‘Still,’ I said, feeling that it was worth trying, ‘it’s part of the great web, what?’
‘One of Marcus Aurelius’s cracks. He said: “Does aught befall you? It is good. It is part of the destiny of the Universe ordained for you from the beginning. All that befalls you is part of the great web.”’
From the brusque manner in which he damned and blasted Marcus Aurelius, I gathered that, just as had happened when Jeeves sprang it on me, the gag had failed to bring balm. I hadn’t had much hope that it would. I doubt, as a matter of fact, if Marcus Aurelius’s material is ever the stuff to give the troops at a moment when they have just stubbed their toe on the brick of Fate. You want to wait till the agony has abated.
This was ridiculously good fun. I love Jeeves and Wooster series but some stories are better than others, and this was one of the best ones. Dare I say, it was on the same level as the one with Aunt Dahlia and the cow creamer? I like that one, too.
Anyway, in this one Bertie is trying to help a couple of his friends to untangle some obstacles in their love lives, and of course, just makes it worse. What stood out from the start in this one, however, is that Bertie is not just having to deal with one of his own aunts, but also no less than five aunts of one of his friends' betrothed...and five aunts is really more than anyone should be expected to deal with.
While there is slapstick galore in this story, we also get to see Bertie from new angles. For example, we learn that he - as many of us do - resorts to reading to calm his nerves:
"I have generally found on these occasions when the heart is heavy that the best thing to do is to curl up with a good goose-flesher and try to forget, and fortunately I had packed among my effects one called Murder At Greystone Grange. I started to turn its pages now, and found that I couldn’t have made a sounder move. It was one of those works in which Baronets are constantly being discovered dead in libraries and the heroine can’t turn in for a night without a Thing popping through a panel in the wall of her bedroom and starting to chuck its weight about, and it was not long before I was so soothed that I was able to switch off the light and fall into a refreshing sleep, which lasted, as my refreshing sleeps always do, till the coming of the morning cup of tea."