Wodehouse (II)

Here’s a link to the first post in this series. The quotes below are from the book Full Moon, which is one of the books in Wodehouse’ Blandings Castle series. I have not read a book in that series which I did not enjoy reading.

“I really am feeling astoundingly well. It’s what I’ve always said – alcohol’s a tonic. Where most fellows go wrong is that they don’t take enough of it. […] He never drank tea, having always had a prejudice against the stuff since his friend Buffy Struggles back in the nineties had taken to it as a substitute for alcohol and had perished miserably as a result. (Actually what had led to the late Mr Struggles’s turning in his dinner pail had been a collision in Piccadilly with a hansom cab, but Gally had always felt that this could have been avoided if the poor dear old chap had not undermined his constitution by swilling a beverage whose dangers are recognized by every competent medical authority.)”

“Some little while later Veronica, starting the conversational ball rolling once more, said that she had been bitten on the nose that afternoon by a gnat. Tipton, shuddering at this, said that he had never liked gnats. Veronica said that she too, did not like gnats, but that they were better than bats. Yes, assented Tipton, oh, sure, yes a good deal better than bats. Of cats Veronica said she was fond, and Tipton agreed that cats as a class were swell. On the subject of rats they were also as one, both holding strong views regarding their lack of charm.
The ice thus broken, the talk flowed pretty easily until Veronica said that perhaps they had better be going in now. Tipton said, “Oh, shoot!” and Veronica said, “I think we’d better,” and Tipton said, “Well, okay, if we must.” His heart was racing and bounding as he accompanied her to the drawing-room. If there had ever been any doubt in his mind that this girl and he were twin souls, it no longer existed. It seemed to him absolutely amazing that two people should think so alike on everything – on gnats, bats, cats, rats, in fact absolutely everything.”

“Tipton removed his gaze from the cow. As a matter of fact, he had seen about as much of it as he wanted to see. A fine animal, but, as is so often the case with cows, not much happening.”

“‘Look here, Guv’nor, will you do something for me?’
‘What?’ asked Lord Emsworth, cautiously.
‘What were you thinking of buying Vee?’
‘I had in mind some little inexpensive trinket, such as girls like to wear. A wrist watch was your aunt’s suggestion.’
‘Good. That fits my plans like the paper on the wall. Go to Aspinall’s in Bond Street. They have wrist watches of all descriptions. And when you get there, tell them that you are empowered to act for F. Threepwood. I left Aggie’s necklace with them to be cleaned, and at the same time ordered a pendant for Vee. Tell them to send the necklace to … Are you following me, Guv’nor?’
‘No,’ said Lord Emsworth.
‘It’s quite simple. On the one hand, the necklace; on the other, the pendant. Tell them to send the necklace to Aggie at the Ritz Hotel, Paris—‘
‘Who’, asked Lord Emsworth, mildly interested, ‘is Aggie?’
‘Come, come, Guv’nor. This is not the old form. My wife.’
‘I thought your wife’s name was Frances.’
‘Well, it isn’t. It’s Niagara.’
‘What a peculiar name.’
‘Her parents spent their honeymoon at the Niagara Falls hotel.’
‘Niagara is a town in America, is it not?’
‘Not so much a town as a rather heavy downpour.’
‘A town, I always understood.’
‘You were misled by your advisers, Guv’nor. But do you mind if we get back to the res. Time presses. Tell these Aspinall birds to mail the necklace to Aggie at the Ritz Hotel, Paris, and bring back the pendant with you. Have no fear that you will be left holding the baby—‘
Again Lord Emsworth was interested. This was the first he’d heard of this.
‘Have you a baby? Is it a boy? How old is he? What do you call him? Is he at all like you?’ he asked, with a sudden pang of pity for the unfortunate suckling.
‘I was speaking figuratively, Guv’nor,’ said Freddie patiently. ‘When I said, “Have no fear that you will be left holding the baby,” I meant, “Entertain no alarm lest they may shove the bill off on you.” The score is all paid up. Have you got it straight?’
‘Let me hear the story in your own words.’
‘There is a necklace and a pendant—‘
‘Don’t go getting them mixed.’
‘I never get anything mixed. You wish me to have the pendant sent to your wife and to bring back—‘
‘No, no, the other way round.’
‘Or, rather, as I was just about to say, the other way round. It is all perfectly clear. Tell me,’ said Lord Emsworth, returning to the subject which really interested him, ‘why is Frances nicknamed Niagara?’
‘Her name isn’t Frances, and she isn’t.’
‘Isn’t what?’
‘Nicknamed Niagara.’
‘You told me she was. Has she taken the baby to Paris with her?’
Freddie produced a light blue handkerchief from his sleeve and passed it over his forehead.
‘Look here, Guv’nor, do you mind if we call the whole thing off? Not the necklace and pendant sequence, but all this stuff about Frances and babies—‘
‘I like the name Frances.’
‘Me, too. Music to the ears. But shall we just let it go, just forget all about it? We shall both feel easier and happier.’
Lord Emsworth uttered a pleased exlamation.
‘Not Niaraga. Chicago. This is the town I was thinking of. There is a town in America called Chicaco.'”

“‘I’ve got it,’ he said, returning. ‘The solution came to me in a flash. We will put the pig in Veronica’s room.’
A rather anxious expression stole across Freddie’s face. Of the broad general principle of putting pigs in girls’ rooms he of course approved, but he did not like that word ‘we’. […]
‘What’s the good of putting pigs in Vee’s room?’
‘My dear fellow, have you no imagination? What happens when a girl finds a pig in her room?’
‘I should think she’d yell her head off.’
‘Precisely. I confidently expect Veronica to raise the roof. Whereupon, up dashes young Plimsoll to her rescue. If you can think of a better way to bring two young people together, I should be interested to hear it.'”

“‘Is he wanted by the police?’
‘No, he is not wanted by the police.’
‘How I sympathize with the police,’ said Lady Hermione. ‘I know just how they feel.'”


May 12, 2015 - Posted by | Books

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