This is a Lord Peter Wimsey/Fernando (ABBA) crossover, with Wodehouse Guest Appearance. Inspired, perhaps not surprisingly, by azdak. Consider it an explanation of why Bunter does not appear in the DLS story The Haunted Policeman.
That I am not claiming to be DLS should be evident.
You are older now, Mervyn
The footman, William, might describe the newest inhabitant of the five-storied house in Audley Square as lively, but the infant’s father couldn’t help feeling, even with affection, that he would appreciate it if he were slightly less so at 3 o’clock in the morning. The mother’s feelings on this score were similar and considerably more forcefully expressed, on one occasion by the pitching of soft furnishings at the father’s head. Cook was considering giving notice. There was some irony, reflected Lord Peter, in the fact that in the absence of the one person in the house with the exception of the boot boy who might have the least to do with the baby the place was falling apart. He laid his head on the pile of letters that Bunter would normally have dealt with, and fell asleep.
Two months previously, Wimsey would have sworn that the closest Bunter was generally liable to get to the Iberian Peninsula was his impressive rendition of The Spaniard That Blighted My Life, and yet there they were in the study.
‘Excuse me, my lord, but I must request a period of leave.’
‘Of course. Take what you need – you never do take the holiday you ought, Bunter. Most reprehensible of you. I live in dread of your droppin’ dead from overwork and the chaps at your club coming to wreak their revenge.’
‘Thank you, my lord. My lord, the period to which I refer may be of somewhat longer duration than that of which I have hitherto availed myself. Whilst I appreciate your lordship’s generosity in this matter, I should quite understand were your lordship to consider that – ’
‘Oh, stow it, man. I’m sure we can manage without you for a fortnight. I don’t say it’ll be easy - and absence certainly couldn't make the heart grow fonder - but all things considered, I’d say a decent holiday’s the least I owe you.’
‘I fear my absence may be somewhat longer.’ He hesitated, and Wimsey felt suddenly nervous. ‘My lord, I wish to fight in the Spanish Civil War.’
It was probably only a few minutes later that Wimsey awoke with his head between his knees and a bottle of smelling salts under his nose. He stirred, at first groggily and then sat up sharply. Bunter climbed to his feet, a mixture of familiar implacability and unwonted guilt upon his face.
‘So it’s like that, is it?’ Wimsey forced a smile. ‘Well, it’s your funeral – only, y’know, we – I – don’t make that more than an expression, will you?’
It was as expected, Bunter noted, packing his bags, that his lordship had not asked which side he would be fighting on.
The heat and dust were stifling. When he had arrived, it had been almost eighteen years since he aimed a rifle with intent at anything more offensive than a rabbit, but hands and eye still worked without thought. He lay in the dirt with the stillness with which he had stood as a footman at Sir john Sanderson’s before the war and awaited the convoy.
He heard the motorbikes first, a dull roar breaking through the birdsong. They crested the head of the pass below. Then the open vehicle, with a Spanish driver and beside him that long-familiar figure that had bestrode the Junior Ganymede like a colossus, tall, with broad shoulders and a noble head surmounted by gleaming black brilliantined hair.
‘This one’s for you, Reggie.’ He sighted, and fired. The tall figure jerked once, and crumpled into the back of the lorry. ‘Fascist bastard. Say I wasn’t abiding by the spirit of the Club Book with “Ask his mother”, would you?’
The telegram arrived the next day. He had intended to leave shortly in any case, possibly via a couple of days on a Portuguese beach, and it took him very little time to stow his kit and arrange for a ride out. Settled comfortably on a French train, appreciating the glances of the girls opposite him who were surprised but evidently very pleased to find such a figure in First Class, he read it again.
HOUSE IN UPROAR COOK GIVEN NOTICE H DESPERATE ME WORSE BEG PLEASE COME HOME SOONEST POSSIBLE PDBW
He had never really doubted he was needed even with the new arrangements, but it was nice to have proof, once in a while.