From the pen of Bertram W. Wooster: In which Bertie Wooster introduces his good readers to the cast and encounters our villain.
Chapter 1: Two Parcels
Mr. Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson stood in my sitting room, casual as can be, as if calls from famous detectives and their equally famous biographers were as unsurprising as visits from old chums. The parcel they were so concerned about-
Blast and bother, I think I've missed the mark again, left the gate before the shot, started too much in the media of the res, if you get my meaning. It's a special sort of trick writers do to get the ball rolling quickly. All the great authors do it. Homer and...well...I know Homer does it and that should be good enough for anyone. It's a dashed tricky thing to get right, though, and I never seem to manage it properly no matter how often I try. There's only one thing for it; I'll start over again from the beginning so you understand what I'm on about regarding Holmes and Watson in my sitting room.
The day that my life went all topsy-turvy started out as splendid a day as one could wish for. It was the sort of day when birds were singing and children playing, an all's-right-in-the-world kind of day, the sort that inspires bards to begin a cheery bit of song with the words "as I went forth one bright spring day." On that beautiful morning (well, I say morning, but in truth it was closer to midday) I walked out for a leisurely, pre-luncheon stroll, intending to go first to the post office, then to the tailor to be fitted for a new coat, seeing as the old one, Jeeves informed me, was indecently tattered at the bottom hem.
On the off chance you haven't heard of him before, Jeeves is my valet, and there's not a cleverer man in all of England, possibly the world. There is no problem so obscure, so labyrinthine that Jeeves can't solve it, and if the immensity of his intellect alone weren't enough to garner admiration, his elegant appearance would finish the job. Tall and broad shouldered, with black hair brilliantined into a perfect shine and a jaw line like a Hollywood movie star, Jeeves cuts quite a figure wherever he goes.
I imagine you even now scratching your head and speculating on the unusual degree of awe and wonder I have for my manservant. It may shock and horrify you to learn that I'd developed quite a pash for my gentleman's personal gentleman, although I want to stress that went to great pains to do nothing dishonourable. Jeeves and I lived in amiable camaraderie, and I wasn't about to go doing anything to jeopardize it. The most gentlemanly thing to do would have been to dismiss him from my service with a good reference, for even the secret joy I took in his hands pressing on my shoulders as he straightened my dining jacket was, I thought, more liberty than he'd be comfortable with me taking if he knew about it. I could not, however, bear to let him go. So I steeled myself to let not a hint of impropriety slip and kept things in statu quo. A life with Jeeves in it, even if he did not love me, was better than a life with no Jeeves at all.
But enough about Jeeves. Back to my story.
The sun was warm on my face and my step light. I smiled and gave a merry greeting to everyone I passed, thinking that this was the sort of boomps-a-daisy day that a man lived for. In short, everything was oojah-cum-spiff, not the sort of day that a chap expected to be filled with criminals and detectives and kidnapping and murder.
Now, you're probably saying to yourself, "What are you blathering about, Bertram Wilberforce Wooster? Murder? Kidnapping? You've been reading those crime novels again, haven't you?" Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I have read a few corking books about clever detectives no so long ago, but that's beside the point. The point is that this was not some fanciful daydream cooked up by a mind addled, as Jeeves himself would attest were you to ask him, and Jeeves, as you must have surmised from my description of him, is not the sort of cove who goes in for wool-gathering, nor, I suspect, has an addle ever been near the vicinity of his wits. If you will read on, you'll see that I do not lie nor exaggerate the seriousness of the matter in which I was involved.
I was ambling to the post office with a parcel in hand. Jeeves usually takes care of the post, but I thought since I was going out I might as well deliver it myself. Inside the parcel was my newest manuscript to be sent to the publisher, a little thing about how Jeeves saved me from marriage to Stiffy Byng by advising me to pretend to be my own nonexistent twin brother. Rounding out the action was a scene with the odious Madeline Bassett stuck on the roof of Totleigh Towers and an embarrassing bit about me chasing a badger around the bedroom. While I'd been in the midst of it all humour had been the last thing on my mind, but now that the affair was over and done with I thought that it might be good for a laugh or two. Still, all's well that ends well, and Jeeves comes out of it looking brainy as ever, even if yours truly was a bit of a dunce about the whole matter. But that's another story.
Parcel in one hand and whangee in the other, I ambled down the lane, humming as I went. As I passed a corner, not looking where I was going, I collided with a fellow who was striding on a path perpendicular to my own. Hat, parcel and stick went flying in the air as the Wooster corpus tumbled to the ground. The chap whom I ran into was in a similar state and I began to offer my sincere apologies, but the man snarled a few ripe words that would have made my Aunt Agatha gnash her teeth in condemnation had she been there. Then he snatched up his belongings and darted on his way before I'd so much as picked myself off the pavement.
"Of all the bally nerve! Knocking me to the ground like that and then running off without so much as a 'sorry' or a 'beg pardon,'" I said to myself, wincing at what was sure to be a magnificent bruise on my billowy portions. I dusted off my important parcel and inspected the packaging for tears. To my delight, the plain, brown wrapping was none the worse for wear, but that brief moment of relief was quickly dashed to the ground when I saw the address written on the parcel. It was not my publisher's address, and this, I realized, was not my parcel. The rude chap must have been carrying a parcel, too, one much like mine. He had grabbed mine by mistake and left me with his.
My heart stuttered at the sight. I looked up and down the street, but he was nowhere to be seen. I was at a loss what to do. There was no return address on the parcel, so there was no way for me to track the man down and make an exchange. I had to rest my mind on the expectation that he, upon finding himself in a similar state as I vis a vis parcel confusion, would endeavour to seek me out. With this feeble hope, I, abandoning my appointment with the tailor, turned my heels and hied myself homeward quick as I could.
When I arrived back at my flat, I dumped the parcel on the sideboard as soon as I stepped in the door. In a panicked torrent of words, I told Jeeves all about the events of my walk, ignoring the distasteful look he was giving my topping new cobalt blue hat as he took it from me and held it between thumb and forefinger as if it were befouled.
"And then he just ran off, taking my parcel with him and leaving his own behind. I don't need to explain to you, Jeeves, how crucial it is that I get my parcel back."
"No, indeed, sir."
"It's my only copy. The publisher insisted that it be on his desk at the end of the week. I must find the man who ran off with it."
"And the parcel he left gives no clues to his identity?"
"None at all. See for yourself." I passed the parcel to Jeeves. Jeeves examined it closely; a slight furrow creased his brow.
"Yes, exactly! Most peculiar," I agreed readily. Then it dawned on me to wonder. "What's peculiar, Jeeves?"
"This parcel. Although the wrapping is very neatly done, indicating that the sender considers the contents worthy of great care, there is no return address, which implies that the sender does not want the parcel to be traced back to him. And the sending address is the offices of the The Daily Mail. The most obvious explanation is that the man is a freelance journalist or photographer. The parcel is too thick, however, to contain merely a newspaper article, and it is not stiff enough to suppose that the contents are photographic in nature. Thus, our man is not likely to be a reporter or photographer. Judging from his desire for anonymity, and the reputation of the newspaper in question, the most likely scenario is that he is a purveyor of salacious gossip who was sending the paper evidence of some clandestine and newsworthy matter, but wishes his identity to remain unknown, possibly for fear of reprisal."
"You mean we're sitting on top of what could be a major scandal?"
"I think it eminently possible, sir."
The parcel, with its bland, brown wrapping and white string seemed a good deal more sinister than it had a few moments ago. "Perhaps we should destroy it, then. We'd be doing some poor fellow a good turn."
Jeeves, however, was dubious. "Consider, sir, that the person or persons in question may be engaged in some genuinely illegal or reprehensible activity. Then would it not be in the best interests of the public for these deeds to be brought to light and justice done?"
"By Jove, I never thought of that! Good thing I have you here with me, otherwise I'd have gone and burnt them and unwittingly protected some vile criminal."
"While the documents may contain evidence of criminal activity, it is merely a possibility, not a certainty. We should therefore proceed with caution."
"Of course. I will be guided by you, as always. You've never led me astray yet."
"Thank you for your confidence, sir."
"So, what do I do?"
"I'm afraid my ability to offer advice is limited by my lack of knowledge. Until we know what the parcel contains, I cannot say what we should do with it."
"Ah, so we should wait and see if the fellow who dropped it turns up and then ask him whether he's hounding some innocent chap who made one or two honest but embarrassing mistakes--as can happen to the best of us--or whether he's championing the side of justice and bringing some hitherto unknown scoundrel to light?"
"We could do that, sir. I, however, recommend a more direct approach."
"More direct than asking the chap outright?" I asked.
"You could open the parcel and ascertain its contents."
I was horrified. "Oh no, I couldn't possibly do that. Tamper with someone's private mail? That's simply not on, Jeeves."
"If I may, I should like to remind you that you have, under certain extenuating circumstances, done such before, sir. The incident with Sir Watkyn's memoir--"
"Which was a disaster. Besides, I only did it under…derision…durancy…what's the word I'm looking for, Jeeves? The one that means that I was an unwilling participant in the whole affair."
"Duress, I believe."
"Are you sure?"
"Quite sure, sir."
"Right, duress, then. I only did it under duress." In truth, I was curious about what might be in the parcel, but everyone knows curiosity eradicated the infelicitous feline. And opening some other chap's mail was not the act of a preux chevalier, no matter how curious one might be. I stared at the parcel. It must have been my imagination, but I could almost swear that it was drawing all the objects in the room, including me, closer to it, as if it exerted a force of gravity quite exceeding its size. If Jeeves had not uttered a delicate cough, and thereby broken the spell, I don't doubt that all the furniture would have ended up pressed against the sideboard on which the parcel sat, lured in by its pull.
"Something you want to say, Jeeves?"
"I have a possible solution to your dilemma."
"As I understand it, we must know the contents of the parcel before making a decision regarding it; however, honour forbids you to open the parcel."
"That is correct."
"Perhaps, sir, if I were to open the parcel, we might discover the contents whilst not compromising your honour."
This, my friends, it what makes Jeeves marvellous. He can think his way out of any quandary. There doesn't exist a problem so abstruse that Jeeves can't see a way through it.
"Corking idea, Jeeves! You open it and tell me what it is. Thus armed with knowledge, we can plan our strategy."
"Very good, sir."
Jeeves had just whipped out a penknife to cut the twine when the doorbell rang. He must have come to the same conclusion I did, namely, that the owner of the parcel had come to claim his property, for without a word, he tucked the parcel out of sight in the drinks cabinet behind a bottle of sherry. We wouldn't want the man grabbing the thing and running off with it without providing a word of explanation, or, for that matter, giving me my own parcel back.
I scampered to the centre of the room and tried to look nonchalant. Nonchalance is a surprisingly hard state to mimic. My arms dangled awkwardly and I reached for a cigarette and match just to give them something to do.
Jeeves opened the door and our visitor walked in. Or visitors, I should say, for there were two, and neither of them was the man who had run off with my parcel. I'd never seen either of them before in my life, and I couldn't fathom what brought them to my threshold. They were both older gentlemen, but apart from that they were as opposite from each other in form and feature as two men could be.
The one who commanded my attention at first was tall and thin with steely grey hair the exact same shade as his cold eyes. He had a narrow, fierce sort of face that reminded me of Sir Watkyn Bassett sitting on the judge's bench. I had the sudden almost uncontrollable urge to start begging for mercy from the court. The other man was shorter but robust, broad of chest and square of jaw, with the look and manner of a kindly uncle. His hair and moustache were both snowy white and he had a certain animated glint in his hazel eyes. Although they were together, I detected a certain chilly thingness between them in the way they stood slightly apart.
The steely-eyed man stepped forward and addressed me. "Mr. Wooster, I presume."
"You presume correctly. Who--?"
"My name is Sherlock Holmes. This is my companion and biographer Dr. John Watson."
My wits fluttered away like so many birds and my mouth gaped. Of all the unexpected things that had so far happened that day, this was the most unexpected of all. "I…Sherlock Holmes? The Sherlock Holmes? 'World's first consulting detective' Sherlock Holmes? This is…I never expected…" I grinned ear to ear and for a moment words failed me. "Come in! Jeeves, take care of them will you?"
But Jeeves, in very un-Jeevesian manner, did not hop at once to obey the young master. His general appearance was as composed as ever, but I thought I detected a trace of hostility in his expression.
"How can we be certain that you are indeed who you say you are?" Jeeves asked. My jaw dropped, aghast at such blatant suspicion against our famous guests.
"Inconclusive. A clever confidence trickster would tailor his false identity to his natural appearance, purporting to be someone to whom he bore a close resemblance."
Holmes, for I was already convinced that it was the great detective even if Jeeves wasn't, was looking a bit put out by this interrogation. "I'm afraid I didn't think to carry my birth certificate with me when I came to London," he spoke. "I can tell you, however, that I have no interest in Mr. Wooster's fortune, merely in the packet he carried here. That packet, which you were about to open before Watson and I rang the bell, contains documents I'm eager to recover."
There was a long silence as the two paragons of intellect stared at each other. I'd never before thought to wonder what would happen if Jeeves's great brain were ever to encounter a mind equal to his own. Indeed, I had suspected that such a mind didn't exist, but now I was forced to reconsider that opinion and to wonder if a mental scrap between the two of them would destroy civilization as we know it.
Fortunately, the fate of civilization was safe, for at last Jeeves said, "As you say, Mr. Holmes. May I take your hat?" Instantly, the tension in the room diminished. As I shook their hands, a wondrous thought occurred to me.
"Wait a minute, you called me 'Mr. Wooster.' How the devil did you know my name? No wait, let me guess, you deduced it from my initials on the inner brim of my hat and from the knees of my trousers."
Holmes smirked but Watson answered, "He asked the doorman."
Holmes gave Watson a narrow-eyed look. "You do enjoy spoiling my reputation, don't you?"
Watson's lips tightened but he gave no reply. Holmes's eyes darted about the flat. "You are a bachelor, I see, and an orphan. You have no particular occupation, but you spend a fair amount of time writing. You are right-handed, smoke Embassy cigarettes and have a talent for music."
I was delighted by the display of his noted powers of observation and deduction. "By Jove, you're right in every respect! That's amazing! Just like the stories. How did you know I like music?"
Holmes unfurled a long-fingered hand in the direction of the far corner. "There is a piano, well loved and of excellent make, rather prominently taking up space in the room. A mere glance at the musculature of your fingers confirms that you are a pianist."
"Marvellous! And the bit about me being a bachelor?"
"Even a blind man could see that this flat is completely devoid of feminine influence. Furthermore, you wear no wedding ring."
"And the writing?"
"A writing callus on your right middle finger, which also, incidentally, tells me which is your preferred hand. There are also ink stains on your fingers, and a crease on your sleeve where your arm rests on the edge of the desk or table where you write."
"The Embassy cigarettes?"
"You're smoking one right now."
I look down at the lit cigarette hanging forgotten in my grip. "Oh, right." I thought back to his list of deductions. "Wait a minute, how the devil did you know that I was an orphan? Surely you can't read that on the cuff of my sleeve or the calluses of my fingers."
He replied smugly, "That, I confess, was a bit of a long shot, but it clearly paid off. I see over the mantelpiece only one family portrait, and that one is quite old--you cannot be more than two or three years old. There are no other pictures of your parents. If you were estranged from your family, there would be no portrait, so my hypothesis was that they died shortly after that portrait was taken, hence the lack of anything more up to date."
"That's just corking!" I grinned. "Please, sit down. Would you like a drink? Jeeves, fetch the gentlemen a drink. And a whiskey and s. for me as well. Perhaps you'd like to stay for lunch?"
"No thank you," Holmes said. "I would not wish to intrude upon your hospitality."
"Of course, of course." said I. I couldn't contain my excitement at seeing bits and pieces of stories read long ago re-enacted in real life; it wasn't every day that your childhood heroes dropped by for a chat. "No food or rest until it's done, what? If you need to smoke, though, to stimulate your thoughts, do feel free. As you deduced, I'm partial to a ciggie or two myself. I know all your habits, you see. I read all your adventures as a lad." I turned to Watson. "And Dr. Watson, I...words fail me, they really do; you were my favourite author as a child. The tops. The real tabasco. In fact, I can say that I was in some small part inspired by you to put pen to paper and see what comes out, starting with 'What the Well-Dressed Man is Wearing', for my Aunt Dahlia's ladies magazine and sort of continuing on from there. I've even published a few stories. I don't suppose you've read any of them?"
"I can't say that I have, Mr. Wooster," Dr. Watson politely replied.
"Oh." A prick of disappointment jabbed in my chest. Dr. Watson must have noticed, for his expression softened into a consoling smile.
"Holmes and I lead a rather isolated life these days. Aside from the newspapers, I've read few things less than a decade old."
"If we're done with the small talk," Holmes snapped, "time is of the essence. The packet that you picked up after your collision on Grosvenor Street, is it intact?"
When I answered in the positive, a wave of tension flowed out of him. "Good," he said. "That's good. It is imperative that you give the packet to me."
"Anything you want, you need but ask. Bertram Wooster is ready to help bring down the criminal." Although I knew nothing about whatever case brought Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson to my door, I was keen that Jeeves and I should do all in our power to assist. Speaking of Jeeves, "I say, Jeeves suspected that the parcel contained some sort of damaging information. Are you on the trail of a blackmailer, then? Some modern 'Charles Augustus Milverton?'"
"The less you know, the better," Holmes replied, dashing my hopes for hearing the whole tale and sharing in the wonder of the case as it unfolded.
I would have dropped the matter, but Jeeves spoke up on my behalf. "If Mr. Wooster has inadvertently involved himself, I believe that it would be wise for him to know the situation."
Holmes stared off into the distance, his thoughts turned inward. We waited in silence. I almost imagined that I could hear Holmes's thoughts whirring and clicking like some sort of precise mechanical device. It was a remarkable thing to watch a mind as sharp as Jeeves's while away at a problem, but where Jeeves in contemplation took on a calm, statue-like repose, Holmes had the appearance of a man trying to detach his mind from his body, like one of those psychic whatsits. I decided that Jeeves's style of deliberation was a good sight less unnerving and wondered how Watson had put up with it, for I knew that I certainly would not have been able to.
At last, Dr. Watson spoke up, breaking the silence. "He has a point. Roberson is going to come here, and they should be informed of the danger."
Startled from his thoughts, Holmes fixed his gaze on Watson. "Quite right. I will tell them what they need to know.
"The man we face is named Marcus Roberson. He is a criminal of the vilest sort. Many years ago, through my efforts, he was sentenced to prison. He should have hanged for murder, but key evidence rather conveniently went missing. His grandfather, who was a merchant tradesman, became very rich through his shipping investments, and Roberson inherited great wealth. It's likely that he paid a small fortune to arrange for the miscarriage of justice."
"Wait a moment," I said. "I don't remember a villain by the name of Marcus Roberson in any of your adventures."
Watson answered, "I never wrote up that case. It was unpleasant in ways that The Strand readership wasn't ready for."
Holmes continued as if the interruption hadn't happened. "He was released from prison not two weeks ago, and his only thought is revenge. The packet you have contains his first salvo against me. I would be exceedingly grateful if you would turn it over to me." He held out his hand to accept the parcel.
"Of course, old chap!" I opened the cupboard in which the parcel was stashed and handed it over. Holmes glanced at it once, then tucked it under his arm. "Glad to help out Mr. Sherlock Holmes. The fellows back at the Drones will hardly believe it when I tell them about this."
"I'd rather that you didn't."
"Oh. All hush hush, then, what? I suppose I can see the sense in that." I paused a moment, hesitant to speak my mind, but my curiosity could not be contained. "I don't suppose you could…well…tell us what's inside the parcel?"
I immediately regretted the prying. It was not very preux chevalier of me, and the dark look Holmes gave me, wearing an expression as blank and immobile as a white mask, made me deeply uneasy. Only after a long and disconcertingly intense search of my features, after which I felt as if I'd been stripped bare, turned over, and shaken so all the hidden pieces fell out, did Holmes consent to speak. I expected to be brushed off; therefore, no one was more surprised than I when he actually gave an answer--of a sort. "It's a series of manuscripts, which Watson committed to paper without my knowledge, containing various details of my private affairs, which I do not wish to be made public."
I frowned. "I say, I didn't think that there could be even more extraordinary details about your life than the ones that Dr. Watson had already provided. I mean, I suppose I could fill whole volumes just about Jeeves puttering about the flat, but the material there tends to be lacking in excitement, so I've been told. I suppose, however, that we all have private comings and goings we'd rather not have known to the wide world, and I can only imagine that dealing with the criminal classes increases the likelihood of such things. I myself have only met a pair of confidence tricksters who, although they were dashed roguish, must certainly be on a low mark on the scale of nefarious villains. Where you're concerned, however, everyone who reads The Strand knows that you don't always act in an entirely upright fashion if it helps solve the case. Breaking and entering, burglary, spying, impersonating a clergyman, getting engaged under false pretense, although I always wondered if that was really part of your plan or just an unfortunate accident. In my experience, accidental engagements happen quite often. Anyway, where was I, oh yes, given all that, plus the opiates, black moods, and indoor target practice, I can't imagine anything short of cold-blooded murder would surprise anyone." The thought struck me and I added, nervously, "You didn't murder anyone, I hope."
When he didn't reply, I laughed uneasily and continued, thinking it best that I get off the subject of murder. "I can think of little I have had to hide, myself, and certainly the closest I've come to any of that would be a touch of indoor cricket at the Drone's Club. Not exactly riveting stuff or breaking any laws, and if you'd dabbled in such things one thinks one would have heard something about it, although there are certainly some improprieties that one never hears about, that one doesn't talk about, because one can't talk about it, even if one might want to..."
At first I assumed a majestic woodland creature had momentarily broken in, interrupted me with a dignified clearing of the throat, and then, mission accomplished, biffed back to its pleasant pasture or rolling meadow, such was the resonance of the sound, which was over almost as soon as it was uttered. Slating that to the preposterous I sought a new explanation and I shortly I came upon one. From the glances they exchanged, it occurred to me that, for whatever reason, Jeeves had issued a low warning cough at the same moment that Dr. Watson was about to utter some sort of protest, his eyes wide with alarm. Holmes, nearly a part of the wallpaper inasmuch as he hadn't moved and wasn't keen on contributing to immediate conversation, had fixed his soul-stripping gaze on Jeeves.
There was a long and awkward silence. It was Holmes who ended this l. and a. s. with an affronted snort. "No, I didn't murder anyone. And thank you so much for listing every way in which Watson has betrayed my confidence and privacy over the years."
"Well," I started, "In all fairness--"
"Holmes," Watson said, his expression pained. "Please don't be like that. If I'd known you hated it, I would have stopped, but all you criticized was a lack of scientific dispassion. You never said a word about disapproving of my characterization of you."
"I don't think it was all that disparaging, really--"
Holmes interrupted me. "I can't claim that your depiction is inaccurate, but perhaps I should have paid more attention to your habitual lack of discretion. Then I would not be in this situation now."
They seemed on the verge of a tremendous row. I'd seen similar rigid expressions on cousin Angela and Tuppy Glossop when one had taken grave offence at something the other said or did and was about to let loose the invective and encourage the boiling of heads and all that noise. Jeeves apparently sensed it as well, and wisely put a stop to it with another one of his gentle coughs, that of a contented sheep clearing its throat on a distant hill.
"Gentlemen," Jeeves said. "If this Roberson is as fierce and wrathful as you say, he will undoubtedly want to retrieve his parcel. Unfortunately, on account of his possession of Mr. Wooster's own parcel, Roberson knows precisely where he might find it. One would hope for assistance in seeing to Mr. Wooster's safety before dealing out recriminations."
In all the excitement, I'd plum forgotten that the blighter had my parcel and ergo my address. It hadn't occurred to me that I might be in any danger.
"He's right, Holmes," Watson said. "This young man and his manservant aren't safe."
"As always, you state the obvious." Holmes' tone was coldly oblivious to the hurt that flashed across Watson's face. I was starting to wonder if Watson's portrayal of the two of them as great chums was all a bunch of literary whatsit.
"Perhaps it would be best for Mr. Wooster to leave town," Jeeves said. "A visit to Brinkley Court, sir?"
"No," Holmes said, his face fox-like in contemplation. "We have an opportunity here, if Mr. Wooster is willing to assist."
I'm not embarrassed to say that I was a trifle nervous about confronting a known murderer, but I could not in good conscience refuse; the Code of the Woosters would not allow it. Besides, under the fear there ran a current of excitement that was dragging the fear down in the undertow and drowning it in the deep.
"I'd be chuffed to lend a hand in whatever way you see fit," I said. "A man's home is his castle, don't you know, and I'm not going to abandon the fort, as it were. We Woosters are made of sterner stuff."
"Do you really think such a course of action is wise, sir?" Jeeves said.
This was turning out to be the most adventuresome day in my life, complete with dastardly rogue and clever detective--like something out of a novel--and Jeeves wanted to pack me up and take me away from it all. His protectiveness was flattering, I suppose, but dashed inconvenient. I was going to have none of it. "Pshaw." I replied. "I was here for the start and I'll see it through to the end. That's the Wooster way."