the Springtime by P. G. Wodehouse
"'Morning, Jeeves," I said.
"Good morning, sir," said Jeeves.
He put the good old cup of tea softly on the table by my bed, and I
took a refreshing sip. Just right, as usual. Not too hot, not too
sweet, not too weak, not too strong, not too much milk, and not a drop
spilled in the saucer. A most amazing cove, Jeeves. So dashed competent
in every respect. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I mean to
say, take just one small instance. Every other valet I've ever had used
to barge into my room in the morning while I was still asleep, causing
much misery; but Jeeves seems to know when I'm awake by a sort of
telepathy. He always floats in with the cup exactly two minutes after I
come to life. Makes a deuce of a lot of difference to a fellow's day.
"How's the weather, Jeeves?"
"Exceptionally clement, sir."
"Anything in the papers?"
"Some slight friction threatening in the Balkans, sir. Otherwise,
"I say, Jeeves, a man I met at the club last night told me to put my
shirt on Privateer for the two o'clock race this afternoon. How about
"I should not advocate it, sir. The stable is not sanguine."
That was enough for me. Jeeves knows. How, I couldn't say, but he
knows. There was a time when I would laugh lightly, and go ahead, and
lose my little all against his advice, but not now.
"Talking of shirts," I said, "have those mauve ones I ordered arrived
"Yes, sir. I sent them back."
"Sent them back?"
"Yes, sir. They would not have become you."
Well, I must say I'd thought fairly highly of those shirtings, but I
bowed to superior knowledge. Weak? I don't know. Most fellows, no
doubt, are all for having their valets confine their activities to
creasing trousers and what not without trying to run the home; but it's
different with Jeeves. Right from the first day he came to me, I have
looked on him as a sort of guide, philosopher, and friend.
"Mr. Little rang up on the telephone a few moments ago, sir. I informed
him that you were not yet awake."
"Did he leave a message?"
"No, sir. He mentioned that he had a matter of importance to discuss
with you, but confided no details."
"Oh, well, I expect I shall be seeing him at the club."
"No doubt, sir."
I wasn't what you might call in a fever of impatience. Bingo Little is
a chap I was at school with, and we see a lot of each other still. He's
the nephew of old Mortimer Little, who retired from business recently
with a goodish pile. (You've probably heard of Little's Liniment—It
Limbers Up the Legs.) Bingo biffs about London on a pretty comfortable
allowance given him by his uncle, and leads on the whole a fairly
unclouded life. It wasn't likely that anything which he described as a
matter of importance would turn out to be really so frightfully
important. I took it that he had discovered some new brand of cigarette
which he wanted me to try, or something like that, and didn't spoil my
breakfast by worrying.
After breakfast I lit a cigarette and went to the open window to
inspect the day. It certainly was one of the best and brightest.
"Jeeves," I said.
"Sir?" said Jeeves. He had been clearing away the breakfast things, but
at the sound of the young master's voice cheesed it courteously.
"You were absolutely right about the weather. It is a juicy morning."
"Spring and all that."
"In the spring, Jeeves, a livelier iris gleams upon the burnished
"So I have been informed, sir."
"Right ho! Then bring me my whangee, my yellowest shoes, and the old
green Homburg. I'm going into the Park to do pastoral dances."
I don't know if you know that sort of feeling you get on these days
round about the end of April and the beginning of May, when the sky's a
light blue, with cotton-wool clouds, and there's a bit of a breeze
blowing from the west? Kind of uplifted feeling. Romantic, if you know
what I mean. I'm not much of a ladies' man, but on this particular
morning it seemed to me that what I really wanted was some charming
girl to buzz up and ask me to save her from assassins or something. So
that it was a bit of an anti-climax when I merely ran into young Bingo
Little, looking perfectly foul in a crimson satin tie decorated with
"Hallo, Bertie," said Bingo.
"My God, man!" I gargled. "The cravat! The gent's neckwear! Why? For
"Oh, the tie?" He blushed. "I—er—I was given it."
He seemed embarrassed, so I dropped the subject. We toddled along a
bit, and sat down on a couple of chairs by the Serpentine.
"Jeeves tells me you want to talk to me about something," I said.
"Eh?" said Bingo, with a start. "Oh yes, yes. Yes."
I waited for him to unleash the topic of the day, but he didn't seem to
want to get going. Conversation languished. He stared straight ahead of
him in a glassy sort of manner.
"I say, Bertie," he said, after a pause of about an hour and a quarter.
"Do you like the name Mabel?"
"You don't think there's a kind of music in the word, like the wind
rustling gently through the tree-tops?"
He seemed disappointed for a moment; then cheered up.
"Of course, you wouldn't. You always were a fatheaded worm without any
soul, weren't you?"
"Just as you say. Who is she? Tell me all."
For I realised now that poor old Bingo was going through it once again.
Ever since I have known him—and we were at school together—he has
been perpetually falling in love with someone, generally in the spring,
which seems to act on him like magic. At school he had the finest
collection of actresses' photographs of anyone of his time; and at
Oxford his romantic nature was a byword.
"You'd better come along and meet her at lunch," he said, looking at
"A ripe suggestion," I said. "Where are you meeting her? At the Ritz?"
"Near the Ritz."
He was geographically accurate. About fifty yards east of the Ritz
there is one of those blighted tea-and-bun shops you see dotted about
all over London, and into this, if you'll believe me, young Bingo dived
like a homing rabbit; and before I had time to say a word we were
wedged in at a table, on the brink of a silent pool of coffee left
there by an early luncher.
I'm bound to say I couldn't quite follow the development of the
scenario. Bingo, while not absolutely rolling in the stuff, has always
had a fair amount of the ready. Apart from what he got from his uncle,
I knew that he had finished up the jumping season well on the right
side of the ledger. Why, then, was he lunching the girl at this
God-forsaken eatery? It couldn't be because he was hard up.
Just then the waitress arrived. Rather a pretty girl.
"Aren't we going to wait——?" I started to say to Bingo, thinking it
somewhat thick that, in addition to asking a girl to lunch with him in
a place like this, he should fling himself on the foodstuffs before she
turned up, when I caught sight of his face, and stopped.
The man was goggling. His entire map was suffused with a rich blush. He
looked like the Soul's Awakening done in pink.
"Hallo, Mabel!" he said, with a sort of gulp.
"Hallo!" said the girl.
"Mabel," said Bingo, "this is Bertie Wooster, a pal of mine."
"Pleased to meet you," she said. "Nice morning."
"Fine," I said.
"You see I'm wearing the tie," said Bingo.
"It suits you beautiful," said the girl.
Personally, if anyone had told me that a tie like that suited me, I
should have risen and struck them on the mazzard, regardless of their
age and sex; but poor old Bingo simply got all flustered with
gratification, and smirked in the most gruesome manner.
"Well, what's it going to be to-day?" asked the girl, introducing the
business touch into the conversation.
Bingo studied the menu devoutly.
"I'll have a cup of cocoa, cold veal and ham pie, slice of fruit cake,
and a macaroon. Same for you, Bertie?"
I gazed at the man, revolted. That he could have been a pal of mine all
these years and think me capable of insulting the old turn with this
sort of stuff cut me to the quick.
"Or how about a bit of hot steak-pudding, with a sparkling limado to
wash it down?" said Bingo.
You know, the way love can change a fellow is really frightful to
contemplate. This chappie before me, who spoke in that absolutely
careless way of macaroons and limado, was the man I had seen in happier
days telling the head-waiter at Claridge's exactly how he wanted the
chef to prepare the sole frite au gourmet aux champignons,
and saying he would jolly well sling it back if it wasn't just right.
A roll and butter and a small coffee seemed the only things on the list
that hadn't been specially prepared by the nastier-minded members of
the Borgia family for people they had a particular grudge against, so I
chose them, and Mabel hopped it.
"Well?" said Bingo rapturously.
I took it that he wanted my opinion of the female poisoner who had just
"Very nice," I said.
He seemed dissatisfied.
"You don't think she's the most wonderful girl you ever saw?" he said
"Oh, absolutely!" I said, to appease the blighter. "Where did you meet
"At a subscription dance at Camberwell."
"What on earth were you doing at a subscription dance at Camberwell?"
"Your man Jeeves asked me if I would buy a couple of tickets. It was in
aid of some charity or other."
"Jeeves? I didn't know he went in for that sort of thing."
"Well, I suppose he has to relax a bit every now and then. Anyway, he
was there, swinging a dashed efficient shoe. I hadn't meant to go at
first, but I turned up for a lark. Oh, Bertie, think what I might have
"What might you have missed?" I asked, the old lemon being slightly
"Mabel, you chump. If I hadn't gone I shouldn't have met Mabel."
At this point Bingo fell into a species of trance, and only came out of
it to wrap himself round the pie and macaroon.
"Bertie," he said, "I want your advice."
"At least, not your advice, because that wouldn't be much good to
anybody. I mean, you're a pretty consummate old ass, aren't you? Not
that I want to hurt your feelings, of course."
"No, no, I see that."
"What I wish you would do is to put the whole thing to that fellow
Jeeves of yours, and see what he suggests. You've often told me that he
has helped other pals of yours out of messes. From what you tell me,
he's by way of being the brains of the family."
"He's never let me down yet."
"Then put my case to him."
"Why, you poor fish, my uncle, of course. What do you think my uncle's
going to say to all this? If I sprang it on him cold, he'd tie himself
in knots on the hearthrug."
"One of these emotional Johnnies, eh?"
"Somehow or other his mind has got to be prepared to receive the news.
"That's a lot of help, that 'ah'! You see, I'm pretty well dependent on
the old boy. If he cut off my allowance, I should be very much in the
soup. So you put the whole binge to Jeeves and see if he can't scare up
a happy ending somehow. Tell him my future is in his hands, and that,
if the wedding bells ring out, he can rely on me, even unto half my
kingdom. Well, call it ten quid. Jeeves would exert himself with ten
quid on the horizon, what?"
"Undoubtedly," I said.
I wasn't in the least surprised at Bingo wanting to lug Jeeves into his
private affairs like this. It was the first thing I would have thought
of doing myself if I had been in any hole of any description. As I have
frequently had occasion to observe, he is a bird of the ripest
intellect, full of bright ideas. If anybody could fix things for poor
old Bingo, he could.
I stated the case to him that night after dinner.
"Are you busy just now?"
"I mean, not doing anything in particular?"
"No, sir. It is my practice at this hour to read some improving book;
but, if you desire my services, this can easily be postponed, or,
indeed, abandoned altogether."
"Well, I want your advice. It's about Mr. Little."
"Young Mr. Little, sir, or the elder Mr. Little, his uncle, who lives
in Pounceby Gardens?"
Jeeves seemed to know everything. Most amazing thing. I'd been pally
with Bingo practically all my life, and yet I didn't remember ever
having heard that his uncle lived anywhere in particular.
"How did you know he lived in Pounceby Gardens?" I said.
"I am on terms of some intimacy with the elder Mr. Little's cook, sir.
In fact, there is an understanding."
I'm bound to say that this gave me a bit of a start. Somehow I'd never
thought of Jeeves going in for that sort of thing.
"Do you mean you're engaged?"
"It may be said to amount to that, sir."
"She is a remarkably excellent cook, sir," said Jeeves, as though he
felt called on to give some explanation. "What was it you wished to ask
me about Mr. Little?"
I sprang the details on him.
"And that's how the matter stands, Jeeves," I said. "I think we ought
to rally round a trifle and help poor old Bingo put the thing through.
Tell me about old Mr. Little. What sort of a chap is he?"
"A somewhat curious character, sir. Since retiring from business he has
become a great recluse, and now devotes himself almost entirely to the
pleasures of the table."
"Greedy hog, you mean?"
"I would not, perhaps, take the liberty of describing him in precisely
those terms, sir. He is what is usually called a gourmet. Very
particular about what he eats, and for that reason sets a high value on
Miss Watson's services."
"Well, it looks to me as though our best plan would be to shoot young
Bingo in on him after dinner one night. Melting mood, I mean to say,
and all that."
"The difficulty is, sir, that at the moment Mr. Little is on a diet,
owing to an attack of gout."
"Things begin to look wobbly."
"No, sir, I fancy that the elder Mr. Little's misfortune may be turned
to the younger Mr. Little's advantage. I was speaking only the other
day to Mr. Little's valet, and he was telling me that it has become his
principal duty to read to Mr. Little in the evenings. If I were in your
place, sir, I should send young Mr. Little to read to his uncle."
"Nephew's devotion, you mean? Old man touched by kindly action, what?"
"Partly that, sir. But I would rely more on young Mr. Little's choice
"That's no good. Jolly old Bingo has a kind face, but when it comes to
literature he stops at the Sporting Times."
"That difficulty may be overcome. I would be happy to select books for
Mr. Little to read. Perhaps I might explain my idea further?"
"I can't say I quite grasp it yet."
"The method which I advocate is what, I believe, the advertisers call
Direct Suggestion, sir, consisting as it does of driving an idea home
by constant repetition. You may have had experience of the system?"
"You mean they keep on telling you that some soap or other is the best,
and after a bit you come under the influence and charge round the
corner and buy a cake?"
"Exactly, sir. The same method was the basis of all the most valuable
propaganda during the recent war. I see no reason why it should not be
adopted to bring about the desired result with regard to the subject's
views on class distinctions. If young Mr. Little were to read day after
day to his uncle a series of narratives in which marriage with young
persons of an inferior social status was held up as both feasible and
admirable, I fancy it would prepare the elder Mr. Little's mind for the
reception of the information that his nephew wishes to marry a waitress
in a tea-shop."
"Are there any books of that sort nowadays? The only ones I ever
see mentioned in the papers are about married couples who find life
grey, and can't stick each other at any price."
"Yes, sir, there are a great many, neglected by the reviewers but
widely read. You have never encountered 'All for Love,' by Rosie M.
"Nor 'A Red, Red Summer Rose,' by the same author?"
"I have an aunt, sir, who owns an almost complete set of Rosie M.
Banks'. I could easily borrow as many volumes as young Mr. Little might
require. They make very light, attractive reading."
"Well, it's worth trying."
"I should certainly recommend the scheme, sir."
"All right, then. Toddle round to your aunt's to-morrow and grab a
couple of the fruitiest. We can but have a dash at it."
* * * * *
Bingo reported three days later that Rosie M. Banks was the goods and
beyond a question the stuff to give the troops. Old Little had jibbed
somewhat at first at the proposed change of literary diet, he not being
much of a lad for fiction and having stuck hitherto exclusively to the
heavier monthly reviews; but Bingo had got chapter one of "All for
Love" past his guard before he knew what was happening, and after that
there was nothing to it. Since then they had finished "A Red, Red
Summer Rose," "Madcap Myrtle" and "Only a Factory Girl," and were
halfway through "The Courtship of Lord Strathmorlick."
Bingo told me all this in a husky voice over an egg beaten up in
sherry. The only blot on the thing from his point of view was that it
wasn't doing a bit of good to the old vocal cords, which were beginning
to show signs of cracking under the strain. He had been looking his
symptoms up in a medical dictionary, and he thought he had got
"clergyman's throat." But against this you had to set the fact that he
was making an undoubted hit in the right quarter, and also that after
the evening's reading he always stayed on to dinner; and, from what he
told me, the dinners turned out by old Little's cook had to be tasted
to be believed. There were tears in the old blighter's eyes as he got
on the subject of the clear soup. I suppose to a fellow who for weeks
had been tackling macaroons and limado it must have been like Heaven.
Old Little wasn't able to give any practical assistance at these
banquets, but Bingo said that he came to the table and had his whack of
arrowroot, and sniffed the dishes, and told stories of entrées he had
had in the past, and sketched out scenarios of what he was going to do
to the bill of fare in the future, when the doctor put him in shape; so
I suppose he enjoyed himself, too, in a way. Anyhow, things seemed to
be buzzing along quite satisfactorily, and Bingo said he had got an
idea which, he thought, was going to clinch the thing. He wouldn't tell
me what it was, but he said it was a pippin.
"We make progress, Jeeves," I said.
"That is very satisfactory, sir."
"Mr. Little tells me that when he came to the big scene in 'Only a
Factory Girl,' his uncle gulped like a stricken bull-pup."
"Where Lord Claude takes the girl in his arms, you know, and says——"
"I am familiar with the passage, sir. It is distinctly moving. It was a
great favourite of my aunt's."
"I think we're on the right track."
"It would seem so, sir."
"In fact, this looks like being another of your successes. I've always
said, and I always shall say, that for sheer brain, Jeeves, you stand
alone. All the other great thinkers of the age are simply in the crowd,
watching you go by."
"Thank you very much, sir. I endeavour to give satisfaction."
About a week after this, Bingo blew in with the news that his uncle's
gout had ceased to trouble him, and that on the morrow he would be back
at the old stand working away with knife and fork as before.
"And, by the way," said Bingo, "he wants you to lunch with him
"Me? Why me? He doesn't know I exist."
"Oh, yes, he does. I've told him about you."
"What have you told him?"
"Oh, various things. Anyhow, he wants to meet you. And take my tip,
laddie—you go! I should think lunch to-morrow would be something
I don't know why it was, but even then it struck me that there was
something dashed odd—almost sinister, if you know what I mean—about
young Bingo's manner. The old egg had the air of one who has something
up his sleeve.
"There is more in this than meets the eye," I said. "Why should your
uncle ask a fellow to lunch whom he's never seen?"
"My dear old fathead, haven't I just said that I've been telling him
all about you—that you're my best pal—at school together, and all
that sort of thing?"
"But even then—and another thing. Why are you so dashed keen on my
Bingo hesitated for a moment.
"Well, I told you I'd got an idea. This is it. I want you to spring the
news on him. I haven't the nerve myself."
"What! I'm hanged if I do!"
"And you call yourself a pal of mine!"
"Yes, I know; but there are limits."
"Bertie," said Bingo reproachfully, "I saved your life once."
"Didn't I? It must have been some other fellow, then. Well, anyway, we
were boys together and all that. You can't let me down."
"Oh, all right," I said. "But, when you say you haven't nerve enough
for any dashed thing in the world, you misjudge yourself. A fellow
"Cheerio!" said young Bingo. "One-thirty to-morrow. Don't be late."
* * * * *
I'm bound to say that the more I contemplated the binge, the less I
liked it. It was all very well for Bingo to say that I was slated for a
magnificent lunch; but what good is the best possible lunch to a fellow
if he is slung out into the street on his ear during the soup course?
However, the word of a Wooster is his bond and all that sort of rot, so
at one-thirty next day I tottered up the steps of No. 16, Pounceby
Gardens, and punched the bell. And half a minute later I was up in the
drawing-room, shaking hands with the fattest man I have ever seen in my
The motto of the Little family was evidently "variety." Young Bingo is
long and thin and hasn't had a superfluous ounce on him since we first
met; but the uncle restored the average and a bit over. The hand which
grasped mine wrapped it round and enfolded it till I began to wonder if
I'd ever get it out without excavating machinery.
"Mr. Wooster, I am gratified—I am proud—I am honoured."
It seemed to me that young Bingo must have boosted me to some purpose.
"Oh, ah!" I said.
He stepped back a bit, still hanging on to the good right hand.
"You are very young to have accomplished so much!"
I couldn't follow the train of thought. The family, especially my Aunt
Agatha, who has savaged me incessantly from childhood up, have always
rather made a point of the fact that mine is a wasted life, and that,
since I won the prize at my first school for the best collection of
wild flowers made during the summer holidays, I haven't done a dam'
thing to land me on the nation's scroll of fame. I was wondering if he
couldn't have got me mixed up with someone else, when the
telephone-bell rang outside in the hall, and the maid came in to say
that I was wanted. I buzzed down, and found it was young Bingo.
"Hallo!" said young Bingo. "So you've got there? Good man! I knew I
could rely on you. I say, old crumpet, did my uncle seem pleased to see
"Absolutely all over me. I can't make it out."
"Oh, that's all right. I just rang up to explain. The fact is, old man,
I know you won't mind, but I told him that you were the author of those
books I've been reading to him."
"Yes, I said that 'Rosie M. Banks' was your pen-name, and you didn't
want it generally known, because you were a modest, retiring sort of
chap. He'll listen to you now. Absolutely hang on your words. A
brightish idea, what? I doubt if Jeeves in person could have thought up
a better one than that. Well, pitch it strong, old lad, and keep
steadily before you the fact that I must have my allowance raised. I
can't possibly marry on what I've got now. If this film is to end with
the slow fade-out on the embrace, at least double is indicated. Well,
that's that. Cheerio!"
And he rang off. At that moment the gong sounded, and the genial host
came tumbling downstairs like the delivery of a ton of coals.
* * * * *
I always look back to that lunch with a sort of aching regret. It was
the lunch of a lifetime, and I wasn't in a fit state to appreciate it.
Subconsciously, if you know what I mean, I could see it was pretty
special, but I had got the wind up to such a frightful extent over the
ghastly situation in which young Bingo had landed me that its deeper
meaning never really penetrated. Most of the time I might have been
eating sawdust for all the good it did me.
Old Little struck the literary note right from the start.
"My nephew has probably told you that I have been making a close study
of your books of late?" he began.
"Yes. He did mention it. How—er—how did you like the bally things?"
He gazed reverently at me.
"Mr. Wooster, I am not ashamed to say that the tears came into my eyes
as I listened to them. It amazes me that a man as young as you can have
been able to plumb human nature so surely to its depths; to play with
so unerring a hand on the quivering heart-strings of your reader; to
write novels so true, so human, so moving, so vital!"
"Oh, it's just a knack," I said.
The good old persp. was bedewing my forehead by this time in a pretty
lavish manner. I don't know when I've been so rattled.
"Do you find the room a trifle warm?"
"Oh, no, no, rather not. Just right."
"Then it's the pepper. If my cook has a fault—which I am not prepared
to admit—it is that she is inclined to stress the pepper a trifle in
her made dishes. By the way, do you like her cooking?"
I was so relieved that we had got off the subject of my literary output
that I shouted approval in a ringing baritone.
"I am delighted to hear it, Mr. Wooster. I may be prejudiced, but to my
mind that woman is a genius."
"Absolutely!" I said.
"She has been with me seven years, and in all that time I have not
known her guilty of a single lapse from the highest standard. Except
once, in the winter of 1917, when a purist might have condemned a
certain mayonnaise of hers as lacking in creaminess. But one must make
allowances. There had been several air-raids about that time, and no
doubt the poor woman was shaken. But nothing is perfect in this world,
Mr. Wooster, and I have had my cross to bear. For seven years I have
lived in constant apprehension lest some evilly-disposed person might
lure her from my employment. To my certain knowledge she has received
offers, lucrative offers, to accept service elsewhere. You may judge of
my dismay, Mr. Wooster, when only this morning the bolt fell. She gave
"Your consternation does credit, if I may say so, to the heart of the
author of 'A Red, Red Summer Rose.' But I am thankful to say the worst
has not happened. The matter has been adjusted. Jane is not leaving
"Good egg, indeed—though the expression is not familiar to me. I do
not remember having come across it in your books. And, speaking of your
books, may I say that what has impressed me about them even more than
the moving poignancy of the actual narrative, is your philosophy of
life. If there were more men like you, Mr. Wooster, London would be a
This was dead opposite to my Aunt Agatha's philosophy of life, she
having always rather given me to understand that it is the presence in
it of chappies like me that makes London more or less of a plague spot;
but I let it go.
"Let me tell you, Mr. Wooster, that I appreciate your splendid defiance
of the outworn fetishes of a purblind social system. I appreciate it!
You are big enough to see that rank is but the guinea stamp and that,
in the magnificent words of Lord Bletchmore in 'Only a Factory Girl,'
'Be her origin ne'er so humble, a good woman is the equal of the finest
lady on earth!'"
I sat up.
"I say! Do you think that?"
"I do, Mr. Wooster. I am ashamed to say that there was a time when I
was like other men, a slave to the idiotic convention which we call
Class Distinction. But, since I read your books——"
I might have known it. Jeeves had done it again.
"You think it's all right for a chappie in what you might call a
certain social position to marry a girl of what you might describe as
the lower classes?"
"Most assuredly I do, Mr. Wooster."
I took a deep breath, and slipped him the good news.
"Young Bingo—your nephew, you know—wants to marry a waitress," I
"I honour him for it," said old Little.
"You don't object?"
"On the contrary."
I took another deep breath and shifted to the sordid side of the
"I hope you won't think I'm butting in, don't you know," I said,
"but—er—well, how about it?"
"I fear I do not quite follow you."
"Well, I mean to say, his allowance and all that. The money you're good
enough to give him. He was rather hoping that you might see your way to
jerking up the total a bit."
Old Little shook his head regretfully.
"I fear that can hardly be managed. You see, a man in my position is
compelled to save every penny. I will gladly continue my nephew's
existing allowance, but beyond that I cannot go. It would not be fair
to my wife."
"What! But you're not married?"
"Not yet. But I propose to enter upon that holy state almost
immediately. The lady who for years has cooked so well for me honoured
me by accepting my hand this very morning." A cold gleam of triumph
came into his eye. "Now let 'em try to get her away from me!" he
* * * * *
"Young Mr. Little has been trying frequently during the afternoon to
reach you on the telephone, sir," said Jeeves that night, when I got
"I'll bet he has," I said. I had sent poor old Bingo an outline of the
situation by messenger-boy shortly after lunch.
"He seemed a trifle agitated."
"I don't wonder. Jeeves," I said, "so brace up and bite the bullet. I'm
afraid I've bad news for you.
"That scheme of yours—reading those books to old Mr. Little and all
that—has blown out a fuse."
"They did not soften him?"
"They did. That's the whole bally trouble. Jeeves, I'm sorry to say
that fiancée of yours—Miss Watson, you know—the cook, you
know—well, the long and the short of it is that she's chosen riches
instead of honest worth, if you know what I mean."
"She's handed you the mitten and gone and got engaged to old Mr.
"You don't seem much upset."
"That fact is, sir, I had anticipated some such outcome."
I stared at him. "Then what on earth did you suggest the scheme for?"
"To tell you the truth, sir, I was not wholly averse from a severance
of my relations with Miss Watson. In fact, I greatly desired it. I
respect Miss Watson exceedingly, but I have seen for a long time that
we were not suited. Now, the other young person with whom I have
"Great Scott, Jeeves! There isn't another?"
"How long has this been going on?"
"For some weeks, sir. I was greatly attracted by her when I first met
her at a subscription dance at Camberwell."
"My sainted aunt! Not——"
Jeeves inclined his head gravely.
"Yes, sir. By an odd coincidence it is the same young person that young
Mr. Little—I have placed the cigarettes on the small table. Good