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Jeeves and the Missing Manuscript

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“But what are we to do re: 'The Situation of Mrs. Christie and Her Manuscript', Jeeves?” I asked, shivering even as I lifted one foot, then the other, into a basin of steaming water. “I hardly think: ‘Sorry, Agatha, old fruit, but I lost the thing whilst fending off a rabid Byng and hound down by Ginny's Lake.’ will suffice.”

The gentlest of coughs, as a sheep upon a dale. “Assuredly not, sir. However, I believe you mean: ‘A Byng and rabid hound’.”

“I bally well meant what I said, Jeeves!” I huffed. “Stiffy was positively foaming at the mouth when I told her who that manuscript belonged to. Lucky the old girl wasn’t in a masticating mood.” I prodded delicately at the bandage encasing a sizable portion of the young master's calf. A speckling of red dotted the outside. “Rather a shame Bartholomew wasn’t of a similar disposition.”

Jeeves’ eyebrow rose a millimeter as he adjusted a blanket around my shoulders with unnecessary attention. “The injury is an unfortunate one, sir, but we must console ourselves in the knowledge that the animal has a discerning eye when choosing its particular targets.”

I snapped my head up, but the powerful glare of Woosterly whatsit was wasted on the back of my man’s head as he shimmered away to fill a tumbler with the good old whiskey and soda. “Yes. Remarkable, Jeeves. I thought, perhaps, that my plaid trousers might be salvageable. You being the supposed paragon that you are," I added, and I meant it to sting.

The ebony brow crept a molecule higher as he handed me the drink, and I almost felt sorry for lashing out at him when it hadn't been his fault. 'Almost' is a far cry from 'certainly', though. “I regret that no thread in my sewing kit is of a suitable shade with which to mend the garment, sir. If you would like me to replace it with something more appropriate to the season, however, I would be only too happy to contact Mr. Chesterton at the earliest possible–”

“Dash it, Jeeves! I told you I don’t want a new set of gray trousers, and that’s the end of it!”

“Very good, sir,” he said in that soupy way of his that rather screams: ‘And kindly go and boil your head, sir. If it’s not too much trouble, sir. In fact, I should be happy to heat the pot, sir. If you would step this way, sir.’ Amazing what the man can convey in just three words, but then, that’s why he’s a marvel.

“Let us focus on what’s important, Jeeves: Mrs. Christie’s manuscript. Stiffy’s sunk her claws into it and means to keep hold until she’s run it round her friends and half the countryside. I mean to say, that’s just not cricket! We can’t expect Mrs. Christie to take well to her hard work tossed about like a dinner roll at the Drones. I’m of the mind to share and share alike with a good book, but it should be a published one, what?”

“Indeed, sir.”

Hold on just a moment.

Oh, dash it all! I’ve done it again. Some hundreds of words in and you haven’t the slightest idea what I’m babbling about. Well, I suppose I should start more toward the beginning. In fact, Jeeves has just assured me that this would be the wisest course of action, and Jeeves tends to know best - especially in matters of a more delicate nature. Of course, as this particular work is unlikely to be amongst my published volumes, I’m not sure it matters all that much.

But, well, an author chappie has to write to an audience, imaginary as they might be. At least I hope they remain imaginary. I wouldn’t care for the sort of attention this particular tale would bring down on yours truly. Jeeves, as well, could do without, you know? He’s a secretive chap to begin with, and this story does a bit of outing of his more intimate thoughts, desires, and whatsits, not to mention my own. That happened later, though.

I suppose I should begin again, then. You see, it all started with a telegram.