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Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Country Fair

This fanfiction was actually based on a day out that I had last May, as whilst I was there I was imagining all sorts of mischief and mayhem that Bertie would find himself getting tangled up in! The location that inspired it was Tatten Park in Cheshire, on a day it was hosting a summer country fair, although in this fic I made it set in a Wodehouse location. The memories of watching jousting that day are very fond ones, so of course I had to write a little something with it in mind.

 Recently I’ve landed myself in the most rummy circs. re my ‘keeper’ Jeeves. Have you ever found yourself splattering against the ground with the deuced soppiest expression across the old dial, love light in your eyes, looking like the most ridiculous blister Steeple Bumpleigh has ever known, clad in scarlet tights, a suffocating helmet and a lance in hand? I have. And may I say that it shall never happen again, or not so long as I live, anyway…
But I seem to be jumping ahead, dear reader — let me start at the beginning. It’s all due to my Aunt Agatha and her iron, indomitable will. You probably know how aunts work after all my previous prattling, but for the newcomer, it goes like this; the old formidable aunt is like a banshee, bellowing to me from across a primeval swamp with blood lust in her eyes. This time, she’s dangerously deluded that I happen to be some kind of preux chevalier and an expert at all things equestrian and entertainment-centred. Well, I am — all except the accusation of being a hairy, snorting beast’s best friend, that is. That’s where my troubles began, I’m afraid, and what a right pain in the billowy regions this whole affair has been!

‘Bertram!’ Came the old nephew-crusher’s bark through the crackling receiver. ‘Are you listening to me?’
Many a wise man wouldn’t hesitate to mention that the aged relation most certainly chews broken bottles and kills rats with her teeth, if ever he were to warn an innocent nephew of impending doom. And by the tone of her voice, it sounded although she were doing just that as we spoke.
‘Oh, certainly, aged relation,’ I said, full of feigned-amiability.
‘Then what did I just say, you young oik?’ she hissed with the dashed most venomous tone I’d ever heard. I held the receiver well away from my ear. Aunt Agatha could be truly serpentine at her best.
‘Oh, ah…’
‘Do listen, you incompetent fool! Surely I raised you better than to ignore your elders when they’re speaking to you.’
‘I say, old thing!’ I protested, about to say that it was actually her sister, Aunt Dahlia, that brought up Bertram Wilberforce Wooster, but courtesy closed my mouth on that matter before I could get deeper in the soup. ‘That’s not terribly loving, you know.’
‘Be quiet!’ she snapped, and indeed I clammed up like the dickens. ‘I’m trying to tell you — for the second time — that I need your assistance tomorrow at the Woollam Chersey fete.’
‘Assistance? Woollam Chersey fete?’
‘Yes, Bertram. Stop parroting me and listen! I’m at my wits end here, attempting to find a replacement for the second jouster in the —’
‘Jouster?’ I flapped, aghast.
Behind me, I heard Jeeves stir slightly. I suppose he could sense the young master’s apprehension in those two mere syllables. Turning around to gape at him, I saw that I was correct; his left eyebrow was raised a fraction of an inch, showing his deepest sympathies, the good man.
Returning my attentions back to the telephone was hard, as after all, Jeeves’s finely chiselled features were calming in their own statuesque, marble-like way. He had a certain thingness that fascinated me, being so easy on the eyes and possessing a brain like an encyclopedia. It wasn’t the first time that the man’s physique had distracted this old Wooster, him being what turns one’s innards to jelly, but by the almost electrical tension crawling its way out of the receiver like a creature from the abyss, what was there left to do but face the wrath?
‘Let me finish,’ she seethed after the deadliest of pauses, turning the old sanguine to icicles. ‘Your uncle Spenser Gregson has arranged a fete for all the village children to attend, as is customary in the summer. It’s a chance to socialise with other esteemed families, gain their trust, and find yourself a suitable wife—’
I couldn’t help but interrupt here, dash it! ‘But I don’t want a —’
‘Yes, you do! You should be breeding children, Bertram, instead of festering in that amoral London with that contemptible manservant of yours. I’ve told you time after time, and I’m not going to tell you again. You shall marry and become a credit to this family whether you like it or not.’
Indeed, she had told me such things time after time, and every instance of ‘breeding children’ and ‘marrying’ that spills from her lips fills me with dread. Not to mention, it sets my face ablaze with shame. The aged relation really did know how to darken the Wooster soul.
‘This is the perfect opportunity to attract a mate, Bertram. With the second jouster injured during practice, there is a vacant spot for the afternoon’s entertainment. We can’t do it without you as nobody else has enough of a spine to take his place!’
Well, I was touched that Aunt Agatha now considered me esteemed enough to possess a spine, yet that didn’t stop the bally churning in my stomach. Attract a mate? What beazel in her right mind would find this willowy form tallying forth on cavalry attractive? My horse-riding wasn’t much to write home about, nor was the map of this one Bertram Wooster. Aunt Agatha must have been reading some rather noxious romance novels about Medieval knights, damsels in distress and whatnot — though I couldn’t imagine her reading anything other than Spinoza (one of Jeeves’s favourite blokes).
‘You shall come down to Woollam Chersey tomorrow morning at eight sharp and take part in the tournament at one pm.’
Not only did she want me to get there at the ungodly hour of eight ack emma, she wanted me to put myself out there on the line, all for some blasted beazel she desires me to be chained to until death do us part... This was unacceptable news, especially before my afternoon restorative. I attempted to tell her so, but I found that she had already hung up the phone before I could get a word in edge ways.
‘Oh, Jeeves!’ I cried, placing my hands to my face.
When in a crisis, this man was perfection with his godlike skill and genius mind. It must be all the fish he eats, though whenever I ask him, he denies the use of omega three as the source of his powers. But due to the lavender socks and spats I was currently sporting, I could tell he was about to become most uncooperative.
‘Have you heard?’
‘Something about a jouster, sir, if what I heard was correct?’
‘Yes, dash it, Jeeves. The blasted aunt wants me to tally forth to blasted Herts and ride a blasted horse, whilst poking a blasted chap with a blasted lance! Doesn’t she know I’m not a bally knight from the dark ages?’
‘Childe Roland springs to mind, sir, when he approached the Dark Tower and—’
‘Forget all Rolands and Dark Towers, Jeeves.’
‘Yes, sir,’ he said, somewhat soupily.
‘Wipe all traces from your mind.’
‘Of course, sir.’
‘I don’t even know how to joust,’ I protested to nobody in particular. ‘Do you, Jeeves?’
‘Unfortunately not, sir.’
‘So there’s no chances of you taking my place and winning the heart of the fair maiden then?’
‘No, sir,’ he replied, quite firmly.
The urge to sob onto his neck came over me quite suddenly, but I suppressed it faster than it arrived. I had the rummy feeling that darkness was slowly spilling over the county of Herts, and all was not well in the world.
‘Jeeves, I have the rummiest feeling that darkness is slowly spilling over the county of Herts, and all is not well in the world.’
‘Indeed, sir?’ he asked, intoning his regret at the young master’s situation.
‘Yes, Jeeves, a feeling of four-whatsit… That dreadful sensation that something abominable is about to happen.’
‘Foreboding, sir?’ he offered.
‘Foreboding… That’s the baby! I knew it had the number four in it somewhere. Now, Jeeves,’ I said in all hopelessness, ‘what do you recommend?’
‘Could I offer you a drink to calm your nerves, sir?’ the fine fellow asked, tapping into the innermost Wooster feelings with his usual politesse.
‘By Jove, Jeeves, you can read me like a book! I’ll have a brandy and soda, if you’d be so kind.’
So whilst my man whipped up the old b. and s. I took my time milling the sitch. over. Tomorrow was going to be a rough ride.

‘Good, Bertie, you’re here,’ La Bassett warbled, eyes sparkling with what I feared may be the love light.
So this was the blasted beazel that Aunt Agatha wanted me to win the heart of… No words could possibly express Bertram’s uttermost despair; the filly isn’t exactly an oil painting, by all means, but what really sets the Wooster heart leaping into the old mouth is how La Bassett speculates that the stars are God’s daisy chain, and whenever a little fairy blows its wee nose a baby is born. Yes, she was definitely the kind of filly who’s heart would be won by a gallant knight… Ghastly girl, and soppy to boot!
To make matters much, much worse, it seemed that we were not alone. Almost every beazel that the aged relations had flung at me in the past were gathered around, exactly like what I imagined a witches’ coven to look like. They rallied ‘round the Wooster corpus although I were some strange-looking cauldron and proceeded to cackle with that girlish glee that makes my blood run cold.
Through terror-widened eyes I realised that Stiffy Byng, Honoria Glossop, Florence Craye, and some unknown filly with dark hair and brown eyes were also present. Somewhat I wished good old Jeeves was here, simply so I could hide behind him like a small child. They all said their how-do-you-dos and whatnots with slight simpers plastered onto their faces like face-paint; no doubt they were briefed by the nephew-crusher that I was to be spared no humiliation.
‘Bertie, this is Daphne Braithwaite,’ Honoria stepped forward to say, pushing the smiling dark-haired girl with quite some force.
That certainly wiped the simper off of the old girl’s face, but to her credit she held her paw out for me to shake with all the expected grace of a gazelle. ‘Nice to meet you, Bertram,’ she said politely.
‘Oh, rather!’ I said with cordiality, not wishing to appear standoffish. ‘Likewise, old thing.’
She giggled without any mercy. ‘Is he always this way?’
I thought I saw Honoria scowl a little. ‘No, no. The poor dear is just a little nervous, aren’t you, Bertie? Usually he is such a gentleman, with such impeccable manners.’
With a slight jar I took this to mean that I should become more formal in my speech patterns, dash it. I suppose this Braithwaite girl was one of those intellectual beazels that wished to improve the masculine mind straight after the “I do”s were said.
‘Erm, yes,’ I choked out. ‘I’ve got a slight frog in my throat, what with these nerves.’
‘Bertie’s going to ride for you today, Daphne,’ Madeline joined in the torture with clasped hands. ‘Isn’t that romantic!’
‘How charming,’ Daphne commented, eyeing me up and down. ‘I’ll be looking forward to this afternoon. Mrs Gregson has told me plenty of things about you, Bertram.’
I backed away under the pressure of her clear scrutiny, wishing the earth would swallow me up. ‘Wh-what kinds of things?’ I asked, increasing the small gap between us as she crept forward, intent upon decreasing it.
‘Well, for one, she’s told me what an excellent horseman you are, and what an intelligent mind you have. Is it true you read Spinoza? He’s my favourite philosopher.’
‘Oh, oh, rather. Isn’t he a marvel, what?’
Again, the dastardly giggle. This was the final straw, leading me to flee from the room with all due velocity, mumbling something about being needed by Uncle Spenser on my way. With women I’m a babe in the woods. Who’s idea was it to leave me in a room filled with beazels, anyway? Everyone knows I prefer the company of chaps.

‘Jeeves!’ I cried, staggering into the servant’s quarters with woe upon my features. ‘Oh, Jeeves!’
Sure enough he was there, sharing a gasper with some footman and applying polish to a pair of my spats. If the footman occupying the same room as us wasn’t giving me such a dashed odd look, I would have flung myself at the man and clung to him like a cub does to its mother bear after a lengthy separation and an incident with a particularly menacing poacher.
‘It’s bally awful, Jeeves,’ I whimpered, relating the series of events to him in a chain of almost unintelligible words.
I’d been so busy gazing at the paragon of a man with rapt attention that I didn’t notice the footman oil his way out of the room, obviously sensing that this was a sensitive matter that he wasn’t privy to.
‘Most disturbing, sir,’ Jeeves said courteously, but nothing more.
I was wishing for his marvellous brain to leap into action, but of course I saw him peer incredulously at those spats when he thought I wasn’t looking. So no help for Bertram? I may be suitably piqued that the chap couldn’t find it in his heart to help the young master due to ill-advised footwear, yet I can hardly blame the dear man; you see, I bought those spats to tick off Jeeves in the first place — to assert my dominance, if you will — and unfortunately we both knew it…
As for the lavender silk socks, I purchased them one morning because the colour is my absolute favourite — just because Jeeves doesn’t think the shade is suitable for a gentleman shouldn’t mean that I just throw them away! Naturally, two men with iron will living under the same roof would come into some difficulties from time to time, but gone are the days that I shall allow my man to boss this Wooster around. I am not a slave to my valet like some men may be, so these socks and spats were there to stay.
‘More than disturbing, Jeeves! The nephew-crusher desires me to be chained down for life to this poor filly that doesn’t even know me. It’s dashed awful!’
‘Indeed, sir.’
There was this kind of edge to his tone that suggested he’d like to say, “so what do you want me to do about it, you silly boy?” and I didn’t appreciate it at all. In fact, it made me feel more or less like nobody loved me, what with being forced into wooing a stranger (because there are apparently rumours about why I’m not yet married, according to the fire-breathing aged relation), and having placed myself into a tiff with my man Jeeves. If I had known how dire the circs. could get when I’d bought those blasted sundries, I would have thrown them off of my feet and ordered him to burn them. But the Code of the Woosters demands that one should always have pride, and pride shall remain intact, thank you very much. Grovelling to Jeeves, kissing his feet and begging on my knees certainly was not high on the agenda — yet. Though, considering the current urgency of the situation, I may just be able to part with my pride and say, “You’re right, Jeeves; burn the blasted things and get me out of the soup!”
‘Nothing comes to mind, Jeeves?’ I asked, trying to sound endearingly hopeful. ‘No military schemes, no genius brainstorms?’
‘Unfortunately not, sir,’ he said, quite firm in his decision. ‘But I shall mull it over in due time.’
‘But it’s in four hours, dash it, Jeeves! Can’t you see the young master tremble in fear?’
Still, he gave another glare to the spat he held in his hand, almost although he wanted to frighten it away. The manner in which he rubbed the ugly thing was brutal.
‘Indeed I can, sir. Do not worry, sir, I shall think of something soon.’
‘Fish, Jeeves. Go find some in the kitchen; it will aid that mind of yours to hatch a plan,’ I almost demanded in desperation, and with that I slunk away to brood in the bedroom.

Unfunnily enough, four hours later I was being stuffed into a suit of armour by Jeeves, who obviously had not been indulging in the crustaceans with as much vigour as I’d asked. There was this very rummy atmosphere between us that suggested we were a couple of French aristocrats waiting for the chop, except that these circs. were much more dire than simply losing a head or two. Feeling hotter than a baker’s oven, stickier than a chocolate eclair, and stiffer than the most imperturbable Englishman’s upper lip, I scrambled my way up onto old Meadow, the horse, and was left there to melt in the sun for a while, rather like one of those aforementioned baked goods.
I suppose from the outside I may have appeared debonair and rather dashing, if I don’t say so myself. But inside the metal suit, this Bertram was becoming slowly liquidised — soon I would have completely evaporated, if it weren’t for the constant reminder in the shape of a woman named Daphne that kept my blood at the temperature of a lizard’s. From where I was perched high up (or perhaps “clinging desperately” would be a better way of describing my current position?), she was there in the crowd, grinning with the love light in her eyes and waving what looked like flags in my team colours: burgundy and gold. Dashed unnerving, I tell you!
Just next to her, however, was Jeeves. How dashing he looked with the afternoon sun playing on his slick, dark hair! I couldn’t help but notice how slight shadows fell across his finely chiselled features, contoured by Aphrodite without question. His eyes were fixed on me in return, causing this blasted armour to heat up further. This Wooster couldn’t help but stare, being only human despite our Code to be always preux.
From up high on Meadow and with only a slit to see through, I felt rather safe to stare at the man to my heart’s content; in fact, I began to feel invincible, knowing that he had no way of knowing that my eyes were focused on him. Soon I began to slip into a deep reverie, the sitch. being what it was.
My mind’s eye pictured Jeeves as my very own knight in shining armour, come to rescue me from a fate worse than death: being frog-marched down the altar to find a grim woman like Daphne Braithwaite clad in white. He would be well-worth looking at in glistening silver, helmet off to showcase his brilliant, deep sapphire eyes and strong, masculine jaw. Jeeves would be cantering confidently on the biggest, purest white horse, and charging forth for the youngest Wooster. The young master may not be a princess at the top of a treacherous tower, but by Jove he needed to be saved, swept off his feet and carried away into the sunset.
In a way I already considered him my knight in shining armour, and although he hadn’t exactly thrown himself at my feet to come up with a solution this time, I wanted to show my appreciation for him in all sorts of ways. A holiday in Cuba, a brief fishing trip to Florida, a cruise around the world… Perhaps a manly embrace, an effort to help in the homestead, a touch of my lips—
‘Wooster!’ somebody bellowed, sending electric fear to course through my veins.
I thought the top of my head was about to come off as I saw Roderick Spode charging towards me, his eyes glinting menacingly like the teeth of a shark. This shock to the system galvanised me in to action, and thus I gave old Meadow a hefty kick with my boot.
Seemingly this was news for the horse too, for she reared up on her hind legs with a ferocious cry, causing this Wooster to go flying through the air like a missile. Even as I crumpled on the hard mud below, a minuscule laugh burst from my lips like a soft sigh. Perhaps it was the pain of being badly winded, but being a more emotionally intelligent man than most people expect, I heard it for what it was. Irony. I had fallen in love with my keeper, the distraction leading to literally falling from my horse… I was in love, and had been for years. With my face planted half into the ground I continued to grin like a love-sick dog, thinking of Jeeves.
Jeeves and his huge, capable hands, lifting me from the ground. Jeeves and his strict scrutiny, glaring at those around us that chose to boo and jeer at my failure, dissecting Spode with his eyes for causing me this pain, and finally quivering as he noticed garish spats within the crowd. Only I could scope his emotions from the slight twitch of an eyebrow hair, or the barely-noticeable quirk of his lower lip, even with Mother Nature’s blanket spread across my face — but I wouldn’t have it any other way.
‘Just this way, sir,’ the man was saying as he led me by the elbow towards the house.
All I could do was gargle in response, looking and feeling absolutely potty.
He positively dragged this flailing corpus to the servant’s quarters pantry, where we could hide from Aunt Agatha’s hideous mob for the time being. Placing me on a low stool, as presumably he realised that the young master was currently rendered insensible, he proceeded to a thorough examination of my battered body. A hue that wasn’t entirely caused by face-planting the ground spread across my peaky face as he cupped it in his hands, tilting me to and fro in a pursue of injury.
Dashed disconcerting, the way he gently stroked my swarthy face — not the manner in which he stroked the Wooster dial, mind you (that was divine), but the way that said stroking of the W. d. sent shivers through my spine. This dastardly sensation led to the realisation that Jeeves’s dressing and undressing of me thrice daily would give Bertram a deuced difficult time, and not just because of my gummy arm.
‘Ah, um, Jeeves,’ I whispered. ‘Do you think you could check my arm? I think I landed on it funny.’
‘Of course, sir.’
This paragon of all paragons slowly eased off the armour on the top part of my body, and then rolled back my right sleeve as lightly as it was possible to do so. He held on to my wrist and the part of my arm just above the elbow and flexed my arm up and down. I hissed quietly in pain, yet I supposed my injuries could have been a whole lot worse; I once knew a poor chap who broke his neck falling from an equestrian beast — and things did not go so smoothly for him after that, I’m sorry to say.
‘If you would apply pressure to my fingers now, sir,’ Jeeves instructed, and I complied. ‘I don’t believe anything is broken, yet there may be a slight sprain. I would advise that you don’t overexert yourself in the next couple of weeks, sir.’
‘Jolly good,’ I chirruped back, feeling a little better already to know that nothing was seriously wrong. ‘My face is awfully sore though, Jeeves.’
‘Yes, sir. There is some bruising along your temples and right eye, as well as a very slight swelling of your labial regions.’
At this, he took a little tube of something out of his breast pocket, removed his glove and squeezed a portion of the smooth paste onto his fingertips. I wondered if Jeeves was ever a boy scout in his day — or perhaps his motto is “always be prepared”? I should ask him sometime. And then I realised…
‘This was all your doing, wasn’t it, Jeeves,’ I said, wincing a little as he applied the solvent of some sort to my dial.
‘I cannot lay claim to the whole plan, sir,’ he replied, with a carefully disguised twitch of the lip. ‘It was sir that fell from the horse.’
‘Oh, come now, Jeeves! I know it was you and your fish that did it.’
‘Well, sir, I must admit that I did play some part in the vexing of your horse. At the dire moment when you were encouraged by Lord Sidcup to begin, I took the liberty of spooking the animal from where I was situated. It is based on the scientific principal, sir, that a horse can only focus on one stimulus at once. On the occasion that two or more stimuli should present itself to the horse’s central nervous system, it must focus on the one stimulus that overrides and overshadows all other sensations. In this case, I perturbed the horse by a sudden movement from the crowd, which overrode the fear of the lance and caused her to rear up. I trust that you are not distressed by this fact, sir?’
‘No, no. Of course not, Jeeves. You did a topping job,’ I garbled. ‘Topping, absolutely topping!’
‘Thank you, sir.’
‘If I may ask, Jeeves, what sudden movement did you make? I didn’t see you move at all, at least not from where I was sat.’
At those words that spurted from my lips, I blushed all over again. If he hadn’t known I was staring before, he did now.
‘Master Seabury was standing in front of me, sir. The young man stomped on my foot when he thought his sister wasn’t watching, therefore I thought it prudent to push him forcefully in the direction of the tournament.’ Jeeves said with little emotion, though I thought I detected a sense of enjoyment from behind his stuffed frog mask.
With this knowledge I burst out guffawing. ‘You mean you gave the blighter a taste of his own medicine! That’s bally wonderful, Jeeves! You’re a marvel, an absolute marvel.’
‘Sir is most kind. I felt discipline was the best course of action for the boy, sir.’
‘Jeeves,’ I said quietly, but with all due enthusiasm and force. ‘Burn those blasted spats, why don’t you? You’re free to do what you wish with those, as long as they’re properly disposed of. However, I must put my foot down on ridding myself of those lavender socks you loathe so much — they are my favourite colour, which you know by now. Just because you think them a little fruity,’ I continued with a blush, ‘doesn’t mean they aren’t the most bally marvellous things I’ve ever set eyes upon.’
‘Fortunately, sir, the unsuitable footwear you mention has already been disposed of. They were most unusable after an accident with the shoe polish, so I took the liberty of purging them from your wardrobe beforehand.’
At this, I positively goggled.
‘You mean you’ve already—’ my jaw hung open, giving me a hangdog look as I struggled for words. ‘Well of all the blasted— Oh, dash it, Jeeves! Thank you, just thank you. What ever could I do without you?’
‘I could not say, sir.’
With so many emotions buzzing through the Wooster head and heart like a whole nest of bees, it was too much for me not to pay him a marked tribute. Although he would deem it improper, I flung my arms around his shoulders and squeezed tight, burying my bruised face into his shoulder. It was all I could do to prevent myself from giving the fellow a big smacker on the lips.
‘Sir,’ he murmured, incredibly softly.
My heart began to flutter like a pack of butterflies just then — if butterflies come in packs, that is. As soon as he said it, I felt his smooth, warm palm come to rest between my shoulder blades. He rubbed small half-circles with the tips of his fingers and then broke the embrace, ending the magic.
Somewhat I was disappointed, yet over the moon that he allowed me to press the Wooster corpus to the Jeevesian map for even a second.
‘I think it would be best if we travel back to the metropolis before anyone realises we’re gone, sir.’
‘You mean we’re going to do a runner?’
‘Indeed, sir. That expresses it very astutely. We shall fetch the two-seater and make our escape presently, sir, and send for our belongings at a later date.’
‘I say,’ I breathed. ‘Let’s go!’

The next day I rose at ten ack emma, prompted to rejuvenation by a cup of the morning restorative served on a silver platter — Ceylon, in case you were wondering. There was a general stiffness throughout the whole corpus, yet after a good night’s sleep, a tea cup of Sri Lanka’s finest, and the old b. and s. I was fighting fit and ready to face the day.
Following a brief encounter with Jarvis downstairs, Jeeves came biffing in again carrying two telegrams. Suddenly my sunny disposish evaporated as I expected the worst.
‘Two telegrams, sir. One from Mrs Gregson and another from Mrs Travers.’
‘Oh, go on and read them, Jeeves. Let’s have the bad news first, shall we.’
He caught my drift and opened the envelope from Aunt Agatha. Reading aloud in his velvety, clear voice, he said: ‘”Bertram, you imbecile.”’ At those words he paused, no doubt embarrassed.
‘It’s fine, Jeeves. Carry on.’
‘”Miss Braithwaite is not impressed. She does not wish to engage with you or see you in the future. Humiliated and furious, do not show your face here again, Agatha Gregson.”’
‘Oh, well that’s jolly good!’ I brightened. ‘But why doesn’t she regard me as husband-material all of a sudden? I can’t think what I did to offend the filly.’
‘Women are notably cruel when it comes to failure, sir. Miss Braithwaite is known to be a harsh woman, as is discussed amongst the servants.’
‘Seems I made a lucky escape there, Jeeves,’ I said with not a little shudder. ‘Now let’s see what the other aged relation has to say. But let me say that I shall never help another aunt again, especially if it includes Medieval sports. It’s simply not cricket.’
‘Indeed, sir. Mrs Travers says: “Bertie, Milady’s boudoir in the soup. Need article from you on gentleman’s flirting techniques — you’re just the oik to do it. Auntie Dahlia”’
‘I say, Jeeves! Whom does she think she is addressing in such a dashed horrible way? I am no man’s slave, say I.’
‘The telegram continues, sir: “P.S. Let it be known that Anatole is cooking up something ambrosial tonight”’
My heart skipped a beat, things suddenly appearing through rose-tinted lenses. ‘Right ho, Jeeves. Pack the bags and we’ll be on our way — for Anatole, if anything at all!’
‘Very good, sir.’

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