Now, touching this business of old Jeeves -- my man, you know -- how do
we  stand? Lots  of people  think I'm  much  too dependent on him.  My  Aunt
Agatha, in fact, has even gone so far as to call him my keeper. Well, what I
say is: Why not? The man's a genius. From the collar upward he stands alone.
I  gave up trying to  run my own affairs within a week of  his coming to me.
That  was about half  a  dozen years ago, directly  after  the  rather rummy
business of Florence  Craye,  my Uncle Willoughby's book, and Edwin, the Boy
Scout.

     The thing  really began when I got back to  Easeby, my uncle's place in
Shropshire.  I was spending a  week or so there,  as I generally did in  the
summer; and I had had to  break my visit to come back to London to get a new
valet.  I  had found Meadowes, the  fellow I  had taken to  Easeby  with me,
sneaking my silk socks, a thing no bloke of spirit could stick at any price.
It transpiring, moreoever, that he had looted a lot of other things here and
there  about the  place, I was reluctantly  compelled  to hand the misguided
blighter the mitten and go  to  London  to ask the registry office to dig up
another specimen for my approval. They sent me Jeeves.

     I shall always remember the  morning he came.  It  so happened that the
night before I had been present at a  rather cheery little supper, and I was
feeling pretty rocky. On  top of this I was trying  to read  a book Florence
Craye had given me. She  had been one of the house-party at Easeby, and  two
or three days before I left we had got engaged. I was due back at the end of
the week, and I knew she would expect me to have finished the book by  then.
You see, she was particularly  keen on  boosting me up a bit nearer  her own
plane of intellect.  She was a girl with a wonderful profile, but steeped to
the gills  in  serious purpose.  I can't  give you a better idea  of the way
things  stood than by telling you that the  book she'd given  me to read was
called  'Types of Ethical  Theory', and that when  I opened  it  at random I
struck a page beginning:

     The postulate or common understanding involved in speech is
     certainly co-extensive, in the obligation it carries, with the
     social organism of which language is the instrument, and the
     ends of which it is an effort to subserve.

     All perfectly true, no doubt; but not the sort of thing to spring on  a
lad with a morning head.

     I was doing  my best to skim through this bright little volume when the
bell  rang. I  crawled off the sofa  and  opened the door. A kind of darkish
sort of respectful Johnnie stood without.

     'I was sent  by the agency, sir,'  he said. 'I was  given to understand
that you required a valet.'

     I'd  have preferred an undertaker; but I told him to stagger in, and he
floated  noiselessly  through  the  doorway  like  a  healing  zephyr.  That
impressed me from the  start. Meadows had had flat  feet and  used to clump.
This fellow didn't seem to have any feet at all. He just streamed in. He had
a grave, sympathetic  face, as if he, too, knew what it was to sup with  the
lads.

     'Excuse me, sir,' he said gently.

     Then he seemed  to  flicker, and wasn't there any  longer. I  heard him
moving about in the kitchen, and presently  he  came back with a glass on  a
tray.

     'If you would drink this, sir,' he said, with a kind of bedside manner,
rather  like  the royal doctor shooting the bracer into the sick prince. 'It
is a  little preparation of my own invention. It is the Worcester Sauce that
gives  it  its colour. The raw egg makes it nutritious. The red pepper gives
it  its  bite.  Gentlemen  have  told  me  they  have  found  it   extremely
invigorating after a late evening.'

     I  would have  clutched at anything  that  looked like  a lifeline that
morning.  I  swallowed  the stuff. For  a moment I felt as  if somebody  had
touched off a bomb inside the old bean and was strolling down my throat with
a lighted torch, and  then everything seemed suddenly to  get all right. The
sun shone  in through  the window; birds twittered in  the  tree-tops;  and,
generally speaking, hope dawned once more.

     'You're engaged!' I said, as soon as I could say anything.

     I perceived dearly that  this cove was one  of the world's workers, the
sort no home should be without.

     'Thank you, sir. My name is Jeeves.'

     'You can start in at once?'

     'Immediately, sir.'

     'Because  I'm  due  down  at  Easeby,  in  Shropshire,  the  day  after
tomorrow.'

     'Very good, sir.' He  looked past me at  the  mantelpiece.  'That is an
excellent likeness of Lady Florence Craye, sir. It is two  years since I saw
her ladyship. I was at one time in Lord Worplesdon's  employment. I tendered
my  resignation because I could not see eye  to eye with his lordship in his
desire to dine in dress trousers, a flannel shirt, and a shooting coat.'

     He  couldn't  tell  me anything  I  didn't  know  about  the old  boy's
eccentricity. This Lord Worplesdon was Florence's  father.  He  was  the old
buster who, a  few years later, came  down to breakfast  one morning. Lifted
the  first  cover  he saw,  said 'Eggs!  Eggs! Eggs! Damn all  eggs!'  in an
overwrought sort of voice,  and  instantly legged  it for  France, never  to
return to the bosom of his family. This,  mind you, being a bit of luck  for
the  bosom of the family, for old  Worplesdon  had the  worst  temper in the
county.

     I had known the family ever since I was a kid, and from boyhood up this
old  boy had  put the  fear of death into me. Time, the  great healer, could
never  remove from my  memory  the  occasion  when  he found  me  --  then a
stripling of fifteen -- smoking one of his special cigars in the stables. He
got after me  with a hunting-crop just at the moment when I was beginning to
realize that what I wanted most on earth was solitude and repose, and chased
me more than a mile  across  difficult country. If  there was a flaw,  so to
speak, in the pure  joy of being engaged to Florence, it  was the  fact that
she  rather took after her father, and one was never certain when she  might
erupt. She had a wonderful profile, though.

     'Lady Florence and I are engaged, Jeeves,' I said.

     'Indeed, sir?'

     You  know,  there  was  a  kind of rummy something  about  his  manner.
Perfectly all right and all that, but not what you'd call chirpy. It somehow
gave me the impression that he wasn't keen on Florence.  Well, of course, it
wasn't  my  business.  I supposed  that  while  he  had  been  valeting  old
Worplesdon she  must have trodden on  his toes  in some way.  Florence was a
dear  girl, and,  seen sideways, most awfully good-looking; but if she had a
fault it was a tendency to be a bit imperious with the domestic staff.

     At this  point in  the proceedings there was another ring at the  front
door. Jeeves shimmered out and came back  with a  telegram. I  opened it. It
ran:

     Return immediately. Extremely urgent. Catch first train.
     Florence.

     'Rum!' I said.

     'Sir?'

     'Oh, nothing'

     It  shows how little I knew Jeeves in those days that I didn't go a bit
deeper into the  matter with him. Nowadays I would never dream of reading  a
rummy communication without asking him what he thought of  it.  And this one
was devilish odd. What I mean  is, Florence knew I  was going back to Easeby
the day after tomorrow,  anyway; so why the  hurry call? Something must have
happened, of course; but I couldn't see what on earth it could be.

     'Jeeves,' I said, 'we shall be going down to Easeby this afternoon. Can
you manage it?'

     'Certainly, sir.'

     'You can get your packing done and all that?'

     'Without  any  difficulty,  sir.  Which suit  will  you  wear  for  the
journey?'

     'This one.'

     I had on a  rather sprightly young check that morning, to which I was a
good  deal attached; I fancied it,  in  fact, more  than a  little.  It  was
perhaps rather  sudden  till  you  got  used  to  it, but, nevertheless,  an
extremely sound effort, which many lads at the dub and elsewhere had admired
unrestrainedly.

     'Very good, sir.'

     Again there was that kind of rummy something  in his manner. It was the
way he said it,  don't  you know. He  didn't like the suit. I pulled  myself
together to assert myself. Something seemed  to tell me  that,  unless I was
jolly careful and nipped this lad in the bud, he would be  starting to  boss
me. He had the aspect of a distinctly resolute blighter.

     Well, I wasn't going  to have any of that  sort of thing, by Jove!  I'd
seen so many cases of fellows who had become perfect slaves to their valets.
I remember  poor old Aubrey Fothergill telling me -- with absolute  tears in
his eyes, poor chap! -- one night at the dub, that he had  been compelled to
give  up a favourite  pair  of brown  shoes simply  because Meekyn, his man,
disapproved  of  them. You  have to keep these fellows in their place, don't
you  know.  You  have  to work  the good  old  iron-hand-in-the-velvet-glove
wheeze. If you give them a what's-its-name, they take a thingummy.

     'Don't you like this suit, Jeeves?' I said coldly.

     'Oh, yes, sir.'

     'Well, what don't you like about it?'

     'It is a very nice suit, sir.'

     'Well, what's wrong with it? Out with it, dash it!'

     'If I might make the suggestion,  sir, a  simple  brown or blue, with a
hint of some quiet twill --'

     'What absolute rot!'

     'Very good, sir.'

     'Perfectly blithering, my dear man!'

     'As you say, sir.'

     I felt as if I had stepped on  the place where the  last stair ought to
have  been, but wasn't. I felt defiant,  if you know what  I mean, and there
didn't seem anything to defy.

     'All right, then,' I said.

     'Yes, sir.'

     And then he went away to  collect his kit, while I  started in again on
'Tjpes  of  Efhical   Theory'  and  took   a  stab   at   a  chapter  headed
'Idiopsychological Ethics'.



     Most of the way down in the  train that afternoon, I was wondering what
could  be  up  at the  other  end. I  simply  couldn't see  what  could have
happened. Easeby wasn't one of  those  country houses you read about in  the
society  novels, where  young girls are lured on  to play baccarat and  then
skinned  to the  bone of  their jewellery, and so on.  The house-party I had
left had consisted entirely of law-abiding birds like myself.

     Besides, my  uncle wouldn't have let anything of that kind go on in his
house. He  was  a rather stiff, precise sort  of old boy, who liked a  quiet
life. He was just finishing  a history of the family or something, which  he
had  been working  on for the  last year, and  didn't  stir  much  from  the
library.  He was  rather a good instance of what they say about its being  a
good scheme  for  a fellow  to sow his  wild oats. I'd been told that in his
youth Uncle Willoughby  had been a bit  of a bounder.  You would  never have
thought it to look at him now.

     When  I got  to the house, Oakshott, the  butler, told me that Florence
was in her room, watching her maid pack. Apparently there  was a dance on at
a house about twenty miles away that  night, and she  was motoring over with
some of the Easeby lot and would be  away some nights. Oakshott said she had
told  him  to  tell  her  the  moment I  arrived;  so  I  trickled  into the
smoking-room and waited, and presently in she  came. A glance showed me that
she was  perturbed,  and  even  peeved.  Her  eyes  had  a goggly look,  and
altogether she appeared considerably pipped.

     'Darling!'  I  said,  and  attempted  the  good  old  embrace; but  she
side-stepped like a bantam-weight.

     'Don't!'

     'What's the matter?'

     'Every thing's  the matter!  Bertie,  you remember asking  me, when you
left, to make myself pleasant to your uncle?'

     'Yes.'

     The  idea  being, of course, that  as at  that time I  was more or less
dependent  on  Uncle  Wiiloughy  I couldn't  very  well  marry  without  his
approval. And though  I  knew  he wouldn't have  any objection to  Florence,
having known her father since they were  at Oxford together, I hadn't wanted
to take any  chances; so I  had told her to make an effort to  fascinate the
old boy.

     'You told me it would please him particularly if I asked him to read me
some of his history of the family.'

     'Wasn't he pleased?'

     'He was delighted. He  finished writing  the thing yesterday afternoon,
and read me nearly all of it last night. I have never had such a shock in my
life. The book is an outrage. It is impossible. It is horrible!'

     'But, dash it, the family weren't so bad as all that.'

     'It  is not  a history of the family at all. Your uncle has written his
reminiscences! He calls them "Recollections of a Long Life"!'

     I began to understand. As I say. Uncle Willoughby had been  somewhat on
the tabasco  side as a young man,  and it  began to look as if he might have
turned out something  pretty fruity if  he had started recollecting his long
life.

     'If half of what he has written  is true,' said Florence, 'your uncle's
youth  must  have been perfectly appalling. The moment  we began to read  he
plunged straight into a most scandalous story of how he and  my  father were
thrown out of a music-hall in 1887!'

     'Why?'

     'I decline to tell you why.'

     It must have been  something  pretty  bad. It took  a lot  to make them
chuck people out of music-halls in 1887.

     'Your  uncle specifically  states that father had drunk  a quart and  a
half of champagne before beginning  the evening,'  she went on. 'The book is
full of stories like that. There is a dreadful one about Lord Emsworth.'

     'Lord Emsworth? Not the one we know? Not the one at Blandlngs?'

     A  most  respectable  old Johnnie, don't you  know. Doesn't  do a thing
nowadays but dig in the garden with a spud.

     'The very same. That is what  makes the book so unspeakable. It is full
of  stories about people one knows who are  the essence  of propriety today,
but who seem' to have behaved, when they were in London in the  eighties, in
a manner that  would not  have been  tolerated in the fo'c'sle  of a whaler.
Your uncle seems to remember everything disgraceful that happened to anybody
when he was in  his  early  twenties. There  is  a story  about  Sir Stanley
Gervase-Gervase at Rosherville Gardens which is ghastly in its perfection of
detail. It seems that Sir Stanley -- but I can't tell you!'

     'Have a dash!'

     'No!'

     'Oh, well, I shouldn't worry. No publisher will print the book  if it's
as bad as all that.'

     'On the contrary,  your uncle told me that all negotiations are settled
with Riggs and Ballinger, and he's  sending  off the manuscript tomorrow for
immediate publication. They make a special thing of  that sort of book. They
published Lady Carnaby's 'Memories of Eighty Interesting Years'.'

     'I read 'em!'

     'Well, then, when I tell  you that  Lady Carnaby's Memories  are simply
not to be compared with your  uncle's Recollections, you will understand  my
state of mind. And  father appears  in nearly every  story in  the book I am
horrified at the things he did when he was a young man! '

     'What's to be done?'

     'The  manuscript  must be  intercepted  before  it  reaches  Riggs  and
Ballinger, and destroyed!'

     I sat up.

     This sounded rather sporting.

     'How are you going to do it?' I inquired.

     'How can I do it? Didn't I tell you the parcel goes off tomorrow? I  am
going to the  Murgatroyds'  dance tonight and shall not be back till Monday.
You must do it. That is why I telegraphed to you.'

     'What!'

     She gave me a look.

     'Do you mean to say you refuse to help me, Bertie?'

     'No; but -- I say!'

     'It's quite simple.'

     'But even if I -- What I mean is -- Of course, anything I can do -- but
-- if you know what I mean --'

     'You say you want to marry me, Bertie?'

     'Yes, of course; but still --'

     For a moment she looked exactly like her old father.

     'I will never marry you if those Recollections are published.'

     'But, Florence, old thing! '

     'I mean  it.  You may  look on  it as a test, Bertie. If you  have  the
resource and courage to carry this thing through, I will take it as evidence
that you are not the vapid  and shiftless person  most  people think you. If
you fail, I shall know that your Aunt Agatha was right when she called you a
spineless invertebrate and  advised me strongly not to marry you. It will be
perfectly  simple  for  you  to  intercept the manuscript,  Bertie.  It only
requires a little resolution.'

     'But  suppose Uncle Willoughby catches me at it? He'd cut me off with a
bob.'

     'If you care more for your uncle's money than for me --'

     'No, no! Rather not!'

     'Very well, then. The parcel containing the manuscript will, of course,
be placed on  the hall table tomorrow for Oakshott to  take  to  the village
with the letters. All you have to do is to take it away and destroy it. Then
your uncle will think it has been lost in the post.'

     It sounded thin to me.

     'Hasn't he got a copy of it?'

     'No;  it has not  been typed. He is sending  the manuscript  just as he
wrote it.'

     'But he could write it over again.'

     'As if he would have the energy!'

     'But --'

     'If you are going to do nothing but make absurd objections, Bertie --'

     'I was only pointing things out.'

     'Well, don't! Once and for all, will you do me this quite simple act of
kindness ?'

     The way she put it gave me an idea.

     'Why not  get Edwin to do it? Keep it in the family, kind of, don't you
know. Besides, it would be a boon to the kid.'

     A jolly bright idea it seemed  to me. Edwin was  her young brother, who
was spending his holidays at  Easeby. He was a ferret-faced  kid, whom I had
disliked  since birth.  As  a matter  of fact,  talking of Recollections and
Memories,  it was young blighted Edwin  who, nine years before,  had led his
father to where I was  smoking  his cigar and caused all the unpleasantness.
He  was fourteen now and had just joined the Boy Scouts. He was one of those
thorough kids, and took his responsibilities pretty seriously. He was always
in a sort  of fever  because he was dropping  behind schedule with his daily
acts  of kindness.  However hard he tried, he'd  fall behind; and  then  you
would find  him prowling about the  house, setting  such  a  clip to try and
catch up with himself that Easeby  was rapidly  becoming  a perfect hell for
man and beast.

     The idea didn't seem to strike Florence.

     'I shall do nothing of the kind, Bertie. I wonder  you can't appreciate
the compliment I am paying you -- trusting you like this.'

     'Oh,  I see that  all right,  but what I mean is, Edwin would do it  so
much better than I  would. These Boy Scouts are  up to all  sorts of dodges.
They spoor, don't you know, and take cover and creep about, and what not.'

     'Bertie,  will you or will you  not do this perfectly trivial thing for
me? If not,  say so  now, and  let us end this  farce of pretending that you
care a snap of the fingers for me.'

     'Dear old soul, I love you devotedly!'

     'Then will you or will you not --'

     'Oh, all right,' I said. 'All right! All right! All right!'

     And then I tottered forth to think it over. I met Jeeves in the passage
just outside.

     'I beg your pardon, sir. I was endeavouring to find you.'

     'What's the matter?'

     'I  felt  that I should tell you, sir,  that  somebody has been putting
black polish on our brown walking shoes.'

     'What! Who? Why?'

     'I could not say, sir.'

     'Can anything be done with them?'

     'Nothing, sir.'

     'Damn!'

     'Very good, sir.'



     I've  often  wondered since then  how  these murderer fellows manage to
keep  in shape while  they're  contemplating their next effort. I had a much
simpler sort of job on  hand, and the thought of  it rattled  me to such  an
extent in the  night  watches  that I  was  a  perfect wreck next  day. Dark
circles under the eyes -- I  give  you  my word! I had to  call on Jeeves to
rally round with one of those life-savers of his.

     From breakfast on I felt like a  bag-snatcher at  a railway  station. I
had to hang about waiting for the parcel to be put on the hall table, and it
wasn't  put.  Uncle Willoughby  was  a fixture  in the library,  adding  the
finishing touches to the great work, I supposed,  and the more I thought the
thing over the less I liked it. The chances against my pulling it off seemed
about three to two, and the thought of what would happen if I didn't gave me
cold shivers down  the spine. Uncle Willoughby was a pretty mild sort of old
boy, as a  rule, but  I've known  him to cut  up rough, and, by Jove, he was
scheduled to extend himself if he caught me trying to get away with his life
work.

     It wasn't till nearly four that he toddled out of the  library with the
parcel under his arm, put  it  on  the  table, and toddled off again.  I was
hiding a bit  to the south-cast  at the moment, behind a  suit  of armour. I
bounded out and legged it for the table. Then I nipped upstairs to  hide the
swag.  I charged  in  like  a  mustang and nearly  stubbed my toe  on  young
blighted  Edwin, the Boy  Scout.  He was standing at the  chest of  drawers,
confound him, messing about with my ties.

     'Hallo!' he said.

     'What are you doing here?'

     'I'm tidying your room. It's my last Saturday's act of kindness.'

     'Last Saturday's.'

     'I'm five days behind. I was six till last  night,  but I polished your
shoes.'

     'Was it you --'

     'Yes. Did you see them? I just  happened to think of it. I was in here,
looking round. Mr Berkeley had this room  while you  were away. He left this
morning. I thought perhaps  he might have  left something in it that I could
have sent on. I've often done acts of kindness that way.'

     'You must be a comfort to one and all!'

     It became more  and more apparent to me  that  this  infernal  kid must
somehow be turned out eftsoons or  right speedily. I had hidden  the  parcel
behind my back, and I didn't think he  had seen it;  but  I wanted to get at
that chest of drawers quick, before anyone else came along.

     'I shouldn't bother about tidying the room,' I said.

     'I like tidying it. It's not a bit of trouble -- really.'

     'But it's quite tidy now.'

     'Not so tidy as I shall make it.'

     This was getting perfectly rotten. I didn't want to murder the kid, and
yet there  didn't seem any other  way  of shifting  him. I  pressed down the
mental accelerator. The old lemon throbbed fiercely. I got an idea.

     'There's something much kinder than that  which you could  do,' I said.
'You see that box of cigars?  Take it down to the smoking-room and snip  off
the  ends for  me.  That would save  me  no end of trouble.  Stagger  along,
laddie.'

     He seemed a bit doubtful;  but he staggered. I shoved the parcel into a
drawer, locked it, trousered the  key, and felt  better. I might be a chump,
but, dash  it, I could out-general a mere kid with a face  like a ferret.  I
went downstairs  again. Just  as I was passing  the  smoking-room  door  out
curveted Edwin.  It  seemed to me  that  if he wanted  to do  a real act  of
kindness he would commit suicide.

     'I'm snipping them,' he said.

     'Snip on! Snip on!'

     'Do you like them snipped much, or only a bit?'

     'Medium.'

     'All right. I'll be getting on, then.'

     'I should.'

     And we parted.



     Fellows who know all about that sort of thing -- detectives, and so  on
-- will tell you that the most difficult thing in the world is to get rid of
the body. I remember, as a kid, having to learn by heart a poem about a bird
by the name of Eugene Aram, who had the  deuce of a job in this respect. All
I can recall of the actual poetry is the bit that goes:

     Tum-tum, tum-tum, tum-tumty-tum,
     I slew him, tum-tum tum!

     But I recollect that the poor blighter spent much of his  valuable time
dumping the corpse into ponds and burying it,  and what not, only to have it
pop out  at him  again. It was about an hour  after  I had shoved the parcel
into the  drawer when I realized that I had let  myself in for just the same
sort of thing.

     Florence  had  talked  in an airy  sort of  way  about  destroying  the
manuscript; but when one came down to it, how the deuce can a chap destroy a
great chunky mass of paper in somebody else's house in the middle of summer?
I couldn't  ask  to  have a fire in  my bedroom, with the thermometer in the
eighties.  And if I  didn't burn the thing, how else could I get rid  of it?
Fellows on the battlefield eat dispatches to keep them from falling into the
hands  of  the  enemy,  but  it  would have  taken  me a year  to  eat Uncle
Willoughby's Recollections.

     I'm bound to say the problem  absolutely  baffled  me.  The only  thing
seemed to be to leave the parcel in the drawer and hope for the best.

     I don't know whether you have  ever  experienced it,  but it's a dashed
unpleasant thing having a crime on one's conscience. Towards the end of  the
day the mere sight of the drawer began to depress me. I found myself getting
all on  edge; and once  when  Uncle Willoughby trickled  silently  into  the
smoking-room when I was alone there and  spoke  to me  before I  knew he was
there, I broke the record for the sitting high jump.

     I  was  wondering all  the time when Uncle  Willoughby would sit up and
take notice. I didn't think he would have time to suspect that anything  had
gone wrong till  Saturday morning, when he would be expecting, of course, to
get the acknowledgement of the manuscript from the publishers.  But early on
Friday evening he came out  of the library  as I was passing and asked me to
step in. He was looking considerably rattled.

     'Bertie,' he said --  he always spoke in a precise sort of pompous kind
of way -- 'an  exceedingly  disturbing  thing has  happened. As you  know, I
dispatched the  manuscript  of  my book to Messrs  Riggs and Ballinger,  the
publishers,  yesterday afternoon. It should  have reached them  by the first
post this morning. Why I should have been uneasy  I cannot say,  but my mind
was not altogether at rest respecting the safety of the parcel.  I therefore
telephoned to  Messrs Riggs  and  Ballinger  a  few  moments  back  to  make
inquiries.  To my consternation they informed me that  they were not  yet in
receipt of my manuscript.'

     'Very rum!'

     'I  recollect distinctly  placing  it myself on  the hall table in good
time to be taken to the village. But here is a sinister thing. I have spoken
to  Oakshott, who took the  rest of the letters  to the  post office, and he
cannot recall seeing it  there.  He is, indeed, unswerving in his assertions
that when he  went to the hall to  collect the letters there  was no  parcel
among them.'

     'Sounds funny!'

     'Bertie, shall I tell you what I suspect?'

     'What's that?'

     "The  suspicion will no  doubt  sound to you incredible, but  it  alone
seems  to  fit the  facts as we know them. I incline to the belief  that the
parcel has been stolen.'

     'Oh, I say! Surely not!'

     'Wait! Hear me out. Though I have said nothing to  you  before,  or  to
anyone else, concerning  the  matter,  the fact remains that during the past
few  weeks  a  number  of  objects  --  some valuable,  others  not  -- have
disappeared in  this house.  The  conclusion  to  which  one is irresistibly
impelled is that we have a kleptomaniac in our midst. It is a peculiarity of
kleptomania,  as  you are  no  doubt aware, that  the  subject is  unable to
differentiate between the intrinsic values  of objects.  He  will purloin an
old coat as readily  as  a diamond ring, or a tobacco pipe costing but a few
shillings with the same eagerness as  a purse of  gold.  The  fact that this
manuscript  of  mine could  be  of no possible value to  any  outside person
convinces me that --'

     'But, uncle,  one  moment;  I  know  all about  those  things that were
stolen. It was Meadowes, my man, who pinched them. I caught him snaffling my
silk socks. Right in die act, by Jove!'

     He was tremendously impressed.

     'You amaze me, Bertie! Send for the man at once and question him.'

     'But  he  isn't  here.  You  see,  directly  I  found  that  he  was  a
sock-sneaker I gave  him die  boot. That's why I went  to London -- to get a
new man.'

     'Then, if the man Meadowes is no longer in the house it could not be he
who purloined my manuscript. The whole thing is inexplicable.'

     After which we brooded  for a bit. Uncle  Willoughby pottered about die
room, registering  baffledness, while I sat sucking at a cigarette,  feeling
rather like a chappie I'd once  read about in a  book, who murdered  another
cove and hid the body under  the  dining-room table, and then had  to be the
life and soul of a  dinner party, with  it  there all  the  time.  My guilty
secret oppressed me to such an extent that after a while I couldn't stick it
any longer. I lit another cigarette and started for a stroll in the grounds,
by way of cooling off.

     It was one of those still evenings you get in the summer, when  you can
hear a  snail clear  its throat a mile  away.  The sun was  sinking over the
hills  and the gnats were  fooling about all over the  place, and everything
smelled rather topping -- what with the falling dew and  so on -- and I  was
just beginning to feel a little soothed by the peace of it all when suddenly
I heard my name spoken.

     'It's about Bertie.'

     It was  the loathsome  voice  of young blighted Edwin! For a  moment  I
couldn't locate it. Then I realized that it came from the library. My stroll
had taken me within a few yards of the open window.

     I had often wondered how those Johnnies in books did it --  I mean  the
fellows with whom it was  the work  of a  moment to do  about a dozen things
that ought to  have taken them about ten minutes. But, as a matter of  fact,
it was the work of a moment with me to chuck away my cigarette, swear a bit,
leap about ten yards,  dive into a bush that  stood near the library window,
and stand there with my ears flapping. I was as certain as I've ever been of
anything that all sorts of rotten things were in the offing.

     'About Bertie?' I heard Uncle Willoughby say.

     'About Bertie and your parcel. I heard  you talking to him just  now. I
believe he's got it.'

     When  I  tell you  that just as I heard these frightful  words a fairly
substantial  beetle of sorts dropped from the bush down the back of my neck,
and I couldn't even stir to squash the same, you will understand that I felt
pretty rotten. Everything seemed against me.

     'What  do  you mean,  boy? I  was  discussing the disappearance  of  my
manuscript  with  Bertie only  a moment back, and lie  professed  himself as
perplexed by the mystery as myself.'

     'Well, I  was  in  his room yesterday  afternoon, doing him  an act  of
kindness, and he came in  with  a parcel. I could see it, though he tried to
keep it behind his back. And then he asked me  to go to the smoking-room and
snip  some cigars for him; and about two minutes afterwards he came  down  -
and he wasn't carrying anything. So it must be in his room.'

     I  understand  they deliberately  teach  these  dashed  Boy  Scouts  to
cultivate their  powers of  observation and deduction and what not. Devilish
thoughtless and  inconsiderate  of  them, I call it. Look at  the trouble it
causes.

     'It sounds incredible,' said Uncle Willoughby,  thereby bucking me up a
trifle.

     'Shall I go and look  in his room?' asked young  blighted Edwin. '  I'm
sure the parcel's there.'

     'But  what  could  be his motive  for  perpetrating  this extraordinary
theft?'

     'Perhaps he's a - what you said just now.'

     'A kleptomaniac? Impossible!'

     'It might have been Bertie who  took all  those  things  from the  very
start,' suggested the little brute hopefully. 'He may be like Raffles.'

     'Raffles?'

     'He's a chap in a book who went about pinching things.'

     'I cannot believe that Bertie would -- ah -- go about pinching things.'

     'Well, I'm sure he's  got the  parcel. I'll tell you what you might do.
You might say that Mr Berkeley wired that he had left something here. He had
Bertie's room, you know. You might say you wanted to look for it.'

     'That would be possible. I --'

     I  didn't wait to hear any more. Things were getting too hot. I sneaked
softly out of my bush and raced for the front door. I sprinted up to my room
and  made  for the drawer  where I had put the  parcel.  And then I found  I
hadn't the key. It wasn't for the deuce of  a  time that I recollected I had
shifted it to  my evening trousers  the night before and must have forgotten
to take it out again.

     Where the dickens were  my evening things? I  had  looked all  over the
place before I remembered that Jeeves must have taken them away to brush. To
leap at the bell and ring it was, with me, the work  of a moment. I had just
rung it when there was a footstep outside, and in came Uncle Willoughby.

     'Oh, Bertie,'  he said, without  a blush, 'I have  --  ah -- received a
telegram from Berkeley, who occupied this room in your absence, asking me to
forward him his --  er  --  his cigarette-case, which,  it would  appear, he
inadvertently omitted to take with him when he left the house. I cannot find
it downstairs and it has, therefore, occurred to me that he may have left it
in this room. I will -- er -- just take a look round.'

     It  was  one  of  the  most  disgusting spectacles I've ever seen tills
white-haired  old  man,  who  should have  been  thinking of the  hereafter,
standing there lying like an actor.

     'I haven't seen it anywhere,' I said.

     'Nevertheless, I will search. I must -- ah -- spare no effort.'

     'I should have seen it if it had been here -- what ? '

     'It may have escaped your notice. It is -- er -- possibly in one of the
drawers.'

     He began to nose about. He pulled  out drawer  after drawer,  pottering
round like an old bloodhound, and babbling from time  to time about Berkeley
and his cigarette-case in a  way that struck me as perfectly ghastly. I just
stood there, losing weight every moment.

     Then he came to the drawer where the parcel was.

     'This appears to be locked,' he said, rattling the handle.

     'Yes; I shouldn't bother  about that  one. It -- it's -- er  -- locked,
and all that sort of thing.'

     'You have not the key?'

     A soft, respectful voice spoke behind me.

     'I fancy, sir,  that this  must be  the  key you require. It was in the
pocket of your evening trousers.'

     It was Jeeves. He had shimmered in, carrying my evening things, and was
standing there holding out the key. I could have massacred the man.

     'Thank you,' said my uncle.

     'Not at all, sir.'

     The next moment Uncle Willoughby had opened the drawer. I shut my eyes.

     'No,'  said Uncle  Willoughby,  'there  is nothing here. The drawer  is
empty. Thank you, Bertie. I hope I have  not disturbed you. I fancy -- er --
Berkeley must have taken his case with him after all.'

     When he had  gone  I shut the door carefully. Then  I turned to Jeeves.
The man was putting my evening things out on a chair.

     'Er -- Jeeves!'

     'Sir?'

     'Oh, nothing.'

     It was deuced difficult to know how to begin.

     'Er -- Jeeves!'

     'Sir?'

     'Did you -- Was there -- Have you by chance --'

     'I removed the parcel this morning, sir.'

     'Oh -- ah -- why?'

     'I considered it more prudent, sir.'

     I mused for a while.

     'Of course, I suppose all this seems tolerably rummy to you, Jeeves?'

     'Not at all, sir. I chanced to .overhear you and Lady Florence speaking
of the matter the other evening, sir.'

     'Did you, by Jove?'

     'Yes, sir.'

     'Well -- er -- Jeeves, I think that, on the whole, if you were to -- as
it were -- freeze on to that parcel until we get back to London --'

     'Exactly, sir.'

     'And then we might --  er  -- so to speak -- chuck it away somewhere --
what ? '

     'Precisely, sir.'

     'I'll leave it in your hands.'

     'Entirely, sir.'

     'You know, Jeeves, you're by way of being rather a topper.'

     'I endeavour to give satisfaction, sir.'

     "One in a million, by Jove!'

     'It is very kind of you to say so, sir.'

     'Well, that's about all, then, I think.'

     'Very good, sir.'



     Florence came back on Monday. I didn't see  her till we were all having
tea  in the  hall. It. wasn't till  the crowd had cleared away a bit that we
got a chance of having a word together.

     'Well, Bertie?' she said.

     'It's all right.'

     'You have destroyed the manuscript?'

     'Not exactly; but --'

     'What do you mean?'

     'I mean I haven't absolutely --'

     'Bertie, your manner is furtive!'

     'It's all right. It's this way --'

     And  I was  just  going  to  explain how things stood when  out of  the
library came leaping Uncle  Willoughby, looking as braced as a two-year-old.
The old boy was a changed man.

     'A most  remarkable  thing, Bertie! I have just  been speaking  with Mr
Riggs on  the telephone, and he tells me he  received  my manuscript by  the
first post  this morning. I cannot imagine  what  can have caused the delay.
Our  postal facilities  are extremely inadequate in  the  rural districts. I
shall write to headquarters about it. It is insufferable if valuable parcels
are to be delayed in this fashion.'

     I happened to be looking  at  Florence's profile at the moment, and  at
this juncture she swung round and gave me a look that went  right through me
like a knife. Uncle Willoughby meandered back to the library, and  there was
a silence that you could have dug bits out of with a spoon.

     'I can't understand it,' I  said  at last. 'I can't understand  it,  by
Jove! '

     'I  can. I can understand it perfectly, Bertie. Your  heart failed you.
Rather than risk offending your uncle you --'

     'No, no! Absolutely!'

     'You preferred  to lose me  rather than  risk losing the money. Perhaps
you did not think I meant what I said. I meant every word. Our engagement is
ended.'

     'But -- I say!'

     'Not another word!'

     'But, Florence, old thing!'

     'I do not wish to hear any  more.  I see  now that your Aunt Agatha was
perfectly right. I consider that I have had a very lucky escape. There was a
time when I thought that, with patience, you might be moulded into something
worth while. I see now that you are impossible!'

     And  she  popped  off, leaving  me to pick up  the  pieces. When I  had
collected  the debris to  some extent I went to my room and rang for Jeeves.
He came in looking as if nothing had  happened or was  ever going to happen.
He was the calmest thing in captivity.

     'Jeeves!' I yelled. 'Jeeves, that parcel has arrived in London!'

     'Yes, sir?'

     'Did you send it?'

     'Yes, sir. I  acted for  the best, sir. I think that both you  and Lady
Florence  overestimated  the  danger  of  people  being  offended  at  being
mentioned in Sir Willoughby's Recollections. It has been my experience, sir,
that  the normal person enjoys seeing his or her name in print, irrespective
of what is said about them. I have an  aunt, sir, who a  few years ago was a
martyr to  swollen  limbs.  She  tried  Walkinshaw's  Supreme  Ointment  and
obtained considerable relief -- so much so that she sent them an unsolicited
testimonial.  Her pride  at  seeing  her photograph in the  daily papers  in
connexion  with  descriptions  other lower  limbs before taking,  which were
nothing less  than revolting, was so intense that it led me to believe  that
publicity, of whatever sort,  is what nearly everybody desires. Moreover, if
you have ever studied psychology,  sir,  you will know that respectable  old
gentlemen are  by no means  averse to  having  it  advertised that they were
extremely wild in their youth. I have an uncle --'

     I cursed his  aunts  and his  uncles and him  and all the rest  of  the
family.

     'Do you know that Lady Florence has broken off her engagement with me?'

     'Indeed, sir?'

     Not a bit of sympathy! I might have been telling him it was a fine day.

     'You're sacked!'

     'Very good, sir.'

     He coughed gently.

     'As I am  no longer in your employment, sir, I can speak freely without
appearing to take  a liberty. In my opinion you and Lady Florence were quite
unsuitably matched.  Her ladyship  is of a  highly  determined and arbitrary
temperament, quite opposed to  your own. I was in  Lord Worplesdon's service
for nearly a  year, during which  time I had ample opportunities of studying
her ladyship. The opinion  of the servants' hall  was far from favourable to
her. Her ladyship's temper caused a good  deal of  adverse comment among us.
It was at times quite impossible. You would not have been happy, sir!'

     'Get out!'

     'I think you  would also  have  found  her educational methods a little
trying, sir. I have glanced at the book her ladyship gave you -- it has been
lying on your table  since our  arrival --  and  it is, in my opinion, quite
unsuitable. You would not have enjoyed it. And I have it from her ladyship's
own maid, who happened to overhear a conversation between  her ladyship  and
one of  the  gentlemen staying  here  -- Mr Maxwell, who  is  employed in an
editorial, capacity  by one of the reviews -- that  it was her intention  to
start you almost immediately  upon Nietzsche. You would not enjoy Nietzsche,
sir. He is fundamentally unsound.'

     'Get out!'

     'Very good, sir.'



     It's rummy how sleeping on a thing often makes you feel quite different
about it. It's happened to me over and over again. Somehow or other,  when I
woke next morning the old heart didn't feel half  so  broken as it had done.
It was a perfectly  topping day, and  there was something  about the way the
sun came  in at the window and the row the birds  were kicking up in the ivy
that made me half wonder whether Jeeves wasn't right. After all, though  she
had a wonderful profile, was it such a catch being engaged to Florence Craye
as the casual  observer might imagine? Wasn't there something in what Jeeves
had said about  her character?  I  began to  realize that  my ideal wife was
something  quite different, something a  lot more  clinging and drooping and
prattling, and what not.

     I had got as far as this in thinking the thing out when that  'Types of
Ethical Theory'  caught my eye. I opened it,  and  I give you my honest word
this was what hit me:

     Of the two antithetic terms in the Greek philosophy one only was
     real and self-subsisting; and that one was Ideal Thought as
     opposed to that which it has to penetrate and mould. The other,
     corresponding to our Nature, was ill itself phenomenal, unreal,
     without any permanent footing, having no predicates that held
     true for two moments together; in short, redeemed from negation
     only by including indwelling realities appearing through.

     Well --  I mean to say -- what? And Nietzsche, from all accounts, a lot
worse than that!

     'Jeeves,'  I said, when  he  came in  with  my  morning tea, 'I've been
thinking it over. You're engaged again.'

     'Thank you, sir.'

     I  sucked down  a cheerful mouthful.  A  great respect for this bloke's
judgement began to soak through me.

     'Oh, Jeeves,' I said; 'about that check suit.'

     'Yes, sir?'

     'Is it really a frost?'

     'A trifle too bizarre, sir, in my opinion.'

     'But lots of fellows have asked me who my tailor is.'

     'Doubtless in order to avoid him, sir.'

     'He's supposed to be one of the best men in "London.'

     'I am saying nothing against his moral character, sir.'

     I hesitated  a  bit. I had  a  feeling  that  I was  passing  into this
chappie's clutches, and that if I gave in now I should become lust like poor
old  Aubrey Fothergill,  unable to call my soul my own. On  the other  hand,
this was obviously a cove of rare intelligence, and it would be a comfort in
a lot of ways to have him doing the thinking for me. I made up my mind.

     'All right, Jeeves,' I said. 'You  know!  Give the bally thing away  to
somebody!'

     He  looked down  at me like  a father gazing tenderly  at  the  wayward
child.

     'Thank you, sir. I  gave it to the under-gardener last night.  A little
more tea, sir ?'



     ==1916

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