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

‘No, I’ve never visited those parts.’

‘Nor have I, but from what people tell me what ensued must have been very like being in one. She spoke for perhaps five minutes -‘

‘By Shrewsbury clock.’


‘Nothing. What did she say?’

‘I can’t repeat it all, and wouldn’t if I could.’

‘And what did you say?’

‘I couldn’t get a word in edgeways.’

‘One can’t sometimes.’

‘Women talk so damn quick.’

‘How well I know it! And what was the final score?’

‘She said she was thankful that I was glad to have got her out of my hair, because she was immensely relieved to have got me out of hers, and that I had made her very happy because now she was free to marry you, which had always been her dearest wish.’

In this hair-raiser of Ma Cream’s which I had been perusing there was a chap of the name of Scarface McColl, a gangster of sorts, who, climbing into the old car one morning and twiddling the starting key, went up in fragments owing to a business competitor having inserted a bomb in his engine, and I had speculated for a moment, while reading, as to how he must have felt. I knew now. Just as he had done, I rose. I sprang to the door, and Kipper raised an eyebrow.

‘Am I boring you?’ he said rather stiffly.

‘No, no. But I must go and get my car.’

‘You going for a ride?’


‘But it’s nearly dinner-time.’

‘I don’t want any dinner.’

‘Where are you going?’

‘Herne Bay.’

‘Why Herne Bay?’

‘Because Jeeves is there, and this thing must be placed in his hands without a moment’s delay.’

‘What can Jeeves do?’

‘That,’ I said, ‘I cannot say, but he will do something. If he has been eating plenty of fish, as no doubt he would at a seashore resort, his brain will be at the top of its form, and when Jeeves’s brain is at the top of its form, all you have to do is press a button and stand out of the way while he takes charge.’


It’s considerably more than a step from Brinkley Court to Herne Bay, the one being in the middle of Worcestershire and the other on the coast of Kent, and even under the best of conditions you don’t expect to do the trip in a flash. On the present occasion, held up by the Arab steed getting taken with a fit of the vapours and having to be towed to a garage for medical treatment, I didn’t fetch up at journey’s end till well past midnight. And when I rolled round to Jeeves’s address on the morrow, I was informed that he had gone out early and they didn’t know when he would be back. Leaving word for him to ring me at the Drones, I returned to the metropolis and was having the pre-dinner keg of nails in the smoking-room when his call came through.

‘Mr Wooster? Good evening, sir. This is Jeeves.’

‘And not a moment too soon,’ I said, speaking with the emotion of a lost lamb which after long separation from the parent sheep finally manages to spot it across the meadow. ‘Where have you been all this time?’

‘I had an appointment to lunch with a friend at Folkestone, sir, and while there was persuaded to extend my visit in order to judge a seaside bathing belles contest.’

‘No, really? You do live, don’t you?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘How did it go off?’

‘Quite satisfactorily, sir, thank you.’

‘Who won?’

‘A Miss Marlene Higgins of Brixton, sir, with Miss Lana Brown of Tulse Hill and Miss Marilyn Bunting of Penge honourably mentioned. All most attractive young ladies.’


‘Extremely so.’

‘Well, let me tell you, Jeeves, and you can paste this in your hat, shapeliness isn’t everything in this world. In fact, it sometimes seems to me that the more curved and lissome the members of the opposite sex, the more likely they are to set Hell’s foundations quivering. I’m sorely beset, Jeeves. Do you recall telling me once about someone who told somebody he could tell him something which would make him think a bit? Knitted socks and porcupines entered into it, I remember.’

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Categories: Wodehouse, P G