Re: Вудхаус П. Г. - Дживс в отпуске на английском языке
At the Drones Club and other places I am accustomed to frequent you
will often hear comment on Bertram Wooster's self-control or sang
froid, as it's sometimes called, and it is generally agreed that this
is considerable. In the eyes of many people, I suppose, I seem one of
those men of chilled steel you read about, and I'm not saying I'm not.
But it is possible to find a chink in my armour, and this can be done
by suddenly springing eminent loony-doctors on me in the guise of
It was out of the q. that I could have been mistaken in supposing
that it was Sir Roderick Glossop who, having delivered the fruit, was
now ambling back to the house. There could not be two men with that
vast bald head and those bushy eyebrows, and it would be deceiving the
customers to say that I remained unshaken. The effect the apparition
had on me was to make me start violently, and we all know what happens
when you start violently while holding a full cup of tea. The contents
of mine flew through the air and came to rest on the trousers of Aubrey
Upjohn, MA, moistening them to no little extent. Indeed, it would
scarcely be distorting the facts to say that he was now not so much
wearing trousers as wearing tea.
I could see the unfortunate man felt his position deeply, and I was
surprised that he contented himself with a mere 'Ouch!' But I suppose
these solid citizens have to learn to curb the tongue. Creates a bad
impression, I mean, if they start blinding and stiffing as those more
happily placed would be.
But words are not always needed. In the look he now shot at me I
seemed to read a hundred unspoken expletives. It was the sort of look
the bucko mate of a tramp steamer would have given an able-bodied
seaman who for one reason or another had incurred his displeasure.
'I see you have not changed since you were with me at Malvern
House,' he said in an extremely nasty voice, dabbing at the trousers
with a handkerchief. 'Bungling Wooster we used to call him,' he went
on, addressing his remarks to Bobbie and evidently trying to enlist her
sympathy. 'He could not perform the simplest action such as holding a
cup without spreading ruin and disaster on all sides. It was an axiom
at Malvern House that if there was a chair in any room in which he
happened to be, Wooster would trip over it. The child,' said Aubrey
Upjohn, 'is the father of the man.'
'Frightfully sorry,' I said.
'Too late to be sorry now. A new pair of trousers ruined. It is
doubtful if anything can remove the stain of tea from white flannel.
Still, one must hope for the best.'
Whether I was right or wrong at this point in patting him on the
shoulder and saying 'That's the spirit!' I find it difficult to decide.
Wrong, probably, for it did not seem to soothe. He gave me another of
those looks and strode off, smelling strongly of tea.
'Shall I tell you something, Bertie?' said Bobbie, following him
with a thoughtful eye. 'That walking tour Upjohn was going to invite
you to take with him is off. You will get no Christmas present from him
this year, and don't expect him to come and tuck you up in bed
I upset the milk jug with an imperious wave of the hand.
'Never mind about Upjohn and Christmas presents and walking tours.
What is Pop Glossop doing here as the butler?'
'Ah! I thought you might be going to ask that. I was meaning to tell
you some time.'
'Tell me now.'
'Well, it was his idea.'
I eyed her sternly. Bertram Wooster has no objection to listening to
drivel, but it must not be pure babble from the padded cell, as this
appeared to be.
'Are you asking me to believe that Sir Roderick Glossop got up one
morning, gazed at himself in the mirror, thought he was looking a
little pale and said to himself, "I need a change. I think I'll try
being a butler for awhile"?'
'No, not that, but... I don't know where to begin.'
'Begin at the beginning. Come on now, young B. Wickham, smack into
it,' I said, and took a piece of cake in a marked manner.
The austerity of my tone seemed to touch a nerve and kindle the fire
that always slept in this vermilion-headed menace to the common weal,
for she frowned a displeased frown and told me for heaven's sake to
stop goggling like a dead halibut.
'I have every right to goggle like a dead halibut,' I said coldly,
'and I shall continue to do so as long as I see fit. I am under a
considerable nervous s. As always seems to happen when you are mixed up
in the doings, life has become one damn thing after another, and I
think I am justified in demanding an explanation. I await your
'Well, let me marshal my thoughts.'
She did so, and after a brief intermission, during which I finished
my piece of cake, proceeded.
'I'd better begin by telling you about Upjohn, because it all
started through him. You see, he's egging Phyllis on to marry Wilbert
'When you say egging -'
'I mean egging. And when a man like that eggs, something has to
give, especially when the girl's a pill like Phyllis, who always does
what Daddy tells her.'
'No will of her own?'
'Not a smidgeon. To give you an instance, a couple of days ago he
took her to Birmingham to see the repertory company's performance of
Chekhov's Seagull, because he thought it would be educational. I'd like
to catch anyone trying to make me see Chekhov's Seagull, but Phyllis
just bowed her head and said, "Yes, Daddy." Didn't even attempt to put
up a fight. That'll show you how much of a will of her own she's got.'
It did indeed. Her story impressed me profoundly. I knew Chekhov's
Seagull. My Aunt Agatha had once made me take her son Thos to a
performance of it at the Old Vic, and what with the strain of trying to
follow the cock-eyed goings-on of characters called Zarietchnaya and
Medvienko and having to be constantly on the alert to prevent Thos
making a sneak for the great open spaces, my suffering had been
intense. I needed no further evidence to tell me that Phyllis Mills was
a girl whose motto would always be 'Daddy knows best'. Wilbert had only
got to propose and she would sign on the dotted line because Upjohn
'Your aunt's worried sick about it.'
'She doesn't approve?'
'Of course she doesn't approve. You must have heard of Willie Cream,
going over to New York so much.'
'Why yes, news of his escapades has reached me. He's a playboy.'
'Your aunt thinks he's a screwball.'
'Many playboys are, I believe. Well, that being so, one can
understand why she doesn't want those wedding bells to ring out. But,'
I said, putting my finger on the res in my unerring way, 'that doesn't
explain where Pop Glossop comes in.'
'Yes, it does. She got him here to observe Wilbert.'
I found myself fogged.
'Cock an eye at him, you mean? Drink him in, as it were? What good's
that going to do?'
She snorted impatiently.
'Observe in the technical sense. You know how these brain
specialists work. They watch the subject closely. They engage him in
conversation. They apply subtle tests. And sooner or later -'
'I begin to see. Sooner or later he lets fall an incautious word to
the effect that he thinks he's a poached egg, and then they've got him
where they want him.'
'Well, he does something which tips them off. Your aunt was moaning
to me about the situation, and I suddenly had this inspiration of
bringing Glossop here. You know how I get sudden inspirations.'
'I do. That hot-water-bottle episode.'
'Yes, that was one of them.'
'What did you say?'
'Because when I think of that night of terror, I feel like saying
She seemed to see the justice of this. Pausing merely to eat a
cucumber sandwich, she proceeded.
'So I said to your aunt, "I'll tell you what to do," I said. "Get
Glossop here," I said, "and have him observe Wilbert Cream. Then you'll
be in a position to go to Upjohn and pull the rug from under him."'
Again I was not abreast. There had been, as far as I could
recollect, no mention of any rug.
'How do you mean?'
'Well, isn't it obvious? "Rope in old Glossop," I said, "and let him
observe. Then you'll be in a position," I said, "to go to Upjohn and
tell him that Sir Roderick Glossop, the greatest alienist in England,
is convinced that Wilbert Cream is round the bend and to ask him if he
proposes to marry his stepdaughter to a man who at any moment may be
marched off and added to the membership list of Colney Hatch." Even
Upjohn would shrink from doing a thing like that. Or don't you think
I weighed this.
'Yes,' I said, 'I should imagine you were right. Quite possibly
Upjohn has human feelings, though I never noticed them when I was in
statu pupillari, as I believe the expression is. One sees now why
Glossop is at Brinkley Court. What one doesn't see is why one finds him
'I told you that was his idea. He thought he was such a celebrated
figure that it would arouse Mrs Cream's suspicions if he came here
under his own name.'
'I see what you mean. She would catch him observing Wilbert and
' - and eventually put two and two together -'
' - and start Hey-what's-the-big-idea-ing.'
'Exactly. No mother likes to find that her hostess has got a brain
specialist down to observe the son who is the apple of her eye. It
hurts her feelings.'
'Whereas, if she catches the butler observing him, she merely says
to herself, "Ah, an observant butler." Very sensible. With this deal
Uncle Tom's got on with Homer Cream, it would be fatal to risk giving
her the pip in any way. She would kick to Homer, and Homer would draw
himself up and say "After what has occurred, Travers, I would prefer to
break off the negotiations," and Uncle Tom would lose a packet. What is
this deal they've got on, by the way? Did Aunt Dahlia tell you?'
'Yes, but it didn't penetrate. It's something to do with some land
your uncle owns somewhere, and Mr Cream is thinking of buying it and
putting up hotels and things. It doesn't matter, anyway. The
fundamental thing, the thing to glue the eye on, is that the Cream
contingent have to be kept sweetened at any cost. So not a word to a
'Quite. Bertram Wooster is not a babbler. No spiller of the beans
he. But why are you so certain that Wilbert Cream is loopy? He doesn't
look loopy to me.'
'Have you met him?'
'Just for a moment. He was in a leafy glade, reading poetry to the
She took this big.
'Reading poetry? To Phyllis?'
'That's right. I thought it odd that a chap like him should be doing
such a thing. Limericks, yes. If he had been reciting limericks to her,
I could have understood it. But this was stuff from one of those books
they bind in limp purple leather and sell at Christmas. I wouldn't care
to swear to it, but it sounded to me extremely like Omar Khayyam.'
She continued to take it big.
'Break it up, Bertie, break it up! There's not a moment to be lost.
You must go and break it up immediately.'
'Who, me? Why me?'
'That's what you're here for. Didn't your aunt tell you? She wants
you to follow Wilbert Cream and Phyllis about everywhere and see that
he doesn't get a chance of proposing.'
'You mean that I'm to be a sort of private eye or shamus, tailing
them up? I don't like it,' I said dubiously.
'You don't have to like it,' said Bobbie. 'You just do it.'
Wax in the hands of the other sex, as the expression is, I went and
broke it up as directed, but not blithely. It is never pleasant for a
man of sensibility to find himself regarded as a buttinski and a
trailing arbutus, and it was thus, I could see at a g., that Wilbert
Cream was pencilling me in. At the moment of my arrival he had
suspended the poetry reading and had taken Phyllis's hand in his,
evidently saying or about to say something of an intimate and tender
nature. Hearing my 'What ho', he turned, hurriedly released the fin and
directed at me a look very similar to the one I had recently received
from Aubrey Upjohn. He muttered something under his breath about
someone, whose name I did not catch, apparently having been paid to
haunt the place.
'Oh, it's you again,' he said.
Well, it was, of course. No argument about that.
'Kind of at a loose end?' he said. 'Why don't you settle down
somewhere with a good book?'
I explained that I had just popped in to tell them that tea was now
being served on the main lawn, and Phyllis squeaked a bit, as if
'Oh, dear!' she said. 'I must run. Daddy doesn't like me to be late
for tea. He says it's not respectful to my elders.'
I could see trembling on Wilbert Cream's lips a suggestion as to
where Daddy could stick himself and his views on respect to elders, but
with a powerful effort he held it back.
'I shall take Poppet for a walk,' he said, chirruping to the
dachshund, who was sniffing at my legs, filling his lungs with the
delicious Wooster bouquet.
'No tea?' I said.
'There are muffins.'
'Tchah!' he ejaculated, if that's the word, and strode off, followed
by the low-slung dog, and it was borne in upon me that here was another
source from which I could expect no present at Yule-Tide. His whole
demeanour made it plain that I had not added to my little circle of
friends. Though going like a breeze with dachshunds, I had failed
signally to click with Wilbert Cream.
When Phyllis and I reached the lawn, only Bobbie was at the tea
table, and this surprised us both.
'Where's Daddy?' Phyllis asked.
'He suddenly decided to go to London,' said Bobbie.
'That's what he said.'
'He didn't tell me.'
'I must go and see him,' said Phyllis, and buzzed off.
Bobbie seemed to be musing.
'Do you know what I think, Bertie?'
'Well, when Upjohn came out just now, he was all of a doodah, and he
had this week's Thursday Review in his hand. Came by the afternoon
post, I suppose. I think he had been reading Reggie's comment on his
This seemed plausible. I number several authors among my aquaintance
- the name of Boko Fittleworth is one that springs to the mind - and
they invariably become all of a doodah when they read a stinker in the
press about their latest effort.
'Oh, you know about that thing Kipper wrote?'
'Yes, he showed it to me one day when we were having lunch
'Very mordant, I gathered from what he told me. But I don't see why
that should make Upjohn bound up to London.'
'I suppose he wants to ask the editor who wrote the thing, so that
he can horsewhip him on the steps of his club. But of course they won't
tell him, and it wasn't signed so ... Oh, hullo, Mrs Cream.'
The woman she was addressing was tall and thin with a hawk-like face
that reminded me of Sherlock Holmes. She had an ink spot on her nose,
the result of working on her novel of suspense. It is virtually
impossible to write a novel of suspense without getting a certain
amount of ink on the beezer. Ask Agatha Christie or anyone.
'I finished my chapter a moment ago, so I thought I would stop for a
cup of tea,' said this literateuse. 'No good overdoing it.'
'No. Quit when you're ahead of the game, that's the idea. This is
Mrs Travers's nephew Bertie Wooster,' said Bobbie with what I
considered a far too apologetic note in her voice. If Roberta Wickham
has one fault more pronounced than another, it is that she is inclined
to introduce me to people as if I were something she would much have
preferred to hush up. 'Bertie loves your books,' she added, quite
unnecessarily, and the Cream started like a Boy Scout at the sound of a
'Oh, do you?'
'Never happier than when curled up with one of them,' I said,
trusting that she wouldn't ask me which one of them I liked best.
'When I told him you were here, he was overcome.'
'Well, that certainly is great. Always glad to meet the fans. Which
of my books do you like best?'
And I had got as far as 'Er' and was wondering, though not with much
hope, if 'All of them' would meet the case, when Pop Glossop joined us
with a telegram for Bobbie on a salver. From her mother, I presumed,
calling me some name which she had forgotten to insert in previous
communications. Or, of course, possibly expressing once more her
conviction that I was a guffin, which, I thought, having had time to
ponder over it, would be something in the nature of a bohunkus or a
'Oh, thank you, Swordfish,' said Bobbie, taking the 'gram.
It was fortunate that I was not holding a tea cup as she spoke, for
hearing Sir Roderick thus addressed I gave another of my sudden starts
and, had I had such a cup in my hand, must have strewn its contents
hither and thither like a sower going forth sowing. As it was, I merely
sent a cucumber sandwich flying through the air.
'Oh, sorry,' I said, for it had missed the Cream by a hair's
I could have relied on Bobbie to shove her oar in. The girl had no
notion of passing a thing off.
'Excuse it, please,' she said. 'I ought to have warned you. Bertie
is training for the Jerk The Cucumber Sandwich event at the next
Olympic Games. He has to be practising all the time.'
On Ma Cream's brow there was a thoughtful wrinkle, as though she
felt unable to accept this explanation of what had occurred. But her
next words showed that it was not on my activities that her mind was
dwelling but on the recent Swordfish. Having followed him with a keen
glance as he faded from view, she said:
'This butler of Mrs Travers's. Do you know where she got him, Miss
'At the usual pet shop, I think.'
'Had he references?'
'Oh, yes. He was with Sir Roderick Glossop, the brain specialist,
for years. I remember Mrs Travers saying Sir Roderick gave him a super-
colossal reference. She was greatly impressed.'
Ma Cream sniffed.
'References can be forged.'
'Good gracious! Why do you say that?'
'Because I am not at all easy in my mind about this man. He has a
'Well, you might say that about Bertie.'
'I feel that Mrs Travers should be warned. In my Blackness at Night
the butler turned out to be one of a gang of crooks, planted in the
house to make it easy for them to break in. The inside stand, it's
called. I strongly suspect that this is why this Swordfish is here,
though of course it is quite possible that he is working on his own.
One thing I am sure of, and that is that he is not a genuine butler.'
'What makes you think that?' I asked, handkerchiefing my upper
slopes, which had become considerably bedewed. I didn't like this line
of talk at all. Let the Cream get firmly in her nut the idea that Sir
Roderick Glossop was not the butler, the whole butler and nothing but
the butler, and disaster, as I saw it, loomed. She would probe and
investigate, and before you could say 'What ho' would be in full
possession of the facts. In which event, bim would go Uncle Tom's
chance of scooping in a bit of easy money. And ever since I've known
him failure to get his hooks on any stray cash that's floating around
has always put him out of touch with the blue bird. It isn't that he's
mercenary. It's just that he loves the stuff.
Her manner suggested that she was glad I had asked her that.
'I'll tell you what makes me think it. He betrays his amateurishness
in a hundred ways. This very morning I found him having a long
conversation with Wilbert. A real butler would never do that. He would
feel it was a liberty.'
I contested this statement.
'Now there,' I said, 'I take issue with you, if taking issue means
what I think it means. Many of my happiest hours have been passed
chatting with butlers, and it has nearly always happened that it was
they who made the first advances. They seek me out and tell me about
their rheumatism. Swordfish looks all right to me.'
'You are not a student of criminology, as I am. I have the trained
eye, and my judgment is never wrong. That man is here for no good.'
I could see that all this was making Bobbie chafe, but her better
self prevailed and she checked the heated retort. She is very fond of
T. Portarlington Travers, who, she tells me, is the living image of a
wire-haired terrier now residing with the morning stars but at one time
very dear to her, and she remembered that for his sake the Cream had to
be deferred to and handled with gloves. When she spoke, it was with the
mildness of a cushat dove addressing another cushat dove from whom it
was hoping to borrow money.
'But don't you think, Mrs Cream, that it may be just your
imagination? You have such a wonderful imagination. Bertie was saying
only the other day that he didn't know how you did it. Write all those
frightfully imaginative books, I mean. Weren't you, Bertie?'
'My very words.'
'And if you have an imagination, you can't help imagining. Can you,
Her honeyed words were wasted. The Cream continued to dig her toes
in like Balaam's ass, of whom you have doubtless heard.
'I'm not imagining that that butler is up to something fishy,' she
said tartly. 'And I should have thought it was pretty obvious what that
something was. You seem to have forgotten that Mr Travers has one of
the finest collections of old silver in England.'
This was correct. Owing possibly to some flaw in his mental make-up,
Uncle Tom has been collecting old silver since I was so high, and I
suppose the contents of the room on the ground floor where he parks the
stuff are worth a princely sum. I knew all about that collection of
his, not only because I had had to listen to him for hours on the
subject of sconces, foliation, ribbon wreaths in high relief and
gadroon borders, but because I had what you might call a personal
interest in it, once having stolen an eighteenth-century cow-creamer
for him. (Long story. No time to go into it now. You will find it
elsewhere in the archives.)
'Mrs Travers was showing it to Willie the other day, and he was
thrilled. Willie collects old silver himself.'
With each hour that passed I was finding it more and more difficult
to get a toe-hold on the character of W. Cream. An in-and-out
performer, if ever there was one. First all that poetry, I mean, and
now this. I had always supposed that playboys didn't give a hoot for
anything except blondes and cold bottles. It just showed once again
that half the world doesn't know how the other three-quarters lives.
'He says there are any number of things in Mr Travers's collection
that he would give his back teeth for. There was an eighteenth-century
cow-creamer he particularly coveted. So keep your eye on that butler.
I'm certainly going to keep mine. Well,' said the Cream, rising, 'I
must be getting back to my work. I always like to rough out a new
chapter before finishing for the day.'
She legged it, and for a moment silence reigned. Then Bobbie said,
'Phew!' and I agreed that 'Phew!' was the mot juste.
'We'd better get Glossop out of here quick,' I said.
'How can we? It's up to your aunt to do that, and she's away.'
'Then I'm jolly well going to get out myself. There's too much
impending doom buzzing around these parts for my taste. Brinkley Court,
once a peaceful country-house, has become like something sinister out
of Edgar Allan Poe, and it makes my feet cold. I'm leaving.'
'You can't till your aunt gets back. There has to be some sort of
host or hostess here, and I simply must go home tomorrow and see
Mother. You'll have to clench your teeth and stick it.'
'And the severe mental strain to which I am being subjected doesn't
matter, I suppose?'
'Not a bit. Does you good. Keeps your pores open.'
I should probably have said something pretty cutting in reply to
this, if I could have thought of anything, but as I couldn't I didn't.
'What's Aunt Dahlia's address?' I said.
'Royal Hotel, Eastbourne. Why?'
'Because,' I said, taking another cucumber sandwich, 'I'm going to
wire her to ring me up tomorrow without fail, so that I can apprise her
of what's going on in this joint.'
I forget how the subject arose, but I remember Jeeves once saying
that sleep knits up the ravelled sleave of care. Balm of hurt minds, he
described it as. The idea being, I took it, that if things are getting
sticky, they tend to seem less glutinous after you've had your eight
Apple sauce, in my opinion. It seldom pans out that way with me, and
it didn't now. I had retired to rest taking a dim view of the current
situation at Brinkley Court and opening my eyes to a new day, as the
expression is, I found myself taking an even dimmer. Who knew, I asked
myself as I practically pushed the breakfast egg away untasted, what Ma
Cream might not at any moment uncover? And who could say how soon, if I
continued to be always at his side, Wilbert Cream would get it up his
nose and start attacking me with tooth and claw? Already his manner was
that of a man whom the society of Bertram Wooster had fed to the
tonsils, and one more sight of the latter at his elbow might quite
easily make him decide to take prompt steps through the proper
Musing along these lines, I had little appetite for lunch, though
Anatole had extended himself to the utmost. I winced every time the
Cream shot a sharp, suspicious look at Pop Glossop as he messed about
at the sideboard, and the long, loving looks her son Wilbert kept
directing at Phyllis Mills chilled me to the marrow. At the conclusion
of the meal he would, I presumed, invite the girl to accompany him
again to that leafy glade, and it was idle to suppose that there would
not be pique on his part, or even chagrin, when I came along, too.
Fortunately, as we rose from the table, Phyllis said she was going
to her room to finish typing Daddy's speech, and my mind was eased for
the nonce. Even a New York playboy, accustomed from his earliest years
to pursue blondes like a bloodhound, would hardly follow her there and
press his suit.
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
'Sleeping off your lunch, I suppose?'
'My eyes may have closed for a moment.'
'Always eating, that's you.'