More recently, in my blog How to read P G Wodehouse: a new prescription, I savoured the fruits of recent roaming of the Plum pastures; and cited juicy quotations from the outstanding Ring for Jeeves.
Indeed, I have been struck by the poverty of many self-styled treasuries of quotations when it comes to Plum’s oeuvre.
So here, without further ado, are a few additional succulent fruit, assembled by me with pleasure from Thank You, Jeeves.
The cover of the Folio edition of ‘Thank You, Jeeves’
Thank You, Jeeves strikes me as one of the funniest of the Jeeves tales (quite an accolade – Ed). Jeeves himself has oiled off elsewhere for much of the action, but in his absence, Bertie Wooster’s ability to get into scrapes is exploited to outstanding effect. Such scenes as a night in which Bertie repeatedly fails to find a place to rest his head are world class hilarious. So, too, the sequence in which Bertie, starving hungry (“like a python when the Zoo officials have just started to bang the luncheon gong”), repeatedly fails to find breakfast as he is confronted with one scene after another in which other people enjoy magnificent morning feasts. Splendid.
A few quotes:
- ‘Oh, I’m not complaining,’ said Chuffy, looking rather like Saint Sebastian on receipt of about the fifteenth arrow. ‘You have a perfect right to love who you like.’
- ‘Must have been a shock for the poor old chap, I mean, barging in and finding you here.’
‘Ever been hit over the head with a chair?’
‘Well, you soon may be.’
I began to see that she was in a difficult mood.
- He eyed me musingly.
‘There was a time, when I was younger, when I would have broken your neck,’ he said.
I didn’t like the trend the conversation was taking.
- I don’t know how long it was that I stood there, rooted to the s. It may have been a short time. It may have been quite a stretch. Despair was gripping me, and when that happens you don’t keep looking at your watch.
Let us say, then, that at some point – five, ten, fifteen or it may have been twenty minutes later – I became aware of somebody coughing softly at my side like a respectful sheep trying to attract the attention of its shepherd, and how can I describe with what thankfulness and astonishment I perceived Jeeves.
- I don’t know if you have ever spent the night in a summer-house… All the ghost stories you’ve ever read go flitting through the mind, particularly any you know where fellows are found next morning absolutely dead, without a mark on them but with such a look of horror and fear in their eyes that the search party draw in their breath a bit and gaze at each other as much as to say ‘What ho!’
Strongly recommended for Wodehouse fans or, indeed, novices wanting to dip a toe in the water.
Perhaps I might here take the opportunity to recommend my own collection of comedic shorts, The Hotel Stories. These seven tales are of course in no way worthy of even the humblest comparison to the works of P G Wodehouse; but they have, I hope, their moments. Readers – or, indeed, reviewers – welcome!
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