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Right Ho, Jeeves

By P. G. WODEHOUSE 1922

Page 3 of 46


"I mused once more. Gussie and I, as I say, had rather lost touch, but all
the same I was exercised about the poor fish, as I am about all my pals,
close or distant, who find themselves treading upon Life's banana skins.
It seemed to me that he was up against it.

I threw my mind back to the last time I had seen him. About two years
ago, it had been. I had looked in at his place while on a motor trip, and
he had put me right off my feed by bringing a couple of green things with
legs to the luncheon table, crooning over them like a young mother and
eventually losing one of them in the salad. That picture, rising before
my eyes, didn't give me much confidence in the unfortunate goof 's ability
to woo and win, I must say. Especially if the girl he had earmarked was
one of these tough modern thugs, all lipstick and cool, hard, sardonic
eyes, as she probably was.

"Tell me, Jeeves," I said, wishing to know the worst, "what sort of a
girl is this girl of Gussie's?"

"I have not met the young lady, sir. Mr. Fink-Nottle speaks highly of her
attractions."

"Seemed to like her, did he?"

"Yes, sir."

"Did he mention her name? Perhaps I know her."

"She is a Miss Bassett, sir. Miss Madeline Bassett."

"What?"

"Yes, sir."

I was deeply intrigued.

"Egad, Jeeves! Fancy that. It's a small world, isn't it, what?"

"The young lady is an acquaintance of yours, sir?"

"I know her well. Your news has relieved my mind, Jeeves. It makes the
whole thing begin to seem far more like a practical working proposition."

"Indeed, sir?"

"Absolutely. I confess that until you supplied this information I was
feeling prof oundly dubious about poor old Gussie's chances of inducing
any spinster of any parish to join him in the saunter down the aisle. You
will agree with me that he is not everybody's money."

"There may be something in what you say, sir."

"Cleopatra wouldn't have liked him."

"Possibly not, sir."

"And I doubt if he would go any too well with Tallulah Bankhead."

"No, sir."

"But when you tell me that the object of his affections is Miss Bassett,
why, then, Jeeves, hope begins to dawn a bit. He's just the sort of chap
a girl like Madeline Bassett might scoop in with relish."

This Bassett, I must explain, had been a fellow visitor of ours at
Cannes; and as she and Angela had struck up one of those effervescent
friendships which girls do strike up, I had seen quite a bit of her.
Indeed, in my moodier moments it sometimes seemed to me that I could not
move a step without stubbing my toe on the woman.

And what made it all so painful and distressing was that the more we met,
the less did I seem able to find to say to her.

You know how it is with some girls. They seem to take the stuffing right
out of you. I mean to say, there is something about their personality
that paralyses the vocal cords and reduces the contents of the brain to
cauliflower. It was like that with this Bassett and me; so much so that I
have known occasions when for minutes at a stretch Bertram Wooster might
have been observed fumbling with the tie, shuffling the feet, and
behaving in all other respects in her presence like the complete dumb
brick. When, therefore, she took her departure some two weeks before we
did, you may readily imagine that, in Bertram's opinion, it was not a day
too soon.

It was not her beauty, mark you, that thus numbed me. She was a pretty
enough girl in a droopy, blonde, saucer-eyed way, but not the sort of
breath-taker that takes the breath.

No, what caused this disintegration in a usually fairly fluent prattler
with the sex was her whole mental attitude. I don't want to wrong
anybody, so I won't go so far as to say that she actually wrote poetry,
but her conversation, to my mind, was of a nature calculated to excite
the liveliest suspicions. Well, I mean to say, when a girl suddenly asks
you out of a blue sky if you don't sometimes feel that the stars are
God's daisy-chain, you begin to think a bit.

As regards the fusing of her soul and mine, therefore, there was nothing
doing. But with Gussie, the posish was entirely different. The thing that
had stymied me--viz. that this girl was obviously all loaded down with
ideals and sentiment and what not--was quite in order as far as he was
concerned.

Gussie had always been one of those dreamy, soulful birds--you can't shut
yourself up in the country and live only for newts, if you're not--and I
could see no reason why, if he could somehow be induced to get the low,
burning words off his chest, he and the Bassett shouldn't hit it off like
ham and eggs.

"She's just the type for him," I said.

"I am most gratified to hear it, sir."

"And he's just the type for her. In fine, a good thing and one to be
pushed along with the utmost energy. Strain every nerve, Jeeves."

"Very good, sir," replied the honest fellow. "I will attend to the matter
at once.
"

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