Archive for the ‘P.G. Wodehouse’ Category

I do love P.G. Wodehouse and his mad array of characters.  Though Psmith will forever remain my favourite, I have a steadfast affection for Frederick Altamont Cornwallis, fifth Earl of Ickenham, known to many a bright young man about town simply as Pongo’s Uncle Fred.  Surely there is no better man to partner you for a bit of light rabble rousing than the indefatigable Lord Ickenham who, despite being about sixty in Uncle Dynamite which I’ve just finished rereading, “…still retained, together with a juvenile waistline, the bright enthusiasms and the fresh, unspoiled mental outlook of a slightly inebriated undergraduate.”

For your amusement, I give you a delightful exchange between him and his nephew Pongo as they study a photograph of Pongo’s new fiancée, Hermione Bostock.  Uncle Fred is, as always, full of sage advice:

‘Have you ever studied these features?  That chin is a determined chin.  Those eyes flashing eyes.’

‘What’s the matter with flashing eyes?’

‘Dashed unpleasant things to have about a home.  To cope with flashing eyes, you have to be a man of steel and ginger.  Are you a man of steel and ginger?  No.  You’re like me, a gentle coffee-caddie.’

‘A how much?’

‘By a coffee-caddie, I mean a man – and there is no higher type – whose instinct it is to carry his wife’s breakfast up to her room on a tray each morning and bill and coo with her as she wades into it.  And what the coffee-caddie needs is not a female novelist with a firm chin and flashing eyes, but a jolly little soul who, when he bills, will herself bill like billy-o, and who will be right there with bells on when he starts to coo.  The advice I give to every young man starting out to seek a life partner is to find a girl whom he can tickle.  Can you see yourself tickling Hermione Bostock?  She would draw herself to her full height and say “Sir!”’

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As the light, filler posts of the last few days may suggest, I am enjoying my vacation far too much to worry about writing thoughtful, analytical reviews.  I am taking notes as I’m reading and eventually (probably) these will be typed up into something resembling coherent thought but for now I am happy to focus on having a good time. 

And who better to ensure a good time than P.G. Wodehouse?  Rather than a review (it’s Wodehouse, any review I was going to write was going to be overwhelmingly positive anyways), I shall simply leave you will delightful quotes from Heavy Weather:

From the introduction (by Anthony Lane): “The most that one can say of Heavy Weather, probably, is that it rotates around two topics of consuming interest: a) fat pigs and those who care for them, and b) willowy young men and those who care for them.  These two subjects are pleasingly entwined; to be honest, there is little to choose between them, although the leading pig, Empress of Blandings, far outstrips the resident young men in her poise and equanimity, and, for all one knows, her IQ.” (p. vii)


“The Hon. Galahad Threepwood, in his fifty-seventh year, was a dapper little gentleman on whose grey but still thickly-covered head the weight of a consistently misspent life rested lightly.  His flannel suit sat jauntily upon his wiry frame, a black-rimmed monocle gleamed jauntily in his eye.  Everything about this Muskateer of the nineties was jaunty.  It was a standing mystery to all who knew him that one who had had such an extraordinarily good time all his life should, in the evening of that life, be so superbly robust.  Wan contemporaries who had once painted a gas-lit London red in his company and were now doomed to an existence of dry toast, Vichy water, and German cure resorts felt very strongly on this point.  A man of his antecedents, they considered, ought by rights to be rounding off his career in a bath-chair instead of flitting about the place, still chaffing head waters as of old and calling for the wine list without a tremor.” (p. 40)


“…meanwhile I will be giving Pirbright his intructions.”

“Tell him to lurk.”


“Some rude disguise such as a tree or a pail of potato-peel would help.”

Lord Emsworth reflected.

“I don’t think Pirbright could disguise himself as a tree.”

“Nonsense.  What do you pay him for?” (p. 43)


“No healthy person really needs food.  If people would only stick to drinking, doctors would go out of business.” (p. 44)


The happiest of Wednesdays to you all!

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