Jeeves and the hard-boiled egg
Sometimes of a morning, as I've sat in bed sucking down the early cup
of tea and watched my man Jeeves flitting about the room and putting
out the raiment for the day, I've wondered what the deuce I should do
if the fellow ever took it into his head to leave me. It's not so bad
now I'm in New York, but in London the anxiety was frightful. There
used to be all sorts of attempts on the part of low blighters to sneak
him away from me. Young Reggie Foljambe to my certain knowledge offered
him double what I was giving him, and Alistair Bingham-Reeves, who's
got a valet who had been known to press his trousers sideways, used to
look at him, when he came to see me, with a kind of glittering hungry
eye which disturbed me deucedly. Bally pirates!
The thing, you see, is that Jeeves is so dashed competent. You can spot
it even in the way he shoves studs into a shirt.
I rely on him absolutely in every crisis, and he never lets me down.
And, what's more, he can always be counted on to extend himself
on behalf of any pal of mine who happens to be to all appearances
knee-deep in the bouillon. Take the rather rummy case, for instance,
of dear old Bicky and his uncle, the hard-boiled egg.
It happened after I had been in America for a few months. I got back to
the flat latish one night, and when Jeeves brought me the final drink
"Mr. Bickersteth called to see you this evening, sir, while you were
"Oh?" I said.
"Twice, sir. He appeared a trifle agitated."
"He gave that impression, sir."
I sipped the whisky. I was sorry if Bicky was in trouble, but, as a
matter of fact, I was rather glad to have something I could discuss
freely with Jeeves just then, because things had been a bit strained
between us for some time, and it had been rather difficult to hit on
anything to talk about that wasn't apt to take a personal turn. You
see, I had decided — rightly or wrongly — to grow a moustache and this
had cut Jeeves to the quick. He couldn't stick the thing at any price,
and I had been living ever since in an atmosphere of bally disapproval
till I was getting jolly well fed up with it. What I mean is, while
there's no doubt that in certain matters of dress Jeeves's judgment is
absolutely sound and should be followed, it seemed to me that it was
getting a bit too thick if he was going to edit my face as well as my
costume. No one can call me an unreasonable chappie, and many's the
time I've given in like a lamb when Jeeves has voted against one of my
pet suits or ties; but when it comes to a valet's staking out a claim
on your upper lip you've simply got to have a bit of the good old
bulldog pluck and defy the blighter.
"He said that he would call again later, sir."
"Something must be up, Jeeves."
I gave the moustache a thoughtful twirl. It seemed to hurt Jeeves a
good deal, so I chucked it.
"I see by the paper, sir, that Mr. Bickersteth's uncle is arriving on
"His Grace the Duke of Chiswick, sir."
This was news to me, that Bicky's uncle was a duke. Rum, how little one
knows about one's pals! I had met Bicky for the first time at a species
of beano or jamboree down in Washington Square, not long after my
arrival in New York. I suppose I was a bit homesick at the time, and I
rather took to Bicky when I found that he was an Englishman and had, in
fact, been up at Oxford with me. Besides, he was a frightful chump, so
we naturally drifted together; and while we were taking a quiet snort