacefully at a country- 
house, suddenly develop a craving to play football? " 

"I could not say, sir." 

"And why an Irish water-spaniel?" 

"There again I fear I can hazard no conjecture, 
sir." 

"What is an Irish water-spaniel?" 

"A water-spaniel of a variety bred in Ireland, sir." 

"You think so?" 

" Yes, sir." 

"Well, perhaps you're right. But why should I 
sweat about the place collecting dogs — of whatever 
nationality — for young Tuppy? Does he think I'm 
Santa Claus? Is he under the impression that my 
feelings towards him, after that Drones Club incident, 
are those of kindly benevolence? Irish water-spaniels, 
indeed! Tchah!" 

"Sir?" 

"Tchah, Jeeves." 

"Very good, sir." 

The front-door bell buzzed again. 

"Our busy morning, Jeeves." 

"Yes, sir." 

"All right. I'D go." 



THE ORDEAL OF YOUNG TUPPY 287 

This tin\e it was Aunt Dahlia. She charged in 
with the air of a woman with something on her mind 
— giving tongue, in fact, while actually on the very 
doormat. 

"Bertie," she boomed, in that ringing voice of 
hers which cracks window-panes and upsets vases, 
"I've come about that young hound, Glossop." 

" It's quite all right, Aunt Dahlia," I replied sooth- 
ingly. "I have the situation well in hand. The 
Giant Squirt and the Luminous Rabbit are even now 
being packed." 

"I don't know what you're talking about, and I 
don't for a moment suppose you do, either," said the 
relative somewhat brusquely, "but, if you'll kindly 
stop gibbering, I'll tell you what I mean. I have 
had a most disturbing letter from Katherine. About 
this reptile. Of course, I haven't breathed a word 
to Angela. She'd hit the ceiling." 

This Angela is Aunt Dahlia's daughter. She and 
young Tuppy are generally supposed to be more or 
less engaged, ■ though nothing definitely ' Morning 
Posted' yet. 

"Why?" I said. 

"Whv what?" 

" Why would Angela hit the ceiling? " 

"Well, wouldn't you, if you were practically en- 
gaged to a fiend in human shape and somebody told 
you he had gone off to the country and was flirting 
with a dog-girl?" 

"With a what was that, once again?" 

"A dog-girl. One of these dashed open-air flappers 
in thick boots and tailor-made tweeds who infest the 
rural districts and go about the place followed by 
packs of assorted dogs. I used to be one of them 



288 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



myself in my younger days, so I know how dangerous 
they are. Her name is Dalgleish. Old Colonel 
Dalgleish's daughter. They live near Bleaching." 
I saw a gleam of daylight. 

"Then that must be what his telegram was about. 
He's just wired, asking me to bring down an Irish 
water-spaniel. A Christmas present for this girl, no 
doubt." 

"Probably. Katherine tells me he seems to be 
infatuated with her. She says he follows her about 
like one of her dogs, looking like a tame cat and 
bleating like a sheep." 

"Quite the private Zoo, what?" 

"Bertie," said Aunt Dnhlia — and I could see her 
generous nature was stirred to its depths — "one more 
crack like that out of you, and I shall forget that 
I am an aunt and hand you one." 

I became soothing. I gave her the old oil. 

"I shouldn't worry," I said. "There's probably 
nothing in it. Whole thing no doubt much exag- 
gerated." 

"You think so, eh? Well, you know what he's 
like. You remember the trouble we had when he 
ran after that singing-woman." 

I recollected the case. You will find it elsewhere 
in the archives. Cora Bellinger was the female's 
name. She was studying for Opera, and young Tuppy 
thought highly of her. Fortunately, however, she 
punched him in the eye during Beefy Bingham's 
clean, bright entertainment in Bermondsey East, and 
love died. 

"Besides," said Aunt Dahlia, "There's something 
I haven't told you. Just before he went to Bleaching, 
he and Angela quarrelled." 



THE ORDEAL OF YOUNG TUPPY 289 
"They did?," 

"Yes. I got it out of Angela this morning. She 
was crying her eyes out, poor angel. It was some- 
thing about her last hat. As far as I could gather, 
he told her it made her look like a Pekingese, and 
she told him she never wanted to see him again in 
this world or the next. And he said 'Right ho!' 
and breezed off. I can see what has happened. This 
dog-girl has caught him on the rebound, and, unless 
something is done quick, anything may happen. So 
place the facts before Jeeves, and tell him to take 
action the moment you get down there." 

I am always a little piqued, if you know what I 
mean, at this assumption on the relative's part that 
Jeeves is so dashed essential on these occasions. My 
manner, therefore, as I replied, was a bit on the crisp 
side. 

"Jeeves' services will not be required," I said. 
"I can handle this business. The programme which 
I have laid out will be quite sufficient to take young 
Tuppy's mind off love-making. It is my intention 
to insert the Luminous Rabbit in his room at the 
first opportunity that presents itself. The Luminous 
Rabbit shines in the dark and jumps about, making 
odd, squeaking noises. It will sound to young Tuppy 
like the Voice of Conscience, and I anticipate that 
a single treatment will make him retire into a nursing- 
home for a couple of weeks or so. At the end of 
which period he will have forgotten all about the 
bally girl." 

"Bertie," said Aunt Dahlia, with a sort of frozen 
calm, "You are the Abysmal Chump. Listen to me. 
It's simply because I am fond of you and have influ- 
ence with the Lunacy Commissioners that you weren't 



290 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

put in a padded cell years ago. Bungle this business, 
and I withdraw my protection. Can't you under- 
stand that this thing is far too serious for any fooling 
about? Angela's whole happiness is at stake. Do 
as I tell you, and put it up to Jeeves." 

"Just as you say, Aunt Dahlia," I said stiffly. 

"All right, then. Do it now." 

I went back to the bedroom. 

"Jeeves," I said, and I did not trouble to conceal 
my chagrin, "you need not pack the Luminous 
Rabbit." 

"Very good, sir." 

"Nor the Giant Squirt." 

"Very good, sir." 

" They have been subjected to destructive criticism, 
and the zest has gone. Oh, and, Jeeves." 
"Sir?" 

" Mrs. Travers wishes you, on arriving at Bleaching 
Court, to disentangle Mr. Glossop from a dog-girl." 

"Very good, sir. I will attend to the matter and 
will do my best to give satisfaction." 

That Aunt Dahlia had not exaggerated the perilous 
nature of the situation was made clear to me on the 
following afternoon. Jeeves and I drove down to 
Bleaching in the two-seater, and we were tooling 
along about half-way between the village and the 
Court when suddenly there appeared ahead of us a 
sea of dogs and in the middle of it young Tuppy 
frisking round one of those largish, corn-fed girls. He 
was bending towards her in a devout sort of way, 
and even at a considerable distance I could see that 
his ears were pink. His attitude, in short, was unmis- 
takably that of ° man endeavouring to push a good 



THE ORDEAL OF YOUNG TUPPY 291 

thing along; and when I came closer and noted 
that the girl wore tailor-made tweeds and thick boots, 
I had no further doubts. 

" You observe, Jeeves? " I said in a low, significant 
voice. 

"Yes, sir." 

"The girl, what?" 

"Yes, sir." 

I tootled amiably on the horn and yodelled a bit. 
They turned — Tuppy, I fancied, not any too pleased. 
"Oh, hullo, Bertie," he said. 
"Hullo/' I said. 

"My friend, Bertie Wooster," said Tuppy to the 
girl, in what seemed to me rather an apologetic 
manner. You know — as if he would have preferred 
to hush me up. 

"Hullo," said the girl. 

"Hullo," I said. 

"Hullo, Jeeves," said Tuppy. 

"Good afternoon, sir," said Jeeves. 

There was a -somewhat constrained silence. 

"Well, good-bye, Bertie," said young Tuppy. 
"You'll be wanting to push along, I expect." 

We Woosters can take a hint as well as the next 
man. 

"See you later," I said. 
"Oh, rather," said Tuppy. 

I set the machinery in motion again, and we rolled 
off. 

"Sinister, Jeeves," I said. "You noticed that the 
subject was looking like a stuffed frog?'"' 
"Yes, sir." 

" And gave no indication of wanting us to stop and 
join the party?" 



292 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"No, sir." 

"I think Aunt Dahlia's fears are justified. The 
thing seems serious." 
"Yes, sir." 

"Well, strain the brain, Jeeves." 
"Very good, sir." 

It wasn't till I was dressing for dinner that night 
that I saw young Tuppy again. He trickled in just 
as I was arranging the tie. 

"Hullo!" I said. 

"Hullo!" said Tuppy. 

"Who was the girl? " I asked, in that casual, snaky 
way of mine — off-hand, I mean. 

"A Miss Dalgleish," said Tuppy, and I noticed that 
lie blushed a spot. 

"Staying here?" 

" No. She lives in that house just before you come 
to the gates of this place. Did you bring my football 
boots? " 

"Yes. Jeeves has got them somewhere." 
"And the water-spaniel?" 
"Sorry. No water-spaniel." 

"Dashed nuisance. She's set her heart on an Irish 
water-spaniel." 

"Well, what do you care?" 
"I wanted to give her one." 
"Why?" 

Tuppy became a trifle haughty. Frigid. The 
rebuking eye. 

"Colonel and Mrs. Dalgleish," he said, "have been 
esrtremely kind to me since I got here. They have 
entertained me. I naturally wish to make some 
return for their hospitality. I don't want them to look 
upon me , as one of those ill-mannered modern young 



THE ORDEAL OF YOUNG TUPPY 293 

men you read about in the papers who grab everything 
they can lay their hooks on and never buy back. 
If people ask you to lunch and tea and what not, 
they appreciate it if you make them some little 
present in return." 

"Well, give them your football boots. In passing, 
why did you want the bally things?" 

"I'm playing in a match next Thursday." 

"Down here?" 

"Yes. Upper Bleaching versus Hocklcy-cum- 
Meston. Apparently it's the big game of the year." 

"How did you get roped in?" 

" I happened to mention in the course of conversa- 
tion the other day that, when in London, I generally 
turn out on Saturdays for the Old Austinians, and 
Miss Dalglcish seemed rather keen that I should help 
the village." 

"Which village?" 

"Upper Bleaching, of course." 

"Ah, then you're going to play for Hockley?" 

" You needn't be funny, Bertie. You may not 
know it, but I'm pretty hot stuff on the football 
field. Oh, Jeeves." 

"Sir?" said Jeeves, entering right centre. 

"Mr. Wooster tells me you have my football boots." 

"Yes, sir. I have placed them in your room." 

"Thanks. Jeeves, do you want to make a bit of 
money? " 

"Yes, sir." 

"Then put a trifle on Upper Bleaching for the 
annual encounter with Hockley-cum-Meston next 
Thursday," said Tuppy, exiting with swelling bosom. 

"Mr. Glossop is going to play on Thursday," I 
explained as the door closed. 



294 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



"So I was informed in the Servants' Hall, sir." 
" Oh ? And what's the general feeling there about it ? " 
"The impression I gathered, sir, was that the 
Servants' Hall considers Mr. Glossop ill-advised." 
"Why's that?" 

"I am informed by Mr. Mulready, Sir Reginald's 
butler, sir, that this contest differs in some respects 
from the ordinary football game. Owing to the fact 
that there has existed for many years considerable 
animus between the two villages, the struggle is 
conducted, it appears, on somewhat looser and more 
primitive lines than is usually the case when two 
teams meet in friendly rivalry. The primary object 
of the players, I am given to understand, is not so 
much to score points as to intiict violence." 

"Good Lord, Jeeves!" 

"Such appears to be the case, sir. The game is 
one that would have a great interest for the anti- 
quarian. It was played first in the reign of King 
Henry the Eighth, when it lasted from noon till sun- 
down over an area covering several square miles. 
Seven deaths resulted on that occasion." 

"Seven!" 

"Not inclusive of two of the spectators, sir. In 
recent years, however, the casualties appear to have 
been confined to broken limbs and other minor in- 
juries. The opinion of the Servants' Hall is that it 
would be more judicious on Mr. Glossop's part were 
he to refrain from mixing himself up in the affair." 

I was more or less aghast. I mean to say, while 
I had made it my mission in life to get back at young 
Tuppy for that business at the Drones, there still 
remained certain faint vestiges, if vestiges is the 
word I want, of the old friendship and esteem. Be- 



THE ORDEAL OF YOUNG TUPPY 295 

sides, there, are limits to one's thirst for vengeance. 
Deep as my resentment was for the ghastly outrage 
he had perpetrated on me, I had no wish to see him 
toddle unsuspiciously into the arena and get all 
chewed up by wild villagers. A Tuppy scared 
stiff by a Luminous Rabbit — yes. Excellent business. 
The happy ending, in fact. But a Tuppy carried of! 
on a stretcher in half a dozen pieces — no. Quite a 
different matter. All wrong. Not to be considered 
for a moment. 

Obviously, then, a kindly word of warning while 
there was yet time, was indicated. I buzzed off to 
his room forthwith, and found him toying dreamily 
with the football boots. • 

I put him in possession of the facts. 

''What you had better do — and the Servants' 
Hall thinks the same," I said, "is fake a sprained 
ankle on the eve of the match." 

He looked at me in an odd sort of way. 

"You suggest that, when Miss Dalgleish is trust- 
ing me, relying on me, looking forward with eager, 
girlish enthusiasm to seeing me help her village on 
to victory, I should let her down with a thud? " 

I was pleased with his ready intelligence. 

"That's the idea," I said. 

"Faugh!" said Tuppy — the only time I've ever 
heard the word. 

"How do you mean. Faugh?" I asked. 

"Bertie," said Tuppy, "what you tell me merely 
makes me all the keener for the fray. A warm game 
is what I want. I welcome this sporting spirit on the 
part of the opposition. I shall enjoy a spot of rough- 
ness. It will enable me to go all out and give of my 
best. Do you realise," said young Tuppy, vermilion 



296 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

to the gills, " that She will be looking on ? And do you 
know how that will make me feel? It will make 
me feel like some knight of old jousting under the eyes 
of his lady. Do you suppose that Sir Lancelot or 
Sir Galahad, when there was a tourney scheduled 
for the following Thursday, went and pretended they 
had sprained their ankles just because the thing was 
likely to be a bit rough?" 

"Don't forget that in the reign of King Henry the 
Eighth " 

"Never mind about the reign of King Henry the 
Eighth. All I care about is that it's Upper Bleach- 
ing's turn this year to play in colours, so I shall be 
able to wear my Old Austinian shirt. Light blue, 
Bertie, with broad orange stripes. I shall like some- 
thing, I tell you." 

"But what?" 

"Bertie," said Tuppy, now becoming purely ga-ga, 
"I may as well tell you that I'm in love at last. This 
is the real thing. I have found my mate. All my 
life I have dreamed of meeting some sweet, open-air 
girl with all the glory of the English countryside in 
her eyes, and I have found her. How different she 
is, Bertie, from these hot-house, artificial London 
girls! Would they stand in the mud on a winter 
afternoon, watching a football match? Would they 
know what to give an Alsatian for fits? Would they 
tramp ten miles a day across the fields and come 
back as fresh as paint? No!" 

"Well, why should they?" 

"Bertie, I'm staking everything on this game on 
Thursday. At the moment, I have an idea that she 
looks on me as something of a weakling, simply because 
I got a blister on my foot the other afternoon and had 



THE ORDEAL OF YOUNG TUPPY 297 

to take the J)us back from Hockley. But when she 
sees me going through the rustic opposition like a 
devouring flame, will that make her think a bit? 
Will that make her open her eyes? What? " 

"What?" 

"I said 'What?'" 

"So did I." 

" I meant, Won't it? " 

"Oh, rather." 

Here the dinner-gong sounded, not before I was 
ready for it. 

Judicious enquiries during the next couple of days 
convinced me that the Servants' Hall at Bleaching 
Court, in advancing the suggestion that young Tuppy, 
born and bred in the gentler atmosphere of the metro- 
polis, would do well to keep out of local disputes and 
avoid the football-field on which these were to be 
settled, had not spoken idly. It had weighed its words 
and said the sensible thing. Feeling between the two 
villages undoubtedly ran high, as they say. 

You know how" it is in these remote rural districts. 
Life tends at times to get a bit slow. There's nothing 
much to do in the long winter evenings but listen to 
the radio and brood on what a tick your neighbour is. 
You find yourself remembering how Farmer Giles did 
you down over the sale of your pig, and Farmer Giles 
finds himself remembering that it was your son, Ernest, 
who bunged the half-brick at his horse on the second 
Sunday before Septuagesima. And so on and so 
forth. How this particular feud had started, I don't 
know, but the season of peace and good will found it 
in full blast. The only topic of conversation in Upper 
Bleaching was Thursday's game, and the citizenry 



298 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

seemed to be looking forward to it in a spirit that can 
only be described as ghoulish. And it was the same in 
Hockley-cum-Meston. 

I paid a visit to Hockley-cum-Meston on the Wed- 
nesday, being rather anxious to take a look at the 
inhabitants and see how formidable they were. I was 
shocked to observe that practically every second male 
might have been the Village Blacksmith's big brother. 
The muscles of their brawny arms were obviously 
.strong as iron bands, and the way the company at the 
Green Pig, where I looked in incognito for a spot of 
beer, talked about the forthcoming sporting contest 
was enough to chill the blood of anyone who had a 
pal who proposed to fling himself into the fray. It 
sounded rather like Attila and a few of his Huns 
sketching out their next campaign. 

I went back to Jeeves with my mind made up. 

"Jeeves," I said, "you, who had the job of drying 
and pressing those dress-clothes of mine, are aware 
that I have suffered much at young Tuppy Glossop's 
hands. By rights, I suppose, I ought *o be welcoming 
the fact that the Wrath of Heaven is now hovering 
over him in this fearful manner. But the view I take 
of it is that Heaven looks like overdoing it. Heaven's 
idea of a fitting retribution is not mine. In my most 
unrestrained moments I never wanted the poor blighter 
assassinated. And the idea in Hockley-cum-Meston 
seems to be that a good opportunity has arisen of 
making it a bumper Christmas for the local under- 
taker. There was a fellow with red hair at the Green 
Pig this afternoon who might have been the under- 
taker's partner, the way he talked. We must act, 
and speedily, Jeeves. We must put a bit of a jerk in 
it and save young Tuppy in spite of himself." 



THE ORDEAL OF YOUNG TUPPY 209 

" What course would you advocate, sir? " 

" I'll tell you. He refuses to do the sensible thing 
and slide out, because the girl will be watching the 
game and he imagines, poor lizard, that he is going 
to shine and impress her. So we must employ guile. 
You must go up to London to-day, Jeeves, and to- 
morrow morning you will send a telegram, signed 
'Angela/ which will run as follows. Jot it down. 
Ready?" 

" Yes, sir." 

'"So sorry ' ..." I pondered. "What would 

a girl say, Jeeves, who, having had a row with the bird 
she was practically engaged to because he told her 
she looked like a Pekingese in her new hat, wanted to 
extend the olive-branch?" 

" ' So sorry I was cross', sir, would, I fancy, be the 
expression." 

" Strong enough, do you think? " 

"Possibly the addition of the word 'darling' would 
give the necessary verisimilitude, sir." 

"Right. Resume the jotting. 'So sorry I was 
cross, darling . . \' No, wait, Jeeves. Scratch that 
out. I see where we have gone off the rails. I sec 
where we are missing a chance to make this the real 
tabasco. Sign the telegram not 'Angela' but 'Tra- 
vels/" 

"Very good, sir." 

" Or, rather, ' Dahlia Travers'. And this is the body 
of the communication. 'Please return at once.'" 

"'Immediately' would be more economical, sir. 
Only one word. And it has a stronger ring." 

"True. Jot on, then. 'Please return immediately. 
Angela in a hell of a state.' " 

" I would suggest ' Seriously ill', sir." 



300 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

"All right. 'Seriously ill'. ' Angela , seriously ill. 
Keeps calling for you and says you were quite right 
about hat.'" 

" If I might suggest, sir ? " 

"Well, go ahead." 

" 1 fancy the following would meet the case. ' Please 
return immediately. Angela seriously ill. High fever 
and delirium. Keeps calling your name piteously and 
saying something about a hat and that you were quite 
right. Please catch earliest possible train. Dahlia 
Travers."' 

"That sounds all right." 

"Yes, sir." 

"You like that 'piteously'? You don't trunk 
'incessantly'? " 

" No, sir. ' Piteously ' is the mot juste." 

"All right. You know. Well, send it off in time 
to get here at two-thirty." 

"Yes, sir." 

"Two- thirty, Jeeves. You see the devilish cun- 
ning? " 
"No, sir." 

"I will tell you. If the telegram arrived earlier, 
he would get it before the game. By two-thirt\, 
however, he will have started for the ground. 1 shall 
hand it to him the moment there is a lull in the battle. 
By that time he will have begun to get some idea of 
what a football match between Upper Bleaching and 
Hockley-cum-Meston is like, and the thing ought to 
work like magic. I can't imagine anyone who has 
been sporting awhile with those thugs I saw yesterday 
not welcoming any excuse to call it a day. You follow 
me?" 

"Yes, sir." 



THE ORDEAL OF YOUNG TUPPY 



"Very goojl, Jeeves." 
"Very good, sir." 

You can always rely on Jeeves. Two-thirty I had 
said, and two-thirty it was. The telegram arrived 
almost on the minute. I was going to my room to 
change into something warmer at the moment, and I 
took it up with me. Then into the heavy tweeds and 
off in the car to the field of play. I got there just 
as the two teams were lining up, and half a minute 
later the whistle blew and the war was on. 

What with one thing and another — having been at 
a school where they didn't play it and so forth — 
Rugby football is a game I can't claim absolutely to 
understand in all its niceties, if you know what 1 mean. 
J can follow the broad, general principles, of course. 
* mean to say, I know that the main scheme is to work 
the ball down the field somehow and deposit it over 
the Jinc at the other end, and that, in order to squelch 
this programme, each side is allowed to put in a certain 
amount of assault and battery and do things to its 
iellow-man which", if done elsewhere, would result in 
fourteen days without the option, coupled with some 
strong remarks from the Bench. But there I stop. 
What you might call the science of the thing is to 
Bertram Wooster a sealed book. However, I am 
informed by experts that on this occasion there was 
not enough science for anyone to notice. 

There had been a great deal of rain in the last few 
days, and the going appeared to be a bit sticky. In 
fact, I have seen swamps that were drier than this 
particular bit of ground. The red-haired bloke whom 
I had encountered in the pub paddled up and kicked 
off amidst cheers from the populace, and the ball went 



302 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 



straight to where Tuppy was standing, a nretty colour- 
scheme in light blue and orange. Tuppy caught it 
neatly, and hoofed it back, and it was at this point 
that I understood that an Upper Bleaching versus 
Hockley-cum-Meston game had certain features not 
usually seen on the football-field. 

For Tuppy, having done his bit, was just standing 
there, looking modest, when there was a thunder of 
large feet and the red-haired bird, galloping up, seized 
him by the neck, hurled him to earth, and fell on him. 
I had a glimpse of Tuppy's face, as it registered horror, 
dismay, and a general suggestion of stunned dis- 
satisfaction with the scheme of things, and then he 
disappeared. By the time he had come to the surface, 
a sort of mob-warfare was going on at the other side 
of the field. Two assortments of sons of the soil had 
got their heads down and were shoving earnestly 
against each other, with the ball somewhere in the 
middle. 

Tuppy wiped a fair portion of Hampshire out of his 
eye, peered round him in a dazed kind of way, saw the 
mass-meeting and ran towards it, arriving just in time 
for a couple of heavyweights to gather him in and 
give him the mud-treatment again. This placed him 
in an admirable position for a third heavyweight to 
kick him in the ribs with a boot like a violin-case. 
The red-haired man then fell on him. It was all good, 
brisk play, and looked fine from my side of the ropes. 

I saw now where Tuppy had made his mistake. He 
was too dressy. On occasions such as this it is safest 
not to be conspicuous, and that blue and orange shirt 
rather caught the eye. A sober beige, blending with 
the colour of the ground, was what his best friends 
would have recommended. And, in addition to the 



THE ORDEAL OF YOUNG TUPPY 303 

fact that his costume attracted attention, I rather 
think that the men of Hockley-cum-Meston resented 
his being on the field at all. They felt that, as a non- 
local, he had butted in on a private fight and had no 
business there. 

At any rate, it certainly appeared to me that they 
were giving him preferential treatment. After each 
of those shoving-bees to which I have alluded, when 
the edifice caved in and tons oi humanity wallowed in 
a tangled mass in the juice, the last soul to be excavated 
always seemed to be Tuppy. And on the rare occa- 
sions when he actually managed to stand upright for 
a moment, somebody — generally the red-haired man 
— invariably sprang to the congenial task of spilling 
him again. 

In fact, it was beginning to look as though that 
telegram would come too late to save a human life, 
when an interruption occurred. Play had worked 
round close to where I was standing, and there had 
been the customary collapse of all concerned, with 
Tuppy at the bottom of the basket, as usual ; but this 
time, when they got up and started to count the 
survivors, a sizeable cove in what had once been a 
white shirt remained on the ground. And a hearty 
cheer went up from a hundred patriotic throats as the 
news spread that Upper Bleaching had drawn first 
blood. 

The victim was carried off by a couple of his old 
chums, and the rest of the players sat down and pulled 
their stockings up and thought of life for a bit. The 
moment had come, it seemed to me, to remove Tuppy 
from the abattoir, and I hopped over the ropes and 
toddled to where he sat scraping mud from his wish- 
bone. His air was that of a man who has been passed 



3o 4 VERY GOOD, JEEVES 1 



through a wringer, and his eyes, what you could see of 
them had, a strange, smouldering gleam. He was so 
crusted with alluvial deposits that one realised how 
little a mere bath would ever be able to effect. To 
fit him to take his place once more in polite society, he 
would certainly have to be sent to the cleaner's. 
Indeed, it was a moot point whether it wouldn't be 
simpler just to throw him away. 

"Tuppy, old man," I said. 

"Eh?" said Tuppy. 

"A telegram for you." 

"Eh?" 

"I've got a wire* here that came after you left the 
house." 

"Eh?" said Tuppy. 

I stirred him up a trifle with the ferule of my stick, 
and he seemed to come to life. 

"Be careful what you're doing, you silly ass," he 
said, in part. "I'm one solid bruise. What are 
you gibbering about?" 

"A telegram has come for you. I think it may 
be important." 

He snorted in a bitter sort of way. 

" Do you suppose I've time to read telegrams now? " 

"But this one may be frightfully urgent," I said. 
"Here it is." 

But, if you understand me, it wasn't. How I had 
happened to do it, I don't know, but apparently, 
in changing the upholstery, I had left it in my other 
coat. 

"Oh, my gosh," I said, "I've left it behind." 
"It doesn't matter." 

"But it does. It's probably something you ought 
to read at once. Immediately, if you know what 



THE ORDEAL OF YOUNG TUPPY 305 



I mean. If. I were you, I'd just say a few words 
of farewell to the murder-squad and come back to 
the house right away." 

He raised his eyebrows. At least, I think he must 
have done, because the mud on his forehead stirred 
a little, as if something was going on underneath it, 

"Do you imagine," he said, "that I would slink 
away under her very eyes? Good G»hI! Besides," 
he went on, in a quiet, meditative voice, "there is- 
no power on earth that could get me off this field 
until I've thoroughly disembowel led that red-haired 
bounder. Have you noticed how he keeps tackling 
me when I haven't got the ball?" 

"Isn't that right?" 

"Of course it's not right. Never mind! A bitter 
retribution awaits that bird. I've had enough of it. 
From now on I assert my persona lit v." 

"I'm a bit foggy as to the rules ol this pastime," 
I said. "Arc you allowed to bite him?" 

"I'll try, and see what happens," said Tuppy, 
struck with the idea and brightening a little. 

At this point, the pall-bearers returned, and fighting 
became general airain all along the Front. 

There's nothing like a bit of rest and what you 
might call folding of the hands for freshening up the 
shop-soiled athlete. The dirty work, resumed after 
this brief breather, started off with an added vim 
which it did one good to see. And the life and soul 
of the party was young Tuppy. 

You know, only meeting a fellow ;it lunch or at 
the races or loafing round country-houses and so 
forth, you don't get on to his hidden depths, if you 
know what I mean. Until this moment, if asked, 



306 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

I would have said that Tuppy Glossop was, on the 
whole, essentially a pacific sort of bloke, with little 
or nothing of the tiger of the jungle in him. Yet 
here he was, running to and fro with fire streaming 
from his nostrils, a positive danger to traffic. 

Yes, absolutely. Encouraged by the fact that the 
referee was either filled with the spirit of Live and 
Let Live or else had got his whistle choked up with 
mud, the result being that he appeared to regard 
the game with a sort of calm detachment, Tuppy 
was putting in some very impressive work. Even 
to me, knowing nothing of the finesse of the thing, 
it was plain that if Hnckley-cum-Meston wanted the 
happy ending they must eliminate young Tuppy at 
the earliest possible moment. And I will say for 
them that they did their best, the red-haired man 
being particularly assiduous. But Tuppy was made 
of durable material. Every time the opposition 
talent ground him into the mire and sat on his head, 
he rose on stepping-stones of his dead self, if you 
follow me, to higher things. And in the end it was 
the red-haired bloke who did the dust-biting. 

I couldn't tell you exactly how it happened, for 
by this time the shades of night were drawing in a 
bit and there was a dollop of mist rising, but one 
moment the fellow was hareing along, apparently 
without a care in the world, and then suddenly Tuppy 
had appeared from nowhere and was sailing through 
the air at his neck. They connected with a crash 
and a slither, and a little later the red-haired bird 
was hopping off, supported by a brace of friends, 
something having gone wrong with his left ankle. 

After that, there was nothing to it. Upper Bleaching, 
thoroughly bucked, became busier than ever. There 



THE ORDEAJ, 6f YOUNG TUPPY 307 

was a lot of earnest work in a sort of inland sea down 
at the Hoddey end of the field, and then a kind of 
tidal wave poured over the line, and when the bodies 
had been removed and the tumult and the shouting 
had died, there was young Tuppy lying on the ball. 
And that, with exception of a few spots of mayhem 
in the last five minutes, concluded the proceedings. 

I drove back to the Court m rather what you might 
term a pensive frame of mind. Things having hap- 
pened as they had happened, there seemed to me a 
goodish bit of hard thinking to be done. There was 
a servitor of sorts in the hall, when I arrived, and 
I asked him to send up a whisky-and-soda, strongish, 
to my room. The old brain, I felt, needed stimulating. 
And about ten minutes later there was a knock at 
the door, and in came Jeeves, bearing tray and 
materials. 

"Hullo, Jeeves," I said, surprised. "Arc you 
back?" 
"Yes, sir." 

"When did" you get here?" 

"Some little while ago, sir. Was it an enjoyable 
game, sir?" 

"In a sense, Jeeves," I said, "yes. Replete with 
human interest and all that, if you know what I 
mean. But I fear that, owing to a touch of careless- 
ness on my part, the worst has happened. I left the 
telegram in my other coat, so young Tuppy remained 
in action throughout." 

"Was he injured, sir?" 

"Worse than that, Jeeves. He was the star of 
the game. Toasts, I should imagine, are now being 
drunk to him at every pub in the village. So spec- 



308 VERY GOOD, JEEVES! 

tacularly did he play — in fact, so heartily did he 
joust — that I can't see the girl not being all over 
him. Unless I am greatly mistaken, the moment 
they meet, she will exclaim *My hero!' and fall into 
his bally arms." 
"Indeed, sir?" 

I didn't like the man's manner. Too calm. Unim- 
pressed. A little leaping about with fallen jaw was 
what I had expected my words to produce, and I 
was on the point of saying as much when the door 
opened again and Tuppy limped in. 

He was wearing an ulster over his football things, 
and I wondered why he had come to pay a social 
call on me instead of proceeding straight to the bath- 
room. He eyed my glass in * wolfish sort of way. 

"Whisky?" he said, in a hushed voice. 

"And soda." 

"Bring me one, Jeeves," said young Tuppy. "A 
large one." 

"Very good, sir." 

Tuppy wandered to the window and looked out 
into the gathering darkness, and for. the first time I 
perceived that he had got a grouch of some descrip- 
tion. You can generally tell by a fellow's back. 
Humped. Bent. Bowed down with weight of woe, 
if you follow me. 

"What's the matter?" I asked. 

Tuppy emitted a mirthless. 

" Oh, nothing much," he said. " My faith in woman 
is dead, that's all." 
"It is?" 

"You jolly well bet it is. Women are a wash-out. 
I see no future for the sex, Bertie. Blisters, all of 
them." 



THE ORDEAIr^F YOUNG TUPPY 309 

"Er — even the Dogsbody girl?" 

"Her name," said Tuppy, a little stiffly, "is Dal- 
gleish, if it happens to interest you. And, if you 
want to know something else, she's the worst of the 
lot." 

"My dear chap!" 

Tuppy turned. Beneath the mud, I could see that 
his face was drawn and, to pnt it in a nutshell, wan. 
"Do you know what happened, Bertie?" 
"What?" 

"She wasn't there." 
"Where?" 

"At the match, you silly ass." 
"Not at the match?" 
"No." 

"You mean, not among the throng of eager spec- 
tators? " 

"Of course I mean not among the spectators. Did 
you think I expected her to be playing?" 

"But I thought the whole scheme of the thing " 

" So did I. My gosh ! " said Tuppy, laughing another 
of those hollow 'ones. "I sweat myself to the bone 
for her sake. I allow a mob of homicidal maniacs 
to kick me in the ribs and stroll about on my face. 
And then, when I have braved a fate worse than death, 
so to speak, all to please her, I find that she didn't 
bother to come and watch the game. She got a 
'phone-call from London from somebody who said 
he had located an Irish water-spaniel, and up she 
popped in her car, leaving me flat. I met her just 
now outside her house, and she told me. And all 
she could think of was that she was as sore as a sun- 
burnt neck because she had had her trip for nothing. 
Apparently it wasn't an Irish water-spaniel at all. 



3io VERY G00D>£EEVES! 



Just an ordinary English water-spaniel. And to think 

I fancied I loved a girl like that. A nice life-partner 
she would make! 'When pain and anguish wring the 

brow, a ministering angel thou' 1 don't think! 

Why, if a man married a girl like that and happened 
to get stricken by some dangerous illness, would 
she smooth his pillow and press cooling drinks on 
him? Not a chance! She'd be off somewhere trying 
to buy Siberian eel-hounds. I'm through with women." 

I saw that the moment had come to put in a word 
for the old firm. 

"My cousin Angela's not a bad sort, Tuppy," I 
said, in a grave elder-brotherly kind of way. "Not 
altogether a bad egg. Angela, if you look at her 
squarely. I had always been hoping that she and 
you . . . and I know my Aunt Daiilia felt the same." 

Tuppy 's bitter sneer cracked the top-soil. 

"Angela!" he woofed. "Don't talk to rne about 
Angela. Angela's a rag and a bone and a hank of 
hair and an A I scourge, if you want to know. She 
gave me the push. Yes, she did. Simply because I 
had the manly courage to speak out candidly on the 
subject of that ghastly lid she was chump enough 
to buy. It made her look like a Pekc, and I told her 
it made her look like a Peke. And instead of admiring 
me for my fearless honesty she bunged me out on 
my ear. Faugh!" 

"She did? " I said. 

" She jolly well did," said 3 ? oung Tuppy. " At four- 
sixtecn p.m. on Tuesday the seventeenth." 

" By the way, old man." I said, " I've found that 
telegram." 

"What telegram?" 

"The one I told you about." 



THE ORDEAtrDF YOUNG TUPPY 311 

"Oh.that.one?" 
"Yes, that's the one." 

"Well, let's have a look at the beastly thing." 

I handed it over, watching him narrowly. And 
suddenly, as he read, I saw him wobble. Stirred to 
the core. Obviously. 

"Anything important?" I said. 

" Bertie," said young Tuppy, in a voice that quivered 
with strong emotion, "my recent remarks re your 
cousin Angela. Wash them out. Cancel them. Look 
on them as not spoken. I tell you. Bertie, Angela's 
all right. An angel in human shape, and that's 
official. Bertie, I've got to get up to London. She's ill." 

" ni?" 

" High fever and delirium. This wire's from your 
aunt. She wants me to come up to London at once. 
Can I borrow your car? " 

"Of course." 

"Thanks," said Tuppy, and dashed out. 
lie had only been gone about a second when Jeeves 
came in with the restorative. 
" Mr. Glossop's gone, Jeeves." 
" Indeed, sir? " 
"To London." 
"Yes, sir?" 

" In my car. To set* my cousin Angela. The sun 
is once more shining, Jeeves." 
"Extremely gratifying, sir." 
I gave him the eye. 

"Was it .you, Jeeves, who 'phoned to Miss What's- 
hcr-bally-name about the alleged water-spaniel? " 
"Yes, sir." 

"I thought as much." 
"Yes, sir?" 



312 



VERY GOOD, JEEVES ! 



"Yes, Jeeves, the moment Mr. Glossop p told me that 
a Mysterious Voice had 'phoned on the subject of Irish 
water-spaniels, I thought as much. I recognised your 
touch. I read your motives like an open book. You 
knew she would come buzzing up." 

"Yes, sir." 

" And you knew how Tuppy would react. If there's 
one thing that gives a jousting knight the pip, it is to 
have his audience walk out on him. " 

"Yes, sir." 

"But, Jeeves." 

"Sir?" 

"There's just one point. What will Mr. Glossop 
say when he finds my cousin Angela full of beans and 
not delirious?" 

"The point had not escaped me, sir. I took the 
liberty of ringing Mrs. Travers up on the telephone 
and explaining the circumstances. All will be in 
readiness for Mr. Glossop's arrival." 

"Jeeves," I said, "you think of everything." 

" Thank you, sir. In Mr. Glossop's absence, would 
you care to drink this whisky-and-soda? " 

I shook the head. 

"No, Jeeves, there is only one man who must do 
that. It is you. If ever anyone earned a refreshing 
snort, you are he. Pour it out, Jeeves, and shove it 
down." 

"Thank you very much, sir." 
"Cheerio, Jeeves!" 

"Cheerio, sir, if I may use the expression." 



THE END 



BOOKS OF LAUGHTER 

BY 

P. G. WODEHOUSE 



THE ADVENTURES OF SALLY 

S i.!\ Wrf5 pi el lv, xv h ami «"!^.u«*il *o W married. Hut Fate 
.inii Ginger Kemp, uere u..iln v miu-d the coiner. 2a. 6d. net. 

LEAVE IT TO PSMITH 

1-Ttliin' Threepwood and his um s o aie in financial ditlii ultics. 
1 'smith agrees to help Fr~ddie Meal lm aunt's necklace. 2s. «d. net 

THE INIMITABLE JEEVES 

Bertie Wooster and his fticnds swore bv Jeeves. There was 
nobody like him. He was the peiteet gentleman's gentleman. 

2«. 6d. net. 



CARRY ON JEEVES 



(ee%es was equal to any situation and eould deal with the most 
dragon-like aunt or the most irate uncle. 2s. 8d. net. 

THE HEART OF A GOOF 

Ferdinand Dibble should have been a competent golfer — but he 
was a goof. More laughter foi golfers 2s. 6d. net. 

MEET MR. MULLINER 

This book provides laughter, laughter all the way. Meet Mr. 
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astonishing stows. 2:. 6d. net. 

MONEY FOR NOTHING 

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wasn't quite sine which to choose. The result was a ternhN: 
mix-up. 2i.fld. n**t. 

MR. MULLINER SPEAKING 

More Mr. Mulliner ! More merriment ! Mr. Mulliner is funnier 
than ever in this second book of laughter. 2>.6d. net. 

SUMMER LIGHTNING 

All about two love affairs and how Lord Emsworth's prize pig 
was stolen. Mr. Wodchouse introduces us to some old friends. 

2s. 6d. net 



HERBERT JENKINS, LTD., 3 YORK STREET. LONDON, S.W.1 



BOOKS OF LAUGHTER 

BY 

P. G. WODEHOUSE 

PICCADILLY JIM 

The adventures of a young man intent on enjoying life. A 
brilliant comedy of tmsidentincation. iis. 6d. not. 

A DAMSEL IN DISTRESS 

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THE COMING OF BILL 

Hill was the most wonderful baby in the world ; the White 
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THE GIRL ON THE BOAT 

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THE CLICKING OF CUTHBERT I 

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JILL THE RECKLESS 

A comedy-drama with a delightful heroine and a charming 
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INDISCRETIONS OF ARCHIE 

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LOVE AMONG THE CHICKENS 

How two friends attempted to run a chicken farm with disastrous 
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UKRIDGE 

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A GENTLEMAN OF LEISURE j 

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Herbert Jenkins* 


MONEY FOR NOTHING 

By P. G. WODEHOUSE. Author of Summer Lightning. 

John Carrol and Hugo Carmody both wanted Pat, and she 
wasn't quite sure which to choose. The result was a terrible 
mix-up. However, Mr. Wodehouse straightens things out in 
the end. 

CHILDREN OF THE DEAD END 

By PATRICK MACGILL. Author of Sid Puddiefoot. 

The autobiography of a navvy — the novel that made a 
reputation. In Moleskin Joe the author has added a unique 
character to Literature. 

MAELSTROM 

By GEORGE C. FOSTER. Author of Cats' and Clover. 

There is a great deal of matter in this fine novel, which 
treats of the loves and the hates, the politics and the 
prejudices, of two generations. Mr. Foster at his best. 



Herbert Jenkins* 

LATEST 2/6 NOVELS 



MR. MULLINER SPEAKING 

By P. G. WODEHOUSE. Author of Meet Mr. Mulliner. 
Mr. Mulliner is one of P. G. Wodehouse's happiest creations 
— nothing can dull his sunny oi^.'ook on life, nothing can 
'i.keep him down." His stories will brighten the gloomiest 
day. 

RAMAZAN THE RAJAH 

By VERE LOCKVVOOD. Author of Sen of the Turk. 
A young and arrogant Indian Prince and a proud, fearless 
English girl — such were Reuel de Rainazan and Valerie 
Ransome. Valerie " played with fire," and Reuel determined 
to humble her. 

COBWEB CASTLE 

By J. S. FLETCHER. Author of The Wrist Mark. 
Cobweb Castle had a bad reputation. The villagers were 
frightened of it. Yet a solicitor's clerk, entering the castle, 
haidly expected to find a dead man in evening dress — a 
man with his head battered in by an empty champagne 
bottle. 

THE MAN WITH THE AMBER EYES 

By fcDGAR JEPSON and HUGH CJLKVELY 
A thrilling and ingenious story of a search after stolen 
pearls, mingled with pleasant interludes of love-making. 
Laughter, thrills, romance, blended into a very exciting and 
entertaining tale. 

THE RAT-PIT 

The Rat-Pit is a Glasgow lodging-house for women where 
the vagrant can get a nightly bunk, no woman being refused 
admittance. The tragic story of Norah Ryan, who com- 
mitted the " Great Sin " and became an outcast. 

THE COMPULSORY HUSBAND 

By JOHN GLYDER. Author of The Compulsory Wife. 
A riot of laughter. Old Brommilow fell into a sea of 
troubles when he admitted the pretty little wife of the 
foreigner across the road into his house at midnight, clad 
only in rain-soaked silk pyjamas. 

    
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