Jeeves in the Springtime

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"Jeeves in the Springtime" is a short story by P. G. Wodehouse. It was first published in the December 1921 edition of Strand Magazine in two parts, "Jeeves Exerts the Old Cerebellum" and "No Wedding Bells for Bingo", and appeared in the same format when first published in a book, The Inimitable Jeeves, in 1923. However, since the plot of the first story concludes in the second, the two are often published as a single story.

Plot summary[edit]

"Jeeves Exerts the Old Cerebellum"[edit]

Bertie Wooster awakens one spring morning in high spirits, and announces to Jeeves, his valet:

"In the spring, Jeeves, a livelier iris gleams upon the burnish'd dove."
"So I have been informed, sir."

He thereupon departs for the park, where he encounters Bingo Little, a friend from his school days, adorned with a hideous deep-red satin tie decorated with horseshoes.

"My God, man!" I gargled. "The cravat! The gent's neckwear! Why? For what reason?"

Bingo replies embarrassingly that he was given it. The pair stroll along and sit on chairs by the water, where Bingo enquires whether Bertie likes the name Mabel. He does not, and says so, but realizes immediately that Bingo has fallen in love, as he does perpetually, and most often in the springtime. Bingo suggests that Bertie meet Mabel for lunch "near the Ritz".

They end up in a tea-and-bun shop about fifty yards east of the Ritz Hotel, where Bertie wonders why Bingo, who is moderately wealthy, would have chosen such an eatery. Presently a waitress arrives, and Bingo bewilders Bertie by preparing to order without waiting for Mabel to arrive; but, upon seeing Bingo's lovestruck gaze, Bertie realizes that the waitress is Mabel. Bingo introduces her to Bertie, and points out to her that he is wearing the tie she had given him. She replies that it suits him nicely, at which Bertie is surprised:

Personally, if anyone had told me that a tie like that suited me, I should have risen and struck them on the mazzard, regardless of their age and sex.

Bingo orders cocoa, cold veal and ham pie, a slice of fruitcake, and a macaroon; Bertie, having known Bingo "in happier days" to prefer sole frit au gourmet aux champignons, disgustedly orders rolls and butter. After Mabel leaves, Bingo reveals that he met her at a Subscription dance in Camberwell, at which he also saw Jeeves "swinging a dashed efficient shoe". After the food arrives, Bingo asks Bertie's advice on how to present the matter of his marrying a waitress to his wealthy and upper-class uncle, on whom he is financially dependent. When Bertie offers no help, Bingo proposes to ask Jeeves, which Bertie does after dinner.

Jeeves is acquainted with Mr. Mortimer Little, Bingo's uncle, who lives in Pounceby Gardens, because he has "an understanding" with Mr. Little's cook, a Miss Watson. Little, a gourmet, relies heavily on Miss Watson's services. Jeeves suggests that Bingo offer to read to his uncle, who is bedridden due to an attack of gout. He has an aunt who owns an almost-complete set of novels by Rosie M. Banks, in which "marriage with young persons of an inferior social status is held up as both feasible and admirable.

Here concludes "Jeeves Exerts the Old Cerebellum"; the story continues into "No Wedding Bells for Bingo".

"No Wedding Bells for Bingo"[edit]

Bingo reports to Bertie three days later that the scheme appears to be working, as he has finished reading All for Love, A Red, Red Summer Rose, Madcap Myrtle, Only a Factory Girl, and half of The Courtship of Lord Strathmorick. Bingo reveals that he has a final idea which he is sure will clinch the matter, but will not reveal what it is.

The following week, Bingo returns, bringing the news that his uncle's gout has subsided, and that he wishes very much to dine with Bertie. Bertie, though baffled since Mr. Little has never heard of him, agrees to spring the news of his nephew's marriage and to request that Mr. Little double his allowance.

The next day, he arrives at No. 16 Pounceby Gardens, where the exceedingly corpulent Mr. Little expresses his delight and honour at meeting someone who has accomplished so much at such a young age. The maid informs Bertie, ever the more puzzled, that there is a phone call for him; it is Bingo, who tells him that he has told his uncle that Rosie M. Banks is Bertie's pen name.

He returns to lunch with Mr. Little, who praises "his" work, while Bertie replies awkwardly, and realizes that Jeeves's scheme has worked exactly as intended. When Little quotes a passage from Only a Factory Girl – "Be her origin ne'er so humble, a good woman is the equal of the finest lady on earth!" – and assures Bertie of his complete belief in it, Bertie tells him of his nephew's intention to marry a waitress, for which Mr. Little honours him. However, he refuses to raise his nephew's allowance, claiming that he will need the money in married life, and announces his engagement to Miss Watson, his cook.

Bertie returns home and reports to Jeeves the heavy news – that his fiancée has become engaged to Mr. Little. Jeeves is unsurprised: he had anticipated the event, and in fact has another "understanding" with another young lady whom he met at a Subscription dance in Camberwell - by coincidence, the same young lady whom Bingo loves. The story concludes as Jeeves places Bertie's cigarettes on a table and bids him good night.

Adaptations[edit]

The stories were adapted in the Jeeves and Wooster episode Wooster with a Wife, the sixth and final episode of the second series, which first aired in the UK on 19 May 1991.

External links[edit]