Re: Вудхаус П. Г. - Дживс в отпуске на английском языке
'But you aren't trying to get the Conservative Association of the
Market Snodsbury division to choose you as their candidate at the
coming by-election. Upjohn is, and it's vitally important for him to
address the multitude tomorrow and make a good impression, because half
the selection committee have sons at the school and will be there,
waiting to judge for themselves how good he is as a speaker. Their last
nominee stuttered, and they didn't discover it till the time came for
him to dish it out to the constituents. They don't want to make a
mistake this time.'
'Yes, I get you now,' I said. I remembered that Aunt Dahlia had
spoken to me of Upjohn's political ambitions.
'So that fixes that,' said Bobbie. 'His future hangs on this speech,
and we've got it and he hasn't. We take it from there.'
'And what exactly is the procedure?'
'That's all arranged. He'll be ringing up any moment now, making
inquiries. When he does, you step to the telephone and outline the
position of affairs to him.'
'Jeeves deems it best.'
'Well, really, Jeeves! Why not Kipper?'
'Mr Herring and Mr Upjohn are not on speaking terms, sir.'
'So you can see what would happen if he heard Reggie's voice. He
would hang up haughtily, and all the weary work to do again. Whereas
he'll drink in your every word.'
'But, dash it-'
'And, anyway, Reggie's gone for a walk and isn't available. I do
wish you wouldn't always be so difficult, Bertie. Your aunt tells me it
was just the same when you were a child. She'd want you to eat your
cereal, and you would stick your ears back and be stubborn and non-co-
operative, like Jonah's ass in the Bible.'
I could not let this go uncorrected. It's pretty generally known
that when at school I won a prize for Scripture Knowledge.
'Balaam's ass. Jonah was the chap who had the whale. Jeeves!'
'To settle a bet, wasn't it Balaam's ass that entered the nolle
'I told you so,' I said to Bobbie, and would have continued grinding
her into the dust, had not the telephone at this moment tinkled,
diverting my mind from the point at issue. The sound sent a sudden
chill through the Wooster limbs, for I knew what it portended.
Bobbie, too, was not unmoved.
'Hullo!' she said. 'This, if I mistake not, is our client now. In
you go, Bertie. Over the top and best of luck.'
I have mentioned before that Bertram Wooster, chilled steel when
dealing with the sterner sex, is always wax in a woman's hands, and the
present case was no
exception to the r. Short of going over Niagara Falls in a barrel, I
could think of nothing I wanted to do less than chat with Aubrey Upjohn
at this juncture, especially along the lines indicated, but having been
requested by one of the delicately nurtured to take on the grim task, I
had no option. I mean, either a chap's preux or he isn't, as the
Chevalier Bayard used to say.
But as I approached the instrument and unhooked the thing you
unhook, I was far from being at my most nonchalant, and when I heard
Upjohn are-you-there-ing at the other end my manly spirit definitely
blew a fuse. For I could tell by his voice that he was in the testiest
of moods. Not even when conferring with me at Malvern House, Bramley-on-
Sea, on the occasion when I put sherbet in the ink, had I sensed in him
a more marked stirred-up-ness.
'Hullo? Hullo? Hullo? Are you there? Will you kindly answer me? This
is Mr Upjohn speaking.'
They always say that when the nervous system isn't all it should be
the thing to do is to take a couple of deep breaths. I took six, which
of course occupied a certain amount of time, and the delay noticeably
increased his umbrage. Even at this distance one could spot what I
believe is called the deleterious animal magnetism.
'Is that Brinkley Court?'
I could put him straight there. None other, I told him.
'Who are you?'
I had to think for a moment. Then I remembered.
'This is Wooster, Mr Upjohn,'
'Well, listen to me carefully, Wooster.'
'Yes, Mr Upjohn. How do you like the "Bull and Bush"? Everything
'What did you say?'
'I was asking if you like the "Bull and Bush".'
'Never mind the "Bull and Bush".'
'No, Mr Upjohn.'
'This is of vital importance. I wish to speak to the man who packed
'What do you mean by Jeeves?'
'You keep saying "Jeeves" and it makes no sense. Who packed my
'Oh, Jeeves is the man's name?'
'Yes, Mr Upjohn.'
'Well, he carelessly omitted to pack the notes for my speech at
Market Snodsbury Grammar School tomorrow.'
'No, really! I don't wonder you're sore.'
'Sore with an r.'
'No, sorry. I mean with an o-r-e.'
'Yes, Mr Upjohn.'
'Are you intoxicated?'
'No, Mr Upjohn.'
'Then you are drivelling. Stop drivelling, Wooster.'
'Yes, Mr Upjohn.'
'Send for this man Jeeves immediately and ask him what he did with
the notes for my speech.'
'Yes, Mr Upjohn.'
'At once! Don't stand there saying "Yes, Mr Upjohn".'
'No, Mr Upjohn.'
'It is imperative that I have them in my possession immediately.'
'Yes, Mr Upjohn.'
Well, I suppose, looking at it squarely, I hadn't made much real
progress and a not too close observer might quite possibly have got the
impression that I had lost my nerve and was shirking the issue, but
that didn't in my opinion justify Bobbie at this point in snatching the
receiver from my grasp and bellowing the word 'Worm!' at me.
'What did you call me?' said Upjohn.
'I didn't call you anything,' I said. 'Somebody called me
'I wish to speak to this man Jeeves.'
'You do, do you?' said Bobbie. 'Well, you're going to speak to me.
This is Roberta Wickham, Upjohn. If I might have your kind attention
for a moment.'
I must say that, much as I disapproved in many ways of this carrot-
topped Jezebel, as she was sometimes called, there was no getting away
from it that she had mastered the art of talking to retired preparatory
schoolmasters. The golden words came pouring out like syrup. Of course,
she wasn't handicapped, as I had been, by having sojourned for some
years beneath the roof of Malvern House, Bramley-on-Sea, and having at
a malleable age associated with this old Frankenstein's monster when he
was going good, but even so her performance deserved credit.
Beginning with a curt 'Listen, Buster,' she proceeded to sketch out
with admirable clearness the salient points in the situation as she
envisaged it, and judging from the loud buzzing noises that came over
the wire, clearly audible to me though now standing in the background,
it was evident that the nub was not escaping him. They were the buzzing
noises of a man slowly coming to the realization that a woman's hand
had got him by the short hairs.
Presently they died away, and Bobbie spoke.
'That's fine,' she said. 'I was sure you'd come round to our view.
Then I will be with you shortly. Mind there's plenty of ink in your
She hung up and legged it from the room, once more giving vent to
those animal cries, and I turned to Jeeves as I had so often turned to
him before when musing on the activities of the other sex.
'Were you following all that?'
'I gather that Upjohn, vowing ... How does it go?'
'Vowing he would ne'er consent, consented, sir.'
'He's withdrawing the suit.'
'Yes, sir. And Miss Wickham prudently specified that he do so in
'Thus avoiding all rannygazoo?'
'She thinks of everything.'
'I thought she was splendidly firm.'
'It's the red hair that does it, I imagine.'
'If anyone had told me that I should live to hear Aubrey Upjohn
addressed as "Buster" ...'
I would have spoken further, but before I could get under way the
door opened, revealing Ma Cream, and he shimmered silently from the
room. Unless expressly desired to remain, he always shimmers off when
what is called the Quality arrive.
This was the first time I had seen Ma Cream today, she having gone
off around noon to lunch with some friends in Birmingham, and I would
willingly not have seen her now, for something in her manner seemed to
suggest that she spelled trouble. She was looking more like Sherlock
Holmes than ever. Slap a dressing-gown on her and give her a violin,
and she could have walked straight into Baker Street and no questions
asked. Fixing me with a penetrating eye, she said:
'Oh, there you are, Mr Wooster. I was looking for you.'
'You wished speech with me?'
'Yes. I wanted to say that now perhaps you'd believe me.'
'I beg your pardon?'
'About that butler.'
'What about him?'
'I'll tell you about him. I'd sit down, if I were you. It's a long
I sat down. Clad to, as a matter of fact, for the legs were feeling
'You remember I told you I mistrusted him from the first?'
'Oh ah, yes. You did, didn't you?'
'I said he had a criminal face.'
'He can't help his face.'
'He can help being a crook and an impostor. Calls himself a butler,
does he? The police could shake that story. He's no more a butler than
I did my best.
'But think of those references of his.'
'I am thinking of them.'
'He couldn't have stuck it out as major-domo to a man like Sir
Roderick Glossop, if he'd been dishonest.'
'But Bobbie said -'
'I remember very clearly what Miss Wickham said. She told me he had
been with Sir Roderick Glossop for years.'
'You think that puts him in the clear?'
'I don't, and I'll tell you why. Sir Roderick Glossop has a large
clinic down in Somersetshire at a place called Chuffnell Regis, and a
friend of mine is there. I wrote to her asking her to see Lady Glossop
and get all the information she could about a former butler of hers
named Swordfish. When I got back from Birmingham just now, I found a
letter from her. She says that Lady Glossop told her she had never
employed a butler called Swordfish. Try that one on for size.'
I continued to do my best. The Woosters never give up.
'You don't know Lady Glossop, do you?'
'Of course I don't, or I'd have written to her direct.'
'Charming woman, but with a memory like a sieve. The sort who's
always losing one glove at the theatre. Naturally she wouldn't remember
a butler's name. She probably thought all along it was Fotheringay or
Binks or something. Very common, that sort of mental lapse. I was up at
Oxford with a man called Robinson, and I was trying to think of his
name the other day and the nearest I could get to it was Fosdyke. It
only came back to me when I saw in The Times a few days ago that
Herbert Robinson (26) of Grove Road, Ponder's End, had been had up at
Bosher Street police court, charged with having stolen a pair of green
and yellow checked trousers. Not the same chap, of course, but you get
the idea. I've no doubt that one of these fine mornings Lady Glossop
will suddenly smack herself on the forehead and cry "Swordfish! Of
course! And all this time I've been thinking of the honest fellow as
She sniffed. And if I were to say that I liked the way she sniffed,
I would be wilfully deceiving my public. It was the sort of sniff
Sherlock Holmes would have sniffed when about to clap the darbies on
the chap who had swiped the Maharajah's ruby.
'Honest fellow, did you say? Then how do you account for this? I saw
Willie just now, and he tells me that a valuable eighteenth-century cow-
creamer which he bought from Mr Travers is missing. And where is it,
you ask? At this moment it is tucked away in Swordfish's bedroom in a
drawer under his clean shirts.'
In stating that the Woosters never give up, I was in error. These
words caught me amidships and took all the fighting spirit out of me,
leaving me a spent force.
'Oh, is it?' I said. Not good, but the best I could do.
'Yes, sir, that's where it is. Directly Willie told me the thing had
gone, I knew where it had gone to. I went to this man Swordfish's room
and searched it, and there it was. I've sent for the police.'
Again I had that feeling of having been spiritually knocked base
over apex. I gaped at the woman.
'You've sent for the police?'
'I have, and they're sending a sergeant. He ought to be here at any
moment. And shall I tell you something? I'm going now to stand outside
Swordfish's door, to see that nobody tampers with the evidence. I'm not
going to take any chances. I wouldn't want to say anything to suggest
that I don't trust you implicitly, Mr Wooster, but I don't like the way
you've been sticking up for this fellow. You've been far too
sympathetic with him for my taste.'
'It's just that I think he may have yielded to sudden temptation and
'Nonsense. He's probably been acting this way all his life. I'll bet
he was swiping things as a small boy.'
'I beg your pardon?'
'Or crackers you would call them, wouldn't you? He was telling me he
occasionally pinched a cracker or two in his salad days.'
'Well, there you are. You start with crackers and you end up with
silver jugs. That's life,' she said, and buzzed off to keep her vigil,
leaving me kicking myself because I'd forgotten to say anything about
the quality of mercy not being strained. It isn't, as I dare say you
know, and a mention of this might just have done the trick.
I was still brooding on this oversight and wondering what was to be
done for the best, when Bobbie and Aunt Dahlia came in, looking like a
young female and an elderly female who were sitting on top of the
'Roberta tells me she has got Upjohn to withdraw the libel suit,'
said Aunt Dahlia. 'I couldn't be more pleased, but I'm blowed if I can
imagine how she did it.'
'Oh, I just appealed to his better feelings,' said Bobbie, giving me
one of those significant glances. I got the message. The ancestor, she
was warning me, must never learn that she had achieved her ends by
jeopardizing the delivery of the Upjohn speech to the young scholars of
Market Snodsbury Grammar School on the morrow. 'I told him that the
quality of mercy ... What's the matter, Bertie?'
'Nothing. Just starting.'
'What do you want to start for?'
'I believe Brinkley Court is open for starting in at about this
hour, is it not? The quality of mercy, you were saying?'
'Yes. It isn't strained.'
'I believe not.'
'And in case you didn't know, it's twice bless'd and becomes the
throned monarch better than his crown. I drove over to the "Bull and
Bush" and put this to Upjohn, and he saw my point. So now everything's
I uttered a hacking laugh.
'No,' I said, in answer to a query from Aunt Dahlia. 'I have not
accidentally swallowed my tonsils, I was merely laughing hackingly.
Ironical that the young blister should say that everything is fine, for
at this very moment disaster stares us in the eyeball. I have a story
to relate which I think you will agree falls into the fretful
porpentine class,' I said, and without further pourparlers I unshipped
I had anticipated that it would shake them to their foundation
garments, and it did. Aunt Dahlia reeled like an aunt struck behind the
ear with a blunt instrument, and Bobbie tottered like a red-haired girl
who hadn't known it was loaded.
'You see the set-up,' I continued, not wanting to rub it in but
feeling that they should be fully briefed. 'Glossop will return from
his afternoon off to find the awful majesty of the Law waiting for him,
complete with handcuffs. We can hardly expect him to accept an
exemplary sentence without a murmur, so his first move will be to
establish his innocence by revealing all. "True," he will say, "I did
pinch this bally cow-creamer, but merely because I thought Wilbert had
pinched it and it ought to be returned to store," and he will go on to
explain his position in the house - all this, mind you, in front of Ma
Cream. So what ensues? The sergeant removes the gloves from his wrists,
and Ma Cream asks you if she may use your telephone for a moment, as
she wishes to call her husband on long distance. Pop Cream listens
attentively to the tale she tells, and when Uncle Tom looks in on him
later, he finds him with folded arms and a forbidding scowl. "Travers,"
he says, "the deal's off." "Off ?" quivers Uncle Tom. "Off," says
Cream. "O-ruddy-double-f. I don't do business with guys whose wives
bring in loony-doctors to observe my son." A short while ago Ma Cream
was urging me to try something on for size. I suggest that you do the
same for this.'
Aunt Dahlia had sunk into a chair and was starting to turn purple.
Strong emotion always has this effect on her.
'The only thing left, it seems to me,' I said, 'is to put our trust
in a higher power.'
'You're right,' said the relative, fanning her brow. 'Go and fetch
Jeeves, Roberta. And what you do, Bertie, is get out that car of yours
and scour the countryside for Glossop. It may be possible to head him
off. Come on, come on, let's have some service. What are you waiting
I hadn't exactly been waiting. I'd only been thinking that the
enterprise had more than a touch of looking for a needle in a haystack
about it. You can't find loony-doctors on their afternoon off just by
driving around Worcestershire in a car; you need bloodhounds and
handkerchiefs for them to sniff at and all that professional stuff.
Still, there it was.
'Right-ho,' I said. 'Anything to oblige.'
And, of course, as I had anticipated from the start, the thing was a
wash-out. I stuck it out for about an hour and then, apprised by a
hollow feeling in the midriff that the dinner hour was approaching,
laid a course for home.
Arriving there, I found Bobbie in the drawing-room. She had the air
of a girl who was waiting for something, and when she told me that the
cocktails would be coming along in a moment, I knew what it was.
'Cocktails, eh? I could do with one or possibly more,' I said. 'My
fruitless quest has taken it out of me. I couldn't find Glossop
anywhere. He must be somewhere, of course, but Worcestershire hid its
'Glossop?' she said, seeming surprised. 'Oh, he's been back for
She wasn't half as surprised as I was. The calm with which she spoke
'Good Lord! This is the end.'
'This is. Has he been pinched?'
'Of course not. He told them who he was and explained everything.'
'What's the matter? Oh, of course, I was forgetting. You don't know
the latest developments. Jeeves solved everything.'
'With a wave of the hand. It was so simple, really. One wondered why
one hadn't thought of it oneself. On his advice, Glossop revealed his
identity and said your aunt had got him down here to observe you.'
I reeled, and might have fallen, had I not clutched at a photograph
on a near-by table of Uncle Tom in the uniform of the East
'No?' I said.
'And of course it carried immediate conviction with Mrs Cream. Your
aunt explained that she had been uneasy about you for a long time,
because you were always doing extraordinary things like sliding down
water pipes and keeping twenty-three cats in your bedroom and all that,
and Mrs Cream recalled the time when she had found you hunting for mice
under her son's dressing-table, so she quite agreed that it was high
time you were under the observation of an experienced eye like
Glossop's. She was greatly relieved when Glossop assured her that he
was confident of effecting a cure. She said we must all be very, very
kind to you. So everything's nice and smooth. It's extraordinary how
things turn out for the best, isn't it?' she said, laughing merrily.
Whether I would or would not at this juncture have taken her in an
iron grasp and shaken her till she frothed is a point on which I can
make no definite announcement. The chivalrous spirit of the Woosters
would probably have restrained me, much as I resented that merry
laughter, but as it happened the matter was not put to the test, for at
this moment Jeeves entered, bearing a tray on which were glasses and a
substantial shaker filled to the brim with the juice of the juniper
berry. Bobbie drained her beaker with all possible speed and left us,
saying that if she didn't get dressed, she'd be late for dinner, and
Jeeves and I were alone, like a couple of bimbos in one of those movies
where two strong men stand face to face and might is the only law.
'Well, Jeeves,' I said.
'Miss Wickham has been telling me all.'
'Ah yes, sir.'
'The words "Ah yes, sir" fall far short of an adequate comment on
the situation. A nice ... what is it? Begins with an i... im-
'That's it. A nice imbroglio you've landed me in. Thanks to you ...'
'Don't say "Yes, sir." Thanks to you I have been widely publicized
as off my rocker.'
'Not widely, sir. Merely to your immediate circle now resident at
'You have held me up at the bar of world opinion as a man who has
not got all his marbles.'
'It was not easy to think of an alternative scheme, sir.'
'And let me tell you,' said, and I meant this to sting, 'it's
amazing that you got away with it.'
'There's a flaw in your story that sticks up like a sore thumb.'
'It's no good standing there saying "Sir?", Jeeves. It's obvious.
The cow-creamer was in Glossop's bedroom. How did he account for that?'
'On my suggestion, sir, he explained that he had removed it from
your room, where he had ascertained that you had hidden it after
purloining it from Mr Cream.'
'You mean,' I... yes, thundered would be the word, 'You mean that I
am now labelled not only as a loony in a general sort of way but also
as a klept-whatever-it-is?'
'Merely to your immediate circle now resident at Brinkley Court,
'You keep saying that, and you must know it's the purest apple
sauce. You don't really think the Creams will maintain a tactful
reserve? They'll dine out on it for years. Returning to America,
they'll spread the story from the rock-bound coasts of Maine to the
Everglades of Florida, with the result that when I go over there again,
keen looks will be shot at me at every house I go into and spoons
counted before I leave. And do you realize that in a few shakes I've
got to show up at dinner and have Mrs Cream being very, very kind to
me? It hurts the pride of the Woosters, Jeeves.'
'My advice, sir, would be to fortify yourself for the ordeal.'
'There are always cocktails, sir. Should I pour you another?'
'And we must always remember what the poet Longfellow said, sir.'
'What was that?'
'Something attempted, something done, has earned a night's repose.
You have the satisfaction of having sacrificed yourself in the
interests of Mr Travers.'
He had found a talking point. He had reminded me of those postal
orders, sometimes for as much as ten bob, which Uncle Torn had sent me
in the Malvern House days. I softened. Whether or not a tear rose to my
eye, I cannot say, but it may be taken as official that I softened.
'How right you are, Jeeves!' I said.