P.G.Wodehouse. Jeeves in the offing, 1960

Seeming himself to recognize that there was nothing constructive to be done in that direction for the moment, he said in a brooding voice that he would take Poppet for a walk. This, apparently, was his invariable method of healing the stings of disappointment, and an excellent thing of course from the point of view of a dog who liked getting around and seeing the sights. They headed for the horizon and passed out of view; the hound gambolling, he not gambolling but swishing his stick a good deal in an overwrought sort of manner, and I, feeling that this was a thing that ought to be done, selected one of Ma Cream’s books from Aunt Dahlia’s shelves and took it out to read in a deck chair on the lawn. And I should no doubt have enjoyed it enormously, for the Cream unquestionably wielded a gifted pen, had not the warmth of the day caused me to drop off into a gentle sleep in the middle of Chapter Two.

Waking from this some little time later and running an eye over myself to see if the ravelled sleave of care had been knitted up – which it hadn’t – I was told that I was wanted on the telephone. I hastened to the instrument, and Aunt Dahlia’s voice came thundering over the wire.


‘Bertram it is.’

‘Why the devil have you been such a time? I’ve been hanging on to this damned receiver a long hour by Shrewsbury clock.’

‘Sorry. I came on winged feet, but I was out on the lawn when you broke loose.’

‘Sleeping off your lunch, I suppose?’

‘My eyes may have closed for a moment.’

‘Always eating, that’s you.’

‘It is customary, I believe, to take a little nourishment at about this hour,’ I said rather stiffly. ‘How’s Bonzo?’

‘Getting along.’

‘What was it?’

‘German measles, but he’s out of danger. Well, what’s all the excitement about? Why did you want me to phone you? Just so that you could hear Auntie’s voice?’

‘I am always glad to hear Auntie’s voice, but I had a deeper and graver reason. I thought you ought to know about all these lurking perils in the home.’

‘What lurking perils?’

‘Ma Cream for one. She’s hotting up. She entertains suspicions.’

‘What of ?’

‘Pop Glossop. She doesn’t like his face.’

‘Well, hers is nothing to write home about.’

‘She thinks he isn’t a real butler.’

From the fact that my ear-drum nearly split in half I deduced that she had laughed a jovial laugh.

‘Let her think.’

‘You aren’t perturbed?’

‘Not a bit. She can’t do anything about it. Anyway, Glossop ought to be leaving in about a week. He told me he didn’t think it would take longer than that to make up his mind about Wilbert. Adela Cream doesn’t worry me.’

‘Well, if you say so, but I should have thought she was a menace.’

‘She doesn’t seem so to me. Anything else on your mind?’

‘Yes, this Wilbert-Cream-Phyllis-Mills thing.’

‘Ah, now you’re talking. That’s important. Did young Bobbie Wickham tell you that you’d got to stick to Wilbert closer than -‘

‘A brother?’

‘I was going to say porous plaster, but have it your own way. She explained the position of affairs?’

‘She did, and it’s precisely that that I want to thresh out with you.’

‘Do what out?’


‘All right, start threshing.’

Having given the situation the best of the Wooster brain for some considerable time, I had the res all clear in my mind. I proceeded to decant it.

‘As we go through this life, my dear old ancestor,’ I said, ‘we should always strive to see the other fellow’s side of a thing, the other fellow in the case under advisement being Wilbert Cream. Has it occurred to you to put yourself in Wilbert Cream’s place and ask yourself how he’s going to feel, being followed around all the time? It isn’t as if he was Mary.’

‘What did you say?’

‘I said it wasn’t as if he was Mary. Mary, as I remember, enjoyed the experience of being tailed up.’

‘Bertie, you’re tight.’

‘Nothing of the kind.’

‘Say “British constitution.”‘

Page: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71

Categories: Wodehouse, P G