After Reading P.G. Wodehouse
I hear the discreet knock on the door, tap, tap, tap. He enters my bedroom bearing a silver tray high with one hand. He sets it on the table beside the door put there for that very purpose and proceeds to the windows, covered with floor-length drapes of blue velvet, and pulls them open with one powerful swish of his black-clad arms.
``Good morning, Miss,’’ he intones with deep respect riding above an undertone of reproach. What had I done? I can’t remember, until I see one silver-strapped sandal lying by the dressing table and my green shawl tossed on the chair. Ah. I hadn’t called for Anna, my dresser, to help me to bed last night when I came in at 3 a.m., and my clothes were now in disarray that would require extra attention to restore them to order.
Where had I been?
``Where have I been, Wilcox? And where is Anna?’’ I ask. Wilcox is small and wiry, shorter than I am in my silver-strapped sandals, but strong and wears a twinkle. He sports a toupee in brilliant black. When he wishes to go incognito, he takes it off and passes out of the realm of recognition until he dons it again.
``I expect you went to the ball at Ombershire House, Miss, with Lord Bumbershoot’s nephew just in from America.’’
``No, wait, Willcox. I need my morning elixir.’’
``Right here, Miss.’’ He put the tray beside me on the bed and turned over the thin, china cup handpainted with red and pink roses and a gold band encircling the rim. It flared out in exactly the soothing line one wishes for in early morning after social exertions.
``Thank you, Wilcox.’’ I sat up and accepted the cup and saucer from him, allowed the fragrant steam to warm to bathe my nasal tissues and sipped. The hot restorative ran down my gullet like a mare streaming to the finish line four lengths ahead of the pack.
``Ah. That’s better. Now you can tell me.’’ I beamed at his kindly face that had been beaming back at me since I was a little girl.
``There’s nothing, Wilcox, nothing at all, like black morning coffee in bed.’’