Ask Jeeves

The Pope’s butler is currently on trial, accused of stealing from him. Isn’t that amazing? The Pope has a butler…

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It was a beautiful morning, the type of morning in which one feels that God is in his Heaven (jolly lucky there, otherwise I’d have had to look busy) and that all is right with the world. I was humming merrily to myself as I sauntered into the breakfast room.

“What ho, Jeeves,” I said.

“Good morning, your Holiness,” said Jeeves. “Might I enquire, sir, as to what that sound is that you are making?”

“It is Gregorian chant, Jeeves,” I said. “Jolly holy and all that, what?”

“Not to my taste, your Holiness,” said Jeeves, “though it is an improvement upon last month, when as I recall you wished to attend a Lady Gaga concert.”

My brows furrowed at mention of this. Jeeves had not approved, and I had had to sternly remind him that I was Head of the Roman Catholic Church and that he was merely a gentleman’s gentleman. He had demurred to my wishes, though the night before the concert he reminded me that I was due on a three-day visit to Moldova, which surprised me, though not as much as it appeared to surprise the Moldovans when I arrived.

I noticed that Jeeves seemed a little distant, and I suspected that I knew the cause. “What do you think of my new outfit, Jeeves?” I asked.

I was wearing lederhosen, braces, climbing boots and a hat. The hat had a feather.

“Very, um, fetching, sir. Might I ask if sir is attending a Lara Croft-themed fancy dress party? If not, then might one suggest the more traditional white robe?”

“This is Austrian national dress, Jeeves,” I said proudly. “I am celebrating my cultural roots.”

“If you say so, your Holiness. I am surprised that you are not also carrying an Alpine Horn.”

I decided not to mention that I had tried to buy one on eBay, had keyed “Alpine Horn” into Google, and had been shocked by some of the websites that had appeared.

“I also observe,” said Jeeves, “that you are wearing a sprig of shamrock upon your lapel. Does sir wish also to acknowledge his Irish roots? I believe that all famous people have them, even if the Irish sometimes have to go back as far as the Third Century to find them.”

“This is edelweiss, Jeeves,” I said icily which, considering that it is the blossom of snow, was jolly appropriate.

“Whatever you say, sir,” said Jeeves.

I began to tuck into the dishes laid out upon the dishes. Nothing sets a Pontiff up for a long day’s er, Pontificating, I find, than a jolly good breakfast. As I ate I felt that it was time to bring up a topic that had been concerning me over the past few days.

“Rally round, Jeeves,” I said. “I need your help with a problem.”

Jeeves duly rallied. “If I can be of assistance, your Holiness,” he said.

“It’s just,” I said, “that I can’t help noticing that I appear to be using the type of knife and fork that one would buy in, say, Lidl, if one could find such items between the bumper-size nappy packets and the blow-torches. I was wondering what happened to the silver cutlery.”

“If sir recalls, sir asked me to take it away and get it polished.”

“Er, did I?”

“Yes, your Holiness. On the same day that you gave me the Popemobile to get Go-faster stripes put on it, had me take the Statue of David to get boxer-shorts placed upon him and had me send the Shroud of Turin for a good wash, as you said it was covered in stains.”

You see, this is why I need Jeeves. I had been wondering about the number of things which seemed to be missing, and he had allayed my worries, answering questions that I hadn’t even asked, as if he’d been anticipating them. I felt that I owed him something.

“Jeeves,” I said. “Fetch me the white robes.”

“I took the liberty of laying them out on your bed already, sir.”

I looked down sadly at my Austrian outfit. “Honestly, Jeeves?” I said. “Lara Croft?”

“I’d swear it on the bible, sir.”

“Er, that reminds me, Jeeves.”

“Sir?”

“Have you seen my Bible anywhere?”

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