This week's Sunday Guardian column.
|Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie as Jeeves and Wooster|
Sebastian Faulks to write novel featuring Jeeves and Wooster – News report.
The morning newspaper dropped from my nerveless fingers. I let out a sharp cry, the sort a pig would emit if it had suddenly been prodded in the hindquarters by the business end of a sharp stick. “Jeeves!” I yelled, which just shows the depth of my feelings, because we Woosters have not yelled out loud before our morning tea since the Battle of Thingummy, or do I mean Whatsit?
Jeeves shimmered in, bearing the restorative fluid on a tray. Taking a life-giving sip, I continued. “I say, Jeeves. Have you seen this?”
Jeeves scanned the paper and I saw his eyebrows lift a fraction of an inch, which is as close as he comes to expressing strong emotion. “What do we do, Jeeves?” I said. “This blighter Faulks plans to take over our lives. Faulks with a single F. Sounds rummy.”
“Sebastian Faulks, sir. An author of some note, I believe. I see he intends to carry on where our Master Wodehouse left off.”
“But Jeeves, dash it, he can’t do that, can he?”
“The necessary permissions seem to have been obtained, sir. In fact a few years ago the same Mr Faulks wrote a novel about James Bond.”
“Bond?” The name was unfamiliar, unless he was referring to Bingo Little’s nephew, Septimus Bond, who had done very little to be written about except eat eight bread rolls in two minutes when he was four.
“An agent on his Majesty’s Secret Service, sir. Known for his style of martinis.”
I started, almost spilling my tea. “Martinis be damned, Jeeves. Does one want to be written about in the same manner as one who travels hither and thither spying on blokes and blowing things up? What would the chaps at the Drones think?”
“I understand the problem, sir.”
“Well, Jeeves, do something! If anyone can get us out of this sticky situation, it’s you.”
“I shall give the matter my utmost attention, Sir,” said Jeeves, wafting out.
Hardly had I got into my trousers than Jeeves materialised again, bearing a silver salver on which there was an unopened envelope. “The postman just delivered this missive, sir,” he said. “Well, tell me what it says, Jeeves” I said, sliding into my dove-grey socks, the ones with the pink pinstripes.
“It is from your Aunt Agatha, sir,” said Jeeves. I leapt again, like the aforementioned pig. “What the deuce does she want, Jeeves?” I said, recovering my sang-froid.
“She would like you to spend the weekend at her residence, sir,” said Jeeves. “There is a young lady staying there and she is especially desirous that you become affianced to her.”
I drew a deep breath. Once again, this aunt who chews broken bottles and bays at the full moon had come across some efficient young woman with flashing spectacles and had reached the conclusion that my life would change for the better if I was to make her my bosom companion.
“Dash it, Jeeves, I’m not going,” I spluttered.
Jeeves coughed softly, like a sheep clearing his throat on a distant hillside. “If I may, sir. You could tell her that you have an appointment with Mr Faulks, and therefore are not available. Further, you could mention that the author intends to spill the beans about the Wooster family.”
Light dawned. “So Jeeves, not only will I escape a weekend in ghastly company, Aunt Agatha will meet this Faulks chappie forthwith and warn him off this writing scheme of his?”
I looked at him in awe. “I don’t know how you do it Jeeves. Two birds with one stone, as the expression has it.”
“I endeavour to provide satisfaction, sir.”
“Oh you do, Jeeves,” I said. “And speaking of birds, I rather fancy a spot of chicken sandwiches. Don’t hold the mayonnaise.”