Title:Bertie and the dashed unhelpful valet
Warnings: Just general silliness and general gen. Oh, and a non-native speaker's attempt at puns.
Author's note: This has been waiting on my harddrive for forever, i.e. almost a year. Ideas for fics about a certain day or holiday always only come to me at the end of those days. -_- Well.
A thousand thanks to my favourite waterfowl, the_lucky_ducky, for beta-ing the thing! If you find any mistakes, move slowly so you don't scare them and send them back to me. You'll have to pay postage yourself though. For financial reasons. And if you could send some food, too, that'd be great.
Bertie and the dashed unhelpful valet
'Twas a dewy-fresh morning in spring and the last of the Woosters had just awoken. I stretched languidly in my bed and waited for my man Jeeves to trot along with the tea. As Jeeves is the king of marvels, I didn't have to wait long. Do marvels have kings at all? Anyway, in he came, carrying the usual tray from which the usual heavenly smell of Darjeeling arose.
"Good morning, Jeeves," I said cheerily and reached for the tea. "Good morning, sir," the good fellow replied. I took a sip and waited for Jeeves to go through his daily weather forecast routine. I hadn't been prepared for the chance of lightning bolts.
"Excuse me sir, but I would suggest a delay of your breakfast. When you were still asleep, Mrs Gregson paid a visit. 'An urgent matter' were her exact words, I think."
I gulped. Aunt Agatha, me and an urgent matter have always turned out to be a dashed unpleasant triumvirate.
"And did she say what the matter was, Jeeves?"
"Mrs Gregson conveyed the notion that you are to be betrothed to a young lady, sir," he said.
I stared at him. Then it came to me. Jeeves had gotten it all wrong. Probably hitting the hair tonic too hard, the blighter.
"Get a grip, man," I said sternly, "you must be delirious. You know perfectly well that Aunt Agatha is currently defiling the south of France with her presence. You yourself drove her to the station after her visit." I still shuddered at the thought.
"I'm afraid not, sir. It is, I fear, our living room she is momentarily... honouring with her presence."
"Good Lord, Jeeves!", I cried, "Is a man never to be left in peace?"
"And there is a young person accompanying Mrs Gregson, sir. I fancy that she is the one you are meant to be engaged to."
I stared more if such a thing is possible.
"She brought the dratted beazle with her? Good Lord, that woman is getting more fiendish with every passing day. Quick, Jeeves, get the old lemon working! I'm in so thick a soup, I think it's actually a stew."
I looked hopefully at the man but instead of riding to the rescue, he only inclined his head and replied: "I am sorry, sir, nothing seems to suggest itself."
I was just about to tell him to crank the old grey matter up a little when he added: "As a matter of fact, I happen to know the young lady in question, sir. She is the only daughter of the extremely successful shoe-manufacturer Matthew Hamilton-Potts. According to public opinion and my own humble experience, young lady Emily is of an enchanting appearance and has a most agreeable manner."
I did a bit more of the old blighter-staring. I was starting to become quite the expert at it.
"Stop composing odes to that dratted female, Jeeves," I said, slightly feverish now. "Get the fish-fuelled onion running!"
"I think that won't be necessary, sir. I am certain you'll find the young lady to your liking. And may I be the first, sir, to offer my sincerest felicitations?"
I opened and closed my mouth like a rainbow trout might when surprisingly yanked out of its warm, cosy pond to find itself on a boat next to a fisherman with murder in his eye.
"Jeeves!," I cried out in italic print. "You would not abandon the young master in his bleakest hour, would you? Disengage this engagement pronto!"
"I am sorry, sir, but I consider this match a very suitable one. If you would just-"
"No, Jeeves, I would not just!"
I shot out from under the blankets and imposed my pyjama-clad physical presence on the man. He was, as every human being would have been, unimpressed.
"I shall lay out our heather-mixture lounge, sir," the blighter said in the calmest of voices.
I took a deep one to give him a big chunk of my mind but he had already buried his aptly shaped skull in the wardrobe.
Jeeves had been with me for seven years at that time and I had realized at some point that there simply was no arguing with the man. If he was determined not to rally round the young master, not rallying round was what he would do. But maybe something could be done with the girl. Once she realized Bertram couldn't be moulded into anything decent, she would hopefully leg it into the sunset.
So I put my heather-mixture lounge on, not without having some quite dark thoughts about Jeeves. Maybe I could go to Spain alone in the summer and write him spiteful postcards about the beautiful Mediterranean Sea whilst he dwelt in that horrible tarry furnace that is London in July.
I wasn't exactly keen on seeing two ghastly sights in my own sitting room (my Aunt Agatha alone is more than a chap can take on an empty stomach) so I dawdled a good bit with the tie. But Jeeves wouldn't have any of it. With a simple "Allow me, sir," he put the blasted thing in place and Bertram was clad to meet his doom. At that moment, I suddenly knew how a gladiolus must have felt before stepping into the arena and facing the lions. Is it gladiolus? No, gladiator I mean. I felt like a gladiator. Only they wore sandals.
I noticed a kind of wobbly feeling in the larger area of my knees. "Remember Agincourt, Bertram," I told myself. We Woosters are used to fending for ourselves when the Jeeveses of this world desert us.
I braced myself and sailed into danger. "Hullo, hullo, hull-" I stopped myself from wasting another perfectly good 'o' on an empty sitting room. For thus were the conditions of the s.r. when I waltzed in. No pair of dragon's eyes, no "Will you mind your language, Bertie!", no hatchet. Another remarkable feature of the tableau was the utter lack of beazle. In short, there was neither hide nor seek of any kind of female, be it eng- or just aged.
I stood there, flabbergasted, egghead that I am. After I had done that for a bit, I turned around to Jeeves, who had noiselessly followed me.
"Jeeves," I said, "there is no-one in this sitting room."
"I expected the ghastly sight of two ghastly members of the otherwise rather fair sex, yet this sight is nowhere to be seen."
"Very true sir."
Jeeves coughed gently.
"April Fool, sir."
Well, I mean to say. Of all the days in the year to discover the joy of pranks.