In ensuring a state of peace and harmony at home, Bingo demonstrates himself to be a man of chilled steel. In order to be able to protect his social prestige, he even agrees to dispense with the services of God’s gift to our gastric juices – Anatole. For a foodie like him, who, upon noticing a glorious sunset, would be apt to say that it reminded him of a slice of roast beef, cooked just right, this is indeed an instance of supreme sacrifice.
The perils of marrying an author
In ‘Clustering Round Young Bingo’ (Carry On, Jeeves), Rosie M. Banks gets commissioned by Aunt Dahlia to write an article for Milady’s Boudoir. Bingo is understandably all of a twitter, because the article, entitled “How I Keep the Love of My Husband-Baby”, has some juicy comments concerning him. If made public, Bingo’s reputation would surely go for a toss.
This is how he shares his predicament with Bertie.
‘…..you have about as much imagination as a warthog, but surely even you can picture to yourself what Jimmy Bowles and Tuppy Rogers, to name only two, will say when they see me referred to in print as “half god, half prattling, mischievous child”?’
‘She doesn’t say that?’ I gasped.
‘She certainly does. And when I tell you that I selected that particular quotation because it’s about the only one I can stand hearing spoken, you will realize what I’m up against.’
Much to the credit of the housewife in Mrs Bingo, she has managed to dig up a Frenchman of the most extraordinary vim and skill. Since this amazing cook, popularly known to all of us as Anatole, has arrived at their home, Old Bingo is said to have picked up at least ten pounds in weight.
However, where she makes her bloomer is in inviting Uncle Tom and Aunt Dahlia over for dinner. A combination of consommé pate d’Italie, paupiettes de sole a la princesse and caneton Aylesbury a la broche ends up reviving Uncle Tom like a watered flower.
A rudimentary sense of morality
Jeeves is commissioned by Aunt Dahlia to somehow persuade Anatole to join her. Bingo is aghast to hear this.
‘What! Is that – that buzzard trying to pinch our cook?’
‘After eating our bread and salt, dammit?’
‘I fear, sir,’ sighed Jeeves, ‘that when it comes to a matter of cooks, ladies have but a rudimentary sense of morality.’
Jeeves manages to pull off this feat. A breach of cordial relations between the two ladies ensues. Mrs Little declines to contribute the ghastly article for Aunt Dahlia’s rag. Matrimonial peace prevails.
Jeeves even manages to get Mrs Little a proficient housemaid. He also persuades Bertie to be away from the scene of action, since the latter fails in pinching the cylinder of the recording machine containing the article from Bingo’s house. Bertie proceeds to spend some time with Uncle George who is desperate to have some company while at Harrogate.
To go into sordid figures, a gratified Old Bingo Little gifts twenty pounds to Jeeves. Aunt Dahlia, at twenty-five pounds, turns out to be the most generous. Mrs Little pitches in with ten pounds for finding her a satisfactory housemaid. Uncle Thomas matches the generosity of Aunt Dahlia. Uncle George hands over a cheque of ten pounds. When told about the appreciable increase in his savings, even Bertie hands over a fiver to Jeeves!
A deep sense of renunciation
The risk in marrying an author is that one has to be ceaselessly vigilant about the kind of ripe or unripe stuff the spouse is being expected to churn out. In case intimate and unsavoury details are likely to get publicized, prompt steps have to be taken through proper channels to nip the same in the bud. Great sacrifices are called for. Nerves of chilled steel need to be developed.
When there is a choice to be made between public disgrace of some kind and God’s gifts to one’s gastric juices, the latter have to be given up with a feeling of utmost detachment. Willingly parting company with someone of the stature of Anatole is a supreme sacrifice which deserves to be heartily applauded.
Matrimonial peace does not come cheap; often, one has to cultivate a deep sense of renunciation. Old Bingo’s married life is a shining example of this kind. Not for him a confrontation with the better half. Not for him a cold disapproving look at the love of one’s life. No lodging a protest. No wavering in the deep appreciation of the qualities of a soul mate. Sheer resignation to fate. A meek surrender to the superior intelligence of Jeeves. A spirit of renunciation.