When Bingo Little falls in love at a Camberwell subscription dance and Bertie Wooster drops into the mulligatawny, there is work for a wet-nurse. Who better than Jeeves?
I enjoyed this collection of stories… because yes, though presented as a novel, this is, in fact, a collection of short stories loosely tight together with a very flimsy thread.
I long meant to read stories from the series of Jeeves by P. G. Wodehouse. I’d heard fantastic things about them, but I’ll admit that in the beginning, I was a bit disappointed. These stories felt so unbelievably light that at I wondered what there was for me in it.
But then I started to see that lightness was precisely what makes them special. It makes these stories almost surreal in the unlikeliness of it all. They all have at their heart an utterly inconsequential matter. Mostly Bingo’s falling in love with yet another girl. Or it may be a context among the parishes of the village to see which parsons will deliver the longer sermon. It’s always something like this.
The events are utterly superficial. It’s the characters who make them enjoyable.
Bertie is a sweet dear, and he is the one who sets the mood since he doesn’t take anything (not even himself) seriously. But he has a very good heart. He always tries to help, even when he would prefer not to get involved. But then, if he can do something, he never refuses to land a hand.
Where Bertie is well-disposed and messy, Jeeves is utterly efficient. He always knows the answer. He always knows what to do. He is the one that always solves the problem. And although he is the valet and Bertie is the master, Bertie knows perfectly well that it is Jeeves that guide his life. And I wonder whether there isn’t social commentary, after all, in the working man being the solver and the true mover of the lives of these young upper-class men who often don’t know what to do with themselves.
The writing flows so well, and it so witty that is a joy to read in itself.
I truly enjoy this.
The Inimitable Jeeves
I looked at Jeeves. Jeeves looked at me.
“It affects us all right if he doesn’t start at all.”
“What do you mean?” asked Bingo.
“If you ask me,” I said, “I think Steggles will try to nobble him before the race.”
“Good Lord! I never thought of that.” Bingo blenched. “You don’t think he would really do it?”
“I think he would have a jolly good try. Steggles is a bad man. From now on, Jeeves, we must watch Harold like hawks.”
“Ceaseless vigilance, what?”
“You wouldn’t care to sleep in his room, Jeeves?”
“No, sir, I should not.”
“No, nor would I, if it comes to that. But dash it all,” I said, “we’re letting ourselves get rattled! We’re losing our nerve. This won’t do. How can Steggles possibly get to Harold, even if he wants to?”
There was no cheering young Bingo up. He’s one of those birds who simply leap at the morbid view, if you give them half a chance.
“There are all sorts of ways of nobbling favourites,” he said, in a sort of death-bed voice. “You ought to read some of these racing novels. In ‘Pipped on the Post,’ Lord Jasper Mauleverer as near as a toucher outed Bonny Betsy by bribing the head lad to slip a cobra into her stable the night before the Derby!”
“What are the chances of a cobra biting Harold, Jeeves?”
“Slight, I should imagine, sir. And in such an event, knowing the boy as intimately as I do, my anxiety would be entirely for the snake.”
“Still, unceasing vigilance, Jeeves.”
“Most certainly, sir.”
The Thursday Quotables was originally a weekly post created by Lisa Wolf for her book blog Bookshelf Fantasy. It isn’t a weekly post anymore, not even for Lisa, but just like her, I still love to share my favourite reads on Thursday and I still use the original template which included an excerpt.