THE AUNT AND THE SLUGGARD
by P. G. Wodehouse
... continued ...
I was shocked, absolutely shocked.
"My dear chap!" I said reproachfully.
"Do you dress for dinner every night, Bertie?"
"Jeeves," I said coldly. The man was still standing like a statue by
the door. "How many suits of evening clothes have I?"
"We have three suits full of evening dress, sir; two dinner jackets----"
"For practical purposes two only, sir. If you remember we cannot wear
the third. We have also seven white waistcoats."
"Four dozen, sir."
"And white ties?"
"The first two shallow shelves in the chest of drawers are completely
filled with our white ties, sir."
I turned to Rocky.
The chappie writhed like an electric fan.
"I won't do it! I can't do it! I'll be hanged if I'll do it! How on
earth can I dress up like that? Do you realize that most days I don't
get out of my pyjamas till five in the afternoon, and then I just put
on an old sweater?"
I saw Jeeves wince, poor chap! This sort of revelation shocked his
"Then, what are you going to do about it?" I said.
"That's what I want to know."
"You might write and explain to your aunt."
"I might--if I wanted her to get round to her lawyer's in two rapid
leaps and cut me out of her will."
I saw his point.
"What do you suggest, Jeeves?" I said.
Jeeves cleared his throat respectfully.
"The crux of the matter would appear to be, sir, that Mr. Todd is
obliged by the conditions under which the money is delivered into his
possession to write Miss Rockmetteller long and detailed letters
relating to his movements, and the only method by which this can be
accomplished, if Mr. Todd adheres to his expressed intention of
remaining in the country, is for Mr. Todd to induce some second party
to gather the actual experiences which Miss Rockmetteller wishes
reported to her, and to convey these to him in the shape of a careful
report, on which it would be possible for him, with the aid of his
imagination, to base the suggested correspondence."
Having got which off the old diaphragm, Jeeves was silent. Rocky looked
at me in a helpless sort of way. He hasn't been brought up on Jeeves as
I have, and he isn't on to his curves.
"Could he put it a little clearer, Bertie?" he said. "I thought at the
start it was going to make sense, but it kind of flickered. What's the
"My dear old man, perfectly simple. I knew we could stand on Jeeves.
All you've got to do is to get somebody to go round the town for you
and take a few notes, and then you work the notes up into letters.
That's it, isn't it, Jeeves?"
The light of hope gleamed in Rocky's eyes. He looked at Jeeves in a
startled way, dazed by the man's vast intellect.
"But who would do it?" he said. "It would have to be a pretty smart
sort of man, a man who would notice things."
"Jeeves!" I said. "Let Jeeves do it."
"But would he?"
"You would do it, wouldn't you, Jeeves?"
For the first time in our long connection I observed Jeeves almost
smile. The corner of his mouth curved quite a quarter of an inch, and
for a moment his eye ceased to look like a meditative fish's.
"I should be delighted to oblige, sir. As a matter of fact, I have
already visited some of New York's places of interest on my evening
out, and it would be most enjoyable to make a practice of the pursuit."
"Fine! I know exactly what your aunt wants to hear about, Rocky. She
wants an earful of cabaret stuff. The place you ought to go to first,
Jeeves, is Reigelheimer's. It's on Forty-second Street. Anybody will
show you the way."
Jeeves shook his head.
"Pardon me, sir. People are no longer going to Reigelheimer's. The
place at the moment is Frolics on the Roof."
"You see?" I said to Rocky. "Leave it to Jeeves. He knows."
It isn't often that you find an entire group of your fellow-humans
happy in this world; but our little circle was certainly an example of
the fact that it can be done. We were all full of beans. Everything
went absolutely right from the start.
Jeeves was happy, partly because he loves to exercise his giant brain,
and partly because he was having a corking time among the bright lights.
I saw him one night at the Midnight Revels. He was sitting at a table
on the edge of the dancing floor, doing himself remarkably well with a
fat cigar and a bottle of the best. I'd never imagined he could look so
nearly human. His face wore an expression of austere benevolence, and he
was making notes in a small book.
As for the rest of us, I was feeling pretty good, because I was fond
of old Rocky and glad to be able to do him a good turn. Rocky was
perfectly contented, because he was still able to sit on fences in his
pyjamas and watch worms. And, as for the aunt, she seemed tickled to
death. She was getting Broadway at pretty long range, but it seemed to
be hitting her just right. I read one of her letters to Rocky, and it
was full of life.
But then Rocky's letters, based on Jeeves's notes, were enough to buck
anybody up. It was rummy when you came to think of it. There was I,
loving the life, while the mere mention of it gave Rocky a tired
feeling; yet here is a letter I wrote to a pal of mine in London:
"DEAR FREDDIE,--Well, here I am in New York. It's not a bad place.
I'm not having a bad time. Everything's pretty all right. The
cabarets aren't bad. Don't know when I shall be back. How's
"PS.--Seen old Ted lately?"
Not that I cared about Ted; but if I hadn't dragged him in I couldn't
have got the confounded thing on to the second page.
Now here's old Rocky on exactly the same subject:
... to be continued ...