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Jeeves and the Incalculable Mistake - Chapter 7
english, good

Mr. Nixon. I am not a fanciful man, but if there is one name I suspect will haunt the rest of my days, it is that one.

An absurd little story, sir, though I confess that I have always found it droll…

As it was, the porter's exclamation was so shocking, on top of everything else I had to feel guilty about, that it pulled me up sharply and caused me to stagger in my tracks. I wanted to demand of the porter where he had heard that name, but as I was helping to carry Mr. Wooster, my sudden halt jolted him back to painful consciousness and triggered a most awful scream.

"For goodness sakes! Get that poor man inside!" a voice ordered from top of the steps leading to the hospital. It was Nurse Philpot, a woman my master had once described as being built along the same battleship lines as Mrs. Travers, and the stalwart backbone of the Dalgairns Cottage Hospital. The speed at which she had additional porters bringing forth a stretcher and whisking Mr. Wooster away would have rivalled any feat of mine.

Inside to meet us were two men. Dr. Lemon I had met before; dependable and far more astute than his slightly rumpled appearance and sad eyes led one to believe, he attended every fund-raising fete Mrs. Travers arranged for the hospital. However, the second man - tall, slightly graying and somewhat heavyset in a comfortable way, and dressed far more expensively than any country doctor I was acquainted with - was a stranger. And yet I felt I had seen his face before.

"Good heavens, Richardson, it's young Wooster!" Dr. Lemon said.

"What?" the stranger boomed, "not the young fellow himself? My word, I wanted to meet him, but I did not expect it like this!"

It was Dr. Lemon's comment that brought the memory back - this was apparently Northrup Richardson, the famous neurosurgeon. I had read of his work in numerous scientific publications. But I was perplexed as to how he knew of Mr. Wooster, or why he was visiting such a small hospital as this.

"Take him to the examining room, Philpot," Dr. Lemon said to the porter who had greeted us (Nurse Philpot's youngest son, as I was later to learn), and, as the young man started to do so, I unthinkingly made to follow.

"Now then, young man, where do you think you're going?" Nurse Philpot asked, though not unkindly.

"I am Mr. Wooster's valet," I said, rather ridiculously. Following him had simply been a naturally impulse, but when she confronted me, I felt suddenly disturbed at the idea of his being out of my sight.

"Now, now, pet, don't you worry - your master will be well taken care of. But there's nothing you can do, so you just stay put here for the present. I expect Mr. and Mrs. Travers will wish to speak with you when they arrive."

I was dumbfounded. It had not even crossed my mind to send out anyone to locate Mr. Wooster's relatives. Whatever was the matter with me?

"The mistress should be here soon," Mr. Seppings said. He addressed the nurse, but I have no doubt it was more for my benefit. "I sent Frederick out to fetch her, and Mrs. Dodd is seeing to finding the rest of them."

Nurse Philpot nodded and then directed us to wait in a small room that faced the back garden. The hospital, which like most cottage hospitals of its type, had once been a medium-sized private residence and my guess is that the waiting room had once been the servants parlour. However, I barely noticed the accoutrements at the time, being far more concerned with the present situation. As Dr. Lemon entered and proceeded to ask Mr. Seppings several questions, I gathered my thoughts and resolved to determine a course of action.

I needed to take control. I ignored the voice of my conscience telling me that it was my taking control that had got Mr. Wooster into trouble in the first place and told myself that if I were to have any hopes at all of finding the best way to help my master, there were many questions I required answers to. And to do so meant I needed more information.

A good servant, if he wishes to get on, will naturally develop ways of keeping abreast of all the news or information which may serve his employer. Ascertaining his master's interests and reading all of the latest publications to do with that subject is one way. Gossiping with tailors for up and coming trends or with tradesmen for news of things which may alter the master's schedule, is another. And a network of contacts between fellow domestics for mutual benefit is absolutely essential.

However, there are also less savoury methods - ways that are truthfully more about survival in the field, as it were, as they allow a servant to stay two steps ahead in terms of machinations or potential catastrophes. For instance, while I would never recommend reading an employer's private papers, an alert glance at their general subject can offer a wealth of information. There is also the indulging in of gossip at a village hostelry or the bribing of a doorman or laundrywoman. Distasteful, it is true, but occasionally necessary.

And then there is eavesdropping.

It would perhaps shock Mr. Wooster to know how often the feats which so impress him come down to things like frank prying on my part. I do not like it, but sometimes tasks cannot be accomplished without it, and as long as I refrain from abusing his privacy too much, I am usually able to tell myself that it is all in a good cause.

Without giving it a second thought, I made my excuses to Mr. Seppings and proceeded to make my way to the examining room where they had taken Mr. Wooster. Once I was just outside of it, I peered surreptitiously through the small round window in the door and listened closely.

Dr. Richardson, who was bent over Mr. Wooster, examining him, tsked.

"What does it look like to you?" I heard Doctor Lemon ask.

"Hmm…It's some sort of internal damage, most definitely. From what you told me the butler - what was his name?"


"Well, from what Mr. Seppings told you about the young chap here having trouble with his left arm and shoulder, I'm guessing the spleen."

"Ruptured, do you think?"

"That would be my guess. The low blood pressure bears it out. The blood pressure explains the dizziness and lightheadedness as well."

"Should we stabilize him and have him taken to Worcester?" Doctor Lemon inquired.

"No, I don't think we should wait on things. But no bother, a bit of general surgery will be just the topper for this excursion! If you don't mind my assisting, that is, Lemon old man?"

"You'll stay then, Doctor Richardson?"

"Of course I will!" he said. "Wouldn't dream of deserting the man who arranged this charming holiday for me. I've not had as delightful an outing as this in years!"

I was extraordinarily puzzled. What did he mean Mr. Wooster had arranged his holiday? I knew from the porter's words that my master had been to the hospital at some point in the last thirty-six hours, but had he been injured enough to need a specialist, surely they would not have let him leave?

"I must say, I'm a bit relieved. Something as delicate as a splenectomy is a bit out of my line."

"Well, I haven't done one for a few years, but it's straightforward enough when you get right down to it. Besides, with the incomparable Philpot at our side, how can we not prevail?"

"She's just been through one gruelling surgery yesterday, are you sure she'll be up for it?" Doctor Lemon teased.

"Up for it? My good man! What utter tosh and nonsense! That warrior? That veritable Bodicea? Not up for it? Ridiculous! Why, I've only worked with her once, but I don't mean to ever work without her again. As soon as we've set this poor young chap to rights, I intend on spiriting her away to my surgery in Birmingham."

Doctor Lemon actually laughed. "You do, and you'll have the entire population of the surrounding countryside coming after you."

"I would expect nothing less for such of jewel!" Doctor Richardson asserted. I saw him stick his head out of the door at the opposite end of the room. "Philpot!" he bellowed down the corridor, "Where are you, my invaluable darling?"

"I'm am putting the Davies boy down for his nap and I will thank you very much not disturb every patient and visitor in this hospital with your dramatics, Doctor Richardson," the nurse reprimanded him as she came in.

"Ah, my dear Philpot, you are the voice of sense and compassion as always. I bow to your excellent judgement."

Nurse Philpot rolled her eyes, but I noticed she was smiling. "As always… as if the great ham hasn't known me but a day."

"Be that as it may, Philpot, my love, we shall need you to ready surgery. It seems that the young chap here came a cropper the other night after all, and Doctor Lemon and I will need your inestimable services once more as scrub nurse."

"Doctor Richardson, the surgery is always ready. I do not leave things in disarray after a procedure only to have to rush through the cleaning the next time the room is needed! As for everything else, the instruments are already laid out, there are several pints matching Mr. Wooster's blood type already there and I've arranged for Nurse Elliot to watch the other patients. All I'm waiting for is for you two layabouts to pull your thumbs out and get the young lad to the surgery."

"You are a prize, Philpot! An absolute prize! Well, you heard the woman, Lemon. Let us see to this young man."

I moved quickly from the door and down the corridor as the two doctors and Nurse Philpot exited at this end, along with the porters who wheeled the gurney out of the room and around the corner. I believe Nurse Philpot guessed what I had been up to, but I doubt she would have said anything even if Mrs. Travers had not chosen that moment to arrive.

"Ruby?" Mrs. Travers spoke directly to Nurse Philpot, no doubt discerning Mr. Wooster was unconscious and that the doctors were already dealing with him.

Nurse Philpot let the doctors take Mr. Wooster and spared a moment for Mrs. Travers. "He needs surgery, Dahlia, but it will be all right."

"Surgery? Whatever for? What has happened to him?"

"I can't go into that now, dear. They need me."

Mrs. Travers straightened, gathering herself together. "No, no, of course not. I understand. I mustn't delay you. But I can leave it in your hands then, Ruby, dear?"

"You may put your trust in me, Dahlia. Those two overpaid barbers aren't half as foolish as they look, but I'll keep them in line in any case. Young Bertram will be a blot upon the landscape again within a fortnight."

"Good old Philpot!" Mrs. Travers said gratefully, clasping the nurse's hands briefly to her, before letting her rush off and join the doctors with Mr. Wooster.

Mrs. Travers turned to me. Her eyes were dry, but there was a tightness along the jaw that told me she was struggling to remain composed. I expected her to demand what happened, or even to ask me how I was holding up, but all she said was, "He looked so much like Frederick, you see. Just then, I mean. He looked so much like my brother, lying there after... "

She turned from me and proceeded to go to the small parlour where Mr. Seppings was, to await the rest of the family.

I, on the other hand, decided to search out the young porter.

Nurse Philpot, having served the surrounding countryside long before it gained a doctor, let alone a hospital, was such an established and revered figure that the worship of the villagers forbade them from saying anything about her youngest son other than "he'll never make a doctor". Truthfully put, the young man was somewhat simple. However, as he was cheerful and obliging and as his limitations did not seem to bother him, it seems a small point.

Unless of course, he cannot stop using a name that makes you sick with shame.

"Oh, Mr. Nixon, yes, he's nice. He's a very nice man," young Philpot stated, as he ate the sandwich I made for him in the kitchen.

"Yes, he most certainly is. Can you tell me when you met him?"

"At night. I like the night time. The hospital is very peaceful when everyone is asleep. It's not so scary then."

"At night? Not yesterday?"

"Oh yes, he was here yesterday as well. Mr. Nixon and Doctor Lemon talked for hours and hours and were ringing people on the telephone all afternoon."

"Ringing people on the telephone? Does that mean they were in Doctor Lemon's office and not an examining room?"

"Yes, that's right."

"So Mr. Wooster had not come to see Doctor Lemon in a professional capacity?"

"Pardon me?"

"I mean to say, Mr. Wooster was not here because he was hurt or ill and wanted Doctor Lemon to look at him?"

"What? Mr. Nixon? No, he wasn't hurt."

"What about when you met him during the night? I take it that it was the night before last?" He nodded happily, his mouth full of cold chicken.
"Was he injured then?"

Young Philpot shook his head strenuously. "No, he wasn't hurt then neither, but Doctor Lemon did look at his chest. There weren't nothing wrong, though. Just a scrape or two."

I considered this as I refreshed the young man's tea. It was quite possible Mr. Wooster had only suffered slight damage at the time, but the injury had been aggravated of the intervening day and a half to the point of some sort of rupture had occurred. But it was equally possible, if it was the spleen, that the rupture had happened then and simply not been noticed. I had heard of such things before; some people had been known to suffer days or even weeks before the pain asserted itself, and on the night in question, when the doctor examined Mr. Wooster, likely even the surface bruises wouldn't have had time to form.

Turning to young Philpot, who was obliviously enjoying a plate of biscuits which I had found in one of the cupboards, I asked him, "Why then was Mr. Wooster here? Did he think he was hurt?"

"No, no, Mr. Nixon is the one what brought in Mrs. Davies and her little'uns. You know, after she hit him with her car."

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Oh another chapter! Another unfortunate, but very gripping chapter~
A car, the poor thing. D: Bertie hasn't cut a break once yet.
Once again, I'm bouncing in my seat in anticipation of chapter 8.

It gets worse and worse. Poor Bertie! How are they going to get out of this?

technichal bits:
- a naturally impulse
- the indulging in of gossip

So, Bertie was hit by a car. But it was this Davies family that got obviously hurt? Why the famous neurologist that's so fond of Bertie? Very mysterious, still. Entirely eager to find out what happens next.

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Exactement! I mean, they got hurt, but the car was, presumably, fine, and Bertie drove it to the hospital. Or, maybe, he hitchhiked. Or something. The questions keep piling up, for Jeeves and the audience.

I truly appreciate how often you update.

My heart aches for Bertie. He's so sweet and so sad and so hurt...I hope everyone feels really bad for how they've treated him. It would serve them right if he cold-shouldered them, but knowing Bertie, he would just forgive them and feel grateful for the slightest words of kindness. And Jeeves! How must he be feeling right now? Eagerly awaiting the next chapter.


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*nodnod @ BJ*

It doesn't solve, like, EVERY problem, but a well-placed BJ certainly can't make it worse.

I love this idea very much.

I was dumbfounded. It had not even crossed my mind to send out anyone to locate Mr. Wooster's relatives. Whatever was the matter with me?

Oh my sweet sweet Jeeves, it's so sad and yet delicious to see him utterly undone by his concern for Bertie...

It would perhaps shock Mr. Wooster to know how often the feats which so impress him come down to things like frank prying on my part.
What?! Jeeves?!! Eavesdrop?!! never.... ;)

"He looked so much like Frederick, you see. Just then, I mean. He looked so much like my brother, lying there after... "
OH...this is just terrible... how sad!

You know, after she hit him with her car."
This last line hit me like a car / ton of bricks/ mack truck etc .. I know that this must just absolutely floor poor Jeeves...I don't know if he'll ever regain his footing after hearing this...

also thirding the BJ...for realsies.

BUT I WANNA KNOOOOWWW - excellent, excellent chapter. I am begging for more :)

Poor dear Bertram! D: My heart weeps for the lad :( -crai- EAGERLY awaiting next chapter. Yet again stayed up until wee hours of morning reading because I couldn't POSSIBLY sleep knowing there was a new chapter, you minx! Looove it!

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