Blog-a-Book: Jeeves in the Offing II or Maybe III
|by Kim Moreland|
In a previous post, I told the story of my abysmal failure at using the “Dog Whisperer’s” technique to show the dog who the leader was. This past weekend I went again to visit Papa Moreland and his doggies. Only this time I wasn’t so certain of my ability to use the “Dog Whisperer” techniques, so with a more cautious manner, I approached the moose of a Labrador retriever, Luke, whom I’ve given the sobriquet The Brat.
Before I could begin my second doggie psychology therapy session, Papa put Luke outside. Oh how I squirmed -- my limited time was being eaten away with (enjoyable) people conversation! Finally, the pressure became too great, and I made a break from the humans to venture outdoors to “chat” with The Brat.
The Brat’s got the command to “sit” down pretty well, but he doesn’t stay there—he edges ever closer to his target—in this case me and my “petting” hand. I thought I had things under “Whisper” control, which was especially important because The Brat had just been cavorting in a muddy yard. My intension was to pay attention to him, make him mind, and also keep him from ruining my outfit. I saw him edging my way so I decided to try the Whisperer’s mommy-hand-to-the-side-of-the-throat technique to keep the 100-pound Brattling in his place, but lickety-split he sidled up to me and soon I was covered in red.
To be brutally honest, Round II once again went to that big beautiful black-coated Brat. For a second, I titled my ear toward heaven wondering if I heard the tinkle of laughter, but no, it must have been the wind.
This event brought to my mind one scene in Jeeves in the Offing which includes a dachshund named Poppet, a cat named Augustus, a human named Upjohn, and a lake.
Bertie Wooster’s mishaps are funny, and the master of funniness himself, P. G. Woodhose, word-paints vivid scenes. If you remember from my last post, despite Bertie’s better judgment, he goes along with almost any harebrained scheme to help his family and friends.
The scene I’m referring to even has a code name: Operation Upjohn. Before I explain the operation, I should mention that Upjohn was Bertie's and his long-time friend Kipper’s mean and disagreeable former prep-school headmaster. Kipper wrote and published a stinging review of Upjohn's dismal attempt at writing, but before the review went to print Kipper’s love, the red-headed menace Roberta “Bobbie” Wickham, edited it. The review went from merely stinging to libelous.
One of the novel’s characters suggested a scheme involving Bertie, Roberta, and Kipper. After Bertie accidentally-on-purpose pushed Upjohn into the lake, Kipper was to resuce him, thereby making Upjohn so beholden to Kipper that he would drop his libel suit.
This “ill-advised” scheme was fraught with peril from the start. All the main characters were in place, along with a couple of extras, Augustus the cat and Poppet the dog; however, the unsuspecting character weren’t cooperating. Before Bertie could push Upjohn into the lake, Upjohn marched off the scene. The extras were still in the scene and cats and dogs being what they are…well.
Seeing Augustus, [Poppet] halted in mid-stride, smiled broadly, turned his ears inside out, stuck his tail straight up at right angles to the parent body and bounded forward, barking merrily….[Augustus] spat peevishly, there was a sharp yelp, and something long and brown came shooting between my legs, precipitating itself and me into the depths. The waters closed about me, and for an instant I knew no more.
Oh, poor Bertie Wooster.
Operation Upjohn failed, but it sure was fun to read.