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World of Wooster, The (1965-67)


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'The Delayed Exit of Claude and Eustace', tx. 4/1/1966

Bertie Wooster anxiously awaits a visit from Sir Humphrey Wardour, his prospective father-in-law and goes to prepare himself when the doorbell rings. Jeeves answers it, to find Bertie's cousins Claude and Eustace, who want him to look after various items which they stole in order to qualify for membership of select group The Seekers. These comprise a top hat, a box of four live cats, and a tram-driver's handle. They leave with the intention of stealing the door-knocker from No.10 Downing Street.

Bertie emerges to be told that Sir Humphrey has not arrived yet, and uses this opportunity to warn Jeeves that he needs careful handling. A consultant neurologist, he has low opinions of his daughter Marion's previous swains, and is opposed to drinking, smoking and gambling.

Bertie gets off to a poor start by using the phrase "off his rocker" to describe the cerebrally excited condition of Sir Humphrey's latest titled patient. Sir Humphrey is alarmed to hear a cat in the background, but Bertie reassures him that he does not own one. Sir Humphrey claims that the world around him has gone mad, citing the theft of his hat earlier that day from a passing taxi as evidence. He hears the cat again, and when Bertie goes to investigate, he inadvertently releases the cats from the kitchen. Despite Bertie's protestations, Sir Humphrey insists on leaving - and identifies his hat on the way out.

Jeeves explains to Bertie why these various objects ended up in his flat, but is interrupted by news from Vine Street police station - Claude and Eustace were arrested and need ten pounds' bail. Bertie attempts to ring Marion to explain things, but is rebuffed. Aunt Agatha arrives to telll Bertie that she has secured Claude and Eustace positions in South Africa - but she wishes Bertie to chaperone them until the boat sails.

Claude and Eustace insist on taking Bertie to a night club, where he runs into Marion. Both Claude and Eustace take a shine to her and follow in pursuit. Bertie wakes up the next afternoon to find that Jeeves has prepared one of his patented hangover cures. Delight turns to alarm when Claude walks through the door to tell him that he had fallen so much in love with Marion that he gave Eustace the slip and returned to London to pursue her. Eustace arrives shortly afterwards with the same story, and when they encounter each other they resolve to stay with Bertie until their romantic complications are resolved.

Aunt Agatha arrives in quest of Bertie's assurance that Claude and Eustace did indeed leave as scheduled, as Bertie's Uncle Oliver allegedly saw Eustace much later. Bertie successfully ensures that she fails to spot them in his flat, and after she leaves, his cousins announce their intention to assume disguises when appearing in public. Nonetheless, Uncle Oliver still recognises them under their false noses and moustaches. Aunt Agatha orders him to go to take a cure at Harrogate and requests that Bertie accompany him. Marion rings to express her annoyance at Claude and Eustace's stalking, and tells him that if he expects her to forgive him, he should do something about it.

Claude wakes Bertie the next morning to say goodbye - he has decided to go to South Africa after all. Bertie is only too happy to lend him the fare - and does the same for Eustace, who arrives a few minutes later with the same news. After their departure, Jeeves hands Bertie a telegram from Marion, and a five-pound note for Jeeves in gratitude for his services. Jeeves explains that he told Claude and Eustace that Marion was sailing for South Africa that day, and further guaranteed that they would get on the boat by telling them that she was going by a different route, and would join them at Madeira. Furthermore, Uncle Oliver no longer wishes to go to Harrogate, as his constitution has been transformed by Jeeves' hangover cure. A delighted Bertie, who has been handing Jeeves five-pound notes with each fresh revelation, finds that he needs to borrow one back as his wallet is now empty.