Jeeves and Wooster (and Kimbo)


I was sitting up in bed sucking down the early morning cup of tea and reading over my night's work when there was a tap at the door and Jeeves appeared.
“A Mr Kim Beazley, sir, on the telephone.”
“Oh, dash it, Jeeves”, I said, “doesn't he know what time it is?”
“I can't say, sir. He presents his compliments and would be glad to know what progress you have made with the speech which you are writing for him.”
“Jeeves, can I call the Coalition `a bunch of drivelling old bastards' or mention them in connection with the eating habits of the western dung beetle?”
“That perhaps would not be in the proper vein, sir.”
“Then tell him it's finished.”
“Very good, sir.”
“And, Jeeves, when you're through, come back. I want you to cast your eye over this effort and give it the OK.”
I had bashed out the last page on the belly processor during the wee small hours and had sunk back, feeling more or less a spent force. After incredible sweat of the old brow, the thing seemed to be in pretty fair shape, and I had been reading it through and debating whether to bung in another paragraph at the end.
“Jeeves”, I said, when he came back, “I do believe I have rather extended myself over this little disquisition. There's a bit in there about a national vision I think you will like.”
He took the manuscript, pondered it and smiled a gentle, approving smile.
“There is much in what you say, sir.”
“Indeed there is! It's not every day a chap gets asked to reinvent the Labor Party.”
“No, sir. Breakfast is ready, sir.”
“Come off it, Jeeves. Don't you like it?”
“Oh, yes, sir.”
“Well, what don't you like about it?”
“It's a very nice speech, sir.”
“Well, what's wrong with it? Out with it, dammit!”
“If I might make a suggestion, sir. If one were to reinvent anything, one would have to change it.”
“What absolute rot!”
“Very good, sir.”
“Perfectly blithering, my dear man!”
“As you say, sir.”
“Jeeves”, I said, looking the blighter fair square in the eye, “I don't think you realise how serious this is.”
“Yes, sir.”
“We must cluster round.”
“Yes, sir.”
“It is time for all good men to come to the aid of the party.”
“If I might --”
“No, Jeeves”, I said, raising my hand, “argument is useless. Nobody has a greater respect than I for your judgment in socks, in ties and -- I will go further -- in foot apparel; but when it comes to politics, your nerve seems to fail you. You have no vision. You are prejudiced and reactionary. It may interest you to learn that the buzz in all the right places is of `new' Labor, new policies and whatnot. It's a rummy thing to be so harsh.”
I eyed him for a moment. But I mean to say. I mean, what's the use? These menials simply don't get it, what?

[From the Life of Riley Archive]


I have been back reading P.G. Wodehouse when it struck me that the master of literary farce has ennobled himself with me previously and I had been inspired to write the above. That it was published some time back makes for a jolly good joke as the exchange in question could happen today.
Reinvent the Labor Party! What tosh!
As far as I know his nibs, Wodehouse, who wrote one hundred published novels seldom touched on matters political. I fear he was of the conservative, very Toryish, vein.
However in his very best work -- The Code of the Woosters he alludes to Britain's fascists (circa 1930s) as " the Black Shorts." Good joke what! But hardly the stuff upon which one can build a manifesto.
He called his work instead "musical comedy without music". I guess that figures as he also wrote a few of the very same with.
But never was there a smiggin of chance that we could claim either he or his creations for the left. Look at Jeeves! Put upon like anything; smarter than his master; insightful and creative enough to save the day come any Wooster crisis -- but always ignoring the class divide that separated the muddle headed Bertie Wooster from his ever deferring manservant.
What a silly billy-- that Jeeves was !
I bet if I could have him to myself I'd be able to give him the rounds of the kitchen and tell him a thing or two about class and exploitation and all that Das Kapital stuff, I'd bring him around
I'd say, "Jeeves! Get a hold of yourself! This isn't a time for a stiff upper lip!"
And he'd say, "Yes , sir."
"You can't help yourself Jeeves, can you?"
""Sir?"
"You're just a pillar of the Establishment!"
"I aim to please, sir."

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