Re: Вудхаус П. Г. - Дживс в отпуске на английском языке

He  found  speech, if you could call making a noise like a  buffalo
taking its foot out of a swamp finding speech.
     'But,  dash  it,'  he said, finding a bit more, 'it  was  perfectly
legitimate criticism. I didn't mince my words, of course -'
     'It  would  be  interesting to find out what these  unminced  words
were,' said Aunt Dahlia, 'for among them there appear to have been  one
or  two which seem likely to set your proprietor back five thousand  of
the  best  and  brightest. Bertie, get your car out and  go  to  Market
Snodsbury  station and see if the bookstall has a copy of  this  week's
...  No, wait, hold the line. Cancel that order. I shan't be a minute,'
she said, and went out, leaving me totally fogged as to what she was up
to. What aunts are up to is never an easy thing to divine.
     I turned to Kipper.
     'Bad show,' I said.
     From  the  way he writhed I gathered that he was feeling  it  could
scarcely be worse.
     'What happens when an editorial assistant on a weekly paper lets the
bosses in for substantial libel damages?'
     He was able to answer that one.
     'He gets the push and, what's more, finds it pretty damned difficult
to land another job. He's on the blacklist.'
     I  saw what he meant. These birds who run weekly papers believe  in
watching  the pennies. They like to get all that's coming to  them  and
when the stuff, instead of pouring in, starts pouring out as the result
of an injudicious move on the part of a unit of the staff, what they do
to  that  unit is plenty. I think Kipper's outfit was financed by  some
sort  of  board  or syndicate, but boards and syndicates  are  just  as
sensitive about having to cough up as individual owners. As Kipper  had
indicated, they not only give the erring unit the heave-ho but pass the
word round to the other boards and syndicates.
     'Herring?'  the  latter say when Kipper comes  seeking  employment.
'Isn't  he  the  bimbo  who took the bread out of  the  mouths  of  the
Thursday  Review people? Chuck the blighter out of the  window  and  we
want  to see him bounce.' If this action of Upjohn's went through,  his
chances of any sort of salaried post were meagre, if not slim. It might
be years before all was forgiven and forgotten.
     'Selling  pencils in the gutter is about the best I'll be  able  to
look  forward to,' said Kipper, and he had just buried his face in  his
hands,  as fellows are apt to do when contemplating a future  that's  a
bit  on the bleak side, when the door opened, to reveal not, as  I  had
expected, Aunt Dahlia, but Bobbie.
     'I got the wrong book,' she said. 'The one I wanted was -'
     Then her eye fell on Kipper and she stiffened in every limb, rather
like  Lot's  wife, who, as you probably know, did the wrong thing  that
time there was all that unpleasantness with the cities of the plain and
got  turned  into a pillar of salt, though what was the thought  behind
this I've never been able to understand. Salt, I mean. Seems so bizarre
somehow and not at all what you would expect.
     'Oh!'  she said haughtily, as if offended by this glimpse into  the
underworld,  and even as she spoke a hollow groan burst  from  Kipper's
interior and he raised an ashen face. And at the sight of that ashen f.
the  haughtiness  went  out of Roberta Wickham with  a  whoosh,  to  be
replaced  by  all the old love, sympathy, womanly tenderness  and  what
not,  and she bounded at him like a leopardess getting together with  a
lost cub.
     'Reggie!  Oh, Reggie! Reggie, darling, what is it?' she cried,  her
whole demeanour undergoing a marked change for the better. She was,  in
short, melted by his distress, as so often happens with the female sex.
Poets have frequently commented on this. You are probably familiar with
the  one  who  said 'Oh, woman in our hours of ease turn  tumty  tiddly
something please, when something something something something brow,  a
something something something thou.'
     She turned on me with an animal snarl.
     'What have you been doing to the poor lamb?' she demanded, giving me
one of the nastiest looks seen that summer in the midland counties, and
I  had  just finished explaining that it was not I but Fate or  Destiny
that  had  removed the sunshine from the poor lamb's  life,  when  Aunt
Dahlia returned. She had a slip of paper in her hand.
     'I  was right,' she said. 'I knew Upjohn's first move on getting  a
book published would be to subscribe to a press-cutting agency. I found
this  on  the  hall table. It's your review of his slim  volume,  young
Herring,  and having run an eye over it I'm not surprised that  he's  a
little upset. I'll read it to you.'
     As  might have been expected, this having been foreshadowed a  good
deal  in one way and another, what Kipper had written was on the severe
side,  and  as  far  as  I  was concerned it fell  into  the  rare  and
refreshing  fruit class. I enjoyed every minute of it. It concluded  as
     'Aubrey  Upjohn  might have taken a different view  of  preparatory
schools if he had done a stretch at the Dotheboys Hall conducted by him
at  Malvern House, Bramley-on-Sea, as we had the misfortune to  do.  We
have  not  forgotten the sausages on Sunday, which were made  not  from
contented  pigs but from pigs which had expired, regretted by  all,  of
glanders, the botts and tuberculosis.'
     Until  this passage left the aged relative's lips Kipper  had  been
sitting  with  the tips of his fingers together, nodding from  time  to
time  as  much  as  to  say  'Caustic, yes,  but  perfectly  legitimate
criticism,'  but on hearing this excerpt he did another of his  sitting
high  jumps,  lowering  all  previous records  by  several  inches.  It
occurred to me as a passing thought that if all other sources of income
failed, he had a promising future as an acrobat.
     'But I never wrote that,' he gasped.
     'Well, it's here in cold print.'
     'Why, that's libellous!'
     'So Upjohn and his legal eagle seem to feel. And I must say it reads
like a pretty good five thousand pounds' worth to me.'
     'Let me look at that,' yipped Kipper. 'I don't understand this. No,
half  a  second,  darling. Not now. Later. I want to  concentrate,'  he
said, for Bobbie had flung herself on him and was clinging to him  like
the ivy on the old garden wall.
     'Reggie!' she wailed - yes, wail's the word. 'It was me!'
     'That  thing Mrs Travers just read. You remember you showed me  the
proof  at  lunch that day and told me to drop it off at the office,  as
you  had to rush along to keep a golf date. I read it again after you'd
gone,  and  saw  you  had  left  out that  bit  about  the  sausages  -
accidentally, I thought - and it seemed to me so frightfully funny  and
clever that... Well, I put it in at the end. I felt it just rounded the
thing off.'


     There was silence for some moments, broken only by the sound of  an
aunt  saying  'Lord  love  a duck!' Kipper stood  blinking,  as  I  had
sometimes seen him do at the boxing tourneys in which he indulged  when
in  receipt of a shrewd buffet on some tender spot like the tip of  the
nose. Whether or not the idea of taking Bobbie's neck in both hands and
twisting  it into a spiral floated through his mind, I cannot say,  but
if  so it was merely the ideal dream of a couple of seconds or so,  for
almost immediately love prevailed. She had described him as a lamb, and
it  was  with  all the mildness for which lambs are noted that  he  now
     'Oh, I see. So that's how it was.'
     'I'm so sorry.'
     'Don't mention it.'
     'Can you ever forgive me?'
     'Oh, rather.'
     'I meant so well.'
     'Of course you did.'
     'Will you really get into trouble about this?'
     'There may be some slight unpleasantness.'
     'Oh, Reggie!'
     'Quite all right.'
     'I've ruined your life.'
     'Nonsense. The Thursday Review isn't the only paper in  London.  If
they fire me, I'll accept employment elsewhere.'
     This  scarcely  squared  with what  he  had  told  me  about  being
blacklisted,  but I forbore to mention this, for I saw that  his  words
had cheered Bobbie up considerably, and I didn't want to bung a spanner
into  her  mood of bien etre. Never does to dash the cup  of  happiness
from  a  girl's lips when after plumbing the depths she has started  to
take a swig at it.
     'Of  course!' she said. 'Any paper would be glad to have a valuable
man like you.'
     'They'll fight like tigers for his services,' I said, helping things
along.  'You don't find a chap like Kipper out of circulation for  more
than a day or so.'
     'You're so clever.'
     'Oh, thanks.'
     'I don't mean you, ass, I mean Reggie.'
     'Ah, yes. Kipper has what it takes, all right.'
     'All the same,' said Aunt Dahlia, 'I think, when Upjohn arrives, you
had better do all you can to ingratiate yourself with him.'
     I got her meaning. She was recommending that grappling-to-the-soul-
with-hoops-of-steel stuff.
     'Yes,'  I  said. 'Exert the charm, Kipper, and there's a chance  he
might call the thing off.'
     'Bound to,' said Bobbie. 'Nobody can resist you, darling.'
     'Do you think so, darling?'
     'Of course I do, darling.'
     'Well,  let's  hope you're right, darling. In the  meantime,'  said
Kipper,   'if   I  don't  get  that  whisky-and-soda  soon,   I   shall
disintegrate. Would you mind if I went in search of it, Mrs Travers?'
     'It's the very thing I was about to suggest myself. Dash along  and
drink your fill, my unhappy young stag at eve.'
     'I'm feeling rather like a restorative, too,' said Bobbie.
     'Me also,' I said, swept along on the tide of the popular movement.
'Though I would advise,' I said, when we were outside, 'making it port.
More authority. We'll look in on Swordfish. He will provide.'
     We found Pop Glossop in his pantry polishing silver, and put in our
order.  He seemed a little surprised at the inrush of such a multitude,
but on learning that our tongues were hanging out obliged with a bottle
of  the  best, and after we had done a bit of tissue-restoring, Kipper,
who  had preserved a brooding silence since entering, rose and left us,
saying  that if we didn't mind he would like to muse apart for a while.
I  saw  Pop Glossop give him a sharp look as he went out and knew  that
Kipper's demeanour had roused his professional interest, causing him to
scent   in  the  young  visitor  a  potential  customer.  These   brain
specialists  are  always on the job and never miss a  trick.  Tactfully
waiting till the door had closed, he said:
     'Is Mr Herring an old friend of yours, Mr Wooster?'
     'I beg your pardon. Bertie. You have known him for some time?'
     'Practically from the egg.'
     'And is Miss Wickham a friend of his?'
     'Reggie Herring and I are engaged, Sir Roderick,' said Bobbie.  Her
words  seemed to seal the Glossop lips. He said 'Oh' and began to  talk
about  the  weather  and  continued to do so until  Bobbie,  who  since
Kipper's departure had been exhibiting signs of restlessness, said  she
thought she would go and see how he was making out. Finding himself de-
Wickham-ed, he unsealed his lips without delay.
     'I  did not like to mention it before Miss Wickham, as she  and  Mr
Herring  are engaged, for one is always loath to occasion anxiety,  but
that young man has a neurosis.'
     'He isn't always as dippy as he looked just now.'
     'And let me tell you something, Roddy. If you were as up against it
as he is, you'd have a neurosis, too.'
     And feeling that it would do no harm to get his views on the Kipper
situation, I unfolded the tale.
     'So you see the posish,' I concluded. 'The only way he can avoid the
fate  that is worse than death - viz. Letting his employers get  nicked
for  a  sum  beyond the dreams of avarice - is by ingratiating  himself
with Upjohn, which would seem to any thinking man a shot that's not  on
the  board.  I  mean, he had four years with him at Malvern  House  and
didn't ingratiate himself once, so it's difficult to see how he's going
to  start  doing it now. It seems to me the thing's an impasse.  French
expression,' I explained, 'meaning that we're stymied good  and  proper
with no hope of finding a formula.'
     To my surprise, instead of clicking the tongue and waggling the head
gravely  to  indicate that he saw the stickiness  of  the  dilemma,  he
chuckled fatly, as if having spotted an amusing side to the thing which
had  escaped me. Having done this, he blessed his soul, which  was  his
way of saying 'Gorblimey'.
     'It  really is quite extraordinary, my dear Bertie,' he said,  'how
associating  with you restores my youth. Your lightest  word  seems  to
bring  back  old memories. I find myself recollecting episodes  in  the
distant past which I have not thought of for years and years. It is  as
though  you waved a magic wand of some kind. This matter of the problem
confronting your friend Mr Herring is a case in point. While  you  were
telling me of his troubles, the mists shredded away, the hands  of  the
clock  turned  back, and I was once again a young fellow  in  my  early
twenties,  deeply  involved in the strange affair  of  Bertha  Simmons,
George Lanchester and Bertha's father, old Mr Simmons, who at that time
resided in Putney. He was in the imported lard and butter business.'
     'The - what was that strange affair again?'
     He  repeated the cast of characters, asked me if I would  care  for
another  drop of port, a suggestion with which I readily fell  in,  and
     'George, a young man of volcanic passions, met Bertha Simmons at  a
dance  at  Putney  Town Hall in aid of the widows of  deceased  railway
porters and became instantly enamoured. And his love was returned. When
he  encountered Bertha next day in Putney High Street and,  taking  her
off  to a confectioner's for an ice cream, offered her with it his hand
and  heart, she accepted them enthusiastically. She said that when they
were dancing together on the previous night something had seemed to  go
all over her, and he said he had had exactly the same experience.'
     'Twin souls, what?'
     'A most accurate description.'
     'In fact, so far, so good.'
     'Precisely.  But  there was an obstacle, and a  very  serious  one.
George was a swimming instructor at the local baths, and Mr Simmons had
higher  views for his daughter. He forbade the marriage. I am speaking,
of  course, of the days when fathers did forbid marriage. It  was  only
when George saved him from drowning that he relented and gave the young
couple his consent and blessing.'
     'How did that happen?'
     'Perfectly simple. I took Mr Simmons for a stroll on the river bank
and pushed him in, and George, who was waiting in readiness, dived into
the  water  and  pulled him out. Naturally I had to undergo  a  certain
amount  of criticism of my clumsiness, and it was many weeks  before  I
received another invitation to Sunday supper at Chatsworth, the Simmons
residence,  quite  a privation in those days when  I  was  a  penniless
medical  student  and perpetually hungry, but I was glad  to  sacrifice
myself  to  help  a  friend  and the results,  as  far  as  George  was
concerned, were of the happiest. And what crossed my mind, as you  were
telling me of Mr Herring's desire to ingratiate himself with Mr Upjohn,
was that a similar -is "set-up" the term you young fellows use? - would
answer  in his case. All the facilities are here at Brinkley Court.  In
my  rambles about the grounds I have noticed a small but quite adequate
lake, and ... well, there you have it, my dear Bertie. I throw it  out,
of course, merely as a suggestion.'
     His words left me all of a glow. When I thought how I had misjudged
him  in  the  days when our relations had been distant, I  burned  with
shame  and remorse. It seemed incredible that I could ever have  looked
on  this admirable loony-doctor as the menace in the treatment. What  a
lesson, I felt, this should teach all of us that a man may have a  bald
head  and  bushy eyebrows and still remain at heart a jovial  sportsman
and one of the boys. There was about an inch of the ruby juice nestling
in  my  glass,  and as he finished speaking I raised the  beaker  in  a
reverent  toast. I told him he had hit the bull's eye and was  entitled
to a cigar or coconut according to choice.
     'I'll go and take the matter up with my principals immediately.'
     'Can Mr Herring swim?'
     'Like several fishes.'
     'Then I see no obstacle in the path.'
     We  parted  with mutual expressions of good will, and it  was  only
after I had emerged into the summer air that I remembered I hadn't told
him that Wilbert had purchased, not pinched, the cow-creamer, and for a
moment I thought of going back to apprise him. But I thought again, and
didn't.  First things first, I said to myself, and the item at the  top
of the agenda paper was the bringing of a new sparkle to Kipper's eyes.
Later  on,  I  told myself, would do, and carried on to  where  he  and
Bobbie  were pacing the lawn with bowed heads. It would not be long,  I
anticipated, before I would be bringing those heads up with a jerk.
     Nor  was  I  in error. Their enthusiasm was unstinted. Both  agreed
unreservedly  that if Upjohn had the merest spark of human  feeling  in
him, which of course had still to be proved, the thing was in the bag.
     'But  you  never  thought this up yourself, Bertie,'  said  Bobbie,
always  inclined to underestimate the Wooster shrewdness. 'You've  been
talking to Jeeves.'
     'No, as a matter of fact, it was Swordfish who had the idea.'
     Kipper seemed surprised.
     'You mean you told him about it?'
     'I thought it the strategic move. Four heads are better than three.'
     'And he advised shoving Upjohn into the lake?'
     'That's right.'
     'Rather a peculiar butler.'
     I turned this over in my mind.
     'Peculiar?  Oh, I don't know. Fairly run-of-the-mill I should  call
him. Yes, more or less the usual type,' I said.


     With  self  all  eagerness and enthusiasm for  the  work  in  hand,
straining at the leash, as you might say, and full of the will to  win,
it  came  as a bit of a damper when I found on the following  afternoon
that  Jeeves didn't think highly of Operation Upjohn. I told him  about
it  just  before starting out for the tryst, feeling that it  would  be
helpful  to  have his moral support, and was stunned to  see  that  his
manner  was austere and even puff-faced. He was giving me a description
at  the time of how it felt to act as judge at a seaside bathing belles
contest,  and  it was with regret that I was compelled  to  break  into
this, for he had been holding me spellbound.
     'I'm sorry, Jeeves,' I said, consulting my watch, 'but I shall have
to  be  dashing  off. Urgent appointment. You must  tell  me  the  rest
     'At any time that suits you, sir.'
     'Are you doing anything for the next half-hour or so?'
     'No, sir.'
     'Not  planning to curl up in some shady nook with a  cigarette  and
     'No, sir.'
     'Then I strongly advise you to come down to the lake and witness  a
human drama.'
     And  in  a few brief words I outlined the programme and the  events
which  had  led up to it. He listened attentively and raised  his  left
eyebrow a fraction of an inch.
     'Was this Miss Wickham's idea, sir?'
     'No.  I agree that it sounds like one of hers, but actually it  was
Sir  Roderick  Glossop who suggested it. By the way, you were  probably
surprised to find him buttling here.'
     'It  did  occasion me a momentary astonishment,  but  Sir  Roderick
explained the circumstances.'
     'Fearing that if he didn't let you in on it, you might unmask him in
front of Mrs Cream?'
     'No doubt, sir. He would naturally wish to take all precautions.  I
gathered  from  his  remarks that he has not  yet  reached  a  definite
conclusion regarding the mental condition of Mr Cream.'
     'No,  he's still observing. Well, as I say, it was from his fertile
bean that the idea sprang. What do you think of it?'
     'Ill-advised, sir, in my opinion.'
     I was amazed. I could hardly b. my e.
     'Yes, sir.'
     'But it worked without a hitch in the case of Bertha Simmons, George
Lanchester and old Mr Simmons.'
     'Very possibly, sir.'
     Then why this defeatist attitude?'
     'It  is  merely  a feeling, sir, due probably to my preference  for
finesse. I mistrust these elaborate schemes. One cannot depend on them.
As  the  poet Burns says, the best laid plans of mice and men gang  aft
     'Scotch, isn't it, that word?'
     'Yes, sir.'
     'I  thought as much. The "gang" told the story. Why do Scotsmen say
     'I have no information, sir. They have not confided in me.'
     I was getting a bit peeved by now, not at all liking the sniffiness
of  his manner. I had expected him to speed me on my way with words  of
encouragement and.uplift, not to go trying to blunt the keen edge of my
zest like this. I was rather in the position of a child who runs to his
mother hoping for approval and endorsement of something he's done,  and
is awarded instead a brusque kick in the pants. It was with a good deal
of warmth that I came back at him.
     'So  you think the poet Burns would look askance at this enterprise
of  ours,  do  you? Well, you can tell him from me he's an  ass.  We've
thought  the thing out to the last detail. Miss Wickham asks Mr  Upjohn
to come for a stroll with her. She leads him to the lake. I am standing
on  the  brink, ostensibly taking a look at the fishes playing  amongst
the  reeds.  Kipper, ready to the last button, is behind a neighbouring
tree. On the cue "Oh, look!" from Miss Wickham, accompanied by business
of  pointing with girlish excitement at something in the water,  Upjohn
bends  over to peer. I push, Kipper dives in, and there we are. Nothing
can possibly go wrong.'
     'Just as you say, sir. But I still have that feeling.'
     The blood of the Woosters is hot, and I was about to tell him in set
terms what I thought of his bally feeling, when I suddenly spotted what
it  was  that  was making him crab the act. The green-eyed monster  had
bitten  him.  He  was miffed because he wasn't the brains  behind  this
binge,  the  blue prints for it having been laid down by a rival.  Even
great  men have their weaknesses. So I held back the acid crack I might
have  made,  and went off with a mere 'Oh, yeah?' No sense in  twisting
the knife in the wound, I mean.


Re: Вудхаус П. Г. - Дживс в отпуске на английском языке

All  the same, I remained a bit hot under the collar, because  when
you're all strung up and tense and all that, the last thing you want is
people upsetting you by bringing in the poet Burns. I hadn't told  him,
but  our  plans  had already nearly been wrecked at the outset  by  the
unfortunate  circumstance of Upjohn, while in  the  metropolis,  having
shaved  his moustache, this causing Kipper to come within a toucher  of
losing  his  nerve and calling the whole thing off. The sight  of  that
bare  expanse  or  steppe  of flesh beneath  the  nose,  he  said,  did
something to him, bringing back the days when he had so often found his
blood turning to ice on beholding it. It had required quite a series of
pep talks to revive his manly spirits.
     However, there was good stuff in the lad, and though for a while the
temperature of his feet had dropped sharply, threatening to reduce  him
to  the status of a non-co-operative cat in an adage, at 3.30 Greenwich
Mean  Time he was at his post behind the selected tree, resolved to  do
his  bit.  He poked his head round the tree as I arrived,  and  when  I
waved a cheery hand at him, waved a fairly cheery hand at me. Though  I
only caught a glimpse of him, I could see that his upper lip was stiff.
     There being no signs as yet of the female star and her companion, I
deduced that I was a bit on the early side. I lit a cigarette and stood
awaiting their entrance, and was pleased to note that conditions  could
scarcely  have been better for the coming water fete. Too often  on  an
English summer day you find the sun going behind the clouds and a nippy
wind  springing up from the north-east, but this afternoon was  one  of
those  still, sultry afternoons when the slightest movement brings  the
persp. in beads to the brow, an afternoon, in short, when it would be a
positive  pleasure to be shoved into a lake. 'Most refreshing,'  Upjohn
would say to himself as the cool water played about his limbs.
     I was standing there running over the stage directions in my mind to
see  that  I  had  got  them all clear, when  I  beheld  Wilbert  Cream
approaching, the dog Poppet curvetting about his ankles. On seeing  me,
the  hound  rushed forward with uncouth cries as was his wont,  but  on
heaving  alongside  and getting a whiff of Wooster Number  Five  calmed
down,  and  I  was  at liberty to attend to Wilbert, who  I  could  see
desired speech with me.
     He  was  looking, I noticed, fairly green about the gills,  and  he
conveyed  the  same suggestion of having just swallowed  a  bad  oyster
which I had observed in Kipper on his arrival at Brinkley. It was plain
that  the  loss of Phyllis Mills, goofy though she unquestionably  was,
had  hit him a shrewd wallop, and I presumed that he was coming  to  me
for  sympathy and heart balm, which I would have been only too  pleased
to dish out. I hoped, of course, that he would make it crisp and remove
himself  at an early date, for when the moment came for the balloon  to
go  up I didn't want to be hampered by an audience. When you're pushing
someone into a lake, nothing embarrasses you more than having the front
seats filled up with goggling spectators.
     It was not, however, on the subject of Phyllis that he proceeded to
     'Oh, Wooster,' he said, 'I was talking to my mother a night or  two
     'Oh,  yes?'  I  said, with a slight wave of the  hand  intended  to
indicate that if he liked to talk to his mother anywhere, all over  the
house, he had my approval.
     'She tells me you are interested in mice.'
     I didn't like the trend the conversation was taking, but I preserved
my aplomb.
     'Why, yes, fairly interested.'
     'She says she found you trying to catch one in my bedroom!'
     'Yes, that's right.'
     'Good of you to bother.'
     'Not at all. Always a pleasure.'
     'She  says  you seemed to be making a very thorough  search  of  my
     'Oh, well, you know, when one sets one's hand to the plough.'
     'You didn't find a mouse?'
     'No, no mouse. Sorry.'
     'I  wonder  if  by any chance you happened to find  an  eighteenth-
century cow-creamer?'
     'A silver jug shaped like a cow.'
     'No. Why, was it on the floor somewhere?'
     'It was in a drawer of the bureau.'
     'Ah, then I would have missed it.'
     'You'd certainly miss it now. It's gone.'
     'You mean disappeared, as it were?'
     'I do.'
     'Very strange.'
     'Yes, does seem extremely strange, doesn't it?'
     I  had spoken with all the old Wooster coolness, and I doubt  if  a
casual  observer would have detected that Bertram was not at his  ease,
but  I  can assure my public that he wasn't by a wide margin. My  heart
had  leaped  in the manner popularized by Kipper Herring  and  Scarface
McColl,  crashing against my front teeth with a thud  which  must  have
been audible in Market Snodsbury. A far less astute man would have been
able to divine what had happened. Not knowing the score owing to having
missed the latest stop-press news and looking on the cow-creamer purely
in the light of a bit of the swag collected by Wilbert in the course of
his larcenous career, Pop Glossop, all zeal, had embarked on the search
he  had planned to make, and intuition, developed by years of hunt-the-
slipper,  had  led  him to the right spot. Too late I regretted  sorely
that,  concentrating so tensely on Operation Upjohn, I  had  failed  to
place the facts before him. Had he but known, about summed it up.
     'I  was  going  to ask you,' said Wilbert, 'if you think  I  should
inform Mrs Travers.'
     The  cigarette I was smoking was fortunately one of the  kind  that
make you nonchalant, so it was nonchalantly - or fairly nonchalantly  -
that I was able to reply.
     'Oh, I wouldn't do that.'
     'Why not?'
     'Might upset her.'
     'You consider her a sensitive plant?'
     'Oh, very. Rugged exterior, of course, but you can't go by that. No,
I'd  just wait a while, if I were you. I expect it'll turn out that the
thing's somewhere you put it but didn't think you'd put it. I mean, you
often put a thing somewhere and think you've put it somewhere else  and
then  find you didn't put it somewhere else but somewhere. I don't know
if you follow me?'
     'I don't.'
     'What  I  mean is, just stick around and you'll probably  find  the
     'You think it will return?'
     'I do.'
     'Like a homing pigeon?'
     'That's the idea.'
     'Oh?' said Wilbert, and turned away to greet Bobbie and Upjohn, who
had  just  arrived on the boat-house landing stage.  I  had  found  his
manner  a little peculiar, particularly that last 'Oh?' but I was  glad
that  there was no lurking suspicion in his mind that I had  taken  the
bally  thing.  He  might so easily have got the idea  that  Uncle  Tom,
regretting having parted with his ewe lamb, had employed me to  recover
it  privily,  this being the sort of thing, I believe, that  collectors
frequently  do. Nevertheless, I was still much shaken,  and  I  made  a
mental note to tell Roddy Glossop to slip it back among his effects  at
the earliest possible moment.
     I shifted over to where Bobbie and Upjohn were standing, and though
up  and  doing  with  a heart for any fate couldn't help  getting  that
feeling you get at times like this of having swallowed a double portion
of  butterflies.  My  emotions were somewhat similar  to  those  I  had
experienced when I first sang the Yeoman's Wedding Song. In  public,  I
mean, for of course I had long been singing it in my bath.
     'Hullo, Bobbie,' I said.
     'Hullo, Bertie,' she said.
     'Hullo, Upjohn,' I said.
     The correct response to this would have been 'Hullo, Wooster',  but
he  blew  up in his lines and merely made a noise like a wolf with  its
big  toe  caught  in a trap. Seemed a bit restive,  I  thought,  as  if
wishing he were elsewhere.
     Bobbie was all girlish animation.
     'I've been telling Mr Upjohn about that big fish we saw in the lake
yesterday, Bertie.'
     'Ah yes, the big fish.'
     'It was a whopper, wasn't it?'
     'Very well-developed.'
     'I brought him down here to show it to him.'
     'Quite right. You'll enjoy the big fish, Upjohn.'
     I had been perfectly correct in supposing him to be restive. He did
his wolf impersonation once more.
     'I shall do nothing of the sort,' he said, and you couldn't find  a
better  word than 'testily' to describe the way he spoke. 'It  is  most
inconvenient  for  me to be away from the house  at  this  time.  I  am
expecting a telephone call from my lawyer.'
     'Oh,  I  wouldn't bother about telephone calls from lawyers,'  said
heartily.  'These  legal birds never say anything worth  listening  to.
Just  gab  gab gab. You'll never forgive yourself if you miss  the  big
fish.  You  were saying, Upjohn?' I broke off courteously, for  he  had
     'I  am  saying,  Mr  Wooster, that both you and  Miss  Wickham  are
labouring  under a singular delusion in supposing that I am  interested
in  fish, whether large or small. I ought never to have left the house.
I shall return there at once.'
     'Oh, don't go yet,' said.
     'Wait for the big fish,' said Bobbie.
     'Bound to be along shortly,' I said.
     'At any moment now,' said Bobbie.
     Her eyes met mine, and I read in them the message she was trying to
convey  -  viz. that the time had come to act. There is a tide  in  the
affairs  of  men which taken at the flood leads on to fortune.  Not  my
own. Jeeves's. She bent over and pointed with an eager finger.
     'Oh, look!' she cried.
     This,  as I had explained to Jeeves, should have been the  cue  for
Upjohn to bend over, too, thus making it a simple task for me to do  my
stuff, but he didn't bend over an inch. And why? Because at this moment
the goof Phyllis, suddenly appearing in our midst, said:
     'Daddy, dear, you're wanted on the telephone.'
     Upon which, standing not on the order of his going, Upjohn was  off
as  if  propelled from a gun. He couldn't have moved quicker if he  had
been  the  dachshund Poppet, who at this juncture was running round  in
circles, trying, if I read his thoughts aright, to work off the  rather
heavy lunch he had had earlier in the afternoon.
     One  began  to  see  what the poet Burns had meant.  I  don't  know
anything that more promptly gums up a dramatic sequence than the sudden
and  unexpected exit of an important member of the cast at  a  critical
point  in  the  proceedings. I was reminded of the  time  when  we  did
Charley's  Aunt at the Market Snodsbury Town Hall in aid of  the  local
church  organ  fund and half-way through the second act, just  when  we
were all giving of our best, Catsmeat Potter-Pirbright, who was playing
Lord  Fancourt  Babberley,  left the stage abruptly  to  attend  to  an
unforeseen nose bleed.
     As  far as Bobbie and I were concerned, silence reigned, this novel
twist  in  the  scenario  having wiped speech from  our  lips,  as  the
expression is, but Phyllis continued vocal.
     'I found this darling pussycat in the garden,' she said, and for the
first time I observed that she was bearing Augustus in her arms. He was
looking a bit disgruntled, and one could readily see why. He wanted  to
catch up with his sleep and was being kept awake by the endearments she
was murmuring in his ear.
     She lowered him to the ground.
     'I brought him here to talk to Poppet. Poppet loves cats, don't you
angel? Come and say how-d'you-do to the sweet pussykins, darling.'
     I shot a quick look at Wilbert Cream, to see how he was reacting to
this. It was the sort of observation which might well have quenched the
spark  of love in his bosom, for nothing tends to cool the human  heart
more  swiftly  than  babytalk. But so far from being  revolted  he  was
gazing  yearningly at her as if her words were music to his ears.  Very
odd, I felt, and I was just saying to myself that you never could tell,
when I became aware of a certain liveliness in my immediate vicinity.
     At the moment when Augustus touched ground and curling himself into
a  ball fell into a light doze, Poppet had completed his tenth lap  and
was  preparing to start on his eleventh. Seeing Augustus, he halted  in
mid-stride, smiled broadly, turned his ears inside out, stuck his  tail
straight  up  at  right angles to the parent body and bounded  forward,
barking merrily.
     I  could have told the silly ass his attitude was all wrong. Roused
abruptly from slumber, the most easy-going cat is apt to wake up cross.
Already Augustus had had much to endure from Phyllis, who had doubtless
jerked him out of dreamland when scooping him up in the garden, and all
this noise and heartiness breaking out just as he dropped off again put
the  lid on his sullen mood. He spat peevishly, there was a sharp yelp,
and   something  long  and  brown  came  shooting  between   my   legs,
precipitating  itself and me into the depths. The waters  closed  about
me, and for an instant I knew no more.
     When I rose to the surface, I found that Poppet and I were not  the
only  bathers. We had been joined by Wilbert Cream, who had  dived  in,
seized  the hound by the scruff of the neck, and was towing  him  at  a
brisk pace to the shore. And by one of those odd coincidences I was  at
this moment seized by the scruff of the neck myself.
     'It's all right, Mr Upjohn, keep quite cool, keep quite ... What the
hell  are  you doing here, Bertie?' said Kipper, for it was he.  I  may
have been wrong, but it seemed to me that he spoke petulantly.
     I expelled a pint or so of H2O.
     'You may well ask,' I said, moodily detaching a water beetle from my
hair.  'I  don't  know  if you know the meaning of  the  word  "agley",
Kipper,  but  that,  to put it in a nutshell, is the  way  things  have


     Reaching the mainland some moments later and squelching back to the
house,  accompanied  by Bobbie, like a couple of  Napoleons  squelching
back from Moscow, we encountered Aunt Dahlia, who, wearing that hat  of
hers  that  looks  like one of those baskets you  carry  fish  in,  was
messing about in the herbaceous border by the tennis lawn. She gaped at
us  dumbly  for perhaps five seconds, then uttered an ejaculation,  far
from  suitable to mixed company, which she had no doubt picked up  from
fellow-Nimrods in her hunting days. Having got this off the chest,  she
     'What's been going on in this joint? Wilbert Cream came by here just
now,  soaked to the eyebrows, and now you two appear, leaking at  every
seam. Have you all been playing water polo with your clothes on?'
     'Not so much water polo, more that seaside bathing belles stuff,' I
said.  'But it's a long story, and one feels that the cagey  thing  for
Kipper  and me to do now is to nip along and get into some dry  things,
not  to linger conferring with you, much,' I added courteously, 'as  we
always enjoy your conversation.'
     'The extraordinary thing is that I saw Upjohn not long ago, and  he
was  as dry as a bone. How was that? Couldn't you get him to play  with
     'He  had  to go and talk to his lawyer on the phone,' I  said,  and
leaving  Bobbie  to  place  the  facts  before  her,  we  resumed   our
squelching. And I was in my room, having shed the moistened outer crust
and  substituted something a bit more sec in pale flannel,  when  there
was  a  knock on the door. I flung wide the gates and found Bobbie  and
Kipper on the threshold.
     The  first  thing I noticed about their demeanour was  the  strange
absence of gloom, despondency and what not. I mean, considering that it
was  little  more  than a quarter of an hour since all  our  hopes  and
dreams had taken the knock, one would have expected their hearts to  be
bowed  down with weight of woe, but their whole aspect was one of  buck
and  optimism. It occurred to me as a possible solution that with  that
bulldog  spirit of never admitting defeat which has made  Englishmen  -
and,  of course, Englishwomen - what they are they had decided to  have
another  go  along the same lines at some future date, and I  asked  if
this was the case.
     The  answer  was  in the negative. Kipper said  No,  there  was  no
likelihood  of getting Upjohn down to the lake again, and  Bobbie  said
that even if they did, it wouldn't be any good, because I would be sure
to mess things up once more.
     This stung me, I confess.
     'How do you mean, mess things up?'
     'You'd be bound to trip over your flat feet and fall in, as you did
     'Pardon me,' I said, preserving with an effort the polished suavity
demanded from an English gentleman when chewing the rag with one of the
other  sex,  'you're talking through the back of your fatheaded  little
neck. I did not trip over my flat feet. I was hurled into the depths by
an  Act  of God, to wit, a totally unexpected dachshund getting between
my  legs.  If  you're going to blame anyone blame the goof Phyllis  for
bringing  Augustus  there  and calling  him  in  his  hearing  a  sweet
pussykins. Naturally it made him sore and disinclined to stand any  lip
from barking dogs.'
     'Yes,'  said  Kipper, always the staunch pal. 'It  wasn't  Bertie's
fault,  angel.  Say what you will of dachshunds, their  peculiar  shape
makes  them the easiest breed of dog to trip over in existence. I  feel
that Bertie emerges without a stain on his character.'
     'I don't,' said Bobbie. 'Still, it doesn't matter.'
     'No, it doesn't really matter,' said Kipper, 'because your aunt has
suggested a scheme that's just as good as the Lanchester-Simmons thing,
if  not  better.  She  was  telling Bobbie about  the  time  when  Boko
Fittleworth was trying to ingratiate himself with your Uncle Percy, and
you  very sportingly offered to go and call your Uncle Percy a  lot  of
offensive names, so that Boko, hovering outside the door, could come in
and  stick  up  for him, thus putting himself in solid  with  him.  You
probably remember the incident?'
     I quivered. I remembered the incident all right.
     'She thinks the same treatment would work with Upjohn, and I'm sure
she's right. You know how you feel when you suddenly discover you've  a
real  friend, a fellow who thinks you're terrific and won't hear a word
said against you. It touches you. If you had anything in the nature  of
a  prejudice against the chap, you change your opinion of him. You feel
you  can't do anything to injure such a sterling bloke. And that's  how
Upjohn  is going to feel about me, Bertie, when I come in and lend  him
my  sympathy and support as you stand there calling him all  the  names
you  can  think of. You must have picked up dozens from your aunt.  She
used to hunt, and if you hunt, you have to know all the names there are
because people are always riding over hounds and all that. Ask  her  to
jot down a few of the best on a half-sheet of notepaper.'
     'He  won't  need that,' said Bobbie. 'He's probably  got  them  all
tucked away in his mind.'
     'Of  course. Learned them at her knee as a child. Well, that's  the
set-up,  Bertie. You wait your opportunity and corner Upjohn  somewhere
and tower over him-'
     'As he crouches in his chair.'
     '  -  and shake your finger in his face and abuse him roundly.  And
when  he's quailing beneath your scorn and wishing some friend in  need
would  intervene  and save him from this terrible ordeal,  I  come  in,
having  heard all. Bobbie suggests that I knock you down, but  I  don't
think I could do that. The recollection of our ancient friendship would
make  me  pull my punch. I shall simply rebuke you. "Wooster," I  shall
say, "I am shocked. Shocked and astounded. I cannot understand how  you
can talk like that to a man I have always respected and looked up to, a
man  in whose preparatory school I spent the happiest years of my life.
You  strangely  forget yourself, Wooster." Upon which, you  slink  out,
bathed  in shame and confusion, and Upjohn thanks me brokenly and  says
if there is anything he can do for me, I have only to name it.'
     'I still think you ought to knock him down.'
     'Having endeared myself to him thus -'
     'Much more box-office.'
     'Having endeared myself to him thus, I lead the conversation  round
to the libel suit.'
     'One good punch in the eye would do it.'
     'I  say  that I have seen the current issue of the Thursday Review,
and  I  can  quite  understand him wanting  to  mulct  the  journal  in
substantial damages, but "Don't forget, Mr Upjohn," I say, "that when a
weekly paper loses a chunk of money, it has to retrench, and the way it
retrenches  is by getting rid of the more junior members of its  staff.
You  wouldn't want me to lose my job, would you, Mr Upjohn?" He starts.
"Are  you on the staff of the Thursday Review?" he says. "For the  time
being,  yes,"  I say. "But if you bring that suit, I shall  be  selling
pencils  in the street." This is the crucial moment. Looking  into  his
eyes, I can see that he is thinking of that five thousand quid, and for
an instant quite naturally he hesitates. Then his better self prevails.
His  eyes soften. They fill with tears. He clasps my hand. He tells  me
he  could use five thousand quid as well as the next man, but no  money
in  the world would make him dream of doing an injury to the fellow who
championed him so stoutly against the louse Wooster, and the scene ends
with  our going off together to Swordfish's pantry for a drop of  port,
probably  with  our arms round each other's waists, and that  night  he
writes  a  letter to his lawyer telling him to call the suit  off.  Any
     'Not from me. It isn't as if he could find out that it was you  who
wrote that review. It wasn't signed.'
     'No, thank heaven for the editorial austerity that prevented that.'
     'I  can't  see a flaw in the scenario. He'll have to  withdraw  the
     'In common decency, one would think. The only thing that remains is
to choose a time and place for Bertie to operate.'
     'No time like the present.'


Re: Вудхаус П. Г. - Дживс в отпуске на английском языке

'But how do we locate Upjohn?'
     'He's in Mr Travers's study. I saw him through the french window.'
     'Excellent. Then, Bertie, if you're ready...'
     It will probably have been noticed that during these exchanges I had
taken  no  part  in  the conversation. This was  because  I  was  fully
occupied with envisaging the horror that lay before me. I knew that  it
did lie before me, of course, for where the ordinary man would have met
the  suggestion they had made with a firm nolle prosequi, I was  barred
from  doing  this  by  the code of the Woosters, which,  as  is  pretty
generally known, renders it impossible for me to let a pal down. If the
only way of saving a boyhood friend from having to sell pencils in  the
street  -  though I should have thought that blood oranges  would  have
been  a far more lucrative line - was by wagging my finger in the  face
of  Aubrey Upjohn and calling him names, that finger would have  to  be
wagged and those names called. The ordeal would whiten my hair from the
roots  up and leave me a mere shell of my former self, but it  was  one
that I must go through. Mine not to reason why, as the fellow said.
     So I uttered a rather husky 'Right-ho' and tried not to think of how
the Upjohn face looked without its moustache. For what chilled the feet
most  was  the mental picture of that bare upper lip which  he  had  so
often  twitched  at me in what are called days of yore.  Dimly,  as  we
started  off for the arena, I could hear Bobbie saying 'My  hero!'  and
Kipper asking anxiously if I was in good voice, but it would have taken
a  fat lot more than my-hero-ing and solicitude about my vocal cords to
restore tone to Bertram's nervous system. I was, in short, feeling like
an  inexperienced novice going up against the heavyweight champion when
in due course I drew up at the study door, opened it and tottered in. I
could  not forget that an Aubrey Upjohn who for years had been  looking
strong parents in the eye and making them wilt, and whose toughness was
a  byword  in Bramley-on-Sea, was not a man lightly to wag a finger  in
the face of.
     Uncle Tom's study was a place I seldom entered during my visits  to
Brinkley  Court, because when I did go there he always grabbed  me  and
started  to talk about old silver, whereas if he caught me in the  open
he  often touched on other topics, and the way I looked at it was  that
there was no sense in sticking one's neck out. It was more than a  year
since  I  had  been  inside  this sanctum,  and  I  had  forgotten  how
extraordinarily like its interior was to that of Aubrey  Upjohn's  lair
at  Malvern House. Discovering this now and seeing Aubrey Upjohn seated
at the desk as I had so often seen him sit on the occasions when he had
sent  for me to discuss some recent departure of mine from the straight
and narrow path, I found what little was left of my sang froid expiring
with  a  pop. And at the same time I spotted the flaw in this scheme  I
had  undertaken to sit in on - viz. that you can't just charge  into  a
room and start calling someone names - out of a blue sky, as it were  -
you  have  to lead up to the thing. Pourparlers, in short, are  of  the
     So I said 'Oh, hullo,' which seemed to me about as good a pourparler
as  you  could  have by way of an opener. I should imagine  that  those
statesmen  of  whom  I was speaking always edge into their  conferences
conducted  in  an  atmosphere of the utmost  cordiality  in  some  such
     'Reading?' I said.
     He lowered his book - one of Ma Cream's, I noticed -and flashed  an
upper lip at me.
     'Your powers of observation have not led you astray, Wooster. I  am
     'Interesting book?'
     'Very.  I  am counting the minutes until I can resume  its  perusal
     I'm pretty quick, and I at once spotted that the atmosphere was not
of the utmost cordiality. He hadn't spoken matily, and he wasn't eyeing
me  matily. His whole manner seemed to suggest that he felt that I  was
taking  up space in the room which could have been better employed  for
other purposes.
     However, I persevered.
     'I see you've shaved off your moustache.'
     'I have. You do not feel, I hope, that I pursued a mistaken course?'
     'Oh no, rather not. I grew a moustache myself last year, but had to
get rid of it.'
     'Public sentiment was against it.'
     'I  see.  Well,  I  should  be  delighted  to  hear  more  of  your
reminiscences,  Wooster, but at the moment I am expecting  a  telephone
call from my lawyer.'
     'I thought you'd had one.'
     'I beg your pardon?'
     'When you were down by the lake, didn't you go off to talk to him?'
     'I  did.  But when I reached the telephone, he had grown  tired  of
waiting  and had rung off. I should never have allowed Miss Wickham  to
take me away from the house.'
     'She wanted you to see the big fish.'
     'So I understood her to say.'
     'Talking of fish, you must have been surprised to find Kipper here.'
     'Oh,  Herring,' he said, and one spotted the almost total  lack  of
animation in his voice. And conversation had started to flag, when  the
door  flew  open  and  the goof Phyllis bounded  in,  full  of  girlish
     'Oh, Daddy,' she burbled, 'are you busy?'
     'No, my dear.'
     'Can I speak to you about something?'
     'Certainly. Goodbye, Wooster.'
     I  saw what this meant. He didn't want me around. There was nothing
for  it but to ooze out through the french window, so I oozed, and  had
hardly got outside when Bobbie sprang at me like a leopardess.
     'What  on  earth are you fooling about for like this, Bertie?'  she
stage-whispered.  'All that rot about moustaches. I  thought  you'd  be
well into it by this time.'
     I pointed out that as yet Aubrey Upjohn had not given me a cue.
     'You and your cues!'
     'All  right,  me  and my cues. But I've got to  sort  of  lead  the
conversation in the right direction, haven't I?'
     'I see what Bertie means, darling,' said Kipper. 'He wants -'
     'A point d'appui.'
     'A what?' said Bobbie.
     'Sort of jumping-off place.'
     The beasel snorted.
     'If you ask me, he's lost his nerve. I knew this would happen.  The
worm has got cold feet.'
     I  could have crushed her by drawing her attention to the fact that
worms  don't have feet, cold or piping hot, but I had no wish to  bandy
     'I  must ask you, Kipper,' I said with frigid dignity, 'to  request
your  girl friend to preserve the decencies of debate. My feet are  not
cold.  I  am as intrepid as a lion and only too anxious to get down  to
brass  tacks, but just as I was working round to the res, Phyllis  came
in. She said she had something she wanted to speak to him about.'
     Bobbie snorted again, this time in a despairing sort of way.
     'She'll be there for hours. It's no good waiting.'
     'No,'  said Kipper. 'May as well call it off for the moment.  We'll
let you know time and place of next fixture, Bertie.'
     'Oh, thanks,' I said, and they drifted away.
     And  about a couple of minutes later, as I stood there brooding  on
Kipper's  sad case, Aunt Dahlia came along. I was glad to  see  her.  I
thought  she  might  possibly come across with  aid  and  comfort,  for
though,  like  the female in the poem I was mentioning,  she  sometimes
inclined to be a toughish egg in hours of ease, she could generally  be
relied  on  to be there with the soothing solace when one had  anything
wrong with one's brow.
     As  she approached, I got the impression that her own brow had  for
some reason taken it on the chin. Quite a good deal of that upon-which-
all-the-ends-of-the-earth-are-come stuff, it seemed to me.
     Nor was I mistaken.
     'Bertie,' she said, heaving to beside me and waving a trowel in  an
overwrought manner, 'do you know what?'
     'No, what?'
     'I'll  tell you what,' said the aged relative, rapping out a  sharp
monosyllable  such as she might have uttered in her Quorn and  Pytchley
days  on observing a unit of the pack of hounds chasing a rabbit. 'That
ass Phyllis has gone and got engaged to Wilbert Cream!'


     Her  words  gave  me  quite a wallop. I don't  say  I  reeled,  and
everything  didn't actually go black, but I was shaken, as what  nephew
would not have been. When a loved aunt has sweated herself to the  bone
trying  to  save her god-child from the clutches of a New York  playboy
and  learns that all her well-meant efforts have gone blue on her, it's
only natural for her late brother's son to shudder in sympathy.
     'You don't mean that?' I said. 'Who told you?'
     'She did.'
     'In person?'
     'In the flesh. She came skipping to me just now, clapping her little
hands  and  bleating  about how very, very  happy  she  was,  dear  Mrs
Travers.  The  silly  young geezer. I nearly conked  her  one  with  my
trowel. I'd always thought her half-baked, but now I think they  didn't
even put her in the oven.'
     'But how did it happen?'
     'Apparently that dog of hers joined you in the water.'
     'Yes, that's right, he took his dip with the rest of us. But what's
that got to do with it?'
     'Wilbert Cream dived in and saved him.'
     'He  could have got ashore perfectly well under his own  steam.  In
fact,  he  was already on his way, doing what looked like an Australian
     'That wouldn't occur to a pinhead like Phyllis. To her Wilbert Cream
is  the  man  who rescued her dachshund from a watery grave.  So  she's
going to marry him.'
     'But you don't marry fellows because they rescue dachshunds.'
     'You do, if you've a mentality like hers.'
     'Seems odd.'
     'And  is. But that's how it goes. Girls like Phyllis Mills  are  an
open  book to me. For four years I was, if you remember, the proprietor
and  editress  of  a weekly paper for women.' She was alluding  to  the
periodical entitled Milady's Boudoir, to the Husbands and Brothers page
of  which  I once contributed an article or 'piece' on What  The  Well-
Dressed Man Is Wearing. It had recently been sold to a mug up Liverpool
way,  and I have never seen Uncle Tom look chirpier than when the  deal
went through, he for those four years having had to foot the bills.
     'I  don't suppose,' she continued, 'that you were a regular reader,
so for your information there appeared in each issue a short story, and
in  seventy per cent of those short stories the hero won the  heroine's
heart  by  saving  her dog or her cat or her canary  or  whatever  foul
animal  she happened to possess. Well, Phyllis didn't write  all  those
stories,  but she easily might have done, for that's the way  her  mind
works.  When  I  say mind,' said the blood relation, 'I  refer  to  the
quarter-teaspoonful of brain which you might possibly find in her  head
if you sank an artesian well. Poor Jane!'
     'Poor who?'
     'Her mother. Jane Mills.'
     'Oh, ah, yes. She was a pal of yours, you told me.'
     'The best I ever had, and she was always saying to me "Dahlia,  old
girl, if I pop off before you, for heaven's sake look after Phyllis and
see  that she doesn't marry some ghastly outsider. She's sure  to  want
to.  Girls always do, goodness knows why," she said, and I knew she was
thinking  of her first husband, who was a heel to end all heels  and  a
constant  pain  in  the neck to her till one night he most  fortunately
walked into the River Thames while under the influence of the sauce and
didn't come up for days. "Do stop her," she said, and I said "Jane, you
can rely on me." And now this happens.'
     I endeavoured to soothe.
     'You can't blame yourself.'
     'Yes, I can.'
     'It isn't your fault.'
     'I invited Wilbert Cream here.'
     'Merely from a wifely desire to do Uncle Tom a bit of good.'
     'And I let Upjohn stick around, always at her elbow egging her on.'
     'Yes, Upjohn's the bird I blame.'
     'Me, too.'
     'But  for  his - undue influence, do they call it? - Phyllis  would
have  remained a bachelor or spinster or whatever it is. "Thou art  the
man,  Upjohn!" seems to me the way to sum it up. He ought to be ashamed
of himself.'
     'And  am  I going to tell him so! I'd give a tenner to have  Aubrey
Upjohn here at this moment.'
     'You can get him for nothing. He's in Uncle Tom's study.'
     Her face lit up.
     'He  is?' She threw her head back and inflated the lungs. 'UPJOHN!'
she  boomed,  rather like someone calling the cattle  home  across  the
sands of Dee, and I issued a kindly word of warning.
     'Watch that blood pressure, old ancestor.'
     'Never you mind my blood pressure. You let it alone, and it'll leave
you alone. UPJOHN!'
     He appeared in the french window, looking cold and severe, as I had
so often seen him look when hobnobbing with him in his study at Malvern
House, self not there as a willing guest but because I'd been sent for.
('I  should  like to see Wooster in my study immediately after  morning
prayers' was the formula.)
     'Who is making that abominable noise? Oh, it's you, Dahlia.'
     'Yes, it's me.'
     'You wished to see me?'
     'Yes, but not the way you're looking now. I'd have preferred you to
have fractured your spine or at least to have broken a couple of ankles
and got a touch of leprosy.'
     'My dear Dahlia!'
     'I'm  not your dear Dahlia. I'm a seething volcano. Have  you  seen
     'She has just left me.'
     'Did she tell you?'
     'That she was engaged to Wilbert Cream? Certainly.'
     'And I suppose you're delighted?'
     'Of course I am.'
     'Yes,  of course you are! I can well imagine that it's your dearest
wish to see that unfortunate muttonheaded girl become the wife of a man
who  lets off stink bombs in night clubs and pinches the spoons and has
had three divorces already and who, if the authorities play their cards
right,  will  end up cracking rocks in Sing-Sing. That  is  unless  the
loony-bin  gets  its  bid in first. Just a Prince Charming,  you  might
     'I don't understand you.'
     'Then you're an ass.'
     'Well, really!' said Aubrey Upjohn, and there was a dangerous  note
in  his  voice. I could see that the relative's manner, which  was  not
affectionate, and her words, which lacked cordiality, were peeving him.
It looked like an odds-on shot that in about another two ticks he would
be  giving her the Collect for the Day to write out ten times  or  even
instructing her to bend over while he fetched his whangee. You can push
these preparatory schoolmasters just so far.
     'A fine way for Jane's daughter to end up. Mrs Broadway Willie!'
     'Broadway Willie?'
     'That's  what  he's called in the circles in which he  moves,  into
which  he  will now introduce Phyllis. "Meet the moll," he'll say,  and
then  he'll  teach her in twelve easy lessons how to make stink  bombs,
and the children, if and when, will be trained to pick people's pockets
as  they  dandle them on their knee. And you'll be responsible,  Aubrey
     I  didn't  like the way things were trending. Admittedly  the  aged
relative was putting up a great show and it was a pleasure to listen to
her,  but  I  had  seen  Upjohn's lip twitch  and  that  look  of  smug
satisfaction come into his face which I had so often seen when  he  had
been  counsel for the prosecution in some case in which I was  involved
and  had spotted a damaging flaw in my testimony. The occasion  when  I
was  on  trial for having broken the drawing-room window with a cricket
ball  springs to the mind. It was plain to an eye as discerning as mine
that  he  was about to put it across the old flesh-and-blood  properly,
making her wish she hadn't spoken. I couldn't see how, but the symptoms
were all there.
     I was right. That twitching lip had not misled me.
     'If  I might be allowed to make a remark, my dear Dahlia,' he said,
'I  think we are talking at cross purposes. You appear to be under  the
impression that Phyllis is marrying Wilbert's younger brother  Wilfred,
the  notorious playboy whose escapades have caused the family  so  much
distress  and  who,  as  you are correct in saying,  is  known  to  his
disreputable friends as Broadway Willie. Wilfred, I agree, would make -
and  on  three  successive  occasions has made  -  a  most  undesirable
husband,  but no one to my knowledge has ever spoken a derogatory  word
of  Wilbert. I know few young men who are more generally respected.  He
is   a   member  of  the  faculty  of  one  of  the  greatest  American
universities,  over  in  this  country on his  sabbatical.  He  teaches
romance languages.'
     Stop  me  if I've told you this before, I rather fancy I have,  but
once when I was up at Oxford and chatting on the river bank with a girl
called  something that's slipped my mind there was a sound  of  barking
and  a  great  hefty  dog  of the Hound of the Baskervilles  type  came
galloping at me, obviously intent on mayhem, its whole aspect that of a
dog that has no use for Woosters. And I was just commending my soul  to
God  and thinking that this was where my new flannel trousers got about
thirty  bobs' worth of value bitten out of them, when the girl, waiting
till  she  saw the whites of its eyes, with extraordinary  presence  of
mind  opened  a coloured Japanese umbrella in the animal's  face.  Upon
which,  with  a startled exclamation it did three back somersaults  and
retired into private life.
     And the reason I bring this up now is that, barring the somersaults,
Aunt  Dahlia's reaction to this communique was precisely  that  of  the
above hound to the Japanese umbrella. The same visible taken-abackness.
She  has since told me that her emotions were identical with those  she
had  experienced when she was out with the Pytchley and riding  over  a
ploughed  field  in rainy weather, and the horse of a  sports-lover  in
front of her suddenly kicked three pounds of wet mud into her face.
     She  gulped like a bulldog trying to swallow a sirloin  steak  many
sizes too large for its thoracic cavity.
     'You mean there are two of them?'
     'And Wilbert isn't the one I thought he was?'
     'You  have  grasped the position of affairs to a nicety.  You  will
appreciate  now, my dear Dahlia,' said Upjohn, speaking with  the  same
unction,  if  that's the word, with which he had spoken when  unmasking
his  batteries and presenting unshakable proof that yours was the hand,
Wooster, which propelled this cricket ball, 'that your concern,  though
doing  you the greatest credit, has been needless. I could wish Phyllis
no  better  husband.  Wilbert  has looks,  brains,  character  ...  and
excellent prospects,' he added, rolling the words round his tongue like
vintage  port. 'His father, I should imagine, would be worth  at  least
twenty  million  dollars,  and Wilbert is  the  elder  son.  Yes,  most
satisfactory, most...'
     As he spoke, the telephone rang, and with a quick 'Ha!' he shot back
into the study like a homing rabbit.


     For perhaps a quarter of a minute after he had passed from the scene
the  aged relative stood struggling for utterance. At the end  of  this
period she found speech.
     'Of all the damn silly fatheaded things!' she vociferated, if that's
the  word.  'With  a  million ruddy names to choose from,  these  ruddy
Creams call one ruddy son Wilbert and the other ruddy son Wilfred,  and
both these ruddy sons are known as Willie. Just going out of their  way
to  mislead the innocent bystander. You'd think people would have  more
     Again I begged her to keep an eye on her blood pressure and not get
so  worked up, and once more she brushed me off, this time with a  curt
request that I would go and boil my head.
     'You'd  be  worked  up if you had just been scored  off  by  Aubrey
Upjohn, with that loathsome self-satisfied look on his face as if  he'd
been  rebuking  a pimply pupil at his beastly school for shuffling  his
feet in church.'
     'Odd, that,' I said, struck by the coincidence. 'He once rebuked me
for that very reason. And I had pimples.'
     'Pompous ass!'
     'Shows what a small world it is.'
     'What's he doing here anyway? I didn't invite him.'
     'Bung  him  out.  I  took this point up with  you  before,  if  you
remember. Cast him into the outer darkness, where there is wailing  and
gnashing of teeth.'
     'I will, if he gives me any more of his lip.'
     'I can see you're in a dangerous mood.'
     'You bet I'm in a dangerous ... My God! He's with us again!'
     And A. Upjohn was indeed filtering through the french window. But he
had  lost the look of which the ancestor had complained, the one he was
wearing now seeming to suggest that since last heard from something had
occurred to wake the fiend that slept in him.
     'Dahlia!'  he  ... yes better make it vociferated  once  more,  I'm
pretty sure it's the word I want.
     The  fiend that slept in Aunt Dahlia was also up on its  toes.  She
gave him a look which, if directed at an erring member of the personnel
of  the  Quorn or Pytchley hound ensemble, would have had  that  member
sticking his tail between his legs and resolving for the future to lead
a better life.
     'Now what?'
     Just as Aunt Dahlia had done, Aubrey Upjohn struggled for utterance.
Quite  a bit of utterance-struggling there had been around these  parts
this summer afternoon.
     'I have just been speaking to my lawyer on the telephone,' he said,
getting  going  after  a short stage wait. 'I had  asked  him  to  make
inquiries and ascertain the name of the author of that libellous attack
on  me  in the columns of the Thursday Review. He did so, and  has  now
informed me that it was the work of my former pupil, Reginald Herring.'
     He  paused  at this point, to let us chew it over, and  the  heart
sank.  Mine,  I mean. Aunt Dahlia's seemed to be carrying  on  much  as
usual. She scratched her chin with her trowel, and said:
     'Oh, yes?'
     Upjohn  blinked, as if he had been expecting something better  than
this in the way of sympathy and concern.
     'Is that all you can say?'
     That's the lot.'
     'Oh? Well, I am suing the paper for heavy damages, and furthermore,
I  refuse to remain in the same house with Reginald Herring. Either  he
goes, or I go.'
     There was the sort of silence which I believe cyclones drop into for
a  second  or  two before getting down to it and starting to  give  the
populace the works. Throbbing? Yes, throbbing wouldn't be a bad word to
describe  it. Nor would electric, for the matter of that,  and  if  you
care to call it ominous, it will be all right with me. It was a silence
of the type that makes the toes curl and sends a shiver down the spinal
cord  as  you  stand  waiting for the bang. I  could  see  Aunt  Dahlia
swelling slowly like a chunk of bubble gum, and a less prudent man than
Bertram Wooster would have warned her again about her blood pressure.
     'I beg your pardon?' she said.
     He repeated the key words.
     'Oh?' said the relative, and went off with a pop. I could have told
Upjohn  he  was asking for it. Normally as genial a soul as ever  broke
biscuit, this aunt, when stirred, can become the haughtiest of  grandes
dames  before  whose wrath the stoutest quail, and  she  doesn't,  like
some, have to use a lorgnette to reduce the citizenry to pulp, she does
it  all  with  the naked eye. 'Oh?' she said. 'So you have  decided  to
revise my guest list for me? You have the nerve, the - the -'
     I saw she needed helping out.
     'Audacity,' I said, throwing her the line.
     'The audacity to dictate to me who I shall have in my house.'
     It should have been 'whom', but I let it go.
     'You have the -'
     '-  the  immortal rind,' she amended, and I had  to  admit  it  was
stronger,  'to  tell me whom' - she got it right that  time  -  'I  may
entertain  at Brinkley Court and who' - wrong again - 'I may not.  Very
well,  if  you  feel unable to breathe the same air as my friends,  you
must please yourself. I believe the "Bull and Bush" in Market Snodsbury
is quite comfortable.'
     'Well spoken of in the Automobile Guide,' I said.
     'I  shall go there,' said Upjohn. 'I shall go there as soon  as  my
things  are packed. Perhaps you will be good enough to tell your butler
to pack them.'
     He  strode  off, and she went into Uncle Tom's study, me following,
she still snorting. She rang the bell.
     Jeeves appeared.
     'Jeeves?' said the relative, surprised. 'I was ringing for-'
     'It is Sir Roderick's afternoon off, madam.'
     'Oh? Well, would you mind packing Mr Upjohn's things, Jeeves? He is
leaving us.'
     'Very good, madam.'
     'And you can drive him to Market Snodsbury, Bertie.'
     'Right-ho,' I said, not much liking the assignment, but liking less
the  idea  of  endeavouring  to thwart this incandescent  aunt  in  her
current frame of mind.
     Safety first, is the Wooster slogan.


     It isn't much of a run from Brinkley Court to Market Snodsbury and I
deposited  Upjohn  at  the  'Bull and Bush'  and  started  m.-p.-h.-ing
homeward  in  what  you might call a trice. We parted,  of  course,  on
rather distant terms, but the great thing when you've got an Upjohn  on
your books is to part and not be fussy about how it's done, and had  it
not  been  for all this worry about Kipper, for whom I was now mourning
in spirit more than ever, I should have been feeling fine.
     I  could see no happy issue for him from the soup in which  he  was
immersed.  No words had been exchanged between Upjohn and self  on  the
journey out, but the glimpses I had caught of his face from the  corner
of  the  eyes had told me that he was grim and resolute, his supply  of
the  milk of human kindness plainly short by several gallons. No  hope,
it seemed to me, of turning him from his fell purpose.
     I  garaged  the car and went to Aunt Dahlia's sanctum to  ascertain
whether she had cooled off at all since I had left her, for I was still
anxious about that blood pressure of hers. One doesn't want aunts going
up in a sheet of flame all over the place.
     She wasn't there, having, I learned later, withdrawn to her room to
bathe  her temples with eau de Cologne and do Yogi deep-breathing,  but
Bobbie  was,  and  not  only  Bobbie but Jeeves.  He  was  handing  her
something in an envelope, and she was saying 'Oh, Jeeves, you've  saved
a  human  life,'  and he was saying 'Not at all, miss.'  The  gist,  of
course, escaped me, but I had no leisure to probe into gists.
     'Where's Kipper?' I asked, and was surprised to note that Bobbie was
dancing  round the room on the tips of her toes uttering animal  cries,
apparently ecstatic in their nature.
     'Reggie?' she said, suspending the farmyard imitations for a moment.
'He went for a walk.'
     'Does he know that Upjohn's found out he wrote that thing?'
     'Yes, your aunt told him.'
     'Then we ought to be in conference.'
     'About Upjohn's libel action? It's all right about that. Jeeves has
pinched his speech.'
     I could make nothing of this. It seemed to me that the beasel spoke
in riddles.
     'Have you an impediment in your speech, Jeeves?'
     'No, sir.'
     'Then what, if anything, does the young prune mean?'
     'Miss Wickham's allusion is to the typescript of the speech which Mr
Upjohn  is  to  deliver tomorrow to the scholars  of  Market  Snodsbury
Grammar School, sir.'
     'She said you'd pinched it.'
     'Precisely, sir.'
     I started.
     'You don't mean -'
     'Yes,  he  does,' said Bobbie, resuming the Ballet Russe movements.
'Your  aunt told him to pack Upjohn's bags, and the first thing he  saw
when he smacked into it was the speech. He trousered it and brought  it
along to me.'
     I raised an eyebrow.
     'Well, really, Jeeves!'
     'I deemed it best, sir.'
     'And  did you deem right!' said Bobbie, executing a Nijinsky  what-
ever-it's-called. 'Either Upjohn agrees to drop that libel suit  or  he
doesn't get these notes, as he calls them, and without them he won't be
able  to utter a word. He'll have to come across with the price of  the
papers. Won't he, Jeeves?'
     'He would appear to have no alternative, miss.'
     'Unless he wants to get up on that platform and stand there opening
and shutting his mouth like a goldfish. We've got him cold.'
     'Yes, but half a second,' I said.
     I spoke reluctantly. I didn't want to damp the young ball of worsted
in her hour of joy, but a thought had occurred to me.
     'I see the idea, of course. I remember Aunt Dahlia telling me about
this  strange inability of Upjohn's to be silver-tongued unless he  has
the  material  in  his grasp, but suppose he says he's  ill  and  can't