Ask Jeeves

JULY / AUG 2011: BY CARISSA HORTON

jeeves

Have you ever noticed in life how some men are brilliant and others are just….not? The literary world is populated with such intense minds as Hercule Poirot, Sherlock Holmes, and even a more elegant class of man such as Rochester or Knightley. These men encourage fluttering feminine hearts and begrudging respect from male peers. Even now smiles spread across numerous faces as their names are merely read in fond retrospect.

Sadly, not every literary character is granted the significant admiration dealt to the keener minds of society. Some, in a word, are idiots.

However, in defense of one Bertram Wilberforce Wooster, it’s not really his fault he’s an idiot. That unpleasant trait developed at birth and can hardly be held against him. Although it does beg the question of just what happened to him? Was he dropped on his head as an infant? Fed a tad more honey than was good for him? Denied the company of responsible adults during his early childhood development? It’s quite impossible to determine the cause of his idiocy except to declare, loudly and fondly, that he is an idiot.

Luckily, Bertie is not one of those obnoxious idiots that prey willfully on unsuspecting persons and relieve them of 100 quid every so often with the intention of never repaying the debt. Why should he borrow from friends when Bertie himself is loaded? One might say leaving him a fortune was the kindest thing his parents could have done for him before departing this mortal coil. Heaven forbid it be doled out by the unbending will of his imposing Aunt Agatha. A more terrifying and solemn figure has never before graced the fictional page. If she were in control of his entailment Bertie might have found himself married the moment he left university to a nice, quiet, peaceful girl. Bertie awakes in a cold sweat from these types of nightmares.

As it happens, though, Bertie controls his own destiny. His finances are his own, so instead of borrowing money, he occasionally loans it out to any and every desperate chap he knows from his club activities. However, what idiots most require in all the world is someone to keep them on the path of righteousness. Or at the very least someone who can prevent said person from making a complete boob out of himself by becoming engaged to the wrong girl by accident.

In Bertie’s case, that someone is Jeeves.

One bleak morning when Bertie is barely capable of prying his eyelids open after imbibing far more than was good for him the night before, the doorbell to his flat rings. He answers and who should be standing there but the world’s perfect gentleman’s personal gentleman. Jeeves is no ordinary valet. He is one of those keenest minds of England that the world hears tell of, the Sherlock Holmes who lurks in kitchens and serves tea while fighting a grimace as his master bangs out “47 Ginger-headed Sailors” on the piano. He is a man of infinite patience and impeccable taste. As a bonus, Jeeves occasionally gets licks in when Bertie proves temperamental and obstinate. There’s a certain delight experienced by one and all when Bertie finds himself peddling 10 miles in the rain on a bicycle due to a gag of his own making. Children must learn from their mistakes, even after they’ve graduated from university. If there were a Hogwarts to instruct valets in their trade, Jeeves would have emerged as Prefect, at the least. Jeeves is the grain of sanity to balance Bertie’s tendency for disaster and mischief. What every idiot truly needs is a genius by his side. So is Jeeves to Bertie Wooster.

Oh certainly, there are rough patches here and there in their relationship, brought about by Bertie’s wayward desire to wear outlandish headgear and try his hand at performing with the trumpet, yet Jeeves and Wooster are destined to go through life together. Not even a 42nd street skimmer, in Jeeves’ mind the worst hat ever invented, could halt the master/servant relationship for long. One wonders just who is the master in the Wooster household? Jeeves gets his way in the end. Monogrammed hankies are burned, hats are given to charitable organizations, and white dinner jackets mysteriously vanish from cupboards. It is much like a dog owner cautiously ridding a prize Dachshund of ill-reputed habits.

A Master/Servant relationship? I think not. Whenever any problem arises either great or small Bertie knows immediately what must be done: it is time to ask Jeeves. ♥

julyaug2011

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Carissa Horton sews, knits, and writes. She works for Compassion International, which finds sponsors for third world children, and dreams of being an agent at a publishing house. She blogs about life, faith, relationships, and fandom in her free time.

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