Right Ho, Jeeves
By P. G. WODEHOUSE 1922
Page 4 of 46
Now up to this point, as you will doubtless agree, what you might call a
perfect harmony had prevailed. Friendly gossip between employer and
employed, and everything as sweet as a nut. But at this juncture, I
regret to say, there was an unpleasant switch. The atmosphere suddenly
changed, the storm clouds began to gather, and before we knew where we
were, the jarring note had come bounding on the scene. I have known this
to happen before in the Wooster home.
The first intimation I had that things were about to hot up was a pained
and disapproving cough from the neighbourhood of the carpet. For, during
the above exchanges, I should explain, while I, having dried the frame,
had been dressing in a leisurely manner, donning here a sock, there a
shoe, and gradually climbing into the vest, the shirt, the tie, and the
knee-length, Jeeves had been down on the lower level, unpacking my
He now rose, holding a white object. And at the sight of it, I realized
that another of our domestic crises had arrived, another of those
unfortunate clashes of will between two strong men, and that Bertram,
unless he remembered his fighting ancestors and stood up for his rights,
was about to be put upon.
I don't know if you were at Cannes this summer. If you were, you will
recall that anybody with any pretensions to being the life and soul of
the party was accustomed to attend binges at the Casino in the ordinary
evening-wear trouserings topped to the north by a white mess-jacket with
brass buttons. And ever since I had stepped aboard the Blue Train at
Cannes station, I had been wondering on and off how mine would go with
In the matter of evening costume, you see, Jeeves is hidebound and
reactionary. I had had trouble with him before about sof t-bosomed shirts.
And while these mess-jackets had, as I say, been all the rage--_tout ce
qu'il y a de chic_--on the Côte d'Azur, I had never concealed it from
myself, even when treading the measure at the Palm Beach Casino in the
one I had hastened to buy, that there might be something of an upheaval
about it on my return.
I prepared to be firm.
"Yes, Jeeves?" I said. And though my voice was suave, a close observer in
a position to watch my eyes would have noticed a steely glint. Nobody has
a greater respect for Jeeves's intellect than I have, but this
disposition of his to dictate to the hand that fed him had got, I felt,
to be checked. This mess-jacket was very near to my heart, and I jolly
well intended to fight for it with all the vim of grand old Sieur de
Wooster at the Battle of Agincourt.
"Yes, Jeeves?" I said. "Something on your mind, Jeeves?"
"I fear that you inadvertently left Cannes in the possession of a coat
belonging to some other gentleman, sir."
I switched on the steely a bit more.
"No, Jeeves," I said, in a level tone, "the object under advisement is
mine. I bought it out there."
"You wore it, sir?"
"But surely you are not proposing to wear it in England, sir?"
I saw that we had arrived at the nub.
"You were saying, Jeeves?"
"It is quite unsuitable, sir."
"I do not agree with you, Jeeves. I anticipate a great popular success
for this jacket. It is my intention to spring it on the public tomorrow
at Pongo Twistleton's birthday party, where I confidently expect it to be
one long scream from start to finish. No argument, Jeeves. No discussion.
Whatever fantastic objection you may have taken to it, I wear this
"Very good, sir."
He went on with his unpacking. I said no more on the subject. I had won
the victory, and we Woosters do not triumph over a beaten foe. Presently,
having completed my toilet, I bade the man a cheery farewell and in
generous mood suggested that, as I was dining out, why didn't he take the
evening off and go to some improving picture or something. Sort of olive
branch, if you see what I mean.
He didn't seem to think much of it.
"Thank you, sir, I will remain in."
I surveyed him narrowly.
"Is this dudgeon, Jeeves?"
"No, sir, I am obliged to remain on the premises. Mr. Fink-Nottle
informed me he would be calling to see me this evening."
"Oh, Gussie's coming, is he? Well, give him my love."
"Very good, sir."
"And a whisky and soda, and so forth."
"Very good, sir."
"Right ho, Jeeves."
I then set off for the Drones.
At the Drones I ran into Pongo Twistleton, and he talked so much about
this forthcoming merry-making of his, of which good reports had already
reached me through my correspondents, that it was nearing eleven when I
got home again.
And scarcely had I opened the door when I heard voices in the
sitting-room, and scarcely had I entered the sitting-room when I found
that these proceeded from Jeeves and what appeared at first sight to be
A closer scrutiny informed me that it was Gussie Fink-Nottle, dressed as
"What-ho, Gussie," I said.
You couldn't have told it from my manner, but I was feeling more than a
bit nonplussed. The spectacle before me was enough to nonplus anyone. I
mean to say, this Fink-Nottle, as I remembered him, was the sort of shy,
shrinking goop who might have been expected to shake like an aspen if
invited to so much as a social Saturday afternoon at the vicarage. And
yet here he was, if one could credit one's senses, about to take part in
a fancy-dress ball, a form of entertainment notoriously a testing
experience for the toughest.
And he was attending that fancy-dress ball, mark you--not, like every
other well-bred Englishman, as a Pierrot, but as Mephistopheles--this
involving, as I need scarcely stress, not only scarlet tights but a
pretty frightful false beard.
Rummy, you'll admit. However, one masks one's feelings. I betrayed no
vulgar astonishment, but, as I say, what-hoed with civil nonchalance.
He grinned through the fungus--rather sheepishly, I thought.
"Oh, hullo, Bertie."
"Long time since I saw you. Have a spot?"
"No, thanks. I must be off in a minute. I just came round to ask Jeeves
how he thought I looked. How do you think I look, Bertie?"
Well, the answer to that, of course, was "perfectly foul". But we
Woosters are men of tact and have a nice sense of the obligations of a
host. We do not tell old friends beneath our roof -tree that they are an
of fence to the eyesight. I evaded the question.