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Published by aravindpunna

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Published by: aravindpunna on Jan 10, 2013
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Jeeves and the Chump Cyril
You know, the longer I live, the more clearly I see that half the trouble in this bally world is caused by the light-hearted and thoughtless way in which chappies dash off letters of introduction and hand them to other chappiesto deliver to chappies of the third part. It's one of those things that make you wish you were living in the StoneAge. What I mean to say is, if a fellow in those days wanted to give anyone a letter of introduction, he had tospend a month or so carving it on a large-sized boulder, and the chances were that the other chappie got so sick of lugging the thing round in the hot sun that he dropped it after the first mile. But nowadays it's so easy to writeletters of introduction that everybody does it without a second thought, with the result that some perfectlyharmless cove like myself gets in the soup.Mark you, all the above is what you might call the result of my riper experience. I don't mind admitting that inthe first flush of the thing, so to speak, when Jeeves told me--this would be about three weeks after I'd landed inAmerica--that a blighter called Cyril Bassington-Bassington had arrived and I found that he had brought a letterof introduction to me from Aunt Agatha ... where was I? Oh, yes ... I don't mind admitting, I was saying, that just at first I was rather bucked. You see, after the painful events which had resulted in my leaving England Ihadn't expected to get any sort of letter from Aunt Agatha which would pass the censor, so to speak. And it wasa pleasant surprise to open this one and find it almost civil. Chilly, perhaps, in parts, but on the whole quitetolerably polite. I looked on the thing as a hopeful sign. Sort of olive-branch, you know. Or do I mean orangeblossom? What I'm getting at is that the fact that Aunt Agatha was writing to me without calling me namesseemed, more or less, like a step in the direction of peace.And I was all for peace, and that right speedily. I'm not saying a word against New York, mind you. I liked theplace, and was having quite a ripe time there. But the fact remains that a fellow who's been used to London allhis life does get a trifle homesick on a foreign strand, and I wanted to pop back to the cosy old flat in BerkeleyStreet--which could only be done when Aunt Agatha had simmered down and got over the Glossop episode. Iknow that London is a biggish city, but, believe me, it isn't half big enough for any fellow to live in with AuntAgatha when she's after him with the old hatchet. And so I'm bound to say I looked on this chump Bassington-Bassington, when he arrived, more or less as a Dove of Peace, and was all for him.He would seem from contemporary accounts to have blown in one morning at seven-forty-five, that being theghastly sort of hour they shoot you off the liner in New York. He was given the respectful raspberry by Jeeves,and told to try again about three hours later, when there would be a sporting chance of my having sprung frommy bed with a glad cry to welcome another day and all that sort of thing. Which was rather decent of Jeeves, bythe way, for it so happened that there was a slight estrangement, a touch of coldness, a bit of a row in otherwords, between us at the moment because of some rather priceless purple socks which I was wearing against hiswishes: and a lesser man might easily have snatched at the chance of getting back at me a bit by loosing Cyrilinto my bedchamber at a moment when I couldn't have stood a two-minutes' conversation with my dearest pal.For until I have had my early cup of tea and have brooded on life for a bit absolutely undisturbed, I'm not muchof a lad for the merry chit-chat.So Jeeves very sportingly shot Cyril out into the crisp morning air, and didn't let me know of his existence tillhe brought his card in with the Bohea."And what might all this be, Jeeves?" I said, giving the thing the glassy gaze."The gentleman has arrived from England, I understand, sir. He called to see you earlier in the day.""Good Lord, Jeeves! You don't mean to say the day starts earlier than this?""He desired me to say he would return later, sir."
"I've never heard of him. Have you ever heard of him, Jeeves?""I am familiar with the name Bassington-Bassington, sir. There are three branches of the Bassington-Bassingtonfamily--the Shropshire Bassington-Bassingtons, the Hampshire Bassington-Bassingtons, and the KentBassington-Bassingtons.""England seems pretty well stocked up with Bassington-Bassingtons.""Tolerably so, sir.""No chance of a sudden shortage, I mean, what?""Presumably not, sir.""And what sort of a specimen is this one?""I could not say, sir, on such short acquaintance.""Will you give me a sporting two to one, Jeeves, judging from what you have seen of him, that this chappie isnot a blighter or an excrescence?""No, sir. I should not care to venture such liberal odds.""I knew it. Well, the only thing that remains to be discovered is what kind of a blighter he is.""Time will tell, sir. The gentleman brought a letter for you, sir.""Oh, he did, did he?" I said, and grasped the communication. And then I recognised the handwriting. "I say,Jeeves, this is from my Aunt Agatha!""Indeed, sir?""Don't dismiss it in that light way. Don't you see what this means? She says she wants me to look after thisexcrescence while he's in New York. By Jove, Jeeves, if I only fawn on him a bit, so that he sends back afavourable report to head-quarters, I may yet be able to get back to England in time for Goodwood. Now iscertainly the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party, Jeeves. We must rally round and cosset thiscove in no uncertain manner.""Yes, sir.""He isn't going to stay in New York long," I said, taking another look at the letter. "He's headed for Washington.Going to give the nibs there the once-over, apparently, before taking a whirl at the Diplomatic Service. I shouldsay that we can win this lad's esteem and affection with a lunch and a couple of dinners, what?""I fancy that should be entirely adequate, sir.""This is the jolliest thing that's happened since we left England. It looks to me as if the sun were breakingthrough the clouds.""Very possibly, sir."
He started to put out my things, and there was an awkward sort of silence."Not those socks, Jeeves," I said, gulping a bit but having a dash at the careless, off-hand tone. "Give me thepurple ones.""I beg your pardon, sir?""Those jolly purple ones.""Very good, sir."He lugged them out of the drawer as if he were a vegetarian fishing a caterpillar out of the salad. You could seehe was feeling deeply. Deuced painful and all that, this sort of thing, but a chappie has got to assert himself every now and then. Absolutely.
* * * * * * *
I was looking for Cyril to show up again any time after breakfast, but he didn't appear: so towards one o'clock Itrickled out to the Lambs Club, where I had an appointment to feed the Wooster face with a cove of the name oCaffyn I'd got pally with since my arrival--George Caffyn, a fellow who wrote plays and what not. I'd made alot of friends during my stay in New York, the city being crammed with bonhomous lads who one and allextended a welcoming hand to the stranger in their midst.Caffyn was a bit late, but bobbed up finally, saying that he had been kept at a rehearsal of his new musicalcomedy, "Ask Dad"; and we started in. We had just reached the coffee, when the waiter came up and said thatJeeves wanted to see me.Jeeves was in the waiting-room. He gave the socks one pained look as I came in, then averted his eyes."Mr. Bassington-Bassington has just telephoned, sir.""Oh?""Yes, sir.""Where is he?""In prison, sir."I reeled against the wallpaper. A nice thing to happen to Aunt Agatha's nominee on his first morning under mywing, I did
think!"In prison!""Yes, sir. He said on the telephone that he had been arrested and would be glad if you could step round and bailhim out.""Arrested! What for?""He did not favour me with his confidence in that respect, sir.""This is a bit thick, Jeeves."

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