"Jeeves," I said, throwing myself into my favourite armchair, "Get me a brandy and soda."
"Very good, sir," he replied. There was a certain froideur — is froideur the word I want? — in his voice, but I put that down to the rather sprightly blazer I was wearing. When it comes to blazers, Jeeves' taste has an unfortunate inclination to the hidebound.
Having imbibed the b. and s., which revived me like rain upon the mown grass, I gave tongue once more.
"Jeeves, I'm engaged to Lady Cynthia Bardolph-Douglas."
"Indeed, sir? Permit me to offer my respectful congratulations. The match is most advantageous."
"Don't be an ass, man!" I remonstrated. "You know what she's like. All she ever talks about is that bally outdoor living nonsense. Health and fitness and sports and all that jazz. She made it abundantly clear to me that from the marriage day onward I'd be up with the lark and the curlew to play tennis. Have you ever seen that woman play tennis, Jeeves?"
"I do not believe I have had that privilege, sir."
"Oh, you'd remember it if you had. And if you'd been within half a mile of the court you couldn't have helped hearing her. And when she's beaten you six-love, six-love, the way she laughs... it's more than flesh and blood could bear, Jeeves." I made a despairing gesture. "What is it about a chap that makes these Amazons latch onto him? As if Heloise and that dreadful cousin of hers weren't enough."
"I could not say, sir."
"And she said I'd have to give up drinking! Well, I'm bally well not putting up with that."
I directed a hawk-like optic at him.
"Jeeves, this is unworthy of you. You know perfectly well what I require. Why are you not exerting every cell of that brain of yours to get me out of this mess?"
"If I might venture a suggestion, sir, you need only tell the young lady that, on sober reflection, you wish to retract a rash promise made in the heat of the moment."
"Yes, and be cut off with sixpence by my father. No, Jeeves, it will not do."
"Then perhaps the young lady—"
"Jeeves, I am tired of this shilly-shallying. There was none of this when we relieved the Countess of Attenbury of her necklace, or when we poisoned the Duke of Beaumont's prize geraniums. If you refuse to help me because of my perfectly reasonable choice of summer garments, say so at once, and we shall know where we stand."
"I was merely going to suggest, sir, that if you were planning to move to extreme measures against the young lady, it would be prudent to wait until after the marriage, when, in the event of an accident, her fortune—"
I had had enough of this. The family spirit of the FitzCormorants came once more to the fore.
"Jeeves," I declared, "I do not have the time for such mealy-mouthed procrastination— or do I mean prevarication? Anyway, I have no intention of listening to that woman's laugh for however long it takes to get us married. I shall manage this case myself and dispose of her within the week."
"If I might remark, sir—"
"No, Jeeves, you may not. My mind is settled, and further argument is useless. The world shall see that I am not a man to be ignored."
He coughed politely. "Indeed not, sir."