She sprang it on me before breakfast. There in seven words you have a complete character sketch of my Aunt Agatha. I could go on indefinitely about brutality and lack of consideration. I merely say that she routed me out of bed to listen to her painful story somewhere in the small hours. I knew Aunt Agatha well enough to know that, if she had come to see me, she was going to see me. She was sitting bolt upright in a chair, staring into space.
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There in seven words you have a complete character sketch of my Aunt Agatha. I could go on indefinitely about brutality and lack of consideration. I merely say that she routed me out of bed to listen to her painful story somewhere in the small hours.
I knew Aunt Agatha well enough to know that, if she had come to see me, she was going to see me. She was sitting bolt upright in a chair, staring into space. When I came in she looked at me in that darn critical way that always makes me feel as if I had gelatine where my spine ought to be.
Aunt Agatha is one of those strong-minded women. I should think Queen Elizabeth must have been something like her. She bosses her husband, Spencer Gregson, a battered little chappie on the Stock Exchange.
She bosses my cousin, Gussie Mannering-Phipps. And, worst of all, she bosses me. She has an eye like a man-eating fish, and she has got moral suasion down to a fine point. My experience is that when Aunt Agatha wants you to do a thing you do it, or else you find yourself wondering why those fellows in the olden days made such a fuss when they had trouble with the Spanish Inquisition.
You look perfectly dissipated. I said so. I had breakfast three hours ago, and have been walking in the park ever since, trying to compose my thoughts. That is why I have come to you.
But she had begun before I could get it. I mean, have you any important engagements in the next week or so? Booked solid! You have no engagements. Very well, then, I want you to start immediately for America. I suppose even you have heard of America? But, as the creatures never seemed to lose their heads over him, it had never amounted to much. You know how wickedly extravagant your Uncle Cuthbert was.
Nobody was fonder of old Uncle Cuthbert than I was, but everybody knows that, where money was concerned, he was the most complete chump in the annals of the nation. He had an expensive thirst. He had a system of beating the bank at Monte Carlo which used to make the administration hang out the bunting and ring the joy-bells when he was sighted in the offing. Beechwood requires a great deal of keeping up, and poor dear Spencer, though he does his best to help, has not unlimited resources.
It was clearly understood why Gussie went to America. He is not clever, but he is very good-looking, and, though he has no title, the Mannering-Phippses are one of the best and oldest families in England. He had some excellent letters of introduction, and when he wrote home to say that he had met the most charming and beautiful girl in the world I felt quite happy. He continued to rave about her for several mails, and then this morning a letter has come from him in which he says, quite casually as a sort of afterthought, that he knows we are broadminded enough not to think any the worse of her because she is on the vaudeville stage.
What this degraded performance may be I have not the least notion. Who she may be, and how or why, and who or what Mr Mosenstein may be, I cannot tell you.
A sort of fate, what? Heredity, and so forth. She was playing in pantomime at Drury Lane when Uncle Cuthbert saw her first. Women adapt themselves so quickly! I have a pal who married Daisy Trimble of the Gaiety, and when I meet her now I feel like walking out of her presence backwards.
Gussie had vaudeville blood in him, and it looked as if he were reverting to type, or whatever they call it. There is one head of the family who is certainly not going to do it, and that is Gussie. And you are going to America to stop him. You are too vexing, Bertie. Have you no sort of feeling for the family? If you require another reason, you are going because I ask you as a personal favour. She held me with her glittering eye. I have never met anyone who can give a better imitation of the Ancient Mariner.
You go out of a barn and down some stairs, and there you are, right in among it. The only possible objection any reasonable chappie could find to the place is that they loose you into it from the boat at such an ungodly hour.
I pleaded with them to think again, and they thought again, but it was no good. No Augustus Mannering-Phipps on the premises. I admit I was hard hit. There I was alone in a strange city and no signs of Gussie. What was the next step? However, some instinct took me through a door at the back of the lobby, and I found myself in a large room with an enormous picture stretching across the whole of one wall, and under the picture a counter, and behind the counter divers chappies in white, serving drinks.
Rum idea! I put myself unreservedly into the hands of one of the white chappies. He was a friendly soul, and I told him the whole state of affairs. I asked him what he thought would meet the case. He said this was what rabbits trained on when they were matched against grizzly bears, and there was only one instance on record of the bear having lasted three rounds.
So I tried a couple, and, by Jove! As I drained the second a great load seemed to fall from my heart, and I went out in quite a braced way to have a look at the city. I was surprised to find the streets quite full. People were bustling along as if it were some reasonable hour and not the grey dawn. Going to business or something, I take it. Wonderful johnnies! A kind of zip, as it were. The name on the door was Abe Riesbitter, Vaudeville Agent, and from the other side of the door came the sound of many voices.
He turned and stared at me. What on earth are you doing? Where have you sprung from? When did you arrive? They had never heard of you. I call myself George Wilson. You feel a perfect ass. So I congratulated him. It looks a rummy spot. I never saw such a crowded place in my life. The room was packed till the walls bulged. Gussie explained. If you do grab Abe, remember that he knows me as George Wilson. There was the deuce of a rush for him, but Gussie had got away to a good start, and the rest of the singers, dancers, jugglers, acrobats, and refined sketch teams seemed to recognize that he had won the trick, for they ebbed back into their places again, and Gussie and I went into the inner room.
Mr Riesbitter lit a cigar, and looked at us solemnly over his zareba of chins. Mr Riesbitter mused for a moment and shelled the cuspidor with indirect fire over the edge of the desk. Take it or leave it. What do you say? He was before our time, but I remember hearing about him--Joe Danby.
He used to be well known in London before he came over to America. Well, you remember at Oxford I could always sing a song pretty well; so Ray got hold of old Riesbitter and made him promise to come and hear me rehearse and get me bookings if he liked my work.
She stands high with him. She coached me for weeks, the darling. The effects of the restoratives supplied by my pal at the hotel bar were beginning to work off, and I felt a little weak. Through a sort of mist I seemed to have a vision of Aunt Agatha hearing that the head of the Mannering-Phippses was about to appear on the vaudeville stage. The Mannering-Phippses were an old-established clan when William the Conqueror was a small boy going round with bare legs and a catapult.
So what Aunt Agatha would say--beyond saying that it was all my fault--when she learned the horrid news, it was beyond me to imagine. Something tells me I need one now. And excuse me for one minute, Gussie. I want to send a cable.
The Man With Two Left Feet/Extricating Young Gussie
There in seven words you have a complete character sketch of my Aunt Agatha. I could go on indefinitely about brutality and lack of consideration. I merely say that she routed me out of bed to listen to her painful story somewhere in the small hours. I knew Aunt Agatha well enough to know that, if she had come to see me, she was going to see me. She was sitting bolt upright in a chair, staring into space.
Extricating Young Gussie
Start your review of Extricating Young Gussie Write a review Shelves: short-stories , humor , rfp-breakfast-club Extricating Young Gussie is an entertaining short story that was first published in The Saturday Evening Post in Gussie has fallen in love with someone quite unsuitable in New York City. The story is humorous, and it was fun to see where the Jeeves and Bertie stories started. Jul 02, Cheryl rated it really liked it Delightfully funny short story. Jul 26, Karan Mathur rated it really liked it This is the first, and thankfully by no means the last, short story of the Bertie-Jeeves series. It predominantly revolves around Bertie Jeeves being confined to a tertiary character , an unabashedly idle rich Englishman who travels to New York, to rescue his cousin from committing something which could greatly upset their uptight Aunt and tarnish the family name and honour, or so she believes. This is Brit Humour at its finest and the private musings of Bertie, interspersed amongst the This is the first, and thankfully by no means the last, short story of the Bertie-Jeeves series.
The elder is Archie, a most exemplary young man. He has just gone into business with the 20 merchant uncle and bids fair to be an honor to his family. The other, with the eyeglasses and no gloves, is Mac, the odd one, just out of college. As 30 it swung slowly around to enter the dock, a boyish voice shouted, "There she is! I see her and Uncle and Phebe! Hooray for Cousin Rose!