Other Fan Fiction ❯ Cuckoo Clearing ❯ Chapter 1

[ T - Teen: Not suitable for readers under 13 ]

Cuckoo Clearing

My faithful readers, since I, Bertram Wooster Lord Yaxley, got engaged to Honourable Penelope Windermere, never ever have I regretted my decision even once. She had, on one occasion, but that was only a misunderstanding. Since Bunty, so her nearest And dearest call her, saved me from a false accusation of theft, I was deeply attached to her, And that attachment turned into love. Our engagement was fictive at first, a smokescreen to get my dread Aunt Agatha, Lady Worplesdon en secondes noces, off my case to marry some awful beazel. But since I saw Bunty in Brinkley Court in a burgundy dress with full skirt And draped collar, with a thread of pearls around her neck, drop shaped emerald And Pearl earrings in her ears And White gloves on her dainty hands, I fell in love with her, so after a walk in the park I kissed her gently And was overjoyed that she was only too glad about that. Since then our engagement was real. I took her for long walks, embraced And kissed her at every possible occasion, And we talked about mystery novels, music And sports. Bunty is a girl after my own heart, And she says I'm a chap after her heart too. So everything is just splendid And boomps a daisy.  Bunty visits me at my place, Berkeley Mansions, Berkeley Square, very often, I play the latest jazz tunes to her, to which she listens avidly. Jeeves, my man, a most clever chap who helped Bunty And her friend Father Brown to get my name cleared, watches us with a half smile, busying himself about his domestic duties. So one of these days, in early February, I was playing and singing Putting on the Ritz, Bunty was listening to me with a broad smile, And Jeeves was watching us with a slight smile as he was dusting my furniture. As I finished with a flourish And smiled broadly to Bunty, she looked at me thoughtfully.

'Bertie, what do you say about spending St Valentine's Day in this Manor of yours, Yaxley?' she asked grinning.

'Oh, that's a wonderful idea, old girl!' I smiled broadly to her. 'It's being kept in order, we only need to bring our belongings there.'

'Good,' Bunty smiled broadly. 'So, let's go there on the 13th, all right?'

'Right ho,' I nodded grinning.

So far so good, right? If only I foresaw all the bally rannygazoo that would ensue when we would get to Yaxley! But I had Bunty by my side all that time, And of course, my loyal man Jeeves, so it could have been much worse if you think about it.

It all started perfectly well, of course. On the morning of February 13th Bunty called me, asking to pick her up when she comes to my place. I hanged up And told Jeeves to be ready. He only nodded calmly, he has packed our things already, of course. I was all on tenterhooks, of course, waiting for my beloved fiancée to call in. At last after what seemed an eternity and a half, the doorbell rang. Jeeves came to the door And asked who it was. On hearing the answer he threw the door wide open, announcing, 'Honourable Miss Windermere, my Lord.' And Bunty floated in, lovely in a sleek dark blue dress with pencil skirt, heart shaped pleated bodice, long tight sleeves with high shoulders And a narrow belt. There was a little blue hat on her head, a thread of pearls around her neck, a black fur stole around her shoulders, White gloves on her hands with an elegant watch over the left one, And on her feet were little black pumps. She smiled radiantly to me.

'Hello Bertie dear!'

'What ho, Bunty old thing,' I smiled broadly to her. 'How are you?'

'Just swell, thanks,' she smiled broadly. 'Now let's get going?'

'Absolutely, old thing,' I smiled broadly And offered my hand to her. She took it gently. 

Jeeves went to my bedroom And returned carrying suitcases with our things. We left my flat, Bunty And I arm in arm, Jeeves following us like a shadow. We descended in the lift to where Bunty's red two seater was stationed, with Bunty's maid, Susie, a nice girl, sitting in it. My car was parked nearby. Jeeves got our belongings into my red two seater.

'Jeeves, I'll go in my car with Miss Windermere, And you go in their car with Susie, will you?' I asked gently.

'Of course, my Lord,' Jeeves nodded calmly.

I jumped into my car And offered my hand to Bunty. She accepted it smiling broadly And got in too. Jeeves got into Bunty's car And proffered his hand to Susie politely, she got in too. I grinned And started my car, Jeeves at the Same time starting the other car. 

We went through the very center of the metropolis, Berkeley Street, Piccadilly and St James Street with their majestic houses, restaurants, shops And hotels, Pall Mall with it's numerous clubs, passed by Trafalgar Square with it's famous Nelson Column And two fountains in one of which Gussie Fink-Nottle once tried to swim, being substantially sozzled. Then along Northumberland Avenue, turning to the Victoria Embankment by lovely Whitehall Gardens, by the  lovely Victoria Embankment Gardens And the Cleopatra's Needle by the Thames, by some other gardens, King's College And Temple Gardens, then digressing from the river by the Upper And Lower Thames Street by some wharfs, then by that majestic fortress, the Tower, and by the Statue of Emperor  Trajan on the left. Then by some docks on the right And gardens on the left, by the striking  St George's Church in St George's Gardens, then onto Commercial Road And West India Dock Road among some gardens And boring docks, then onto Aspen Way, by Newnham Way And Alfred's Way through deep suburbs, and then out of London into the Green Fields, forests And groves. We passed lovely towns like Chelmsford, Colchester and Ipswich, some roadside pubs with names like Walnut Tree or White Horse, And some manors. Bunty looked at the landscapes with sparkling eyes, I smiled broadly to her. At last, after nearly three hours of driving, I saw sign that said, 'Yaxley'. 

'Well, near the finish at last, aren't we, old thing?' I smiled broadly. 

'It seems so, Yeah,' Bunty smiled broadly. 

We passed the Bull Auberge, an old black wooden Inn with red pointed tile roofs. I remembered it was at some distance from the village itself. And sure enough, we had to pass some more Fields before we saw clumps of  trees And some houses in little groups. Soon we were surrounded by lovely little houses, trees, hedges And Green grassy slopes.

'What a lovely little village, Bertie!' Bunty smiled broadly as we passed by more little houses with red or Gray tiled roofs And among lush trees.

'Absolutely, old thing,' I smiled broadly, continuing straight ahead. We passed some lanes looking like dead ends, And then came to St Mary's Church, a sturdy Gothic building wirh a square belfry, pointed slate roof And ornate arched windows. It was standing on a Green hill above the road, among trees And old tombstones.

'Lovely church,' Bunty smiled gently. 

'Yeah, old girl,' I smiled. 'Now I feel we ought to ask for directions so that we don't go astray, what?'

'Yeah, that's reasonable enough, Bertie,' Bunty nodded smiling.

I nodded And stopped my car. I waited till a man passed by, And called him.

'What ho! Can you please tell me the way to Yaxley Manor?'

He, a stout man in a brown tweed cap, Gray jacket And brown trousers, stopped, looked at us And scratched his head.

'Axley Manor? Neoo, yer goo back And take ted ten aleft, then goo stroit till yer see groove aroit, and goo doon Path through groove, And yer come-a Axley Manor Hoose.'

Well, I couldn't make head or tail of his explanation, so I turned to Jeeves. 'Jeeves, can you understand him?'

'Certainly, my Lord,' my faithful man answered at once. 'He said you should go back, then take third turn to the left, then go straight till you come to a Grove, then take a Path through the Grove, And you'll come to the Yaxley Manor House.'

'Oh, really?' I frowned. 'Well, thanks awfully, my good man!'

'Yer welcome, m'lord,' the aborigine smiled broadly And went about his business.

'Let's go see the church, Bertie,' Bunty asked gently.

'Oh of course, old thing,' I smiled broadly, jumped out of my car And offered my hand to Bunty. She  took it And alighted too. Arm in arm we went to the church through the old graveyard and entered it through an ornate carved portal. Once inside, we saw tall vibrant stained glass windows, a finely carved rood screen, dark wooden carved pulpit And a curious object over the door, looking like a dark double metal wheel with a centre like a daisy And things like petals on the inner ring, eight spikes, And six threads tied to the inner ring And some spikes.

'I say, what's that wheel thing?' I asked curiously. 

'Oh, it's a Sexton's Wheel, Bertie,' Bunty explained gently. 'In olden days, if someone wanted to fast in the honour of Virgin Mary, they consulted the Sexton to choose the right day for the start of the fast, as there are six days in the year Sacred to the Virgin. The sexton would turn the wheel And grasp a thread which means one of the days.'

I nodded, 'I've never seen quite anything like that, ingenious, what?'

'No wonder, Bertie, there are only two of them in all Britain, this one And the one at Long Stratton, Norfolk,' Bunty explained. I nodded smiling broadly.

We admired the interior of the church for some time, then turned And left the old church arm in arm. 

'Yer larvely couple,' an old woman said to us when she saw us leaving the church.

'Oh, thanks awfully,' I beamed. Bunty smiled gently to me.

'Yer noolyweds?' the old woman asked curiously.

'Oh, we aren't married yet, we're betrothed,' I explained blushing.

'What! But it's moity bad luck, leaving church like that, arm in arm, if yer not married, yer'll never get married then,' the old woman said shocked.

'Oh, you know, we have surnames starting with the Same letter,' Bunty informed her airily. 'One bad omen more, one bad omen less...'

The old woman stared at us. And we went through the churchyard to our cars.

I jumped into my car And offered my hand to Bunty. She took it smiling gently And got into the car too. When we were seated I started my car, did an U turn, And drove back along the road, doubling as Yaxley's main street. Jeeves in Bunty's car followed my suite. We passed by two lanes looking like dead ends, closes I believe they are called, And turned into the third alley, me  sincerely hoping that the helpful aborigine knew his native village. The Lane went uphill, we passed several groups of houses when I saw a rather large Grove to the right.

'Well, that has to be it,' I sighed. 'Funny, I don't remember such a large Grove by my Manor. Oh well, I'll go And see.'

Bunty nodded smiling broadly. I stopped the car And parked it by the Grove. 

'Bunty, old thing, wait here, will you?' I asked gently. Bunty nodded smiling broadly. 

I jumped out of my car And walked  down a Path though the dense Grove. At last I saw a fine house, a two story Gothic one, consisting of three wings, a red brick crenellated one with three large ornate Gothic windows on the first floor And two classical rectangular windows And a door on the ground floor And a little belfry on the roof, second wing, to the right of the first, Lavender coloured with two larhe classical rectangular windows on ground And first floor And another little one on the attic under the pointed slate roof, And a third wing to the left of the second, a yellow one with one large rectangular Gothic window on each floor And one under the scrolled gable with three chimneys. There we're two round box trees on both sides of the door And two spiral shaped box trees in pots under the windows of the yellow wing, And a White bench unde the windows of the Lavender wing, And a yellow stone shed to the left of the building. It was most lovely, but also it was decidedly not my Manor. I scratched my head, so the aborigine gave me wrong directions after all.  Well, perhaps the inhabitants of this house knew where my Manor was. I walked to the door And knocked on it resolutely. 

'Yes, who is that?' a dignified male voice asked.

'Bertram Lord Yaxley,' I answered firmly.

I waited a bit. Then the door opened, And the tall strong servant led me through a drawing room with a marble fireplace, a dark round table in the middle And yellow couches along the walls, though a long hall And a dining room with a dark oval table, six red velvet chairs around it And a marble fireplace, to a large drawing room with three couches, many chairs And puffs And several large fluffy carpets, a large marble fireplace And several large windows.

'Bertram Lord Yaxley,' the servant announced. 

The Lord And Lady of the Manor stood up from their chairs to greet me, And who did I behold then but Marmaduke Lord Chuffnell, my school chum, And his wife Pauline Lady Chuffnell née Stoker, my erstwhile fiancée.

'What ho!' I said politely.

'Bertie!?' Pauline exclaimed dumbfounded. 

'What ho, Bertie,' Chuffy said coolly.

'What brings you here, Bertie!?' Pauline asked, greatly perplexed.

'Well, I was heading to Yaxley Manor, but a dumb aborigine directed me here,' I explained shrugging my shoulders. 

'Yaxley Manor!?' Pauline said incredulously. 'Bertie, but it's on the other end of the village, on the border with Mellis, on Mellis Road! And this house is Yaxley Hall!'

'Really?' I was dumbfounded.

'Yeah, when you have two houses with similar names in one village, it leads to confusion,' Pauline shrugged sighing.

'Tell me about it, been there, done that,' I said wryly. 

'But why we're you heading to Yaxley Manor?' Pauline asked frowning. 'Are you a guest there? I thought it was empty!'

'Not a guest, owner,' I explained. 'I'm Lord Yaxley, don't you know. And it's not empty, it's just not used most of the time because, you know, I live in London. And you, did you buy this place?'

'Yes, Bertie,' Pauline sighed. 'So we are neighbours now? Imagine that!'

'Yeah, exactly,' I agreed sighing.

'Well, isn't that a surprise!' Chuffy said. 'The world is a small place indeed! Visit us someday, Bertie old man.'

'Absolutely,' I smiled gently. 'Now I have to go back to my car. But first tell me how to get to my Manor, will you?'

'Of course, Bertie,' Pauline beamed. 'So you inherited a title?'

'Yes, from my Uncle George, may he rest in peace,' I informed her.

'Well, Bertie, to get to your Manor you have to go back to the A140 highway, And then drive straight till you see the Cherry Tree pub, And then turn left And drive straight And straight till you see your Manor on the right,' Pauline explained smiling gently.

'Well, thanks awfully, old thing,' I said. 'Now I'll better be going.'

'Of course, Bertie, good afternoon,' Pauline smiled gently.

'Good afternoon, old thing,' I smiled gently, turned And left Yaxley Hall.

I returned through the Grove to our cars.

'Well, what do you think, it's not the house that we need,' I shrugged my shoulders. 'It's Yaxley Hall And not Yaxley Manor, And who do you think live there now but Chuffy Chuffnell And his wife Pauline née Stoker!'

'Your former fiancée?' Bunty squinted. 'Well, isn't that a contretemps!'

'Yeah,' I sighed deeply. 'So we are neighbours now. I promised to visit them someday.'

Bunty nodded smiling gently.

'And my Manor is far to the north-west from here, on Mellis Road, on the border with the Mellis Parish, it seems,' I sighed. 'Pauline explained to me.'

'All right,' Bunty smiled broadly. 'Let's go there now, then.'

'Yeah,' I smiled broadly and jumped into my car. I started the car, did an U-turn And drove back down Yaxley Hall Lane, Jeeves in Bunty's car following me. We went back up the main street, by the church, by some more houses And trees And some Fields on the right, till we came to a small square, more like crossroads, on the north side on which was the Cherry Tree pub, a long house with pointed red tiled roof And two entrances with pointed red tiled roofs, classic windows And doors, the building painted red, White And yellow in three large vertical stripes, one entrance on the red stripe And another entrance on the yellow stripe. The pub was surrounded by a low dark Green fence, And by it was a sign with a cherry tree in White bloom  And two Green branches with red cherries beneath it And a Gothic inscription, 'Yaxley Cherry Tree Free House.' In the middle of the square there was a wooden painted  sign with a cuckoo sitting on that Sexton Wheel thing in a forest clearing And a carved word 'Yaxley'.

'Nice sign, isn't it?' I smiled broadly to Bunty.

'Yeah,' she smiled broadly. 'But why the cuckoo?'

'If you allow, miss, Yaxley means 'Cuckoo Clearing' in old English,' Jeeves supplied gently. 

'Oh, really?' I frowned. 'Well, that explains it, what?'

'Yes, my Lord,' Jeeves said calmly.

I shrugged my shoulders And turned into a street to the left, hoping that Pauline knew what she was saying. Jeeves in Bunty's car followed me. We passed several closes, then drove among Fields, groves, closes And manors. And at last I saw among the trees on the right the old Manor house, L-shaped with pointed red tiled roof, two storied, light yellow, with black timbers on the first floor, two chimneys, many square windows, an entrance with flat slate roof And an old large finely carved door, And an oriole with one window to the left from the entrance. The Manor house was surrounded by low red brick Wall And some trees, both evergreen And bare.

'Well, we got to our destination at last, Bunty,' I informed her smiling broadly.

'A lovely house,' Bunty smiled gently.

'Thanks awfully, old thing,' I smiled broadly. 

I drove into the yard, Jeeves following me. I stopped my car in front of my Manor house, jumped out of it And offered my hand to Bunty. She took it gently And alighted from the car too. Jeeves too stopped the car, got out And held his hand out for Susie. Susie took his hand And got out too.

'Well, welcome to Yaxley Manor!' I grinned broadly. Bunty smiled broadly to me.

I led Bunty to the entrance And knocked on the door.

'Yes, who is that?' a female voice answered.

'It's Lord Yaxley,' I answered proudly.

The door opened, And we came in. The Lady who answered the door was elderly And plump, wearing the usual black dress with White collar And cuffs, And a White apron.

'Welcome, Your Lordship, I'm Mrs Hughes, the housekeeper,' she smiled gently. She looked curiously at Bunty.

'Mrs Hughes, this is my fiancée, the Honourable Penelope Windermere,' I introduced holding Bunty's hand tenderly. 

'Why, welcome, Miss Windermere!' Mrs Hughes smiled broadly.

Bunty smiled broadly to her.

By that time Jeeves with our belongings And Susie came in too.

'My valet, Reginald Jeeves, And Miss Windermere's maid, Susie,' I introduced.

Mrs Hughes nodded.

'Your Lordship, Miss Windermere, please come into the drawing room, it's cleaned And warm,' she informed us.

'Thanks awfully, Mrs Hughes,' I smiled broadly. 

Mrs Hughes led us through a vestibule and a dark panelled dining room with a dark wooden oval table, some crimson chairs And lovely pictures on the walls into a drawing room with a large White hooded fireplace with a landscape on it's Hood, several cozy plush Gray Green armchairs, puffs And a couch, a large yellow rug on the floor, several standard lamps with beige lampshades, some shelves with trinkets And cheerful orange curtains on the windows.

'How cozy, Bertie!' Bunty smiled broadly.

'Why thanks, old thing,' I smiled broadly.

Bunty settled in immediately in an armchair near a window, facing the great fireplace. I sat down on the couch near the armchair. We sat there for some time in comfortable silence, looking at the merry orange flames in the fireplace.

'Bunty, old thing, what about going for a walk in the neighbourhood?' I asked gently then.

'Oh of course, Bertie dear,' Bunty smiled broadly.

I rose And proffered my hand to her, she accepted it gently, And we left the house, informing Mrs Hughes that we probably won't be back for lunch.

'Let's walk to Yaxley, shall we?' I asked smiling gently. 

'Of course, Bertie dear,' Bunty smiled broadly.

So we walked along the Mellis Road, by the Fields, manors, closes And groves. Bunty was drinking everything in with eager eyes. I was telling her funny stories, waving my hands. We didn't notice when we entered the village of Yaxley. We passed several closes with little lovely houses And lots of trees And came to the Cherry Tree pub. 

'Fancy a spot of something?' I asked smiling broadly. Bunty nodded vigorously.

We entered the pub, it was all dark wooden panelling, dark wooden beams on the ceiling And dark wooden tables And chairs. We came to a free table looking at the little square And sat down. I perused a menu lying on the table.

'Well, I'll have a cider, 'Tree Tops' And a chocolate cake,' I mused. 'And you?'

'Same, I think,' Bunty smiled broadly, peering at the menu.

There came a pretty waitress in a blue dress with White collar And cuffs And in a White frilly apron And a lace thing on her head.

'What will you have?' the waitress smiled brightly at us.

'Two ciders, two 'Tree Tops' And two teas with chocolate cake, please,' I smiled gently.

The waitress nodded smiling brightly And departed.

We were sitting at the table, looking into the window And around the hall. I held Bunty's hand under the table And squeezed it gently. Bunty smiled broadly at me. I beamed at her. Some people smiled brightly looking at us. I blushed.

Then one man looked closely at us.

'Cor, yer the couple Oi've met boi chech!' he exclaimed surprised. 'Yer got-a Axley Manor after all?'

'Yes, thanks,' I said politely. Of course I wasn't going to tell him it wasn't his merit at all, it's just not preux, And it wasn't his fault after all. 

'Yer welcome, m'lord,' the man smiled broadly. 'Yer guests at Axley Manor?'

'No, I'm the owner actually, Bertram Lord Yaxley,' I confessed. 'And this is my fiancée, Miss Penelope Windermere. I usually live in London, you see, but I wanted to spend this Valentine's Day with my fiancée in Yaxley. We're six months betrothed already.'

'Well, congrats, m'lord!' the man grinned broadly. 'Oi'm Harold Spence, plumber. Call me if there's  something wrong.'

'Thank you, Mr Spence,' I smiled gently. 

'So yer folks come from these parts, m'lord?' Spence asked curiously.

'Oh No, my family is actually from Worcestershire, this Manor was a grant to my ancestor,' I explained. I took care not to say that my surname was Wooster, I didn't want to have more of that 'Change the name and not the letter' rot. 

By that time the waitress brought our order, a wooden tray with two glasses of golden cider, two plates of 'Tree Tops', two cups of tea And two pieces of deep brown silky chocolate cake.

'Congrats, Yer Lordship, miss,' the waitress smiled brightly putting the tray on our table.

'Oh thanks, old thing,' I beamed to her.

We devoured the 'Tree Tops', potato chips topped with cheese, spring onions And Chili, washing them down with cider. 

'Drinks for everyone at my expense!' I said loudly. 'In the honour of my lovely fiancée And me!'

Everyone in the pub cheered loudly And went on ordering various drinks. They clicked their glasses in our honour. And I raised my glass with golden apple cider And smiled gently to my dear fiancée. She smiled broadly to me And clicked her glass with cider against mine.

Then we sipped our tea And savoured the silky bitter-sweet chocolate cake. Bunty smiled to me fondly over the table, And I smiled tenderly to her.

When we finished I paid for our meal And for various customers' beers, ales, gins, wine, ciders And juices. 

'I say, do you have a darts board here?' I inquired the waitress.

'Of course, Yer Lordship, a door aroit,' she smiled brightly.

I nodded. 'Shall we, Bunty?'

'Oh of course, Bertie dear,' Bunty smiled broadly. 

I rose And offered my hand to Bunty, she accepted it gently, And we went to a door in the right Wall of the hall. We went through the door, And sure enough, we found a room with a billiards table And a darts board on one Wall, and a box with darts on a table by another Wall. 

I smiled gently to Bunty, released her hand, went to the box, took one dart, stood opposite the board, aimed carefully And threw the missile rapidly. It whizzed through the air And landed in the center of the board. Some people who we're in the room cheered loudly. I bowed smiling.

'Now will you, Bunty dear?' I smiled gently.

'Of course, Bertie,' Bunty smiled broadly, took another dart, stood opposite the board, aimed carefully And threw the dart. It cut through the air And landed near mine. The sportsmen in the room cheered loudly again. I threw some more darts with equal results, And so did Bunty.

'But yer throo some mean darts!' one sportsman said with admiration.

'Why thank you, I'm the darts champion of my club, actually, And I taught Bunty,' I explained.

They made respectful noises.

Then I bowed and offered my hand to Bunty, smiling gently. She accepted my hand, smiling broadly, And we left the Cherry Tree.

We walked back down the Mellis Road to my Manor. 

When I knocked on the door, it was Jeeves' voice that enquired politely who it was. I named myself, And Jeeves threw the door open.

'Good evening, my Lord, miss,' he said with a half smile.

'Good evening, Jeeves,' I smiled broadly. 

'Your bedrooms are ready And so is your dinner,' Jeeves informed me.

'Thank you, Jeeves,' I beamed.

Bunty And me went into the drawing room. I sat down on the couch And made a broad gesture with my hand inviting Bunty to sit by my side. Bunty sat down And leaned against me. I embraced her shoulders gently. She put her head on my chest. I put my chin on her head, inhaling her scent And basking in her warmth. She caressed my chest And shoulders. I signed deeply. Her dainty hands roamed along my back. I coughed gently. She rested with her head on my chest.

I don't know how long we sat like that but some time later I heard the familiar soft cough. I looked up, smiling gently. 

'Yes, Jeeves?'

'The dinner is served, my Lord,' Jeeves informed me.

'Right ho, Jeeves,' I smiled broadly. 'Bunty dear, I have to dress for the dinner.'

'Me too,' she smiled broadly. 

I released her from my embrace, rose And offered my hand to her. She took it smiling gently. Jeeves led us through the dining room And the vestibule up a flight of stairs. 

'My Lord, your bedroom is to the right, And your bedroom, miss, is on the far left.

I nodded approving his choice. I would never go anywhere near Bunty's bedroom till we are married. 

'Well, toodle-pip, Bunty,' I smiled gently.

'See you, Bertie,' Bunty smiled broadly.

I went to my room, accompanied by Jeeves. I changed from my light brown tweed suit with a light Green knit vest And an orange tie into evening dress, with Jeeves' help, of course, And then went downstairs. When I entered the dining room I was dumbfounded. Bunty was wearing a White silk dress with draped bodice And flowing skirt, without any sleeves. There we're long White gloves on her dainty hands, a diamond And emerald necklace around her neck And a diamond tiara on her Shining black hair. She smiled gently at me. I walked to her And offered my hand to her. She took it gently And I led her to the table. Velouté aux pommes d'amour was excellent but my attention was greatly on my lovely fiancée.

And then there was an almighty rap on the entrance door that we heard even in the dining room. Jeeves, who was waiting on us at the table, frowned slightly and went to the door.

'Who in the blazes can be that!?' I wondered. 'I don't know anyone here but the Chuffnells And Harold Spence, And I don't think they would look in this very evening, not that Spence would come without invitation!'

Bunty nodded frowning gently.

Jeeves meanwhile returned to the dining room carrying a medium size White cardboard box with a blue ribbon tied in a pretty Bow with a greeting card under it

'Eh? What's that, Jeeves?' I asked bewildered.

'If you allow, my Lord, in Suffolk And Norfolk there is an ancient custom on the 13th February to sent gifts to loved ones And friends,' Jeeves explained gently. 'I also found on the doorsteps a Herring, a mock present such as local urchins bring on this day.'

'Herring? How perfectly foul!' I snorted indignantly.

'Just as you say, my Lord,' Jeeves nodded.

'But give the present to me, Jeeves, let's see what it is,' I said eagerly. 

Jeeves brought the box to me, I examined it. The greeting card said, 'To Bertram Lord Yaxley from Father Valentine.' I untied the ribbon eagerly And opened the box. Inside was a lovely little Chinese vase, oval And White, with a blue blooming cherry branch painted on it.

'Well, rather nice, that,' I conceded. 'I wonder who it's from? Of course, by now half of Yaxley knows who I am And where I live, could be anyone!'

'Just so, my Lord,' Jeeves said calmly.

'Well, put the vase on the mantelpiece, Jeeves,' I commanded.

Jeeves nodded And obeyed.

We continued our dinner in peace. After the dinner I kissed goodnight to Bunty tenderly And retired to my room.

Next morning I yawned luxuriously, opening my eyes. Of course, my faithful Jeeves shimmered in with my morning tea right away. 

'Good morning, Jeeves,' I smiled brightly.

'Good morning, my Lord,' Jeeves smiled with a corner of his mouth, And put the tray on my lap.

'How is the weather, Jeeves?' I inquired smiling broadly.

'Exceptionally clément for the winter, my Lord,' Jeeves informed me.

'Very good,' I smiled broadly And sipped my Oolong.

When I finished my breakfast I went about my morning toilet And then got dressed with Jeeves' help. I went downstairs into the cozy little drawing room. Bunty was already waiting for me there, sitting on the couch. She was dressed in a White v-neck blouse with purple roses and a dark blue pencil skirt with a red belt, And there were black pumps on her little feet.

'What ho, Bunty,' I smiled broadly. 

'Hello Bertie,' Bunty smiled broadly too.

'Happy Valentine's Day, Bunty,' I said kissing her tenderly.

'Happy Valentine, Bertie dear,' she smiled gently.

I sat down on the couch by her side And embraced her shoulders. She put her head on my chest. I sighed contented.

'Bertie dear, what about a walk to Yaxley?' Bunty asked smiling into my chest.

'Oh of course, Bunty dear,' I smiled gently.

We sat like that for some time, And then we went to Yaxley.

This time we passed by the Cherry Tree pub And went southwards, by the Fields And houses with trees around them, to St Mary's Church. We climbed the little hill but didn't go inside the church this time, we circled around it, looking at the curious old tombstones. Then we returned to the main street And wandered into some closes, looking at the quaint old houses And old trees. On the way I heard quite a few 'good morning, m'lord's, but I couldn't very well ask those sterling people which of them was my mysterious 'Father Valentine'.

Then we returned to the Cherry Tree pub And came in. We heard many 'Happy Valentine's' at once, And as we sat down at our table by the window a waitress came to us smiling brightly saying, 'Happy Valentine's Day, Yer Lordship, Miss Windermere!'

'Er, thanks awfully, old thing,' I answered blushing.

Bunty smiled broadly to her.

'So, what will yer have today?' the waitress smiled brightly.

'Er, kidney And steak pie, champagne And tea with cheesecake, for both,' I commanded, casting a surreptitious glance at Bunty. She nodded smiling broadly.

'Will be done, Yer Lordship,' the waitress smiled broadly And departed.

The crowd in the pub cheered loudly,  I smiled gently at them.

The waitress returned with our order. I raised my glass with champagne.

'To us, my dear Bunty, to our happiness,' I smiled gently.

'To you, my dear Bertie, my white Knight, And to our love,' Bunty smiled broadly And clinked her glass against mine.

We devoured the delicious pie, And then turned to the cheesecake that had candy hearts all over it. We savoured it, it was very sweet And as soft as a cloud. We smiled broadly to each other over the cheesecake, And I squeezed Bunty's hand tenderly under the table. The crowd in the pub cheered loudly. When we finished we slipped out of the pub quietly And resumed our exploration of the Yaxley Village.

After we wandered enough through the village, we returned home. I sat down on the couch, Bunty leaned against me And put her head on my chest. I sighed contented.

'Birds are singing merrily,

The sun is Shining peacefully,

Because my baby don't mean 'Maybe' now,'

I started to sing softly.

'When the preacher questions me,

I'll say, 'Yes, sir, Yes, sirree',

Because my baby don't mean 'Maybe' now.'

'I just got a little letter just yesterday,

Now it's a liitle better, And so I say...

Life is short And mighty sweet,

But mine, I feel, is quite complete,

Because my baby mean 'Maybe' now.'

I finished And smiled broadly to Bunty.

'Bertie dear, I never said 'Maybe' to you, it was you who were a little slow on the intake,' Bunty smiled mischievously.

'Yes, that's true, Bunty old thing,' I smiled gently.

Some time later I heard the familiar gentle cough. I raised my head.

'Yes Jeeves?'

'Lord And Lady Chuffnell, my Lord,' Jeeves announced calmly.

Bunty straightened at once, so did I. I rose And offered my hand to Bunty, she rose And accepted it gently. Jeeves opened the door with a flourish, And the Chuffnells came in.

'What ho, Chuffy, Pauline,' I said smiling gently.

Pauline looked at Bunty then at me And frowned gently. Chuffy frowned significantly.

'Hello Bertie,' Pauline said. 'And who is your guest?'

'Honourable Penelope Windermere, my fiancée,' I said proudly, holding my Bunty's hand tenderly. 'Bunty, Marmaduke Lord Chuffnell And his wife Pauline Lady Chuffnell.'

'Oh,' Pauline managed to say. 'Good afternoon, Miss Windermere.'

'Good afternoon, Miss Windermere,' Chuffy echoed her.

'And how long are you engaged?' Pauline asked frowning.

'Six months already,'  I said proudly. 'Bunty is the best girl in the world, she likes sports, Mysteries And jazz, And she can stand up to Aunt Agatha!'

Pauline nodded gently.

'Well, congratulations, Bertie,' she smiled gently.

'Congratulations, Bertie old chap!' Chuffy beamed.

'Please sit down,' I requested. They sat down on the couch, so did Bunty And me.

'And where did you meet?' Chuffy asked curiously.

'Well,' I started, 'in August of past year Aunt Agatha sent me to court another of her awful protégées, one Isabelle Rackstraw, to Kembleford, Gloucestershire. When I came there I met Bunty right away, And took an instant liking to her, as she to me. She escorted me to her uncle's Manor,  Montague Hall, where the Rackstraw lived. The Rackstraw was a loud dog girl, not in my taste at all. Bunty showed me her uncle's large collection of art pièces. I admired a lovely emerald necklace for some time. Well, the very next morning it turned out that someone stole the dashed necklace, And the local head of constabulary, one Inspector Mallory, a perfect cad, arrested yours truly on the charge of theft.'

Pauline gasped.

'Yes,' I shrugged my shoulders. 'Well, Bunty visited me in the police station, brought me some sandwiches and said she had a friend who would surely extricate me. To my amazement that friend turned to be a Catholic priest called Father Brown. Having talked with me to ascertain my innocence, he promised to help me. And what do you think, he really did! He investigated the case And found that it was that Rackstraw beazel who stole the necklace, And Mallory had to set me free without a stain on my character. And I proposed to Bunty, And never ever regretted my decision.'

'I've heard of Father Brown, he's a rather famous amateur detective,' Pauline said. 'Poor Bertie! Thank you, Miss Windermere, for saving him!'

'I do all in my might to help my friends, And as Bertie said, I liked him from the start, he's a real gentleman,' Bunty smiled broadly.

'Thank you, my dear,' I smiled gently And squeezed her hand tenderly.

Pauline smiled gently to us.

'Well, Happy Valentine's Day, Bertie, Miss Windermere,' Pauline said gently.

'Happy Valentine's Day, Pauline, Chuffy old man,' I smiled broadly.

Chuffy And Pauline smiled gently to us.

'Oh, speaking about Valentine's Day, did you see that nice vase on the mantelpiece in the dining room?' I shrugged my shoulders. 'Someone brought it to me last evening, I told Jeeves to place it on the mantelpiece.'

'Do you like it, Bertie?' Pauline asked.

'Yes, it's very nice, I like these Chinese things.'

'It's Japanese, actually,' Pauline corrected me gently.

'Oh? I suppose you would know better, Pauline,' I smiled gently to her.

Pauline smiled gently to me.

'Yes, my Lord, I believe the vessel is Hirado Ware,' Jeeves supplied gently.

Pauline nodded smiling gently.

'Jeeves, you are amazing!' I smiled broadly.

'Thank you, my Lord,' Jeeves said calmly.

'How is the young blighter Seabury now, I wonder?' I asked curiously.

'Bertie, it's been ten years, he graduated from Cambridge, he's working for a newspaper now,' Pauline smiled gently.

'God help that newspaper!' I grinned. 

Chuffy And Pauline chuckled. Bunty smiled broadly, she of course knew all about young Seabury from my tales.

'And do you have any children?' I asked curiously.

'One son, Tristan, he's in Eton, And a daughter, Marjorie, she's in prep school,' Pauline smiled gently. I nodded, smiling broadly.

We dined with the Chuffnells in an atmosphere of bonhomie. 

After the dinner I produced a small White box from my pocket.

'This is for you, Bunty dear,' I said tenderly. 

'Oh thank you, Bertie,' she smiled gently, took the box And opened it. I looked at her with a gentle smile.

Bunty took out an elegant gold ring with a large silvery Pearl. Bunty smiled gently And put it on her ring finger.

'Thanks, Bertie dear,' she smiled gently. I beamed at her.

Then Bunty smiled broadly And produced a little parcel from her pocket.

'And this is for you, Bertie,' she smiled broadly.

I took And unwrapped it. Inside was an elegant gold tie pin with tiny garnets. I smiled broadly to her And, removing my pin, pinned Bunty's gift to my tie.

Bunty smiled broadly to me. I leaned to her And kissed her gently, she answered me tenderly.

'Well, good night, Bunty,' I said gently.

'Good night, Bertie dear,' she smiled gently.

So I kissed good night to Bunty And retired to my bedroom, And went to sleep dreaming about Bunty.

Little I knew what would transpire the next day, or I would be restless that night.

Next morning, after I had breakfast, I came downstairs to the drawing room. Bunty was already sitting there, smiling broadly.

'What about a walk, Bertie dear?' she asked.

'Oh of course, old thing,' I smiled broadly.

I offered my hand to her, she accepted it gently, And we left the house. 

'So where shall we go now?' I asked smiling broadly. 

'Maybe to Mellis? It's very close,' Bunty suggested smiling broadly.

'Right ho, old thing,' I said smiling broadly. 

And we left the yard of Yaxley Manor.

The next moment I heard a terrible roar, 'Yaaaxleyyy!'

I stopped in my tracks And saw Chuffy speeding to me, waving his fists And practically foaming at the mouth.

'Yaxley, you lowly worm, come here!!!' Chuffy roared.

'Chuffy, old man, are you nuts?' I asked him perplexed. 'What the heck happened!?

'You know what happened, Yaxley!' Chuffy shouted. 'Come here, I'll break your damn neck!'

'No, I don't know what happened, Chuffnell,' I said coldly. 'Would you care to explain?'

'Explain!?' Chuffy roared. 'That bally Japanese vase, I found a check for it today in our house! How dare you to hit on Pauline!?'

I gaped, And Chuffy used that moment to lurch at me. Well, I didn't waste any time And darted away. Bunty at that moment released my hand And ran to the Mellis Road where some passer-by was seen. I ran from rabid Chuffy with all my might, running from the road, in the direction of some supporting buldings like coach house And barn. Chuffy, unfortunately, was running fast too. I ran past coach house, barn And stables, past the manager's house, across the lovely garden, and back to the main house. Chuffy pursued me doggedly. 

At this moment Bunty ran to us accompanied by the passer-by, which was none other but Inspector Mallory. Chuffy stopped in his tracks.

'Inspector, do something, or that loony will maul my Bertie!' Bunty said hotly.

'Wooster! You!?' Mallory said in his usual most unpleasant tone. 'What are you doing here!?'

'What are _you_ doing here, Mallory!?'  I asked dumbfounded. 'And I'm a local Landowner, Lord Yaxley, don't you know! Now would you please detain this fool for assaulting me!'

Mallory nodded briskly, leapt to Chuffy And cuffed him. Chuffy tried to break free, but No luck, if there's something that Gloucestershire rozzer could do well, it's collaring people.

'Keep still please,' he said gruffily. 'Who is this man, Lord Yaxley?'

'Marmaduke Lord Chuffnell, another local Landowner,' I shrugged my shoulders. 'He is under a false impression that I hit on his wife.'

'Another Lord?  Oh bother!' Mallory grumbled.

'Yaxley, what in the blazes we're you doing, accepting gifts from my wife!?' Chuffy roared.

'Chuffnell, I wasn't 'accepting gifts' from your wife,' I answered coldly. 'She sent the vase to me yesterday, did I have to throw it away or what !? It's just not done, you know! I didn't know that it was from her, And I didn't know anything about that custom, I'm a Londoner, you know!'

'Oh, I'm sorry, Bertie,' Chuffy said contritely, deflating at once.

'It's all right, Chuffy old man,' I smiled gently.

Mallory looked at us, dumbfounded.

'So that's all? You don't hold any grudge against him, Lord Yaxley?'

'No, of course not,' I smiled gently. 'Chuffy is my old chum, but he's just a bit rash. He decided that I was chasing after his wife Pauline just because she sent a Valentine Day's gift to me, you see, when it was just a friendly gesture.'

Mallory nodded. 'So you won't insist on pressing any charges against him, Lord Yaxley?'

'No, of course not!' I said vehemently.

'As you wish then,' Mallory said releasing Chuffy.

'My Bertie would never chase for another man's wife, And you, as his school friend, should know that, Lord Chuffnell,' Bunty said coldly.

'Yes, quite,' Chuffy sighed.

'And for the record, Chuffy, then in my cottage Pauline only turned to me for shelter, I slept all the night in the shed,' I said drawing to my full considerable height. 'I would never share a bed with a woman I'm not married to, it's just not preux.'

Chuffy nodded sighing. 'Yes, forgive me for hitting you that one time, Bertie old man.'

'Forgiven and forgotten, Chuffy old man,' I smiled broadly And offered my hand to me. He shook it smiling brightly.

'You people!' Mallory grumbled. 'When Miss Windermere ran to me shouting, 'Inspector, help, my Fiancé is being assaulted!', I should know that it was you, Lord Yaxley!'

'Yes, we are betrothed,' Bunty smiled broadly showing her left hand with the gold And Pearl engagement ring.

'What can I say, congratulations,' Mallory sighed. 'I'm staying with my brother in law in Mellis, that's why I'm here. All the best, Lord Yaxley, Miss Windermere. And you, Lord Chuffnell, try to control your temper, would you?'

'Yes, of course, Inspector Mallory,' Chuffy sighed.

'Thank you, Inspector,' I smiled broadly.

'Oh, not at all, not at all,' Mallory said gruffily and walked away in the direction of Yaxley.

'Well, Chuffy old man, would you look in for a spot of tea?' I smiled gently.

'Oh of course, Bertie old chap,' he smiled brightly.

We returned to the house.

'Jeeves, bring us tea, please,' I requested.

Jeeves nodded And shimmered away.

As we sat in the dining room, Chuffy laughed wryly.

'Oh what a fool I was, Bertie! And you forgave me just so!'

'You're my school friend, Chuffy,' I shrugged. 'Nothing to forgive here.'

'Oh, Bertie,' Bunty smiled fondly to me.

Jeeves shimmered in with a tea service.

'What transpired, my Lord?' he asked gently.

I told him about the deplorable incident. He listened attentively, nodding compassionately at times.

As we started drinking tea with muffins, scones, Eton mess And sandwiches, Jeeves looked at the vase that was the apple of content.

'I hope you won't get rid of that vase now, my Lord?' he asked calmly.

'No, of course not, it's lovely,' I said.

'Excellent, my Lord,' Jeeves said. 'It's a fine specimen of the produce of the Hirado kiln in the Hirado Islands in the préfecture of Nagasaki, nineteenth century I should say, as this kind of vessels is destined to be placed on a table or a mantelpiece in an European style home, not in a tokonoma niche, as it has painting all around.'

'Nagasaki, Eh, like one of my favourite songs?' I grinned. 'Well, that's another reason to like it!'

'Just so, my Lord,' Jeeves smiled slightly.

Bunty smiled broadly at us.

When we finished our tea And Chuffy departed, Bunty looked at me squinting.

'Bertie, what if we go to Mellis anyway And dine there if needed?' she smiled broadly. 'Lord Chuffnell sabotaged our afternoon walk, but it's still not so late!'

'Right ho, old thing,' I smiled broadly.

'Mellis is a lovely village, it has a beautiful church, also St Mary's, lots of nice old houses And a common which is a natural preserve where some interesting plants And animals thrive,' Bunty said eagerly.

'That's good,' I smiled broadly. 'Interesting plants? You know that I won a prize for the best collection of wild flowers in prep school. Maybe I'll recognise some of these plants.'

'Maybe,' Bunty smiled broadly.

And we left the house, warning Jeeves that we probably won't be back for dinner, And went to Mellis. As we passed our garden with a pond And a close on the other side of the road, I saw a vast rolling meadow with a large pond And a Grove on 'our' side of the road. On the other side of the road were little houses surrounded by trees.

'The Mellis Common, Bertie,' Bunty smiled broadly. 'It's in the middle of the village, all the houses are along it's edges. Let's go to the Common, Bertie?'

'Right ho, old thing,' I smiled broadly. 

We stepped off the highway And into the vast meadow. We roamed among the high Green grass, holding our hands tenderly. Suddenly I saw something most interesting, Clover yellow And fluffy like little chickens.

'Oh, that's sulphur Clover, Trifolium ochroleukon,' I informed Bunty. 'To me, they're more like young chickens than sulphur.'

''You're right, Bertie,' Bunty grinned. 'I see you earned your prize!'

'Why thanks, old thing,' I grinned. 

Some time later I stopped again. I saw a fern with oval Leaf And a spore-bearing stalk like a snake's tongue.

'Oh, And that's an adder's tongue fern, Ophioglossum!' I exclaimed. 

'Yes, you're right again, Bertie, you're quite a botanist,' Bunty smiled broadly. 

'Oh, thanks awfully, old thing,' I smiled broadly.

We wandered for some time about the Meadows till we came to a little pond. I sat down on the Green grass And patted the grass near me inviting Bunty to sit down near me. She obliged. I put my hands around her shoulders, she put her head on my chest. I sighed luxuriously And lay back in the grass lazily, taking Bunty with me. Then I realized our position And blushed. 

'Shh, Bertie, we aren't doing anything naughty And nobody will see us anyway,' Bunty smiled gently.

'Right ho,' I smiled dreamily And relaxed.

I don't know how long we lay like that, I must have dozed off because the next thing that I remember was Bunty calling to me, 'Bertie, time to get up!'

Here I blushed because I thought how Bunty would say the Same after our conjugal nights. My thoughts wandered to these wonderful nights, And I blushed. I shook my head And got my corpus into the vertical posish, taking Bunty with me. Bunty released me, I rose And offered my hand to her. She accepted it And rose. 

'Now, what way is St Mary's Church?' I grinned. 

'I should imagine to the left,' she grinned too.

'Right ho, I trust your judgment,' I smiled broadly. 

We walked through the vast meadows, by a Grove, across a road And by some houses and trees seen on the other side of the Mellis Common, And along a Gray stone Path across the Meadows.

'Funny village, this,' I remarked. 'All the villages I know are grouped along a road as Yaxley is, And believe me, I've seen a lot of villages in my life, having spent half of it in the country.”

'Yes, Mellis is pretty unique in that aspect,' Bunty smiled. 'It's like an Atholl, seems pretty large but there's a big empty space in the middle. Except it's not really empty, it has groves And ponds And grass And this Causeway, it's called Carnser, Suffolk for Causeway.'

'Carnser,' I repeated. 'This Suffolk dialect is almost like another language, isn't it?'

'You bet!' Bunty laughed. 

We continued to walk through the Common, when I saw a curious flower, a small orchid with a bunch of dark pink spotted butterfly like flowers.

'Oh, I say, Bunty!' I called stopping. 'That's a Green winged orchid, Anacamptis morio!'

'What a charming flower!' she smiled dreamily, crouching to look at it.

'Yeah,' I smiled broadly.

We continued our languid walk, across another road And by another pond surrounded by trees And by more houses on the other side of the Common. And suddenly we came to what looked a cluster of houses by a railway station, with a pub by the Mellis Road, a pale Green building with ornate Metal awning  and a sign saying that it was, 'Railway Tavern, since 1840'. 

'I'm hungry, Bertie,' Bunty informed me. 'And you?'

'Oh, rather,' I confessed. 'What with all this wandering through the Meadows...Let's have a spot of something!'

Bunty nodded smiling broadly. 

'So there's a railway station in Mellis?' I asked curiously.

'Yes, Great Eastern Line,' Bunty nodded smiling broadly.

I nodded grinning, And we went inside. And to my great surprise, who did I see at one of the tables but Honoria, daughter of Sir Roderick Glossop, an eminent loony doctor, And Blair Eggleston, her sweetheart! 

'Beeertieee!' Honoria called me in her usual very loud voice. 'Fancy meeting you here!'

'Oh, er, quite,' I managed to say. 

'Do come here!' Honoria invited in a thunderous voice. 

Well, one has to be polite, And so I went to their table, holding Bunty's hand tenderly, And we sat down at their table.

'You know my husband, Dr Blair Eggleston,' Honoria supplied. 'And who is your friend, Bertie?'

'My fiancée, Honourable Penelope Windermere, we're six months betrothed,' I informed her.

Honoria cast a long glance at Bunty, Bunty held it steadily. Dr Eggleston looked at me with great distrust. Oh bother, not another one!

'Well, congratulations, Bertie,' Honoria said calmly.

'Oh, thanks awfully, old thing,' I beamed. 'But what brings you here?'

'Well, Blair is investigating psychic phenomena nowadays, And I travel with him, of course,' Honoria supplied.

'Oh, psychic phenomena, do you mean ghosts?' I asked eagerly.

'Yes, exactly,' Honoria nodded firmly. 'There were sightings of a Black Shuck in Mellis, so we're going to investigate it.'

'Black Shark?' I frowned. 'I didn't know sharks lived in ponds, I thought they are found only in oceans!'

'Oh No, not Shark as in a fish, S-H-U-C-K,' Honoria laughed like an express train passing by a Metal railway bridge. 'You're so funny, Bertie!'

'Oh, a Black Shuck?' I mused. 'That's like a big spectral dog, isn't it?'

'Yeah,' Honoria nodded vigorously. 'People say that they've seen it along the Mellis Road.'

'Oh, how interesting!' I said eagerly. 'Can we help you investigate it?'

'Oh of course, Bertie!' Honoria shouted And playfully hit me in the chest with her fist, from which I reeled as Honoria was frighteningly strong.

Blair glared daggers at me bit said Nothing thankfully.

'We came here by train,' Honoria explained. 'And you, Bertie, what are you doing here of all places?'

'Well, I've inherited title And land from my Uncle George, may he rest in peace,' I explained. 'I'm Lord Yaxley now, And I came to spend this Valentine's Day with my dear fiancée at Yaxley.'

'Bertie! Don't tell me that you live at Yaxley Hall!' Honoria boomed.

'Oh No, I live at Yaxley Manor, which is on Mellis Road on the border with Mellis,' I smiled gently. 'Why?'

'Well, there is a haunted painting in Yaxley Hall, a portrait of one Henrietta Nelson,' Honoria explained. 'We wanted to investigate it too. Who owns Yaxley Hall?'

'Oh, my old friends, Chuffy Chuffnell And his wife Pauline,' I supplied. 'I can introduce you.'

'Oh, that would be very good of you, Bertie,' Honoria smiled broadly. Now that she was safely married to Eggleston, she didn't seem so terrible after all.

'We we're exploring Mellis Common, it's so interesting, it has some rare plants, And Bertie knows them all!' Bunty smiled broadly.

Honoria nodded smiling broadly.

'We wanted to go to St Mary's Church in Mellis,' I supplied. 'Maybe we'll meet the Shuck thereabouts in the dark.'

'Yes, that's a good idea, Bertie,' Honoria smiled broadly.

I nodded smiling gently.

We ordered fish And chips with cider, And tea with quiches. 

'And how did you meet?' Honoria asked curiously.

I told her the tale. Honoria laughed heartily listening to me. Eggleston, naturally, glared more daggers at me.

'Tell you what, let's divide, Bertie And me shall go along one side of Mellis Road, And you And Dr Eggleston along another,' Bunty suggested.

'Oh, right ho, this way we'll surely see it,' Honoria nodded enthusiastically.

I nodded hotly. Leave it to my Bunty, to find a way for me not to be in Eggleston's sight all the time, being in one ghost searching party with him at the Same time!

Eggleston nodded grimly. Bunty smiled broadly.

'All right, we'll go along the south side, And you take the north side, ok?' 

'Sure, why not,' Honoria smiled brightly. 'Do you happen to have a camera on you?'

'Unfortunately no,' Bunty sighed.

'That's too bad, Oh well, there's Nothing in between,' Honoria sighed.

Bunty nodded solemnly.

When we left the pub And crossed the railway tracks, passing a majestic Victorian industrial looking building And a couple of houses, Bunty said to Honoria And Eggleston, 'Well, see you! Let's meet by the church, shall we?'

'Right ho,' Honoria boomed And led Eggleston away.

'Bertie, do you know why I chose the south side of the road for us?' Bunty smiled mischievously. 'Most of Mellis Common lies south of the road, And there's a straight Path to the church from this side of the road across the Meadows, the Carnser!'

'My little Fox,' I smiled fondly to her.

Bunty smiled broadly to me, And we delved deep into the Meadows of the Mellis Common along the Carnser. We wandered among tall grass with large ox-eye daisies.

'You know, Bertie, right here on the Mellis Common once trained local men mustered in the Civil War to fight for King Charles the First,' Bunty informed me. 'In the course of this training five of these men we're wounded And one died, being shot in the bowels.'

'Poor sods!' I sighed. 'Some shots these aborigines were!'

'Yeah,' Bunty grinned.

'Fancy meeting Honoria And Blair Eggleston here,' I sighed. 

'Yeah,' Bunty grinned. 'She's so loud And hearty, I can see why you weren't keen on marrying her. And Dr Eggleston, he's another of these wannabe Othellos.'

'Yeah,' I sighed. 'Some of the significant others of my former fiancées are like that. Spode, Chuffy, this Blair Eggleston... Thankfully, at least, Stilton Cheesewright left Florence Craye long ago, so he is No more among these. He was my eternal fright one time, such a beefy fellow, bullied me at school!'

Bunty nodded smiling broadly.

We wandered slowly along the Carnser till twilight fell. We kept our eyes peeled, but No dogs, spectral or otherwise, we're anywhere in sight. Ambling gently like that, we came to the Mellis Road again. 

'And where is the church?' I asked frowning.

'Beyond those houses And trees, Bertie, on the other side of the road,' Bunty supplied.

I nodded. 'So we'll meet with the Egglestons now?'

'Yeah, if we want to see the church, And it's lovely, they say,' Bunty nodded.

'Right ho,' I sighed. 'Bunty old thing, I hope you know the way to the church.'

'I'm pretty sure I do,' Bunty smiled broadly. I nodded.

We crossed the Mellis Road And walked in the dusk across the Meadows on the other side, with houses surrounded by trees in sight. We saw two dark figures in distance, holding hands.

'The Egglestons,' I sighed. Bunty nodded.

We passed the houses with trees And came to a clump of large yew trees. The Egglestons we're approaching us. And at this moment a huge Shaggy dog with burning eyes as big as saucers appeared in front of us, between us And the Mellis Road. 

I froze in my tracks, staring at the spectral hound. So did Bunty. And the next moment I saw someone running to me, shrieking in terror, And then that someone flung oneself  into my hands, shivering. I felt that it was a woman, And of course patted her on the back, whispering something like, shh, it's all right. The spectral hound disappeared with a loud pop. And the Lady said in a trembling voice, 'Oh, thank you, Bertie!'

And I realized to my horror that it was the voice of Honoria Eggleston née Glossop.

'Wooster!!!' Blair Eggleston roared coursing to me And waving his fists.

Honoria at once slipped from my friendly embrace And shielded  me from Eggleston.

'Blair, don't you touch Bertie, he behaved very chivalrously,' she boomed.

Bunty shielded me too, her fists against her sides.

Eggleston snarled but stepped back And ceased waving his huge fists.

'Did you see it, Bertie!? Did you see it!?' Honoria exclaimed. 'It was definitely a Black Shuck!'

'I should think so, Yes,' I nodded. 'I can witness I saw it should you require that.'

'Me too,' Bunty nodded resolutely.

'So did I,' Honoria nodded. 'So our task in Mellis is accomplished, then. Let's go see the church And then return to the Railway Tavern And have dinner.'

Eggleston nodded, grumpy.

'But where is the church? I can't see it,' I frowned.

'It's behind those huge yew trees, I should think,' Bunty informed me.

'Right ho, I hope you're right,' I smiled broadly. 

We passed the yews, And sure enough, there it was, the church, built of some Gray stone, most elegant in a Gothic way, with tall traceried arched windows And buttresses, with a large portal having tall traceried arched windows on the sides And a tall arched door in front with a small traceried arched window above it.

'Well, it's certainly lovely,' I smiled broadly. Bunty nodded smiling broadly.

We entered the church. It was spacious And airy, with a rood screen of fine traceried arches, dark wooden carved benches, a tall ashlar tomb with coats of arms in lozenges on its sides, And a beautiful octagonal font with trefoils on its base, sculpted lions on its stem And symbols of the Evangelists And Tudor roses on the bowl itself. The font was standing by the west Wall against a tall blocked archway with a small ancient looking door in it And a plaque with royal coat of arms above the little door.

'It's very interesting,' I observed. 'What's that old door doing in the blocked arch, And why is there a plaque with the royal coat of arms above it?'

'That's the thing, Bertie,' Bunty grinned. 'The door is of Saxon work, And the coat of arms is that of the unfortunate King Charles the First. It's all a mystery, Bertie!'

'Really now?' I frowned.

'Yeah, No one rightly knows,' Bunty smiled broadly.

'That's fascinating,' I said eagerly.

Bunty nodded grinning. 

The Egglestons we're looking around the church too.

'It's so fascinating, the Tudor font by the Saxon door in the more recent blocked arch And Charles the First's arms above the door,' Honoria observed. 'The arch was leading into the west tower that is now in ruins.'

Bunty nodded smiling broadly.

'There are many Mysteries in Britain, Mrs Eggleston.'

'Oh, please call me Honoria,' Honoria smiled broadly.

'And you call me Bunty,' Bunty grinned.

'I'm glad that Bertie found his happiness at last,' Honoria sighed.

Bunty nodded grinning broadly. 'We are very Happy, Honoria, I'm very fond of him, And he of me, And we are suited to each other.'

Honoria nodded grinning broadly.

Eggleston all this time was looking daggers at me, as if he didn't hear the conversation. I was pointedly ignoring him. Good that Bunty And Honoria got on well, regretfully, there was No hope of Blair Eggleston getting as chummy with me, I sighed.

We left the church And trotted along the Mellis Road back to the Mellis Station in the dusk. We entered the Railway Tavern, settled at one table And ordered steak And kidney pie with cider And tea with pecan pie. 

'Well, wasn't that a mind boggling experience, seeing that huge Shaggy spectral hound with burning eyes the size of saucers!' I laughed dryly.

'Indeed,' Honoria snorted.

'That was something else indeed,' Bunty remarked dryly.

Eggleston nodded grimly.

'It's not something I'll forget soon,' I continued. 'I now know for certain that these Black Shucks exist, And I'll ascertain that to anyone if needed. And if someone suggests that old Bertram was blotto, I'll answer that I've imbibed only cider And tea that night!'

'And I'll confirm that,' Bunty said resolutely.

'And I,' Honoria supported her.

'Thank for your unanimous endorsement, ladies,' I grinned broadly.

Bunty smiled tenderly to me, Honoria smiled broadly.

'I say, Bertie, do you know those Chuffnells well?' Honoria asked anxiously.

'Certainly, Chuffy Chuffnell is my school chum, And his wife Pauline is my old friend too,' I assured.

'Good,' Honoria nodded vigorously.

I smiled broadly.

'So who was that Henrietta Nelson character?' I asked curiously.

'Oh, she was a spinster, she lived to a ripe old age of 82 but never married, she was from a family that owned Yaxley Hall in 18th century,' Honoria explained. 'She died tragically, falling from a flight of stairs, And she bequeathed to Bury her in a Vault on the grounds of Yaxley Hall And not in St Mary's Church. When later owners of Yaxley Hall half a century after demolished the Vault And buried Henrietta in St Mary's Church, Henrietta's ghost started to haunt her portrait painted by Willam Johnson circa 1780. And her ghost haunts her portrait not the building of Yaxley Hall, if the portrait is moved somewhere else for some reason the ghost comes with it. I've seen a photo of the portrait, she seems a strong willed Lady on it.  Fascinating, isn't it?'

I nodded. 'Fascinating indeed, now I want to see the portrait myself!'

'Well, you will surely see it if these Chuffnells are really your good friends,' Honoria smiled broadly. 

'They are,' I sighed. 'But old Chuffy is just a tad too rash, he takes an entirely unfounded umbrage at  me sometimes, but he's a sound, good egg overall. And his wife Pauline is a bit too volatile, but she is a good egg too.'

Honoria nodded grinning.

'Oh, Honoria old thing, do you have children?' I asked curiously.

'One son, Sinclair, he's in a boarding school in America,' she supplied.

I nodded smiling gently. 

'Bertie, And how is that Manor of yours?' Honoria asked curiously.

'Oh, it's a fine timbered country house, And it's cozy inside, my manager And housekeeper look after it, And now Jeeves too,' I explained.

Honoria nodded smiling broadly. 

'By the way, where are you staying tonight?' I asked with some trepidation. I knew that if they wanted to stay at my place I would be forced to play a congenial host, And it didn't tickle my fancy at all, to stay under one roof with Dr Blair Eggleston.

'We're staying at the Railway Tavern, Bertie,' Honoria supplied resolutely.

I sighed with relief, thank God she understood that I didn't fancy entertaining Dr Eggleston at my house, at all. 'Right ho, old thing,' I smiled broadly.

Honoria smiled broadly to me.

After we finished our dinner, we bade goodnight to the Egglestons And returned home in the dark.

'Jeeves, who do you think we met in Mellis?' I asked as Jeeves was helping me out of my clothes.

'I really don't know, my Lord,' Jeeves said calmly.

'Dr Blair Eggleston and his wife Honoria, that's who!' I shook my head. 'Apparently Eggleston is into paranormal phenomena now, And they came to Mellis to investigate Black Shuck, and we met them in the Railway Tavern pub!'

'Black Shuck, my Lord?' Jeeves raised one eyebrow. 'Do you mean an apparition in the shape of a black dog?'

'Yes, that's it,' I grinned. 'And naturally we came to investigate it with the Egglestons, And what do you think, Jeeves, we saw it! The Shuck, I mean! I mean, all four of us saw it, And we drank only cider And tea, Jeeves! It was a huge Shaggy black hound with large burning eyes, quite a sight, I must say!'

'That's...most extraordinary, my Lord,' Jeeves frowned slightly.

'I should say so,' I grinned. 'And what's more, it turned out that there is a haunted portrait in Yaxley Hall, And naturally, the Egglestons want to see it, so I promised to introduce them to Chuffy And Pauline.'

'Would that be the portrait of Miss Henrietta Nelson, a spinster who died falling from a flight of stairs And bequeathed to be interred in a Vault on the grounds of Yaxley Hall and haunts her portrait since her Ashes we're moved to St Mary's Church in Yaxley?' Jeeves asked respectfully.

'Yes, by Jove, Jeeves!' I exclaimed astounded. 'Do you know everything?'

'I really don't know, my Lord,' Jeeves smiled slightly.

'So, the Egglestons are staying at the Railway Tavern, but tomorrow I'm going to introduce them to the Chuffnells,' I sighed. 'I hope Eggleston doesn't get into a tiff with Chuffy, he's so irascible!'

'Yes, my Lord,' Jeeves said compassionately.

'Oh well, we'll see, what?' I sighed getting into my pajamas.

'Just so, my Lord,' Jeeves said calmly. 'Good night, my Lord. '

'Good night, Jeeves,' I smiled gently.

Next morning after the breakfast I came downstairs to the drawing room. Bunty was already sitting there, of course, smiling broadly. 

'What ho, Bunty dear,' I smiled broadly And, coming to the couch, leaned And kissed her tenderly. She answered me gently. 

'Hello, Bertie,' she smiled broadly. 

'So, how about a walk to Yaxley today?' I grinned. 'I don't want to meet Blair Eggleston suddenly.'

'Of course, Bertie dear,' Bunty smiled broadly. 

I offered my hand to her, she rose And accepted it, And we left the Manor And headed for Yaxley. 

We wandered around Yaxley, met with greetings And smiles, And then we had lunch in the Cherry Tree, again met with greetings And smiles. Then we returned home.

We retired to the drawing room, I sat down on the couch And patted the seat, inviting my Bunty to join me. She obliged And put her head on my chest. I embraced her shoulders And sighed contented.

Some time later I heard the familiar gentle cough. 'Yes, Jeeves?'

'Dr And Mrs Eggleston, my Lord,' Jeeves announced.

I released Bunty immediately. She sighed And left my chest reluctantly, And we rose to greet the Egglestons properly. Honoria came in, followed by her husband.

'Hello, Honoria, Dr Eggleston,' I said courteously.

'Hello Bertie!' Honoria boomed. 

Hello, Honoria, Dr Eggleston,' Bunty smiled broadly.

'Hello Bunty,' Honoria smiled broadly.

'Well, we'll better get going,' I said briskly. 'Yaxley Hall is on the other end of the village, so...'

Honoria nodded briskly. 'Let's go.'

We left Yaxley Manor And walked down the Mellis Road, by the closes And the Cherry Tree pub, down the A410 highway, by more closes And Fields, by St Mary's Church, And then up the Yaxley Hall Lane And by more houses, till we came to the Grove. 

'Well, that's the Grove around Yaxley Hall,' I announced. 'We're almost there.'

'Yaxley is such a nice village, Bertie!' Honoria smiled broadly. 

'Yes, I should say so,' I grinned. 'The church is lovely too.'

Honoria nodded grinning. I led our little company through the Grove And to the Manor house.

'What a lovely house!' Honoria grinned.

'Yes, quite,' I smiled broadly. 

We came to the door, And I knocked on the door resolutely.

When asked who it was, I announced, 'Lord Yaxley, Honourable Miss Windermere, And Dr And Mrs Eggleston.'

The door opened immediately, And the servant led us to the sitting room.

'Hello, Bertie, Miss Windermere,' Chuffy smiled brightly. 'You brought some friends, I see?'

'What ho, Chuffy,' I grinned. 'Dr Blair Eggleston And his wife Honoria, they're my old acquaintances. Honoria, Dr Eggleston, Marmaduke Lord Chuffnell And Pauline Lady Chuffnell.  Dr Eggleston investigates psychic phenomena, And he wishes to see the portrait of Miss Henrietta Nelson.'

'Oh, that old picture?' Chuffy frowned. 'It's really uncanny, we sometimes see the old Lady.  That's why the thing is hung in a corridor And not in one of the bedrooms, it's rather creepy.'

Pauline nodded emphatically. 'Imagine returning after a walk in the garden And seeing the old crone there in the corridor, rather unsettling I say!'

Honoria And Eggleston listened to them spellbound.

'Oh, very interesting, Lord Chuffnell, Lady Chuffnell!' Honoria said eagerly. 'So can we stay in that corridor And wait for the apparition?'

'Oh of course, Mrs Eggleston!' Pauline said smiling brightly.

'Oh, rather,' Chuffy said courteously.

'And may Bunty And I stay too?' I asked tentatively.

'Oh of course, Bertie!' Chuffy smiled brightly. Pauline nodded emphatically.

'Burnett, show Miss Nelson's portrait to Lord Yaxley, Miss Windermere And Dr And Mrs Eggleston,' Chuffy commanded. 

'Yes, my Lord,' Burnett nodded. 'Ladies And gentlemen, please follow me.'

Burnett led us through the dining room into the hall And up a flight of stairs into another corridor doors from which led to some bedrooms. And there was the portrait on the right Wall. She was sirting,  wearing a White broad brimmed bonnet with bows And a blue gown with full skirt, tight sleeves with White frilly cuffs, And a White petticoat. There was a fine White kerchief on her shoulders And a red rose in her hands. There was a round mirror in an ornate frame behind her on the Wall. Her hair was big, Gray And curly, And her Face certainly was resolute And also clever. She certainly would haunt her own painting for a hundred years!

Bunty, Honoria And Eggleston looked at the painting with a sense of awe. Then Honoria sighed And sat down on one of the chairs in the corridor, Eggleston sat down on a chair near her. Bunty smiled broadly And perched on one chair. I sighed And took place on a chair near hers. And so we made a bivouac in the corridor.

The apparition wouldn't show itself in broad daylight, of course, so we waited And waited patiently.

I must confess that I dozed off a bit, so I was bally startled when someone shouted, 'Eeeee!' 

Next moment I saw that the spectre of Miss Nelson standing in the dark And smiling mischievously at us. And it was Honoria squealing, not in terror, in awe. I shook my head. 

Next moment someone slipped out of one bedroom. It was Pauline in a black silk négligée with golden dragons. She saw the old lady's ghost And squealed 'Eeeee!' too, but with terror.

And then everything happened very quickly. Out of the next bedroom stormed Chuffy in a Green silk dressing gown,  and, yelling 'Yaxley!', lurched forward at a lightning speed. He bowled right into Eggleston who jumped from his seat when he heard Honoria squealing. Chuffy started pummelling Eggleston with his fists, And Eggleston answered him in kind. Pauline, Honoria, Bunty And I stood frozen for some time, And then Honoria lurched at the two brawlers And started to pull Eggleston away. Bunty  jumped to her feet too And started to pull Chuffy away. 

'Yaxley, you cad, how dare you touch my wife!' Chuffy was yelling.

'Wooster, you slug, hands off my wife!' Eggleston yelled.

'Wait a bit, who are you if you're not Yaxley!?' Chuffy said dumbfounded, lowering his fists.

'I'm Dr Blair Eggleston, And who in the blazes are you if you're not Wooster!?' Eggleston shouted aghast.

'Lord Chuffnell,' Chuffy said deflated.

'So why the heck were you attacking me!?' Eggleston exclaimed.

Bunty, Honoria and Pauline looked at them shaking their heads. 

'Well, Yaxley was once engaged to Pauline, And he embraced her once when I was already in love with her,' Chuffy explained. 

'Same story here,' Eggleston growled.

Both looked at me.

'Well, you see, Chuffy, I embraced Pauline then because I wanted to provoke your jealousy so you forget your daft ideas that you can't marry a rich heiress And confess your love to her at last,' I explained promptly. 'You are my school friend, Chuffy, And Pauline is my good friend too, I wished you both happiness. It wasn't my fault that it was Pauline's pop And not you who saw our hug.'

Chuffy nodded slowly.

'And Dr Eggleston, it was the Same case with Honoria,' I continued hastily. 'Of course, I can't say that you're my old friend, but Honoria is, And I wished her happiness. So see, it all was entirely innocent And well intentioned.'

Chuffy smiled broadly. 'Well, I'm terribly sorry, Bertie old man, I should know it was something like that.'

'Oh Bertie, you're so funny!' Honoria laughed in her booming laugh. 'Blair, you nincompoop, apologise before Bertie stat!'

'I beg your pardon, Lord Yaxley, it seems I was wrong,' Eggleston said gruffily.

'Oh Bertie, you bumbling White Knight,' Pauline smiled brightly.

'Oh Bertie,' Bunty smiled broadly And embraced me tightly. I blushed profoundly.

'Well, well, well!' someone crowed And I realised it was Miss Nelson. 'Lord Yaxley, but you're a fortunate young man, three such fine ladies are fond of you!'

'Er, well, right,' I said blushing. I couldn't tell her, of course, that I would be much more fortunate if two of them didn't have such rash husbands.

'I take it that the one that's embracing you is Lady Yaxley?' Miss Nelson grinned. 

'The future one,' I blushed. 'Honourable Miss Penelope Windermere, And I'm Bertram Wooster Earl of Yaxley.'

Bunty released me And made a curtsey.

'Well, well, well!' Miss Nelson smiled brightly. 'So you have land here, Lord Yaxley?'

''Yes, that old house, Yaxley Manor,' I clarified. Miss Nelson nodded.

'Why, Lord Yaxley, if I was one hundred And thirty years younger And alive,  

I would try And make advances on you myself!' Miss Nelson grinned.

'Oh, er, thanks awfully,' I blushed.

Miss Nelson reached her ghostly hand And patted my cheek. Her touch was cold as ice.

I tried not to shiver too much, being a gentleman.

Miss Nelson laughed And disappeared.

Honoria reached to the Wall And pressed the light switch. The corridor was bathed in light instantly, And I saw Chuffy And Eggleston's badly beaten faces. I shook my head.

'Oh Marmaduke!' Pauline sighed, embraced Chuffy And kissed his disfigured Face. 'Let's go to my bedroom, I'll treat your wounds.'

Chuffy nodded sighing.

'Dr Eggleston, you obviously can't go anywhere in such a state, so please stay at our place,' Pauline said resolutely.

'Thank you, Lady Chuffnell, we shall stay,' Honoria answered firmly. 'Blair, you require medical attention.'

'I know, Honoria dear,' Eggleston sighed.

I smiled broadly. 'And we would be going, all right? I don't want to intrude on you at dinner as you're in such state.'

Bunty nodded vigorously.

'Right ho, Bertie old chap,' Chuffy sighed. 'I understand that you don't fancy at all seeing my beaten dial at dinner.' 

I smiled gently. 

'Thank you, Bertie, Blair is in No state for a grand dinner all right,' Honoria shrugged.

'Oh, not at all, old girl,' I smiled broadly.

I offered my hand to Bunty, she accepted it graciously, and we left Yaxley Hall.

'Well, wasn't that something else!' I sighed.

'Yeah,' Bunty smiled broadly. 'Bertie dear, where do you find female friends with such explosive sweethearts!?'

'I don't know, it just seemed to happen,' I shook my head. 'And I even didn't love Honoria, you know,  I was pleading young Bingo's case when she thought I was confessing to her! And later she picked up that Eggleston...And  it was the Same with Madeleine Bassett, you know!'

'Yeah,' Bunty  sighed shaking her head.

We returned home And had dinner, just the two of us And Jeeves waiting on us. Bunty was dressed in a dark pink dress with full skirt with a transparent overskirt with White flowers on it, short sleeves, a sweetheart neckline with White flowers in the corners of the cleavage, And there were long White gloves on her dainty hands, a Pearl necklace around her neck And red flowers in her hair, And black pumps on her little feet. I looked at my lovely fiancée spellbound.

'Bunty, my dear, you're positively radiant,' I said gently.

'Why thanks, Bertie my dear,' Bunty smiled broadly. 

I looked at her smiling broadly.

'You know, Bunty, I want to be married here, in St Mary's Church at Yaxley, St George's in Hannover Square be deuced!' I said resolutely.

'Why, are you proposing to me, Lord Yaxley?' Bunty smiled broadly. 

'Yes, Miss Windermere,' I smiled broadly. 

'Then I agree, And second the choice of the venue,' Bunty smiled broadly. 'St George's in Hannover Square is so overrated!'

I squeezed her hand gently. Jeeves smiled slightly looking at us.

When I was getting ready for bed that night, I smiled broadly to Jeeves.

'Jeeves, do you know why we returned to dine at home?'

'No, my Lord,' he said calmly.

'Well, when I introduced the Egglestons to the Chuffnells, Chuffy told a servant to show the portrait to us, And he led us to a first floor corridor where the portrait was. We, that is, the Egglestons, Bunty And I, camped in the corridor And waited till nightfall. I dozed off a bit, so the next thing I knew was Honoria squealing in awe. Yes, in awe, you heard it right, Jeeves. And Miss Nelson was standing there, glowing in the dark. And then Pauline appeared from her bedroom And squealed too, this time in terror. And then Chuffy stormed out of his bedroom.'

Jeeves shook his head.

'Yes, Jeeves, And he bowled right into Eggleston who started to fight with him!' I grinned. 'Honoria And Bunty started to pull them apart. Then they started calling each other 'Yaxley' And 'Wooster', And realised that neither of them was me. They sorted who they were and asked each other why they wanted to attack yours truly. Chuffy said that it was because I was once engaged to Pauline And embraced her when Chuffy And Pauline were already in love. Eggleston said it was the Same with him, And they both looked at me. Well, I explained to them that I was only helping the course of true love, as it were.'

Jeeves nodded calmly.

'And then Honoria said, 'Bertie, you are so funny', Pauline called me a bumbling White Knight,  And Bunty embraced me,' I blushed. 

Jeeves smiled slightly.

'And then someone crowed, 'Well, well, well!'' I continued smiling broadly. 'It was Miss Nelson, Jeeves, And she said that I was a fortunate young  man, such three fine ladies being fond of me! And she asked if the one that was embracing me was Lady Yaxley. I said that Bunty was my future wife, And introduced her And myself. She asked if I was living in Yaxley, And I said that Yes, I lived in Yaxley Manor. And then she patted me on the cheek. Her touch was ice cold, And I tried my best not to shiver, as it wouldn't be preux. And then she disappeared, And Honoria switched the light on. Chuffy's And Eggleston's faces were a sight, I must say! Pauline fussed over Chuffy, And Honoria said to Eggleston that he required medical attention, duh! And I of course said that Bunty And I will dine at home, because we don't want to bother them. And so we returned home, Jeeves.'

'Most extraordinary, my Lord,' Jeeves said calmly.

'Yeah,' I smiled broadly. 'And you know what, Jeeves? I want to get married at St Mary's in Yaxley And not in St George's at Hannover Square.'

'I approve, my Lord,' Jeeves smiled with a corner of his mouth.

'You say Yaxley means Cuckoo Clearing, Jeeves?' I sighed. 'Well, there are certainly plenty of cuckoos in this place, yours truly included.'

'My Lord, you aren't a cuckoo,' Jeeves said firmly. 'You're honourable, generous And gentle to a fault.'

'Well, thanks awfully, old man,' I grinned. By that time I got my pajamas on, And I dived into my bed. Jeeves straightened my blanket. I smiled to him. 'Good night, Jeeves.'

'Good night, my Lord,' Jeeves smiled slightly.