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|Right Ho, Jeeves||P. G. Wodehouse|
|Page 3 of 13||
"A bit elaborate," I said, trying to put the thing in as kindly a light as possible. "Your old failing. You can see that it's a bit elaborate?"
"Possibly the plan I suggested might be considered open to that criticism, sir, but faute de mieux----"
"I don't get you, Jeeves."
"A French expression, sir, signifying 'for want of anything better'."
A moment before, I had been feeling for this wreck of a once fine thinker nothing but a gentle pity. These words jarred the Wooster pride, inducing asperity.
"I understand perfectly well what faute de mieux means, Jeeves. I did not recently spend two months among our Gallic neighbours for nothing. Besides, I remember that one from school. What caused my bewilderment was that you should be employing the expression, well knowing that there is no bally faute de mieux about it at all. Where do you get that faute-de-mieux stuff? Didn't I tell you I had everything taped out?"
"Yes, sir, but----"
"What do you mean--but?"
"Push on, Jeeves. I am ready, even anxious, to hear your views."
"Well, sir, if I may take the liberty of reminding you of it, your plans in the past have not always been uniformly successful."
There was a silence--rather a throbbing one--during which I put on my waistcoat in a marked manner. Not till I had got the buckle at the back satisfactorily adjusted did I speak.
"It is true, Jeeves," I said formally, "that once or twice in the past I may have missed the bus. This, however, I attribute purely to bad luck."
"On the present occasion I shall not fail, and I'll tell you why I shall not fail. Because my scheme is rooted in human nature."
"It is simple. Not elaborate. And, furthermore, based on the psychology of the individual."
"Jeeves," I said, "don't keep saying 'Indeed, sir?' No doubt nothing is further from your mind than to convey such a suggestion, but you have a way of stressing the 'in' and then coming down with a thud on the 'deed' which makes it virtually tantamount to 'Oh, yeah?' Correct this, Jeeves."
"Very good, sir."
"I tell you I have everything nicely lined up. Would you care to hear what steps I have taken?"
"Very much, sir."
"Then listen. Tonight at dinner I have recommended Tuppy to lay off the food."
"Tut, Jeeves, surely you can follow the idea, even though it is one that would never have occurred to yourself. Have you forgotten that telegram I sent to Gussie Fink-Nottle, steering him away from the sausages and ham? This is the same thing. Pushing the food away untasted is a universally recognized sign of love. It cannot fail to bring home the gravy. You must see that?"
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|Right Ho, Jeeves
P. G. Wodehouse
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