Having learnt from his experience with the Trolly Hall butler, Jeeves stayed well back as Bruth entered Prebend House. Skirting around the gates he crept towards a slightly open window. The gardens were beautifully planted and it was a simple job to hide himself amongst the box hedges.
From his vantage point, Jeeves could see a small and slightly ill-suited group seated around the parlour room tables. Bruth was addressing the gathering, while a pair of maids supplied tea and fancy cakes.
“Good evening all and I welcome you with utmost joy, to this meeting of the Buckingham Temperance Society. Thank you for joining my prayers.” The audience watched, entirely transfixed. “I’m very sorry to report that young Mr Markham, a most energetic fellow.” Jeeves noted a murmur run round the group, Mr Markham was clearly well known to them.“ Has indeed succumbed to extreme views and an angry aggression toward any who sup liquor of any type.”
The murmur grew louder. “Mr Markham’s views may have been broadly in line with our own, but his opinion on appropriate future action to convince others of our cause is not. There has been no other option to withdraw our support from Mr Markham and he is no longer a member of our society.”
“When was this?” A tall woman demanded, “I saw him yesterday, very agitated. Mr Sear was with him, trying to talk him away from the Vintners in the square.”
Mr Sear? All Jeeves’ enquiries until now suggested the man liked a good drink. Why would he have been known to all these Temperance fellows? Suddenly, there was a panicked shout. “We need help! The brewery is on fire!”