The Golden Days (The Story of the Stone, Vol. 1)

Image result for the story of the stone vol 1 book cover

The reader is presented by a question which may arise during the book’s beginnings, it possibly seeming to cross the line of odd, but more happening under the surface. Years previously, Nü-wa, a goddess, fixes the sky, she using a mountain to make “building blocks” and using all, but one which is left near Green-sickness Peak in the Great Fable Mountains. The block, or Stone contains powers, due to having been constructed by the goddess, it able to move and change its size.

The Stone is also self-aware, knowing it hadn’t been wanted in the reparations of the sky and feeling left out. During this bad mood, it notices a monk and Taoist walking quite a ways away, but are approaching the peak the Stone is on, the two chatting whilst resting. The monk sees and picks up the Stone, it having made itself smaller, and speaks to it of knowing it was special and planned on etching on it to show others the same who wouldn’t be able to travel there; the Stone was quite pleased. The monk stows the Stone away, and wouldn’t reveal the destination he planned for it, the Narrator not knowing, either.

An unknown amount of time later, another monk passes the same area and sees a rock with a length of text written on it. Vanitas the monk reads about the rock’s origins and how after he’d been brought to society, he’d lived as a human and achieved nirvana, then came back. The history of his life follows, the one piece of information not shared is the era this occurred, a little poem following, which wonders whom would go about sharing its story.

Vanitas replies to the rock directly of his feelings on how the story would be perceived without certain details and not making much of a hit, the Stone stating how its story put many perspectives uniquely which would separate its story from those already out. Vanitas breaks it down for it, the risque escapades and depravity of females only supplying interest to a certain sort. Most of its stories involved an assortment of differently themed “romances”, Vanitas continuing to explain why the genre wasn’t a strong one, the Stone defending the possibility it had some redeeming qualities, also speaking of how no part was exaggerated.

Vanitas gives in upon a second reading when seeing the Stone’s words were true. Upon returning, Vanitas had begun “in the Void (which is Truth)”, and returns there, deciding to be called “Brother Amor, or the Passionate Monk”, since he’d regained the Truth through Passion, as well as giving the book the new title of “The Tale of Brother Amor”. The book from there receives four more titles through the years, Cao also being mentioned titling it, “The Twelve Beauties of Jinling“, and the title eventually being given its original one back. Regardless of this, the details within, all being based in reality (which is apparently true after having skimmed the introduction), but the characters and occurrences not being vouched for, at the same time.

Many years before, the world angled differently, the city of Soochow had a certain section which was among the richest. Near this area lived a man, Zhen Shi-Yen with his wife, Feng-Shi, the two not high in financial standing, but had respect from those living in the area. Shi-Yen was an unassuming personality with only a daughter, Ying-lian. One day, Shi-Yen falls asleep whilst reading and views a Taoist and monk strolling and chatting. They discuss where the monk planned on placing the Stone to experience life alongside everyone else.

The monk explains how the Stone had gotten as far as it had by chance, and had located a fairy. This fairy housed the Stone temporarily and bequeathed it “the honorary title of Divine Luminescent Stone-in-Waiting in the Court of Sunset Glow” (a mouthful, which is why I’m being picky about what to share). The Stone spent its time near Magic River where he began giving water to Crimson Pearl Flower, she partially heavenly, so with this additive, transforms into a girl (the more I read makes me see how Madeline Bassett would adore this story). Crimson Pearl is soon plagued by how she’d return the favor to the Stone, believing the only way would be to live a life together as humans. So, for this reason, the monk was bringing the Stone to where the fairy planned to send the assortment of entities to experience human living.

Shi-Yen believes he is overhearing a crazy rant, then hears the monk say some words which worry him, Ying-lian being grasped more tightly by him, the Taoist and monk then decide to meet up again later, Shi-Yen wishing he’d spoken up to inquire about the monk’s words, but is interrupted by a student – Jia Yu-cun, as Shi-Yen was now near his own door, some background then given on the young man’s hard times. Yu-cun greets him warmly, Shi-Yen explaining his being outside was to calm Ying-lian from being upset, he then offers Yu-cun to sit inside and chat with him, due to the slowness of the day.

A servant leads the girl inside as Shi-Yen heads for his office with Yu-cun for tea, soon after, having to rush out for a Mr. Yan having dropped in, Yu-cun entertains himself with looking through some of Shi-Yen’s books, until seeing a girl outside picking flowers, she fetching somehow, then by chance, catching sight of him, she also pleased with his looks. When she turns to leave, then glances back twice at him, Yu-cun takes this as a sign of interest, he waiting only a little longer after learning from a servant boy this guest may be staying for supper, he deciding to go, and when Shi-Yen eventually gets his guest out, decides he wouldn’t be asking him to return when noticing Yu-cun had left.

Later, Shi-Yen goes to offer dinner to the young man after the Mid Autumn festival and supper with his family had been finished. Yu-cun was still thinking of Shi-Yen’s servant girl, Shi-Yen walking in on Yu-cun spouting poetry in relation to her, the two reconvening in his office for wine and food. As they drank and ate, the two become more comfortable with each other until Yu-cun bursts out with more poetry, Shi-Yen congratulating his talent with more wine.

Yu-cun then gets serious about his means of acquiring a lucrative career due to travel costs (I feels ya, buddy). Shi-Yen had been hoping this subject would be broached, since he hadn’t wanted to insult him by offering, but now he’s confided in him, he insisted on fronting all cost for his journey and immediately takes care of everything. Yu-cun didn’t make a big deal out of Shi-Yen’s charity, the two having fun until after twelve at night. When they parted, Shi-Yen sleeps in until noon, and upon waking, plans to set up a place for Yu-cun to stay, but learns he’d decided to leave before dawn, so the issue was let go.

Fifteenth Night brought bad tidings when Shi-Yen has a servant take out Ying-lian to look at the lights, and when the man leaves her on a step whilst relieving himself, the child goes missing, the servant searching until dawn and when not recovering her, leaves town in shame without informing Shi-Yen. He and his wife send out a search party, but Ying-lian isn’t found, the two becoming sick after a month or so, doctors looking after them until a monk living in the Temple next door, has an accident with oil and many houses are destroyed, including of course, the Zhens.

Shi-Yen is distraught over this misfortune, and had planned for them to move to their farm in the country, but the area had become dangerous, so Shi-Yen sells his land and they hole up with his wife’s father-in-law, Feng Su, whom whilst not happy with how they’d turned up, was comforted by his finances from his farm, he supposed to locate them a comfortable new place, but taking half and setting them up with a crap hut and unhealthy land. Not knowing how to recover his bad luck, Feng Su didn’t make his life easier by offering crap advice and then talking shit about Shi-Yen behind his back, he hearing of it later, and this helping his health get worse, his older age not aiding his recovery.

At some point in the future, Shi-Yen is taking a walk and hears a Taoist repeating some words, as he approaches closer, he asks for the man to clarify, since only hearing two words repeated, the monk declaring the words to be important ones and so had understood enough, Shi-Yen then offers more verses, the Taoist pleased, and Shi-Yen deciding then to accompany the mad man and informing no one. Well after this, his wife hears by rumor and is broken by the information, Shi-Yen not found when she’d sent for updates of him. She moves in with her parents and contributes by quilting, and one of her two maids was shopping when a bureaucrat is brought past, she recognizing him, but not recalling where. In the night, Feng Su is dumbfounded when learning someone from his house was wanted at the bureaucrat’s headquarters.

Yamen runners outside inform a smiling Feng Su, Shi-Yen was being summoned and when Feng Su shares how Shi-Yen had left a year previously to become a Taoist, the runners take him instead, his family and servants in fear of what could be happening. It was well into the night before Feng Su had gotten back home, everyone having questions, so Feng Su describes how this new mandarin, a Hu-zhou named Jia used to know Shi-Yen way back when, and had deduced he’d moved and was tipped off they would know where he was because of the woman, Lucky selling quilts in the doorway, and when Feng Su explains where Shi-Yen had gone, was unhappy to learn of this, then upon discovering what had occurred to Ying-lian, decides to send his own search party, expecting better results, and after speaking with each other a little more, Feng Su readies to leave, and Jia gives him silver pieces, his wife stunned by his story and the night passing calmly. Early in the day a package from Yu-cun is delivered to Feng-shi, as well as a letter to Feng Su to inquire if Feng-shi would allow him to take Lucky as his second wife (how sweet…), Feng Su pressing how significant it was she should comply, so they immediately ship Lucky off, and Yu-cun is so happy, he showers them with gifts, especially Feng-shi, to keep her occupied until Ying-lian was found.

Lucky apparently caught a good turn, since she bore Yu-cun a son fairly quickly, and was upgraded when Yu-cun’s first wife dies. Yu-cun’s progress after finishing school is followed, he getting the position of magistrate of the district fairly fast, but unfortunately, had a bad habit of out-thinking the higher-ups and making them seem foolish, so he was soon given a bad report of conduct, getting fired, but takes the news well, settling his family in his hometown with the riches he’d accrued and beginning to travel.

Yu-cun was in Yangchow when learning a Lin Ru-hai was also staying in the area, the man’s background being related to royalty, but his family line dying off and his only son having been lost the previous year. He had a daughter though, Dai-yu, she showing promise and so was educated a bit to take their minds off their son dying. Yu-cun had been ill recently and upon recovering for the most part, realized he needed to replenish his funds, so upon running into some buddies who knew the Salt Commissioner, Lin Ru-hai he was able to secure the position as tutor.

Due to it seeming the little girl dictated when she’d be taught, Yu-cun had plenty more time to recuperate, then Dai-yu’s mother falls ill and dies, the young girl’s lessons falling to the wayside in her grief, she also now becoming periodically sick, Yu-cun beginning to take strolls more often to ease his idleness. One day he walks out of town and sees a temple going to ruin, he reading the name of the place and the gate which had a poem written upon it, curious to learn the history of the place, but upon entering, only finding a deaf and half blind monk, whom wasn’t able to answer his inquiries.

So, Yu-cun leaves and heads for a neighboring village inn for some wine, there meeting an acquaintance, Leng Zi-xing, he having a good sense of business and the two admiring the other. Yu-cun asks how he’d come to be there, Zi-xing having been visiting a buddy by chance, the two then sitting and catching up on their lives since they’d last spoken, Yu-cun asking about anything notable happening in the area, Zi-xing recalling a small event in regard to a distant relative of Yu-cun, his family not normally considering themselves a part of the others family, due to their high class. Zi-xing describes how apparently their houses had fallen a bit, the time in which it occurred surprising Yu-cun.

Zi-xing states how the relation of how it happened would take some time, he clarifying how they hadn’t lost everything, but there having been the cinching of the belt, inwardly, the main problem stemming from the male progeny not living up to standards. Yu-cun is shocked to learn the families wouldn’t have continued the degree of education they’d been known for, Zi-xing giving background of the two heads of households, the men being brothers, one, Ning’s grandson becoming a Taoist and uninterested in any other matters, he having a son, whom in turn had a son, whom was currently a teenager, his father not taking responsibility and living a life of debauchery and no one willing to snap the man into shape.

The other side, Rong’s eldest, marrying into a well known family and having two sons, after he passed away, his wife surviving him, and his eldest taking over responsibility in title but not doing what was necessary for the household, his younger brother being urged to continue his education and going up the ranks in his field, he marrying and having a son, this son dying young, but also having a son, his wife then having a daughter after, and another son born with a piece of jade in his mouth twelve years later, this being the odd part Zi-xing was referring, Yu-cun unable to argue.

This youngest son, Bao-yu had been tested with objects of the family mixed in with different sorts of trinkets, he drawn to the items which were female in nature, his father displeased, but his grandmother doting on the boy. It didn’t end there though, Bao-yu now ten and naughtily clever, the boy precocious, Yu-cun saw this boy’s heritage in a certain light, Zi-xing wishing for him to clarify, so Yu-cun lists good men verses the bad ones, and stating their circumstances, as well as how it related to their current state of living in the world, the state of the world currently on the upswing of good tidings, and how pure humor over “perverse humours” tended to dissipate in certain environments, and on the off-chance the two should meet, being in constant opposition, they sometimes made their way into a human host, then upon this person’s upbringing, excelled in certain areas, which regardless of status, showed itself in some way, he again listing good and bad men.

Yu-cun then relates an experience with a small boy he’d been tutoring whom would also be among the bad, and Zi-xing mentions how like the little boy’s female counterparts, the girls in the Jia family were also good and clever. They then discussed how this family named their girls like the boys, which was unusual, Yu-cun learning his current employer’s late wife was named similarly, Zi-xing offering he research his words, but Yu-cun realizing it must be true with how her daughter, Dai-yu wrote and spoke, she also a part of the Jia family on the Rong’s side. They then wonder who the younger generation would be married off to, Sir Zheng having another son after Bao-yu, from one of his concubines.

After which they discuss Sir She’s having a son, as well, and also how this son had already gotten married within the family, to a cousin through marriage, and whilst he helped manage the family estate, his wife overshadowed him in more ways than one. Zi-xing then decides they should continue to drink after their hearty chat, Yu-cun noticing how the hour was getting on and they should walk and talk, so they made it to the city gates before they shut for the night, and right when they’re readying to leave, Yu-cun is recognized and given commendation, as well as being told of this person having fortuitous information for him.

Yu-cun recognizes an associate of his, Zhang Ru-gui, he also having been let go, and this area being his hometown, he sharing how he learned of ex-officials getting rehired, so there being a possibility for himself to get set up with a new position, he sharing this information with Yu-cun and then hastening onward, Zi-xing believing Yu-cun should use his connection to Ru-hai so he could do the same, Yu-cun agreeing, and the two going their separate ways.

When Yu-cun returns he makes certain the news was authentic before asking Ru-hai, but when he does inquire, the man was eager to do him this favor, then sharing with Yu-cun of having written a letter to his brothers-in law, Yu-cun’s distant relatives, Jia She and having addressed it to the younger brother, Jia Zheng. Ru-hai then states how much easier it’d be if Yu-cun accompanied Dai-yu to the capital, she not wanting to leave, but her grandmother and father convincing her what with having more female role-models by moving, she reluctantly going, and when Yu-cun arrives, he gets seen by Jia Zheng in good time, Ru-hai’s recommendation on top of his being impressed by Yu-cun’s scholarly nature, helping him get his job back as magistrate in another city.

Dai-yu, along with her maids are greeted by covered chairs from the mansion when stepping on land, they having traveled by barge. She notices the odd quality of servants and watched herself in case she made a wrong move. They were brought to the Rong Guo House, her maids helping her out of the curtained chair and walk through the grounds until meeting some loitering ladies who mention of Lady Jia having recently inquired about her, the attendant announcing she’d arrived and her grandmother greeting her with emotion, Dai-yu kotowing after they’d calmed. Her grandmother then introduced their female members of the family and sending for the children, two out of three of the girls each having a distinct virtue, the youngest only seeming still a child.

When tea was readied, the subject of choice turned to the events surrounding Dai-yu’s mother’s illness and death, refreshing her grandmother’s upset, she declaring how Dai-yu’s mother had been her favorite, so was understandably broken up. They then ask about Dai-yu’s obvious health issue, she stating no doctor had been able to cure her, so she only taking ginseng, they then hearing someone loudly pleasant approaching and announcing of being late, a lady entering whom was breathtaking and dressed like royalty, Lady Jia introducing her by a nickname of Peppercorn Feng, but a cousin revealing this was Jia Lian’s wife, Wang Xi-feng, Dai-yu using her given name when greeting her, and after Xi-feng gives her a once over, is quite candid about her beauty and she taking after the Jias, she then offering Dai-yu any comfort she desired and to let her know if someone was mean to her, she also commanding servants to be sure rooms were readied for her servants, she also making certain where the platters of food coming in were set.

Meanwhile, Dai-yu overhears her Aunt Wang discuss with Xi-feng there being silks brought so they could make some clothes for her, Xi-feng having taken care of it, and when her grandmother was ordering servants to take Dai-yu to her uncles, Xi-feng offers to accompany her, she taking Dai-yu by the hand and leading her out, they being driven to Xi-feng and She’s residence. Xi-feng has him called when they enter, but he wasn’t feeling well at the moment, but wanting Dai-yu to feel comfortable enough to tell her family if she needed anything to feel even more at ease and at home, Xi-feng then invites her to dine with her, but Dai-yu knew she was still expected by her other uncle, Zheng, she being escorted by the servants, back to the Rong mansion, Dai-yu seeing an ornate side of the home she had yet experienced, the hall within resplendent with beautiful furniture and scripts on the walls.

Dai-yu is brought to her Aunt Wang, in a side room, she sitting in a chair and brought tea, but is requested to move to where Wang was in another part of the room on some cushions, Dai-yu again refused to sit in her uncle’s place of honor, opposite Wang, but she coaxing Dai-yu to sit near her, explaining her uncle wouldn’t be able to see her today, but having to speak with her of the three girls they for the most part being well-behaved, but her son a major nuisance and of whom should be ignored.

Dai-yu then realizes this must be Bai-yu she referred, Wang explaining how due to his grandmother spoiling him, he continued to stay with the girls, so she shouldn’t trust what he says due to his chaotic nature. Wang then receives word it was time for supper, so leads Dai-yu across the grounds, also showing her where Xi-feng lived in case she had any requests, they then going to her grandmother’s quarters, where she resisted the place of honor, but learned it was her because her elder cousins wives wouldn’t be joining them, so Dai-yu goes through the proper etiquette before sitting.

The custom between dishes was certainly new to Dai-yu, they having tea for rinsing their mouths and different tea for drinking. Grandmother Jia then requests to speak to the children alone, everyone leaving, Grandmother Jia inquiring what books Dai-yu was studying (the four books, I presume), the girl asking about what her cousins were reading in return, and Grandmother Jia stating they could barely read and write, Bai-yu then being heard, and when entering, his appearance given (the poetic parts of this story isn’t cumbersome or hard to understand like some, and brings a nice airy description which is pleasant), Dai-yu somehow recognizing him and wondering why, he greeting Grandmother Jia, and she instructing him to visit his mother and return, he off to do as she bid and coming back quickly in different clothes, the boy even getting a song to go with his appearance (Moon on West River as background) and personality, it made quite clear he was a brat.

When his grandmother instructs he say hello to his cousin, he assesses her for some time before voicing her thought of having met her before, he then asking her questions about study and giving her a school name, he then asking if she had a jade, she stating it wasn’t common, which Bai-yu has a fit over, his grandmother attempting to calm him as he explains how his cousin, whom was so angelic didn’t have one and questioned it being of good value, quite upset.

Grandmother Jia comes up with the story of Dai-yu having used to have one, but buried it with her mother, this calming the boy, two servants then asking Grandmother Jia where she wanted Dai-yu to sleep, she deciding Bai-yu would bunk with her and Dai-yu would have his place, but Bai-yu convinces she let him stay with the girls. One of Bai-yu’s nurses hears Dai-yu still up after they’d all settled in the tent and asks what was wrong, her nurse explaining how terribly she felt for setting Bai-yu off and would’ve been responsible if he’d broken the jade.

Aroma, as Bai-yu named her, or Pearl, makes Dai-yu aware of how this was pittance to what Bai-yu could be like, so she should calm herself and sleep, Dai-yu grateful to hear this and doing so. Early next morning, after greeting Grandmother Jia, Dai-yu goes to her Aunt Wang’s and learns from another family member, Xue Pan had killed someone and need the help of the family, it already under investigation and they discussing whether to have him stay with them.

So, Dai-yu walked in to hear Aunt Wang speak with the messengers of her eldest brother and wife about their Aunt’s family in Nanking being a part of this manslaughter case, and due to Wang being busy with this, Dai-yu and the other girls go see Li Wan, her husband, Jia Zhu having died at a young age, but giving her a son, Jia Lan, now five and already starting his education. Li Wan was the daughter of Li Shou-zhong, whom when becoming head of the family, decided the females wouldn’t continue to receive a higher level of education and focus on needlework, what with a big believer of a dumb woman being virtuous or some shit.

Dai-yu is able to easily adjust to life among these ladies, though due to their mild natures. Now, Jia Yu-cun had begun his position as yamen in Ying-tian-fu, the manslaughter case soon becoming a part of his workload, it involving two sides fighting over the payment of a slave, one side getting fatally injured. Yu-cun hears first from the murdered man’s side, a worker of this man, whom relays how his “master” hadn’t known the slave he’d bought had been stolen goods, and the seller supposed to have deposited the slave to him three days later, but the seller instead turning around and selling her to Xue Pan. This man and his master going off to retrieve the slave, and Xue Pan sicking his bodyguards on them, beating his master to death, and Xue Pan along with the other guilty parties going to ground, this man waiting a year for justice, pleading with Yu-cun to locate the guilty parties.

Yu-cun is outraged by nothing being done, but catches the eye of a door-keeper before issuing a summons, he instead clearing the room, save this man, whom speaks of having known Yu-cun for over ten years, and after a hint of having met at the Temple, remembered him as a young monk, this man deciding to change his career after the fire. Yu-cun then asks why he’d halted his duties, the man informing Yu-cun how officials usually had a manual which listed the most powerful people of their district one would be better off not touching toes with.

Yu-cun hadn’t heard of this, and so the man continues why Xue Pan hadn’t been brought in being because of this, the man then showing the pamphlet, after which they hear a ring indicating Mr. Wang had come, Yu-cun dealing with the man, then returning, the door-keeper finishing his chat by stating how many influential people Xue Pan had to help him, Yu-cun confessing how he obviously had to deal with the case somehow, he then presuming this man must know more, which he doesn’t deny and even offers to detail.

The murdered man was called Feng Yuan, and he had no relatives when his parents died, he having been surviving off his minuscule inheritance, only eighteen or nineteen years old and gay, but apparently saw this slave and was ready to make an honest woman of her, which is why he’d decided to wait three days to give the impression it was similar to a wedding, so when both sides discovered what had happened, they caught him before he could get away and beat the crap out of him, but the issue stemming from both sides wanting the slave and not wanting what they’d paid returned to them, so Xue Pan had Feng Yuan assaulted and brought home, he expiring three days later.

Before all of this had occurred, Xue Pan was already planning to go to the capital, so he still left with the slave and his family, acting like a pampered rich man would, and leaving the clean up to his help. The clincher, though is whom the slave was, Yu-cun learning it was Ying-lian, which this door-keeper knew, since he’d been a playmate of hers way back, and also knew the kidnapper had a system of raising girls until old enough to sell them, he also recognizing her birthmark.

The door-keeper had gotten wind of her presence because the kidnapper rented one of his rooms, Ying-lian staying quiet when he confronted her out of fear of repercussions, then breaking down and admitting she recalled nothing, but this young man being certain of her origins. The night the kidnapper had been paid, Ying-lian started talking with him and felt like she would finally have some peace, until she learned of the three day wait, this young man’s wife seeing her to instill optimism, she stating how the future date meant she’d be living like a woman rather than a worker, and how much he paid showing the amount he cared, and not to worry about the time-frame, and her words seeming to have worked, but then Xue Pan getting involved, and he not having considerate intentions for her, beating her until she willingly came with him, this young man not knowing whether she still lived, so the fact Feng Yuan had gone through all of this with plans to settle only to be killed was a terrible fate. Yu-cun thought Feng Yuan’s sudden change of sexual interest must mean it was kismet, and poor Ying-lian, so close to being pardoned by her lot in life, only to have her suffering prolonged intimated the same.

On top of this, Xue Pan is a man whom divided his time with other women, and it being a terrible situation which Yu-cun now had to decide how to handle the next move, legally, the young man reminding him how Xue Pan may be related to the Jias through marriage, but Yu-cun already being on good terms with one of the family, so perhaps he should make himself even more esteemed to them. Yu-cun noted his newly appointed position being in a delicate area, since it was still so new, but the young man making the point of he not doing his job properly, and how would he could show he’s truly grateful for it, but no matter what he decided, it dictated careful consideration.

Yu-cun takes a moment before inquiring the young man’s opinion, he having thought the next day, Yu-cun should go about business as usual, but with a firm hand, bringing in Xue Pan’s family and workers to be questioned, and the young man would be getting Xue Pan’s people to claim he’d died of a sickness which would then be corroborated by their neighbors, Yu-cun would then get a special table to speak with the afterlife and offer anyone being allowed to come, and proceed by stating Feng Yuan had unfinished business with Xue Pan from a previous life, which he dealt with after death by making Xue Pan ill, and due to this whole debacle being started by the kidnapper, he alone would from there on be held accountable and all others free of guilt.

The young man would then get the kidnapper to agree to confession, and then the people would have no reason to question Yu-cun’s claims. He then would give the Fengs reparations for cost of the funeral, and Xue Pan already being rich, wouldn’t bat an eye about the cost. Yu-cun was entertained by the young man’s idea, but would give it a bit more of a ponder to ensure the public wouldn’t gossip. Yu-cun speaks with the Fengs the following day, the young man correct about they only wanting money and bringing the case to court because Xue Pan had denied them, so he had the Fengs agree to an amount and then wrote a couple letters detailing the issue had been handled. Yu-cun then became paranoid by how much the young man knew, and so waited until he caught him in a minor crime and had him sent to the military, this easing his mind.

Next, Xue Pan is followed, his father dying whilst Xue Pan was a boy and his mother spoiling him to the point of damaging his character. Due to his family’s wealth, he loved expensive things and spoke in a snotty manner, and regardless of education, was practically illiterate. He loved gambling and the sights, he also being technically employed by way of his father and grandfather, but only collected a paycheck without doing any work.

Xue Pan’s mother was the younger half sister of Wang Zi-teng and younger sister of Lady Wang, she over fifty years old now, and as for Xue Pan’s sibling, she called Bao-chai, younger and beautiful, was favored by their father, so was educated and smarter than Xue Pan, but upon their father’s death, she gave up continuing her education in order to help her mother.

The “upside” to this was the females of important officials getting the chance to be chosen as educational partners for the younger female royals. Due to this, and Xue Pan wanting to experience the grander life in the capital, he had a few reasons to go, which included having his sister available to be chosen and replenish his allowance. So, all of this had been in motion well before meeting Ying-lian and second-hand murdering her seller. Hence, he going on his merry way, expecting to only need to pay a fine which his servants would handle in his absence. Whilst they were traveling, they learn his Uncle Wang wouldn’t be present due to a promotion, which Xue Pan didn’t share he was happy about, since he felt he could now truly let his freak flag fly.

Xue Pan proceeds in convincing his mother they should have somebody make certain the servants of the houses hadn’t let their friends stay, due to how long they’d been unoccupied, his mother not seeing the point of rushing, since they had plenty of time and room. Xue Pan considers how busy everyone will be in helping his uncle get ready to go as they turn up, but his mother reminds him, this was what the Jias were for, but she sensing what his problem was, and even suggesting he go off to pick a place for himself, whilst she and Bao-chai continued to his Aunt Jia’s, Xue Pan acquiescing to her wishes, since he knew he’d be required to stay regardless of her words.

Meanwhile, Lady Wang was calmed upon learning Xue Pan’s case was being handled by Yu-cun, but was apprehensive by her older brother, Wang Zi-teng leaving. So, the news of her sister having arrived with her kids and servants put her back in high spirits, they reuniting with emotion, visiting Grandmother Jia, giving their presents, and then having a grand family get-together during which Jia Zheng sends a note to Lady Wang offering to have her sister stay in the secluded house with her kids, Wang having wanted to invite them to stay with her, Grandmother Jia wanting the same, so Xue Pan could have an eye kept on him, believing if he had complete freedom, he’d get into more trouble, Xue accepting the offer and beginning to move them all in.

The home was located next to Lady Wang’s, the two sisters chatting daily along with Grandmother Jia, Bao-chai happy to mingle with Dai-yu and the other girls, Xue Pan the only one dissatisfied, to start with at any rate. He still planned on moving elsewhere, but had to agree to stay temporarily whilst his servants prepared another home. Xue Pan’s opinion soon changed upon hanging out with his male family members, they sinking him into worse depths, the patriarch of the family, Zheng too busy to keep everyone in check, he having become the go-to for Zhen, whom was supposed to be the one in charge. So, upon Xue Pan realizing he was in no danger of being reeled in, he and his newfound best buddies came and left when they pleased, their adventures to follow.

Dai-yu had become another favorite of Grandmother Jia, she receiving the same attentiveness as Bao-yu, the other girls holding each other in high esteem and much closer, since they were treated differently. Now Bao-chai had joined them, Dai-yu felt put off by her beauty and how well-liked she’d become with everyone, due to being unaware how personable she was, and Dai-yu setting herself apart because of how serious she acted about being proper. Bao-yu, on the other hand still maintained the attitudes of a child, so had no differentiation between family members unless living more closely to them, like with Dai-yu, he speaking too roughly with her and attempting to make up for it, which she was big enough, or gullible enough to accept.

As this occurs, Zhen’s wife, You-shi invites Grandmother Jia, Lady Xing and Wang to a party, her son, Jia Rong accompanying her, they having an uneventful time, up until Bao-yu decides he’d like a nap, Grandmother Jia preparing the servants to attend to him when Qin-shi, Jia Rong’s wife volunteers to take care of him, Grandmother Jia acquiescing, but Bao-yu immediately offended by the art on the walls of the room she’d led him to, and the phrases on the wall clinching his desire to leave, Qin-shi then offerring her own bedroom, which he agrees to, but the servants shocked by the idea of an uncle sleeping in a nephew’s wife’s bed, but she believing he was too young for the sort of thoughts the servants had in mind, speaking of her brother being around the same age as Bao-yu, he then wishing to meet him, but the boy currently away, and upon getting to her room, is overcome with sleepiness as a pleasant smell assaults his nose, and this room’s art and scripts more to his acceptance, Qin-shi then having some noisy cats on the roof outside attended to as Bao-yu sinks into unconsciousness and feels like Qin-shi is still with him, leading him to a stream near some trees, it looking as if humans had yet set foot there, and Bao-yu completely taken with the place. Then he hears a lady singing out of view, she heading in his direction, the poem which follows showing she was otherworldly, it being the description of the appearance of a lady like herself. Bao-yu knew she was a fairy and smiles warmly at her, requesting she show him around for not knowing where he was, she introducing herself as Disenchantment and she living in the Sea of Sadness, her home being in the Land of Illusion. She also describes her relation to the human world by connection of varying romantic dealings and had gone to this spot for sensing karmic love in the area and was gauging if her services could be given, Bao-yu a candidate. She then invites him to tea at her home, nearby and how she’d written a musical composition called “A Dream of Golden Days”, Bao-yu so overcome by the offer, he’d forgotten to wonder where Qin-shi had gone, he following Disenchantment to her home, Bao-yu curious about the details of her job, which unbeknownst to him, had given access to his body to a demon of Lust, his becoming tainted.

They walk through an area with buildings designated by certain themes, Bao-yu wishing to see inside them, but Disenchantment relaying it wouldn’t be right to have him see the females files regarding their future, but Bao-yu nags her until she allows him a moment to view inside the Department of the Ill-Fated Fair, it lined with cabinets labeled by city, Bao-yu seeing his and inquiring what else the label meant, he learning it contained the twelve best ladies in his area, two more cabinets detailing two dozen more, and all other females remaining unlisted. Bao-yu takes a look at one of the other two, and opens a hard-case folder with a picture and verse on the two pages he viewed before looking at a different cabinet, still confused by the album he chose, and looking at the main cabinet, and unable to understand the words, and knowing Disenchantment wouldn’t explain it, but he continuing looking through the book, filled with pictures on one side and an accompanying poem, which warned and spoke of love, loss, and possibly even danger. As it goes on, the fate of women Bao-yu may know is spoken of in riddles. When Disenchantment believes he was becoming too wise on the information he was reading, she takes the book and decides they should move along, Bao-yu next within the back part of the mansion, he hearing Disenchantment hurriedly coax other fairies out to meet him, but they being unimpressed, having been expecting a reunion with Crimson Pearl, Bao-yu now uncomfortable, and Disenchantment explaining how she’d been going to retrieve Crimson Pearl, but was waylaid by two Dukes asking for her services of which she couldn’t pass, involving Bao-yu and their request to have his virginity taken on the chance it would sober his nature and aid him to navigate life with a clear mind. Disenchantment decided to fulfill their wish, his look at the records not doing the trick, so leading him there so he could experience a good party, she bringing him inside. Bao-yu then inquires the scent he smelled, she sharing it was nothing he’d be able to detect on his world, and giving the name.

After they sit, Bao-yu tastes the tea given him and is again desirous to know what it was called, Disenchantment telling where it came from, as well as what it was called, Maiden’s Tears. He surveys the room they were in before asking the names of the other fairies, they all having odd monikers like Disenchantment. When they sit at the table for wine and food, Bao-yu asks about the wine, it coming from flowers and tree extracts, twelve dancers then entering, Disenchantment requesting they perform her musical. She then informs Bao-yu may want to read about the piece so he could better understand it, the poems of the performance, following. The description has each songs lyrics, telling of past lovers, in twelve songs not including the prelude and epilogue, and by the conclusion, Disenchantment could see Bao-yu had lost interest, he requesting to be allowed to nap, she leading him to a little bedroom where a fairy girl sat, she exuding similarities to both Bao-chai and Dai-yu, Disenchantment stating how lust played into all attraction, regardless of men saying it was beauty they were attracted by, she confessing his lust was the strongest she’d seen which her affection for him stemmed, Bao-yu intimidated. He confides how he didn’t truly understand the meaning and believed he was still too young to be listed as such. Disenchantment clarifies her meaning by defining how many sorts of lust there were, his type being listed as “lust of the mind”, which couldn’t be described. She goes on to confide this is why she’d shared tea and wine with him, as well as the musical, and would also be paired with her sister, Two-in-one or Ke-qing to marry, they being bid to hook up this evening, so he could learn the construct of love and obtain an understanding and following of philosophy for everyone’s benefit.

Before Disenchantment leaves them to it, she advises Bao-yu on some techniques, he implementing them stupefied and baffled, but getting the deed done, Bao-yu by morning, in pure contentment, and the two walking out holding hands and somehow discover themselves surrounded by perils, Disenchantment yelling after them to return the way they’d come, Bao-yu inquiring where they were, and she explaining it was a place which could only be crossed by way of two ferrymen, demons then reaching for him to pull him into the water, he crying for Ke-qing’s help, his servants returning to him in fear, and consoling him, Qin-shi outside and taking care of the noisy cats and dogs, surprised to hear him call out her childhood name, and curious how he could know.

Qin-shi doesn’t look into it, though and Bao-yu is getting helped by Aroma to straighten his pants, she feeling something like jizz, Bao-yu looking embarrassed, and after being returned to looking properly, finishes his meal with Grandmother Jia and then has a moment with Aroma when she supplies him with clean undies, he pleading she not say anything and then coaxed into sharing how it had happened, but she laughing at him when he was about to share the sex part of his dream, Bao-yu then makes advances on Aroma, she allowing this after some playful denial, this being part of the reason she had been given to him, and from then on Bao-yu gives her extra regard, she more loyal to him, as well, and his story now being left.

The next area to be covered is decided on with the arrival of this person happening on the day this was being recorded. The Rong mansion is visited by a local called Wang, this person unknown by most of the family, other than Lady Wang and her brother, Wang Xi-feng’s father. The grandfather, whom had known Xi-feng’s grandfather, the father of Lady Wang, dies and has his son carry on, Wang Chang, he leading a farmer’s life, and when he died, his son, Gou-er continuing this work with his wife and their two kids, Ban-er and Qing-er, Gou-er inviting his wife’s mother, Grannie Liu to live with them and help with the kids. She readily accepts his invitation, but soon has to put her food down when Gou-er is seen to be drunkenly making trouble for her daughter, due to his own stresses of the farm and winter closing in.

Grannie Liu reasons with him to take his stupidity to the city, since he couldn’t stop spending the little money he made, she believing they could still think of a remedy, and leave the details to God, she then remembering his relation to Lady Wang, Gou-er’s wife worried they’d get turned away and look ridiculous for the trip, Gou-er buoyed by the possibility, suggesting Grannie Liu go first to survey for them, but she stating how they wouldn’t know her, until Gou-er suggests she take Ban-er with her and call on Zhou, whom knew his father, Grannie Liu seeing the logic behind his idea and having herself and Ban-er ready in the morning, the four to five year old boy gladly learning some phrases Grannie Liu taught him for the ladies at the mansion. They soon arrive and she leads them through a side entrance and speaks with some men loitering on the grounds, eventually being told to hang about at a certain gate where she’d be met by someone from the house, but an older man advising she see Zhou’s wife, since he was currently away on business, then directing her to where she could be located.

Grannie Liu asks a young boy where Mrs. Zhou lived upon following the directions, he showing them and calling out to her, Zhou Rui coming out and soon recognizing Grannie Liu and inviting her inside. Grannie Liu doesn’t share the true reason she’d come, instead stating how they’d come to see her and see “Her Ladyship”, Zhou Rui’s wife fairly able to deduce Grannie Liu’s real reasons for visiting, but knowing her son-in-law’s father had helped her husband when he’d required and was wanting an excuse to show off her own power, so responds with great charity, explaining her usual job and willing to go against protocol to relay a message to Her Ladyship, she sharing how her niece, Wang Xi-feng managed the place now, Grannie Liu thanking her for her kindness and she dismissing it for it not being an issue. She sends a maid to see how far along Lady Jia’s lunch was, and upon hearing what part they were in, gets Grannie Liu to join her before Mrs. Lian became to busy, she having the two wait whilst she spoke with Xi-feng’s closest servant, Patience whom decided the two could wait inside with her.

Grannie Liu first is overcome by the perfumed room and then its grandeur, Patience deciding to be polite once viewing the old woman and invites her to sit, everyone getting comfortable before proceeding with tea, Grannie Liu noticing a loud ticking and then being surprised by a loud bell sounding, all servants and Mrs. Zhou readying for Xi-feng to appear, the two going to the next room whilst Grannie Liu waited to be called, Zhou Rui’s wife coming in for her and Xi-feng not realizing she’d brought her in already, Grannie Liu showing her respect and Xi-feng requesting she stop for not knowing how they were related, yet and after, Ban-er too intimidated to give respect to his “Auntie”. Xi-feng then has Zhou Rui’s wife see if Her Ladyship, presumably Grandmother Jia, was busy, Zhou Rui’s wife returning to relay Grandmother Jia wouldn’t be seeing them, but to share any message with Xi-feng.

Grannie Liu declines and Zhou Rui’s wife giving a look which spoke of she getting a final chance to confess her thoughts, and so was about to do so when interrupted by the arrival of Xi-feng’s nephew, Jia Rong, whom had come to inquire on the behalf of his father to borrow a little glass screen which she at first pretended had already been borrowed, but soon has Patience get the key, Jia Rong so happy he goes off to gather his own servants to carry the load rather than have hers be put out, but Xi-feng asks he return, so later she could share something with him, and when he leaves once more, Grannie Liu gets into how destitute they were and food being scarce, then attempting to get Ban-er to say his little phrases, but he being too busy eating sweets, Xi-feng mercifully allowing this to pass and states she didn’t have to continue, ordering a guest-sized meal to be brought to them, Zhou Riu’s wife doing so, and the speaking with Xi-feng in private of what Grandmother Jia had said in more detail, it about how Grannie Liu wasn’t a blood relative, but was quite close to the family, so would leave it up to Xi-feng as to how much she chose to help them, Xi-feng then returning to relay how she knew they must be living in hard times and would give them some silver to return home with, Grannie Liu relaying how grateful she was before following Zhou Riu’s wife out, she speaking with her for some time after, before leaving the home.

Zhou Riu’s wife goes to Lady Wang, but discovers she’d gone to see Aunt Xue, so she goes after her, she waiting with Bao-chai, since she’d found her speaking with her sister, Zhou Riu’s wife asking if she’d been well the last few days, since she hadn’t come by, she admitting she’d been ill and explains how it wasn’t dangerous, but also had no cure, a monk relaying it was only an overheating problem and supplied a home remedy which surprisingly worked. Bao-chai then explains why she couldn’t describe the powders used, due to when it’s administered affecting how it worked, and as they speak, Lady Wang calls out to them and Zhou Riu’s wife goes in to share the happenings with Grannie Liu, after which Aunt Xue invites her to stick around and hands off a box of fake flowers for the Jia girls to wear. When Lady Wang suggests she keep them for Bao-chai, Aunt Xue shares how the girl was picky about accouterments to her attire, Zhou Riu’s wife then going back out and speaks with Golden about the young lady Caltrop, learning she was the one involved with the murder trial, and when seeing her up close, notes how her features reminded her of Master Rong’s wife, Golden thinking the same, and upon questioning Caltrop, learns nothing due to the girl’s blocked memories.

Zhou Riu’s wife continues to the girls quarters and delivers the flowers, she staying and speaks with a nun about whether the Mother Superior had gotten the monthly donation and where she was, currently. The nun didn’t know, but relays the woman’s whereabouts, and after a little more conversation, moves along to Xi-feng’s, Patience helping her complete her task and then plans on going to Grandmother Jia’s when she runs into her daughter, whom is full of questions, which Zhou Riu’s wife takes lightly, instead inquiring if she also had any issues, since she sensed it was one of those days, her daughter admitting to this and had hoped she’d be able to help her husband. Zhou Riu’s wife agrees to see to it after delivering the remainder of the flowers, going to Dai-yu’s, whom was with Bao-yu, the girl not pleased with the idea of receiving the leftovers of the flowers, and as Bao-yu sends a maid to deliver a message to Bao-chai, Zhou Riu’s wife exits, it being told her daughter’s husband was Yu-cun’s old friend, Zi-xing, he in trouble over some issues with some ancient items bought, Zhou Riu’s wife certain when she brought it to Xi-feng’s attention the issue would be handled.

As evening came, Xi-feng updates Lady Wang on the day’s events, beginning with gifts sent by the Zhen family and having shipped them gifts in return, also informing of gifts also being ready for the Earl of Lian’s mother, and continuing about how she had been invited by Cousin Zhen’s wife to come over the next day, making sure she was allowed to attend, the night then ending. Bao-yu decides he wants to accompany Xi-feng to visit Cousin Zhen’s wife, You-shi, her son and daughter also present. They sit down for tea, Qin-shi then informing Bao-yu to go see her brother, he quickly doing so, but Xi-feng deciding she also wanted to meet Qin Zhong, the boy arriving and awkwardly greeting her, then having the usual inquiries answered of his studies, etc.

When the ladies move on to a card game, the boys leave to chat, the two each having similar thoughts of envy of the other and how they hated they weren’t the other’s equal, so they could be close buddies, and once initializing conversation, become familiar with each other, Bao-yu learning Qin Zhong was currently tutor-less and waiting to get a new one, Bao-yu offerring a school situation his family had set up and suggesting Qin Zhong ask permission to go with him, the two boys agreeing the idea was a good one, they returning to discover Xi-feng had won the card game and a show would be set up as her winnings in a couple days time, Xi-feng then giving her opinion about an old belligerent worker, Big Jao, whom had been asked to accompany Jia Rong home, but was insulting everyone, the man needing to be sent away, she then leaves with Bao-yu, Jia Rong commanding the servants to restrain Big Jao, since he continued prattling on with his threats, Bao-yu making the mistake of inquiring about one he’d heard and Xi-feng threatening to inform his mother, he pleading for her not to and apologizing. Xi-feng changes her anger to comfort and shares how she’ll be speaking with Grandmother Jia about Qin Zhong joining his school.

When they get back, Bao-yu shares with Grandmother Jia his wishes and why it was a positive choice to allow Qin Zhong to join him in class, Xi-feng also supplying her agreement which Grandmother Jia is affected in a good way, Xi-feng then inviting her to the play which was being set up for her, and Grandmother Jia tagging along on the day with Lady Wang, Dai-yu, and Bao-yu, but Lady Wang and Grandmother Jia leave early, Xi-feng having so much fun, she stays much later. Meanwhile, Bao-yu had wanted to watch more of the plays, but had left with Grandmother Jia and then decided to call on Bao-chai, but is held up by some men his father had belittled, and when they release him, a nurse learns they’d left Sir Zheng before he’d taken his afternoon snooze, Bao-yu glad he didn’t have to avoid his father, now and goes straight to Bao-chai’s, but not before being stopped once more by some men who ask about getting some calligraphy by him due to having seen some of his about town, then finally being greeted with familiarity by Aunt Xue, she sending him in to see Bao-chai, he finding her sewing and when Bao-yu speaks, greets him respectfully, the two sitting over tea and speaking of their other cousins.

Bao-chai then states of how she’d been wanting to see his jade more closely for quite some time, he handing it to her, the Narrator reminding this was the same as the stone mentioned at the start of the tale at the Greensickness Peak, listing a poem about it along with the words the monk scraped onto it. When Bao-chai’s maid notes how she had a similarly written message on her necklace, Bao-yu is intrigued to see it, she agreeing and Bao-yu gleefully agreeing the two sounded like two parts of the same script. Bao-yu then smells something on her clothes, she believing it was the pill she’d taken, Dai-yu then entering and making a joke of having come at the wrong time, since Bao-yu was there, talk then turning to retrieving his cape due to it having begun to snow, after which a Nannie Li tells of how she’d gotten flack for Bao-yu drinking wine a time before, since he’d requested a cup this time to go with some goose-foot preserve.

Aunt Xue eases the woman’s mind by assuring she’d take the blame if it came to it, so Bao-yu gets his wine as Dai-yu gives her maid a hard time when she brings her a hand-warmer, Bao-yu having to plead for more wine and Nannie Li warning him to watch himself, since his father may call him later, this sobering Bao-yu’s good mood, but Dai-yu speaking up for him which in turn amuses Bao-chai, Aunt Xue then supporting Bao-yu’s drinking, he feeling better upon her invitation to dinner. When his Nannie goes off to change with instructions to watch Bao-yu closely, the other maids ignore this and go about their business, Aunt Xue discreetly removing the wine when necessary, and replacing it with tasty soups, along with strong tea, believing this would recover him, Dai-yu then mentioning it was time to go, so Bao-yu tags along, the two greeting Grandmother Jia, whom hadn’t dined, yet, she instructing Bao-yu go sleep it off, but when he returns, he’s told by Skybright to use up the ink she’d mixed for him, he inspecting her job of pasting his characters outside, Dai-yu joining them and praising Bao-yu’s work, he then inquiring whether Skybright had received the dumplings he’d sent her, she agreeing and had planned to save them when Nannie Li had taken them for her grandchildren, and also had drank all of the tea being saved for him, this pissing him off, but Aroma stating how if he got rid of her, all the other maids would go, so he stops complaining as they undress him, he falling to sleep almost immediately.

In the morning, Bao-yu overhears Jia Rong come with Qin Zhong to speak with Grandmother Jia, whom was impressed with him and has the other ladies in the family meet him, the visit keeping them into the evening, she also offerring he stay with them if ever his studies kept him too late. When Qin Zhong returns home, he informs his father, Qin Bang-ye of the day he had, it being told of the position he held and his adoption of two children, the boy dying, and Qin Zhong being his progeny late in his life, he happy to know he now needn’t worry about a tutor. The only issue was in thinking of what he’d have to spend to keep Qin Zhong properly started and supplied, but knew it was for the best, so he gives the teacher his raised tuition, whilst paying respect with his son, they then only waiting for Bao-yu to decide when they’d start, the day they go being an eventful one.

Bao-yu wishes to begin their schooling immediately, so sends word they would go in two days. Bao-yu then gets some advice from Aroma about what she’d packed for him on the morning he’d be going, and for him to stay on top of designating someone keeping the place warm, Bao-yu assuring her he’d be all right, and for the maids to keep themselves busy by staying with his cousin Lin, he then going to see Grandmother Jia, Lady Wang, and his father, Jia Zheng, the last being candid about what he believed his son capable of, and wishing he’d go away, his literary guests attempting to keep the mood light and hurry him on to breakfast, but Jia Zheng calls in Bao-yu’s pages as he waits outside, he asking them to inform him of what Bao-yu was actually doing in class, he choosing Nannie Lin’s son to speak, whom honestly informs how far into a book of poetry he was reading, in fear of repercussion. Jia Zheng instructs they tell the teacher to begin him on the Four Books, his attendants agreeing and walking out, they making certain Bao-yu had heard and instead of making it up to them if he disappointed his father and one of them received a beating, they implored him to obey the rules from time to time. By the time he gets back to Grandmother Jia’s quarters, Qin Zhong was waiting with her, the two then walking out, Bao-yu saying goodbye to Dai-yu and then going off to school.

Description of how the Jia school stayed funded and its location are given, then Bao-yu and Qin Zhong are introduced to their fellows upon arrival and get straight to their assignments. The two boys were joined together from then on, Grandmother Jia even looking after Qin Zhong for her gathered affections bringing about getting him clothes and having him stay for multiple nights. Bao-yu soon decides their formalities of being nephew and uncle would be forgotten and they’d from then on treat each other like buddies and siblings, which at first Qin Zhong hesitated to agree to, until Bao-yu kept insisting and led by example, Qin Zhong eventually complying. Like in any school, there was a variety of personalities and classes within the school, their commonality coming from the relations to the Jias, and due to the two boys being close friends, it gave the other students room to start rumors. Xue Pan took advantage of the school by seemingly using it as a sex service. Xue Pan soon had two ‘regulars’ and Bao-yu and Qin Zhong also were taken in by the pairs charm, which Bao-yu and Qin Zhong were unaware was so obvious. Then, Qin Zhong gets a moment with one of the boys and is rudely interrupted by another student, whom threatens to spread lies and speak with the Jia Rui about this boy harassing then, but due to Xue Pan paying him off, he was biased, and since Xue Pan was currently off of Jia Rui and Darling, the boy Qin Zhong was speaking with, he decides to put Darling down which also shames Qin Zhong by association. Jokey Jin, the bully takes advantage of this by furthering the rumors of the two boys taking the time alone to make out etc.

Jia Qiang, related to Jia Rong was being raised by Cousin Zhen, and the sixteen-year-old stood up for the under-dogs. Jia Qiang, thinks strategically the best way to handle the situation since both sides had an in with his relative, so gets the help of Tealeaf, the youngest and most impressionable of Ba0-yu’s pages, Jia Qiang describing the terror Jokey Jin would be if not taught a lesson, so Tealeaf confronts him, Jokey Jin gets permission to ditch class, since Jia Rui is a pussy, Tealeaf gives him crap and Jia Rui notes Tealeaf’s foul language. Jokey Jin is about to have Bao-yu deal with his servant, when Qin Zhong notes something flying by him from the table of Jia Lan and Jun, related to a second Lan, whom was the son of Li Wan and was Bao-yu’s nephew, and whilst Jia Jun was at first indifferent, he gets hooked in by a water bottle hitting his desk, his buddy, Jia Lan keeping his rage from manifesting to more damage. Jokey Jin though, is furious by this, Jia Lan holding him back from returning fire, but Jokey Jin too incensed, throwing a bag of books instead of the inkwell, but his aim not catching the culprit and instead hits Bao-yu and Qin Zhong’s table, Jokey Jin then launching himself at the original thrower. Jokey Jin, meanwhile had picked up a bamboo pole and was whipping it around, hitting Tealeaf, whom then calls in three more pages to assist.

Some students took cover whilst others joined the fight or hooted and urged others on as they stood on desks, Li Gui entering the hubbub and giving the pages the most crap for not keeping their cool, but Bao-yu having final word as he aids Qin Zhong after sustaining a head wound, he declaring they were leaving and would be informing his great-uncle Dai-ru of the unprofessional behavior they’d suffered. Li Gui suggests he leave Dai-ru out of it and blames Jia Rui for not stepping in, he defending himself, but Li Gui stating plainly why the boys had stopped respecting him, and if he didn’t stop Bao-yu from outing them, he’d go down with the rest. Bao-yu declares nothing would sway his decision to speak with his great-uncle, Qin Zhong speaking for justice in the expelling of Jokey Jin, Bao-yu reasoning it would be in Jokey Jin’s future once he told their story and when Jia Rui asks whom Jokey Jin was, Li Gui decides to refrain sharing so as to spare Jia Rui of the pain. As they hear Tealeaf through the window bad mouthing Jokey Jin’s aunt and her bad conduct, which has Li Gui yelling at him to be quiet and Bao-yu deciding now he knew whom Jokey Jin’s aunt was, he’d instead speak with her, Tealeaf then stating proudly, how he’d bring Lady Jia to him, Li Gui pissed off by this and threatening Tealeaf, finally getting the young man to shut up, and hoping his discretions wouldn’t be brought to light and had fixed the problem by pleading with Bao-yu and Qin Zhong separately, Bao-yu eventually deciding the matter would rest pending Jokey Jin admitting he was sorry, he refusing until Jia Rui and Li Gui convince him to relent, he doing so, and Bao-yu changing the condition to have Jokey Jin kotow to them, which would be shared in the next chapter.

Jokey Jin kotows to Qin Zhong, Bao-yu then agreeing the issue was resolved, but Jokey Jin grudging Qin Zhong his closeness to Bao-yu, but his mother hearing him as he spoke to himself, reminding him how lucky he was to be in this school. So, he does as he’s told and continues with his classes next day. Jokey Jin’s aunt was wife to Jia Huang, they living a humble lifestyle, receiving help from Xi-feng and You-shi when close to inability to pay their bills, His aunt decides to visit her sister-in-law about Jokey Jin’s run-in with Qin Zhong, thinking he was responsible for the negative outcome and see if she could get permission to speak with Qin Zhong’s sister. Her fire subsides though, as she sits with You-shi, the lady explaining how Qin-shi was feeling ill and her little brother, Qin Zhong had informed her of the school fight, You-shi then sending him to Bao-yu’s whilst she calmed Qin-shi and had her eat breakfast. She then inquires of Mrs. Huang if she knew a decent doctor, of which she had no information and decided against mentioning her true reasons for coming by, agreeing she should make certain Qin-shi wasn’t pregnant before giving her any definitive remedies.

After a pleasant visit, she leaves, You-shi then describing to Cousin Zhen of the uneventful visit, and then moving on to what they needed to do for Qin-shi. Fortunately, Zhen knows someone they can contact, believing Zhang will definitely visit them the next day, You-shi pacified, and then inquiring what they should do for their father’s birthday the day after, he revealing how their father wanted no part in any family parties for himself, so You-shi plans a two-day party for the family on his behalf. They receive a message from the doctor, promising to drop by next day and put down his own abilities as a practitioner before agreeing, due to respect, to visit Qin-shi. As promised, Dr. Zhang comes by, Zhen greeting him, the doc again explaining his lack of practice as a medical doctor, Zhen believing him humble, and then sends him to Qin-shi where he takes her pulse for some time before going outside with her husband, Jia Rong. The doctor explains his theory not being the conclusion of pregnancy, and he would prescribe her a treatment which if was responded to positively would give her a better chance of living. The list of herbs are given with how much to include and the doctor states she could make it if surviving the Spring, then leaves, Jia Rong relaying to his parents what he’d been told. The chapter after this supplying Qin-shi’s reaction to the medicine.

On the day of Jia Jing’s birthday, Zhen sent some gifts and instructions for the deliverer to note the man’s pleasure, and received the message of Grandfather would lead the prostration of the family from his home. Then, they learn Grandmother Jia wouldn’t be attending due to some dietary issue, they then touching on Qin-shi’s illness before Zhen goes to greet the recently arrived men-folk. You-shi continues to explain how they’d begun the doctor’s prescription, but nothing much had changed. Xi-feng is touched with emotion when learning Qin-shi had forced herself to get up the last time they’d met because of how much they’d bonded. Jia Rong then comes back with the news of their grandfather being happy with how they were conducting the celebration and would now continue looking after the men, but stating Xi-feng would be able to deduce how unwell Qin-shi was upon seeing her soon. You-shi then states how they should decide whether they’d dine inside or out, what with the show being prepared in the yard.

The decision was made to remain indoors and the table was set quickly. After they’d finished, Jia Rong gives a message to his mother of the men who had left and those who they would see at the show, as well as where all the presents were being stowed and the thank you notes and how the guests were treated before being sent off. Xi-feng then decides to visit Qin-shi before joining the rest, Bao-yu becoming affected by her words and Xi-feng turning it around light-heartedly, the reason they’d come, she then deciding to send Bao-yu back with Jia Rong, whilst she spoke a bit longer to Qin-shi. Xi-feng stayed as long as she could ignore messages from You-shi to come out, but finally readying to go, and still attempting to maintain Qin-shi’s positivity level, she then getting emotional as she agreed to visit as frequently as possible, and as she walked, is startled by Cousin Jia Rui, he obviously eye-balling her, she aware and pretending to enjoy his “charm”, they tentatively setting up some time to chat, she allowing him ample distance to move back toward the family, and thinking how she’d set him straight when the timing was right.

Xi-feng is then approached by one of You-shi’s servants, she informing Xi-feng she was now being sent for, You-shi makes clear how dedicated she was to Qin-shi, she then having her sit and drink with the other ladies, Xi-feng then instructed to choose a couple plays from the bill, since the two aunts had already done so, after which Xi-feng states how those two choices would be the final bit of the program for the players, but You-shi insisting she’d like the company, Xi-feng then seeing the men had left, a servant supplying they’d gone off to drink, and when the play was done, the party ended after the ladies had another course and tea, everyone beginning to leave. Cousin Zhen offers the ladies return the next day, but they choose to decline in favor of a day of rest. The day after brought another celebration, and this point onward, Qin-shi got steady visits from Xi-feng, her state of health fluctuating, Cousin Zhen, You-shi, and Jia Rong stressing more with her instability.

Whenever Xi-feng came over for Qin-shi, Jia Rui inexplicably turns up, and at the start of the final month to mark Qin-shi’s having begun the doctor’s treatment for almost a year, Grandmother Jia and ladies were consistently wanting updates of her health, it still not having normalized. Grandmother Jia decides Xi-feng should see how she was the next day, and to make certain her favorite food was in constant replenishment. Xi-feng saw Qin-shi’s lack of appetite having affected the skin on her face, but she still tried to keep her spirits up, and when she spoke with You-shi after, they wonder about Qin-shi’s surviving, You-shi tentatively having planned for the worst, she then reports to Grandmother Jia, being dismissed, and going home. She is then updated on her home’s calls, Jia Rui one of them, and after informing her servant why she was ready to take him on, the woman agrees with her, Jia Rui’s visit spoken of in the next chapter.

Whilst the two were still discussing Jia Rui, they were told he was now about to enter, and when he arrived, Xi-feng could see the pleasure in his face by her non-formal attire, he wondering why Cousin Lian wasn’t in attendance, hinting it could be due to a lady, he then declaring he wasn’t the sort whom flitted from one love to the next when Xi-feng comments all males were like this. He felt even more special when she’d commented how rare an attribute it was, the conversation progressing until Jia Rui states how he’d wile away the hours with her daily, if allowed. Xi-feng then shows how she believed him by comparing how two other men had proven themselves barbaric. Jia Rui became even more smitten, Xi-feng politely warning his movements were being surveyed by the help, he adjusting his body language accordingly. Xi-feng then decides he should ready to leave, but says he can meet her later in the evening when he protests, she quelling his worry of being noticed by anyone near their appointed meeting place.

Later, he arrives to the total darkness behind the side gate, but as he waits he hears the gate he came through being shut, the realization he was stuck there for the night his only company. He was properly chilled by morning and got lucky when an old woman came to be let in, he sneaking out without any trouble and making it home. His grandfather, Jia Dai-ru, whom had raised him, was certain Jia Rui had gone out carousing, since he’d kept him on a tight leash from the start, so Jia Rui decided to say he’d spent the night at his uncle’s house. His grandfather not buying this, whipping him good, then making him do extra homework all night, and not being allowed to have food, but this foo doesn’t learn.

A couple days go by, and he again goes to Xi-feng, she realizing his stubborn efforts hadn’t diminished, so she offers another task for him. Jia Rui falls for it, hard, he leaving her, as requested, and she informing those necessary to expect the berk later in the evening. Jia Rui had the misfortune of being waylaid by relatives joining his grandfather and he for dinner, then must wait for his grandfather to retire for the night, so when Jia Rui makes it to the agreed spot and sees no one, he wonders if he’d been stood up again. Someone does arrive though, and Jia Rui is so filled with lust he immediately goes after the figure and readies to do some poking, when Jia Qiang walks in with light. Jia Rui gets a glimpse of whom he was about to nail, it Jia Rong, Jia Qiang informing him of being expected by Lady Wang, whom was furious to learn Jia Rui’s obsession. He then decides a bribe was in order, Jia Qiang not needing much convincing, and when Jia Rong feigns a more difficult customer, Jia Rui ups his price and writes them an IOU, Jia Qiang then deducing Jia Rui must wait elsewhere until he located the route which would which would keep him “unnoticed”. Jia Qiang deposits him underneath a stair, the two leaving him, and during his short wait, is drenched in human feces,

Image result for 8 crazy nights whitey and porta potty Jia Qiang then returning to let Jia Rui know he could go through the gate now, he not wasting anymore time, getting a servant to let him in and wash. He thought how whilst Xi-feng had betrayed him, he was still overcome by her beauty, these thoughts not allowing him to drift to sleepy-land.

From then on, Jia Rui stayed away from her home, but Jia Qiang and Jia Rong dropped by often for their agreed upon moolah. Due to this stress, his grandfather’s strict homework assignments, and only the company of his hand, since Xi-feng was out of reach, he was stricken ill before the year was done, no remedies showing relief. By Spring, he’d gotten no better, his grandfather Dai-ru in a state, since no one could cure him. Dai-ru, in the end goes to Lady Wang, whom speaks with Xi-feng about acquiring pure ginseng for him, Xi-feng not going out of her way to comply though, she instead sending a crappy package-worth to Dai-ru, Jia Rui desperate to get better, so takes everything, and one day overhears a Taoist saying he could cure certain illnesses from the door, and when the Taoist states he wouldn’t be able to, but had a trinket which would keep him alive, he handing him an inscribed mirror. The Taoist shares how the fairy Disenchantment made it, and as long as Jia Rui resisted looking at the front, he’d be cure in a few days, the Taoist states he’d return for it then.

The Taoist then quickly exits despite those who’d heard, asked him to tarry. Jia Rui then looks at the mirror, seeing a skull, he covering it, and deciding to look at the front to spite the Taoist giving him a fright, he seeing Xi-feng enticing him to come, and boy does he, going through the mirror a few times before the last one, he getting pulled away before being allowed to reenter the real world once more, and everyone who watched this, seeing Jia Rui picking up and putting down the mirror until he stopped breathing, and as Jia Rui’s grandparents mourned, are ready to chuck the mirror in a bonfire and blamed the Taoist, they hearing a disembodied voice remind of Jia Rui having had a choice to obey the instructions. The mirror biffs off without help from anyone, and Dai-ru sees the Taoist outside catch it, and vanishes. Dai-ru is given contributions so Jia Rui’s funeral would be of good quality. Whilst Jia Rui had been dealing with his issues at the end of the year, Lin Ru-hai was also severely sick and requests a visit from Dai-yu. Grandmother Jia didn’t want to allow the girl to go, but makes the proper reservations for her to go to her father’s bedside. Bao-yu also was stricken, but accepted the girl’s departure, Grandmother Jia also had Jia Lian join her on the journey to Yangchow.

Xi-feng was affected with restlessness when Jia Lian had left with only Patience to converse with, the two considering how far into the trip he could be, Win-shi coming in as Xi-feng was close to sleep and Patience already asleep, she wishing to confide in her, since she also would be leaving soon. Qin-shi begins by speaking of some foretelling sayings about how whilst their family was currently respected, how it could fall from its perch easily. She continues about how Xi-feng could stave off too far a fall for them by preparing whilst they were still stable enough, and how there were a couple areas which Xi-feng could focus to make life easier if trouble should strike. Qin-shi explains the family cemetery and school both needed tending, which could be funded with the purchasing of property around the cemetery and the school moved on to said property to be paid for with the new purchases. The family would then share responsibility of tending to the school, which would keep everyone from complaining of having sole charge of the duties. So, in this way, the property would be safe from being taken to its charitable status, and would allow the young people to continue their education and be useful agriculturally.

Qin-shi then professes of a positive occurrence in the near future which could make them all spend in celebration and to be way of the excess extravagance. Qin-shi reveals a riddle before the hour of death is heard by chiming. When Xi-feng awakes, a servant announces Qin-shi had died, Xi-feng then getting ready to go to Lady Wang’s, and family and servants alike mourning her. Meanwhile, during Dai-yu’s absence, Bao-yu kept to himself and began retiring early in the evening, his reaction to Qin-shi’s death worrying his servants, since he’d thrown up blood, but he refused having a doctor called, believing it had been caused by the surprising news. He prepares to see Grandmother Jia and insists being allowed to go to Qin-shi, she setting up transport and entourage for him, and after seeing her body and grieving, looks in on You-shi, whom was ill with a stomach issue, then goes in search of Cousin Zhen, whom was speaking to other family members who had arrived and were mourning. He lost hope for the family name ending because of Qin-shi’s death, then speaks of plans for the funeral. Arrangements are made for her body before the ceremony and moved to a shrine.

Meanwhile, Cousin Zhen gets a deal for the making of the coffin from Xue Pan, they soon hearing of Qin-shi’s young servant committing suicide upon hearing of her passing, they burying the girl next to her. Cousin Zhen then has the good luck of speaking with a well-respected servant whom would be able to help him get his son, Jia Rong considered for a better position so he’d be able to add it to the needed banner for for Qin-shi’s funeral. The servant makes the arrangements with his secretary, and after he’d left, Cousin Zhen plays host to new arrivals to mourn Qin-shi. The next day, Jia Rong’s rank was promoted and the coffin stated as such. So, whilst most everything was progressing easily, Cousin Zhen still stressed over You-shi still being ill and this reflecting the family badly if it damaged some sort of rule regarding the “female head of household”, his answer coming from Bao-yu, Cousin Zhen completely agreeing with him and setting about the temporary head being Cousin Feng (Xi-feng), so brings Bao-yu to his room where only Xi-feng remained, since the other ladies disappeared for embarrassment, and Xi-feng notes how Cousin Zhen had been over-extending himself, he ignoring this and asking for her assistance on receiving her aid, she instructing him to ask Lady Wang, whom enters, but also puts her opinion of herself being too young, Cousin Zhen maintaining she was the only option and becoming upset, Lady Wang and she eventually consenting, so she accepts (I’m getting annoyed by the formalities basically referring to the same person to different ways, it’s confusing). After Cousin Zhen leaves, Xi-feng puts in order the tasks which she need focus on most once Lady Wang also leaves, she narrowing down how best to deal with the servants, especially.

Chief Steward of the Ning-guo mansions, Lai Sheng gives directions to his men to do as Xi-feng asks, their work hours guaranteed to be a bit longer now. So, as long as they put up with her bitchy, stubborn ways for the month, they could kick back after, she being known to go after anyone who disobeyed. Sunshine, Xi-feng’s servant then turns up for the household list of names, everyone snapping to work accordingly. After recieving said list, Xi-feng goes home. Xi-feng arrives back at Cousin Zhen’s early next morning to discuss Lai Sheng’s wife of almost the same topic of discussion Lai Sheng was going over, and then saw all servants before giving out their duties, she then making plain how everything would now be run. Her hold was immediately felt and order returned after many years of nonsense. After seven times seven days before the funeral, the monks had made it to a serious part of their prayers, as were the Taoists and other holy people all doing their parts to prepare Qin-shi’s journey through the afterlife.

Xi-feng had a late start next morning, and upon arriving, has the servants begin the procedures for their mourning. Xi-feng leads by example, Cousin Zhen and You-shi ending the display and Xi-feng starting the task of meeting with the servants, one woman later today, found and begging forgiveness whilst Xi-feng handled an order for silk-cord, which soon turned into other diverted attention for servants and wives of “important” men. Xi-feng continued her tracking of funds and deciding what would be handled according to her logic. Then, she returns her attention to the lady, informing her how she would normally have her conduct qualify dismissal, but instead would make an example of her, and ordered her whipped by bamboo, the servants taking her look of anger seriously and following orders. Xi-feng afterward, notes the new rules for how tardiness would be handled would be double the whipping number the woman endured, along with some other dissuasive fines, she then allows all to get to work. Xi-feng makes her leadership clear, and no one dared slack off. Bao-yu is then followed, using Xi-feng’s office to speak with Qin Zhong, she greeting them and finishing lunch as she took care of restocking orders and chatting to the boys about their school work, Bao-yu realizing Xi-feng hadn’t put through the request for materials necessary to finish his homework space, she revealing the materials had already been supplied and was only teasing him.

A servant traveling with Dai-yu then comes in to report the news of her father’s death and how long they’d be away for the burial. Later in the evening, she gathers requested coats and gives the servant more tasks whilst he looked after Jia Lian. As the funeral day drew nearer, Cousin Zhen picked out Qin-shi’s plot and the number of monks wanted for the ceremony. Cousin Zhen also stayed over at the head monk’s room overnight so he could finish the readying of the plot and whatnot before the funeral, Xi-feng also finalizing her reservations before and after the funeral, she also dealing with other family-related matters throughout, everyone becoming impressed with her multi-tasking and superb handling of all situations. Then, the night no one was to sleep was upon them, Xi-feng surrounded by shy family members, but she not perturbed and giving assignments to all as people came and left throughout the night, morning bringing the funeral. It beginning with the tradition breaking of the bowl by honorary daughter/servant, Jewel, showing her sadness appropriately. One official, the Prince of Beijing had also attended, asking about wanting to meet Bao-yu to Jia Zheng, his father. He retrieves the boy, Bao-y excited to have been asked for, he admiring the Prince, and their conversation forthcoming.

Bao-yu admired Shui Rong, the Prince of Beijing’s mourning accessories and outfit before attempting to greet him formally, but was prevented by the man, he instead asking about Bao-yu’s jade, and being handed the corded stone immediately for inspection. After, the Prince inquires about Bao-yu’s studies, etc and then states how Bao-yu was sure to surpass his elders, Jia Zheng replying how lucky they’d be if Bao-yu lived up to the affirmation. The Prince then offers Bao-yu an invitation to his home to speak with the cultured writers the Prince had been known to host, this allowing Bao-yu another way to be taught different sorts of intellect. He then gives Bao-yu a bracelet he wore, Bao-yu and his father both thanking him traditionally before Jia She and Cousin Zhen offer he go before the coffin’s procession, but the Prince decides the hearse’s presence to importance, so the funeral party was temporarily separated whilst the Prince left. Bao-yu was preparing to join the other men to go by horseback, when Xi-feng invites him to accompany her by carriage, he accepting and then taking a moment to stop at the midway of their travels.

They get out at a farm, one of Bao-yu’s pages describing the farm tools whilst Xi-feng changed her outfit, they eating and taking tea before continuing their ride and catching up at the Temple, and after staying the day, is offered to return home in the evening, but decides to stay, Xi-feng taking responsibility for him. The two, along with Qin Zhong, since his father was unable to remain, retire at her arranged rooms, she speaking with the lady of the house, Euergesia, whilst Bao-yu and Qin Zhong are met by one of Euergesia’s “disciples”, Sapientia, Bao-yu giving Qin Zhong a hard time for supposedly hugging her privately, he denying knowing anything about it. Sapientia couldn’t deny Bao-yu’s claims though, the two having fallen for each other, but their affections innocent, so far. They had tea, then leave Sapientia for other pastimes.

Meanwhile, back with Xi-feng, Euergesia relates a story where a family wished for her assistance, but she not interested in getting involved, Euergesia warning it would give the wrong impression, so Xi-feng decides to quote a price she’d agree to help, if paid, Euergesia immediately assuming they would and whether she’d be prepared to begin the next day, she not saying yet, but the two chatting on. Qin Zhong soon locates Sapientia, he vowing his love, she wanting him to prove it through getting her out of her servant status, and his agreement, but forcing his unbridled passion upon her, Bao-yu cock-blocking him in a odd way, and he deciding what Qin Zhong would do to keep his secret for him, but the details unknown. Now, Qin Zhong is attempting to figure a reason for them to remain longer, Xi-feng weighing the reasonability, deciding it’d suit her for the task she agreed to do. Xi-feng has a servant send a message to a general Yun Guang, and when they were set to leave the next day, Xi-feng makes sure Euergesia will contact her with Yun Guang’s answer. Qin Zhong and Sapientia’s parting was full of sadness and the details of the departure are to follow.

Everyone’s return home is uneventful, Bao-yu had every intention of using his finished work space, but Qin Zhong became sick, and woe he is made to wait longer before he could study with him. Xi-feng received Guang’s response in affirming his readiness to help her which had him receiving his gifts back and a young lady and man committing suicide in the process, Xi-feng looking like she was content with money made and Lady Wang remaining in the dark, this seemingly the start to her new hobby. Soon, Jia Zheng’s birthday has come, a message from the Emperor coming by Head Eunuch of the Bedchamber, they learning Jia Zheng had been summoned to see the Emperor right then, this having the rest of the family wondering what reason there could be as Zheng readies to leave. A few hours later, Grandmother Jia receives message of she and her female family members were now also being asked to go meet Zheng so they could show gratitude, Grandmother Jia learning privately one of the ladies had been chosen as Imperial Concubine.

When the women found out, they were quite pleased and dressed according to title of power. Bao-yu was the only one whom wasn’t bothered by this good news, Sapientia having followed Qin Zhong and he getting punished when Qin Bang-ye found her, he getting so incensed, an illness which he periodically fought, finally claimed him a few days later, so due to the physical stresses and mental anguish from losing his father, he struggled to get better. This is why Bao-yu’s sister, Yuan chun’s “promotion” didn’t brighten his mood, the family putting it off to being one of his crazy ways. Although, the knowledge of Dai-yu finally returning helped him defrost a bit, and when she arrived, she became swept up with locating space for the new books she’d brought back (I feel that). Meanwhile, Xi-feng and Jia Lian were jokingly speaking formally with each other, and as they had tea, spoke of Xi-feng’s duties and she down-playing her competence at managing households. As she’s inquiring Jia Lian to have Cousin Zhen forgive her terrible management of his home, Jia Lian is reminded of hearing news about Xue getting Caltrop as he’d been wanting. Jia Lian notes how Xue wasn’t suitable for her, so Xi-feng offers to exchange her maid for Caltrop.

When Jia Lian goes to see Zhen, whom had dropped by, Patience admits the reason Caltrop was mentioned was because Brightie’s wife had come to deliver money. Later on, as Xi-feng and Jia Lian have wine, his old nurse comes by to ask about possible work for her sons, Xi-feng willing to take the matter into her own hands. The conversation then moves on to the Emperor’s project of having a place for the concubines to visit with their parents, Jia Lian helping with this. Nannie Zhao speaks of the old Emperor’s ways and is soon interrupted by Jia Rong and Jia Qiang who were delivering the message of where the Visitation spot would be placed and to give comment the next day. Jia Qiang then relays a message about his own task of hiring entertainers and was to accept advice, Jia Lian wonders whether he was experienced enough to choose appropriately, Xi-feng defending Zhen’s choice to have Jia Qiang handle it.

After Jia Lian learns how the money for this task would be handled, he approves of Jia Qiang’s plan so far, and Xi-feng offers a couple helpers to aid him, which he’d been hoping to request. Jia Qiang offers to pick up anything Jia Lian needed in appreciation for his help, and after this, heard a few general household matters before retiring for the night, Xi-feng joining him by midnight. Jia Lian plays a large role in choosing the builders to undertake the project which began the next day, after which they started purchasing supplies and moving a garden to attend to the landscape before building. Due to the family focused on this, Bao-yu wasn’t hassled about his school work, but soon discovers Tealeaf, Qin Zhong’s state turning into a deathly illness. Bao-yu relays this to Grandmother Jia, whom allows he go to him until he passed, but must return directly after. Bao-yu leaves and quickly takes a carriage to Qin Zhong’s where he was being looked after by female relatives.

When Bao-yu sees his friend lying on a bed instead of his kang, he becomes upset, Li Gui reminding Bao-yu the reason behind this could be due to Qin Zhong’s sensitivity to certain levels of hardness of cushion rather than it being about the custom of not being allowed to expire on a kang, hoping this possibility would calm Bao-yu so as not to upset Qin Zhong, but he needn’t have worried, since Qin Zhong was currently dealing with beings ready to drag him into the afterlife, but upon hearing Bao-yu calling, the “demon” leader and bunch put them atwitter as to how to proceed. The lead demon decides to relent in letting Qin Zhong a few more moments to say goodbye to Bao-yu, since he wore his demon repelling jade. Unfortunately, Qin Zhong was unable to speak and could only awake to look at Bao-yu before descending into blackness.

Bao-yu was terribly distraught from this day until quite some time after the funeral. Later still, Cousin Zhen informed Jia Zheng of the garden being done and he would be last to decide if they needed to add anything else, as well as the opinion for certain points of the space to be named, the two agreeing with an idea from a man of words about putting their ideas on lanterns and have Grandmother Jia decide later which would be best. Bao-yu had been prompted by her Ladyship only moments before to go in the garden, so hadn’t been quick enough to retreat before his father approached, Jia Zheng then deciding he’d see how gifted Bao-yu’s couplet skills truly were, since receiving good notes regarding this from his instructor.

Jia Zheng leads them all to the first spot needing to be named, everyone suggesting something, Jia Zheng not disappointed after Bao-yu makes his suggestion, but the area ultimately going to receive a different name. They move to another area and the group again gives opinions, Bao-yu doing well and this time his father acknowledging this in the usual minimalist way, they moving on. this time, the little enclosed area bringing to mind the idea of studying within to Jia Zheng’s attention and Bao-yu showing a look of guilt. After hearing the other men first, Jia Zheng speaks deprecatingly about Bao-yu to Cousin Zhen, since he’d suggested hearing from Bao-yu once more, he again giving a more suitable idea and stating why the others didn’t seem fitting. Jia Zheng hadn’t been impressed with the couplet Bao-yu offered thought, getting the report of what deliveries had been made for the structure thus far. They move on to the next area as they listened, Jia Zheng happy to have reached this particular rest-spot.

Bao-yu doesn’t wait to be asked this time and his father responds heatedly about they only having been inquiring to test him, so when they moved to another building he had Bao-yu attempt a name, Jia Zheng not pleased and putting down both name and couplet before moving on, this time traveling to another area with a stream, Bao-yu still unable to impress his father, the group then climbing to another area over a hill. Jia Zheng’s first impression of another building turned from negative to calm due to the view from the door, plants all about within, Bao-yu mistakenly offering his opinion on the smell form the plants coming from a particularly named rare plant.

When Bao-yu stays silent at the next building as the literary men suggested couplets, Jia Zheng calls on his son again, goading him for his opinion, and again acting surprised when the other men praise Bao-yu, but inwardly agreeable, at the least to the positive feedback. The next place they went was the entrance hall, this place giving Bao-yu deja-vu, the other men having Jia Zheng allow Bao-yu to give his opinion in a day’s time, since he looked so preoccupied with attempting to remember. Jia Zheng does only allow these terms if Bao-yu gives him a perfect suggestion, they then being interrupted by a servant with information Yu-cun having sent a message. They leave with Jia Zheng leading, he again shooting down a suggestion from Bao-yu when they crossed a dam, after which they walk past many other quaint rest areas, Jia Zheng only stopping when he became tired.

Bao-yu still attempts naming the place they were in after his father had the others speak. The idea wasn’t accepted, though and they continued on until reaching where they’d begun, Jia Zheng allows Bao-yu to depart, the boy being stopped by his father’s pages, who took all of his valuables they could see as payment for supplying him with his poems, they then take him to Grandmother Jia, after which he goes back to his quarters, Aroma and then Dai-yu seeing his missing articles, the latter annoyed he’d given away a gift of hers, she collecting and cutting up a bag Bao-yu had requested she make, he showing her how the gift she’d thought had been re-gifted was actually saved, she upset by his reaction of returning it to her and then calming her down when he saw she was going to destroy this purse, as well. When he didn’t let her alone, though, she attempts arguing why he’d insist keeping the little purse when he’d tried to reattach it, the two eventually making peace enough to go to Jia Qiang’s where they learned of a twelve girl act he’d acquired, also 24 nuns also being employed by Lin Zhi-xiao’s wife, the lady informing how they may get an extra nun, Adamantina, whom would fit well and came from a good family, but the young lady having not been convinced, yet. Lady Wang suggests a formal invite of which the results continue presently.

As Xi-feng became busier, Bao-yu decides to move their group to Ying-chun’s quarters. Meanwhile, Lady Wang would be occupied with work for the garden for the next ten months straight. Finally, after Grandmother Jia had given her okay, Jia Zheng puts in request and receives answer for a “Visitation”, in a month’s time. A eunuch made last minute rules and requests on behalf of the concubine and the night before the visit brought rest to no one. The important members of the family were all ready by five next morning and waiting at the entrance until hearing how the concubine wouldn’t be arriving until early evening. Xi-feng prepares small assignments in the meantime, and when night finally falls, the eunuchs soon get wind of the concubine’s approach, the Jia family also reclaim their spots of welcome, and then two sets of ten eunuchs stand in a line before they hear the concubine reaching their estate. First her servants carry her belongings, she bringing up the rear. Yuan-chun descends only for a moment to “‘changing her clothes'” before being brought to the freshly pimped garden, she overwhelmed by the lengths obviously gone to in order to show the excessive make-over. As Yuan-chun was brought further into the garden, it’s explained why Jia Zheng had chosen to use his son’s suggestions being to do with Yuan-chun having been so close with him when he was a small boy. Yuan-chun, not knowing this it seems, spoke her mind, and one title for the entrance to an area was shortened whilst another changed completely. Yuan-chun then sat to be greeted by the family, her lady-in-waiting dismissing each group as they paid respects.

Yuan-chun’s lady-in-waiting went about excusing each group as they paid respects. After this, she again, “changes her clothes” and is carried to her family’s home. Grandmother Jia and Lady Wang both waiting, and Yuan-chun becoming emotional from seeing them after so long. Six other ladies were standing around and watching the scene with tears in their eyes. After everyone calmed, others were brought forward to greet her, and after learning Aunt Xue, Bao-chai, and Dai-yu weren’t present, she had them called on to attend the reunion. Then, when most of the high-positioned servants were led out, Yuan-chun was comfortable enough to lose diplomatic formality, unfortunately, it making certain trouble when wanting to chat with her father, Jia Zheng, they having to speak with a curtain hiding one from the other. He spoke of advising her, and also stating of his wife and he were honored by her royal position and she shouldn’t feel upset for her good fortune including this stipulation of her visit.

Yuan-chun then wonders aloud where Bao-yu was, after which Jia Zheng shared his son’s contribution for the titles in the garden. She calls for him and is overcome with joy once more, until being led to a feast elsewhere, getting the chance to explore the grounds further, and afterward, she and the family sitting down for their meals and she writing down her choice for titles of the lovely garden and changes to the names of some, but not Bao-yu’s inscriptions. After doing a bit more writing, Yuan-chun requests the ladies of the family to attempt writing some poetry, as well as Bao-yu expanding on his inscriptions of her four top favorites. Everyone immediately begins, the ladies poems being read first. Yuan-chun praises two out of the four young ladies, and then Bao-chai helps Bao-yu with his last requested poem. After this, the twelves little girl performers got their chances to show their talents, one girl, Charmante being noticed considerably more. Then, Yuan-chun makes an inspection of the list of gifts which would be given to the family and servants, she agreeing, the time for her visit ending. Grandmother Jia with Lady Wang were both visibly upset, Yuan-chun attempting to reassure them everything would be fine before steeping back into her carriage.

The emperor hears of Yuan-chun’s visit a day later, and Xue-feng along with the rest of the family, were taxed physically and mentally by all the planning they’d done, she continuing to oversee the cleanup of the garden which lasted for the next few days. Bao-yu though, was among those being completely sedentary with his time, he accepting an invitation to attend some plays at the other house. The productions were so loud, people on the streets could hear the cacophony. Bao-yu becomes tired of it fairly quickly and decides to move along, chatting with You-shi first, but leaves her and the maids and concubines shortly after, his attendants all having let him be for believing he’d only mill about until evening. Bao-yu was on his way to see a portrait of a lady hanging in one of Cousin Zhen’s studies, and upon approaching closer, hears questionable sounds from within. He makes a tear in the paper window and witnesses Tealeaf getting off with another girl. Bao-yu was shocked into a yelp and busted in on the two, allowing the one girl to leave and inquiring of Tealeaf to share the girl’s name, which was Swastika (the story behind this, shared), the two then decide to visit Aroma where they are also greeted by her family and before being escorted back home, sits a little while.

Meanwhile, his maids were also taking advantage of Bao-yu being out, Nannie Li dropping in and not being impressed with their behavior. She helps herself to Bao-yu’s gift to Aroma, though and becomes peeved and feels guilty when hearing why the koumiss had been saved. Another maid attempts to make light of Nannie Li’s egotistic perspective by agreeing with her, but she didn’t believe the maid’s genuineness, and after leaving, Bao-yu returns to notice the maid, Skybright lying down, Ripple relating the events with Nannie Li and how Skybright started losing when the old woman arrived. Aroma then comes in, Bao-yu asking for the koumiss and the maids naming the drinker, Aroma stating how Nannie Li would’ve been welcome to it anyways, since she’d made herself sick of the drink before Bao-yu could react.

When Aroma requests Bao-yu peel some chestnuts for her, this distracts him from thinking anymore of Nannie Li and he drifted to the topic of one of Aroma’s younger relatives, the girl catching his interest and confiding his opinion of liking the girl to reside with them, Aroma taking offense over how her family shouldn’t all have to work for his, Bao-yu claiming the possibility he could’ve meant as a bride rather than a maid, Aroma not buying this due to her family’s lower status. She then shares how the girl was already betrothed, Bao-yu showing disappointment, and then shocked and surprised when hearing her family’s plans of buying her freedom to move back home. Bao-yu’s reaction to state how he could keep her there when she’d confessed her wish to return to them, and explaining how his family couldn’t deny her freedom if purchased, Bao-yu distressed over this, but seeing how possible it was, regardless of his hypothetical scenarios to make her stay, he then sharing how he’d rather have not had her employed for him if she’d told him sooner she’d eventually leave, readying for bed.

Then the conversation between Aroma’s mother, brother, and herself is related, she not wanting  them to buy her out, due to how well she was treated and they not having need of the money to sell her off again, they also agreeing with her after seeing Bao-yu. So, Aroma confessing the opposite to him was part one in a complicated plan (maybe?), she’d successfully gotten Bao-yu off his high horse and discovered his true feelings. She then goes to Bao-yu to see he’d been crying, she confiding her change of heart to stay and Bao-yu asking her to think of a way to prove to her how much he truly wanted her to remain with him. Aroma wants him to perform three tasks for her, one being to not go on and on with long drawn out responses, the second to at least pretend to enjoy studying, especially around his father and associates, Bao-yu claiming to already having stopped doing this, the third was to resist taking lipstick and eating it, he agreeing fully, and Aroma stating if he could keep it up and only be careful how reckless he was, she wouldn’t ever leave. Another maid then walks in to share the hour being late, so Bao-yu again goes through his bedtime rituals.

Next morning, Aroma becomes ill, so had to take most of the day off, Bao-yu going to see Dai-yu, whom was attempting to nap, but he insisting her napping after a meal was unhealthy, so she relented staying up and chatting with him. Bao-yu becomes distracted by Dai-yu’s perfume scent as she advised him to be careful being seen helping to make rouge, since the news could read his father. Dai-yu confesses it wasn’t perfume, but perhaps came from her closet, Bao-yu denying this for the smell being different. After some time sniffer her cuff, he attempts to make idle conversation, Dai-yu not participating until Bao-yu pretends hearing of a story about Yangchow and some magic mice, she then relenting to listen. When Dai-yu finally realizes this story involved a character with connotations to herself entering the story, she punishes Bao-yu with a lip-pinch, Bao-chai coming in and asking what had happened, Dai-yu explaining and happy to know Bao-chai could now whip Bao-yu at his own game, they then hearing an angry outburst from the vicinity of Bao-yu’s room.

So, as they’d been having a grand ole time, Bao-yu feels better now Dai-yu wouldn’t get indigestion, she identifying the yelling coming from Nannie Li arguing at Aroma, Bao-chai keeping Bao-yu from breaking it up for Nannie Li’s outburst being small potatoes. Bao-yu agrees with her words before going off and hearing Nannie Li’s insults to Aroma having to do with her not having at least acknowledged her presence when she’d arrived. Aroma kept her cool, but became upset when Nannie Li began suggesting how better off they’d all be with her getting married and leaving, Bao-yu attempts to support Aroma with the allowance of she having been sick, but Nannie Li continues her rampage by believing Aroma had turned all of them against her, she then becoming upset, Bao-chai and Dai-yu attempting to ease her emotion.

Xi-feng’s attention is caught in the front room, she entering and stating to Nannie Li of needing to be quiet, Grandmother Jia was in good spirits and didn’t need to hear her petty b.s. (seriously; It was said in kinder terminology, though). Xi-feng also states how if Nannie Li was being upset by anyone she should report them to her for punishment, she then insisting the old bag come have some stew and drink in her quarters, Nannie Li begrudgingly following, but quietly bitching about how she didn’t regret her actions. Bao-chai and Dai-yu were properly amused by this, Bao-yu wondering why Nannie Li had truly gone off on everyone, Skybright defending the girls due to the culprit should’ve willingly come forward if circumstances warranted, Aroma then stating how Bao-yu shouldn’t have turned the quarrel into a group affair, since she always received the backlash, stopping herself from becoming further distressed for Bao-yu’s sake, he also staying reserved, since he could see she was truly ill.

As a proper lie-down is set up for her, she suggests he sit with Xi-feng and Grandmother Jia for awhile, she assuring him she’d be alright, Bao-yu agreeing with her idea and so joins his grandmother once Aroma was settled, he returning afterward to find all his maids gone except Musk, whom had decided to keep an eye on Aroma and Bao-yu’s quarters. So, before retiring himself, he brushes her hair when he remembers she’d been talking about it earlier, another maid coming in, teasing Bao-yu, he making light of it, fortunately, and then returning to her game. By the following morning Aroma had recovered, so Bao-yu goes to Aunt Xue’s home. Some of his other closely-aged relatives were also there playing games, Bao-yu’s half-brother, Jia Huan playing against Bao-chai, she treating the two brothers equally, so when Jia Huan starts losing the game and attempts to cheat, Bao-chai has the other girl give up her winnings, she annoyed, but Jia Huan breaking down, which Bao-yu then comes in to inquire the reason, but the other too ashamed to confess.

Besides this, there was an odd relationship between the two due to Jia Huan being a concubine’s son and the younger. Bao-yu didn’t bully him, since people were already speaking about him enough as it was, and he also was ruled by his religion teaching respect of blood being of utmost importance, so Bao-yu dealt with Jia Huan as this and the fact he’d grown up with females coloring his reasoning. He made it clear if the game was upsetting him, he should go find something else he’d enjoy. Jia Huan ends up back in his own quarters where his actual mother, “‘Aunt Zhou'” wondered aloud what had happened (Lady Wang was known as his mother only by title). When Jia Huan shares his story of what had occurred, Aunt Zhou bursts with how he shouldn’t have been mixing with them anyways. Xi-feng hears her as she passes by, telling her off through the window and having the boy come with her. She proceeds to berate him about his choice of bad company and being too weak-minded, she then sending him off with more cash for betting with and would make him regret any similar behavior in the future if she heard about it again. Meanwhile Bao-yu and Bao-chai go to visit with Miss Shi when she comes to call.

When arriving at Grandmother Jia’s room, Dai-yu was there giving Bao-yu a hard time about spending time with Bao-chai. She exits, and Bao-yu goes after her wondering why she was mad, she stubborn and Bao-yu getting pulled away by Bao-chai on behalf of Cousin Shi, the two leaving Dai-yu upset, and when Bao-yu returns later, she is more distressed and so he attempts calming her with how close they were compared to Bao-chai, whom was too new to be considered more of a closer cousin. Cousin Shi then comes to say how perfect it was they deserting her the one time she’s actually available to them, the two laughing at her lisp and she quickly exiting after a joke about Dai-yu marrying a lisper. Bao-yu blocks Dai-yu’s attempts at chasing her and Bao-chai tries to diffuse the situation by waving the white flag, Dai-yu having a Nannie Li moment when she sticks to her pursuit and belief there was collusion against her. Bao-yu makes her realize how this nonsense began due to her own tom-foolery, a servant interrupting with news of Grandmother Jia starting supper, after which Bao-yu hangs around with Dai-yu and Xiang-yun until quite late, Aroma asking for him periodically.

The next morning, Bao-yu is up with the light and fussing at Xiang-yun’s blankie, Dai-yu having him leave temporarily whilst they dressed, and after finishing cleaning their faces, Bao-yu requests Xiang-yun style his hair, Aroma sees this and returns to Bao-yu’s room where Bao-chai comes looking for him, she taking a moment to speak with Aroma about herself, liking the girl. When Bao-yu returns, he notes how quickly Bao-chai leaves, Aroma not in a good humor and Bao-yu stating as much, she confessing she’d like to work for Grandmother Jia once more. This worries Bao-yu, but he doesn’t get anything more from her, and when he receives similar attitude from Musk, he lets it go and lays down for a nap. When Aroma covers him and he takes the blanket off, they begin speaking, he stating how she wouldn’t even let him in on why she was mad, and she maintaining he should know already and when he finishes lunch and returns, she has fallen asleep. He goes to his room and reads for awhile until seeing one of his maids, Citronella, standing in the room awaiting instruction, he changing her nickname given to her by Aroma to Number Four due to the number of girls in her family and she being the baby, he growing tired of the flower and fragrance theme.

Aroma and Musk quietly find this amusing, Bao-yu now bored with his uneventful day, Number Four wanting to make a favorable impression on him, and after dinner, Bao-yu now a bit inebriated, he considered how best to bide his time from Aroma, reading and becoming inspired by a passage and adding his own thoughts in the book regarding Aroma, Musk, Dai-yu, and Bao-chai, then retiring. Aroma is asleep next to him when he wakes in the morning, he rousing her so she could go sleep comfortably on her own kang (which everyone seems to lounge and sleep on, so I presumed). When Bao-yu attempts to get her more comfortable, she resists, still playing her game of having him see his wrongful ways. Instead, it seems to be left alone once Bao-yu breaks a hair-pin, they both washing up. Bao-yu leaves and Dai-yu comes looking for him, seeing his open book, and ads her own lines to his. She then goes to Grandmother Jia’s, and after to Lady Wang’s, the doctor having seen her daughter, she being sick with smallpox. The doctor advises the potential for recovery and how to treat it for the little girl’s comfort. A room was then prepared for the girl, doctors, and parents, since it would be a 12 day process.

Jia Lian was affected by this set up because of the forced abstinence it entailed, which would be satiated by a lady known as “the mattress”, the wife of a cook called “Droopy Duo”. Jia Lian soon had her brought to him, she delighted, they meeting in the evening, and upon getting down, her nickname explained as coming from an affectation her body took, and once finished, the two ‘come’ (wink) to an agreement. When the baby’s illness had passed and everything was normal, Patience discovers a lock of hair under Jia Lian’s pillow, she confronting him about what it could be, and when he makes a lunge for it and fails to retrieve it before Xi-feng was heard heading towards them and requesting an item for Grandmother Jia, asks whether anything was found or missing from Jia Lian’s temporary quarters, she knowing the possibility of her hubby’s naughtiness.

Patience keeps his secret and when they’re alone again, was about to negotiate terms when he tricks her into releasing the hair, and her frustration making him ask for her to let him lay her, she leaving whilst the getting was good. He then vows to make Xi-feng realize whom was actually in power in their relationship, it sounding murderous, he claiming she was using the double-standard on him (rightly), Patience defending Xi-feng for not being a cheat. When she mentions how trustworthy she thought of him, he widens his threat to include anyone who thought his conduct unsavory, Xi-feng then happening to return to see Patience conversing through an open window, she giving Xi-feng some attitude when she mentions why she was outside to speak with Jia Lian inside, then exiting, Jia Lian also trying to excuse himself, but Xi-feng having a topic to discuss.

Xi-feng inquires about their plans for Bao-chai’s birthday, since she’d be turning fifteen and Grandmother Jia wanted a nice party for her, so Jia Lian comes up with a simple solution, Xi-feng only making certain he had final say, he not caring as long as she eased up her surveillance of him. Shi Xiang Yun is then followed, she preparing to end her stay, but Grandmother Jia insisting she wait til after the party, she agreeing and sending word back home. Meanwhile, Xi-feng speaks with Grandmother Jia about what her thoughts were for entertainment, she going off on her in a burst when she was offered a meager sum to obtain said festivities, fortunately everyone taking it lightly. Grandmother Jia had caught on to the situation being for her benefit, she enjoying these set up digs on her.

On the day of the party, a different child acting troupe is scheduled. The party stayed a private affair, and Dai-yu was still acting aloof toward Bao-yu, as he’d come to her room to offer choosing her favorite plays for her, she not impressed, but still allowing him to lead her out. After the family had eaten, Bao-chai chooses the first play to be from a piece of Journey to the West, Grandmother Jia happy with her decision. The others also get a choice and everyone sits to watch the set, Bao-yu asking Bao-chai why she kept requesting similarly themed plays, her answer having to do with the music and lyrics, Bao-yu having her share which part she particularly liked, she obliging by quietly singing the section.

Bao-yu agrees with her assessment, Dai-yu voicing her annoyance at his talking, and after everyone had watched the plays into the evening, Grandmother Jia gave extra gifts to two of the girls who stood out, afterward. As the troupe was packing it in, some noted how one of them looking like one of their party, Xiang-yu naming the person, then becoming angry when receiving a look from Bao-yu, which she mistakenly perceived to be a look of insult, and she not caring for his explanation, he then getting pushed out of a room by Dai-yu when he was looking for her. He waits her out and when she opens the door once more to find him still waiting, she allows him entry, alluding to how he seemed to support her being teased, he declaring the statement hadn’t been made by him, and she concluding with a baffling answer, since she supported everyone’s reaction, whilst wasn’t ideal, she thought his staying straight-faced made it worse, like she couldn’t take the joke. Besides this, how he’d reacted to Xiang-yu confused her into thinking it was due to she being on a lower rung-of-importance to Xiang-yu and shouldn’t have been joining with her, for risking a comeback, and so believed his excuse of she being sensitive was to distract from this, Dai-yu not liking he’d stuck in nose in. Bao-yu realizes how his actions had received negative results from both ends and his book reading reminded him of the philosophies saying how unfulfilling the task he’d put on himself was, making him feel worse, so he ditches her in favor of his quarters.

Dai-yu took this even more insulting and declared he stay away from her and not speak with her again. Bao-yu doesn’t respond, and when Aroma sees him, lets it be and talks of different subjects, her attempts being met with indifference. Bao-yu was determined to keep out of any suggestion referring to the ladies and so stayed aloof with all of Aroma’s ideas regarding good spirits toward the women. After quoting a line describing how he felt, he became upset and began writing some verses. When he was satisfied, he goes to bed, Dai-yu wandering in later and Aroma detaining her before she withdrew, after learning Bao-yu had retired, but was amused by Bao-yu’s writing which Aroma gives her, she showing Xiang-yu and Bao-chai, the latter disposing of it, since believing Bao-yu had written it because of what she’d told him of the play, Dai-yu finding her reaction amusing. She states how destroying the paper was unnecessary and could reverse Bao-yu’s reaction by posing a specific question to him, which when he heard, could not find a reply, all who watched on amused and suggesting alternatives to his torn up thoughts, he then realizing his Enlightened moment was false, taking the three’s ribbing lightly, since they also hadn’t obtained Enlightenment, regardless of knowing more than he.

Meanwhile, Yuan-chun had sent a riddle for the family to decipher and return a riddle of their own to her. Everyone took part in answering the riddle and supplying one of their own and the answers along with the riddles were delivered and returned in kind. So, whilst some of Yuan-chun’s guesses were incorrect, those who’d stumped her pretended she’d succeeded in solving them. Jia Huan was the only one whom had given a riddle Yuan-chun admitted she couldn’t solve, the answer being sent to her, Grandmother Jia so taken with the game, she sets up one of her own for everyone, Jia Zheng also taking part, and after Grandmother Jia had Li Wan join them, also noting Bao-yu staying monosyllabic due to his father’s presence, the other ladies were also lacking in conversation, Bao-chai the least affected by whatever was putting the others off, Grandmother Jia considering the cause to be Jia Zheng, she attempting to convince him to turn in, but he wanting to be a part of the fun, Grandmother Jia relenting by offerring him a riddle, the two soon trading riddles, Jia Zheng giving presents when Grandmother Jia’s answers were correct.

After, she suggest he has a go at the kids riddles, getting them with one guess, but becoming depressed by how dark they were. Grandmother Jia could tell something had darkened his mood and didn’t want him bringing down the party anymore and again brings up of he readying to retire for the night, he agreeing this time and doing so after a couple more drinks and conversation with her before making his exit, his mood not improving. At the table, upon Grandmother Jia stating they loosen up, Bao-yu immediately begins critiquing the riddles, Dai-yu and Xi-feng making fun of how animated he’d become and realizing Jia Zheng should stick close to him more often if they wanted peace, he retaliating against Xi-feng’s comment by play-wrestling with her. After some little time, Grandmother Jia becomes tired and breaks up the party so all could settle for bed.

A bit after Yuan-chun’s visit, she has a copy of the poems made about the garden and has the best ones engraved in the family’s honor. Jia Zheng goes about passing the responsibility to have her wishes met and was considering how to proceed with transplanting the nuns and monks elsewhere (this being mentioned way back…), Zhou-shi turning up thinking a job for her son, Jia Qin could be acquired, since the family needed the money, she getting the opportunity to chat with Xi-feng, whom liked her, and after hearing her idea of how to keep the nuns and monks with no problems of separating them, Xi-feng has Jia Zheng informed because it was so clever, she being reminded by her hubby Jia Lian they had to think of Jia Yun first, she already having plans for him, Jia Lian agreeing and asking about a little romp they had the night before, she giving a small laugh and not answering. Later, when Jia Lian relays all of their plans for the boys to Jia Zheng, he allows this quickly for indifference in these matters, Jia Qin being hired and he stating his gratitude to them, Xi-feng also having Jia Lian supply him with an advance, he immediately starting his work after speaking with his mother.

Meanwhile, Yuan-chun was reminiscing  about the beauty of the garden as she worked on the poems it had inspired and thinking how terrible it was knowing they wouldn’t be using it in her absence, so she decides to have the girls and Bao-yu move in there. She writes her wish of this and has it sent to Jia Zheng and Xi-feng, and when Grandmother Jia is informed, they begin setting up for this to happen, Bao-yu quite ready to move in and chatting to Grandmother Jia of his plans of what he wished put there, he then being called by Jia Zheng, his attitude changing obviously, Grandmother Jia comforting him and telling him how to respond to his father during this visit, and when she sends him off with some nannies as “protection”, he makes his way to his father slowly, the nannies awaiting outside the area his father was enjoying seeing him take his time, one making light of his apprehension and letting him know his father was in a decent mood, so he should take advantage whilst he could.

Jia Zheng states what he expected from Boa-yu once he’d moved and the consequences if he got out of line, his mother then reminding him to have Aroma give him his pill each night, Jia Zheng becoming irritated upon hearing the maids nicknames, the two then dismissing him. When he returns to Grandmother Jia’s and sees Dai-yu, they decide which part of the garden they wanted, the two being neighbors and a date set for them all to move in, Bao-yu’s life becoming a thing of idyllic freedom. He’d composed for poems indicated by season of how he fest and had become popular as a source for knocking them out, pleased with the attention: what with being thirteen and liking having people refer to him for his work. One day, though he’d grown unfulfilled and couldn’t get comfortable. Tealeaf realizes Bao-yu had yet to try one thing, he gifting some books the boy hadn’t seen before, and Tealeaf asking he keep them secret.

Bao-yu attempts to, but one day as he’s reading under a tree, Dai-yu walks in on him, explaining what she’d been doing with the fallen tree blossoms, as Bao-yu had been dumping them in the water, she then mentioning the book he’d been reading and disbelieving his reply, so he promises her to secrecy and praises its absorption capacity. Dai-yu soon realizes the truth in his claim she agreeing after reading a bit. When Bao-yu quotes a couplet which Dai-yu takes personally, he quickly apologizes, she brightening and the two burying petals when Aroma announces Uncle She was sick and the two were summoned by Grandmother Jia to attend. After, Dai-yu was walking by herself and heard the girl troupe practicing a song, she concluding how a song could have wonderful pietry and is soon brought to her knees and tears as she listened, someone interrupting.

Caltrop explains why she’d been wandering and then walks Dai-yu back to Naiad’s House. They see a gift sent to Dai-yu, hang out, and after, Caltrop leaves her. Meanwhile, Bao-yu was expected by Grandmother Jia to check on his Uncle She, and as he wait for his change of clothes, essentially wraps himself around Faithful, Grandmother Jia’s servant and wanting to eat her lipstick, Aroma walks in and states how he was becoming a lost cause. Then, before he away’s to She’s, he’s greeted by Jia Lian, the two interrupted by Jia Yun, Bao-yu and Jia Lian’s nephew, a joke being made about Jia Yun not minding if Bao-yu wished to be his father, even though Jia Yun was years older. As they all part ways, Bao-yu invites Jia Yun to visit him the next day, he then riding (by horse) to She’s. After seeing him, and noting he only had a chill, he relates Grandmother Jia’s message, he’s then brought to Lady Xing’s room where they chat, being briefly interrupted by Jia Cong, Jia Huan, and Jia Lan, Lady Xing making an excuse to have them leave, Bao-yu then being invited for dinner with she, Ying-chun, and her nieces before returning to Grandmother Jia, then his quarters.

As this is going on, Jia Yun was after a job from Jia Lian, he conveying an opening when the planting was to be started, then going to his uncle, Bu Shi-ren for a loan of goods, but he hard up not only for the products, but the money from someone else already being owed. Jia Yun puts perspective to his Uncle’s words, noting he could be more trouble, his Uncle mentioning Jia Yun’s other cousin whom had gotten the priests and nuns position (to transport them to different temples), Jia Yun having enough of hearing about why he couldn’t acquire a job like him was ready to leave when his Uncle offered he stay for dinner, but declines. As he’s walking away moodily,he walks into a drunk man, whom turns out being his neighbor, Ni Er, a dirty businessman, he about to knock his clock off until realizing who him was, then telling he’d help him out if need be, Jia Yun accepting if only to keep the man friendly. They part ways after he’s given a message to pass to his wife.

Jia Yun begins his plan the next morning, back to the Rong-guo House and sees Xi-feng, he giving her his purchase of oil scents, pleasing her with his surprise, but not getting anymore information about a job, he remembering his invitation from Bao-yu, and the boy’s pages leaving him to wait, Jia Yun hearing a girl from outside, and Tealeaf returning by then and having her take a message to Bao-yu, Jia Yun fascinated by the maid and taking her advice to return next day. He again speaks with Xi-feng, she having learned his reasoning for his gift, she playing hard to get, but he making clear he’d take whatever she could give, they scheduling a meeting so he could start. After recieving payment, he gives Ni Er his money back, then goes to buy the trees after sharing the news with his mother.

As for Bao-yu, it’s clarified he’d invited Jia Yun flippantly, and so had been away a couple days with the Prince of Beijing, and then returning to note his maids were detained someway or another and when he called, turned away the older maids who answered. A young lady, then comes in to pour his for him, she able to relay Jia Yun having come by, Ripple and Emerald then return and confront Crimson outside, she explaining her presence and Ripple insulting her, they interrupted by an old lady delivering the information about how they conducted themselves when the trees were planted the next day. Crimson soon realizes she had more information then the two bitches. She had been resident in the House of Green Delights before Bao-yu and girls had moved, she retreats to her room, then hears her name being called, discovering it was Jia Yun, and when he attempts to pull her closer, she falls in her attempt to run off. She awakes realizing she’d dreamt it, beginning her chores when dawn comes.

Bao-yu had been thinking of Crimson and wanted to invite her to become a closer attendant, but doesn’t get a chance before his washing. Then, Aroma speaks with Crimson to have her borrow a spittoon from the Naiad’s House, Crimson seeing the tree workers with Jia Yun, but not up to speaking with him, feeling sorry for herself, and instead lies down after she completes her mission. The following day brought Wang Zi-teng’s “lady”‘s birthday, Lady Wang wishing to go, but not since Grandmother Jia wasn’t up for it, but Aunt Xue, Xi-feng, Bao-chai, Bao-yu, and a few other girls accepted the invitation. Jia Huan had returned from school recently and was getting to work on some copying, delegating tasks as he did, Sunset decided to advise him to speak more kindly, since the other maids thought he was a schmuck, he not taking her helpful criticism well, but being interrupted by Bao-yu’s return, his mother suggesting he rest for awhile, since he’d been drinking. So, whilst he lay, Sunset massaged his legs, but not giving her undivided attention, she warning he’d tell on him, since he’d captured her hand, Jia Huan, Sunset’s master, deciding to punish him anyways, dropping a candle brimming with melted wax on his face, Lady Wang and Xi-feng both talking harshly about Jia Huan’s thick-motioned ways, then Lady Wang turning to Jia Huan’s mother, Aunt Zhao (Why must there be a Zhou and Zhao?!), she taking the put-downs and making certain she was seen helping Bao-yu.

Lady Wang knew she’d be hearing about this from Grandmother Jia, and begins applying lotion on her son, Bao-yu. He was prepared to take the blame, but Xi-feng knew there’d be hell, regardless. Bao-yu was returned to his room, Dai-yu visiting once learning of what happened, and he expected to see Grandmother Jia the next day, she blaming his care-takers. Bao-yu’s “Wise Woman”, Mother Ma also visited and did her magic lady words to make certain he healed properly, Grandmother Jia also learning of an incense-related ritual to keep him safe. Mother Ma explains how her other customers would purchase various amounts of oil to keep a light burning of which she herself would upkeep at her home (Bloo), Grandmother Jia considering carefully, so Mother Ma presents a suitable possibility for her in the case of Bao-yu, which she agrees, also making certain his attendants had extra cash for giving to good karmic charitable cases, like monks or various poor they meet on their way with Bao-yu.

After, Mother Ma visits Aunt Zhao for some silk and discusses Jia Huan and her contribution for him, she sharing her frustration about how Bao-yu would always overshadow him, even whilst understanding the reason. Mother Ma then deduces Aunt Zhao’s true problem being with Mrs. Lian, Aunt Zhao checking to be certain there weren’t any prying ears before agreeing and feeling she had to put up with the woman’s will. Mother Ma sees the potential for more money and plays hard-to-get when Aunt Zhao shows interest in the idea of investing in an underhanded way of dealing with the woman whom seemed to be in line to claiming all property and goods leftover in the Jia name, Mother Ma taking her more seriously when Aunt Zhao brings her attention to how she’d be able to name her price if her idea worked.

So, Aunt Zhao bargains with her by giving her a bundle of goods and a little extra cash, as well as an IOU, Mother Ma giving her paper cut-outs of people and demons, she explaining how to use them and placement of them under the targets beds, she then leaving after being summoned by Lady Wang. Meanwhile, Bao-yu had become a homebody since his burn, so Dai-yu would chat with him most of the time in his room, and one day, after getting bored of reading and sewing, walked to Bao-yu’s and found Li Wan, Xi-feng, and Bao-chai having a blast, Xi-feng inquiring about the tea she’d sent her, Bao-yu piping in with his opinion of them being nasty flavored. When Dai-yu states the opposite, Xi-feng gifts her the rest of her supply and would have someone speak of a favor she had in mind for her upon its delivery.

Dai-yu remarks how the gift seemed to be attached to strings and Xi-feng retorts with a phrase which alluded to she being a bride which would attach her to the family, this embarrassing her and she stating how it wasn’t funny, Xi-feng not resisting her jabs and speaks of Bao-yu and she, which had her running out, Bao-chai going after her as Aunts Zhou and Zhao enter, Xi-feng and Dai-yu actively not conversing with them. Then a summons is given for the younger ladies to visit Wang Zi-teng’s wife, so Li Wan and Xi-feng leave, as well as the Z’s, Bao-yu calling for Dai-yu, whom hadn’t gotten very far outside. When she returns, he holds her hand and only smiles at her, making her self-conscious, then he complains of his head before having a fit and scaring the maids and herself, he attempting suicide multiple times before Lady Wang and Grandmother Jia arrive, they soon distraught, many other family members hearing and milling about in bewilderment outside. Xi-feng’s reaction was to start gutting dogs and chickens with a knife and was looking at the crowd with blood-lust until some servants overpowered her and put her in her quarters. Many began suggesting what should be done metaphysically and otherwise, and by sunset Zi-teng’s lady leaves for home and visits again to ask after everyone the following day. Others visited with well-wishing and help from doctors, and the family had resorted to moving “the cousins” into Lady Wang’s room, Jia Yun and pages tasked with watching them at night due to their conditions still on the raving side.

The search for a cure continues and the fourth day Bao-yu requests Grandmother Jia to prepare his belongings and himself to be expelled from the family, Aunt Zhao gleeful, but acting sad, she attempting to convince Grandmother Jia to bide his words so he could die peacefully, her response being to hock a loogie in her face. She berates her and declares she wouldn’t gain anything from his death, along with anyone else, a servant then informing of the coffins having been finished, this putting Grandmother Jia over the edge and ordering the wood-smith to be whipped to death, and then hearing a chanting monk outside. Upon seeing him and his companion, they being a scraggly sight, they are invited in, the monk requesting to pray over Bao-yu’s jade to aid its ability to ward off the evil. When the monk holds it, he speaks familiarly to it of the time they’d met 13 years before on Green-sickness Peak, and once finishing his prayers, instructs Jia Zheng where to place it and the cousins recovery to be expected in 33 days. The two then leave before he could offer sustenance, and his instructions are followed diligently, Bao-yu and cousin regaining sanity and appetite by evening, Dai-yu relieved along with the others.

When Bao-yu’s month of rest is up, his face has healed, as well. This time also allows Jia Yun and Crimson to be around each other more, she noticing, but not remarking on the handkerchief he carried looking like her missing one. Later, a young maid, Melilot comes to her for the favor of looking after some money for her, she advising Crimson to go home and see a doctor, Crimson acting emo and declaring she would be better to die, Melilot warning her to not speak in such a way. They are interrupted by a quite young maid giving Crimson the task of copying patters for Mackerel, but she needing to retrieve a tool from Oriole and meeting Grannie Li, whom had told Jia Yun Bao-yu wished to see him.

Crimson loiters and soon the two eye each other as she speaks with his guide, Trinket. Jia Yun and she continue to Bao-yu’s, he impressed with his uncle’s home. Bao-yu asks after him when he invites him in his bedroom to sit, Bao-yu remarking how long it’d taken for him to remember his long ago invitation, but Jia Yun only glad he’d recovered. Bao-yu makes idle chat and when Jia Yun notes he was growing tired, decides to take his leave, Bao-yu wishing he return sometime. On his way back, Jia Yun asks Trinket a variety of questions about herself and the other maids, soon landing on the handkerchief, she mentioning how Crimson had even offered her a reward if found. Jia Yun had a plan for the item and gives Trinket a different hankie, he having her promise to let him know what she did.

Meanwhile, Bao-yu was being awoken by Aroma to go have a walk, he reluctantly relenting, soon running into Jia Lan, whom was after some deer to shoot with bow, and after allowing the young boy to continue, headed unconsciously to  Naiad’s House. As he approaches closer to the window, he hears a quote from a book he knew, Dai-yu speaking, and when he enters and startles her, she denies having said anything, she dismissing her “guardians of morality”, Bao-yu quoting a line, himself and upsetting her, she walking out and he following in distress, but they being interrupted by Tealeaf with a summons from his father, and so Bao-yu rushes off and is led outside the gate, where he’s met by Xue Pan, he laughing and apologizing, and Bao-yu taking his jest lightly, but readying to return the favor.

Xue Pan then gets to his point, which was in celebration of his birthday next month, some buddies had put together a feast and he wished Bao-yu to join them, the with a singer already in attendance. When they sit, Xue Pan brings up how Bao-yu could draw him something for his birthday present, he seeing some good erotic ones recently. Then another buddy comes in, Feng Zi-ying, Xue Pan asking after his family and how his black eye had come from a hawk’s wing during a hunting trip with his pops. As he finishes with it being good fortune he’d gone rather than stayed home in comfort, he attempts to bow out, but the group refuses him, wanting more deets, he playing at being annoyed, but after agreeing as long as they supplied him with a couple decent-sized drinks, he still keeps his news to himself, but hits it would be shared at a get-together of his own in under two weeks, he then driving his horse away (yes, drive).

The group sticks around for awhile longer and when Bao-yu returns to a worried Aroma and clarifies what had become of him, due to his toasty state, she was a bit perplexed he hadn’t at lease sent word, but Feng Zi-ying was a distracting fellow. Bao-chai joins them, she relating how she’d refused the invitation, taking her tea and speaking of unimportant topics. Before Bao-chai had dropped by, Dai-yu had also planned to visit Bao-yu once learning he’d returned, she even seeing Bao-chai ahead of her, but distracted herself with some beautiful fish, so when she did finally get to his home, she had to knock to be let in the gate. Unfortunately for her, Skybright was in a bad mood and not recognizing her voice, turns her away, Dai-yu debating what to do and feeling bad for herself, she then hearing Bao-yu and Bao-chai inside, her mind going to even further paranoia of what reason could make Bao-yu turn her away, she becoming distraught and sits under a tree, someone eventually exiting from the house, but only to be known upon continuation of the second volume.

I’m hooked, I’ll be quite happy to continue. In the Appendix we learn who Bao-yu had seen the fates for in the fairy’s library, beginning with Skybright’s terrible fate by slanderers. Aroma does marry, Caltrop/Ying-lian is murdered by Xue Pan’s horrible wife, Xin Jin-gui. As for Bao-chai and Dai-yu, they are represented as two halves of a perfect woman and the meaning behind their songs are up for debate as to whether the first or second refer to one or the other, or the first two both, or the first and second about Bao-yu. There are other characters explained, but I’ll only list those I remember, the last being Xi-feng, whom will have an unfulfilled life which may end in divorce.

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Driving Miss Daisy

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The author’s preface begins by stating of Miss Daisy being a real person his grandmother knew in Georgia in the 1940s. Daisy was a spinster and the last of her large clan. There was also a real Hoke, whom was a part-time bartender at a country club, and Boolie was the brother of Uhry’s aunt’s friend, and the characters aren’t like the people, he only used their names. Miss Daisy was partially his grandmother, her four sisters, and his mother. Hoke comes from his grandmother’s driver, but also other black drivers he’d known in his youth, and Boolie is made up of not only Uhry, but many men he couldn’t identify from his past, and Florine’s character’s real-life counterpart is refused to be revealed. As for the play itself, Uhry didn’t realize the hype it would bring, originally given five weeks on stage, a 74-seater, then the play was given an extra five weeks for popularity and moved to a much larger theater. Uhry had been currently writing the screenplay when he’d written this introduction, and had won the Pulitzer, he stating of writing what he knew and people shining to his perspective without seeking publicity.

Daisy, whom is 72-years-old, is heard announcing of going grocery shopping, starting her car, and then noises of a terrible wreck occurring. She is then arguing with Boolie, her 42-year-old son, he noting how lucky she’d been not to have gotten hurt or worse. Daisy stubbornly declares of the car being faulty, her old one not having acted this way, but Boolie stating how it wasn’t the car’s idea to hit their neighbor’s garage. Daisy denies his idea of hiring a driver, he trying to convince her of the likelihood she’ll be able to stay insured after wrecking her car with only two weeks of use so far, he then attempting to ease her mind with knowing he’d work out all the details, but she not wanting to be hassled with someone whom would take advantage by using her things and eating at her home. When he fails to convince her and she defends herself by stating how she was brought up to rely on herself and hiring “them” wasn’t affordable, Boolie gives her a hard time upon hearing her usage of “them”, he sharing he and his wife, Florine had plans for the evening, and Daisy passive-aggressively commenting. Boolie dismisses this, and then relays he’d be interviewing men for the job and would phone the next day, she still resisting, and then sings a song to conclude the argument.

Boolie is found in his office, Hoke walks in, currently around the age of 60, and looking like he needed work, but attempted to look nice. Boolie finishes a bit of work as he invites him to sit, Hoke agreeable to allow him to finish his task, Boolie then asking how long he’d been unemployed and where he’d worked before. Hoke responds of it being about a year, he then sharing how he preferred working for Jews which led into whom he’d worked for before having attempted to rip him off by selling him over-priced shirts, he then driving for a Jewish man whom Boolie knew, Hoke having worked for him for 7 years before he’d died. Hoke inquires who he’d be driving, Boolie relaying whom it was for and the reason he was looking rather than his mother, assuring him since he was hiring, she wouldn’t be able to let him go. Hoke is satisfied and accepts the job after Boolie offers his pay rate at 20 dollars a week.

Daisy is next seen coming into her living room, reading the news and ignoring Hoke, she only replies to his greeting her. She answers smartly to his weather chat, and then states of taking the trolley to the grocer’s when Hoke relays what the housemaid had told him of certain supplies running low, she refusing to let him take her. Hoke attempts an offer at caring for her flowers and when denied, states of being able to start a vegetable garden, but again is refused, Hoke then resigning himself to sit in the kitchen like he had for six days, but upon discussing how she’d been raised, he offers to water her front steps, this being when she gives him permission to drive her, instead. Hoke makes conversation on the car’s new smell, Daisy speaking of how she’d been taught to drive by her husband and she wanted him to drive well below the speed limit, she then freaking out about the route he was taking, but he gets her there, and once relinquishing the keys to her, she gives him a death stare after he reminds her of getting cleanser, then he calls Boolie from a pay phone, he seeing she’d caught him calling from inside the store and expected she’d have a fit.

Daisy is now peeved when Hoke picks her up from temple directly at the front doors, the two arguing why it would be a big deal Daisy’s acquaintances would see her with a driver and looked wealthy, Hoke giving up on talking about it, and next Boolie receiving a call from Daisy, he agreeing to visit her later, she speaking quickly. When he sees her, Daisy is going off on how Hoke had taken a can of her salmon, Boolie not getting what the issue was, he now tired of arguing and stating she do what she wanted, Hoke then arriving and sharing how he’d had the can of salmon and bought a replacement, Daisy attempting nonchalance and going upstairs to change from her robe. Daisy and Hoke are now at a graveyard, she carrying a mini-shovel and Hoke commenting how often they’d come in the past month, she having cleaned her husband’s stone thoroughly, and how she didn’t allow the staff to tend to it, she instructing him to retrieve some flowers from the car to set on a friend’s husband’s grave, she directing where it would be, but Hoke returning and guiltily confessing of not being able to read, Daisy not believing him at first, since she’d seen him look at the paper, he confiding he was looking at the pictures. Daisy then learns he knew the alphabet, and so actually could read and didn’t know it, having him listen to the sound of “B” and “R”, the first and last letter of the last name he was searching for, she declaring he’d locate it, and Hoke sharing how much he was grateful for her help, she dismissing this and sending him off, claiming of getting hot.

It’s now Christmas and Boolie is speaking on the phone and looking festive, he asking Daisy if she had coconut, to bring it along, since Florine needed it for her ambrosia. Daisy and Hoke are leaving, she not caught up with the Christmas spirit (hwhat a surprise…), she giving Florine the most crap for how many decorations she put up, Hoke agreeing, but enjoying himself. He points out how she’d also put a Rudolph up in a tree, Daisy declaring how Florine’s grandfather would’ve responded to viewing this, but then changes the subject to a book she’d given to Hoke, she vehemently denying it being a present, and to tell no one, Hoke assuring her and attempting to hide his feelings, the two then walking up the drive.

Boolie is now in his late 40s, dressed for golf, and waiting for Hoke, whom comes out to share of Daisy not coming, he relating how defensive she’d been with this new car lately, she chasing some man around when he’d set his case on the hood for a moment, and how she disliked using the A/C, he going on to describe of having purchased the old car and allowing Daisy to ride in it once in awhile, he warning Boolie to mind his ashes. Daisy is then shown carrying out a large suitcase, looking around apprehensively, then getting a dress bag and wicker basket, after which she brings out a wrapped present, Hoke then coming out with a small suitcase and fussing about how she’d brought out all the heavy items unnecessarily, she going on about the time, and he assuring they weren’t late, Boolie then coming out with Florine’s gift for his uncle, whom was turning 90, Daisy stating how inconsiderate they were for not attending and instead going to a show, My Fair Lady in New York. Boolie gives Hoke some emergency money, makes sure they’re set with map, and then wishes Hoke well. Hoke is eating deviled eggs with enjoyment whilst he drove, they discussing their first times out of Georgia, Daisy’s being when she was 12, and Hoke’s being right then, she getting agitated when realizing they’d made a wrong turn, she regretting having been driven and getting talked into it by Boolie instead of going by train. As they are still driving, Hoke soon has to relieve himself, Daisy demanding he wait, but Hoke insisting, and declares of taking the keys, after which a few moments pass, and Daisy at first sounding furious, and then scared as she waited in the dark silence. Hoke is then entering Boolie’s office and relating how he’d heard from Boolie’s cousin’s wife about wanting to hire him, Hoke bringing it up, since putting the idea of a raise in his head, Boolie agreeing and offering 75 dollars a week, Hoke accepting this sounded right, and mentions how being in demand was a nice feeling.

Daisy, now in her 80s, is shown in her house, walking by candlelight, the lights having gone out, but phones still working. Boolie called to inform her it was the neighborhood and would update her after checking the car radio. Daisy is then startled when hearing her door open, but then Hoke greets her as usual, telling how he’d learned to drive on ice long ago and had stopped to get her coffee, she pleasantly surprised. They then go through their routine of she stating he clean up the water he’d tracked in and he replying of who she thought he was, she then picking up Boolie’s return call and learning of when the ice would melt, she replying he could stay put, since Hoke had come, Boolie giving her a hard time about she complimenting Hoke for the first time he’d heard. Next, Daisy’s in the car, Hoke returning to inform of the major damage up ahead. Daisy states how it was so late she wouldn’t make it to temple anyways, Hoke replying it had been bombed, so she wouldn’t have been able to, regardless. Daisy is in denial, then hoping no one had been hurt, unable to fathom why a reformed temple would be hit, Hoke describing the sort of people who make such destruction didn’t care, he sharing a childhood story of a buddy’s father getting strung up, Daisy not seeing the relation, and then disbelieving the news he’d heard from the cop being a lie. Hoke decides he’d attempt to return her home, she commanding he end the conversation.

Next, Boolie is in his late 50s, walking in to a room whilst being applauded, carrying a silver bowl, and attending due to being elected man of the year by the Atlanta Business Council and preparing to share his speech of thanks and his one-liner jokes about himself, then sharing his family’s origin of their business having been in alignment with the view of the people in their city, due to the success they had, concluding his speech with humble, gratefulness and mention of the upcoming sport’s event on Sunday, and regarding whom he wished to win (football, most like). Daisy is then shown attempting to make a phone call with effort, she becoming more decrepit. She gets a hold of Boolie’s secretary and only has her relay of having acquired the tickets to the honor banquet for Martin Luther King, Jr, then reassures the lady of how late in life her cousin had married.

Later, Boolie joins Daisy, whom is now 90, he inquiring how she was, Daisy not seeing the question as suitable for someone her age, and they moving on to his receiving her message. Daisy suggests Hoke drive them, but then offers Boolie to do so when he states of they needing to discuss these plans further, he broaching the subject by stating of realizing MLK Jr’s accomplishments and progressive acts being many, Daisy stopping him by announcing he should get to the point of whether he’d rather decline attendance. He explains how the ignorant men he worked with may affect his success if they found out, he suggesting she invite Hoke, Boolie then leaving. After Daisy gets ready, Hoke comes in to collect her and help her into the car. They’re on their way before Daisy starts harping on Hoke for being blind, he denying this accusation, and she stating how he’d almost hit a mailbox, the car thoroughly scratched. Hoke contradicts this, again and she repeats her accusation of him being blind, which was unfortunate, since the new car looked so nice. Hoke then states how it was rounding a couple years of she owning it, she replying he was going the wrong way.

The two compete about their length of time in Atlanta until he trumps (bad choice of word) her on she not having driven for 2 decades, she then changing the subject to Boolie, dancing around how he’d mentioned MLK Jr. and how easy it was for Hoke to see him preach at his church, Boolie believing Hoke wanted her to invite him, he then getting worked up with how she’d brought this up whilst he was driving her, she flustered he was over-reacting to how she’d asked, getting out and walking herself to the entrance. Boolie is now shown on the phone with Hoke, the latter having called to discuss Daisy being aggravated, different than normal, she calling to him, Hoke then describing how she thought she was teaching school and talking nonsense, Boolie assuring he was on his way.

Daisy looks unkempt and inquires where he’d left her school work, he denying there was any at all, she certain she put them in a particular spot after grading them. He tells her she’d lost her mind, she ignoring him to state how popular she was with her students for diligently returning their school work a day later after they’d handed them in. She becomes upset when convinced she had ruined everything, Hoke attempting to calm her and convince her she wasn’t a teacher any longer, how lucky she was for being looked after, and if she wanted to see misery, to visit the “state home”. She still doesn’t register the subject and so Hoke instead resorts to stating how Boolie would sic a doctor on her to admit her into a loony bin instead, if she wasn’t careful. She then sobers her tone and asks after the first car he’d bought which she’d previously owned, Hoke updating it would be in a junkyard by now, and she stating, then insisting he was her “best friend”, he convinced by her conviction.

Boolie is shown browsing around Daisy’s living room, he now 65. He pockets his mother’s address book as Hoke, 85 walks in, greeting Boolie. He asks how Hoke had come by, he stating his granddaughter had taken him, she 37 and teaching Biology at a local college. Boolie then inquires if Hoke wanted anything from the house before Goodwill came to clean it out, he already exhausting what he wished to keep from Daisy’s possessions. Hoke declines, Boolie then confessing how odd it was to put Daisy’s house on the market whilst she was still living, Hoke understanding, and Boolie rationalizing the decision, since she hadn’t been there for over a couple years. He then confides of Hoke’s weekly check indefinitely being sent to him, Hoke relating how he was grateful, and he attempting to see Daisy as much as he could without a bus going to the stop necessary, he resorting to cab it over when he could. Boolie acknowledges Daisy most likely was happy when he could come by, then states of they moving along to visit her now, since they both more than likely had plans later for turkey day, and should let his granddaughter know he’d give him a ride back.

Daisy, 97 is shown moving about with a walker, Boolie and Hoke arriving, the two greeting her, and Boolie helping her sit, the two including her in the conversation of what she’d been up to, but she not speaking, acknowledging them at first with a nod and then seeming distant. Boolie provides general chat until Daisy bursts out with Hoke having come to visit her and not him. Hoke notes she was having one of her better days, she then commanding Boolie to go flirt with the nurses, her son stating how she wanted Hoke to herself and she being “a doodle” before leaving. She snoozes lightly and then sees Hoke, asking if he was still getting paid by Boolie, he admitting this and still wouldn’t divulge the amount, the two agreeing they were living life as well as they could. When Hoke notices she’d left her turkey day pie and sees her struggling with the fork, he offers to accommodate, proceeding to cut easy bite-size pieces for her.

I didn’t expect how sweet the characters were with only my knowledge from the film (which was fine from my recollection), but this being quaint and engaging. Quite enjoyable story, and it’s so short it won’t take any time to read it, so if it’s a nice, lazy story one’s after, this’ll do.

Jeeves in the Morning

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I regret not keeping the original, “Joy in the Morning”, regardless of it being a hardcover, but alas, it is done. So I begin this movie-scenic story with the easing lightness it throws, with gladness. Bertie relates how he’d only recently gotten out of a dire situation at Steeple Bumpleigh and confided to Jeeves the moments in which he had been close to losing hope. Bertie is then helped to remember the quote of “Joy cometh in the morning…”, he believing it was the most succinct way of describing the Steeple Bumpleigh Horror. He had the foresight to want to avoid Steeple Bumpleigh, but believed the place should’ve had a sign warning those unaware. The surrounding area told of as being idyllic, but what brought it down was Bertie’s Aunt Agatha, her second husband, Lord Percival Worplesdon, his daughter Florence, and another demon, his son Edwin. Those were the reasons Bertie continuously refused the invite of Boko Fittlesworth’s to get together at his home, he living nearby. Bertie also had to swat Jeeves’ suggestion to rent a cottage there for reasons above, Jeeves in for the fishing, but letting Bertie believe he’d let it go.

Bertie therefore, was completely taken off-guard when Steeple Bumpleigh entered his life forcefully, the day beginning quite comfortably. Jeeves informs him of a Miss Hopwood insistent on seeing him, but having been turned away since he’d still been sleeping. Bertie liked Jeeves’ looking out, but also wished to have seen her, Zenobia (Nobby) Hopwood being a good friend and also happens to be Worplesdon’s ward, he taking responsibility for her when a buddy of his left the country. Bertie then learns how long she’d be in the city, her visits infrequent lately, and having come up to see Aunt Agatha, whom was in town for Thomas, her son from her first hubby, the boy having the mumps and still at school.

Bertie regards this with the passing entertainment of Agatha getting infected, then learning Nobby had come by, since they hadn’t seen each other for awhile, Bertie agreeing with the sentiment, but once hearing she’d been hoping he would come see her at Steeple Bumpleigh, he again refusing the idea. Jeeves then mentions of Nobby having dropped by with a fellow called Stilton, whom claimed to know Bertie, he deducing the young man with a pumpkin-shaped head must be a friend from long ago called, G. D’Arcy Cheesewright, his nickname being Stilton. Bertie thinks it strange he was acquainted with Nobby, learning how he also resided at Steeple Bumpleigh, Jeeves then answering a call from Worplesdon, Bertie’s reaction being looked back on with astonishment, since not having felt the bad juju of the call.

Jeeves then relates of Worplesdon having requested to speak with him and more detail given upon his arrival, Bertie sensing the man needed his expertise and bidding him his blessing, offering to pick him up a gift, he asking for the new edition of philosophy by Spinoza (the TV show must having covered this one as well, since I confused having read it already). Bertie makes his way out, thinking about what sort of situation Worplesdon could have needed counseling, he then reveals how Agatha had hooked this new man eighteen months previously, he feeling sorry for him before learning whom it was, due to Agatha’s rough and torturous nature. Then when he found out it was Worplesdon, he realized she had met her violent match, Bertie recalling having a run-in with the man over a cigar he had taken. Worplesdon’s personality only making Bertie wonder of the severity of the situation he could be in, then begins his correspondence of making his book order, and as the shop-keeper goes to uncover the work, Bertie is startled by Florence Cray, Worplesdon’s daughter, whom walked up behind him, he still reeling from the not-so-distant time they’d been engaged, he traumatized from the close call, hence his reaction to her, and attempting to recover with a “hullo”.

Bertie weighs Madeline Bassett and Honoria Glossop against Florence Craye for the most traumatizing, and Florence wins for her attempts at changing Bertie. He provides an example by a book she’d given him, he quoting from the text, it heavy on explanation of ethical theory. Florence then shares why she was in town and inquires whether he was stopping in the shop for brain dead reading material, but upon seeing what he’d been given by the shop-keeper, Bertie is taken aback with her reaction of light tone and blushing. He gets the picture though, when she inscribes the book for him, she now even more impressed when learning what the shop-keeper was looking for, and needing to order for him, Bertie knowing he was too deep to back out, but having terrible fear consume him. He regrets his endorsement of Spinoza and being caught with her work in his hands, realizing his mistake now building him up in Florence’s mind. Bertie saw his main way to escape was to state of a previous engagement, but he not out the door before having to agree to a hang-out sesh, finally dismissed and alighting to a bar. After giving his nerves a bit of a break, he sees outside something which caught his interest.

The area around the Bollinger bar also gave plenty of entertainment, but currently especially across the street, which Bertie was at this moment deciding whether to check in at the jeweler’s for a cigarette case, he normally going upon the whim of wanting to purchase some kind of bijouterie, or collection of jewelry or trinkets. As he looks upon the jeweler’s entrance, he sees a man attempting to cross the threshold a few times, but stopping short. Bertie then places the large figure being his old buddy Stilton, he completely in the dark as to why he’d be bouncing back and forth outside the shop. Bertie plans on inquiring into it, but whilst crossing the street, Stilton had slung himself through the door. Bertie found him poring over some product the assistant was helping him with at the case when Bertie poked his butt with his umbrella, and cordially greeted him, Stilton looking shifty, and Bertie sensing he wasn’t wanted at the mo to reminisce over their youth, Stilton setting him straight when leading him away from the counter to confess he hadn’t enjoyed the booty poke, Bertie apologizing, but couldn’t resist a good opp. knocking.

Bertie attempts to continue their pleasantries which didn’t last long before Stilton was trying to bid him farewell, Bertie surprised he thought he could stop him so simply. He confides his thoughts plainly, then reminds Stilton of his drop-in with Nobby. Bertie getting his quiz since Stilton answered the following questions as monosyllabic as possible. Bertie fails to learn what Stilton did at Steeple Bumpleigh, so decides to try the question which had brought him to his verbal harassment, the reason for Stilton’s dancing about outside, and his buying plans, he relenting and confessing he was getting an engagement ring, Bertie believing he had laughed jovially, but had stopped when Stilton took it as insult, he flashing back to their school days when Bertie had pouted his tummy out whilst being taught to row by Stilton.

As Bertie back-pedaled his insulting laugh, then his terrible explanation of said laugh, only to have to explain his attempting to agree with Stilton on his being allowed to engage a girl, Bertie finally reaches a point where he’s able to wish their happiness together, which doesn’t get met with defensiveness, but also not getting the level of gratitude he had expected. Bertie then receives details of, whilst not Nobby, whom he thought, she being engaged to Boko, but to Florence. Bertie’s reaction brought defensive questioning again, he believing he no longer needed to fear Florence going after him what with Stilton’s hand secured. Bertie tries to veer the questions away with nonchalance, the table having turned, and he not wanting Stilton to know he also had been engaged to his love. Bertie halfway explained his way out with her father having married his aunt, but Stilton’s suspicion stays noticeable as he spoke of how odd it was Florence hadn’t mentioned Bertie regardless of their acquaintanceship, Bertie “pip-pip”-ing on his way out.

Bertie has a spectrum of feelings as he walks home, one in particular to do with Stilton, he at first placated by being off the hook with Florence, but then feeling sorry and fearing for what Stilton was about to put himself through. He then describes Stilton’s character as one whom is all for his immortal betterment, but Bertie looking after the side which would decide he’d grown enough, whilst Florence would still be on the path to further growth. Bertie was on the case though, light-bulbing of writing to Nobby to gently put the chap straight since she’d known Florence since youth.

Bertie added some bullet-points of his own to build from as a back-up for her, if needed, and when satisfied, posted it. When returning to see Jeeves attending to household matters, Bertie goes right in with Cheesewright’s current difficulty and how he’d handled it, then asking Jeeves for an update on his Uncle Percy, his Uncle wanting Jeeves’ opinion, but Bertie unable to coax him into further detail until giving his word it would go no further, the information regarding a sensitive business prospect, which even Jeeves wasn’t confided in knowing, but imagined it was the same one written of in the papers, which was about a unification with an American company.

Jeeves clarifies how a meeting between Percy and the other company man would need to be planned carefully so no one jumped to conclusions before a deal was made and effect both sides of shares in stock, Bertie on his game currently and completely sensing the hardship. Also deducing Percy wanted to buy some shares before the word got out (oooOOO, bad), Jeeves responding with the Latin: “Rem acu tetigisti” – “You have touched the matter with a needle”. Bertie then works out how the two would be seeking a secluded meeting place, Jeeves having supplied the possibility of turning to someone Percy knew to lend them a country cottage to wheel and deal, Bertie sensing a problem with whomever allowed the use of said cottage would come to the same conclusion as Percy, and elbow in to the deal of stocking up on shares, as well.

Jeeves had considered this, so elected Bertie to reside in one of the cottages at Steeple Bumpleigh to be used by the meeting at some point after. Bertie relays his feeling of betrayal, Jeeves apologizing then listing the finer details of the property, he not taken in due to knowing Jeeves’ motives, whom plays none-the-wiser, but once Bertie hears the name of the place, ends the idea promptly, then whilst temporarily side-tracked, gets “back on the res” – the crux of the matter (Thank you, Madame Eulalie, the only one whom could help my quest in finding out what res meant). Jeeves then brings logic to the table as Bertie considers the repercussions he’d be in for by his Aunt Agatha if he backed out now, he then relenting begrudgingly and has Jeeves begin packing.

Then, Bertie is told of being the sort whom preferred looking for the bright side. One aspect which supported this being Agatha not being present for a little while during Bertie’s first moments at Steeple Bumpleigh. He speaks to Jeeves with high hopes of she being away through all of his stay, for Thos’ mumps. Jeeves then saving the good news of a fancy dress ball the next night, Bertie ready to dance better than Fred Astaire, as he puts it, he choosing his costume, then being informed Nobby would be carpooling with him, so Jeeves planned on traveling by train, afterward relaying Agatha had requested Bertie pick up a broach she’d bought, he miffed he’d been chosen to carry out the task, but once learning it was for Florence and he wouldn’t need to supply a gift, as well he was a bit more accepting. Bertie admits being one of a hardy character being difficult, and he didn’t want Florence getting the wrong impression (She was referred to as a beasel, which presumably is meant in the definition of being like a flapper, since she doesn’t seem to have a shaved head and pointed ears). He then states how he would need one for Nobby what with her engagement, Jeeves agreeing to hope good tidings to them, Bertie allowing how it wasn’t usual he’d agreed with the marriage match-ups between his buddies.

Bertie then has breakfast and begins his broach-getting, as well as his party costume acquirement, after which Nobby is discovered waiting for Bertie, everything being put up in the vehicle whilst the two chatted, Bertie then beginning their journey and looking forward to hearing about the finer details in regards to the build-up to the proposal. He brings up how he’d heard and how level-headed she was, he readying to pose his quiz on the subj., she content to answer, the engagement having stemmed from the two’s immediate affection for each other, Bertie a bit in the dark as to how she’d loved the sight of Boko from the first, due to his quite specific look which was cringe-worthy to even Jeeves.

Bertie then becomes more specific about how Boko must’ve gotten to this point in around two months, the matter going from whether he’d wooed her to Nobby believing it may not happen since her Uncle Percy didn’t agree to their union. He is stunned with this development since Percy’s word had clout due to his looking after her, Nobby relaying how even despite Boko’s success as a writer, Percy distrusted his ability to stick to his obligations. The idea also being of Boko’s popularity not lasting him a lifetime and Percy being left to foot their bills. Nobby then describes how Percy saw Boko as a “butterfly”, he having first been engaged to Florence, so this making the wooing impossible.

So those two facts soured Percy’s view of him, Bertie getting the reasoning, he then remembering Nobby would only need to wait for a certain time, once discovering it was only another year, thinking he’d cracked it, but she reminding him of Boko going to Hollywood in a month, she thinking he’d need a wife to keep his head on straight whilst out there, Bertie is unable to accept her line of reasoning and spouting what he believed was a line from Jeeves about trust, she not buying it because of Boko’s simple nature of being easily swayed, Bertie then coming up with a plan of talking Percy into it upon his owing him for his presence at the cottage.

Nobby is immediately warmed by his selfless gesture and starts suggesting ideas to help talk up Boko, Bertie assuring her he had it handled and as they approached, restoring her certainty he would do everything he could. After dropping her off, he goes to Boko’s for a nip, Boko responding to Bertie’s whistle outside his window by issuing forth a little piece of flying dishware. When Bertie calls out in surprise due to how close he’d almost been clipped on the head, Boko has a look out, at first looking annoyed and after recognizing whom it was, couldn’t believe it was the one and only. Bertie guessed he’d interrupted Boko at a difficult juncture in his writing due to his frumpiness, Boko then explains why he’d chucked the china being due to Edwin making a nuisance of dropping in.

Bertie shares his reasons for being there involving the party and Jeeves’ fishing. They then have some dry-throat-quelling drink as they chat of Boko’s marriage halting. Bertie confides how he’d be putting in his word with Percy, Boko warning him his lunch may have made his cause more grueling a task. Bertie then supplies how Boko’s appearance might not be helping his cause. Foregoing further reasoning for this, Boko relates how he’d messed up the lunch by overdoing the happy kindness Nobby had insisted upon. Boko then backtracks to see if Bertie remembered when Freddy Widgeon used to bring his gag toys to the Drones, Bertie reminiscing happily until realizing the implication, especially after learning which gag Boko had used, Bertie deciding to move along, and Boko bidding him farewell as he wrote an apology letter he hoped not to have to send if Bertie worked enough magic on Percy. Bertie wasn’t as keen to get into his request of Percy so much now, he only hoping his assistance with the merger-hosting would lighten Percy’s view. Bertie then hears his name being called as he drove, and upon stopping, seeing Stilton upon bicycle approaching with an unfriendly gaze. Bertie sensed Stilton would have an issue with his presence so close to his love, he seeing the problem of being unable to confess his true reasons for being there. What Bertie was truly stumped by though, was Stilton’s outfit of a policeman.

Bertie inquires after the duds whilst Stilton asks why Bertie was in town, he ignoring the question to repetitiously ask about Stilton’s cop-hood. He realizes why Stilton had kept his position secret, Bertie understanding it was due to his penchant for cheeky statements and he unable to deny this, for already having come up with a few. He instead thinks of how many mates had joined the Force since an academy had been opened, Stilton declaring his drive in becoming a part of Scotland Yard. Bertie’s response colored with doubt, considering Stilton’s interest in college being out of step with his current goal and believing he’d be the sort to make a mockery of the profession like those read about in Sherlock Holmes. Bertie anticipates Stilton returning to his own line of topic, he giving Stilton the easy answer of taking some time from the city and allowing Jeeves to fish. Stilton gets straight into how he wasn’t buying the story since learning from Florence of their engagement, Bertie going on to declare how over they were. Unfortunately, Stilton wasn’t going for it, also having seen the inscription of the book Bertie left in the shop, he maintaining Bertie return to the city, even after hearing Bertie’s explanation of helping Boko and Nobby.

Stilton goes on his way with a half spoken threat before leaving, Florence then riding up and relating of having set some flowers in Bertie’s cottage, her thoughts of Stilton regarding how he’d been acting foolish lately, since his reason for becoming a cop hadn’t struck her as fruitful, especially since his uncle offered to fund him for politics, she leaving after venting. Bertie takes a smoke break for all the new stresses to consider before completing his journey to Wee Nooke. Upon estimating Wee Nooke for himself, he found it to be old, but livable, and once hearing weird sounds, he thought it possible the place haunted, but upon tripping over a bucket, Florence’s younger brother, Edwin comes through a door, he greeting Bertie and quite ready to perform first aid in whatever capacity he could, Bertie resisting resolutely. As Edwin planned on cleaning the chimney, Bertie notices his Aunt Agatha’s present to Florence had fallen from out of his jacket, Edwin first to detect it, and Bertie nimbly swiping it back. When the little mite’s inquiry has Bertie sharing what and whom it was for, he refuses his messenger service, Bertie then concluding their chat amiably and walking back outside, knowing how reacquiring the gift had saved his ass from hearing about it constantly, later. He was then debating repaying Edwin with a present for his keen eye when Wee Nooke burst in flames, giving Bertie a scare.

Bertie watched the blaze with the usual satisfaction of fire-gazing, until remembering Edwin could still be inside, and being the only person able to conduct a rescue mission, he debates the thought of whether to save Edwin, regardless of his kindly thoughts from earlier, since it quite possible Edwin had caused the fiery eruption. When Bertie has decided to attempt the task though, Edwin moseys out looking gratified, minus eyebrows, and explaining how the explosion was caused by gunpowder in the chimney and water-looking petrol when he attempted to douse the flames.

Once Bertie realizes what this meant for him, his General Headquarters well and gone, he felt he needed to impose some violence on the boy, but hadn’t the means nor felt Edwin’s lack of eyebrows warranted a sign of kicking the boy whilst impaired. Bertie was then reminded of why Edwin was obsessed with completing his kindly duties, this being among the tasks given to the ranks of Boy Scouts. He realizes the suitcase containing his costume was currently within the tinderbox, Bertie dashing in without regret, and seeing everything was quite stable at the mo, and so toddles to the case and brings it out unscathed.

Bertie does notice Percy has arrived though, Edwin gone, and Bertie playing calm, collected, and cheerful, he truly none of the above. Percy is in shock whilst Bertie confirms the state of Wee Nooke, then inquires after his uncle, but Percy regains some speech to accuse Bertie of the pyromania and should’ve expected such behavior from him, and when Bertie attempts to set him straight of his son’s good-doings, it doesn’t make a dent in Percy’s bend, he still blaming him for supplying the gunpowder to Edwin, and when Bertie explains further what the boy had used in lieu of water, Percy reacts like Bertie had done this himself, and settles with the idea in the end, of Bertie and Edwin having egged each other on, team-work style.

Percy eventually pushes off after instructing Bertie to direct Jeeves to him when he came, the man doing so not long after by taxi, Bertie ready to unload the woe of Steeple Bumpleigh and hopefully to push Jeeves’ buttons for talking him into the mess. Bertie wastes not a mo to point out the trouble of Steeple Bumpleigh and ends with a poetic question to which Jeeves agrees with, Bertie then making plain the current events (Bertie makes a comment about relating to King Herod in reference to seeing his point on doing away with the first born sons, which had me reminded of an episode of Vicar of Dibley, where Geraldine mentions a similar scenario). Jeeves then confirms having spoken with Percy on his way to Wee Nooke, the man wanting him to settle at the Hall, so his brain could be all the closer.

Bertie rightly assumes he wasn’t invited and likened he and Jeeves to gazelles per the poet Moore, he then speaking Jeeves’ thought of bunking with Boko, he then appraising Jeeves of Boko’s situation with Nobby, and his own scapegoated position with Percy, Jeeves aware of the importance his plan-making skills were to the group. Bertie lastly informs Jeeves of Stilton’s job title, Jeeves’ look making Bertie think he was shocked by the news, and helped Bertie decide he would need to be the model citizen, he then realizing he’d misplaced the brooch, Jeeves noting how worrisome the prospect was, he then retracing his steps to the point of where he’d most likely dropped it whilst retrieving his suitcase in Wee Nooke, the fire now too low to enter, Jeeves taking some time to reflect on the matter.

Bertie took the time to decide whether fleeing was a viable way to handle Agatha, when Jeeves shares a possible easy remedy, which involved he going back to London to order a second identical brooch, Bertie warming to the idea as he spoke of the last situation which Jeeves implemented the switcheroo being the Aberdeen McIntosh. Jeeves then game-plans by allowing first, time to transfer Bertie’s luggage to Boko’s, then going to make the brooch order, whilst Bertie roamed about the area, to double check the grounds on the off-chance it had fallen outdoors. No luck though, so it’s whilst he walked, Nobby rode up upon bicycle, Bertie eager to chat with her about Stilton and his personal affairs.

Nobby had freshened up, which Bertie didn’t understand, what with she meeting a goofy man dressed to the frumpiness. Bertie bids to have a word with her after agreeing he was off to see Boko, as well. Nobby interrupts him with the subj. Bertie was after, so wasn’t as annoyed by her inattentiveness. She mentions of how mad Stilton was, Bertie sharing the reason for this and how Stilton didn’t believe his pure intentions. He then eventually gets to the danger of Stilton’s career having affected Florence’s love which could affect Bertie’s relationship status. Nobby then considers his predicament, and realizes how Florence had seemed attached to Bertie the most out of all her fiancés.

Bertie’s necessity to rectify Florence and Stilton’s lovey-doveyness hits him hard, and in despair, he asks for Nobby to talk to either side and do some convincing for both to see reason. Nobby agrees to do as best she can, and the two then enter Boko’s residence, he letting Bertie know his luggage had arrived safely, and assuring Nobby of his lunch with Percy going fine, but when she heard of Bertie no longer being able to knock home Percy’s acceptance, Boko shares his back-up plan of saving Percy’s home from a burglar to prove his worth. Then, once describing the finer details, Bertie is readying to back out, due to the part he was meant to play, but Boko and Nobby speak of his goodness so much, his resolve dies and turns to reluctant agreement.

The lack of gusto persists until the time was nigh, Bertie’s feeling getting worse as the two reached their destination, Boko intermittently makes comment to the nice qualities of the garden about them, but  Bertie wasn’t feeling it, and preparing to leave his buddy at his time of need. He remembers his terrible experiences with trespassing and policemen interruptions, Bertie relating this possibility to Boko, whom turns down the idea, believing Stilton would already be in the depths of sleepy-time, which Bertie allowed, but the aunt and uncle still being a worry, Boko disregarding this, as well and making certain Bertie had his accouterments ready to break the window, Boko biffing off to give Bertie time to do his part. Bertie at first is satisfying his imagination by contemplating how burglars must discover ways to aid their stress, but then figures Boko could return soon, since he’d wasted a few minutes with this line of fancy, and sets up the treacled paper upon the window. Then, metaphorically dancing about the window in preference to completing his task, Bertie likens the thought to how he saw Stilton outside the jewelers, acting similarly.

As Bertie gathered his nerve, he heard Edwin call from above him, Bertie knowing the boy was baiting him when he’d announced he could see him, so Bertie stayed silent and still, comforted in knowing it was a dark night. When Edwin withdraws, Boko returns, not sympathetic to the necessity of silence, Bertie informing him of their little Boy Scout, Boko showing disapproval with tongue-clicking when Bertie blamed Edwin as the cause of not breaking the window, Bertie now hyper-aware of the noise Boko made (his metaphor bringing a pleasant image to mind), he having Bertie stay focused on how this would help he and Nobby. Boko then leaves Bertie with another ten minutes time frame, Bertie thinking the new tactic of taking a stroll could help his resolve, he doing so, but wasn’t calmed, esp. when viewing a shadowy shape, but then recognizing Jeeves’ voice.

The two greet each other cordially and relate the shock they’d received from the other, Jeeves then moving on to Bertie’s timing for an evening stroll being an ideal one, even poetically speaking of the stars, which is when Bertie attempts to quiet him. Jeeves then informs of acquiring the brooch and had given it to Florence, Bertie glad for it due to his current issue, which he readily shares with Jeeves. Upon finishing, Jeeves speaks of the timing certainly being in their favor to go through with such an idea since Percy had yet renewed his security insurance, he having Jeeves send it in the same day, before Agatha became aware, Bertie quite surprised by Percy’s place in his household not being the top dog.

Bertie was reinforced by this information so he could finish his task, but then Jeeves adds how the real-time timing was a bit off since Percy was about to meet a Chichester Clam at the potting shed, he explaining this was the gentleman Percy was attempting to merge companies with. Bertie felt sympathetic toward the American’s ignorance of Steeple Bumpleigh, he knowing the place most likely wouldn’t let Clam off with a warning. Bertie then became aware of the hour which Percy was to meet Clam was upon them, Jeeves warning of his approach. Bertie wasn’t quite ecstatic with being viewed by the uncle-figure, but greets him as he got closer, scaring him to bits, which helped Bertie’s mood toward the positive, even getting Percy’s usual repetitive response of whatting, whilst Bertie shared how Jeeves and he had been chatting of stars, and during the quotation Jeeves had spoken earlier, Percy “what”-ed his way through the retelling.

Percy then gets a closer look at Bertie, whom has to explain he had only been walking about the premises. Percy demands he be off and away, Bertie catching the clue, and about to do so when Stilton scares him into the air, possibly more so then Uncle. Percy loses his shit by this point and indignantly demands why there’s so many people milling in his garden, expletives included. Stilton didn’t take this outburst without offense, due to Percy’s upper-hand on more than one level, Stilton apologizes and shares his reason for coming was caused by a call from Edwin, Percy momentarily adrenalized upon why Edwin had contacted the Force, but calmed when Jeeves confirms his letter had been sent, Boko next to arrive with pride of detaining a burglar in the potting shed. Bertie realizing Clam must now have the knowledge of Steeple Bumpleigh’s curse.

As Boko reached their little pow-wow, Bertie entertained the idea of Clam’s viewpoint of this oddness, Bertie listing the typical day he presumed the man was used to, Steeple Bumpleigh being a mismatch for such a normal schedule. So, as Boko is readying to lead Percy to his proud find, he reiterates of the troublemaker he’d trapped in the potting shed, in case they hadn’t heard, and was getting too comfortable poking Percy in the chest, which the latter exclaims for the nonsense to end, Boko defending his detection of the thief by relating Bertie’s having stuck the treacled paper to the window. Stilton gives Boko props for his foresight and announces of going off to apprehend the fellow, Percy growing more agitated as they speak, whatting reflexively once more. As Boko attempts to sooth Percy of his feeling of upset, Florence comes out to them, she not at all in pleasant spirit for being awoken by shouting. Boko takes responsibility proudly, not aware of Percy’s disfavor of him, Bertie feeling sad for the rube. As Boko then attempts to answer Florence’s inquiries as to how and why he was there to offer his services in implementing his gloriously selfless task, Percy pipes in with wanting to learn the same, building off of this framework to add his bewilderment for his tromping about his property when Boko had one of his own. Boko is flummoxed by this tirade against him, and when regaining his speech states of how ungrateful Percy was, having Jeeves quote Shakespeare about “ingratitude”.

Percy then decides the man housed in his potting shed was most likely a harmless homeless man, and wouldn’t be pressing charges, then gives Jeeves ten shillings to give to the man for shelter. Boko is properly disgusted, stating how next time he’ll help the intruder succeed getting inside. Boko then stalks off, Bertie accustomed to this behavior since he understood this response could come from even a not so moody sort, what with the circumstances being as they were. Bertie also felt terrible for Boko’s plan being dead in the water, since now the young lovers would remain detached, the odds not in his favor. Bertie then hears an avian-sounding whistle and recognizes Nobby from afar, he meeting her. Nobby was effervescing with fervor in being updated, Bertie reluctant, but giving the unfortunate mishaps of the night, she thinking Bertie must’ve dropped the ball, but he explaining how crowded the place had gotten fairly quickly before execution could fully begin. He describes Boko’s mistake of communicating so insultingly to Percy, Nobby finally aware of the hole Boko had dug, and she now going after him to give him a piece of her mind. Jeeves appears to inform of having let Clam go, but Bertie focuses on Boko, asking Jeeves to help him remedy the issue, and when sending him off after him, Bertie stresses over the situation when Boko pops back.

Boko looks properly put in his place, Bertie thinking Nobby had located him, which Boko confirms after asking if Bertie carried any libation, which he wasn’t, Boko then half explaining how Nobby had truly slapped him about with her words, she declaring they were over and Bertie convincing him not to read too much into it. Boko slowly is convinced Bertie had a point, especially after he quoted Jeeves on the strength of love. Boko was verging on a comeback of confidence when Nobby is heard calling to him, he sobered, and following her command to join her, giving Bertie a moment to think over what had occurred. His thoughts then turn to how common this situation was for his friends who are couples, he believing his estimation of Nobby’s next move being proven correct as he sees Boko’s look of elation upon returning.

Boko relates as much and also shares of Jeeves and Nobby thinking up the next course of action, Bertie stating of the work ahead of them being tough, but Boko explaining how Jeeves had come up with a doozy, Boko needing to have Percy’s back, he then sharing a scenario where he’d defend Percy from Bertie, which the latter was horrified upon hearing the description of what Boko thought he would do, Bertie plainly making clear he didn’t fit well into this plan whatsoever, Boko shocked by his not rallying round, he taking a similar route as some of his other pals when reminding Bertie of their school days, as well as Bertie’s affection for Nobby and how this would upset her, Boko giving him the chance by deciding he hadn’t heard him properly, but Bertie sticks to his guns. Boko makes certain Bertie truly declined to aid him in his plan, Boko stating of his disappointment and not believing the day would ever have arrived to discover Bertie not volunteering his help, his resolve almost breaking when he mentions of hosting him, but the vision of Percy setting him straight. Boko then reminds him of how upset Nobby would be, he then retreating with tsk-tsks, Bertie having then been snuck up on with a hit to the back of his head, sending him grass-ward.

Bertie now has an ouchy on the back of his skull, he hearing Edwin above him, impressed with his handiwork and realizing it was Bertie afterward, the latter demanding why he’d conked him, Edwin focusing on the part of his inquiry to do with his weapon of choice, he getting the confirmation of its validity as a painful piece of artillery, Edwin apologizing and confessing Bertie was the second victim he had mistaken for the thief, the first his pop. When Bertie hears how well Edwin had conked his pater, he relates to his heart jumping for joy, Edwin going on to relate how Florence had stuck up for him when Percy was readying to whoop Edwin good. Then, Bertie shares how his head still hurt and he had a lump, Edwin inquiring after his physical state, and then the former denying him the honor of performing first aid. Edwin changes topics about the reason for Bertie’s presence, and shares how Florence’s engagement could be possibly cancelled since he’d overheard a fight between she and Stilton. Bertie takes intent interest in this, and interrogates Edwin on the details, only learning their exchange was decently serious. Bertie’s soaring heart takes a dive, he knowing Florence’s intellect kept her style of fighting to be reckoned with more soberly than Nobby’s kind. Edwin reveals how he’d been distracted from listening to much by his act of whacking Bertie during their heated back-and-forth. Knowing this gave Bertie slight hope, since the two could’ve winded down their blow up before going too far. Edwin then confirms whether his acts of kindnesses from earlier still counted, despite his back-step, the two debating the day Edwin had reached, until Bertie realized Edwin had located the brooch twice, the second time at Wee Nooke. After stating of Florence’s delight having received the brooch by Edwin’s hand and giving Bertie the credit, he dashes away. Bertie then hears noisy breathing and puts together it was Florence.

Bertie couldn’t read the look on her face, only knowing she was feeling something compelling, she bluntly speaking of Stilton, to which Bertie regards her phrasing quite soberly, noting how she wasn’t seeing Stilton in a pleasant light and her view worried him as to the likelihood of the two working through this. Bertie determines her view would warm her more to his side, which prompted him to speak on Stilton’s behalf, this not succeeding in changing her low opinion, she then sharing how Stilton had insulted Percy when he wasn’t given permission to arrest the man in the shed. Bertie grasped at the straw of Stilton having been kidding about his harsh statements, but Florence states otherwise. Bertie feels for Percy’s plight as much as one could for the sort of his ilk, he having quite a time what with Boko, Edwin, and now Stilton. Bertie again attempts to spin Stilton’s temper in a positive light, Florence denying this by relating how he’d blasted her with his words when she’d voiced supporting her father’s side. Bertie was impressed with Stilton’s courage to stand up to Florence, but also knew it’d be the death of their love. Florence is unable to repeat Stilton’s insult of her reply about the quality of life for those in prison, the thought renewing her anger. She then shares of the fear Bertie’d been thinking of, the cancellation of their wedding, his reaction being to speak of Stilton highly, trying to have her let it go, he then spurring into a well-worded support to Stilton’s actions caused by the lack of crime in Steeple Bumpleigh, he unprepared by Florence’s response not being to take his words logically, but to become enchanted with him, she thinking he’d said all of this with the idea of wanting to get hitched to her. She then explains the brooch had helped her form her opinion, she accepting her title as hubby, sharing the sort of wedding she’d like, and left him to numbly catch up to her plans for him.

Bertie stays frozen to the ground for quite awhile, not moving even when flying pests knocked into his face, nor when other sorts crawled upon his neck. After he finally gets moving and back to Boko’s, he discovers the latter in the living room, Bertie buzzing over to the liquid refreshment, Boko not noticing him until hearing him pour, the man welcoming him, but also shocked he could detect the will to make a drink, after all which had occurred. Boko then eyeballs him as he informs Bertie he’d seen Nobby and she’d been quite upset due to Bertie’s stance, Boko again mentioning how he hadn’t foreseen the day coming when Bertie would fall through, he going on to inquire what had taken so long to return, he starting with Edwin, which pleased Boko, but Bertie pleading with him to save his chill nature for a later time since he required ideas and pity, he revealing his enchainment to Florence. After hearing Bertie’s tale, Boko admits how terrible it was Stilton had screwed up what with his true affection for her being apparent, and if he’d quit being a cop, he would still have a chance at a reunion. Bertie didn’t see the value of thinking about Stilton, he wanting a plan, so Boko asks if he could use the one which had worked the first time, Bertie stating to the negative. Boko then mentions how his style of having Florence break it off was tried and true, but Bertie not worthy for not helping Nobby and he, the former now reconsidering, but only after being reassured Boko’s plan was solid, he agreeing to share after he’d completed the job of angering Percy, Bertie acquiescing and Boko all smiles afterward, he deciding to jot down some ideas for Bertie to implement.

Bertie sleeps terribly, ridden by nightmares of Percy, but morning brought sunny goodness, birds a-twitter, this not helping Bertie’s attitude toward the day, though. He was plagued by his duty, he even having risen earlier for his troubled thoughts. He prepares for a refreshing bath, when he sees a note under his door, and reading of the statements Boko had come up with for him to spout to Percy, which worried him as he read. He brings up his Headmaster and the failed biscuit-stealing again, to relate how Boko had continued from where the Headmaster had left off, Bertie gauging of the estimated six hundred words, six of them acceptable enough for Bertie to muster the courage to speak, only if he were imbibed to the gills. Boko expected Bertie to follow the plan by ten in the A.M., but Bertie learns Percy was currently river swimming, he discovering him happily sloshing about. When Bertie sees Stilton was along for the water fun, he decides his best course was to stay unnoticed, he puttering along the sloping edge and spotting Jeeves fishing, whom he greets aloofly, and explains the reason. Bertie is peeved over what he now had to attempt to say to Percy, he essentially asking if it was worth his head to Jeeves, the reaction from the latter being a slight, quizzical look. Jeeves replies how Bertie could’ve backed out, to which Bertie derisively singly laughs over the idea, relaying the events of the previous night with Edwin, Florence, and ending with Boko and his information withholding on how to detour Florence. Jeeves, not having heard of their couple-hood, couldn’t guess what Boko had done and offers to inquire the house-staff, Bertie all for this.

The two agree to a meeting time and place to speak of Jeeves’ findings, Bertie returning to the house and seeing Boko at breakfast, Bertie inquiring about his knowledge of porpentines, Boko ignoring this and asking after Bertie’s thoughts regarding his list. He confesses the list’s horrifying qualities and confides of possibly deciding to nix going through with the plan, Boko shocked by this being the real Bertie’s feelings, again. Boko takes this badly, and states his displeasure on such cowardice, Bertie not phased by Boko’s retaliative approach by keeping his secret Florence-begone to himself, the former reminding him he hadn’t decided to withdraw yet, and the two leaving each other on good terms, they agreeing to enter the Hall individually. Bertie meets Jeeves, whom he can sense has good news, Jeeves sharing the source of his information coming from the boy whom cleans the silverware and boots, he having seen the happenings first-hand. Edwin had played a part in the events, he tracking something which Florence saw as she tended to a part of the garden, Boko walks up to Edwin and speeds up as he bends over some flowers, Boko then whopping him a kick, Florence not accepting his explanation and ending their engagement. Jeeves then points out Edwin was currently hunched over peering at something the ground.

Bertie caught Jeeves’ point along with the look he gave him to solidify his meaning, but whilst Bertie had the inclination, the circumstances gave him pause. He could also see Boko’s advantage when it came to his enactment, he in mid-question as to Jeeves’ surety of this being his best course, and even adding how Florence’s presence would and should be had, Jeeves offering to give her a reason to meet Bertie outside. His hesitance still holds him, and when confessing this to Jeeves, he posits Hamlet being in a similar boat, but what gets Bertie on-board though, was knowing the time rounding ten, his qualms bothering him no more, and Jeeves informing the length of time necessary to retrieve Florence. Bertie chats up Edwin in the serene atmosphere as he waits, Edwin sharing how close he was to catching up on his kind deeds and his current preoccupation. Edwin goes off on his ant knowledge until remembering Bertie’s bruised head, this having been related to how ants talk to each other, Edwin sharing how much enjoyment he maintained from the memory.

This only helps spur Bertie’s resolve, and as Edwin speaks, gets up to demonstrate or to stretch his legs as Florence finally comes outside, Bertie quickly coming up with a reason for him to bend again, he bringing his attention to a bit of ‘change’ under a shrub, Bertie noting his posture perfect for his swing, and upon execution, Edwin flying, but Florence isn’t furious, she happy has a clam, calling Edwin back, but he wandering off, and Florence explaining her reason for being pleased being in relation to Edwin’s hack job of her clippings being pasted upside down. She leaves Bertie to attend to the issue, he not noticing Nobby had been attempting to engage his attention for a little while, she having come to remind him of his meeting with Percy having arrived. Bertie mentions once more of how adept he was in obtaining those “silver-lining” moments, he declaring to Nobby of having found it in the form of his ability to back out, which Nobby then remembers his letter to her about Florence being a good back-up plan, he realizing the validity in this, and readies his entrance, flying to Percy’s sanctum sanctorum.

Bertie’s description of Percy’s study is everything one would expect a study to exude, the one article missing being Percy, himself. This new situation threw him as to where he should proceed, he deducing by cigar smoke smell he’d been there recently and most likely had gone outside to ponder his Clam troubles, Bertie attempting to decide whether to follow, his fire cooling as he stood, and so upon reluctantly following, he hears the man himself speaking with Boko, Bertie seeing the two walk into his line of sight with a gardener and mutt. As Boko is led away, Percy heads toward Bertie, he realizing there was no point going through with the plan if Boko couldn’t hear, and so goes back to the study to notice what he decided must be a painting of his Aunt Agatha he hadn’t been aware of earlier, but then hears her voice, which fortunately turns out to be only an audial hallucination, but by this point, Percy had caught up to him, he ranting about Boko turning up regardless of the hour.

Percy registers Bertie’s presence and speaks unusually cordially to him, throwing Bertie off, understandably what with their troubled history, he continuing by listing his normal temperament, his look similar to a cricketer turned actor (the picture of whom gives a fair idea what hilarity could come from the comparison), and whom had gone rabid (quite an image). So, to now see Percy looking agreeably at him, he was weak with disbelief, Percy then insisting he have a libation, sharing how he’d tromped on Boko, Bertie empathizing with his bud after imagining what area Percy must have stepped, but then extending his sympathies to Percy, as well. When Percy inquires about Boko’s friendship with Bertie, he sees a return of his old self, he letting this go to inform why the gardener had been pointing a pitchfork at Boko’s rump. Percy then offers a cigar to Bertie, he declining, which gives Percy reason to mention the hunting crop incident, and then giving Bertie the cigar so he could speak of why he’d wanted to chat, this an attempt at getting Bertie to loosen up.

After they have a drink, Percy commends him on his kick of Edwin, he going so far as to shake Bertie by the hand, and then asking him to excuse his aggressive temper due to his son, he then confessing his change of mood toward Bertie was because of his conduct with Edwin, and now wanted Bertie’s opinion about how he should proceed with his meeting with Clam, since the man was so skittish, he now wanting to forget about it and only return home. Percy finally gets around to asking what thoughts Bertie had on where to meet safely, upon his mentioning already having gone to Jeeves and learning he’d been told the man didn’t have a plan surprised Bertie, but when discovering when Percy had been told this, remained hopeful due to this being said the previous night. Bertie goes on to relate there was even better chance, since Jeeves would’ve most likely dined on his catch from this morning, his brain properly stimulated, Percy adopting Bertie’s optimism, and so calling his butler for a refresher on drinks and Jeeves. When the two return and his butler withdraws, Bertie informs Jeeves of what he’d mentioned to Percy about his regiment on producing new ideas, but Jeeves still had nada. Percy didn’t let this keep his spirits down though, and put his hope back on Bertie, whom decides to have a walk around and think, Nobby popping up when he left.

Nobby was close to literally dying to know how it had gone, she describing how little she could hear, but how she’d expected to hear Bertie’s voice more and couldn’t hear Boko at all, which finally gave Bertie the chance once more to dispel her hopefulness, confessing Boko’s absence, and once revealing to her the events, she readying to turn on her beau, but Bertie reminding her of how big Percy’s feet were, Boko’s inability to escape them slim, he being relatively unharmed and Percy’s view of him not positive, still. Bertie was then able to share the new standing he had with Percy though, and how it may yet help them, he sharing how if he succeeded thinking up a stellar meeting spot, he’d be able to help the two. When she attempts to help him with ideas and can’t, she suggests Jeeves be brought in, surprised to learn he couldn’t come through, and having Boko help wasn’t going to help once Bertie told her why it would only complicate matters. Nobby soon biffs off to locate Jeeves for still disbelieving his failure to formulate a plan, Bertie left to think. Jeeves appears, and when Bertie doesn’t see him coming, is reminded of Indians astral projecting, Nobby accompanying him and looking quite happy since stating how Jeeves was no longer blocked, and in fact had pretended to be without plan so Bertie could have the upper hand and could get even more bosomy with Percy, but the plan needed to be handled gently when it came to sharing it with him, and so Jeeves offers to bear the news to him on Bertie’s behalf, his plan being for Clam and Percy to meet at the dress party (TV show pops to mind, once more, possibly in a different episode). Bertie had completely forgotten the party, what with Steeple Bumpleigh’s overpowering effects.

Bertie then brings up his hope of Percy having the attire needed, Nobby having forgotten this requirement, and Jeeves stating how Bertie would need to lend his costume, which struck him with the strength of a mother cat being separated from her babies, but when being assured it was the only way, agrees bravely, Nobby not getting why he’d care, this being after Jeeves had gone off to speak with Percy, Bertie declaring how he’d wanted to show off his Sinbad costume, which he states of Nobby not having experienced life until she had, also now realizing he and Boko both should be in attendance so as to take advantage of Percy’s inevitable good mood once finalizing his deal, and whilst Bertie paces over this, Jeeves returns, he rejoining them, and Jeeves regarding Bertie’s idea which Nobby had related to him, he agreeing; this after stating Percy had accepted the idea and Jeeves planned to next see Clam on the subj., deciding Boko would drive him so he could secure the costumes whilst they were in town, Bertie wondering how safe the costume selection was in Boko’s hands, but Jeeves certain Bertie should stay to ease Percy’s mind, since he had flip-flopped in his agreement every time he saw Agatha’s painting, and would need periodic reassurance, Bertie accepting this what with his own run-in with it, Jeeves then confirming with Nobby of Boko being home and off to begin his journey.

Bertie discovers how time consuming keeping Percy’s spirits up would be, upon viewing the man’s anxious manner whilst sitting in his study and staring at his Aunt’s portrait. Finally, when evening hit, Percy is called by Clam, whom agreed to the scheme, Clam’s costume including a bushy beard. Now everything had been confirmed, Percy opens up to how he used to hit the Ball’s fairly hard in his youth (pun most definitely intended), and if not for an indiscretion at one of them, would’ve had the chance to tie the knot with Agatha thirty years sooner than he had, she having called it off after seeing his negative press in the paper. This episode colored his reason for paranoia she stay in the dark, but then upon stating how he would stealthily get to the party without being spotted by Edwin or Florence, he steps right back into despair, Bertie eventually getting him to calm, and then deciding a good submerging in the river was needed due to his hours long babysit, and once refreshed and drying off, sees Stilton watching him. Bertie knows upon speaking to him, he was definitely sour on his presence, Stilton solidifying this notion with one of his facial expressions of pure hate.

Bertie attempts to lighten his mood with conversation on their surroundings, but Stilton uses it as a way to reference Bertie’s betrayal. To distract Stilton from this, Bertie brings up Boko’s being stepped on by Percy, and Stilton showing confusion why he’d step on Boko rather than Bertie, after which comes silence and then he stating of seeing Florence and a wedding date already having been set, Stilton yearning to have cause to arrest Bertie, he finally giving Bertie the opportunity to leave, but he feeling down for having lost a buddy in such a way. When getting back to Boko’s, whom had already arrived from his mission and was currently sitting with Nobby, quite pleased, Bertie mentions the need for her to present the letter soon, what with the impending engagement date and she relaying of delivering it to Florence next morning if all concluded positively this evening, easing his mind. Although, when Boko mentions the costumes he’d gotten for himself and Bertie, he gets a slap in the face when hearing he’d been stuck with Pierrot, and he wouldn’t fit into the Cavalier outfit for his wonderfully svelte bod. To soothe Bertie, Boko attempts to quiet him with how un-Pierrot-like it truly was, they all getting a shock when seeing it wasn’t Pierrot at all, but a footballer outfit.

It remained quiet for some time before Nobby broke the silence by inquiring if they were all seeing the same outfit, she and Bertie confirming certain areas which drew their eyes, she then exclaiming how Boko had flubbed up again, he denying this, but even Bertie being unable to ignore the obvious. Boko then realizes whom was actually the cause being a chap called Catsmeat, Boko having taken a detour to the Drones where he and Catsmeat chatted about their collective attendance at parties, he leaving first and most likely having picked up the wrong case, Boko hoping this would get him off the hook as being damned. Nobby and Bertie effectively understanding, Boko offers to wear the get-up, Bertie then reminding him of how he still didn’t have anything to wear, the two deflated, but when Jeeves enters, Bertie posing their issue to him.

Jeeves decides a brief walk would be required to push an idea out, the trio discussing the problem as they waited, their optimism “conspicuous by its a[bsence].” they aware of time running short, the possibility of securing a fresh costume not applicable due to the lateness of evening, and Steeple Bumpleigh having naught an offering, Boko’s plan of Bertie slathering boot polish over himself and going as a Zulu chief being the best they could muster. Jeeves enters to state of coming up with an idea, everyone waxing impressed feelings, Boko disagreeing when Bertie suggested Napoleon was anywhere near the level of Jeeves, but when he hears where Jeeves had come upon this outfit, he quakes at whom it must belong “s[uspicion]” having been correctly felt on Bertie’s part. He then attempts to use the mot juste (appropriate expression) to indicate his tone as he commanded Jeeves get the uniform back where he found it, and hastily, shocking both Nobby and Boko from their celebratory backslapping, they attempting to make Bertie see how important it was he use this uniform to everyone’s advantage.

Bertie again describes how thin of ice he was currently standing in regard to Stilton, Boko reminding him he’d only be wearing it at the party, not constantly, but Bertie makes clear he wouldn’t be taking the chance. Until, of course Nobby weighs in with the letter not reaching Florence, Bertie understanding again he was against the wall. The two satisfied, Boko goes over the order of events, then stating of grabbing a raincoat for Stilton, he and Nobby off to bequeath said coat. Bertie rants to Jeeves after, of how he’d helped stick him in this non-helpful situation, Jeeves relaying he was doing his best at getting Bertie through the party properly, Bertie relenting, but maintaining how precarious a spot he was in. Then he complains a bit by how laughable he was going to look in Stilton’s larger-framed uniform, but knew the choice was no longer his own, Jeeves agreeing and quoting Shaw, Bertie gathering courage and requesting Jeeves show him the duds.

Boko decides he and Bertie should carpool in case any pressing issues popped to mind, it being more easily dealt with if they rode together. Bertie wasn’t quite as receptive to this idea, since he’d lived through being shotgun to Boko and had no intention of scaring himself repeatedly, Boko’s tendency to immerse himself in conversation, and gesturing with his hands at less than fruitful moments keeping Bertie from agreeing willingly. Another reason he’d rather drive himself being so he could get out of uniform with speed, Boko most likely tarrying to finalize his needs with Percy. Bertie also learns Boko, upon supplying Stilton with said coat, had learned of his suspicion Bertie had been behind the missing uniform, Boko redirecting his attention to Edwin seeming a better fit, Boko then thinking he’d detoured Stilton sufficiently. The idea only holding so much water when relying on Stilton not ever seeing Bertie in his work attire, otherwise he wouldn’t have a chance with Stilton discovering what he’d done.

Bertie relays his own plan to Boko, it being foiled by his car stalling, but hailing help from a kindly citizen, he getting to the party by midnight. Boko gives him a hard time for being late, he then informing of Percy drinking at the bar, Bertie realizing how serious this could be if he was incapable of comprehension. Once Boko explains how whilst Percy may have met Clam, Bertie still needed to approach him, he pushes him to attend to this immediately. Fortunately, Percy is entertaining a group of revelers, so Bertie has made it in time, and when reaching his uncle, the group scurries off to dance. Bertie greets Percy, the man hesitantly placing him, since the helmet was larger than expected, Bertie being chortled at more than he liked. When he plainly regards Percy’s drinking habits, his uncle doesn’t deny them, and admits he planned on celebrating heartily, being well on his way.

Bertie senses at this rate he’ll be able to mold Percy to his will, he learning Percy and Clam had their meeting, and Percy had made out like a bandit, Bertie buttering his ego for good measure, and Percy quite receptive, but then wishing to hole up somewhere less musical to take his much too small shoes off, which gave Bertie the perfect suggestion of offering Boko’s car as a kick-back spot, Percy agreeing and taking extra restorative along. When Percy’s nice and comfy, Bertie broaches the subj. of Boko, it not going well, since Percy, whilst in a glorious mood to all men, didn’t include Boko among them, he arguing of Nobby’s father entrusting her care to him and wouldn’t overlook a Boko. Bertie stays strong though, and attempts to speak the good of Boko, but what stalls Percy is learning he had also booted Edwin, but still not being convinced, until learning where he’d be heading the next month, the miles leaving him starry-eyed, Bertie using the opportunity to send Boko in to finish the kill, and he awaying home, depositing uniform into the lake, and off to sleep, but not before relinquishing a porpentine from his bed to the wilder outdoors, Bertie then easing into sleepy time.

Bertie had heard upon awaking in the morning, a saw which he attributed to Boko, wanting to shut him up, but deciding to let him rest due to his return being quite late. Bertie was then about to frolic in the lake when Nobby comes a-bicycling, she essentially swimming with happiness. She relates the news from Boko being quite in their favor, she giving him a peck and going to the house. As Bertie splashed about in the water though, he remembers how he forgot to see if Nobby had forwarded his letter to Florence, not stressing too much, he moving on to how Boko was set for marrying quickly for already having stored the license for quick and easy use, then easing his mind about the police uniform carrying no indication Bertie had worn it, regardless if Stilton eyed him accusingly. Bertie goes back to change, ready to get closer to the appetizing smells of breakfast, Nobby and Boko chatting, and Boko including him, detailing how he’d fared with Percy, they now thick as thieves.

When Boko asks about how Bertie had disposed of police get up, he agrees he’d gotten rid of it correctly, Bertie then hearing boots and sensing Stilton was approaching, his thoughts being realized by viewing the man through the window, and Bertie greeting him warmly, Stilton informing him he was arresting him, the three feigning innocence and wondering why he would choose Bertie as his nick-er, Stilton stating how Edwin had his whereabouts corroborated by many, he then detailing why he believed Bertie was his man, Edwin having planted the porcupine, saw Stilton’s uniform, he also hearing an eye-witness at the party see a man in an over-sized cop outfit. Bertie is readying to be taken in, when Boko comes up with he needing a warrant, and since Stilton wasn’t certain, would check with his Sergeant first, Boko quickly relating Bertie would have to leg it overseas whilst he still had a chance, Bertie agreeing this to be best and have Jeeves meet him with his belongings, he then hearing a pissed off Percy in Boko’s garage.

Bertie sharply inhales, stuck to the s[pot], with a look of shock frozen to his face. He understood the issue at hand not being in Boko’s favor any longer, he hearing the inclination for blood in Percy’s voice and oaths, knowing the headway the two had made was now a fond memory of bygone hours. Bertie was then detecting his need for Jeeves, when the man himself makes himself known behind him. Bertie shares the deets, frustrated once more with Jeeves’ calm, unphased, and through the relaying, remembers his own problem with the police, considering how he’d acquire his vehicle with Percy currently lodged there, Bertie likening his feral Uncle to a jungle cat caged, the man would go after Bertie first due to he being within range. Jeeves offers to soothe Percy upon releasing him, though, giving Bertie a chance to retreat, he stating of bringing the car around after, and would later join him with his possessions. As Bertie returns to Boko’s, he hopes his new information would affect Boko in a particularly negative way, due to his absent-minded locking up of Percy.

Bertie doesn’t get the scene he imagined to break with his fate-crushing news, but Boko’s reaction didn’t fail in its serious realization, and as Boko walks through how such a misstep could happen, Nobby is interrupting with cursing insults, Boko responding to her with pet names as he quieted her so he could continue, he having left Percy in his car whilst he joined a couple dances, then to the bar, only then thinking to inform Nobby of the news, so rushing to his ride, not seeing Percy, most likely unconscious and scrunched up on the floor by this point, and off to celebrate he and Nobby’s good fortune. Percy interrupts Boko as he’s forgiving Nobby her rash words, Jeeves following behind, the angered man still attired in his Sinbad the sailor costume, the dead stare enough to get Boko against the wall with intimidation. Percy what’d repeatedly, Boko offering a sardine, Nobby piping in of he feeling better with breakies administered, but Percy not agreeing, asking Bertie for his horse-whip. After Bertie gets confirmation from Boko of he not owning one, Percy sends Jeeves for his, giving instructions as to where he thought it was, and if not found, to have a look about. Jeeves accepts this task, but nonchalantly slips in of Agatha possibly having a helpful perspective, as well. It takes a few moments before Percy registers this, he sitting heavily and holding onto a jam jar like a life-preserver, Jeeves informing him she’d returned without notice last evening.

Bertie regards Percy’s state being similar to Lot’s wife when she was transformed into a salt container, since he’d gone rigid, except for gently twitching whiskers. Jeeves informs of Agatha’s son, Thomas having recovered and her presence no longer necessary. Bertie felt for the Unc, he knowing what Percy’d be in for if Agatha learned of his gussied up night. Nobby oozing sadness for Percy’s situation, stating the obvious of what he’d have to do to go over his reasons for being out all hours, this getting Percy moving again, calling for Jeeves, whom relays Agatha’s state of agitation and quoting the last words he’d heard before leaving, she questioning the housemaid with disbelief in learning Percy hadn’t slept in his bed last night. Percy looks at Bertie helplessly, his suggestion of confessing and hoping she saw reason being shut down, since she’d think he’d have more terrible a motive and females tended to speak with unrelenting speed, he realizing he’d have to take his fate like a man. Even Bertie’s suggestion of Jeeves coming up with a way out seeming impossible to Percy, until Jeeves confirms of working on a plan which had promise, but then retracts it once Percy updates of no longer giving permission to Boko and Nobby’s engagement, which Percy begrudgingly considers when realizing it would be required for this idea to work.

Unfortunately, Percy didn’t see the plan as plausible, since it didn’t include why he was dressed up, but Jeeves has a way out by selling Agatha of he being out to discuss wedding plans later, and then staying over could be supported with a change of clothes lent to him by Bertie. The latter watches Percy’s wilted demeanor flourish into a healthy flower once more, he following Percy out, Boko then blocking them, making certain Percy confirms his b[lessing] of their marriage, he giving the tormented green light, but this time Boko not leaving it to chance of being backed out on, wanting the agreement on paper. Percy’s optimism dips upon realizing he wouldn’t be able to get out from living through a wedding, he relenting to this, and the result tucked away by Nobby. Bertie then is re-consumed by his own dire fate with Stilton’s return, he having acquired his warrant, only requiring a signature from a Justice of the P, he then pleasantly greeting Percy, but getting the man up in arms when noting his outfit, Percy denying knowing of the party, and Stilton back-pedaling and apologizing, but Percy now unleashed, goes on a rampage of indignation, even coming up with a reason for the costume due to Boko and Nobby requesting him to don the frivolity.

Stilton attempts to get back on [res] the crux of the matter, and asks if he’d sign his warrant, Jeeves detailing what Stilton’s reasons were and in the explanation, Percy being Bertie’s alibi. Stilton attempts to argue Edwin’s testimony sealing the truth, but Percy supports Bertie’s scoffing such a witness. Jeeves then tries to give some magnanimous leeway on Stilton’s behalf, Percy unaware of Edwin wanting retribution for Bertie’s kicking him, but he dismissing this, going on his own steam of the police, as a whole having been going downhill due to their blind ambitions for advancement, ending with sympathy for Bertie’s being accused. Stilton doesn’t end it there though, pissed Percy would deny him, he gives him one more chance to sign, Percy making it clear what he thought of Stilton’s state-of-mind and his warrant, the beat-down cop leaving heavy-footed and broken-spirited. Percy hastens them to continue, wanting Bertie’s unwavering support when confronting Agatha, and so Bertie escorts the man to suit and bathroom, returning to be updated by Nobby of she and Boko’s immediate wedding pending upon Boko returning with his car and motoring to London, she concluding by complimenting Jeeves once more.

Bertie interrupts her well-deserved praise to inquire of the letter for Florence, she guiltily having forgotten and Edwin having cleaned out her room, offering the Jeeves remedy, then biffing off. Jeeves however, hadn’t a clue, Bertie dismissing him to the kitchen to get the only protein he remembered being available for his consumptive needs: anchovy paste. Bertie leaves for the garden to brood about his terrible fate, Edwin being “the Fons et origo” (source of origin) of his problems. Bertie then fantasizes of how fortunate being in China would be, able to condemn Edwin with “the Death of the Thousand Cuts”, Stilton then returning, keeping Bertie in place as he had been attempting to step away from him. Stilton updates the score of Bertie no longer in line to marry Florence, since he’d quit being an officer and Florence had taken him back, Bertie surrounded by light and birdsong, Stilton then off and Bertie streaking to the kitchen to inform the empathetic Jeeves of the good news, hastening they leave, then remembering his agreement to support Percy, Jeeves confessing he’d fabricated Agatha’s return, and they should hasten escape before Percy came down, Bertie on board with this train, he half remembering on their journey back of the expression of their experience at Steeple Bumpleigh containing the word “Joy”, realizing he’d gone over this bit at the start.

Satisfying as usual, Wodehouse staying strong. Still love them and I’m glad I acquired as many as I have so far, and will definitely seek out the rest.

The Code of the Woosters

 

Bertie rings for Jeeves whilst still under his covers, and upon his arrival, learns the hour was in the morning, Bertie confused due to the fog making it dark. He then sends Jeeves to acquire a tonic due to having overdone the drink the night before, what with his friendly adieu to Gussie before his wedding. Bertie knocks back the drink given him, and after a little time, feels a bit better. Jeeves then states of having a brochure, when Bertie asks, he immediately suspicious, since he knew Jeeves wanted him to schedule an around-the-world cruise for himself and had already turned the idea down. Bertie then explains further, why he had no interest, among them being no more room for educational experiences, which Jeeves had likened the trip being similar. Bertie quickly changes the subj. to Gussie, since sensing Jeeves’ displeasure by Bertie’s excuses. He notes of how well Gussie has been holding up, then gives flashback to when he’d swiped a cop’s hat and had been fined, this judge being Madeline’s father. Jeeves then informs Dahlia having called for Bertie to ring her, he deciding to go visit instead, unaware of what he was about to step into. He walks in to find Dahlia reviewing papers for her magazine, she stating of how busy she was, he unable to join her for lunch for a meeting with a novelist she had arranged, and had wanted him to go view a cow-creamer (giving away this TV show cover). The idea being Bertie was to show distaste for the item so when Tom goes to purchase, he’d get a good price, also giving Dahlia the opening to ask for monetary coverage upon acquiring her novelist. Bertie is then given ideas on different actions to perform and what to say, since the shaking of the head wasn’t doable this day: the drink forbidding it. They then discuss Gussie’s sobriety, yet still having a cool head when asked to make speeches these days, Bertie summarizing Gussie’s history for the latecomers of introduction to him.

Bertie then shares where Gussie was at the moment and the upcoming wedding, Bertie stating he definitely wouldn’t be in attendance. Dahlia also in the same boat since Sir Watkyn had attempted to steal Anatole after she and Tom entertained him, Tom and he having a healthy rivalry over silver. Dahlia then gives a paper for Bertie to pass along to Jeeves for opinion, he then off to sneer at cow-creamer. When Bertie arrives, he was surprised to see the shop-owner attending to Sir Watkyn Bassett, he with Roderick Glossop, whom is first introduced to Bertie, here. When Sir Watkyn notices Bertie, after speaking with the owner, he goes over to him to mention having remembered him, but not his name or the crime he’d committed, Roderick pointing out his rehabilitation must not have been as thorough as Sir Watkyn thought, since Bertie was leaning on Bassett’s umbrella, Bertie attempting an apology, Roderick suggesting they call a cop, Bertie saved by Bassett deciding he didn’t want to mar his day with the trouble, and the two leaving. Bertie then addresses the shop keeper the way his aunt wanted whilst wishing he could leave for another of Jeeves’ tonics, Watkyn and Roderick having taken it out of him. When Bertie saw the creamer, he was questioning why his Uncle would pay for such a dark-looking spirited cow. The owner is surprised by his reaction and suggests Bertie have a look at the stamp to show it was English, Bertie on his way to do so nonchalantly, when tripping over the cat, making him dash out the door like a thief. He runs straight into Sir Watkyn, whom calls to Roderick to get the police. When a cop arrives shortly, Bertie exits quickly, thinking to go to the Drones, but then decides on a Turkish bath. It rejuvenating as wanted and when arriving home, being greeted by a pile of telegrams.

Bertie now had misgivings when receiving telegrams, but upon closer inspection, found all three were from Gussie, which worried him since this involved Madeline’s single-hood. (Bertie even almost complete’s the Latin “A sound mind in a sound body” phrase, missing only the last word.) He felt brought down by the seriousness of his possible predicament, he “sinking into a (c)hair and passed an agitated (h)and over the (b)row. Bertie then discussing with Jeeves how he’d learned of the trouble, he suggesting Bertie write back with his concerns to Gussie for ideas since he couldn’t inquire to the Bassetts. Gussie soon solves it, Bertie receiving word, along with Madeline and Stiffy replying, as well. Jeeves was deciding they should be on their way soon, when Dahlia came to call. Bertie offers her some breakies whilst Jeeves packed for Totleigh Towers, which his aunt was glad to hear, for she was there to insist Bertie do as he was planning, she proceeding to share how his Uncle had set Bassett on the scent of his cow-creamer, buying it before Tom could recover from their lobster-eating. Dahlia then shares her idea of not allowing Sir Watkyn to get away with his underhanded play, planning on swiping the creamer back, and Bertie tasked with the swiping. He was mid-decline, but Dahlia goes for the jugular, knowing Bertie’s weakness, Anatole, she leaving Bertie in a dark mood with his bacon, Jeeves ready for them to leave.

Whilst Bertie drove, he discussed how difficult times were on this particularly lovely afternoon. He has much to say about the devilry of aunts, but moves on to his further adventures with Sir Watkyn, which Jeeves hadn’t been apprised of, he amused upon the telling, but offering his sympathy, since this is coupled with Bertie going to help Gussie, as well of course, Stiffy having a task for him on top of everything. When arriving, Bertie discovers the place fairly abandoned with Sir Watkyn off with Roderick, Gussie walking about the grounds, and Madeline wandering around, but he was content with the solitude, contemplating how much more difficult his thieving would now be with Roderick present. Bertie then spots a room overstuffed with glass cases, he setting eyes, and hands on the cow-creamer once more, upon entering and noting its case was unlocked and open. Bertie hadn’t decided what his plan was, he still surprised by locating it so quickly, and unable to finish thinking of it with Roderick now pointing a gun at him.

Bertie describes Roderick to the butler, at some point as being Dictator-like, he an intimidatingly tall fellow, leaving Bertie speechless for enough time to have Sir Watkyn called, bringing Bertie back to himself with the ludicrous outfit he wore. Meanwhile Roderick’s story of how he’d discovered Bertie definitely made him seem guilty, Bertie making his first word when they began discussing his possible sentence time. Nothing was made of it though, due to Bertie finding his pitch on a level with Dahlia’s, and then Madeline comes in, she immediately making it clear through general chat with Bertie of they knowing each other on a buddy level, Sir Watkyn coming to grips with this silently, but once realizing this was one-and-the-same Wooster, he shares of how he’d known Bertie as a thief, Madeline not believing a word. Finally, Bertie gets his turn to share how many mistakes they’d made with his history and story, moving ever closer to his reason for handling the cow-creamer, Madeline supplying the obvious reason when announcing Bertie’s relation to Tom Travers, Sir Watkyn having true motives dawn on him. Bertie then sends wire to Dahlia of her plan sinking with Sir Watkyn’s dawning of Wooster origins, he then returning to Madeline and feeling dread with the damage to her engagement. She, as her way, supposed he was there for one more moment with her, likening him to a poet whom died for his unmet love. After Bertie confusedly acknowledges the comparison, he mentions receiving a wire from Gussie over some issue he’d had with her, Madeline explaining it had been resolved, Gussie explaining the reason he was so close to her cousin’s eye hadn’t been for untoward reasons. She then mentions how Gussie’s demeanor had changed a bit, he not so much a wilting flower in confrontations or public speaking, Bertie agreeing, but surprised to hear how Gussie had insulted Roderick, he not believing a word and thinking Madeline had exaggerated the scene. Bertie lets it go and moves on to how much full support he gave to their joining souls, believing it should take place sooner than it was, Madeline impressed with his being so big about his unrequited position and positive statements of Gussie and their love, they parting ways so Bertie could take tea and she off to do something house-related, in Bertie’s mind. Before entering, Bertie heard Gussie speaking to Roderick in a way which would suggest perhaps Madeline hadn’t puffed out her story of Gussie after-all.

Bertie goes in to see Gussie has well made himself comfortable, even naming Bertie a “muddle-headed ass” when learning he hadn’t brought the requested book with him. Bertie’s tea at Totleigh Towers isn’t remembered happily, but usually taking tea in the country is a treasured time when Bertie flourishes, but his “sense of ‘ease'” had diminished for Gussie’s odd behaviour, and finally getting his chance to inquire when Gussie and he were left alone, he confirming Madeline and he were good again, and Bertie’s aunt was to be expected later tonight, Bertie completely unaware of this and at first in denial, but then knowing she was coming to make sure he’d go through with his duty she’d appointed. Bertie then asks after Gussie’s new outburst of honesty upon intimidating people, Jeeves being the cause and Bertie getting ready for Gussie’s story-time about his aided epiphany. Gussie begins with his realization of needing to make a speech at the wedding to come, specifically to perform this in front of Roderick and Sir Watkyn. He also confides how he’d learned Roderick apparently had loved Madeline for years and Sir Watkyn approved of them being married. Gussie also mentions Spode’s ambition of actually becoming a Dictator, as his look belied. Gussie going on to mention how the two had become chummy being caused by Sir Watkyn planning on marrying Stiffy’s aunt. Gussie then detours the subj. back to Sir Watkyn’s displeasure of Gussie marrying Madeline, and Roderick making no effort to veil his threats to Gussie, even though Roderick had noted whilst having no intention of trying to win Madeline, he saw himself as her champion of sorts, so his thoughts on abusing Gussie involved on the possibility he ever hurt her. So, of course this shook Gussie’s resolve and the snub he received from Bassett upon learning he’d brought his newts, of which he was experimenting the effects of a full moon on their mating time, didn’t equal happy moments for him. At his darkest hour, Gussie had remembered Jeeves, and hope dawned, Jeeves giving him the idea to see all those he spoke in front of, as underneath him, which made him immune to fear, and the other helpful aid was a notebook which Gussie had listed all terrible thoughts of those he would normally feel intimidation, but when asked where it was, Bertie sensed the damage such a notebook could have, if read, Gussie realizing he must have misplaced it.

Bertie proceeds by relating how certain situations give one the sense it will stay strong through the years, Bertie sharing one of his own from his school days about his headmaster, and the search of the enticing biscuits. Gussie’s news trumped the terrible feeling he’d gotten when caught, but Gussie was unbothered with his lack of notebook due to his memory retaining all. Bertie was amazed with Gussie not spotting the danger, hr describing Gussie as impulsive and mischievous, in French, in regards to his character. After Bertie inquires how in-depth his writing had gone, he then nonchalantly supplies how interested Sir Watkyn would be when reading it, Gussie’s content exterior crumbling. Gussie is then wondering how Sir Watkyn would take his writing style, Bertie deciding canceling the wedding being within the cards. When Gussie inquires what could be done and Bertie doesn’t know, he gives hope to a “higher power”, Gussie then remembers Jeeves, Bertie thinking even this was beyond Jeeves’ level of ability, he having Gussie walk-through his movements with his notebook, Gussie uncovering when and where it must’ve occurred, then also realizing whom must’ve found it, he being too distracted with convincing Madeline of the fly incident being harmless at the time. Gussie then has Bertie go meet Stiffy in town, where he remembered she was heading, and to watch out for her canine companion, whom has the bite of a snake. When Bertie got to the gate at the driveways end though, he thought how meeting her there seemed the best bet for success. As Bertie contemplated over his discernment of Madeline’s character to consistently listen to her pa-pa, he noticed a commotion escalating in the road. Bertie witnesses a bike-cop off-duty and serene, unaware he was being stalked by a Scottie, the man’s fate decided since he was also steering no-handed, so when the Scottie hit him, he fell straight into a ditch, the Aberdeen terrier looking down at his paw-ie-work.

Stiffy Byng then shows up, Bertie realizing he should’ve expected her, what with Gussie’s warning of the sharp-toothed brute. Stiffy let the cop know what she thought of his fall, which had left him looking like a bunch of mixed diced fruit, possibly shocking her little pooch. The man looks hurt by her words, especially after she addressed her dog as she calls him ugly, the officer then relates of this incident being the second time Bartholomew has targeted him and would be delivering Stiffy a summons. She responds to this with plans to battle it in court and would have a witness, then recognizing Bertie, the policeman commanding Bertie to wait for a subpoena, he then listing his wounds and mental state in his notepad before riding along. Bertie then inquires if she had Gussie’s book, she confirming this, Bertie showing such relief as to belt out a yell which got Bartholomew to bare a look of disdain and a Gaelic response in growl form. Stiffy then states how the writing seemed uncharacteristic of Gussie, believing a better subj. would be Officer Eustace Oates, complaining about how Bart was being unfairly singled out, Bertie describing the face she pulls, a moue –> pout, after confirming Oates did seem set on giving her a summons. Stiffy goes on to mention this would only mean more work for her Uncle Watkyn, whom Bertie learns was still a judge and had only retired from his previous court. Bertie shows sympathy for Stiffy’s situation, but hoping he could edge her back to Gussie’s notebook, she confessing how Bertie’s nicking of the officer’s helmet had inspired her to have the same done to Oates, by Harold, her fiance, she swearing Bertie to secrecy, he asking about the man and learning he was a curate, but after cautioning Stiffy about the immorality of having a curate steal, Stiffy then mentions Bertie’s college buddy being Harold, he finally deducing he was his old friend Stinker, and upon this revelation discovers the likelihood of Stinker making off with helmet in one peace was quite slim, Bertie warning Stiffy of this and she disregarding it, Bertie noting she was set to have it play out, so gives the advice on how to have Stinker get a better chance of success.

Bertie then thinks Jeeves’ idea of an around-the-world trip may have had merit, at the least to shelter him from watching friends get into trouble, but Stiffy grabs his attention again by reminding him of the telegram she’d sent having to do with how she planned on buttering Sir Watkyn up with the idea. Bertie attempts to block any plans for his involvement, but Stiffy knew how to make him listen: Bart’s unleashing working well. Stiffy begins with how Gussie’s engagement had started the difficulty, since Sir Watkyn certainly didn’t obtain a pleasant mood from it, which spurred the secrecy of her own. The idea was to make Stinker attractive enough to her Uncle for him to bestow a vicarage upon him, which then led in to the rest of her plan, Bertie attempting to squash it outrightly, until hearing it involved his stealing Sir Watkyn’s cow-creamer, he letting her finish sharing the dastardly plan, and Bertie turning it down, thusly only seeing disaster if Stinker was involved, he then requesting the notebook for Gussie, divulging the reason why he was invested in it being Madeline’s attachment to him if Gussie left the picture. Stiffy then decides a good old-fashioned blackmailing of Bertie was next on the docket, he surprised, but noting how he seemed to be accumulating those, and all around mealtimes, Spode then greeting him. Roderick informed him of how he’d detected whom and why Bertie was after the cow-creamer, Bertie being closely monitored now, Spode promising to beat him soft if the cow-creamer disappeared, Jeeves then walking up to inform Bertie of Dahlia requesting his presence to converse an important issue, Spode leaving and Bertie preparing Jeeves for a huddle afterwards.

Bertie is dressing for dinner and asking for Jeeves’ thoughts, since he’d told him the latest news on their way back to the house. Unfortunately, Jeeves hadn’t found a remedy, yet, Bertie disappointed, but deciding perhaps a lesson from detective novels could be applied, listing all the facts, Jeeves willing to try, and so Bertie itemizes his terrible multi-pickle, Jeeves interrupting the train of thought with his sympathies and advice on Bertie’s trouser legs being adjusted for stylish length. Bertie then considers Jeeves may only need more time to reflect, deciding his time at supper may allude some hidden answer. Bertie then reminisces on all the previous ladies who had put him in an unsavory position, but Stiffy topped them all, he then remembering his needing to speak with Dahlia and his hesitancy to do so due to she most likely having come before reading his telegram and would have to confess his new position on the matter. Jeeves suggests he dress to the nines for confidence, which works, Gussie then entering. Bertie sees Gussie didn’t yet know of his fate having yet been decided, Bertie trying to give the developments gently, Jeeves retrieving the requested brandy, then he enlisting Jeeves to explain to Dahlia their meeting would have to wait. When Bertie shares the terrible events to come, Gussie is quite overcome, Bertie staying calm, and Gussie soon doing the same, questioning the reasons, when it happened, and if she could be jesting, Bertie sharing all, except vaguely to the first.

When Gussie discovers what Stiffy was asking of Bertie, the latter again had to quash the idea, Gussie attempting a different solution, but Bertie not going to man-handle Stiffy so as to knock the notebook loose, if on her person. Gussie then speaks of how yellow Bertie had become, then warning him a black tie would better suit, due to the white one he wore would bring notice to himself, Gussie leaving, and Dahlia coming in. Bertie starts with an apology for canceling their meeting, moving on to proceed with news, she giving her own first, and Bertie stricken when hearing it involved Anatole, a letter from Sir Watkyn offering a trade for cow-creamer for chef, Tom actually giving the proposition thought. Dahlia then ready for updates on the cow-creamer scheme, Bertie getting Jeeves to bring document of pickle-list, Jeeves then sent for more brandy, Bertie showing her said paper, then explaining the extra details of Spode learning of their subterfuge and Bertie’s fate upon implementation, Dahlia drinking the brandy given, then thinking of how they could detour Spode if a terrible secret of his could be found to coax inaction, Bertie reminding they had no such information, she then leaving due to no other ideas. Bertie hangs on to this line of thought, though, but is talking himself out of it when Jeeves supports the idea, deciding they should look into possible dirt at his gentlemen’s personal gentlemen club, the Junior Ganymede, where the club had a book of everything about employers. Bertie then realizes he could be one of those written about, Jeeves confirming his every tale was listed. After assuring Bertie the book was only available to members. Jeeves offers being able to phone for information on Spode immediately for emergency purposes, he melting away to start his task, informing Bertie of the news of Gussie and Madeline’s engagement being off, then the dinner gong ringing.

Bertie regretted being tortured mentally so as to affect his enjoyment of a superb meal, especially after seeing Gussie and Madeline’s expressions during the event, their only conversation resulting in Gussie receiving two condiments he didn’t ask for, Bertie ready to have dinner finish so he could get the deets from Gussie, but he didn’t get the chance since Gussie dashed off after the last female left, leaving Bertie with Roderick and Sir Watkyn, he leaving soon after, having enough seeing the two speaking quietly and looking at him, he then deciding either Jeeves or Gussie would look for him in his room. When he arrives, he passes time reading his mystery novel, and before being able to fully immerse, is walked in upon by Spode, to Bertie’s amazement, knowing by the look on his face he wasn’t there to apologize. Instead, Spode thrust open his cupboard, thinking he’d detect Gussie, Bertie offering to give him a message, Spode replying of dislocating his neck. Upon further inquiry as to the reason, he learns Spode believed Gussie toyed with ladies hearts and tossed them like garbage. Bertie promised to pass it on and Spode leaves, Bertie marveling of this being so similar to Gussie’s run in with Tuppy. (See? He knows the stories mirror one another! I say this to all those who read Wooster stories and spout how “everything starts sounding the same”, if you’ve been reading the same stories I have, you’d still love them, and would notice the differences, and may have been reading them too consecutively, but I haven’t had a problem in those regards as of yet, and I’m halfway through the series.) Bertie contemplated when Spode had found out of Gussie’s failure to keep Madeline happy, then got back into his thriller, which made hearing Gussie’s disembodied voice call to him, all the more disconcerting as he crawled out from under the bed.

Bertie’s physical reaction to Gussie scaring him left him unable to communicate, Bertie noting Gussie looked like an animal hunted, albeit with tortoise-shell specs. Gussie regards the almost-catch, locking the door for precaution, Bertie upon verbal ability asking what had gone wrong with Madeline, Gussie flinching for the obvious pain of subj., but Bertie unable to let it lie. Gussie relates it had more to do with Stiffy and during the time she’d been singing downstairs, Gussie attempting to implement his ill-thought out plan of checking her stockings, unaware Madeline was obscured, looking for sheet music and seeing the oaf, Gussie so ashamed with the relation, immediately asking if Bertie was gifted in knotting sheets, losing Bertie on the swift change. Gussie explains himself and his plan of borrowing Bertie’s car to first go to London, then perhaps California. Bertie surprised with the news of Gussie actually intimidated by Spode, now. He also learning Gussie had attempted making up at dinner, but Madeline not having it, he then realizing Gussie only needed his notebook back to prove his reasons were above-board, but Bertie losing him with the French of: to understand everything it is to excuse everything, Gussie instead wondering where Stiffy would hide the book, Bertie suggesting her room, Gussie agreeing the idea was sound since Stiffy was in the village for an event with Stinker, but had lost all confidence with Spode after him, Gussie now ready to give it up for lost cause and having Bertie help him knot sheets, but Bertie refusing, to Gussie’s dissatisfaction, but Bertie gives it back by stating of having believed Gussie had back bone, he agreeing he did, but didn’t want it damaged, he throwing Bertie looks before scurrying out, Bertie continuing his book until being aware of Jeeves. He saw a look on Jeeves which implied positive results, remembering what he’d gone through to accomplish this, Bertie excited to hear good news. Jeeves admits his call was fruitful and Spode did have secrets, whilst Jeeves being unable to explain the meaning, he was able to share with Bertie to inform Spode of he knowing the information regarding Eulalie, it lessening any damage Spode could plan for him. Bertie skeptical, but upon assurance from Jeeves if he mentioned this, Spode would falter, Bertie mulled this over, still uncertain, but trusting in Jeeves, then relinquishing the newer news of Gussie’s predicament, Bertie mentioning Gussie would need this information to save his neck. He goes off in search of the Fink-Nottle, only to discover him at home-base, knotting Bertie’s sheets.

Bertie easily sneaks up on him and cries out his indignation of seeing his bed being mussed, scaring the fish face out of Gussie, he explaining to Bertie, in response to his going against Bertie’s wishes, Spode had been awaiting him in his room, otherwise he would be knotting his own sheets, Bertie then trying to quell his fears, Bertie again using French to fill in “Spode, that threat”, he relating of knowing and yet not knowing what would stop Spode, he then hearing footsteps approaching them, and readying for a demo, Spode walking in and devilishly appreciative of seeing Gussie, approaching slowly and ignoring Bertie, focusing on Gussie cowering against the wall, until Bertie makes enough noise and insults to gather his attention, he regaining Gussie’s esteem, Spode distracted, and Bertie continuing his barrage of verbal harassment, he about to end the mystery of what he knew, when he realizes, he no longer knew, Spode ready to move forward on Gussie, the latter again frightened, but then regaining some bravery, he swiping a painting on the wall near him and depositing it on Spode’s noggin, but upon using the soft end, didn’t stop him for long, Bertie having enough time to wrap Spode in the knotted sheet, the man ensnaring himself the more he lunged at the quickly departing Gussie, Bertie wrongly deciding to tap a vase on Spode’s pate, Bertie losing footing and Spode getting hold of his jacket. Bertie thinks quickly and uses his lit ciggy on Spode’s hand to disengage him, Bertie plummeting for the door, only to be met by another body. Dahlia is soon heard cursing, and all three end up rolling near each other, Dahlia belting out her objections since first seeing Spink-Bottle belting down the hall, Bertie knocking in to her, and Spode tickling her ankle, he letting go, and Dahlia asking for details, Bertie starting with introductions, Spode regaining balance and intently staring at Bertie, the look bumping Bertie’s scare list from Jeeves’ temporary replacement and dangerous meeting with butler from #1, to 2.

Spode then demands Dahlia leave for what he planned for Bertie, but Dahlia wasn’t having it, she inadvertently reminding Bertie what he’d forgotten when Spode came toward him threateningly, his pronouncement, stopping Spode swiftly, his attitude changing as quickly. Dahlia is properly impressed with the turnaround, Bertie crediting Jeeves with the useful name, he hinting at his supposition about it, Dahlia back on track with Bertie being clear to swipe cow-creamer, he squashing her plan forthrightly and explaining before this was possible, the notebook needed a change of hands. Dahlia then reveals Bertie may have quite a time locating it, if not properly informed, he effectively staying his action, but Dahlia then allowing he could check if only to busy himself, whilst she thought of a more productive plan. Bertie realized his searching at this juncture was useless and reads more mystery novel, a section inspiring him, he then readying to share his revelation with Jeeves, but first thanking him for his secret weapon. Bertie then proceeds by quoting the desired passage, believing Stiffy would choose where all women chose to hide valuables according to this fiction: top of the cupboard. Jeeves is questioning Bertie’s faithful logic, but he is now on a roll and wishes only to have Jeeves follow loyally, but as he gets closer to Stiffy’s room, his bravery begins to falter, more so to do with Jeeves’ obv. lack of support, and upon entering Stiffy’s room, if it wasn’t where he believed, he’d have plenty of room to search. Bertie was stopped from his task by an unexpected inhabitant, Bart, Bertie and Jeeves hopping upon high furniture before being et.

They each sit in silence for some time until Jeeves supplies not seeing the book in the cabinet. Bertie is exacerbated by currently not being bothered where the book was and Jeeves lack of light bulb on how to extricate themselves off of their high perches. He thinks back to another whom had been in a similar situation, sympathizing with the blast to the ego it dealt, esp. when one’s fam. had origins of somewhat enviable stature. He then voices his disgust to Jeeves, being undermined by a terrier and how Totleigh Towers was verging on becoming similar to a leper colony, but with different species of animal. Bertie then drifts to reminiscing of the time he’d been stuck on a roof for a livid swan and whether they should attempt Jeeves’ remedy for the bird situation, but he noting their lack of raincoat, Bertie suggesting a sheet since it did the trick on Spode. Jeeves doesn’t deny the idea having merit, but wouldn’t go so far as to initiate action, Bertie resorting to tossing a candle stump at Bart for feeling disrespected by the looks he gave, but pup utilized the snack, Stiffy entering after. Bertie notices she wasn’t acting her usual high-spirited self, she not at all bothered by their sitting areas, Bertie asking if she’d leash Bart, and she not open to it for their maledom. Bertie tries a diff. tactic (point d’appui – location troops are waiting before battle), asking after the event she’d been attending. Stiffy relates how it had ended with her engagement to Stinker cut since he wouldn’t pinch Eustace’s helmet. Bertie feigns empathy and mentions how it seemed the notebook no longer mattered for her so it wouldn’t make a difference if she gave it up, she not caring, but needing to oblige later, about to detail where, when she heard a tapping from her balcony, she discovering Stinker, forgetting for a mo. she was unhappy with him, but then treating him coldly until learning he’d done the thieving deed, opening the glass door to allow him entry, but not doing so until Stiffy had sequestered the hound in the cupboard, Bertie supposing the pup had fallen asleep, due to silence from within.

After Stinker comes inside, his clumsiness intact, one could see his conscience was beating him for his crime, Stiffy so pleased she only asked what occurred in the retrieval. He about to oblige when spotting Bertie, glad to hear from Stiffy it wasn’t stress-induced and greeting him heartily, as well as Jeeves, the two climbing down. Whilst Bertie and he made pleasantries, Stiffy was trying on the helmet, once Stinker seeing this, bringing his guilt to his attention again, knocking furniture over until sitting, considering how damaging to his career this could become, Stiffy taking pity once seeing he was upset and he finally giving the story of how he’d acquired the item. Eustace being seen on Stinker’s thoughtful walk, swiping it from the ground where Eustace left it, Bertie taking offense to Stinker not following the “rules” of the game, but Stiffy sticking up for her again-love. The topic of why Bertie was in Stiffy’s room then being touched on, and she realizing he was again at her mercy, sharing with Stinker of the cow-creamer plan being on. Stinker quite happy to hear this, the time being confirmed with Stiffy and she answering for Bertie agreeing to all, upon the two returning to the balcony, he ranting about Stinker being o.k. with him being blackmailed, Jeeves stating Stinker didn’t know, to Bertie’s surprise. Once he accepts this and Stiffy returns inside, he resorts to taking on the character of a book and demanding Stiffy get him the notebook presently, he divulging Jeeves’ deductions as his own, and she betraying the spot-on-ness of it, resorting to syrupy-sweetness so he’d agree anyways, it not working, and so switching to teary sorrow, he explaining his case which sounded reasonable, but receiving no reply other than more bawling, Jeeves then putting in of having figured another option involving she and Bertie announcing their plans of marriage to Sir Watkyn and upon his unfavorable reaction, she confessing it was actually Stinker, making him react more kindly to the lesser of the two evils, Bertie not seeing value in the idea, but Stiffy overly ecstatic. Bertie plainly opposes the idea, refusing to play, demanding for the notebook, but Stiffy one up’s him with sharing to Uncle Watkyn all which had occurred, Bertie stuck and referencing Kipling, again (from Right Ho, Jeeves). Upon leaving to begin his mission, giving Jeeves a look of ‘he knoweth not what he does’.

Bertie expresses how he normally keeps a stiff lip, but his task given truly brought him down. Bertie felt the same as his long ago meeting with the headmaster in late afternoon after attempting to obtain the biscuits not working out, he going in to see Sir Watkyn, whom was currently speaking with Eustace. Bertie became more apprehensive, he asking Bassett for a mo. to chat, the man reluctantly agreeing. Sir Watkyn finishes his chat with Eustace, he leaving, Sir Watkyn then turning his attention to Bertie, sharing of Eustace’s missing helmet. Bertie tries to obtain more details, but Sir Watkyn had bid for more patience, the information coming out soon enough. Bertie gets the Sir Watkyn’s tougher idea of a sentence out of him though, it not being something Bertie wished to experience. Sir Watkyn then gets back to the reason for Bertie’s visit, the latter easing into it after what he’d learned, he giving Gussie as example to the topic of love and also of the algae seaweed, plus newts, Sir Watkyn not following, but Bertie by then getting over his nerves and stating his point, asking for Stiffy’s hand, he taking the news as badly as expected, calling for the butler to locate Stiffy for a talk, and she showing up fairly quickly, asking to confirm Bertie’s statement, she replying to the negative which Sir Watkyn was glad to hear, but when learning it was for the love of a curate, wasn’t fully satisfied. Bassett starts by denying her viability due to youth, but she then listing off Stinker’s good qualities, Sir Watkyn not biting though, so Stiffy returning to Bertie being the man she’d marry, since Bassett believed money was the key, Bertie and Bassett arguing against her reasoning. Sir Watkyn then deciding Stinker was preferable and gives consent, Bertie meeting her outside the office where she remembered Eustace having mentioned he suspected her, esp. with having found her other glove, Bertie then criticizing Stinker, but Stiffy wondering where a good hiding spot for the helmet would be, Bertie ignoring this and asking about where the notebook was, Stiffy giving in and confessing it was in the cow-creamer. Bertie now pondered how he’d get it, until being informed Madeline wished to see him, Bertie sensing the reason, but deciding to consent to the meeting, going off to the drawing room.

Bertie walks in to see Madeline glumly playing the piano, he feeling as if he should be running far away, but instead greeting her with an unsettled, “What, ho.”, Madeline not being able to get beyond saying his name a couple times, but finally spitting out how due to her engagement with Gussie ending, she’d be able to accept Bertie’s offer, he willing to fight for the old chum by letting her know she hadn’t done Gussie any favors, Madeline interrupting him repeatedly what with knowing Gussie’s true unfaithful nature, Bertie attempting to get his defense out, but giving up, and stating in French: to understand everything is to forgive everything, Madeline telling Bertie of his sweetness in trying, but how his role would be to aid her in forgetting Gussie’s charm, then planning on informing Sir Watkyn, Bertie exclaiming to refrain, what with once already close to the groom’s hat moments ago, and sharing with Madeline only the part where Stiffy was getting approval for her own marriage to Stinker, Madeline then realizing the improbability of Gussie being after Stiffy. Bertie then has Madeline’s attention so as to recount what had occurred, Madeline skeptical and planning on verifying all of it with the notebook in the cow-creamer, Bertie playing “Happy Days Are Here Again” single finger-style, but Bertie still suspicious of something going wrong, he correct when Madeline returns without notebook and was unable to detect the thing, now not so ready to believe it was true, she confirming Bertie’s assumption, he unable to reason why Stiffy would lie. Bertie leaves Madeline to contemplate when hearing loud noises near his room and seeing Roderick pounding on Gussie’s door. Bertie, feeling like he’d been bullied by both Bassetts and Byng, and deciding to take his frustration out on Spode. After getting his attention, Bertie exasperatedly asks why he was trying his patience by going after his buddies, Spode extracting the notebook where Gussie had written of Spode being a “pompous ass”, when Bertie takes it with a shout of happiness, he letting Spode know he was commandeering the document and Spode should leave, he doing so, and Bertie knocking on Gussie’s door, having to convince him it was truly him since he thought it possible Spode could throw his voice, he finally opening the door and giving him the book to show Madeline, Bertie returning to his room to see Jeeves going about his business, he deciding to forget about the uncomfortable posish he’d put him in, and instead updating him of their plans to leave tomorrow for his tasks being complete. He then recaps Stiffy’s results going off without a hitch, and Gussie was currently showing the reality of the notebook to Madeline, but then Gussie walks in to share the wedding being canceled again.

Bertie had trouble believing the update, until finally requesting brandy from Jeeves, Gussie not taking the news lightly, either and whilst Bertie couldn’t understand it, he didn’t question. He did however, object to Gussie hanging himself with the knotted sheet in his bedroom, after which denying Gussie, getting further detail on the canceled marriage, Sir Watkyn opposing to newts being housed in the tub, Gussie explaining how his tank had broken. Bertie then hears the rest of the reason Sir Watkyn was set in his feelings having to do with seeing them in the bath and informing Gussie of letting them down the drain, Gussie insulting him no end, and more so when Madeline had been bid to go to bed. Bertie was going to try and help solve the issue when Gussie adds he’d insulted the cow-creamer, Bertie then coming up with a plan which involved the passing on of the theft of cow-creamer. Bertie has Jeeves agreement with Gussie’s power with cow-creamer in hand, but he sharing how Eustace had been added to the creamer’s guard, Jeeves reminding Bertie of the Stoker potting shed incident. Jeeves applying the same tactic to a different aim, this being Eustace’s helmet, rather than a lady. Gussie brightens with the plan and Jeeves informs Bertie of how Eustace had ended up pointing the finger at him, whom he believed had committed the crime for Stiffy, Gussie returning only to inform of Eustace being on his way to him soon, but upon hearing how Gussie had relinquished his notebook to Sir Watkyn, Bertie saw the plan as bust.

Bertie then attempts to think of a plan at Gussie’s insistence, he figuring if Sir Watkyn was about to bathe, as a robe implies, he wouldn’t be immediately reading the notebook, esp. since he’d automatically stuck it in his pocket, and would’ve legged it to the, in French: bathroom, leaving the room empty for Gussie to regain said book. Gussie then hopes to have Bertie do the deed for him (needy bastard). Gussie finds bravery in Madeline’s photo, but doesn’t get far, reporting back to Bertie of Spode giving him trouble. Bertie losing his patience, showing his face, and urging Gussie on his way, whilst Spode attempted to have Bertie compromise by allowing some type of violence upon Gussie, Bertie staying firm. As Spode shares a couple of the gems Gussie had written about him, Jeeves comes back with the brandy and states his tardiness was caused by helping Eustace with a bloody accident, whilst defending the cow-creamer from thievery, Spode lumbering off and Jeeves detailing how Eustace was taking a smoke break outside the room, when hearing noises of cow-creamer molestation, and once going in to confirm cow-creamer’s disappearance and hearing a figure exit through the window, he follows, and a second figure punches him in the face (Bertie’s confusion in learning there were two figures, making him name them Pat and Mike, a recurring pair of names, but Jeeves settles on A and B), Bertie naming Stinker as culprit, and the first perpetrator Eustace believing to be Bertie. This news entertained him a bit since knowing Eustace had already planned to shake-down his room for his helmet, and was describing how he’d act when nothing was found when Dahlia hoofed in tossing the cow-creamer at him to hide.

This development threw Bertie to the point of duck noises, pleading with Jeeves with eye contact for assistance, he getting his shot, as needed. Bertie then describing himself, in French, as a “valiant knight”, but feeling like he should conk his aunt with the last readily available object not destroyed already, Dahlia unaware and sharing her good luck despite the man in blue being so near. Bertie then gets his chance to inform the dear soul of how hot Bertie’s lodgings were, she cooling with the news, and making plain the boys would be responsible for the revisions of tactic, neither able to oblige, Bertie instead suggesting it go in a suitcase for the simple reason being sick of looking at it, Gussie entering and looking for cover once again, this time from Sir Watkyn, he having read the notebook, and how Gussie had temporarily escaped him, Dahlia losing her patience and ready to throw him out, but once she hears of Gussie’s plan to go out the window, she ready to oblige him, Jeeves making it more motivational with the suggestion of Gussie taking the suitcase with him since he’d be borrowing the car, Bertie and Dahlia properly amazed by the simplicity, everyone pitching in to get Gussie down, and nothing going wrong in the course, Dahlia leaving to hear how the “enemy” was making out. Bertie was now visibly relieved and ready for Jeeves to finish packing for their departure next day so he could retire, Jeeves then detecting the policeman’s helmet.

Bertie, now hardened by his experiences, took this with the first instinctive step of locking the door, Jeeves reprimanding him for his terrible hiding spot, but Bertie making him aware this one was because of Stiffy, he then going off on a tangent regarding the fates of all who came into contact with any offspring of the Byng/Pinker union, he getting back on track, but not before Stiffy makes an appearance. Bertie again teaching her the error she made by presuming the helmet would be safe in Bertie’s care, she then believing Bertie would take the heat, but he again having to inform of how serious Sir Watkyn was taking the matter and once she tried to tell of Stinker’s sensitivity compared to Bertie’s and it fails to hit, she reminds him of the Code of the Woosters, Bertie’s resolve weakening, and finally giving in to her, she supplying moral support of the ability to discover a fine hiding spot and leaving the two, happily. Bertie is ready for the old fate to be sealed when Jeeves shares his fresh idea of tossing the helmet out the window and quickly, since footsteps could be heard coming their way. Dahlia, Sir Watkyn, and Eustace Oates come in, the relative sharing of Sir Watkyn’s intentions, Bertie chortling, aunt following suit, and confiding how Sir Watkyn was about to make a fool of himself, the news of his whereabouts when cow-creamer was stolen, only temporarily pausing him, Bertie then having Jeeves call Spode for back up. This gives Sir Watkyn pause, but sticks to his assumption as Bertie and Dahlia continued to suggest other wild possibilities to who took the cow-creamer, Bertie hitting a nerve when mentioning his Uncle, and so, Sir Watkyn leaves the cow-creamer’s current residence for the mo, to focus on detecting the officer’s helmet, Bertie relishing how ridiculous their search made them look, Sir Watkyn stating how he must apologize, and Bertie letting him stand through a rant he only wished he could’ve remembered, due to it being his top work, but during his wind down, Bassett seemed to lose interest, opting his attention behind Bertie, where the butler stood with the helmet upon platter.

Bertie marvels at this butler’s ability to ooze in like fog, then conscious of the other’s reactions, describing what each looked like. Oates first to move, grabbing his helmet with mother bird emotion, Sir Watkyn inquiring where it had been located, the butler letting out with having seen it dropped from Bertie’s window, Sir Watkyn dismissing him and ready to get Bertie. Dahlia comes to his rescue though, when blurting of how the butler seemed to be setting him up, Bertie letting her run with it, and she ending by an attempt at claiming to having solved the issue. Sir Watkyn doesn’t follow her suggestion though, he staying fixed on Bertie’s guilt, and his resolve to have the culprit serve time, Dahlia still working to change his mind, but only gets Bertie his last night’s stay in his room rather than at the station. Oates was ordered to take watch below Bertie’s window, to his disappointment, and Sir Watkyn asks to speak with Dahlia for a mo, the two sauntering out, and Bertie locked in. He considers soberly his soon-to-be prison life, he settling on detecting a bar of soap to chuck at Oates to buoy his spirits when he heard the doorknob, Jeeves outside and Bertie sketching the events up to then. Jeeves remarks his sympathies, Bertie then learning of Spode having gone for a walk so wasn’t available for the now useless eyewitness of alibi, and also found Stiffy in a funk over her forbidden love, Sir Watkyn not open to Stinker’s proposal due to his part in aiding the cow-creamer swiper to safely allude justice. Bertie empathizes with Stiffy’s situation, asking if Jeeves had any ideas to fix either Stiffy, Gussie, or his own plight, Jeeves having none of the above, only an inkling for Bertie which needed more time for development.

Bertie, believing time was of the essence, thought perhaps he should adopt Stoker’s plan to knock out his guard for escape, Jeeves in mid-decline when he reports of Dahlia and Sir Watkyn heading his way, Bertie hoping Jeeves would consider the desperate plan. Dahlia enters alone with news of his freedom, but not looking gratified, she confessing it was in exchange for Anatole, Bertie aghast and unwilling for such a future to be lived, he instead agreeing with aunt upon his release to have a menu of his choosing, coming up with the particulars right then, nixing her idea of having, in French, something like, ‘flowers of cream of zucchini’ in preference of his ‘eaten apple of love’, the rest of the menu including fresh caviar, little devils, and chicken with other oddly placed words (me, wishing I’d learned French, if only to understand the nonsense). They call Bassett back in, gladly surprising him with the news of declining his insulting offer. They each then remember a dish for Bertie’s list, Dahlia adding ‘Nuns of the Mediterranean Sea fennel’, and Bertie wanting ‘Saddle of lamb with lettuce in Greek’. Sir Watkyn is properly steamed and decides Bertie will go to the station to spend his night, he rudely calling Jeeves over to get Oates, and he being informed Spode was on his way to speak with him, Sir Watkyn annoyed by the timing. Spode enters and confesses to the helmet crime, Bertie and Sir Watkyn agog, he then excusing himself and Bertie dismissing Sir Watkyn after he’d apologized, he then wondering how this had happened, calling to Jeeves with the supposition he’d done something, and Jeeves allowing he’d spoken with Spode and the likelihood of getting away with it, for Sir Watkyn marrying his aunt.

Bertie attempts once more to plead with Jeeves for details about Eulalie, since he’d used it to get Spode to cooperate, but doesn’t succeed, he then getting as comfy as he could manage between the knotted sheets, discussing how unfortunate it was for Stiffy and Gussie, Jeeves then sharing how Bertie could bring Sir Watkyn to court for wrongful arrest and defamation of character, plenty of testimony and witnesses to support this. Bertie wonders whether he should take such lengths, Jeeves giving him the idea of how if only posed to Bassett, may make him open to Madeline and Stiffy’s betrothals, Bertie so elated he gets Bassett immediately and give his demands. The wishes are granted, Bertie even getting his fiver fine back, he ready to settle for sleep when he hears a sneeze through the open window, Sir Watkyn having not informed Oates of the events (or Jeeves, depending on how it’s seen, since Watkyn had already asked, but I supposed hadn’t confirmed he still wanted this to be done), this making Bertie quite content. Before ending his night though, he tries again to have Jeeves speak of Eulalie, bribing of going on the cruise around-the-world if he spilled, Jeeves considering carefully, then giving the deets on Spode’s involvement with a women’s underwear design business, this possibly ruining his reputation as wannabe Dictator, Bertie properly satisfied and Jeeves letting him know the cruise tickets already being reserved, he leaving Bertie, and Bertie reflecting on all those important, now being happy, drifting off to a revitalizing sleep. I believe I’ve been losing my ability to praise properly for doing it so often, this one on par with the rest. To the next!

When We Were Orphans

London 24/Jul./1930, but starts in the Summer of 1923, where the Narrator has gone against his Aunt’s wishes to return to Shropshire, rents a flat in Kensington, and being quite happy by himself. During a stroll he meets an old school chum, James Osbourne and invites him to come by sometime. The Narrator, or Christopher Banks (as we learn later in the chapter) describes his quaint accommodations, and when Osbourne comes by one morning, Christopher is able to entertain him without it seeming he were his first guest (which he was). Osbourne compliments his room, they catching up on their classmates lives, as well as their own. Then they have an intellectual discussion about German philosophy, showing off either’s studies from different schools, Osbourne then sharing his plans for his career, unbelieving Christopher hadn’t an idea what he’d do yet. He then alluding to having an inkling and would confide further when they developed. Near noon Osbourne readies to leave, then remembering to invite Christopher to a party for a well-known man, Christopher at first not answering and then agreeing after a candid thought from Osbourne about what he was like in school bringing some bitterness. Then a flashback of the moment Osbourne must have been referring is shown, and Christopher having finally asked about Osbourne’s “well connectedness”. Christopher goes into why Osbourne’s evaluation of he being a bit of a fish out of water, bothered him, since he hadn’t felt like he stuck out at all. He didn’t make obvious his interest in private investigating crime, which was also why he didn’t share his career plans with Osbourne.

Although, it becomes clear Christopher may have been more transparent than he realized, when a birthday present from his school chums revealed a case with a magnifying glass inside. The boys fates are shared after this, both dying young, one from war, the other, illness. The only other instance of his ambitions being noted amongst classmates, being when he’d walked into the middle of a conversation about himself which a boy had broken the silence upon his entering, of he not seeming a Sherlock type. The last moment being an overheard discussion between his Aunt and her friends, she deciding she would nip his flightiness in the bud when seeing him using his over-active imagination playing a game he used to play with a boy called Akira. After, Christopher notes his discomfort by Osbourne’s words were only momentary and goes for a walk soon after, he imagining some of the people who could be at the party could possibly including some well-known detectives and fantasized they would take a paternal interest in his career. Whilst his attendance of the night’s coming party would be fruitful, not so much when regarding the anti-social habits of detectives. Instead, the “well-connected” people Osbourne referred were from the business and government-based world. Christopher was flustered with his feeling out of place, and when finally separating from Osbourne, meets an older gentleman whom offers to identify some of the people there, the man noticing Christopher’s attention being captured by a young woman, not for her beauty (oh, no), but because of certain characteristics and body language which suggested a dark underbelly, which intrigued him.

The man, whilst being thorough with names and occupations of others in the room, only provided a name for the lady, Sarah Hastings, they moving on and the man inquiring about what sort of career Christopher was aiming, after the man learns this, he attempts to advise a back up career due to how flighty dreams tend to float away. After not learning much after, Osbourne was able to shed a little more light on Sarah’s history, most recently her ending an engagement. As Christopher attended more hoity-toity functions, his list of facts of Sarah grew, she an opinionated, celebrity-seeking sort. He continued to follow her movements, until finally getting a chance to speak with her two years later. Once he’d made one headline, he felt confident enough to approach her in a hotel they’d both been occupying the dining area of, he officially introducing himself. She wasn’t particularly receptive, and he felt like a rube when leaving her, questioning whether his friends had been taking the piss when congratulating him. He did come to learn he’d been taking interest in a social way he shouldn’t concern himself with, from then on focusing on learning more about previous detectives and how they came to their own notoriety.

Christopher then mentions a chance meeting with a Colonel Chamberlain, whom he’d known when he was a boy, this occurring a couple months after Sarah had embarrassed him. They both were in a small bookstore and the man stood next to him for some time before Christopher looked up and recognized him. They chatted a bit, he noting how timid and uncomfortable Chamberlain seemed compared to his memories. When they were readying to part, Christopher offers to entertain him at a nice restaurant the next night, he having to push fairly hard for Chamberlain to agree. When they met on the designated night, Christopher does what he’d planned, aiming to impress the Colonel, the man referring to the last time they’d spent time with each other being on a ship, Christopher’s change, obvious to the way he’d been back then. Christopher flashes back to his journey from Shanghai, Chamberlain in the room as his voyage is discussed. Then his parents fates are alluded to, causing his journey to England, but he not wanting to leave since the “best detectives in Shanghai” were on the case to locate his missing parents, not thinking he’d need to be sent away in the likelihood they’d succeed. Chamberlain regards the boy’s words as a possibility, but thinks perhaps he should go anyways and his parents will decide to move with him, the Colonel listening soberly to Christopher recounting his memories. He in turn shares his own, seeming to almost say something which conveyed the odd nature of his parents going missing, but then Christopher gets caught up on how he’d been perceived, again, he only recalling one occasion he actually could’ve been a “sniveling little squirt”, but the Colonel presuming the whole voyage had been rife with these qualities.

As their night of reminiscences ended, Christopher felt insouciant toward the man, most likely due to the circumstances of their meeting, feeling only a minor amount of guilt when hearing of the Colonel’s death a year later. Then back to listing his minor encounters with Sarah, the next a few more years down the road, another high profile case under his belt, and testing a walk-by near her as he left. He plays at not caring about her reaction much, due to his busy life and only beginning to experience his notoriety, he truly making a name for himself about a year later. He claims he would’ve forgotten Sarah completely if not for bumping into Joseph Turner, whom invites him to a dinner party which he declined in attending, Joseph mentioning how Sarah had asked after him, she then discovering him after he’d heard similar stories from other friends. She accosts him in the middle of his examination of a pond, where the victim of his current case had been found in. Her reasons for being there were in relation to she knowing the family of the victim, and after talking back and forth she shares how, if Christopher succeeded in pointing out the culprit, the town would be so grateful, they’d make Christopher a legend. After this buttering up, Sarah asks to be invited to a social function as Christopher’s guest, he passive-aggressively denying her after making an excuse and then she referring to them as ‘such good friends’, apparently taking the cake since Christopher was well aware what they were and weren’t.

Christopher detected the mystery behind the death of the man murdered, he not giving much thought to Sarah’s statement of meeting him at the dinner. She living up to her word, though, Christopher entertaining her flattering small talk until being no longer amused by it, but not showing this change in attitude, instead disengaging her arm from his, she approaching him again to deny he’d ditch her in such a way, but he also living up to his actions, walking off. Only after being in the room fifteen minutes does Christopher notice Sarah had made it to the check-in area, she attempting to be allowed in. Eventually she gets her way, Christopher being sure to stay away from her whilst feeling somewhat guilty for his inaction, but after noticing a genuine smile from her, he thinks perhaps she had no hard feelings for having succeeded in her goal to attend. Christopher also had his chance to speak with the guest of honor, he finally taking a moment to ask if he’d met an Akira Yamashita during his visit to Shanghai, the diplomat confirming he hadn’t. When Sarah appeared, Christopher makes up an excuse to leave, and moves off. Later, he runs into her again on a balcony, she stating the greatness of the night she’d had, the two having a somewhat enlightening chat about Sarah’s needs and intentions for why she felt it obligatory she be present there, it stemming from discovering a man whom planned on helping the world be greater, Christopher not holding her actions against her since now having a better understanding of her, especially after she mentioned his childhood buddy Akira, throwing him off, he leaving her there, only considering momentarily to offer his accompaniment out.

Then 15/May/1931, in London, Christopher remembers an argument Akira and he had over the word ‘chip’ and Akira meaning ‘chap’, he having started his English lessons and was too proud to give in. When they next hang out together, Christopher had pretty much forgotten the argument until Akira called him chap, Christopher not pressing the issue, he stating whilst he believed he was the more intelligent of the two, Akira had more experience beyond the Settlement where they resided, Christopher not having been in the true city of Shanghai, but protected within the International colony boundaries, Akira confessing stories of his gruesome experiences. When sharing one with his mother, he didn’t like her response of disproving the tale so from then on kept them to himself, Akira acting reverentially toward his mother, he deciphering why this could be possibly having to do with a time the health inspector came to their house. When Akira came by after the inspector, the two moved indoors to Christopher’s playroom, the two halting their game when hearing his mother and the inspector raising their voices near the room. The two witnessed as Christopher’s mother defended the integrity of their loyal servants regardless of the city they came from having an outbreak of opium addiction, Akira seeming to have gotten a strong impression of his mother during this argument. Christopher then remembers his mother’s part in opposing the company they worked for over their small-minded policies. He then regards his decision to confide in Sarah about Akira no longer bothering him. Another chance meeting is related when both were invited to a mutual buddy’s lunch, it going fine until one of the ladies eventually gets everyone’s attention over giving advice about how to deal with her mother, Sarah leaving when the topic stuck, Christopher following to learn of a painful realization from Sarah about her own mother, the two then going on a double-decker bus, enjoying the ride, he not having gone before since being overwhelmed by being transported somewhere he didn’t know and getting lost by himself. They spoke of random, pleasant topics, he divulging more about Akira without meaning to, but in the end wondering if his memories of Shanghai were as exact as he thought, believing a question he originally believed was posed to the health inspector, now could have been directed at his father during a verbal dispute between his parents.

Whether this was before or after the health inspector’s visit, Christopher couldn’t remember, but he was studying in an anteroom which was used as a library, when he heard his parents arguing, he attempts to hear more, but only deciphers phrases when they forgot to keep their voices lowered. Christopher then hears the same phrase his mother used, it seeming to fit better with the other snippets more so than her argument with the inspector’s, but who knows. After this argument, it stayed cold between his parents for longer than normal, and during a chat with Akira at his home, which was uniquely mixed Japanese with Western style, Christopher posed his question to him, whom had an interesting take on the reason parents didn’t talk to each other, it connected to the child not living up to their heritage, and how the child’s part was being the glue to the family staying together, Christopher having the opportunity to speak with his Uncle Philip on the subject. He shares of Philip not being a blood relative, but a family friend whom had worked at the same company for a number of years before leaving and starting an organization to help the conditions of the Chinese sections of the city. Uncle Philip helped ease his mind a bit over his becoming more English for his parents.

The same summer, Akira was wearing down his likability by constantly bragging of Japan’s greatness compared to English, this happening more since his upcoming enrollment in a Japanese school, by the time he had to leave, Christopher not feeling bad to see him go. At least not until starting to hang out with some other English boys he would periodically chum around with and they making him feel like the odd man out when there school friends came along, Christopher the only one whom goes to a different school. He relates some important memories of the fall during Akira’s transfer, one regarding a day on one of his mother’s meetings, Uncle Philip in attendance, and when the meeting had ended, his mother and Philip staying behind to pore over some papers until his father entered (he not joining these meetings) and began conversing amiably with Philip, Christopher’s mother leaving the room looking peeved. Later, Philip offers they should go to the racecourse, and whilst nine-year-old Christopher was aware he was the sole one to decide whether he, his mother, and Philip would go, or stay with his father, he ended up being coaxed to decide to go, with his mother’s influence. Christopher then remembers an out of the ordinary mannerism uncommon to his father, he bragging about himself, once around the dinner table, the second when they were all attending a brass band playing in the park, both times essentially ignored by his mother, but Christopher made aware of another memory with an incident his father alluded to him whilst the band played, he remembering of a day when he and his mother were near his father’s study naming the vessels in pictures on the wall when his mother stopped and abruptly opened the door where they both viewed his father slouched over his desk, he speaking loudly about the being stuck there and wouldn’t be able to return to England. Other than his father’s odd speech, nothing much of interest happened during the fall or winter until Christopher received the news from a servant of Akira’s return.

Christopher learned Akira wouldn’t be returning to his new school, but would continue at his old one, which made Christopher happy. Akira refrained from speaking of his time at his new school, the two picking up where they’d left off, but Christopher witnessing a change in character when the boys were playing and Akira had noticed a tear in his kimono, he becoming withdrawn over the “bad thing” he’d caused, believing his parents would send him back to Japan, where Christopher soon learned and sensed the extent of Akira’s being singled out by school staff and students, as well as the family he had stayed with, so much so, his parents had taken him out of school in the middle of term. What also caused Akira apprehension was knowing he was the only one wanting to remain in Shanghai, his sister and parents wishing to move to Japan. The torn sleeve didn’t cause such a dire repercussion as Akira feared, but as he continued to make small mistakes during the next few months, Christopher comes to the “robbery” incident which had brought Sarah’s curiosity on their bus ride. First is explained how Akira reacted with fear toward one of his family’s longest employed servants, Ling Tien, Christopher not asking why Akira hid whenever the man passed them any longer. When they got older, Akira shared the man’s obsession with severed hands, human and ape, alike. Ling apparently having discovered how to change the hands into spiders. After this, the eight-year-old Akira would periodically dare Christopher to get closer to Ling’s room. Akira would go as far as he could and then had Christopher do the same, he not having much fun when going to Akira’s house because of this. The two finally reach Akira’s goal of entering Ling’s room when they are ten, they stealing something which the two didn’t consider the repercussions, this also being Christopher’s last year in Shanghai, unbeknownst to him, yet. On the day they finally enter the room, Akira waited for the maid to fall asleep downstairs, the boys going into the room, and Akira claiming the spiders were in a chest, the lotion on the side table, magic, the longer they lingered, the more Christopher became paranoid they’d be seen. Akira swipes the bottle, and the boys hasten out, they proceeding to test the lotion, and Akira hiding it with other treasured belongings before putting it back.

The next day when Akira came to Christopher’s house, he looked bothered, Christopher not asking, but once doing so, Akira shares of having confided in his sister of their deed, she worrying him with further claims of previous people disappearing for attempting the same, and Akira not having the guts to put the lotion back, Ling coming back in three days. Akira was visibly upset, but Christopher placates him with putting the bottle away the way they’d taken it, Akira looking relieved. They make plans to meet up the next day, late afternoon, Christopher remembering partially how his father left for work, his mother going out, and he lunching with the maid before biding his time until three. After climbing a tree higher than he ever had, he goes home to check the hour, finding his mother out front speaking with policemen, his mother relating this to him when she came in to instruct he wait for her within the library, his father not having arrived at his office. By the time his mother came in to inform him of the police searching for his father, and he may well turn up by dinner, it was too late to help Akira with returning the lotion, Christopher peeved by being waylaid and knowing Akira would be mad. Christopher’s mother had from then on showed moments of aloofness in the coming weeks and offhandedly spoke of Christopher, on the subject of his father, being “proud of what he’s done”.

The next few days Christopher contemplates what he’d say to Akira when he saw him next, finally hearing him riding his sister’s bicycle, Christopher approaching and blatantly apologizing, but couldn’t confess his father missing, instead retreating back to his home. Another few days pass, when Akira comes to call for Christopher to play, he realizing he’d heard about his father. Then Christopher remembers a chat with his mother after this in relation to the statistics his father was safe and to stay optimistic. Akira and Christopher’s imaginative game plays of detective search for Christopher’s father would ensue. He then mentions this would continue during his first days in England. Christopher, after a month finally is told what happened with Ling’s bottle, Akira owing his sister, now, he then asking if Christopher would have to go back to England, he sure his mother wouldn’t want to return without his father. Christopher also shares a memory which at first he believed had no bearing on his parents’ disappearance, but upon the recollection resurfacing, sees it in a new light, he having the motivation to continue the search himself someday, but he being too busy to take the time off. When he’d requested more information on the opium trade from his source in Shanghai, he receives a newspaper clipping with picture, he believing he recognized one of the men, remembering later the man had come to their home a few weeks after his father had gone missing. Next he heard his mother shouting insults at the man as he retreated to his car. Christopher not entirely certain the man in the picture and the one whom came to his home were the same, but his face and the events implying it was (those particular pieces of information seem more sound than Ishiguro attempts to let on, oddly). He now thinks this information would enlighten him to what happened, and where his parents were now.

Christopher then confides what his young self suspiciously supposed Uncle Philip had in common with the man whom came by, which brought into what had ended up happening to their relationship, Christopher having decided to go with his Uncle Philip one day, he having amped up his anxious watchful eye on his mother, and believing she was safe with him, the two calling for him and Uncle Philip asking if he was interested in going off to acquire an accordion, Philip’s behavior odd, but not worryingly so to Christopher, even after being told to wave to his mother a second time, and Philip’s silence on the ride. When Philip stops the carriage and explains they’d walk, Christopher realizes, especially after Philip mentions of not wanting to have him get hurt, but sounding disappointed after Christopher responded of knowing where they were, Philip dashes of, and Christopher runs for home. He discovers no on, but Mei Li, crying at Christopher’s work table, he disgusted by she not having any power to control the situation which had occurred. Christopher, now having finished putting down his recollections, considers when he does return to Shanghai, all the places Akira would show him, then thinking of the work he’d need to make up for due to his bus ride with Sarah.

London, 12/April/1937 – By this time, Christopher’s Aunt has died and left him an inheritance with which he bought a house. A Miss Givens with a young lady, Jennifer have come back from shopping, and Christopher is gladdened by a letter he’s been sent. When he does finally go down to greet them properly, Jennifer makes clear Christopher is an Uncle figure, Miss Givens playing a household role, but not the maid, whom had recently concluded working for Christopher. Soon it’s hinted Miss Givens is a guardian of Jennifer. Then Christopher goes back to explain how he’d discovered Jennifer through Osbourne three years back. Christopher was speaking with one of the guests of her charity work with orphans and mentioned Jennifer’s “situation”, after everyone was ready to leave, he informs the woman he’d like to help her, if not take her in himself (her story similar to his own). After a few meetings, Jennifer is delivered to his home, she having an opinion on the nanny to be hired for her. Jennifer also reminded Christopher of himself, she being wise beyond her years and positive in the odds of negativity ( perhaps on the lofty side for attributes to Christopher, I still feel he’s made up some nice, cool moments for himself during his childhood). Christopher then began planning a trip of indeterminate length, spurring him on being a perceived coldness he sensed from those he spoke with, a relation to a case of dead children and the inspector’s reaction to Christopher’s conclusion and support in the strength it took to work the sort of jobs they had. Another memory of a lecture and subsequent conversation between he and a clergyman he’d recently worked with about the larger issues in Shanghai outweighing much of England’s current issues. Christopher recalls many similar situations, one other involving Sarah at a wedding they’d both attended.

The wedding took place over a year previous, Christopher seeing Sir Cecil Medhurst, whom now was married to Sarah, entering the church, and after the ceremony, Sarah approaches, this having also been quite awhile since they’d spoken, she inviting him to visit with them some time. She then relating it would most likely need to happen after their trip to the Far East, later on she divulging they were going to Shanghai, Christopher seeing this as the push he required to make real his plans to go back. Christopher speaks with Miss Givens of his plans, he deciding to break the news to Jennifer himself. He reminisces his first visit with Jennifer at her new school to deliver what he’d found of her missing luggage, and only hopes his next visit won’t be too difficult for her.

Cathay Hotel, Shanghai 20/Sept./1937 – Christopher relates how different Shanghai seemed due to certain customs, he being led into a hotel to watch a cabaret show recommended by his hosts. They go to their table, the walls occupied by high society resident and International guests, Christopher getting the idea he was being noticed because of those around him looking at the men seated, but he believing they were staring at him. Christopher, over the evening soon became suspicious of one of his hosts, of whom attempts to have him accept “assistants” with his work, Christopher bringing up his interest in the Yellow Snake killings, the other host not having heard of this before. Christopher then requests to speak with the informant, the one host discouraging, but responding he’d ask. Then the other host begins speaking of a welcome ceremony for his parents, everyone then becoming distracted by the gunfire outside, and after the music began, Christopher meeting Sarah. He doesn’t put together the possible double meaning of she and her husband being rescued from Shanghai.

Christopher is shown working a case all day, then goes to a club he’d become acquainted with, along with the doorman he spoke with, soon being instructed where he could locate Sarah and Sir Cecil. As he walked, he thought of how he’d believed he’d seen Akira a few nights after his arrival and hoping he’d see him again and in a way he thought would be a more meaningful beginning to their first meeting. Christopher lets it go and thinks of the case, leaving the possibility of locating Akira for later, and believing it possible to run into him once more due to Shanghai’s size. Christopher continues on to the hotel of Sarah and Cecil, but soon discovers it’s more of a casino, and believes Cecil wouldn’t bring Sarah to such a place, when finally seeing him in one of the rooms, Sarah seated in a corner. She greets him, surprised he’d found them there, she asking after his dreary day, he not having made any progress, yet (I realize now, the problem with Christopher is he constantly seems to have to correct the exact reasons of what he’s feeling when someone guesses about how he looks, it’s constant). Soon Christopher spots how drunk Cecil is, whilst gambling his money away, Sarah asking if Christopher could go find their driver outside, and once he’d done so, overhears the tail end of a conversation where Cecil is putting down Sarah for making him look bad inside, his mood getting no rosier when they reached their hotel and he’d asked a similar question of whether his young wife looked more like an escort to those within the casino. When Sarah puts him to bed, she again insists everything between she and Cecil were fine, Christopher leaving her there, but still wondering of her earlier words.

Cathay Hotel, Shanghai 29/Sept./1937 – Christopher was on his way to confront MacDonald, on of his hosts on getting his interview with Yellow Snake, when interrupted by Grayson, the other host about Christopher’s role in the ceremony for his parents, he leaving Grayson with encouragement for his plans so far, and then considering his current case, and how an old school acquaintance, Anthony Morgan brings the case to the forefront of his mind. A few nights after his arrival in Shanghai, he’d met up with Anthony, the two catching up, and the latter sharing his experience thus far in the city, mostly to do with his chauffeurs not being up to par. Anthony soon has Christopher accompanying him somewhere, and when Anthony made the same mistake of thinking Christopher was similar to himself in the old days, “a miserable loner” Christopher is quick to put him to rights. When they arrive at a home, Christopher realizes wherever they were going would be a small group affair, the two apparently having interrupted a Chinese family’s dinner. Christopher then realizes Anthony has taken him to his old home, he having forgotten an agreement had been made years ago in regards to his eventual return, the head of the house, an old man, ready to show him around.

Christopher met most of the rooms with no recollection, until seeing the library, it having been altered, learning the owners who had lived there, including those currently, had renovated many areas of the home. Speaking with the old man made Christopher think of some of his plans for the home, in regards to whom would take what room, his mother, Jennifer, and Mei Li, whom he’d locate and offer a place with them again, as promised. The only other relation in his old home, being of a memory of he and his mother racing in the park, Christopher getting upset for not successfully showing how much faster he’d become as a runner, his mother keeping up easily, and not noticing. The rest of his visit is glossed over with parting ways with the family amicably after more pleasant chat, it not going so smoothly with Anthony, Christopher debating possibly taking responsibility it having started with a question of whether Anthony had heard of Inspector Kung. Anthony then realizes Christopher was speaking of a man whom had drastically changed his lifestyle, and hadn’t shown reverence for his detective work through his comments. Christopher denies the man Anthony spoke of could hardly be the same, he getting defensive and implying Anthony’s head had gone soft. They part on respectful, but sober terms, Christopher not having the guts to look for Kung until further research brought up his name, and on top of this, after speaking with MacDonald about him and getting a similar response, he getting overly irritated since an interview with Yellow Snake still hadn’t been set up. McDonald, refers him to the head of police, even though they didn’t have him in custody, Christopher insisting on some move being made by MacDonald, he threatening his credibility, so the man promising to look into it, and perhaps Christopher needing to look into speaking with the French which he admitted to having potential, but deciding if MacDonald still didn’t make progress, he’d work him over once more, and with more finesse.

Cathay Hotel, Shanghai 20/Oct./1937 – Christopher currently didn’t know his exact location, other than being in the French Concession. He was riding in a limo through narrow alleys, feeling foolish due to his automobile looking out of place, but he arrives at an Inn, and shown inside by a Chinese man with a single eye, going to a room and opening the door immediately after knocking. Someone was lying in a bed behind a screen, but moving when Christopher gets closer, former Inspector Kung described as emaciated, he not seeming to notice Christopher until after he’d repeated whom he was and his reasons for being there, Kung respectfully replying in English about having no tea for them, but to excuse his appearance since he planned to soon recover. Christopher agrees, and offers his compliments for once having been one of the best in his field, Kung humbled by his kindness, speaking of the difficulties of doing detective work in a seedy city like Shanghai, Kung offering Christopher a cigarette, but he declining. He then mentions how much he and his childhood friend had admired him, Kung all the more regretful for not having anything to offer his guest, Christopher reassuring him he may be able to provide a service more valuable, his memory of a particular case of a shooting in 1915. Kung acknowledges to knowing the one he mentioned and having fond memories of it being a part of his best work, Christopher mentioning how Kung had interrogated a man whom confessed to other crimes, Kung remembering this, Christopher asking about the addresses given in regards to where kidnap victims had been kept, Kung knowing and confiding nothing had been found. Christopher accepts this, but supposes the possibility of Kung not searching a house if powerful people had gotten in the way. Kung admitting this had happened with one home, but being lax on its search due to the case being worked on taking priority, Kung hesitantly inquiring about the house, Christopher supplying his opinion his parents were being kept there, he laying no blame on Kung for not attempting further inquiry, Kung then deducing Christopher must wish for him to locate the house, he attempting to conjure any details, but unsuccessful. Christopher pushes about whether Kung could remember whether the district had been in the International Settlement, unfortunately Kung not recalling, informing him sometimes he remembered much, and perhaps in a day or two he would know more.

Christopher gets back by nightfall, reviewing his notes and forgetting his uninformative visit, going to the dining room late, ready to leave after not having eaten much, when receiving a note from Sarah. At the time, he unaware it had to do with a disturbance at a Mr. Tony Keswick’s home, the note saying to meet her on the platform between the third and fourth floors. They had seen each other shortly three times after the night at the casino, the two not having the chance to mingle, but the night at Keswick’s seeming to be a significant event for the two. Christopher remembering when he’d arrived and most guests, including Sarah were locating their seats, Christopher leaving her to it, and after waiting for the proper time for across-the-room mingling, is trapped in a conversation with the lady seated next to him, by the time he’s able to see Sarah, the host is introducing the first entertainer, many guests having a turn on stage. When one particular man had reduced the room to hysterical laughing, Christopher thinks he sees Sarah laughing along, as well, until after some time, realizing she had actually been reduced to tears and crying quite hard. He walks to her table and gives her his hankie, she returning him with a grateful and quizzical look, but wipes her eyes and hazards a laugh with the rest, Christopher going back to his seat and not speaking with her until their formal goodbye when the night was over. Christopher had forgotten their exchange by this time, she turning to him when he knocks into a chair, and beckoning him closer so they could speak softly, she then confiding she was planning to go to Macao without Cecil, and was scared to go alone, asking if Christopher would join her, surprising him, but also tickling his sense of adventure which also relieved him, what with his current responsibilities building with pressure. Christopher then began to suppose she was baiting him somehow, he responding soberly about his work needing to be finished and how it’d look if he abandoned it here, Sarah attempting to have him see he shouldn’t let his project rule him, and not to wait anymore, otherwise the chance to leave would pass, and the need would be replaced with settling for less. Christopher only seeing roadblocks, what with he also having Jennifer to think about, he about to remember their last meeting, but Sarah responding with believing once they’d decided where they’d stay, she’d be sent for, Sarah convinced she could be a mother to the girl, Christopher then taking a turn in his decision and agreeing to go, she having planned how he should pack light and she would set up his transport to get him to where she’d wait for him. Christopher kisses her hand and awkwardly laughs, she taking her hand back and thanking him for agreeing, suggesting he leave before they were spotted.

Christopher had gone to sleep with plenty on his mind and upon waking the next day, had decided to get as much done as time would allow, he meeting his own expectations by lunch and noticing all of those interviewed leaving him feeling unsympathetic to the government’s current mess, since none spoken with conveyed responsibility for their actions being the wrong course. Due to this, Christopher felt he’d decided rightly and was gratified when imagining the upheaval his leaving would make. He then recalls his last conversation with Jennifer, she taking his news calmly and promising to “help” him when he returned from Japan, which made him wonder how she planned to do so, he then informed of a call from Kung for him. Kung is excited to share news which had resurfaced, he using a rejuvenating smoke to aid him, the location Christopher inquired being across from a man’s house, he sharing the details. When he gets off the call, he returns to his room to pack rather than finishing his lunch, the new information not affecting him like it normally would. He finishes early and is met by a young Chinese driver to escort him on his way.

On the ride, he flippantly asks the driver if he’s heard of Yeh Chen, the man mentioned by Kung, the driver confirming he had, Christopher letting the exchange lie there, until reaching the meeting place and asking the man to wait. He goes into the gramophone record store only seeing the Swiss worker behind the counter, he offering to play Christopher a song, he agreeing and after it’s on, gestures for him to go behind a curtained area, Sarah waiting inside. She explains (sort of) why she had three suitcases, one being dedicated to her teddy bear, then they share another kiss, longer and awkward, he then learning Cecil didn’t know any of Sarah’s plans, he setting out early for another round of fun and games. Christopher seems to become stressed over their few minutes wait, he informing her his need to speak with the driver once more, and learning Yeh Chen wasn’t living far from where they were, Christopher accepting the ride there, but the driver seeming to get confused when having to take a detour, they soon hearing gunshots, the driver then mentioning how they were no longer in the Settlement and Christopher going off on him by letting him know how much of a fool he thought the young man was, the kid getting out and walking away, Christopher going after him to apologize, attempting to have him return to the car, but when failing, tries getting the address to Yeh Chen’s, he being one of those without one. Christopher suggests directions being acceptable, the boy relenting, then pointing out a police station when asked, then returns in the car’s direction.

When going inside the station, Christopher supposed the place was mostly deserted other than the few cops who remained, one of them going to the back to share with whoever else of the reason for Christopher’s visit. The man returns to lead Christopher in back, he introduced to the Lieutenant and Captain, Christopher sharing his need of help, but would also be assisting them with his mission, as well (presumptuous). He then shares of the directions he’d been given, needing someone to show him where it was, he explaining the necessity of it being the end of a years long case in the search for his parents, the Lieutenant agreeing to lend him a few men upon their return due to the few they had to spare, Christopher conveying gratefulness, but also asking if it wouldn’t be possible to do so with a few already present for a minimal time, the Lieutenant denying this due to their inexperience, he then asking to see the directions and upon reading them, noting how whilst they were quite close, may be behind Japanese territory already, and difficult to get to, the Lieutenant then leads him to a spot he could see what he meant. They climb to the roof where the Lieutenant focuses Christopher’s attention to a length of smoke where factory workers lived, he describing how the families lived in cramped quarters, sometimes with three other families to a room, the Lieutenant showing where his men needed to be placed and how they’d keep “the warren” safe, it important to their victory. He then confides of the house Christopher wished to get to being in there, directing his gaze roughly to the roof of the building, also providing him with landmarks to help him stay on course. The Lieutenant then had to make clear how difficult Christopher’s mission would be with all the fighting going on, Christopher getting sidetracked by wanting the Lieutenant’s name so as to thank him at the upcoming ceremony for his parents, he instead having him accompany him back down to where his men had hopefully returned by now since believing the part he played being minor. When getting an update, the Lieutenant shares how his men had gotten stuck outside, Christopher asking the Lieutenant to guide him, and the man agreeing even whilst knowing the danger it brought to his mission’s success, the two setting out after he provided Christopher with a pistol.

As Christopher remembers being led by the Lieutenant, it seemed easy, but the moment was difficult, the ground hurting his footsies, and having to negotiate his way through holes in the walls, tired after only going through one, but having more to go. As he walks through areas with demolished homes, he grew angry about the men in charge of the International Settlement who had shirked their duties, the Lieutenant stopping soon after to declare they’d made it to their first landmark, the West Furnace, their second being the East and would then be close to Christopher’s destination. The Lieutenant then ushers him on so they could get out before sundown. They reach a place where they meet more soldiers defending a wall, and after the Lieutenant speaks with them, he shares with Christopher of they having gotten most of the Japanese to retreat, with the exception of a few stuck nearby. Christopher attempts to show disappointed indignation at the Lieutenant’s caution to stop where they were until the men were pacified, but the Lieutenant only states of the possibility it may not take long, then returns to the wall at the behest of a solder, gunfire breaking out, and the Lieutenant saving Christopher from getting hit by gunshots hitting the wall behind him. After the danger seemed to have passed temporarily, Christopher goes back to criticizing how the Lieutenant was running his defense, this after denying Christopher the idea of bringing the men they were with, along to where his parents were being held. Christopher then goes off on the Lieutenant for he feeling guilty by the reason they were fighting in the first place, believing the Lieutenant blamed him, but then making excuses for why he hadn’t cracked his case sooner, ending by belittling the man’s profession and intelligence (hwhat a schmuck). The Lieutenant takes this all in stride, by the end allowing if Christopher was resolute to move forward, despite the danger, it was more likely he’d be safer without him (a good idea, regardless), he then leading Christopher to a detour, by this time Christopher regretting his snotty explosion, but going along, the Lieutenant also giving him a flashlight, leaving him with the advice of waiting as long as possible before using it, claiming neutrality if he ran into soldiers, and ask the locals for directions (more than he deserves). He stops taking the Lieutenant’s advice when he doesn’t go through a certain passage for the smell, he getting stuck going further in the wrong direction. When coming across locals, he was able to get back on course, but no one could understand him so he could get a better idea of his surroundings.

Christopher comes across another group of people, children surrounding something, and when Christopher gets near enough, he recognizes Akira, unconscious and bound (a little let down with this reunion, but the upcoming moments between them are the most entertaining, at least in a comedic way, in this book). When the kids begin to gather again to prod Akira with a stick, Christopher keeps them at bay, and when Akira regains consciousness, Christopher attempts to show him whom he is, but Akira doesn’t catch it, (Christopher taking on a Bertie Wooster-like persona) Christopher seeing his finding him serendipitous, Akira then requesting to allow death to claim him, Christopher stating he isn’t close to death, only having “a rough time of it lately” (really, Christopher??), and help could be found, Akira responding with porky oaths, and attempting to spit at him again, Christopher responding by deciding getting him untied may help with his memory, but Akira vowing to kill him if he lets him loose, Christopher ignoring his threat for rationalizing the people around them would as soon kill him, and Akira needed his wounds tended before infection hit. When an old woman approaches them with a reaping hook, Christopher attempts to have her understand (in English), of Akira being good, and his friend (a woman whom doesn’t understand English). Then when it obviously fails to connect and he points his revolver at them (good plan), an old man steps forward whom speaks bloody English! (Where the fuck, fella?) He explaining why Akira was bound being for he killing an Aunt and stealing, Christopher arguing the impossibility and asking for him to confirm it was the same man they had. Meanwhile, after another attempt from Christopher to get Akira to recognize him works slowly, an argument arises in the crowd of people and Christopher again threatens them with his gun after he takes a young boy’s knife to cut Akira loose. When Christopher then has the old man translate of the group making a mistake and Akira would be helping to solve his case (pointlessly), he eventually has the man get the people to stay away, they panicking for Christopher swinging the gun around, and the two making their way out, (after a funny moment of Christopher and Akira almost falling).

As they stagger on, Christopher becomes overwhelmed with happiness for finally seeing his ole buddy and laughs giddily a few times, Akira joining in and it feeling like the old days. When Christopher gives them both a moment to rest, he checks Akira’s wounds again, but can’t tell if the bad smell was coming from them anymore or if it was caused by something he’d laid in. He attempts to clean the wounds, then gets into why he was there being to find his parents, Akira now able to help him get inside the house (like Ling Tien’s room? I wonder if one will flake out on the other…), Akira agreeing, but then making a confusing statement after admitting to knowing where the East Furnace was. Christopher catches it, as well and presumes the place he spoke was the International Settlement. They soon get back on their way though, Christopher now dealing with a cut foot from his shoe getting torn. Meanwhile, Christopher had mixed feelings about the circumstances around their meeting, wishing it had happened in gentler accommodations, they limping along until Akira hears soldiers, they closing in on the front lines, which needed to be passed in order to reach the house, but Akira then insisting they needed to rest and wait for light before continuing due to the fighting, Christopher giving in (even though he wanted to argue, more).

They stay put for awhile, until Christopher decides to move them to a safer area in their bombed shelter, Akira deciding Christopher must learn Japanese immediately in case Akira died or was unconscious, Christopher refusing anything so finite would happen, Akira then teaching him one word, since more was too difficult, they laughing over his pronunciation, and then Christopher passing out. When he wakes, dawn has broken, he accidentally waking Akira when attempting to examine him again, Akira wanting to relay a message to his child should he not make it, again Christopher refusing to accept the possibility and deciding they should move along before Akira got too deeply into a funk. The going was rougher due to both their energies being sapped overnight, and before setting out, Akira warns they must be more careful since the Chinese were near, the two seeing their handiwork involving spilled intestines. Soon after getting them to the East Furnace, Christopher leads them down the alley the Lieutenant pointed out, Akira weighing him down so much, they soon stop again, he seeing a broken sign and asking Akira what it said, he not knowing for certain for his Chinese not great, Christopher supplying the idea of it perhaps saying Yeh Chen, Akira allowing the possibility, but when Christopher begins to plan for the both of them to enter, Akira considers how many years have passed, and the fates of Christopher’s parents, the two not able to discuss anymore for a little girl emerging from the house and seeming to want them to come in, Christopher stepping forward since it seemed she was bleeding, after she goes back inside, Christopher urging Akira to come with him.

When they go through to where the girl leads them, they view many dead bodies, the little girl going to a dog, and speaking Chinese, Akira translating she wanted help for the dog, Christopher giving her encouraging words, but then going about in search of his parents until Akira warns him of soldiers nearby, Christopher losing his shit and not comprehending due to his desperate search. Akira hides in a half open spot, Christopher unable to let him know since the soldiers then entered, but he finding it hilarious, and once Akira realizing they were Japanese, makes his presence known, he not looking happy to see them or vice versa, he being led out with only a smile to Christopher as he left, he then explaining the reason he was there to the Captain, the latter commanding he leave immediately. The Japanese kept Christopher at their headquarters where he recovered from his injuries, which also gave him a fever for some weeks, but when he recovers, a Colonel speaks with him, and Christopher feels he has a clear concept of what he’d been through for his case. The Colonel was ready to lead him to the British Consulate, but Christopher had another idea involving his return to the gramophone shop, the Colonel denying this due to they being on a schedule and Christopher not able to explain why, the Colonel then passes the time by speaking of his admiration of Dickens and Thackeray, their country beautiful.

Christopher changes the subject to Akira and whether the Colonel knew his fate, he advising Christopher to let it go, but of course he not doing as requested, the Colonel sharing how Akira was quite likely in cahoots with the Chinese due to where he was found. The Colonel and he then discuss how soon the world would be battling a war. When Christopher speaks with the British consul-general, he gets to the point of needing to speak with MacDonald whilst he cleaned himself up. People came and left from the room they’d given him, a doctor most likely giving him medication to sleep, he being told of MacDonald not being found, yet. Upon waking, he goes off in search of MacDonald’s office and sees Sir Cecil, the two discussing the disappearance of Sarah and how he and others thought Christopher was connected, he there to apologize and sharing how he’d gotten word from her currently being in Macao, they being interrupted by Grayson, Christopher disheartened, but he there to show Christopher to MacDonald’s new working office. When they get to an empty office, Grayson nudges Christopher forward, closing the door behind them and making it clear Christopher wanted to speak with him (wink-wink), the interview with Yellow Snake more possible and Christopher feeling like he’s finally getting somewhere. He then relays his interview occurring the previous night, the Chinese secret police, his escort and they confronting more guards when getting to the large house, he waiting inside for a half hour, when finally being shown to a study where he is greeted by someone he knows.

Yellow Snake even shows how he’d been made to stay armed in case Christopher attempts to attack him, he knowing he owed Christopher some explanations. They start with Christopher’s father, after he gives his own opinion of what he thought happened, when asked, needing to play nice. His mother had planned to share the truth with him regarding his father when he was older, he learning where his father had gone, whom he’d been with, why he’d left, and how he’d lived his life. When Christopher asks about where his mother was, Yellow Snake again asks for what he knew, Christopher sharing how he’d thought the two were being held captive, Yellow Snake then backing up to explain a memory Christopher shares earlier, and explaining how his mother had been working to end the opium trade in China, how he didn’t have her exact location, but knew a good place to start, the man Christopher had been researching being involved. Christopher now realizes whom had his mother and the reason she had been taken, he then learning whom had been taking care of his financial needs, he about to tell what his mother endured whilst living with the drug kingpin, but Christopher having enough, Yellow Snake then confessing how he’s stayed alive so Christopher could kill him, but after refusing and having to pull away from him for his insistence, the man shares his deepest secret, he getting off in knowing his mother was essentially a sex slave since he knew he couldn’t have her and didn’t save her. Christopher ignores this and only focuses on making sure he knew everything about his mother, the man whom had her now being dead, so his search being difficult, but onward he would go, leaving Yellow Snake.

London 14/Nov./1958 – Christopher relates how a trip to Hong Kong marked his longest trip in a long time, he exhausted a couple days after arriving, the place not being as homey as Shanghai was, he dealing with joint pain and Jennifer accompanying him for needing the break. She offered having them visit Shanghai, as well, but Christopher knew the changes made to the city would be painful to him. By the third day, Christopher was off for a visit to a convent inside a manor without Jennifer joining him, as requested. When meeting a nun in an office regarding a woman called Diana, whom had been institutionalized and stranded in China for many years, and then brought to their convent, the woman leads him to where she was, so he could discover whether she was his mother. When he first sees her, the nun shares how she didn’t usually understand something unless continually repeated, she smiling at them a moment before going back to her card game. Christopher gets a moment alone with her, and when she smiles up at him again, Christopher senses a note of fear in her gaze, he telling her whom he was a few times and apologizing for locating her so late, he then trying his pet name, she recognizing it, but not him, only sharing how she’d heard he was fine, but one couldn’t know for sure with him and worrying her. Christopher then has this discussion with Jennifer regarding the rest of Diana’s life there, they currently in England and he not happy with her current living situation, she having had some type of break down at thirty-one and having had, but lost a family, she ready to take it easy and not be bothered with finding love again. Christopher being posed the same question and making him reminisce of his lost love, feeling guilty and apologizing to Jennifer for leaving her so long when she was young, but she making him realize how grateful she was for all he’d done for her. She then comes up with a compromise involving the plan of whether she were able to get another husband and have some kids, he would have to live with them in the country, he agreeing. At the same time, Christopher also thought how he’d miss London, he still being recognized, one time whilst out with the Osbournes and a lady approaching him for knowing Sarah quite well, and what had become of her and her new love. The last correspondence Christopher had of her by letter a couple of years after the war, he still second guessing whether her words of her own happiness were genuine, and after relating how regretful he’d feel if he left London, would give good thought to Jennifer’s offer.

After reading this book as sections of it had been broken from the spine (presumably done whilst it was stepped on by cretins), was oddly liberating, only since I hadn’t an attachment to it for not knowing whether I’d want it for keeps (fortunately I didn’t, Christopher not being a character I care to periodically re-encounter, I having given him the benefit of the doubt at first, but he being pompous, which makes him describing the powerful men of the International Settlement in similar terms, seeming like he truly doesn’t recognize the similarities in his own personality. Too much of an ego as well, which he would most likely state how wrong I am in describing it in such a way, blah; also, I don’t believe I’ve ever felt like seeing a main character die and not feeling let down). So, minus Christopher being a stuck-up, know-it-all, the story itself is what drove interest-level. The two main mysteries being his parents fates and his best buddy, Akira; one being more fully realized than the other. I also enjoyed the time period and locations which helped the value, but I do now see why so many people found this piece annoying, especially since Akira gets left behind, and if Christopher had found out whether or not he hadn’t made it, why he didn’t do as Akira had requested of him by going to see his family to give his last words? Oh well, I’ll give Ishiguro one more chance since it was well-written.

Right Ho, Jeeves

 

We begin in the middle of a conversation between Bertie, whom was about to confess something he believed could hurt Jeeves’ feelings in some way, but Jeeves assuring him otherwise, Bertie about to let loose when Bertie, the Narrator stops his retelling to confess he not being on-point. He unsure of where to begin the story, explaining the ways a story can quickly go south. He goes back to mention the other players in this being Gussie, Madeline, Cousin Angela, Aunt Dahlia, Uncle Thomas, Tuppy, and Anatole. Bertie then describes his trip to Cannes marking the beginning and Jeeves declining to come, Bertie instead going with his Aunt Dahlia and her daughter, Angela. Tuppy, Angela’s fiancée, bowing out at the last, and Aunt Dahlia’s husband, Tom, staying home. We get the gist of their stay and their trip back to London to their home, Brinkley Court where Tuppy would join them a couple days later, and Bertie going home to drop his luggage and prepare for dinner at the Drones. As he does this, Jeeves and he chit chat until Gussie is brought up, which surprises Bertie when learning Gussie had been calling after him, Gussie being a country type whom enjoyed his research of newts in his garden pond, hating London. Bertie then catching Jeeves up on how long it had been since Gussie’s last visit to the city and his penchant for his newts.

Bertie then gives Gussie’s back-story behind where the newt-love began, and ever since being wrapped up with them, he confirming with physical description of Gussie to be certain Jeeves was speaking of one and the same, Jeeves relating it could well be so, and also able to share the reason for his resurfacing being caused by love. Jeeves then divulges more about whom Gussie was actually attempting to get a hold of being Jeeves, Gussie having been recommended by Sippy, a fellow student with Gussie way back when. We then get a recap of how Jeeves had helped Sippy, and Gussie’s situation being similar. Bertie then wonders of the girl whom had stolen Gussie’s affections, and learning it was Madeline, and then deciding the match had merit, we getting an idea of Bertie’s viewpoint when giving the example of seeing her at Cannes and the flighty questions she’d ask. He gives Jeeves the o-k to meddle, and Jeeves continues his unpacking of Bertie’s bag as he dressed, Jeeves making Bertie aware he’d found a questionable garment in his bag, which Bertie knew he would soon have to defend. Bertie hearkens back to when and where he’d worn it, knowing the possibility of Jeeves “making a scene” over it. Bertie prepares well, stating the jacket had been bought, after Jeeves had assumed the jacket was someone else’s, and Bertie planning on breaking it in more at Pongo Twistleton’s party the next day, Jeeves accepting this, and Bertie learning he’d be staying in regardless of his kind offer of Jeeves taking the night off since he expected Gussie to drop by, Bertie suggests full service for him and his love, going off to the Drones. Bertie speaks, or more like, is spoken to by Pongo most of the night, and when returning home, walks in on Gussie, dressed in a way described devilish and Mephistophelesian, he conversing with Jeeves.

Bertie greets him confusedly, caused by Gussie’s appearance, and when Gussie asks his opinion of his outfit, Bertie skirts an answer to regard his being in London and how long it’d been since he’d last visited, Bertie then stating how nice of a party it must be Gussie was planning to attend, Gussie not answering and instead sending Jeeves to be sure his cab was still waiting for him, when Jeeves had gone, Gussie lets the conversation go silent as Bertie made himself a drink, then letting the old boy off the hook by confessing he’d heard of Gussie’s situation from Jeeves. Gussie not pleased to know Jeeves had shared his private business, but Bertie dismissing this and giving his blessing, asking after how they’d met, Bertie then also supplying his aid and back up to Gussie, which he thanks him for, but makes known Jeeves’ assistance being the real jewel to him, Bertie stung by his words, especially since his conversation about his dress jacket had been criticized. Bertie then asks what Jeeves had done to help Gussie so far, it being the advice to attend this party and to top it off in a Mephistopheles get-up, which burns Bertie all the more due to Jeeves displeasure over his jacket when he was suggesting Gussie go around in red tights. Bertie attempts to convince Gussie to skip the party, but Gussie couldn’t since she’d be leaving after, and whilst Gussie felt the plan would ultimately fail, he also knew it was possible he could pull it off and could get what he wanted. Gussie then digresses into metaphor involving newts, Bertie arguing the point of Gussie not having the love of Madeline if he were one of his amphibious obsessions, he arguing he would if she also were one, Bertie then getting pressure in his head from the pointless disagreement. Bertie ends the line of subject by regaining his point of Gussie skipping the date altogether, but he adamantly refusing since she would be off to the country the next day, Bertie giving in. Jeeves then returning with news of the cab being outside, Gussie bidding Bertie farewell, and Bertie turning his attention on Jeeves, (we catching up to where we began the story), Bertie getting down to Jeeves’ reasoning behind his plan for Gussie and how Bertie differed from Jeeves’ outlook on the results, he believing Jeeves’ plans tended to be on the complex side and deciding he would take over the reigns forthwith, Jeeves accepting this straight away, Bertie then sharing of plans to see Gussie the next day, but forgetting to do so what with the telegrams arriving.

We learn the order of which telegram comes first and their contents, which confounded Bertie and started a telegram chat which still left him baffled, this after spending a couple months with his aunt already, finally calling for Jeeves’ opinion which pointedly suggested he do as the telegram made plain:”come at once”. Bertie then considers the request impossible for his plans on attending the birthday party, leading in to the differing opinion on the jacket, Jeeves staying firm with not relenting his dislike of the garment like Bertie believed he would someday. Bertie lets this go and details his plan of wiring his aunt of coming around in a week or so, reasoning it should be a tolerable wait. Bertie then readies for the party, and gets home dead early in the morning, ready to pass out when Jeeves interrupts with news of his aunt’s presence, she busting in.

Bertie first reminds us dear readers of he being consistent in giving credit where it’s deserved, and his Aunt Dahlia being one of the good ones. We then recap on previous escapades Bertie had with his aunt. Bertie after, pondering why Dahlia would bombard him at such an hour after so recently returning home, he believing other tasks more pressing than visiting him before his morning tea. Bertie decides to play a silent non-indulgent humor, his aunt breaking it with her idea of what he looked like, she inquiring if it was caused by his late night, Bertie agreeing it was due to Pongo’s late party. Dahlia then commands he dress, Bertie unbelieving and then groaning with unwillingness, Jeeves entering with non-reviving, but comforting tea. Bertie then asks the meaning of her being there (she at first being a smarty pants and referring to his tea), she hinting of Bertie accompanying her back at hers and she having a task for Bertie. After his questioning further, she gets down to the quick of it being for Bertie to give away prizes at a grammar school since the original person had to decline. Dahlia then relents to Bertie having a couple days to recover from his partying night, but Bertie not quite agreeing to Dahlia’s chore for him, especially after the add-on of having to prepare a speech, but Dahlia goes for the low blow of Bertie not being welcome in her home and in extension Anatole, her chef’s cooking ever again. Bertie’s still attempting to convince her he wouldn’t be the greatest choice, she giving reasons why she couldn’t ask his Uncle, and Bertie relating how terrible the last time he’d given a speech at a school had gone, Dahlia making it clear the whole event would be dry and she’d be glad of a laugh, she reiterating of seeing him within a couple days. This exchange leaving Bertie in a funk, Jeeves then entering to announce Gussie was present.

When they go through their proper greetings, Bertie cuts to the quick of Jeeves no longer working his case, Bertie ready to take the reigns. Gussie had entered the room looking desperate, the emotion visually becoming more pronounced when he heard the news, he then sharing his reasons for coming by was to be instructed on his next move since Madeline had gone to stay with some people in the country, but once Gussie shared the name Travers, Bertie realizes the issue was a thing of the past, he confessing his aunt’s home was where Madeline had gone, and he could take him there as an honored guest, Jeeves not having the genetics on his side in regards to he having reason or ability to get Gussie entrance, Bertie requiring to make note of this. He then describes the surroundings of Brinkley practically pushing the romance and possibility of engagement right in to one’s lap, Gussie being boosted by Bertie’s words. Bertie rings for Jeeves to retrieve him telegraph paper and pencil, after which Bertie writes to his Aunt Dahlia of Gussie coming to call at Brinkley, he then giving said telegram to Gussie for delivery, he happy to do so. Bertie realizes, through discussion with Jeeves, Gussie should stay away from fatty meat, so prepares a second telegram to meet Gussie at Brinkley with his sage advice. Bertie then confesses to Jeeves his other plan for Gussie was to have his aunt offer the job of giving prizes out to Gussie, Bertie relating his inability to keep this work, and Gussie unable to say no should his aunt ask him.

Following, is the back and forth telegram messaging between Bertie, Gussie, and Aunt Dahlia, the last replying first with negative tones on why Bertie sent his friend to her home, Bertie then receiving confused word from Gussie about Bertie’s additional message about meat, he only replying to add not to eat kidneys. Bertie then hears from his aunt which confirmed his senses of Gussie growing on her, was spot on, but when she mentioned Bertie would still be expected, Bertie drops the bomb of being unable to make the engagement, his aunt responding with bodily threats. After Bertie waited a little longer though, his wish came true with another telegram from Dahlia confirming she’d gotten Gussie to replace him, and he was no longer obligated to come, but she still wished him ill harm. Bertie was extensively relieved and had a night out at the Drones, retiring at home with no issues on his mind. The next morning however, brought surprising news by telegram informing him of the troubles of his cousin Angela and Tuppy Glossop, Bertie realizing he’d have to go to Brinkley Court to be with his aunt in her time of upheaval, he sending Jeeves ahead with luggage by train, he to follow by car after his lunch appointment.

Bertie is then seen driving and in thought over Tuppy and Angela’s issues, distressed especially since he’d been rooting for the two, knowing them both so well. He believed they matched each other, even knowing relationships had there ups-and downs, Bertie thinking Tuppy knew his limit by now. He sped forth to Dahlia’s so he could hear the whole story from the source. He made the trip in good time and was even confided in by Dahlia of being glad to see him, the usual feeling given by members of his family closer to disgusted revulsion. Bertie comforts her, uncertain of how she felt and guessing aloud. “Her usually cheerful map was clouded, and the genial smile conspic. by it’s absence.” Needed a reminder of what the ‘a’ was. She affirmed her worry, and mentions how she should be giving him a piece of her mind for his cowardly way of getting out of prize-giving, but allows him a pass since he came, and also thought “Spink-Bottle” a win, as long as he didn’t digress about newts. Dahlia also mentions her worry about Tom, her husband. Bertie calls him Uncle Tom and Dahlia alludes to how every time he does she imagines him black with a banjo (I didn’t get around to reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin, but I do enjoy Dahlia’s mindset.), but her worry was over his reaction to her loss in gambling, and this at a time when she needed funding for her weekly journal Milady’s Boudoir. Bertie was confused because of how long it was taking for Dahlia’s paper to take off (two years), she clearly stating Bertie would stay bewildered until he did a paper for himself, she also giving reply to how welcome Tom had been up to this point on the subject of money, his mood changing with the income tax representatives bothering him for more cash, and now he raving about it since her return home.

Bertie wasn’t surprised since knowing his Uncle couldn’t give up a fight when it came to his bankroll, regardless of its immensity. Dahlia mentions how Tom’s only source of comfort was Anatole’s menu, the two praising Anatole’s goodness, Dahlia after a few moments remembering her reasons for starting this conversation and getting back on track with why Angela and Tuppy were arguing, it shark-fin related. Apparently Angela, during vacation in Cannes, had met with a shark whilst aquaplaning: being towed by boat and riding behind attached it. Angela had been tossed, regained her board only to get knocked off again by a shark, and whilst gaining the attention of the driver to come back for her, she felt this shark nipping at her ankles. So when Angela relayed this story to Tuppy, he gives no reaction, and when she finished, suggested it could have been a log, but she reminded him it had jumped at her, so he allows it could have been a harmless fish, she angrily calling him names of idiocy, and he not comprehending her near fatality. Bertie definitely empathized with his cousin’s view, he knowing the few times one’s likely to have vibrant stories to share only to have someone play it down as nothing special. Well, from there it got worse as both stubbornly, on one side, and possibly ignorant on the other, both kept pointing faults out on the other until the engagement disintegrated. Bertie’s aunt again giving relief for Bertie having come, but he says some back-lashing words which his aunt is then reminded of having need of Jeeves. Bertie’s face is the only part of him to show shock, he sitting, but knowing the shock would’ve spread if in another, more upright position. Bertie then speaks his mind in what he’d thought of Jeeves’ handiness of late, he believing those who immediately sought Jeeves should at least allow him a shot at the problem first.

Dahlia sensed Bertie was in opposition to Jeeves for some reason, he denying there was any issue (but relates to us, dear readers) of a cause for his surliness stemming from Jeeves’ neglect in packing Bertie’s beloved jacket, he having seen it in his closet, it still hanging, so he remedied this by including it among his own items, but believed Jeeves was pulling a fast one on him. Dahlia brings him back to the subject of having Jeeves help Angela and Tuppy’s situation, but Bertie again pipes in, she should allow him to test his plan to renew their love, Dahlia insisting he stay out of it, and refusing to listen to his plan. Bertie leaves her as she wished, in the metaphorical dark, and goes outside where he sees a figurative dark cloud over Tuppy, whom was slinging stones at a flowerpot. Tuppy is reintroduced with a shared story of he and Bertie’s past, when Tuppy had pranked him and Bertie still rankled, but not so much as to enjoy his unhappiness of his engagement falling apart. One could see by Bertie’s look and demeanor he meant to aid fixing Tuppy’s situation. Tuppy didn’t respond with gladness, but dazed emptiness of emotion. He asked whether Bertie was staying or visiting, Bertie toying with the idea of confessing his intention to help Angela and he, but decides not to, since some people don’t take help lightly. Bertie gives an answer which brings indifference, Tuppy then bringing up how Bertie most likely heard of his troubles, Bertie confirming and asking why Tuppy would denounce Angela’s shark, he sharing his side of the story, which included defending himself from being called “material” due to wondering aloud about Anatole’s food decisions. Bertie agrees this to be good reasoning, but if love shall prevail, shouldn’t he have let her win this one, Tuppy unable to deny his love for her, but she also requiring an ego hit. Bertie is unable to accept his words and asks Tuppy what happened to his kind, romantic self, Tuppy wondering where Angela’s good qualities had gone, especially after being told he had a double chin. Bertie attempts to have Tuppy overlook this and fix their fight, but Tuppy refuses due to other fat points Angela had made. Bertie tries to keep Tuppy in perspective about his words to Angela, but he saw them as helpful, not purposely hurtful. Bertie now knew how difficult his task would be, he supposing aloud of Angela being torn up by their feud. Bertie then suggesting she’s putting on a “mask” to hide her true emotions, and a way of giving sign to a truce would be to make a grand gesture of pushing their upcoming meal away (TV show also covering this story). Tuppy has trouble with this at first since it’s Anatole’s cooking which is desired by all who come across him, but Bertie reminds Tuppy he can go down to the kitchen in the night to satiate his palate, which upon hearing, brightens Tuppy into agreeing, he assuming Jeeves came up with the plan and disbelieving Bertie could manage anything so perfect, Bertie taking offense, but his displeasure going unnoticed, he instead reminding Tuppy the time was ripe to dress for dinner.

Bertie was still most affected by Tuppy’s close-minded thoughts, it especially hurtful to give due credit to an employee whom was subordinating Bertie’s jacket. He eventually obtains composure by bath, the most aiding accessory being a toy duck. Once the calming bath was through, he’s met by Jeeves whom greets him formally and hands Bertie his socks, upon request. Bertie then mentions Jeeves supposition of the task he’s given himself being quite the doozy and being met with agreement by Jeeves. Bertie then eases Jeeves’ mind by assuring he’s handled the issue accordingly, Jeeves politely asking for details, and he being secretive, but then sharing a plan of feigned peril for Tuppy to show how much he cared by making certain of Angela’s safety, Bertie nixing and closing the “subj.”. Silently, Bertie is worrying and saddened by Jeeves failing ability of coming up with a decent plan, Jeeves again responding in a way which has Bertie defending his sound plan from criticism. Then Bertie critiques Jeeves’ way of making his reply sound dubious of Bertie’s success. Jeeves agreeing to work on this, but once Bertie confides his plan, Jeeves again gives him the impression of questioning the soundness of it, Bertie overlooking the cracks Jeeves thought were holes, he instead asking for his white jacket, Jeeves seeming to smugly mention his forgetfulness to pack it, and Bertie confessing of his good fortune in supplying it for himself, and for Jeeves to bring it from the hall. When Bertie’s aunt first catches sight of him, she likens him to a group of men in a musical.

Bertie learns his aunt’s mood may be caused by his Uncle still being in a bad mood. Bertie attempting to come up with an alternative to his aunt’s mess, but learning a new fact which pinches the idea. Bertie then discovers Dahlia could join the crew of non-eaters, he not explaining himself clearly at first, but once she understood what Bertie meant, she was quite pleased and decided to take part. When the guests sat to dinner, Bertie was not prepared for the serious atmosphere and was quite happy when it was done, everyone in a particular mood, Bertie especially surprised by Gussie’s deathly appearance since last he’d seen him. After the meal, Bertie was deciding to catch up with Gussie, but got caught up with a game of backgammon with his aunt until she was pulled away to speak with Anatole. Bertie discovers Gussie in the garden, he not receiving him well, quite upset over Bertie pawning off his prize-giving onto him, he prepared for this unpleasant confrontation. He makes it seem like Gussie taking over this task was a part of his plan to show the many sides of Gussie, which Bertie does fair enough selling, only needing to claim how simple his speech at the girls school had gone. Bertie then councils Gussie through his inability to ask for Madeline’s hand. Gussie coming around to the idea, but then fretting over what he’ll have to say once Bertie “tags him in”, he giving him a phrase Jeeves had said to him and then some interesting metaphors Madeline had come up with. Bertie rounds off the turns of phrase until steering Gussie to the main, then suggesting he have a couple shots beforehand to even the nerves, Gussie sharing he’d never imbibed, to Bertie’s surprise, but Gussie would need to work with what he allowed himself, o.j., then Bertie runs through the plan with him before leaving him to it. Bertie going off to locate Madeline to begin his part, but realizing upon viewing her, how she wasn’t one of his most bosom of buddies and this could be a bit uncomfortable for him. Bertie sallies forth, though, getting Madeline into the yard and struggling with where to go from there, more figuratively than literal.

Bertie first begins by giving example to how straight forward his conversation with Madeline could’ve gone if she were a different sort, it being hashed out relatively quickly. Madeline was prone to being affected by twilight though, and Bertie knew he was going to have trouble speaking with her, she supplying chat which involved the stars, Bertie listening to the sorts of diverse subjects Madeline would bring to his attention, before she referring to a single star which didn’t support her “daisy-chain” metaphor, he thinking she needed to choose which she believed, but ignores this since realizing he could use the subject matter as a lead-in when she veers off course over some rabbits nearby. Madeline shares how when she was younger she believed rabbits were gnomes (is it odd or simply because I’m reading two British authors at the same time being the reason they both have gnomes in their stories?), this somehow relating to her idea of seeing a fairy queen. Bertie lets this slide and finally pipes in about how her comment about “shedding tears” earlier, related to an “aching heart” someone on the property was dealing with, Madeline guessing who it could be, Bertie getting more annoyed as she kept getting it wrong, but finally he indirectly spouting the point of “this aching heart” relating to the inability of confessing this love for Madeline, she getting misty-eyed and Bertie tired with the effort, he not realizing Madeline thought he was speaking of himself until she replied how she had noticed the looks he’d been giving her at Cannes, he now knowing he was in too deep to back out now, but was dismayed with the idea of being engaged to a girl like Madeline. Bertie awaits her to finish explaining painfully, but was lucky by the end of it, she turning his misproposal down. Bertie is so relieved, he accepts this readily, she apologizing and Bertie easing her mind, quite content with her suggestion of staying friends, she looking at him with compassion, and he wanting to explain how fine it was, but resisting, there being a long enough pause for Bertie’s mind to wander when Madeline had picked up the subj. again to wish she could return his feelings, but they needing to keep this little confession a secret, she spiraling into wanting to share a thought with him since they were truly friends, Bertie sensing out loud she felt love for another, she agreeing, and Bertie thinking how he didn’t look forward to breaking the news to Gussie, Bertie believing it would push him over the edge. He gives example of the two spectrums by mentioning his buddy Bingo whom bounces back quickly from disappointment, Gussie lying on the other side, the kind to pine. Madeline was explaining how the man she spoke of hadn’t shown signs of affection for her yet, but details how they first met, Bertie realizing it must be Gussie she was describing, he so relieved and surprised, a “wow” escapes, startles Madeline, and he making an excuse to withdraw as Gussie comes forward. Bertie now certain their fates were locked together, adjourning to the smoking room for a celebratory drink.

Bertie walks us through the making of his liquid delight and drinks with his feet up in an armchair (I had one of those funny images of his feet being above his head, heh), he thinking of how Gussie could already have done the deed and could already be hashing out plans, making Bertie glad for the newt-loving fool. Bertie is interrupted with his fluffy thoughts by whom he assumed was Tuppy walking in quietly and making himself a drink, as well. Bertie had forgotten his second case temporarily due to the supposed success of Gussie’s. He getting right into how Tuppy was doing, whether Angela had approached him and all, Tuppy flustered for his empty stomach, and relaying Angela hadn’t so much as stepped near him, Bertie then looking on the upside possibility Angela was currently searching for him, Tuppy believing she hadn’t even noticed his ultimate sacrifice, Bertie again attempting to show how it didn’t seem likely she hadn’t noticed at all, he listing the courses and Tuppy interrupting due to not having eaten them. Bertie changes tactics by trying to leave him words of strength, which does the opposite since Bertie again reminded him of food, this time from the pantry, and after Bertie realized his ignorant mistake, the two sit in silence for awhile.

Tuppy gets up only to show his frustration through the attacking of furniture, Bertie respectfully averting his eyes, until Tuppy picks up the reigns of chat once more, he speaking of the topic of Angela, and through his thorough examining of the matter, he detects the theory there was “dirty work” all over the tiff, Bertie disagreeing once Tuppy mentions it couldn’t have been caused by his inconsiderate words of the shark. Tuppy thinks Angela already wanted to end the engagement using the shark as a catalyst. Tuppy believing she must’ve fallen for another whilst at Cannes. He then making direct threats to the unlucky fella if he ever saw him, then exits. Bertie waiting a beat before heading for the drawing room to locate Angela for a chat. He only discovers his aunt, whom didn’t look pleased due to her appetite raging, she informing Bertie of Angela already having gone up to her room early due to a headache, the news not sounding good to him. Dahlia inquiring why he wanted to know and he relaying he’d wanted to walk and talk with her, Dahlia taking the opportunity to detail a favor involving Bertie drowning himself in the pond, and after his aunt describing she would dance on his grave. Bertie was hurt and bitter by her words likening himself to a girl he’d read about in a book whom didn’t wish to remain in the house if she was going to take such abuse.

Bertie calms for recollecting her empty insides, he asking straight out why she was ‘biting his head off’, his intuition being sound, she mentioning her food lust, and he proposing the same raid to the kitchen for steak and kidney pie. This doesn’t ease her mind though, since Tom was not receptive to being empathetic to Dahlia’s lack of eating, he wounded over Anatole putting in his notice because of all the untouched plates. Bertie apologizes sincerely what with the part he’d played in the mess, Tom truly overwhelmed with the loss, Dahlia’s handout less likely. Bertie was short on remedies now, but willing to make the effort, Dahlia showing him what staggering looked like whilst in a sitting position. She making clear on her unfinished threat if he were so bold to attempt another fix-it project, but Bertie leaves the room, hearing what sounded like the Tennyson volume sitting beside his aunt fly at the door, he not dwelling on this and going out to the lawn to ruminate on some ideas, hearing a groan of which he thought could be from his Uncle Tom, but deciphers the forms on the bench to be Jeeves and Gussie. What was so hard to understand for Bertie was Gussie seemed to be in a negative state, when he gets close enough, Jeeves greets him, but Gussie bids him farewell with the plan of walking to the pond to drown himself, Jeeves suggesting this isn’t the best plan, so Gussie takes his word, making known how everyone he’s encountered, including Mrs. Travers had been nothing but nice to him, and instead would go for a stroll.

Bertie is perfectly flummoxed by Gussie’s attitude, asking Jeeves how it could’ve gone so badly with Bertie’s training Gussie beforehand, Jeeves relaying how Gussie had gone off-course and instead of proposing, blasted Madeline with a flurry of newt-talk. At first Bertie couldn’t fathom how this could’ve happened, but after further detail of Gussie becoming too nervous and began to chatter aimlessly, Bertie reminisces of his own experience with a dentist. He then imagining how the failure could’ve went down and when using the conversation model between he and dentist, he discovers how easily it could’ve caved in. Bertie also learning the amount of time Gussie had to share this subject line before Madeline opted to return indoors. Bertie understanding how demanding a job helping Gussie was going to be, he usually asking Jeeves’ advice by now, but instead sharing the situation needing careful thinking over and wishing Jeeves a good night, Bertie reflecting on what option would be optimal as he goes.

Bertie relates how he has luck sleeping on a problem and the solution revealing itself by morning, which it had, he having a new plan for Gussie to admit his feelings: alcohol. Bertie was ready to share his idea with Jeeves when he came in with Bertie’s tea, but Tuppy comes in after Jeeves, he looking rough, Jeeves fluidly exiting, and Tuppy wanting to share his woes with Bertie after he declined to listen to Bertie’s new strategy. Bertie then refrains in preference to hearing why, Tuppy describing how he’d gone at one a.m. to snack in the kitchen, he encountering Angela, Dahlia, and Tom, the last thinking burglars were invading, so was packing heat, as well. The conversation being relived by Tuppy was upsetting him since Angela was able to make him feel fat once more. She continually pressing the button even as they all returned to their rooms, Bertie playing at positivity, but Tuppy certain Angela was in love with another and disgusted by him. Bertie then kills the idea she fell in love at Cannes, saying they’d spent most of their time together, she not close to anyone, but himself, he not helping the sharing of this by describing Angela’s name for herself in their youth. Tuppy stays in thoughtful silence until the gong for breakfast is heard, he off like lightning, and Bertie believing he’d done good with both his current and upcoming plans, and ready to share with Jeeves as he retrieved the tea tray.

Bertie begins his engaging Jeeves with noting Tuppy’s unkempt look, Bertie explains his most recent woe, still believing Angela held the old torch, and had a new idea to get her aimed in the right direction, he deciding a good roast of Tuppy will get Angela to defend him regardless of their anger toward each other. Bertie gets the light bulb from a similar experience he had with a girl whom was insulting her fiance, Bertie agreeing with her without knowing this fact, and she reacting unfavorably upon Bertie. Once he’d settled the time-frame, having Jeeves make note of Angela off with friends currently, he set his sights upon Gussie’s love issue. Bertie plainly refers to Gussie as a b.m. and lists why when Jeeves attempts to show decorum, the main example being of the costume and not going to the party, Bertie making note even on the off-chance Gussie had made it, due to his straight-edge sensibilities, would not have proposed, and so Bertie planned on spiking Gussie’s o.j. with a hefty amount of gin. He then has to school Jeeves once more on his inflection of his ‘sirs’, Jeeves explaining Bertie’s plan was a bit forward, since Bertie didn’t know how sensitive Gussie could be to the spirit, but shares a story about a parrot to help explain, Bertie not catching the gist and focusing only on Gussie not being a winged creature, fully intending to implement his plan. He then relates the reason he’s waiting for the next day to begin, it being for Gussie hosting the prize-giving and would be able to kill two birds with his gin high, but when Bertie adds perhaps Jeeves should be the one to spike Gussie’s juice due to having easier access, Jeeves apologetically declines, Bertie wounded by this, but not taking it personally.

Bertie didn’t recognize the names of Angela’s buddies, and she likely having a great time, for barely making it back in time to change for dinner, Bertie catching her afterwards in the drawing room, and looking like she needed a friendly ear. They speak cordially, but familiarly with one another, Bertie inviting her for a stroll, Tuppy then upsetting a mini-table with breakables atop it, startling Dahlia, and Tom pitching in with a teacup, Tuppy apologizing, but Angela giving him a look of being above it, they continuing out and planting themselves on a bench, Bertie starting off slow with easy chat, they beginning with Angela’s day-long stay with the Stretchley-Budds, she helping them with the set up for a party for the servants, Anatole not attending for wanting to return to where he was valued. Angela was ready to go indoors due to the dew, but Bertie extends her stay by offering his lap as a shoe-guard against the ghastly nature, she accepting and they idly conversing, it slowly dying off, and Bertie hearing rustling in the bushes, debating its weaselly origins, then going straight into the candid, Angela admitting to the wedding being off for sure, Bertie going in for the kill and laying Tuppy a new one, Angela replying how she’d believed they were chums, he denying this, and relying on past experience to aid the believability. He struggles with his words since he didn’t truly have hard feelings toward the nitwit, but attempting once more, his last go confusing her, and then himself for having to repeat it multiple times, but then he explains himself so thoroughly, it hurt him to go on, what with the expunging of all oxygen in the relation and he not enjoying being so harsh, but finishing it off like a champ. After all of this, and no reaction from her, Bertie is in awe by her indifference, but then as she’s still staring at the bushes, she agrees with Bertie’s tirade, he not having planned for this off-chance possibility, taking a moment to form a response. Before he has a chance though, Angela goes on with relish and states other bad qualities Tuppy had, even going for his hair thinning, she then deciding to return indoors, Tuppy of course, exiting from his bushy cocoon.

Bertie senses a defensive stance was needed, repositioning himself behind the bench, he then gauging Tuppy’s physical appearance giving signs of his fury. Bertie plays innocent whilst Tuppy stays fixated on harming him, he staying calm and using the bench as buffer as he attempts to explain his uncouth opinions of Tuppy, interrupting himself with talk of haggis (ingredients) and Tuppy’s background (Scotch). One part during his wait for Tuppy to realize his intentions, he notes the beetle which had stayed its post on Tuppy’s head having finally buzzed off quite hilariously. Then again, Tuppy’s confession of he believing Bertie was getting the love bug for Angela, (worth the read in itself due to Bertie’s innocent reaction of cousins being anything other than blood relatives being snort-worthy, as well) especially with his reply, but still not convincing Tuppy until mentioning an interest at Cannes with another girl. When defending his choice of Madeline being his heart-puller, Tuppy is stunned to a stop from his lunging at Bertie (along with Bertie’s backtracking with Madeline’s odd opinion of stars and rabbits truly tickling me), he’s finally convinced upon hearing Madeline had declined interest in Bertie. Tuppy has a couple more instances of flare up due to remembering the choice of words Bertie had used against him, but Bertie reminds him it was all for the plan of his roast, and Bertie realizing Angela must’ve seen Tuppy in the bush to maker her say all those sensitive topics, she reappearing then for another jab consisting of a plate of sandwiches for Tuppy, Bertie finally getting his release from the fluctuating safety of the chat, he following Angela back in as they hear the plate knocked over angrily, Angela enchanted with the calm night (love it!).

Next morning Bertie contemplates his inability to rejoin Angela and Tuppy’s souls, so he instead changes to Gussie’s situation at hand. He having executed his spiking of juice with much effort according to he, as acting cupid, overcoming the issues, and able to catch some z’s in the midst of needing to obtain the jug from the kitchen. Fortunately, Bertie’s timing was fine since he ran into Gussie practicing his speech on the lawn, Bertie more certain once speaking with the nervous nerd, he’d made the right decision. He then brings up of having good tidings, but once Gussie begins to guess and none of his hopes of the school for some reason shutting down, Bertie gives Gussie a general upbeat phrase to say since he had nada in the speech department. Bertie then attempts to assure Gussie he should speak with Madeline again, Gussie not seeing the point since making a fool of himself and believing she couldn’t stand him anymore. Then after Bertie failed to make impression with a partially remembered story, Gussie insists Bertie leave him to figure out what he’ll say. As Bertie obliges, this moment had been his deciding factor whether to proceed as planned, he off to the kitchen for the o.j., and when entering his room with Jeeves already present, he comes to learn Jeeves had decided to rally round and succumb to Bertie’s plan, already lacing something upon having a worrisome exchange whilst Bertie napped. He was pleased, but thought a bit more in the juice couldn’t hurt for safety purposes, and when Jeeves shares of having shared an anecdotal story for Gussie’s use, he leaving him, Bertie is in mid-pour, and an obviously sloshed Gussie walks in, Bertie making certain Gussie had willingly imbibed, he confirming this with the knowledge of consuming much whiskey. Bertie was currently quite glad of a large picture obscuring the tainted juice, they then going down to lunch, everyone quite solemn since it wasn’t Anatole’s meals. After, Bertie returns to his room to get ready to go to the school, Gussie already being taken there, Jeeves and he slowly understand, Gussie had consumed the pitcher of o.j., the two unable to imagine the events which could come from such a highly inexperienced intoxication.

During the drive, Bertie remarks to Jeeves how even if the prize-giving goes south, Gussie should definitely ace his proposal when attempted, Bertie thinking Gussie would gain the air of Cagney. Jeeves then informs Bertie of Gussie already having obtained his engagement before leaving, he pleasantly surprised, but allowing how well his plan, not Jeeves’, had worked. When they arrived and Bertie sees Gussie being directed to his seat, he was hit by traumatic nostalgia of his own speech-giving moment. He considering anyone who was familiar with drinking would be able to detect the lack of sobriety of Gussie. Bertie doesn’t engage with the proceedings until noting how Gussie attempted to cross his legs a repeatedly until having to correct the headmaster a couple of times on the pronunciation of his name, Gussie responding with a happily forgiving “you silly ass” being quite hilarious. Also, before this point, Dahlia became aware of Gussie’s buzz. The headmaster deciding whether to turn the floor to Gussie what with his colorful outbursts thus far, but Gussie takes the decision away when announcing his speech-y time, he getting quite a reception from the boys, and actually not bombing. He even has a moment to speak of Tom and his opinion of the state of the world not being beautiful (the main motif of Gussie’s speech), and still going strong on crowd likability. Then right as Bertie was glad he wasn’t seated with his family, Gussie spots him and calls him out as a pessimist. Finally, he’s interrupted with the task of giving the prizes, after the first handed out, Gussie’s likability slowly drops. He attempts to speak with each child, but when Scripture Knowledge was presented, and Bertie’s name again lingered on, Bertie makes his way out, getting to bed and passing out, he awoken by Jeeves for dinner. He is given the details of what happened after and how quickly the ceremony ended, Jeeves then relaying of Gussie losing his engagement, Bertie overcome with this update, but they then interrupted by Tuppy collapsing outside Bertie’s door.

Bertie wasn’t receptive to the look in Tuppy’s eye, and he wasn’t keen to notice Jeeves had done his usual habit of trickling out quietly, but it seemed he worried over this for nothing, Tuppy explaining his reason for coming was to apologize. Bertie misinterpreted the reason for the apology being related to Tuppy’s prank on him with the rings at the pool, but he clarifies by stating it was for not believing his love for Madeline. Now though, Tuppy was certain Gussie had stolen Angela from him, regardless of Bertie relating he loved “the Bassett”, too. Tuppy will have none of this since being told by Angela of Gussie and her engagement, surprising him, Jeeves entering after Tuppy leaves to inflict death upon Gussie, Jeeves then pointing out Bertie’s plan to discover Gussie needed no more than a glance to his bed, Gussie in the midst from crawling out from underneath it. Unfortunately for Gussie, he hadn’t much time to relax, since after Jeeves locked the door per Gussie’s request, Tuppy came back, Gussie making for the closet before Tuppy barges in and claiming he knew Gussie was in there, only to be shocked when he emerged and dashed out, Tuppy following after overcoming his surprise, Bertie then dismissing Jeeves in order to give these new developments serious contemplation.

Fortunately, Bertie was of Wooster stock, so his need for thinking over the problem took mere moments, he deciding he must speak with the angelic player, Angela, she admitting her motives, as for being for the entertainment, Tuppy supplying this in spades. Bertie attempts to have her end the game, but she having no intention of doing so, offhandedly insulting Bertie, and he letting her alone. He was disheartened by Angela’s unsympathetic view of her joke, he remembering a quote by Kipling of the (f)emale of the (s)pecies being more (d)eadly than the (m)ale. Bertie decided it was time for brain food, on his way, discovering Dahlia ahead of his mindset. She showed she was in better spirits by offering him some of her snack, and the two chatting about the servants party, then moving to Gussie, Bertie sensing she hadn’t heard of his engagement since she raved about how wonderful his performance had been at the school. Dahlia also mentions how her mood couldn’t be turned due to Anatole deciding to stay on. Then Dahlia’s butler enters to inform her of Gussie potentially stirring up Anatole,after all of Dahlia’s hard work convincing him to retract his notice.

This news seemed to freeze all who heard, Bertie’s apple slice chewing the only noise to break the silence, and upon further inquiry by Dahlia, the couple learn Gussie was sitting on the roof and disturbing Anatole’s ability to slumber with making faces at him. Dahlia was off like a shot when her butler, Seppings said it had “upset” Anatole, Bertie and he quickly following Dahlia up the stairs. The scene they run to is an obvious displeased Anatole shaking his fists at the skylight where Gussie gazed down with the look of a fish, Bertie sympathetic to Anatole’s plight. When Dahlia asks Anatole what’s happened, he gives his version in quite an eclectic choice of words, Bertie agreeing with him without provocation (even though to see the dialogue, it’s quite a “mixed” explanation). Anatole continues his rant of how he attempted to learn Gussie’s reasons for staring down at him, but nothing comes of it, he ending in French, (many versions to choose from) “I do not care what type of vile chap. It’s stupid to make like a bird, go away.” Dahlia attempting to soothe Anatole, but ends up stirring him up with a misinterpreted choice of words, Anatole again threatening to leave, everyone showing Gussie the error of his ways by gesture or dirty look. Bertie finally figures what Gussie was conveying through facial signs: he was stuck up there, so they then endeavored to open the skylight, and once Gussie was secured in the room, was unable to explain himself. Dahlia gives up after attempting to extract some detail of Gussie’s reasoning, she suggesting Bertie get him out of there and give him some ice for his head, whilst she again attempted to calm Anatole. Bertie then asks Gussie if Tuppy had been chasing him again, and, in French, a “shiver” going through him. Bertie considers aloud Gussie should away to his room before Tuppy picked up his scent once more. Once he was properly tucked away behind locked door, Bertie makes his way back to the dining room for more fruit salad and a further ponder, Dahlia joining him soon after with request of a drink, Bertie in his element and supplying hastily. He then attempts empathy, but is greeted with he being compared to Attila the Hun, to his dismay, she then explaining Anatole’s plan to leave the next day and also learning of Angela and Gussie’s engagement, she no longer caring if Bertie planned to fix these new problems what with not seeing how it could get worse. Bertie then is given a letter by Jeeves from the Bassett, whom decided she was going to marry him, Bertie wailing his dismay.

Bertie realized he wouldn’t be able to decline now he had been reclaimed, he giving the letter a second perusal and not landing an idea until some snacking was had, first the sequence of events which would get Angela and Tuppy together, as well as Gussie and Madeline trying again, coming to him. Bertie decides after another slice of cheese, he’d locate Madeline, but this needn’t have been a necessity since Madeline wandered in not long after the thought was shared. The conversation which follows is full of one repeating the other and apologies for speaking at the same time. When Madeline gets her side out, she confesses her affection for Bertie, but still held a flame for Gussie. Madeline couldn’t see a reconciliation between them though, then Angela comes in and the two ladies commence in congratulating and well-wishing each other, Bertie taking the moment to excuse himself for a think, going outside and literally bumping into Jeeves. He takes a moment to measure whether Jeeves could help him with his situation, and decides to give him a shot, but only if he could refrain from making Bertie give up his mess jacket, he agreeing, then offering his previous suggestion and Bertie too hard up to poo-poo the plan. They discuss the finer points and decide half an hour after midnight would meet the hour of execution of the idea to commence.

Bertie then compares how country living as opposed to London living affects his actions; For instance, at night in the country, Bertie’s imagination takes over and he’s more susceptible to the heebies with the possibility of the supernatural taking him by surprise. What was currently bothering him, though was in knowing it was time to ring the fire bell and the shock of the noise it would make in the deadly quiet. He then remembers another chap from the Drones having a similar experience and he only concerned about his own timely escape when the alarm sounded (the difference here being, he wasn’t currently in love, which Bertie didn’t catch). None of this mattered due to the results being Bertie walking with everyone to the lawn, Bertie calling Jeeves over to discuss how the plan didn’t go accordingly, Jeeves then alerting Bertie  to Dahlia attempting to get his attention about why he’d rung the bell, she taking his excuse well enough and declaring she would return to bed when Gussie states of all doors being locked, Dahlia then losing it, and ranting about the failed loyalty of their butler. As she continued, Jeeves waited patiently to catch her attention, and upon doing so, calms Dahlia with giving an idea, she prompting him to share, he revealing a bicycle was at their disposal and Dahlia immediately voting Bertie be the rider, he attempts to deflect the task and fails, he then moodily beginning his ride, thinking of the dark joke Jeeves told of two men becoming one due to a tandem bicycle collision with a van. Moving forward to Bertie arriving at the Manor, he confesses how the ride had changed him to a more serious soul, especially when learning from Sepping, Jeeves currently had the back door keys (this is also added in the TV show), Bertie returning to Brinkley to learn why he’d been sent on this ride-around.

Bertie describes how he felt closer to scorned women (in reference to the saying). When he reaches Brinkley, he’s greeted by Madeline, he wanting to give Jeeves a piece of his mind, but Bertie waiting patiently, as the two soon begin misunderstanding each other again, he learning Jeeves was currently in the dining room, and also the time he’d ‘uncovered’ the house key. Madeline then drags out another piece of information she wished to share, getting caught up with comparison of Bertie to the knights of the Round Table, finally hinting at what she required, Bertie obliging once understanding it was about their coupledom, he then excusing himself so he could change. Bertie was so lightened by this news, he didn’t even feel anger toward Jeeves anymore. Then Tuppy greets him, only then returning from the cellar with liquid refreshment, he catching Bertie up on he and Angela making up after Bertie shared of Tuppy being back in the game with Angela, he then resuming to the dining room when Dahlia called, she in better spirits, as well since Anatole withdrew his notice once more and Tom had given her a cheque for her paper. Bertie continued to his task of bathing and was met by Jeeves upon the finish, Bertie so intent on questioning about everyone’s happiness, he didn’t even regard the inquiry of how his journey had been. Bertie gets Jeeves explanation on how the rest of his plan came down to psychology and if the group had a common irritation (Bertie), they’d resolve their own issues, which had gone as planned. Bertie realizes he could use an omelette after Jeeves shared the anecdote with the necessity of breaking some eggs. When Jeeves returns with revitalizing refreshments, Bertie asks Jeeves if he was troubled over anything, Jeeves confessing to ruining by iron, his mess jacket, Bertie verging on anger, but then giving French phrase, ‘What is the purpose of it?’, ‘generous wrath’, wouldn’t be worth it, Bertie taking the news on the chin, and continuing his consumption of omelette eating.


As usual, loved this one, and am still pleased with recognizing how closely the TV series kept the story-line so on point. Also, the reason I won’t quote excerpts of the book, usually is firstly, there are plenty of reviewers who do, and also due to the hilarity of the conversations between characters, since they are so genuine and deadpan in the reading, it must be read all at once since the back-story is usually important and one wouldn’t necessarily get the same gleefulness seeing it in mid-magic. To the next!

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow & other selections

We begin with The Author’s Account of Himself, which describes of he having enjoyed discovering new places, which bothered his parents, but he exploring all the spots known for robbery, murder, or ghosts, one day viewing a vast scenery from a hill, impressing him with its many miles. From then on studying books about travel and neglecting his school work, he traveling to watch ships sail away and fantasizing of the adventures they’d had so far away. He goes on to contemplate, after seeing parts of America, to go to Europe to see the history of his origin. He concludes with having and not knowing whether it was luck or not of being able to travel many countries and studying the scenery like a tourist rather than a “philosopher”, he going so far as to sketch a few scenes from the places he’d been for friends and how differently his choice for sketches would be from a landscape painter, whom would choose the secret, lesser known spots rather than the tourist attraction areas.

Then The Legend of Sleepy Hollow begins with a description of Tarry Town (not important), which explains where the name stems from: housewives in the next town, caused by their spouses going to the bar, then we learn of an especially quiet spot a short distance from the town, the only noise coming from a brook and birds. Inhabitants of this area coming from the Dutch and the glen known as Sleepy Hollow. The town had rumors surrounding it which indicated there were hex-like powers within it. Many odd sightings and feelings being experienced by the people, one leading apparition being the Headless Horseman. The story behind the Horseman’s origins is of he being a Hessian trooper whom was hit by a cannon-ball in the Revolutionary War, the ghost having some space to ride, it being said to go as far as a churchyard where he was supposedly buried. We then are told of Ichabod Crane whom had stayed there some thirty years previous to teach the children, then receiving description of his physical character (which reminds me of Johnny Depp’s version more than the TV show version). His school house is shown and how it was easy to enter, but if closed, was rigged for being difficult to escape from, as well as the sort of teacher he was when it came to corporal punishment, but had a “justice” about whom he’d target. He also tended to chum about with the older boys and made rounds of the children’s homes when it came to room and board. The scene painted of Crane is wildly different than those portrayed, except, again with perhaps Depp’s role, if only he’d been focused on multiple ladies, as mentioned in the story; the boy’s eye wandered, for sure. 

Crane attempted to make himself useful for his staying though, doing chores in and outside of the property’s of the farmers hosting him. He also orchestrated and taught the local church choir, he being quite popular among the ladies for his fancy dress and speech, but also having the latest news to share with each home he entered. He also enjoyed reading a book of witchcraft by the brook until dark after he taught class, singing as he made his way to whichever home he stayed. He also enjoyed spending time with the wives as they spun clothes, sharing ghost and scary stories, Crane doing the same with his choice of reading and scientific facts. Crane did become spooked by his walk home some nights due to sounds or mistaken view of shrubbery. One day he’s running into a barely legal girl whom was daughter to a man of prominent stature, Crane having been to the man’s home once, he imagining what his dinners must look like with such meaty variety, he then viewing the inside of the farmer’s home. Crane contemplated how he’d win Katrina, the girl’s heart, especially since there was already plenty of contenders and the main one being a young man called Brom, a tough, mischievous, good-humored hooligan whom sometimes did horse ride-bys with his buddies late at night making loud whooping noises, waking the ladies up who knew the culprit immediately upon listening. Back to Crane’s woo, though, even knowing Brom was testing his luck with Katrina, Crane couldn’t give up and made his move as well, but more toned down, Brom hearing about it anyways, and his threat of what he’d do to Crane getting back to him, he making sure to avoid Brom, but he getting at Crane other ways, like his school house being vandalized. Besides these happenings, one afternoon Crane receives an invitation to a party at the Van Tassel’s, Katrina’s family, this happening on a school day and prompting Crane to rush the rest of the lessons and let the kids out early so he could prepare.

There is also multiple reference of Crane being similar to the “knight-errant”, he again having this air as he rode to Katrina’s, looking quite a figure atop the horse he’d borrowed. When he’d arrived, the other guests were noted in attempting to look their smartest, Crane noticing, but not acknowledging Brom, the two entering, and Crane bringing his attention to all the yummy goodness around him (the man loved his food). Then he has a dance with Katrina, as Brom watched, and afterwards goes to listen to a conversation with her father, officially losing his momentum by leaving Katrina alone, the loser. Crane heard the group sharing terrifying tales of every kind, soon landing on the Horseman, Crane hears the latest of a man’s run in and where the Horseman was seen most often, as well as a story from Brom with his encounter. After a bit more stories are related, the party breaks up, people go home, except for Crane, whom waits for a moment to speak with Katrina, whom he thought he was at the top of the game with. The Narrator doesn’t know the details of the conversation though, only knowing Crane didn’t stay long after and wasn’t happy. He waking his horse with disrespect and riding by the gnarly tree, but having another moment of uncertainty when coming to a brook where the man of the namesaked tree had been held up. Crane attempts to rush by the obstacle, but now the horse resists stubbornly, unwilling to obey his savagely made demands. Then he notices a presence in the dark, Crane calling out for an answer and getting none, so begins humming a psalm (hilariously), the creature moving into the horse’s blind spot, and Crane realizing it was the Horseman.

Crane rides off, attempting to lose him, but regardless of speeding up or slowing down, the Horseman matches his pace. When Crane notices where his head was though, it renewed his energy to flee, the horse taking a route of his own decision, it leading past a “goblin bridge” and the church. Crane’s saddle then comes loose and he slides back and forth as the horse runs in a panic. Crane then notices he’s approaching the bridge Brom had lost the Horseman, Crane not as lucky since getting across, he looking behind him and seeing the Horseman readying to chuck his head at him, Crane attempts to avoid it, but the Horseman has some spot on aim, for it connecting directly with his head. Crane falls hard, and all ride on without him, his horse scampering home and no one noticing Crane missing until after he’d missed his class, they tracking his hat down first, but nothing of the man was found, his school house closing. Someone visiting Sleepy Hollow from the city however, knew Crane was alive and doing well for himself, but the wives preferred to remember his disappearance being related to the Horseman’s doing, a farm boy claiming to have heard psalm singing at the deserted school house. Definitely unlike the adaptations; an alright tale, but does read like an overview, and knowing how much of a butt Crane is, definitely makes his horrendous scare much more satisfying.

There is then a Postscript where we learn the Narrator heard the story at a meeting, the man sharing of getting the response of amused laughter except for one whom asked of the moral, the man responding of life having ups and downs and he himself not believing parts of the story either, the man having a confused expression by the answer.

Rip Van Winkle is then related by introducing the story being discovered in a deceased Diedrich Knickbocker’s papers. The man having written the tale and how it was either loved or dismissed, it being said he should’ve spent his time in some other way, but since he wasn’t alive, there being no harm in sharing the story now. We truly begin with mention of the Kaatskill mountains, which changed color and shape depending on the hour and weather. This story also following descendants of the Dutch, who lived in a village at the bottom of the mountain. We discover Rip Van Winkle lives among them and is a pleasant sort. He marrying an opposite personality from himself, so when his domestic tiffs were gossiped about, he consistently had the unanimous support for his side. Even the children of the village “sang his praises” since he’d teach them new games, make them toys, and told all sorts of stories. The one area he lacked was the motivation to keep up with his own household chores, but offering assistance to others, as well as having abundant patience with the most mind-dulling pastimes, i.e. fishing, hunting were his shtick. Rip didn’t have any luck when it came to the weather being on his side when necessary to do farm work, and so his was the lease successful in the village. His children weren’t any better for him, his son looking like a street rat, and his wife constantly berating his laziness, so to escape, he would walk about outside. Wolf, his dog was looked with the same contempt as Rip by his wife since she believed the dog wasn’t helping her husband’s lackadaisical ways. His marriage didn’t get any easier with time, so Rip began attending a club of sorts where the great thinkers of the neighborhood would meet.

The men of the group weren’t safe from Mrs. Van Winkle though, she going after all of them when it came to sharing the blame for Rip’s kickback lifestyle. It was this kind of situation where Rip would go off to the woods with Wolf, one day he going squirrel hunting, getting higher onto the Kaatskills, soon tiring himself and resting, then realizing it would be well dark by the time he returned to the village, he not excited by the reception he expected from his wife, but when planning on descending, hears his name being called, surprised anyone would be in such a deserted spot, but he thinking it was a villager in need, going to meet the stranger and helping him with his load, they walking higher into the mountain. Rip is curious of why this man carried liquor and was complacent with the diversion. They reach the man’s desired location where other oddly attired men were passing their time playing a bowling game. Whilst their actions conveyed good times, it was quiet, and none were smiling. Rip was put off by their behavior, he helping divvy out the drink upon request, the men accepting and going back to their game.

Once Rip no longer felt he was being watched, he tastes the keg, it being a flavor he enjoyed, soon having enough to put him to sleep. He awakens at the spot he originally sees the stranger when it’s light, he thinking he’d slept there the night and what excuse he’d need for wifey. He looks for his gun and discovers an old one falling apart, concluding the men of the night before must have robbed him. He then decides to return to the place where they’d been, the route now containing a stream which was dry before. When he gets to the spot where there should be a place to enter the clearing, there was none, Rip having to resign himself to being without gun or dog, and needing to put up with the confrontation his wife would surely bring to him since he couldn’t put off going home for being famished. When he reaches town he was baffled by not recognizing anyone he saw, and upon copying the gesture of the men to rub their chins, he realizes is beard had grown quite a bit. He also notices the houses and names over the doors weren’t familiar, as well as the building he knew no longer standing, but the landscape having stayed unchanged.

Rip locates his home which had decayed greatly, as well as a skinny dog which must’ve been Wolf hanging around the property, but no longer knew him. He then goes to his club’s meeting place, discovering a different scene with a man talking about politics, the place no longer lazy, but busy with people. When the politicians notice his odd appearance and being noticed by the women and children, they each inquire how he voted, and the like, Rip responding with confusion. When another man asks whom he was looking for, Rip names his friends, their fates ranging from death to holding a place in Congress. Rip felt so forlorn to the changes he blurts of anyone knowing “Rip Van Winkle”, some immediately recognizing the name and pointing to a man standing against a tree, Rip now questioning his own identity, he relating this when someone asks his name, he not knowing what to say. He having forgotten he had a son with his moniker, apparently. When a young lady approaches him with her child, also speaking the name of Rip, her child’s name, Rip asks whom she was, he learning about his wife, how long he’d been missing, twenty years, and what they’d thought had become of him. Rip then informs her of whom he was to her, an older woman walking up and recognizing him as her neighbor. He then finally gets his chance to share his short story of what happened to him.

Everyone had trouble believing his story until the local historian vouched for Rip about the Kaatskills being haunted by odd entities, the man relating how his father had seen a similar scene, and he himself had heard the noise of their bowling. After this, the party disperses to resume their election, Rip’s daughter inviting him to stay with her and her husband, he one of the boy’s whom would climb on his back all those years past, Rip’s son employed on their farm, but maintaining the disposition of his father, doing all work, but his own. Rip began to continue his old ways, and whilst seeing some old friends, preferred making new ones with the younger age group, he becoming a fixture of the neighborhood, but also having to become updated about the war and he now being a U.S. citizen. Rip did take up his post once more outside the inn to share his story with those who hadn’t heard, the details being on the minds of similarly nagged husbands, hoping for a fate like his. Mr Knickerbocker then corroborates the story by having spoken with Rip Van Winkle, himself and seeing a certificate stamped by a justice’s hand as proof of the truth. Fairly how I remember it the from the first time I’d heard it, odd tale upon rereading. 

We next have a Postscript of a story of a squaw whom managed the day and night, doing all the work of making the new moon and what happened with the old (basically recycled). She was in charge of the snow and storms, as well, and there was also a mischievous spirit whom would trick Indian hunters, we learning where the spirit liked to stay, Indians respecting the spot by leaving it unmarred by hunting animals there, etc. One Indian didn’t do so and paid for the slight when he touched something which shouldn’t have been moved, ending in his death and was connected to a stream which is still joined by the Hudson, the stream called the Kaaterskill. I do enjoy Native American mythology and due to this also being short, is a nice little break before the next.

The Spectre Bridegroom takes place in Germany and follows a Baron Von Landshort, whom comfortably lived in his family home, his neighbors keeping up with the feud their families had fueled for two centuries or so. The Baron had one daughter, whom was smart and beautiful, being given her education by her two aunts. This knowledge not as spectacular as made out to be, but considering the era, I suppose was still a fine enough accomplishment. When further explanation of her ability to follow instruction is given, it makes aware how she wouldn’t fall for a man without explicit measure to do so. We learn as well, of the family he would invite to his parties, praising his greatness and would agreeably listen to his tales relating to the portraits on the walls. Reminds me of my grandfather, hopefully my interpretation is wrong in thinking the Baron’s family enjoyed his company only for his sharing of the wealth. The story moves to the main point of when the Baron was expecting his daughter’s bridegroom to arrive. The marriage was arranged by the Baron and another agreeable dignitary, the two being betrothed and not meeting until right before the wedding day. The young man, for being in the Army and delayed for unknown reason, gave mention of when to expect him. Whilst the household was preparing for his arrival, the aunts prepared the girl’s dress and counseled her on how to carry herself when they first met, but the day drags on and soon into night with no Count in sight.

The Count’s perspective is then shown, his blasé attitude of not feeling rushed to make his appearance and how he’d waylaid himself in preference to visiting a friend in arms, nearby. The two catch up and decide to accompany each other due to their destinations lying in the same direction a ways. They unhurriedly journey through a forest and are molested (older definition) by robbers, they almost being overpowered until the Count’s men join in, the Count sustaining a terrible wound which a doctor attempts to heal, but making clear the Count’s odds not being good. The Count gives his friend his dying wish for him to travel to his bride’s home and explain why he hadn’t shown up. His buddy, Starkenfaust held trepidation in going through with the Count’s last request since his family were enemies of the Baron’s family and also due to his news not being fortuitous. Starkenfaust was intrigued by setting his own eyes on the beauty of this bride, though and couldn’t deny his inclination for escapades of these kind.

Meanwhile the Baron endeavored to postpone the feast, the meat already overdone for the evening getting later, he ready to reluctantly proceed when he finally hears sounds of approach from the gate. When the Baron sets eyes on the stranger whom he presumes to be his late guest, he babbles on and interrupts the man so often, he decides to wait to explain, the bride then making her appearance. The man becomes mesmerized and no longer fights to make his explanation known, the group proceeding to the banquet hall. The groom then only entertains himself with conversation with the blushing bride, she taken with her groom’s handsome countenance. The party starts well, but the man seemed to become weighed down with his secret, the bride soon becoming affected. After one of the Baron’s tales, the groom decides to leave, the Baron surprised since he’d prepared for the man to rest there for the night. The man shares of having other plans and when the Baron follows him out, the man claims he’s a ghost, he riding off for his funeral and the Baron sharing the news with his guests. The story of the Count’s demise is confirmed next day, the Baron’s guests staying for his “comfort”, and the bride downcast by the news.

The second night of the bride’s mourning, one of her aunts had stayed with her in her room, the woman falling asleep, and the widow-bride then hearing music, going to her window to again see the specter, the aunt having awoken due to the music and seeing the same, fainting straight away. The aunt thenceforth refused to sleep in the room, the girl not wishing to sleep in any other, the aunt vowing not to relate their supernatural visit until one morning, the girl goes missing and the aunt spills the frightful tale, two workers supporting the possibility of the specter carrying her off for hearing hooves at midnight. The Baron sends scouts to search for her, but was joined by the specter and his daughter as he was readying to search, as well. The man then explains fully what had occurred the previous nights of his visits and had wedded the girl, since. The Baron accepts this in preference to the alternative, everything working out to their advantages in the end. If not for the criss-cross, this story reminds me of Corpse Bride. Quick and entertaining, if not a bit corny.

English Writers on America states the mentality of English views on American writing, of which they are biased due to the English reviewers. I’d also agree with Irving’s opinion of the English being top dog with “graphical descriptions”. He also states we, as Americans also offer the “worst” of the Englishmen, the “good” ones going to more exciting and remote locales. Those whom travel here, getting a small-minded view of the world’s greatest “political experiments”. The ideas being attempted to relate getting lost by the minor viewpoint of “surface…interests”. The disappointment of these viewpoints colored by their idea of money falling in their laps, etc. The true beauty of America lost in translation. I’m hesitant to agree with Irving’s view here. He lets his rant end with this, wanting to address it due to other Americans apparently dwelling on this. He then attempts to calm aching egos with words of optimism about America. He goes on to mention the differences of writers between England and the U.S., claiming England is bashing the U.S. in their news articles. Haven’t researched, can’t comment. Irving claims England will regret their words when they need the U.S. as compatriots. This is where I begin to skim since Irving seems to have been writing this as a political piece during his time of not accepting his place in the government, but sharing strong opinions. The last bit describes of extricating wisdom from England’s perspective of the U.S. to make Americans stronger. Not my favorite, if I had more experience with multiple time periods politics, perhaps.

The Mutability of Literature begins with the ideas of partial dreaming and our Narrator in such a state whilst hanging about Westminster Abbey, his lazy thoughts being interrupted by loud, happy boys from Westminster School playing football in the passages, our Narrator withdrawing to the library to escape their noise. The church officer unlocks the rarely used room to the library, it being above ground level, the Narrator barely hearing the boys now, and even less after the bells for prayer were rung, he viewing the small table and unused inkwells, pens, and a few books sitting atop it. Our Narrator pays these no mind as he takes a quarto and settles in an elbow chair, but then is overcome by the somber air of the place, and how futile the lives of authors be! As he thought this, the quarto “yawned” awake and began to speak in its archaic tongue, our Narrator attempting a modern translation. The book complained of not being read for two hundred years and would prefer the dean open the library to the school so the books had better chance of being opened and aired, but the Narrator argues the bright side of the book not being worn out so often, the quarto’s counterparts most likely already dust. The book didn’t see the value of this since it had been meant to circulate many hands, but the Narrator maintains the luck of the book being it hadn’t been constantly used, but preserved. He goes on to compare other authors works having already been forgotten, the book noting those mentioned being quite older than it. The Narrator then mentions an author of whom’s work has helped the mutability of literature, but a public library making him cry in knowing the books within would most likely be forgotten in a century.

The book mentions a few popular titles from its day, but the Narrator informs how their time had passed. He spoke of how long before the printing press, works of literature weren’t so common and works of genius would have their time and fade out, whilst now, if those works were to stay, the new wonders of literature combined would leave the reader “in the endless maze of literature.” Doesn’t sound terrible, to me. The Narrator mentions how the expanse of choices overwhelms people, so we only end up reading reviews, and critics are helpful for what they do, by weeding out the failures. The quarto then asks after Shakespeare, the Narrator denying his work had been forgotten due to unparalleled originality, but commentators of his collection were drowning out his work from only knowing its pure beauty. The quarto laughed its back cover off (not literally), the Narrator taking slight offense and defending the poet as being a writer whom wrote from the heart, which helps gain immortality. Due to his poetic style, he has an edge over prose writers (they going on too long), he able to capture the essence of the spirit. (The Narrator is wrong about settings needing to possibly be changed, even though his mention of Chaucer in regards to this is true) he launching into another speech when interrupted by the church officer whom was there to close the library, the Narrator noticing the book had stopped responding, and even when returning a couple times after this, didn’t hear a peep from the book again, uncertain whether he dreamt it all up. Fascinating, usually I’m a sucker for literature-themed literature, and it certainly wasn’t bad, but I do believe I’m tiring of Irving’s style. His talk of archaic language makes me respond with “ain’t you the pot calling the kettle”, etc.

Westminster Abbey first describes the Fall being gloomy and our Narrator walking through the Abbey describing his course of seeing a church officer making him imagine the man was a ghost drifting through the corridors. He then details the age of tombstones and walls, but then a sliver of sunlight makes the building itself show some elegance. He then ponders over three abbots’ gravestones, reading their names. Once the bell tolls the hour, he moves on to another part of the inside of the abbey, impressed by its enormity and how it made one aware of the noise made by walking through. He then considers how once great men fought for a place among the dead for their tombstone to be among so many others. He relating Poet’s Corner where monuments and such, house sculptures of Shakespeare and others. The Narrator gives homage to the sacrifice authors make for their work and how it services humanity for their thoughts preserved. After, he goes to the burial chamber of kings which used to be chapels. Each room carried a different statuary scene which brought to the Narrator’s mind one was seeing an estate which showed a legendary city with the inhabitants turned into stone (so, Medusa’s lair?). He is also affected by how the people of those times had a direct and proud way of writing the inscriptions of those who died. The Narrator then describing a monument across from Poet’s Corner which he didn’t find incredible, since it was a terrible display of wife being targeted by death with her husband watching. As the Narrator experiences this, he’s periodically struck with the noise of life from outside which confuses the sadness of the place. It was getting closer to dark and the sounds begin to lessen as evening prayers were starting. He stood outside Henry VII’s chapel, it located up some steps and looking through a depressing, but impressive arch, the place seeming hesitant to allow anyone to walk through such a dazzling place. More detail of the inside is given, its Gothic and magnificent surroundings (one would probably be better off experiencing it in person, but the usefulness of this text lies in the inability to go or its eventual destruction). The Narrator contemplates how once this place had looked new and lighter, now dreary and deserted with birds nesting in the ornamental corners of the ceiling. He then shows the room with Queen Elizabeth, and the other, her “victim”, Mary, resting on a bench for all of his walking. He hears the priest speaking his sermon, and the organ playing giving the place another side of nuance. He sits and allows the music to entrance him as the day grew later. Before leaving the abbey, he visits Edward the Confessor’s shrine, where other kings and queens are also housed. When viewing the tomb, he noted it had been vandalized, he leaving the way he came in, noticing the jolting sound of the closing door, and its echoes within. The Narrator then realizes only the moment after stepping out, the memories of what he’d seen were fading, like a joke of death. The Narrator also has revelation to the history of the place eventually falling and being forgotten. Fascinating only if one enjoys architectural and Gothic description.

The Creole Village is an overview of the mixed population in Louisiana of French, Spanish, and Indian, the French characteristics seeming to surface to the top of the other genetics as most prominent. The language also being the main form of communication, which makes them indifferent to politics and would follow blindly to whatever rules the government implemented, and the few older men who were followed simply because they were authoritative. The people lived with a lack of money lust which was also confusing to our Narrator. He mentioning having met an unofficial leader of one of these villages, he describing the man as having original Gallic features, and traveled with a black servant, whom looked quite content, we learning our Narrator’s thoughts on this being atypical for black men, contrasting this with Indians. We are also introduced to another man of the village, he being a school teacher, playing sports, and surveying land, we learning the men’s opposite personality to their canine companions. The group was heading back to these two men’s village, upon arrival, they receiving a warm welcome by the townspeople. Each man goes off with their families, the Narrator following the teacher home, where he and his family chatted of gossip. The Narrator then walks about town, seeing how most everything was French in architecture and clothing, with some Gallic construction. He heard the fiddle of the teacher which he would’ve returned to hear and see the festivities involved, but the steamboat was close to disembarking, he hoping the village stayed as it was, unmarred by money and greed, the next stop being a place of which the opposite was occurring. The village was expanding and life was richer and more complicated, the Narrator desperately wondering the fate of the Creole village. Surprise there, I suppose. Easy read and interesting viewpoint.

English and French Character has the Narrator explaining how he saw his role of viewership and being an important judge of character between the French and English, he relating how the English stuck with their own; the French and English staying unmixed. We then get a braid of facts, of the English and French personalities, the former being consistent and precise, whilst the latter is fast to conclusions, etc. The French seize the day whilst the English prepare for the worst. The French social, the English reserved and prefer solitude. French are masters of wit, English, humor (Agreed), as well as the former having more decadent taste, the latter having a vast imagination (Agreed, again). We then get the correlation of their political stances. This one is short, but interesting with its simplicity. Especially good for those interested in Sociology/History.

The Tuileries & the Windsor Castle gives the impression of being similar to “Westminster Abbey” and the previous essay, the Narrator entertaining himself by giving French character to national buildings. In the Tuileries, the Narrator describes the military doing their usual fare on base, we learning some men lounged whilst others patrolled, and detailing the building itself being quite sophisticated, but every nook having an occupant, whether they be court employees or royalty and their families. The royalty varied in status, those who having fallen in stature, living modestly within their rooms. It goes on about how surprisingly many children and nursemaids resided inside, this description before Windsor Castle had its repairs and additions since the author made it sound as if the place was crumbling. I called it, easy read, pleasant enough if wanting detail of military and royalty living in a castle like a motel.

The Field of Waterloo immediately makes known of this essay expanding on the French and English character. The two opposites and both fit for the other’s competition, the best example being by their armed forces, each having long pasts filled with wins, the Battle of Waterloo then being referenced as the latest in their facing off, one side showing courage and the other stubborn motivation. Then we are given how the English, since not receiving the command to fire, stood in their ranks bravely as the French came at them. A moment of humanity is relived by how a French soldier spares an Englishman since he’d dropped his weapon. Both sides fight exemplarily to the point of not being able to figure who’s side showed the most ‘character’, the Narrator painting a pleasant and worn picture of the time he’d visited the war-zone. The essay concluding with details of a man called De Latour d’Auvergne. Enjoyable one, giving some extra insight to go with the reading of Les Miserables.

I hate to do this, but due to the next story, Knickerbocker’s History of New York being a part of a much larger work, I must wait until I get my hands on the entirety.

Also, to prelude the start of A Tour on the Prairies, since I read some favorable reviews and one which made me question whether I’d want to read the full volume, I’ll be using these excerpted stories before deciding to commit to the whole collection.

A Bee Hunt gives location as being in a spectacular forest, camp near dead trunks where non-farmed bees reside nearby, a search party soon goes off in search of one of the bee hives, our Narrator accompanying when invited. They soon come across the lure for the bees so the group could be lead to their honey stores, they choosing a destructive way of getting to the honey, chopping the tree down. As the group and neighboring hives utilizing the honey, the bees returned to the hive, at first confused by the change to location of their hive, then fly to a nearby tree, possibly considering their next move (the queen most likely smooshed). The group leaves a lot of the honey there, discussing how animals of the forest would clean it out, especially bears. Depressing, well written, and having me question whether I’m a fair-weather fan of this style and period of writing, but definitely have decided I’m not enjoying these topics, so will go straight to the Crayon Miscellany.

On Astoria, due to there apparently being better resources out there (this being repetitious in style), I’ll be a’skippin’ ahead, didn’t sit well with it being another excerpt, anyways.

Since I can’t say I care about Oliver Goldsmith, the man, or the history, moving ahead. Plus, there’s Wikipedia for a reason, right? *wink*

Here I go again, I’d prefer reading Tales of a Traveller in it’s full text, which will now take longer, since Phoenix Public Library is a joke.

Might as well add The Alhambra to the ever elongating list, as well.

The Guests from Gibbet Island relates of a well known village called Communipaw where a building looking dilapidated and evil-looking has been standing for many years, where gangs of malnourished dogs roamed about, and in front of the building stood a platform looking like the sort one lynchings were performed on, but was only a post to hang signs, the building before being used as a bar, where a well-remembered meeting of men was held, they having discovered New Amsterdam. The owner of the establishment would hang mysterious signs and was entertained by the mystery it instigated among the patrons. Then introduction to Yon Yost Vanderscamp is given, he the prankster variety, pulling tricks like putting gunpowder secretly in pipes of the regulars, Vanderscamp was the nephew of the proprietor, Tuenis Van Gieson, and he looking upon him as a son, took this with humor. Gieson, however would have his patience tried by a man called Pluto, he a mystery himself since arriving during a storm in bad shape, no one knowing his origins. Gieson revived him to health, but soon learned Pluto didn’t speak the same language, since when asking his home, he would point to Gibbet Island, which everyone knew wasn’t populated. He stayed long enough to learn some Dutch and was seen as a goblin of the bar, he doing odd jobs when he felt charitable. Pluto enjoyed most being in a boat or raft, fishing, and wouldn’t be detoured by stormy weather, he also having bonded to only Vanderscamp, he tutoring the boy to be the most irritating mischief-maker, the two riding off in the ocean until Vanderscamp was cultured on all the bays and islands in the area. During one of these excursions, the two disappear for longer than usual, no one minding since their village was quiet for once. When Gieson died, the bar closed, Vanderscamp the heir, but years passed with no return. Until he did many years later, looking grizzled and with a crew of like demeanor. Vanderscamp had plans on reopening the bar for he and his fellows, well-off merchants, he changing the bar to a raucous place. The men essentially turning the place into a piratical resting house.

Pluto, looking more rough for the passing years was treated roughly, but seemed to enjoy the put downs and abuse, he egging on the violent behavior until the men took their wild night out on the town, the locals withdrawing indoors. Vanderscamp would insist on renewing old acquaintances though, until the day his crew and he would leave, when next to return, to be a surprise. The locals realized Vanderscamp’s new role as a successful pirate, their town now his safe-haven. The British government soon took notice to the piracy though, and on Gibbet Island, hung some of Vanderscamp’s crew, he and Pluto escaping capture, the townspeople hoping his demise had been delivered elsewhere. Unfortunately, their return is made, but Vanderscamp had found himself a wife, of ill-temper, he having changed his ways and ready to retire in his hometown. Vanderscamp was soon seen dealing with shady, but unassuming men, the idea being he was trafficking stolen goods. One night, a trade had occurred and Vanderscamp was a bit on the alcoholically toasty side, as a storm began to brew, Pluto rowing them past Gibbet Island, where the bodies of his comrades still hung, Vanderscamp regarding the dead kindly, the two getting to shore at midnight, he knowing his wife wouldn’t greet him kindly, but not expecting the news of guests awaiting inside, he going up to see them, and shocked to discover the gallows-men, he backing out and falling down the stairs, losing his life. From then on the house was considered haunted. Pluto acted more off his rocker, and one night the town heard screams, but ignored them, some brave enough, checking the next day to see the place a mess supposedly, by the storm, and Vanderscamp’s wife strangled. Later, fishermen discovered Pluto’s boat and he close to Gibbet Island, all seeming to have received terrible fates.

Surprisingly engaging, not much of a ghost story, but I’m no longer expecting much from Irving.

The Legend of Don Munio Sancho de Hinojosa begins with a convent at Silos in Castile, a decomposing, but majestic memorial of the Hinojosa family. A scene where a knight conquers men and women, and they repenting is shown, but due to its age, the meaning harder to understand for anyone other than an expert. The tale was protected in Spanish texts and is as follows. Long ago, many hundred years previous, there lived a courtly man named Don Munio, etc., he owner of a castle along the borders, and making a name for himself as being known for brutality, he having many trophies of his conquests, and when he wasn’t off to war (Shout out to Curtis! Showed me and my buddy the proper way to go to war is with metal bowl upon head, and spoon in hand!), he enjoying hunting of all sorts, being married to a gentle soul, not cut out for his daredevil lifestyle. One day as he’s on the hunt, a group of Moors both male and female, wearing expensive accessories were walking in his line of sight, they not carrying weapons, as well as a young man and woman, quite taking in the looks department, on a horse, Don Munio took advantage of this happy coincidence, calling his men, and they taking them as prisoners, the young man, once learning whom had captured them, praising Don Munio for his successes and offering all their possessions if he allowed them to continue forward to their wedding, Don Munio then offering for they to stay with him, as guests for fifteen days, Don Munio’s wife greeting the new bride with sisterly affection and led her inside, and as promised, they celebrating for two weeks and a day, Don Munio gifting them wonderful handmade trinkets (presumably), and got them safely on their way. Years later,Don Munio answers the call of war against the Moors once more, his wife distraught, he promising to make this his final fight, the battle was a lengthy and wound-heavy one, Don Munio rallying the troops so their king could flee, Don Munio and many of his men dying in the effort, Don Munio taken out by a familiar face, and upon realizing whom he’d slain, felt deep regret. Meanwhile, Don Munio’s wife waited anxiously, and on one night, a guard sounded the sign for a party on the road, they believing Don Munio had returned (true) with Moorish prisoners (not so much), the young man kneels guiltily before Don Munio’s wife, and the ancient scene erected was made at the young Moor’s expense. The ghostly part happening the same day of Don Munio’s death, he and his men seen at a church, they disappearing when approached. It concludes by mentioning if there’s any doubt to the story, check History of the Kings of Castile and Leon by Fray Prudencio de Sandoval, Bishop of Pamplona, in the History of the King Alonzo VI on page 102.

I do give props for the specificity, this one a charming way to end an up and down collection. Recommended to history and or sociology buffs.