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17th July, 19--, 12.30 p.m.

(Reply paid)

JEEVES RETURN SOONEST STOP YOUR REPLACEMENT UTTER TYRANT STOP AM AFRAID TO SIT LEST I DENT A CUSHION STOP WOOSTER

17th July, 19--, 3.13 p.m.

REGRET UNABLE TO COMPLY STOP PERSONAL CIRCUMSTANCES FORBID STOP WILL ARRANGE MORE SUITABLE VALET JEEVES

18th July, 19--, 9.15 a.m.

(Reply paid)

DON'T TALK ROT STOP COME BACK ALL IS FORGIVEN STOP WILL OTHERWISE GO INSANE STOP AM UP AT UNGODLY HOUR BECAUSE TYRANT WOULDN'T SERVE BREAKFAST AFTER 8.30 WOOSTER

18th July, 19--, 12.15 a.m.

APOLOGISE FOR REPLACEMENT'S BEHAVIOUR STOP BUT AFRAID CANNOT RETURN JEEVES

19th July, 19--

Jeeves,

What the devil are you talking about? Personal circumstances? Unable to comply? Cannot return? I thought you were going on a week's holiday in Brighton, but it's been three weeks since I bid you the customary fond farewell and I have not, as the saying goes, seen hide nor hair of you. Was it something I said? And don't try to fob me off with this talk of replacements, either. You are very much one of a kind. That proverb you once quoted to me applies here. I don't know it goes precisely, but it's the one about potters or some such artisan. At any rate, there is no valet in all of England with your talents, Jeeves, and I have been utterly lost without you. So come back.

Yours,

B. W. Wooster.

20th July, 19--

Sir,

Although I am gratified by your estimation of my talents, I believe it is somewhat exaggerated. I regret having engaged an unsuitable valet on your behalf, and will endeavour to contact an acquaintance in the Junior Ganymede club whose character is more flexible.

Personal circumstances the details of which I am not at liberty to indulge prevent me from returning to your service.

Yours sincerely,

Reginald Jeeves.

21st July, 19--

Jeeves,

I say, that's dashed hard of you, and a trifle cold-blooded, if you don't mind my saying so. What on earth makes you think that if I say I'm lost without you, I really mean I can do perfectly well as long as I have a valet who serves me breakfast at 10 a.m. earliest? And what is this rot about personal circumstances? I don't know what on earth these circumstances might be, and I have every intention of hounding you with endless letters until either I find out or you come back. Of course, if I were you I should come up with some frightfully clever scheme and find out by myself, but as it is I am compelled, nay, forced to ask you over and over again until you tell me.

I never knew your first name was Reginald. I can't say it suits you.

Yours,

B. W. Wooster.

22nd July, 19--

Sir,

You may not think it suits me, but it is my name nevertheless. I will write no further letters regarding the circumstances that keep me out of your service. This correspondence is closed.

Yours sincerely,

Reginald Jeeves.

22nd July, 19--

Jeeves,

You wound me to the heart with all this uncommunicative nonsense. Tush, I say, and fie! Sort out your personal circumstances with the brilliance that only you can display, then pack your bags and come back.

The tyrant has been replaced (no doubt at your behest) by a stripling, a mere youth, who can mix a marvelous cocktail but has no more idea of how to make an omelette than I do. Words cannot express how distressing it is to wake up knowing one shall have nothing more substantial than toast for one's breakfast. I don't doubt it shall drive me to drink pretty soon.

Come back. Please.

Wooster.

23rd July, 19--

Jeeves,

I see you meant it when you said there would be no further letters. Dash it all, Jeeves, what on earth is wrong? Are you getting married? Did somebody die? Did I offend you? Have you been masquerading all these years as a simple valet but are actually a master criminal on the run from the fuzz?

Perhaps I can help you, Jeeves. I would be only too glad to try. You've saved my bacon enough times. Do write back and tell me what's going on.

The stripling has not improved, and yesterday he neglected to add an olive to my martini. Such slackness in today's youth is most disheartening.

Bertie.

25th July, 19--

Dear Mr Wooster,

I do apologise for any distress my absence may have caused you, and I must express my thanks for your offer of help. However, I fear that my returning to your service would merely exacerbate the problem. I assure you, nothing you have said or done has offended me; quite to the contrary.

Yours,

Reginald Jeeves.

27th July, 19--

Jeeves,

I notice you didn't answer my question. You are a true master of the evasive response, and I tip my hat to you.

I may not have offended you -- at least, I take your word that I haven't, which is some comfort -- but if you can't come back because coming back would make it worse, it must have something to do with either me or the flat. (There's a nice bit of deductive reasoning for you. I think you must have rubbed off on me.) I can't think of anything about the flat that would prompt an otherwise mentally stable valet to up sticks to Brighton without so much as a by-your-leave, so it must be something about me.

Does it help if I say again how much I miss you?

Please come back.

Bertie.

29th July 19--

Dear Mr Wooster,

I scarcely know where to begin. I am grateful for your continued concern, but I could wish that your insight into my behaviour were less keen. Please, if you have ever harboured any feeling resembling friendship for me, assume that this is a matter on which I do not wish to speak, and respect my desire for silence.

I remain yours,

Reginald Jeeves.

1st August 19--

Jeeves,

I've been mulling over your last letter, and it has me in a bit of a quandary. Mired in the horns of a what-do-you-call-it, so to speak. I have harboured feelings of friendship for you -- it isn't customary to say such things of one's valet, but setting aside all that, I do consider you one of my my best friend. And for that very reason I have half a mind to toss aside pen and paper, roar down to Brighton in the two-seater, and haul you back here bodily. Admittedly that would be a rather formidable task, since I have never been one of these birds who can bend iron bars and wrestle grizzly bears, but I find the prospect tempting nevertheless.

I am, of course, fully aware of all the times you have saved this Wooster from the soup. I suppose, in a manner of speaking, I am very deeply in your debt, and therefore not entitled to ask for favours, if one is inclined to apply the calculus of accountancy to such a delicate flower as friendship, which strikes me as crass. But that's by the by. What I was going to say was that of course I consider you a friend, and of course I want to respect your wishes; but I want to see you, too.

Dash it all, Jeeves, it's just not the same here without you. The sun is dim in the sky, the stars do not brighten the night. The wine lifteth not the spirits. Neither do the spirits, come to that. I got through half a bottle of best single-malt Scotch last night, and it didn't make the slightest bit of difference.

I had no idea that the Drones could pale on me, but it has. I know you've never been there, but I found myself looking at everything as if through your eyes, or as close as I could manage. I don't think you'd like it there. I could just picture you shimmering in through the front door, discreet and silent as only you can be, quirking a single eyebrow, drinking a solitary drink, and then leaving so quietly that nobody ever knew you were there. Well, when I'd conjured up this entrancing image, I found the club had lost a goodly portion of its lustre. I just couldn't find it all as amusing as I usually did when I knew that at the end of the night I'd be returning chez moi to a Jeevesless homestead.

In short, I do want to respect your desire for silence, in a manner of speaking, but I want you back here more. Bear in mind, if it's something that might get you into trouble, you've got more on me than I could ever hope to have on you.

Yours,

Bertie.

3rd August 19--

Dear Mr Wooster,

I am moved by your declaration of friendship, and although it goes against all my instincts and training, I shall break this self-imposed silence and confess the reason for my abrupt departure. You have been candid and patient with me, and you deserve a better response than I have given.

In brief: I have, for some time, been harbouring feelings for you that go beyond the bounds of the professional, or even the friendly. Of late these feelings have been troubling me more than usual, perhaps because it has been five months and two weeks since you were last engaged. I had hoped that a brief period of separation would suffice to quell them, as it had before, but I hoped in vain. The old saw that "absence makes the heart grow fonder" was never more true than in this case.

This being so, I am sure you understand that it would be impossible for me to return. It would be fair to neither of us.

I appreciate your forebearance.

Yours,

Reginald Jeeves.

3rd August 19--, 5.12 p.m.

(Reply paid)

SILLY ASS IS THAT ALL STOP COME BACK SOONEST STOP MISS YOU STOP PROMISE WILL BE LESS BLIND IN FUTURE BERTIE

3rd August 19--, 6.21 p.m.

COMING BACK BY NIGHT TRAIN STOP WILL BE VERY GLAD TO SEE YOU AGAIN JEEVES

3rd August 19--

Dear Mr Thompson,

While you have discharged your duties as valet admirably, I am afraid that personal circumstances dictate that I must let you go. I enclose four weeks' pay in lieu of notice; I trust this is acceptable. My new valet, Mr Jeeves, will be only too glad to fix you up with a position elsewhere.

Yours faithfully,

B. W. Wooster

[end]