“He couldn’t tell me anything I didn’t know about the old boy’s eccentricity. This Lord Worplesdon was Florence’s father. He was the old buster who, a few years later, came down to breakfast one morning, lifted the first cover he saw, said ‘Eggs! Eggs! Eggs! Damn all eggs!’ in an overwrought sort of voice, and instantly legged it for France, never to return to the bosom of his family. This, mind you, being a bit of luck for the bosom of the family, for old Worplesdon had the worst temper in the county.”
–Jeeves Takes Charge
“He had another go at the glass. It didn’t seem to do him any good.
‘If only this had happened a week later, Bertie! My next month’s money was due to roll in on Saturday. I could have worked a wheeze I’ve been reading about in the magazine advertisements. It seems that you can make a dashed amount of money if you can only collect a few dollars and start a chicken-farm. Jolly sound scheme, Bertie! Say you buy a hen. Call it one hen for the sake of argument. It lays an egg every day of the week. You sell the eggs seven for twenty-five cents. Keep of hen costs nothing. Profit practically twenty-five cents on every seven eggs. Or look at it in another way: Suppose you have a dozen hens. Each of the hens has a dozen chickens. The chickens grow up and have more chickens. Why, in no time you’d have the place covered knee-deep in hens, all laying eggs, at twenty-five cents for every seven. You’d make a fortune. Jolly life, too, keeping hens!’ He had begun to get quite worked up at the thought of it, but he slopped back in his chair at this juncture with a good deal of gloom.
‘But, of course, it’s no good,’ he said, ‘because I haven’t the cash.'”
–Jeeves and the Hard-Boiled Egg
“‘Jeeves,’ I said, ‘I am not the old merry self this morning.’
‘No, Jeeves. Far from it. Far from the merry old self.’
‘I am sorry to hear that, sir.’
He uncovered the fragrant eggs and b., and I pronged a moody forkful.”
–Jeeves and the Impending Doom
“When we get a connection, we shall be able to name our terms. It
stands to reason, laddie. Have you ever seen a man, woman, or child
who wasn’t eating an egg or just going to eat an egg or just coming
away from eating an egg? I tell you, the good old egg is the
foundation of daily life. Stop the first man you meet in the street
and ask him which he’d sooner lose, his egg or his wife, and see what
he says! We’re on to a good thing, Garny, my boy. Pass the whisky!”
–Love Among the Chickens
“There was something sort of bleak about her tone, rather as if she had swallowed an east wind. This I took to be due to the fact that she probably hadn’t breakfasted. It’s only after a bit of breakfast that I’m able to regard the world with that sunny cheeriness which makes a fellow the universal favourite. I’m never much of a lad till I’ve engulfed an egg or two and a beaker of coffee.
“I suppose you haven’t breakfasted?”
“I have not yet breakfasted.”
“Won’t you have an egg or something? Or a sausage or something? Or something?”
“No, thank you.”
She spoke as if she belonged to an anti-sausage league or a league for the suppression of eggs. There was a bit of silence.”
–Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest
“Archibald’s imitation of a hen laying an egg was conceived on broad and sympathetic lines. Less violent than Salvini’s Othello, it had in it something of the poignant wistfulness of Mrs. Siddons in the sleep-walking scene of Macbeth. The rendition started quietly, almost inaudibly, with a sort of soft, liquid crooning – the joyful yet half-incredulous murmur of a mother who can scarcely believe as yet that her union has really been blessed, and that it is indeed she who is responsible for that oval mixture of chalk and albumen which she sees lying beside her in the straw.
Then, gradually, conviction comes.
“It looks like an egg,” one seems to hear her say. “It feels like an egg. It’s shaped like an egg. Damme, it is an egg!”
And at that, all doubting resolved, the crooning changes; takes on a firmer note; soars into the upper register; and finally swells into a maternal paean of joy–a “Charawk-chawk-chawk-chawk” of such a caliber that few had ever been able to listen to it dry-eyed. Following which, it was Archibald’s custom to run round the room, flapping the sides of his coat, and then, leaping onto a sofa or some convenient chair, to stand there with his arms at right angles, crowing himself purple in the face.
All these things he had done many a time for the idle entertainment of fellow members in the smoking room of the Drones, but never with the gusto, the brio, with which he performed them now. Essentially a modest man, like all the Mulliners, he was compelled, nevertheless, to recognize that tonight he was surpassing himself. Every artist knows when the authentic divine fire is within him, and an inner voice told Archibald Mulliner that he was at the top of his form and giving the performance of a lifetime. Love thrilled through every “Brt-t’t-t’ t” that he uttered, animated each flap of his arms. Indeed, so deeply did Love drive in its spur that he tells me that, instead of the customary once, he actually made the circle of the room three times before coming to rest on top of the chest of drawers.
When at length he did so he glanced toward the window and saw that through the curtains the loveliest face in the world was peering. And in Aurelia Cammarleigh’s glorious eyes there was a look he had never seen before, the sort of look Kreisler or somebody like that beholds in the eyes of the front row as he lowers his violin and brushes his forehead with the back of his hand. A look of worship.
There was a long silence. Then she spoke.
“Do it again!” she said.”
–The Reverent Wooing of Archibald
[Image via the Lambertville Library]
Mallory is an Editor of The Toast.