Gerry Adams? Jeeves will deal with him

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The Independent Online
I have been carrying around in my wallet for some time a cutting from The Daily Telegraph of Friday 27 September 1996, reporting a press conference with Gerry Adams on the occasion of the publication of his book, Before The Dawn. Occasionally I reread it, wondering why I kept it, and always I remember: it's because Gerry Adams, when asked to name his literary influences, mentioned, among other writers, the late PG Wodehouse.

So, I have been carrying this cutting around with me, wondering how on earth to use such a nugget of information - ie how to effect a rapprochement between two such unlikely bedfellows, when all the time the answer was staring me in the face: leave it to a computer.

Accordingly, I fed into the mighty computer here at The Independent as much information as I could muster about Gerry Adams, then as much input as I could muster about PG Wodehouse, and then instructed the machine to produce a story about Gerry Adams in the style of the master. At first the machine made excuses, then pleaded a headache, but finally I got it to buckle down to it, and yesterday it came up with this charming tale.

The Irish Cousin

I had been invited down for the weekend to Wolfram Towers by my uncle, Lord Wolfram, which was a dashed nuisance, as I had also been invited to a golf party by my old friend Rupert Allhallows. Given a choice between the two, only a an idiot or a man with a wooden leg, who fell over when he swung a golf club, would have elected to face Uncle Wilbert over a whole weekend. Or a man who had recently fallen somewhat in love with Uncle Wilbert's lovely daughter, Kate, as was my case.

"What would you do, Jeeves, in such a tricky situation?" I asked my faithful retainer.

"That depends, sir, whether you attach more importance to the heart or to the wrist."

"Eh?"

Sometimes I find it hard to follow Jeeves through the tangled thickets of logic.

"It has always seemed to me, sir, that the art of golf depends entirely on knowing exactly when to unroll the wrists on impact. Not much of a challenge. The art of love is a more exacting game, especially as nobody has yet codified a set of rules."

Even when he explains himself, I seldom know what he is driving at.

"Besides, sir, our finances are very low at the moment and Lord Wolfram is a very generous uncle."

He had me there. Sightings of disposable income were currently as rare as snow at midday in Cairo High Street, and a recent letter from my bank had expressed surprise that they had had to use so much red ink when printing my last statement. A surprised bank is not a happy bank. An unhappy bank will sometimes make life dashed awkward. Uncle Wilbert was, when in a jolly mood, unquestionably generous. Thus it was that I reluctantly agreed with Jeeves, made my excuses to Rupert Allhallows and found myself on the Friday motoring down to Wolfram Towers.

My sadness at not being on the first tee with Rupert and chums was somewhat assuaged by the sight of Kate coming out on the steps of the stately pile to greet me. Do you know the feeling when your heart turns upside down and gives you a kick in the ribs? It is not unlike dyspepsia, but lasts longer.

"Hello, Bertie, how lovely to see you!" she cried, and before I could tell her how equally lovely it was to see her, she had pulled a chap out of the shadows beside her and said: "Oh, Bertie, do you know Gerry? He is an Irish cousin who has come to stay the weekend. Mr Adams, do you know Bertie Wooster?"

The specimen to whom I was introduced was a man with spectacles like library windows and a beard that would not have looked out of place on a Russian bear. I took his hand and let it go.

"A cousin of whom, may I ask?"

"Oh, just an Irish cousin," he smiled, using one of those smiles which have little light and no warmth.

"Are you interested in pigs?" I asked.

"Pigs?" he said.

"Lord Wolfram has a passion for prize pigs, second only to Lord Emsworth's," I said. "This weekend you may find yourself enmeshed in long conversations about pigs. I should be prepared."

He smiled.

"I think you will find I can talk long and hard on any subject without giving away what I feel or know about it," he said.

"Yes, I've heard you Irish johnnies have the gift of meaningful dialogue," I said.

It was a remark which Kate was later to reprimand me for quite severely.

The denouement tomorrow!

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