Saturday, 1 October 2011

Jeeves and the Booker Prize

A complete Jeeves novella by Arunabha Sengupta with apologies to P.G. Wodehouse

Arunabha Sengupta is the co-editor of Scroll and the author of three novels, the latest being The Best Seller

The glorious summer day, which in its due course witnessed some of the most stirring events in the chequered history of Berkeley Mansions, had dawned with a throbbing head along with a deep realisation of scientific truth.

I don't know about you, but to me the big-brained scholarly types talking about changing energy from one form to another always seemed to ring a little thin. Not that I understand much of what they do, loafing about in their laboratories splitting atoms, tinkering with nuclear reactors, but light suddenly starting to cackle heartily as sound, then carrying the joke further by running along and becoming motion does tend to strike one as rather rummy. Jeeves tells me that some of these birds insist that in the end all of us boil down to nothing more than a collection of vibrating strings. How these coves are allowed to walk out of their cells in Colney Hatch and attend symposiums is beyond me.

However, on this sunny summer morning, as I was saying, my eyes were opened and I saw the light. In fact, that is quite the order in which things transpired. The bright morning sun hit the eyes in a dull haze. My head throbbed with the last remnants of nerve jangling wails which had passed for music the night before. Soon spikes and needles of impressive sharpness and metallurgy had started out on an impressive version of ballroom foxtrot around the old bean. The theories of energy transformation were thus making a pretty resounding statement on an impressionable head weighed down by a wild night when Jeeves shimmered in. I don’t know his secret, but infallibly he always floats up from wherever he is within a minute of my waking up.

“Good morning, Sir.”

The eyes, foggy as they were in synchronised step with the head quarters, noticed the silvery assortment of milk, sugar, tea and cream – in short, all that is required to haul the young master out of bed and set him down looking life in the eye on a normal day. However, therein lay the rub. This of all days clocked in a poor second to a normal one.

"That won't do, Jeeves," I remarked.

As Caeser, Alexander, and Napoleon would have done, Jeeves absorbed the negative point of view without breaking a stride.

He replied as he lay out the cups, saucers and pots. "When you say it won't do, sir, I assume you indicate that a restorative would be in order?"

Somehow – and I have given up trying to figure out the exact modus operandi – my man had hit the problem in the proverbial bulls eye. I nodded in agreement, and the spikes and needles fooling around inside reminded me not too gently that it was not the wisest of morning callisthenics to indulge in.

I was still tenderly massaging my temples when like a healing zephyr Jeeves produced his patented concoction. I think I have mentioned it before, but I will say again –  this being by no means a vain repetition of the heathen –  that this magic potion of Jeeves is the most effective antidote to the most dastardly of hangovers. As usual, as I gulped down the mixture of raw egg, Worcester sauce and red pepper, for a minute it felt that someone had carelessly dropped a lighted matchstick on a keg of trinitrotoluene inside the cerebellum and had simultaneously mistaken my throat as the cauldron for the Olympic Torch, but moments later the sun shone in through the window, birds twittered in the tree-tops, and, generally speaking, hope dawned once more.

"Topping day, Jeeves, what?" I said, looking out into the summer sunshine.

"The weather is most clement, sir."

"I say, rummy thing, but don't you think the sun has scrambled up a bit too high a bit too quickly today?"

He put the cup of tea softly beside my bed and responded as I took a refreshing sip, "As you say, it is rather high, sir, but it has not been more nimble than usual. The sun, as the American poet Thoreau says sir, is but a morning star. Its journey is devoid of acceleration, but it does start, to quote another American - Benjamin Franklin, as soon as it rises refreshed in the morning. In this case I dare say your evening exertions have somewhat delayed your perusal of its daily career path longer than usual."

The magic potion notwithstanding, I found the train of thought approaching the unnervingly fast standards of the continental services of Thalys and Eurostar.

"Go slow on the quotations Jeeves.”

"As you wish, sir."

“Wait till a guy has knocked back his morning cup of tea."

“Certainly, sir.”

"And the less you allude to Americans the better."

"If you say so, sir."

I looked out over the Berkeley Square, where hordes of clever men and women, unaffected by the morning invasion of spikes and needles, were loitering about, lapping up the excellent weather while it lasted.

"It's a dashed shame to miss out more than one budgets for on a great day as this, when God is in heaven and it is sunshine and roses and all that. You know what, Jeeves, I blame the Americans for keeping me in bed longer than the normal sauce and sozzle was wont to in older and better days."

"Indeed, sir?"

I replied with conviction, "Believe you me, Jeeves. I can withstand alcohol as much as the next man – and with your morning pick me up just a shout away, perhaps I can claim to be second to none. But, the night does not only bring one's share of cocktails and whiskey, does it Jeeves?"

"I suppose not, sir."

"Let me tell you, Jeeves, it also depends on the accompanying entertainment that is nowadays used by the capitalist superpower to bombard vassal states into a constant state of pummelled senses and fear. Yesterday we had been invited by McGarry to the new American place  Hoot Teasers, which has poached his services from Drones. The infernal jukebox there kept up a constant supply of Britney Spears followed by different varieties of metal, rock, rap and other forms of noise that they somehow convince the dictionaries to list under music. Isn't it curious Jeeves that forms of music should spring forth adjectives such as  heavy, acid and gangster?"

"Definitely, sir."

"Two hours of the stuff and waking up the following morning becomes somewhat more than the thirteenth labour of whatshisname it normally is."

Jeeves was clearing away the tea assortment and his voice was all sympathy.
"I would assume so sir, although I am by no means a connoisseur of the kind of entertainment you allude to."

I sighed.
"Good for you Jeeves, good for you.”
"I am not very keen on music that consists entirely of stretching the limits of acoustics and brandishing specific vibrating parts of the human anatomy, sir. However, I must remark that such music is by no means limited to the United States of America, but is rather universal. By the way, Mr. Little did come by, sir, desirous of seeing you."

Now, Bingo Little is a chap I was at school with and we still see a lot of each other. Recently, he had gone off and gotten himself hitched to Rosie M. Banks, the author of quite a few novels especially popular mainly among the fairer sex. Even after his betrothal, with the lady in question zealously making up for lost time in trying to advance his mind, we have remained close pals and his popping over to look in on me was not surprising. Yet, Bingo up and about before noon, even under the improving influence of a formidable novelist fiancée, was more than a surprise.

"Young Bingo? He trotted down, did he? Did he happen to mention what he wanted?"

"He left you a note, sir. And if I may add, he did look afflicted."

"Grappling with his soul, was he? Now that Rosie M. Banks is in charge of the construction, he must have a rudimentary combination of animus and anima in the making – at least the foundations are in place, albeit still with a lot of scaffolding."

"He did look in rather advanced stages of agitation, sir."

"Something on his newly installed mind, was there? And trotted he down to Mayfair to consult old Bertram. Could you read it out, Jeeves?"

Jeeves produced a letter from the corner of the breakfast tray with the same air of a conjurer that generally accompanies most of his actions, most mundane to most lofty, and proceeded to read aloud.

"'In soup. Rosie says no wedding till she has won the Booker.' Well, I must say the language is rather telegraphic, sir, but that is more or less the content."

"That's all there is to it?"

"That is as one would say the long and short of it, sir, apart from a rather inconsequential post script."

My brows knitted themselves in thought.

"Extremely curious. You remember, Jeeves, before we stumbled on to her real identity in that dashed disturbing way, this Banks woman went around as Mabel the waitress?"

"Most vividly, sir."

"It was to jerk the blessings out of old uncle Little for this socially unequal match that you suggested Bingo read him the works of this same Rosie M. Banks," I shuddered. "Only a Factory Girl … and such stuff. But Jeeves, it must have been during her alternative day jobs that she picked up some of the habits from her colleagues in the joints she waited at. The happy pastimes of the cooks and the waiters and whoever else messes around with our food in such places. I would have never thought of her as the sporting sort, so much into horses. I guess we will have to go through the form book with all our scrutiny and ensure she wins."

I was pondering the problem for a full minute when there was the familiar sound resembling a sheep clearing its throat on a blade of grass on a distant hillside, which informs one that Jeeves has coughed, and which in turn suggests that there is something on his mind.

"Yes, Jeeves?"

"I think I will take the liberty of pointing out a small mistake in your evaluation of the situation, sir. While the word does have certain phonetic similarities to the more familiar terms associated with the financial pursuits surrounding the equestrian sport, namely bookie or bookmaker, the Booker is actually a literary prize given to the supposedly best full length novel written the previous year in English language by a citizen of the commonwealth nations, Ireland or Zimbabwe. Originally known as the Booker-McConnell prize, it was for a while more popular as simply the Booker, while now the official name has been transformed into the Man Booker prize."

With a furtively bitten off piece of toast, I gestured Jeeves to slow down.
"Ah Jeeves, I am not always abreast of all new fangled fads, but now I do know for certain what all these frightful blokes mean by the phrase Information Overload. You know the ones I am talking about, who go on the television wearing expensive suits to talk about the euro crisis. I daresay you seem to have suddenly turned unsympathetic towards a fellow who has spent most of his last waking hours amidst ear-splitting screams with lyrics largely restricted to Yo Man and Baby, sprinkled with a selection of rather crude terminology all derived from the act of love."

"I am sorry if this has been a bit too much to absorb in a rather brief interval of time, sir,” the good fellow replied apologetically.

I heard the mental tape once over, and tried to get the nub about this prize.
“Do you mean to say Jeeves, that there is actually someone who reads each and every English novel published each year in the Commonwealth, Ireland and Zimbabwe? I wouldn’t want his job for a king’s ransom. What does he do then? Weigh them on scales and measure their jacket sleeves to determine the best of them all?”

Jeeves removed the last remnants of uneaten breakfast. “Decidedly not, sir. There is a somewhat complicated procedure through which publishers can put their books into the long list of the award, a process that involves rather substantial monetary agreements. The winner is selected from these chosen ones by a carefully formed committee.”

I perceived a certain something in his voice which, although familiar to me like a brother, is rather difficult to describe in words. It was the sort of tone that he generally assumes when I decide to don something a bit too flashy – a checked suit, an Alpine hat or, in the rather misguided case, a small, well trimmed bush of fungus on the upper lip.

“Jeeves, something tells me, perhaps the pitch and tenor of your voice or probably the marked accent on the word supposedly while talking about the prize, that you do not regard it in the same league as the PGA championship for writers.”

“It is not my place to comment on an accepted and understandably glamorous tradition sir, although in this case it is not yet enduring enough to qualify as a tradition in the strictest sense.”
“Ah, not that old is it? I bet Dickens did not get one.”

“I doubt whether his writing would have made it to the long-list, sir.”


“I do not consider myself a literary expert, sir, but going by what can be considered to be the available evidence, books enjoying universal and long lasting popularity are not quite what characterises a Booker prize winner.”

I must admit all this was dashed confusing.
 “Jeeves, why not guide a newbie into the deep unknown waters of the literary world?”

The left eyebrow of the inscrutable face was elevated about a tenth of an inch, and a subtle change in the way of handling silverware told me that the term newbie, trendy as it was, had not yet entered into his list of recommended dictionaries.

“Let me put it this way, sir. It is my eternal curiosity regarding how many of the Booker winning, long or short listed books would Sir Francis Bacon have certified as suitable for digestion. Left to myself, I would have put a nutritional restriction on the swallowing of more than a specified number of them as well, although, I dare say, swallowing them is neither the easiest nor the briefest of undertakings.”

“Pretty fluffy, are they? No peppy plot, witty dialogue, romance ... number of loopholes in the general area of what happened to the body?”

“Some of the winning authors consider it something of a disgrace to include any dialogue at all, sir and quite a lot of them do not deem plot to be an indispensable aspect of a novel. Besides, a significant number of them presumably use loopholes as flagrant ornaments. But, at the proverbial end of the day, books are about being read. As the bard says, it is to suit the action to words and words to action. The Booker body of works take a rather diametrically opposite point of view of writing."

I lit a thoughtful cigarette.
“Then why is this Banks woman so intent on getting a Booker that she puts Bingo in the back burner along with the wedding bells and her maid of honour?”

“I omitted to mention, sir, that the Booker is one of the most financially profitable of all literary prizes, and carries with it enough publicity to be infinitely important to the book trade. There is a component in the regulations for entry into the competition that involves the money to be spent for publicity if the books reach the Booker shortlist."

“Fame and money, power and pelf. I see what you are getting at, Jeeves. Plenty of press?”

“Quite more than abundant, sir. There has been at least one author who has leveraged on the media prominence to make a change of career from the world of letters to one of publicity.”

“And say our lady here goes for the Booker. How would you rate her chances of trotting in at the head of the pack down the home stretch on the day of the big Derby?”

“It is difficult to say, sir, but I would put it as infinitesimally small enough to be negligible. As in everything else in modern book industry, the Man Booker Prize is quite an unpredictable game of fortune. Apart from the fluctuating quality that is to be found in the writing of the winners from year to year, which after all seems rather inconsequential in the scheme of things, one has to consider the selection committee, the periodicity with which the prize rotates among the British Isles, the Indian sub-continent and the Antipodeans, and on some occasions in the New World, and a considerable number of other factors not entirely related to the simple task of putting words on paper. The only factor working in favour of Miss Banks is that she is of the fairer sex, and it seems to be politically incorrect to give the prize away to gentleman authors too many years in succession.”

“Posh Jeeves, I would hardly call that an advantage, given that half the world consists of her kind.”

“Somewhat more, if we place our trust on the current day Scientific statistics, sir.”

“Ever since I have woken up this morning, Jeeves, my trust in the Scientific community has grown. But, that puts Bingo on rather sticky wicket, doesn’t it?”

“Precisely, sir.”

“This certainly requires some of my best thinking form. Let me put on my thinking cap, as the hideous management chaps say these days.”

“Oh, indeed, sir.”

Jeeves withdrew to prepare my bath to the exact depth and temperature and I will never know whether it was his tactful hand or the careless one of chance that left the note from Bingo in a state of animated suspension. The piece of paper, ostensibly free from a displaced pot or cup or plate under which it had hitherto been established, floated down onto my bed linens.  I picked it up and uttered a wounded cry. I thought of Bingo and could have justifiably said that all the mistakes in the world could not measure up to the day I thought I could trust him.

The postscript, sidestepped by Jeeves in the manner of a trained Adagio dancing diplomat, was sharp, pointed and cut me deep.
“Please, please don’t try to come up with something manufactured out of your own fat head, Bertie. Be sensible and ask Jeeves to wrap his brain around this while you run out and buy him some of the best fish in the market – Bingo.”

In strange adherence to the words of Nestell Bovee, which Jeeves had been regaling me with one of these days during breakfast, my false friends, like my shadow, seemed to walk with me when it was sunshine and disappear the moment it was shade. Only, while this phenomenon according to Bovee was likely when my life moved into the temporary penumbra zone, my imbecilic chums did it with surprising regularity the moment the darkness spread across their part of the field as well.


As I walked down to my late lunch at the Drones, nature and beast smiled on the sun-kissed bosom ofLondon, with the exception of Bertram Wilberforce Wooster. There was a scowl in the depths of my soul, and I may add, a justifiable one.

I mean, if a chappie considers another chappie an old friend and gets down to the brass tacks to give his disrupted life a proper heave ho in the right direction, it is dashed disconcerting to find the second chappie scampering around at the first unnoticed opportunity to nip the first chappie in the heel from behind. There are few things that we Woosters abhor in the world, but apart from hobnobbing with Aunt Agatha, and being engaged to the formidable Florence Craye, being betrayed by deceptive wolves in friendly sheep's clothing is something that rubs us wrong way.

However, there is a well known secret that goes around in the clubs that whenever you see a Wooster down in the dumps, fighting with his noble back to the wall, for all intents and purposes licked to custard, you need to beware. There is no force in the world as indomitable as a resurgent Wooster. To retire into our secluded den licking the wounds resulting from the stab in the back – while physically difficult enough with the tongue geographically miles asunder from the bleeding rear portion – is also a metaphorical situation that seldom shackles us to the depressing symptoms of self pity. The trick here is to rise to the occasion and show the world that the friend who cannot trust Bertram's resourcefulness cannot recognise a heaven sent gift even when packed in bubble paper, inscribed and handed on a silver salver.

I mean I will be the last to deny the capital credentials of Jeeves as the numero uno thinker in the history of the British Isles when it comes to extracting Bertram's friends from the varieties of soups frequently dished out by the chef of fate. While I may not see eye to eye when my Aunt Agatha, between the human sacrifices she is rumoured to carry out at sundown, calls him my keeper, I fully and absolutely recognise the influence that he has had on the life of mine and my circle of friends.
However, I do detect from time to time that he tends to be somewhat over rated – what with the good press and sensationalisation that is the order of the day. Admittedly, the Wooster mind tends to take its time in revving up and going from zero to sixty in the morning, especially after a wild night laced with spirits and nerve jarring sound passing for music, but bear with him for a longish while and he can have the brain waves breaking against rocky problems as well as the next man.

And it is not so dashed difficult nowadays, with help always being no more than a few clicks away. The thing to do is to toodle off to the nearest available computer, haul up the internet, and get to work on the search engines, armed with the magnifying glass and catching net. Why, these chronicles that I have penned over the years about the curious adventures we have had has even resulted in a company launching a search engine named

So, I veered away from the regular course towards Drones and popped in at a cyber café on Old Burlington Street. After about twenty minutes of powering the Wooster brain with a few well judged clicks I got all the information that I needed, and a further detour to drop in at Hatchards for a volume recommended by the searches was but the work of fifteen more minutes.

As I walked into the Drones, I immediately spotted Bingo at a corner table, gazing forlornly into his tumbler, cold veal and lamb pie lying largely untouched in front of him. I trotted up behind him and greeted him with a friendly pat between the shoulder blades. He sprang up like Sergei Bubka on a stash of forbidden anabolic steroids.

"What ho, Bingo."

"Bertie, damn you. I wish you wouldn't creep up behind me like that."

I stiffened. "I had half a mind not to come here at all, after what you had written in your post script. Dashed nonsense, this sort of thing. I know you are all but dressed in your best top hat and about to walk down the aisle, so I understand being a little too much under the feminine thumb, but should you always write a postscript? If you ask me, it is a very girlish thing. In fact it is my standing theory that postscripts were invented after women took to writing letters and started ending them after half a dozen pages having carelessly omitted the main message for which they had taken up the quill in the first place…"

"Bertie …," the blighter made me stop with a scream that seemed to ring out over even the spirited bonhomie of the Drones lunchers.

"Yes, old man … still here."

"This is not the time for mindless drivel. I am not in the mood for it."

I patted him on the shoulder. His manner could have been adjudged to be offensive, but I could understand a struggling soul – even if only consisting of the foundation and scaffolding.
"Ah, my friend … you are still under the impression that dark clouds are hovering over the church in the corner where you had intended to trot up, hanging on to the marriage license like a well trained bullterrier. The wedding bells, all eager to ring through and spread the joyful tidings have suddenly been stuck dumb as if a mute button has been pressed by a heavenly hand. But, relax, old pal, for your troubles are over. The bells will ring again as never before."

I don't know if you have ever witnessed the light of hope kindling a dim, dull eye, but that is what happened in front of me.

"Has Jeeves come up with something? Oh, what a wonderful chap he is."

I snorted. "Psh, Jeeves. Young Bingo, you need not trouble yourself with all the stupid ideas you rattled off in your post script. You have the services of your trusted advisor, your friend of years long gone when we used to wear shorts and innocently steal strawberry jam from the cupboards of formidable aunts. I have done a lot of thinking and research about your problem and lo and behold, the remedy is here, just in the right dosage for the adult broken heart."

I had thought that his spirits would be lifted and he would clasp me to his bosom with tears in his grateful eyes, but all that I got in return was a look that resembled a conglomerate of apprehension and dread.
"Bertie, I told you specifically …"

I shushed him with authority. "Bingo, my friend. I assure you that if you had buried yourself in websites and searched for a specialist to solve your problems, the number one relevant result would still be Bertram Wooster. You forget that you have hitched yourself, with good sense or not is something that we need not debate at the moment, to an author. Let me tell you that no one can understand the mind of a writer better than a fellow wielder of the pen. We authors tend to exchange notes, analyse each other in the nets before we peel the skins off the main characters in our novels. So, I can feel the spiritual pulse of Rosie M. like the seasoned physician."

Bingo, all this while, had been producing a sterling imitation of a member of the opposition party desperately looking for gaps to spring an unpleasant question on the speaker in the parliament. Taking advantage of my logical pause, he blurted out something that had been confusing him in the recent past, "And since when have you become a ruddy novelist?"

I countered his pointed jibe with a beam of benevolence.

"Not exactly a novelist, my friend, but your lady love and yours truly are co-writers for the same periodical. You are of course abreast of the fact that Aunt Dahlia had twisted the fair hand of your beloved cunningly enough to make her write a story for her magazine Milady's Boudoir. For the same rag, I had once written an article called What the Well Dressed Man is Wearing."

"That makes you co-writers, does it?"

"In a manner of speaking. But we are digressing from the current problem that looks us in the eye, casts its menacing shadow on the sunny vales of happiness. Do you, Young Bingo, take Rosie M. Banks the novelist as your wedded wife and promise to stand by her in sickness and in health …?"

I paused as Bingo asked me, employing some of the adjectives that had so peppered the musical entertainment of the night before, whether from a so-called author I had deluded myself into donning ruddy priestly robes as well. I smiled in response.

"Well, I have not taken priestly vows when you come down to the specifics, but I do profess to a strongly driven impulse for spreading sweetness and light."

"Check it. Nip it in the bud. Get help."

"Bingo, Bingo … when I said sickness and health, I was working up slowly but surely towards my infallible solution. You see, the ambition of an author to win the Booker Prize is a kind of incurable sickness for which no remedy has been discovered as yet. No doubt, with the passage of time some celebrated scientist, probably in the same line of business as Roderick Glossop, will conclude that it has become necessity enough to be the mother of invention and thus come up with an antidote which will send female novelists tearing away from their word processors into the marriage registrar's office after the second dose. But, for now, we have no alternative but to show the diseased that we will stick by them all through their darkest moments as they work their way towards making their writing more and more abstruse, closing the gap between them and the prize. The goal is to convince her that her mission is yours in the end that it would make no difference whether the prize was finally won by Rosie M. Banks or Rosie M. Little nee Banks."

Bingo seemed thoughtful. I had finally got rid of his pessimistic attitude perennially plagued with doubts, but the desired sweetness and light were still some miles away.

"But, how do I do that? I have already all but gone down on my knees and begged her to reconsider her vow – or rather exchange it for the wedding one – for it makes no difference to me whether she gets the blasted prize or not."

I clicked my tongue and shook my head like a Dutch uncle. "There lies the mistake that has gotten you into this knotty problem, and has taken your good friend Bertie several brainwaves to untangle. For someone like Ms Banks, the Booker is like the dratted thing the knights were always going to war for."


"No … real life knights."

"Round Table?"

"No, Bingo, please stop distracting me with your dangerous nuggets of little knowledge. Holy Grail. That's the word I want. It carries a lot of prestige, cash and good press – as Jeeves gives me to understand. Not the grail, but the Booker. Now, it doesn't really improve your odds if you treat this ambition with a callous wave and go about proclaiming that it does not matter to you this way or that. What you need is tact and inside information. You need to show her that nothing would please you more than seeing your little woman going up on the red carpet, or whatever cunning trap it is they lay for the authors, and accepting the damn thing. If there was a choice in life between the Scylla and Charybdis of Ascot and the Booker, you would definitely not try to get away by saying that you will choose alphabetically."

Bingo winced. "It is bigger than Ascot, is it?"

"Almost the same in stature and significance. You just need to replace the horses with authors to get the idea. So, all you need to do now is to show her that you care about this prize as you never cared for anything before. I have bought you a book – a very appropriate one, about the prize," I held up the recently purchased volume. "If you can just spring it to the good woman as something that you could read together during your honeymoon, to keep her in shape for the day of the races during her break from the writing desk, I have no doubt that she will look lovingly into your eyes and start for London Bride to beget the whitest wedding dress."

A dreamy smile touched Bingo's lips as he looked at the volume.
"You are sure about this?"

I snorted.
"Sure? You can say I am dead certain. I have never felt so confident. Not since backing that brown steed at Chentleham last summer."

A sudden shudder disturbed the newfound composure in the poor chap.
"Do I have to read it from cover to cover before handing it to her?"

"No no, nothing of the kind ," I hastened to reassure him. "All you need to do is wait for her to come round a deserted corner and spring this on her as a surprise wedding present."

Bingo did not quite weep with joy, but the darkish gloom that had settled on him cleared somewhat and his sunny side made an attempt to peep through. He even poked tentatively at the long forgotten cold veal and lamb pie.
"Thank you, Bertie," he said, fondling the packet that held the joys of his future.

"Always a pleasure," I said and sat down to enjoy a quite and satisfying lunch as the fruit of all this strenuous labour.


It is one of the pleasing side effects of smearing traversed paths with sweetness and light to find oneself in topping form and the highest of spirits. Hence, when Oofy Prosser and Barmy Fotheringay-Phipps (pronounced Funghy Fipps) engaged me to a few games of postprandial dart, I was too busy licking them to be aware of the advancing hours. Having won the lion's share of around forty three rounds, I finally made my way back to Berkeley Mansions to find Jeeves polishing an invisible stain till the silver glistened to his exacting standards.

"Good evening, sir," he greeted.

"A topping evening, Jeeves. Not a cloud in the sky, and the sun regulated to just the right degree. You know, Jeeves, sometimes I wonder whether we are not making the mistake of reading too much into this Global Warming thing."

"There are schools of thought about it, sir. While a few do consider it to be an elaborate ruse, the more conventional approach is to treat is as an inconvenient truth."

"Elephant in the room sort of thing, Jeeves?"

"Some would also put is as polite fiction, sir."

"Ah, fiction. That reminds me," still under waves of winning euphoria, I took off my hat and flipped it with perfection onto the obliging hook of the coat stand. "Strain yourself no more about the little affair of the Booker prize, Jeeves. The situation is under control. The priest has been informed to brush up his address. The unmarried girls are out on the pitch, catching practice bouquets. The vows are to be exchanged soon."

There was that imperceptible rise of the eyebrow again that hinted at incredulity in his otherwise indecipherable features. This was accompanied by the slightest change in modulation when he said, "Indeed, sir?"

I felt it was time to put him in his place. One of the best, my man Jeeves, but then, some situations do call for the iron hand to be inserted into the velvet glove.
"I detect in your manner Jeeves a certain lack of conviction, which I attribute to a growing complacency that no good can come from any venture that does not benefit from that fish powered brain of yours. But, I tell you the matter is all but closed. If you strain your ear right now, you'll hear the wedding bells ringing in rehearsal for the big day."

"Pardon me for saying so sir, but I got a slightly conflicting message from Mr. Little when he was here looking for you a few hours back."

This surprised me. We are the best of friends, but even before Saul had blown his top, one would not have expected David to keep popping up in Jonathan's rooms.

"Ah, Jeeves, young Bingo seems to stick to me like a brother these days."

"His visit was not exactly the best demonstration of what one may term brotherly love, sir."

I was far from amused. I mean to say, when one is back from a record winning spree over some of the more fancied opponents at the dart board of Drones, one wants to relive the moments with a stiff drink in the evening and reflect on the happiness that his earlier endeavours has brought to the race of man. It is unpleasant when he learns that the race of man in question had paid him a visit with conspicuous lack of fellow feeling.

"Really Jeeves? I would have thought he would be off to visit the best of Saville Row by now."

"The only person he wanted to visit was you, sir."

"Did you tell him that I was probably still at the Drones?"

"I told him that you had received urgent summons from Mrs. Travers and were on your way to the Brinkley Manor from where you would make immediately for the French Riviera, sir."

"French Riviera! Good God Jeeves, your imagination knows no bounds. It is given free rein to travel far and wide across the Schengen zone."

"The circumstances were a trifle extenuating, sir. As far as he divulged in me, Mr. Little's primary motivation in seeking your company yet again was to wrench your head off your neck and make you run a mile under the hottest sun holding it in your hands."


"I was similarly struck by the medical, specifically anatomical, anomaly of the proposition, sir, but he did not seem to be in a state of mind to be reasoned with."

"But, why? Has he lost his head?"

"In purely literal terms he was more inclined to make you lose yours, sir. However, as far as I could surmise, the reason for his rather extreme remonstrations was the termination of his engagement with Ms Banks."

The room swam before my eyes, and I clutched a chair to steady myself.

"Rosie M. Banks has broken the engagement?"

"I am afraid that is the situation, sir."

"All because she wants to win this blasted Booker prize?"

Jeeves coughed softly. "Her ambitions for such supposed literary distinction have a slight association with the affair, sir, but I would categorise it as one of the minor causes. It was unfortunately more to do with a book that Mr. Little had presented her in the early part of the afternoon."

I uttered a panic stricken shriek.

"I would say the sound that you just emitted appropriately sums up the situation, sir."

"But, dash it, Jeeves. Here is where the water gets incredibly murky. I was the one who bought that book and asked Bingo to gift it to the girl as an advance wedding present."

Jeeves flicked his feather duster over the piano with a nifty movement of the wrist.

 "I gathered as much, sir."

"But, it was one of the books on the Booker prize intended to uplift Bingo onto the planes frequented by Rosie M. Banks and her literary friends. I was careful to choose it from the reviews on the internet and the notices given by the different newspapers."

"If I may say so, sir, you fell into an ancient allurement that has undone innumerable readers and, dare I say, bestower of books. You did end up judging it by the cover, albeit just a portion of the jacket."

I goggled. At least, not exactly facing a mirror at the moment, I think my stare forced itself on the external world as a goggle.

"But Jeeves, the book was titled The Booker Book. It claimed to be a brilliant analysis of a number of Booker Prize winning books. It was my idea to have Bingo present it to show that he was striving to make up for lost ground, his soul sprinting across such uplifting books to take off and soar in the rarefied echelons inhabited by Rosie M. Banks and her ghastly kinds."

"Pardon me, sir. I must confess that I am indeed an admirer of Simon Brett's writing."

The name sounded somewhat familiar, but I could not put a face to it.

"Who is Simon Brett, Jeeves?"

Jeeves looked at me with his expression unchanged, but a flicker of some unknown emotion streaked under his façade.
"Simon Brett is the author of the book you bought for Mr. Little to gift his ex-fiancée, sir. He happens to be a much respected author of cerebral mystery stories, known for clever handling of plots. This particular book, published in 1989, however marked a distinct detour from his other earlier or later works. It is a humorously written satire in the form of a biography of a fictitious writer who attempts to pen a Booker prize winning novel, starting afresh each year, adhering to the style and language of the then current winner. I specifically enjoyed the parody through which Mr. Brett pokes pointed fun at some of the supposedly celebrated Booker Prize winning titles of the first twenty years of the prize. In some cases, he even makes bold statements indicating some of the winning books, although began with zest by many once the results were publicised, would be read to the end by a dismal few."

In addition to the goggling eyes, I guess my jaw had descended to close quarters of the tiled floor. It was with considerable difficulty that I managed to mouth, "Parody?"

"I regret to inform you, sir, some would consider the novel as a tongue in cheek parody of the booker winning books. Additionally, it hardly benefitted Mr. Little that the protagonist in question, who endeavoured to win the coveted prize year after year, happened to be a woman. I would assume that Ms. Banks interpreted it as a very life like caricature of her own writing ambitions. Good art is often approximated by the actual episodes of reality, and it is testimony to the excellence of the novel that it has captured the essence of so many ambitious writers to perfection, and Ms. Banks happens to be one of them."

 I steadied myself and reached for the decanter. Jeeves handed me the life saver with vicarious hands.

"Jeeves, I have made a bloomer."

"There seems to have been a certain amount of error in judgement, sir. However, as I have observed, judging a book by its cover is an ancient failing, older than Gutenberg, dating back in all probability even beyond the days of illuminators."

"What must have Rosie M. Banks thought of a perfectly innocent gesture?"

"The mind boggles to contemplate, sir."

"We must thank our saintly stars that she did not hit him on the head with it."

Jeeves cleared his throat again. "Er, going by the size and colour of the lump that Mr. Little displayed on his forehead, sir, that was exactly the course of action she carried out."


"To compound the dimensions of misfortune in your choice of gift, sir, you also happened to pick out the hard backed edition of Mr. Brett's excellent book. In the hands of a highly strung woman conditioned by carrying layers of plates and trays around in her temporary capacity as a waitress, such a volume can assume the proportions of a quasi-lethal weapon."

The cigarette I was fumbling with, for some misguided moments striking it with another of its kind and wondering why the blasted thing was not kindling up, now fell from my shaking hands and rolled under the duvet.

"Jeeves, when is the next train from St. Pancras?"

"That would depend on where you want to travel, sir."

"Anywhere away from the shores of this dangerous country, Jeeves. I believe Eurostar runs excellent services to most of continental Europe. Hop to the phone or the laptop Jeeves, and book us to wherever departure is the earliest, be it Brussels, Paris, Zurich, Amsterdam or any place, the further away from London the better … We are legging it Jeeves, and leggers cannot be choosers of where they want to leg it to."

Before he could embark on any such noble mission, the doorbell rang and I converted the startled seated leap into a dive for cover behind the nearest sofa.

Jeeves never seems to step across the hall. He glides and shimmers. Hence I could not follow his movements with my ears and it was a nerve racking jolt with which I heard the door open and Bingo's voice float in at a healthy decibel level.

"Jeeves, my good man, is the infernal wretch back yet?"

"If you are referring to Mr. Wooster, sir, he is not in. As I mentioned in the afternoon, he was on his way to visit Mrs. Travers …"

I heard Bingo's footsteps approaching the living room.

"I met Oofy Prosser a while back, and he informs me that the blot on human landscape had been playing darts with him till an hour back."

"It is often the case with Mr. Wooster, sir, that he loses track of time when indulging himself in sporting activities. He must have departed to Waterloo from the Drones, sir."

I did not like the ominous choice of railway station. The grunt in reply was not of a person convinced by a perfectly good explanation. There were a few more steps as he thudded up and down the room. Jeeves asked whether he could offer a drink and there was another grunt which could have been affirmative or negative depending on the unseen accompanying body language. From my position behind the living room trenches, I could not divine what exactly was going on in the foreground, but soon the sound of a water hog slurping it up in a swamp told me that my would be nemesis was gorging himself on my personal alcohol.

"I better get going, Jeeves," Bingo declared at the end of his snifter.

It is difficult to expect a man baying for my blood to utter words that are music to my ears, but this simple sentence had a melodious effect. I must admit that after the previous night, my definition of music had been stretched till it could easily accommodate mastodons bellowing across the primordial swamp, but the gist of it is that I had never been happier. At the end of a rather long and trying day, one does not want be kept creeping behind a sofa for too long if he can help it. "He can't start for French Riviera at this hour and I will be at Brinkley Manor by the time he wakes up tomorrow morning."

This struck a discordant note, but the primary objective was to get rid of him for the moment and follow it up by multiplying the distance that separated us at the rate of knots. I waited for him to stamp his way out of the door.

"I wonder whether it would be an advisable course of action, sir. It occurs to me that your energies would be more fruitfully expended in the vicinity of Ms. Banks."

There was a pause and the general psychic waves that accompany a distressed young man grappling with his soul – albeit the last consisted only of foundations and scaffolding.

"Jeeves. Didn't I make it clear that Rosie and I are no longer engaged. Thanks to your master's mucking around and meddling into the lives of a perfectly happy couple, heart strings have been snapped and there are souls that will linger and waste away with the passing of seasons."

"If you permit me sir, I will draw your attention to the advice voiced by the celebrated Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hahn. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today."

"I do believe tomorrow will be better, Jeeves. Not only for me, but for the entire brotherhood of humanity. By the next twenty four hours, I will have rid the world of Betram Wooster. For that if I have to undergo hardship today and make it to Brinkley Manor on foot, I will do it."

"I would still advocate restraint and faith, sir. It might as yet be a non-negligible possibility that on thinking things over Ms Banks will have concluded that her actions have been too hasty and will reconsider her engagement with you."

There was a noise which could only have been a mirthless laugh.
"She did think things over, Jeeves. And her thoughts have summed up into the growing crimson lump that you see on my forehead right now."

"The female of the species, while decidedly deadlier than the male as the alluded to swelling is testimony to, is also prone to a lot of retrospection, sir. And in Ms. Bank's case, this reflection will be more than a little expedited by the immediate surroundings she finds herself in. In such circumstances, I would recommend patience and forbearance for a night."

Now you would say that voices heard while crawling on all four, with only the back of a sofa to look at, may lead better men to fatal leaps of conclusion, but I have followed many miracles of Jeeve's wonderful brain closely enough to consider myself an expert in the field. I can detect a Jeeves masterpiece from the slant of brushstrokes of thought. In the nightmarish circumstances, with not exactly a back to the wall, but a stomach on the floor and shoulder on the upholster, I glimpsed a ray of hope.

Bingo, whatever his shortcomings in fellow feeling and treatment of old friends, had seen enough of Jeeves in action as well. I could feel him pause and turn the matter over in his head – no wonder making the wound on the forehead throb in the process.

"Jeeves, my man, did you … have you … ?"

"I have speculated a trifle, sir, and whereas I cannot really go as far as to say that I guarantee favourable results, I am indeed hopeful."

There was a pause, which, if the psychic waves are anything to go by, felt reverent. Hope and despair battled in the background and Bingo's feet did not stamp, which meant he stood there fighting strong emotions, undecided about the alternatives of following up on the Banks and de-Bertramising the world. At this agonising juncture the doorbell rang once more.

The exultation of Bingo, no doubt concluding the newcomer would be none other than yours truly, was so hilarious even in the trying circumstances that I debated whether to lift my head and say boo. However, there followed a bigger euphoria when the voice that rang in from beyond the room turned out to be musical, familiar and feminine.

"Ah, Jeeves, please tell me that by some miracle Richard is here? I met Mr. Fotheringay Phipps at the despicable club his friends hang about in and learnt that he had made for Mr. Wooster's residence."

"Indeed, miss. You will find him standing in the living room, no doubt glad to hear your voice."

There was a squeal of delight followed by the staccato report of running heels on tiles and everything converged into a load of mush. By this time I had divined a flickering shadow of the main characters beamed on the wall by the overhead lamp Jeeves had probably switched on, and like the chained unfortunates in Plato's cave, I tried to extrapolate the goings on in the real world from the movements of the dark figures. However, the accompanying noises and the proximity of the figures left me with scant doubt that I was witnessing the shadow-graphed spectacle of reconciliation.

"Oh Richard, Bingo, my love … I am so sorry."

"am sorry, my darling. I should have never listened to Bertie …"

"Thank you so much for warning me with the book, Bingo, and to think I hit you with it."

"Huh? Um? Er … that's all right. Fellows like me need a knock on the head now and then to keep thinking straight, or just to keep thinking. You liked the book after all, eh?"

"Of course, dear. I see now that you had been so judicious in trying to warn me."

"Eh … you know... I mean, it seemed a pretty neat idea, what?"

“It hit me just now when the thin man went on and on about how he had come to write each syllable of the ghastly book, when just an apology and a display of atonement would have been enough.”

“Er ... um ... absolutely . That’s generally what is required from these guys, what?”

“Oh, the horror of it – to document life as packets of sterilised vacuum where nothing takes place, just so that you can beat the hollow make believe world with your ego-filled pen and make important sounds. Floating in some wishful antiseptic dimension where your feet no longer touch the reality. To care about elite intellectual gymnastics rather than taking on the fabric of life with the strength of your words.”

Even on the poor Berkeley mansion replica of Plato’s cave wall, I could make out Bingo reeling under the formidable cerebral onslaught. All the endearment that he could manage in response was a choked gurgle. The Banks woman could probably feel the saturation limit of her beau with her intellectual sensors, because she decided to return to familiar words of one syllables yet again.

"What were you saying about listening to Bertie, dear?"
"Er, did I … I must have been blabbering … well, I … er ... Bertie had told me not to give you the book, dear."

"Did he? I'm sure he meant well. Not many people have your insight, dear. By the way, did you hear a snort? Seemed to come from behind that sofa."

"I can't say I did. My ears are just for you, darling. Not for listening to snorts or the advice of confirmed wool heads like Bertie Wooster."

"Oh Bingo, you are so romantic … eeekkk…!!!"

As it happened, I had decided at that instant that it was time enough for this balderdash to be brought to an abrupt conclusion. The last shriek was the result of my rising from my refuge with an expression not really conveying either blessings or best wishes for the reunited couple. It is one thing to be equated with the lowest scum on earth when the perpetrator suffers from broken heart, but using the same sobriquets as the glue to put the aforementioned hearts back together was somewhat more than a fellow – even a sporting one – could endure. It was perhaps little consolation, but the sight of a lump of the size of a quail egg on Bingo’s forehead did at last provide some cheer in the otherwise nightmarish thirds session of the day’s play.

“Bertie!” the entwined couple chorused in high pitched unison, sounding quite like the musical fare of the night before.
When the dust had settled and plaster ceased to fall from the ceiling, Bingo added a little lamely, “Fancy finding you here.”

“I don’t see why that should come as a surprise. I happen to live here.”

“Of course,” Bingo laughed unusually loud. “Of course you do. It’s one of those dashed silly things one keeps forgetting.  But, you know what the funny thing is, old man? We don’t. I mean that we don't live here. That's funny, isn't it? But, then, we should be toodling along to our own lairs, don’t you think so honey? Mustn’t keep Bertie up too long, you know, he has spent a good deal of the day participating in demanding sports – darts and all that ...”

“Is that so, Mr. Wooster? We should not keep you long then.”

I took a step towards them.

“Well, I did some other stuff as well. For a good part of the day I was researching on the internet for certain information, and then I walked along Piccadilly to a book shop ...”

Bingo performed an elaborate Charleston leap towards the hall with his re-engaged fiancée. Jeeves was holding the door open for the happy couple.
“All the more reason to curl up in bed real soon with a good book,” Bingo waved goodbye. “And talking about books, may I suggest a topping one called The Booker Book by ... er ... well, so long and all that.”

“Good bye, Mr. Wooster,” the Banks dame chimed as they passed into the night and Jeeves closed the door behind them. In spite of my recent experiences with potential killers and domestic version of Plato’s Cave, the old Wooster blood in the veins had run true to the code and I found myself in the follow through of a parting wave.

“Quite an evening, Jeeves?” I said after a while, seated with a stiff whiskey with not much ado about soda.

“The moments have been rather mercurial, sir.”

“So have some of the criticism I have faced during my brief sojourn in the lair behind the sofa, Jeeves.”

“Criticism, to quote Ezra Pound, is merely a form of preliminary excitement, sir.”

“A bit too much excitement for a quiet life, Jeeves.”

“Indeed sir, although a lot of the modern thinkers do encourage excitement and frown upon peace and quiet.”

“They do, do they? And who exactly are these modern thinkers?”

“Rupert Murdoch for one, sir, says that he hopes to lead men to involvement through excitement. Bill Gates also speaks highly of his regard for sparking everyone wherever he goes with his particular personal windows of excitement.”

“Tell them they are asses, Jeeves.”

“I will if I get the opportunity, sir.”

“Since when did these people become thinkers, Jeeves? Last time I checked they were too busy swimming on their layers and layers of lucre.”

“The status of a thinker in the present day can be achieved primarily through a bank balance to catch the world’s attention, sir. One finds in the bookshops philosophical works penned by people most appropriately described as business tycoons. It seems the world is not too eager to listen to the thoughts of those who cannot show them how to put money in their purses.”

I thought of the likes of J. Washburn Stoker writing tomes on moral degradation in modern society and shivered.
“We live in trying times, Jeeves.”

“Yes, sir. Will that be all, sir?”

The image of Washburn Stoker that had lingered for a while in the strained mind, along with a gradually forming flickering accompanying phantasm of his daughter Pauline, vanished as I shook my head vehemently.
“Certainly not Jeeves. Please fill me in on the gory details. How on earth did you manage the impossible of changing the rather obstinate mind of la dame Banks as if she was putty in your hands? How did you get her to run to the arms of the same bloke against who she had but a few hours back raised arms?”

Jeeves cleared his throat. “After Mr.Little had come looking for you in the morning and had left the note that we read together, I took the liberty of presenting Ms. Banks with passes to a literary discussion on certain Booker winning novels which took place today.”

I stopped him right at the outset before things became too dark and mysterious. “I know you are a man of many talents, Jeeves, but how did you manage to procure passes to literary discussions out of thin air?”

“You will remember sir, that I was for some time employed by Lord Worplesdon, the father of Lady Florence Craye ...”

The shudder that ran through me made me spill some of the contents of my glass on the same sofa that had been the bulwark hiding me during the recent stirring events. Florence Craye, although she looked a corker especially when one considered the profile, could make any strong man quiver at the knees and take off like a jackrabbit at the mere mention of being hitched to her forever. And I had been engaged to her during my young days of folly before Jeeves had come into my life and extricated me at the nick of time just as she was about to start me on Nietzsche as a prerequisite of the fatal walk down the aisle.

“During my tenure of service for his lordship, mainly because of the writing ambitions of Lady Florence, I did come into contact with certain eminent literary figures considered to be quite prominent on the Bloomsbury scene. It is through one of these acquaintances that I got hold of the passes. Since the notice was remarkably short, I informed Miss Banks that I could manage only passes to two talks she could attend. I presumed that these would be the most effective ones for the purpose I had in mind and , through a quick departure after that, she would be free of the consensus led phenomenon known as groupthink which leads such circles to sooner or later agree on the importance and seminality  of such works.”

I looked in awe at the forehead that throbbed with such remarkable functioning that went on behind it. Yet, there was something that demanded further explanation.
“How did you predict that it would make her see light, Jeeves?”

 “It was a simple study of psychology, sir. Rosie M. Banks, irrespective of the quality of the material she produces – which I have never been persuaded to peruse very keenly – is nevertheless someone who treats writing with sincerity. It is her burning desire so to say, to get to know life in the rawest form – to grapple real life experiences to her soul with hoops of steel in the words of the bard. If you recall sir, it was this desire that made her function as a waitress when Mr. Little first made her acquaintance.”

“I remember quite well, Jeeves.”

“The two seminars I arranged to provide passes for dealt with two Booker Prize winning works of consecutive years. I might as well add here, sir, that the selection of the first of these two talks did not require a lot of thought on my part. Predictably, as is her custom these days, the author dealt little with her work and spoke mainly about waterworks and frontier politics of India along with their respective hindrances for the entire duration of the rather longwinded lecture. I assume that by the end of it, Ms. Banks started feeling slightly anxious to have something in the way of truly literary served to her. While I maintain my personal dubiousness regarding the literary value of the one solitary novel this prize winning lady has written, an aspiring and sincere writer in the audience would no doubt have been better served with a discussion on the book itself. However, her disappointment, as I had expected, was somewhat more pronounced in the second session.”

"The first was merely a trial gallop, Jeeves?"

"Precisely, sir."

"Softening her up for the sucker punch?"

"Yes, sir."

“Did the second involve the thin man she was so worked up about, Jeeves?”

“Yes, sir. The title of the novel was such that it would have raised the fantasy of any young lady who wants to look at life closely and, moreover, channel the experience into her writing.”

 “You interest me strangely, Jeeves. Wasn’t your bard all ballyhoo about there being but little in the name and that sort of thing?”

“The Swan of Avon indeed wisely ventured to say that the rose would continue to smell as sweet even when called by other names, sir. However, in this case the title consisted of one word, the name of a city which conjures up vivid images of life, music, canals, pretty little houses and, dare I say sin – both in physical and chemical manifestations.”

“I understand Jeeves.  Coffeehouses and windows with red drapes. In any young mind the name of the town undoubtedly generates unrestrained romantic visions, if one has not had the misfortune of being struck in the small of the back by a bicycle in those parts.”

“Indeed, sir. I am reasonably confident that Ms Banks has not been struck on the small of the back by a bicycle in those parts. Additionally, I had ascertained that the lady had not read the prize winning work yet. The booker, sir, was a rather new affliction for her. And it is not difficult to imagine that she had expected the author to paint the allures of the city in stark, realistic colours, with celebrated penmanship bringing the excitement of the metropolis gaily alive in the pages. Hence one can readily approximate her distress when she discovered that the novel does not move to the said city until the last few pages.”

“What? You mean to say that in spite of the name the action takes place elsewhere?”

“There is but little which can be strictly listed under the term action, sir, but it does indeed take place mostly in London before moving to the city after which it is named a few pages from the ending. Unfortunately, readers hoping for a final burst of speed along the streets of the most exciting city of the world remain disappointed.  Little happens there apart from the ending – in many senses of the word – with the author making some rather macabre use of the city’s other claim to fame regarding voluntary death. If I may venture a personal opinion, the conclusion of the book stretches the imagination with a rather morbid hand, but I did not complain as long as it definitively concluded the volume. The rest of the novel deals with the life of two rather pretentious middle aged personalities from the world of the fourth estate and music.”

“Sounds a little on the slow side for my tastes. Why the skulduggery with the name, Jeeves?”

“There must have been many academic discussions on the topic, sir, and I have not spent too much time ascertaining the correct facts. However, I cannot really ignore the suggestion that the lure of the colourful city would be temptation enough for many to purchase the volume based on the name alone.”

“Judging a book by its name rather than cover, eh Jeeves?”

“I’m sure you have come across similar instances, sir.”

I cast a sharp look at him, but the honest fellow's face was as inscrutable as ever.
“So her eyes opened, did they? Scales falling off and all that?”

“The results have proved most gratifying, sir. If you recall her own words, Ms Banks was abhorred by the possibility of becoming one of them who, if I deduced her opinion correctly from her somewhat ardent words of the time, wrote about life as if reality was secondary to their convoluted opinions. I daresay this will perhaps be the end of her booker ambitions. Her literary ideals, however, will perhaps be rejuvenated by what in the language of the sport of rifle shooting is technically known as recoil.”

I pondered on the stirring events that had taken place all day.
“A bit of luck the event taking place on this very day?”

“I would not say so, sir. It is my conjecture that Miss Banks developed her desire to be a Booker Prize winner on finding out very recently about this literary event and being unable to obtain a pass to the proceedings. Some of these forums are a trifle highbrow and tend to regulate the inflow of audience with a literary filter which they seem to exercise a divine prerogative to operate. Given such a situation, an impressionable young writer with a sense of self respect can indeed be driven to make a vow to be the next Booker winner. Till her unfortunate experiences at this seminar, I would assume she pursued a career of writing from a zeal for life and a passion for documenting it. I cannot really say with any degree of certainty that this was definitely how matters transpired, but I would be willing to wager a considerable sum on it.”

I had no such doubts. Don’t ask me how, but Jeeves knows. He always does. And I know that he knows.

“You are a marvel, Jeeves.”

“Thank you, sir. One endeavours to provide satisfaction.”

“So, there is no need to scurry down to Brussels or Geneva or Budapest at the moment?”

“Not unless you fancy a bracing change of air, sir.”

“Do you fancy a bracing change of air, Jeeves?”

“I would not really object to one, sir.”

“You got it Jeeves. Why don’t we go down to some place like, well, Amsterdam, Jeeves?”

“Very good, sir.”

No comments:

Post a Comment