Moira indicated for Jeeves to sit in one of the two chairs in front of her wide mahogany desk as she closed the half-glazed door behind him, drowning out the clackety-clack of the typists in the outer office. It was likely that this conversation be best conducted as far from prying ears and gossipy office girls as possible.
Dropping heavily into the thickly padded leather chair across the desk from a dejected looking Jeeves, the stoical Moira sighed deeply before addressing the once more unemployed Valet.
‘What happened this time? Divorce, fired or resigned?’
Jeeves observed her with a hint of scorn in his expression, as was often his way, though when he spoke his tone was as emotionless as always.
‘None of the above. The gentleman is no longer in need of my service.’
‘How so?’ asked Moira, curiosity piqued. Jeeves had been on her books for a number of years and he had worked through innumerable positions in that time. ‘Hitched himself to some young buxom blonde nursemaid has he? Some young thing who can give him more than yourself?’ It had happened before. More than once in her experience.
‘No, Madam.’ Replied Jeeves, his clipped response expressing his displeasure at both the notion and the implication all at once. ‘Mr Winterbottom is dead.’
‘Oh! I’m sorry, Reggie.’ Moira blushed at her error. ‘But you have to admit you do seem to have gotten through your fair share of employers, don’t you? What’s your record? Six months?’
Jeeves’ eyebrow rose a quarter of an inch.
‘Approximately such a time span, yes.’
Moira could see she had upset him. Jeeves was one of the most intelligent, resourceful and rule-abiding valets in the country and yet he could not find an employer with whom to stay for any extended period of time and prove his worth.
‘Well I’m sorry my dear but it just won’t do. You’re beginning to acquire a reputation as…flighty. I do my best to quash such rumours but, people will talk.’
Jeeves responded with a look of someone who had just chomped down with force on half a lemon, that is to say his lips were drawn tight and pale.
‘Now don’t you start that with me Reggie, dear.’ Said Moira sternly. ‘I’m not the one who took exception to his master’s zebra fur coat.’
With a huff she pulled open the Manilla file that lay on her desk. Taking a calming breath she resumed.
‘However, I do think I may have found the man for you. Name of Wooster. Twenty-four, lives in ah, Mayfair. Orphaned at six, poor soul, lost his parents to the Titanic. Sound enough in mind to be left for short periods, though a trifle child-like on occasion. We supplied his last valet but he was dismissed for stealing.’
A quiet but audible gasp from Jeeves snapped Moira’s head up to meet his horrified gaze.
‘I know, I know. We do our best to check on peoples references but we’re not infallible, Jeeves. Sometimes one falls through the cracks as they say. You can understand why we need someone more than reliable to rebuild the Gentleman’s trust in the agency again. Could be bad for business if word gets out too far.’
Moira fixed Jeeves with a glare, and he gave a slight nod in response. She knew she could count on him. Returning to her reading she continued to fill the Valet in,
‘Yes. Says here this Wooster has similar tastes to yourself. Music, theatre and, um literature apparently.’
She decided not to mention that Mr Wooster’s tastes in these areas were less Spinoza and Rachmaninov more Rosie M Banks and ragtime. These were insignificant details that could be worked out between Gentleman and Valet at a mutually convenient later date.
A slight snort of amusement escaped Moira’s lips as she read the next bit of information.
‘Ah, here’s something to get your teeth into! Apparently this gentleman has a fondness for bright colours in his wardrobe, especially purple socks and turquoise ties, frequently wears a carnation n his buttonhole and, I quote “has an airy and breezy sort of character”.
From the corner of her eye Moira saw Jeeves stiffen. She was sure she had him interested now.
‘Well I’m sure you can make something of him.’
Handing over the typed sheet containing Wooster’s address and other details, Moira gave Jeeves and encouraging smile.
‘Good luck Reggie. Do me proud.’
And, with a heavy sigh the Valet departed.
Contemplating this latest pairing Moira leaned back in her chair, steepling her fingers over her chest. She hoped Wooster could succeed where others had failed. Jeeves could be incredibly stubborn at times and had his own code of rules when it came to his relationship with his employer. Most times his standards were impossibly high and he wrecked any chance at happiness, but he and Wooster would do well together. Each should bring out the best in the other and they would make a handsome couple, such as it were. As long as Jeeves gave it a try. She would keep her fingers crossed.
Reaching forward Moira pulled open the next file in her in-tray. Mr Rockmeiller Todd, New York City.
Three months later, on a mild Tuesday morning in May, Moira Prendergast was working away on the thorny problem of Bingley and his latest escapade when there was a gentle rap on the glass of her office door. Without looking up she said ‘Come in’ and her visitor approached her desk.
A soft cough, not unlike that of a sheep on a distant hillside greeting the morn caught her attention and she sighed in a resigned fashion, and began mentally trawling her lists for another position for him.
‘Oh Reggie! Not again!’ she groaned looking up and taking in the sight of the man, neatly pressed and dressed as always standing in front of her desk, no hint of emotion on his face.
She was perplexed. Whatever could have happened this time? They were perfectly suited. She’d heard no complaints or discord at all in the past three months to indicate troubles. In fact her spies had only reported back glowing appraisals of Jeeves’ effect on Wooster’s life.
‘I am here, Madam,’ said Jeeves in his usual quiet, polite manner, ‘to tender my resignation from your agency.’ And he handed over an envelope with her name on the front.
Moira was stunned. She knew her mouth must be hanging open ready to catch flies but it took several moments for her to register the fact and command her muscles to initiate the appropriate action to remedy the situation. Nothing more than a gurgle emanated from her lips as she watched her prize valet tip his hat and walk out the door.
She pounced on the letter like a lioness on her prey, ripping it open and quickly scanning the contents. All was in order, as it would be wherever Jeeves was concerned. Dropping the papers back on the desk it was then that Moira spotted the small postcard that had fallen out of the envelope when she had extracted the letter. The front depicted a seaside scene, somewhere along the south coast probably, whereas the back bore a brief but most deeply heart-warming note.
Thank you Moira dear. He’s perfect. X
Rushing to the window which overlooked the front of the building and the street, Moira saw a black two seater parked outside. In the driver’s seat was a lean, willowy gent, clad impeccably in tweed with tan leather driver gloves and tweed cap. As she watched, Jeeves left the building, walked to the car and climbed into the passenger seat. She could not be sure, but as the gent roared the engine to life and engaged the gears, she thought she saw him squeeze the leg of the manservant just above the knee. She definitely saw the mega-watt smiles the pair exchanged before the roadster sped off down the street and around the corner.
Yes, thought Moira as she returned to her desk with a broad smile of her own. They were definitely a perfect match.