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January 24, 2009

Well, I was looking for some poetry to cheer me up and then I remembered poetry is often either about love or death and though love can occasionally be cheering, it is only for occasions. So then I realized the search needed to be for Wodehouse. I’d really like to be Bertie Wooster for a fortnight or so, even if it meant being visited with aunts and Fink-Nottles. Perhaps there could also be an Anatole and a Jeeves.

Here’s an excerpt from “Extricating Young Gussie” (not Fink-Nottle) courtesy of Laugh and don’t stop by before breakfast:

“She sprang it on me before breakfast. There in seven words you have a complete character sketch of my Aunt Agatha. I could go on indefinitely about brutality and lack of consideration. I merely say that she routed me out of bed to listen to her painful story somewhere in the small hours. It can’t have been half past eleven when Jeeves, my man, woke me out of the dreamless and broke the news:
‘Mrs Gregson to see you, sir.’
I thought she must be walking in her sleep, but I crawled out of bed and got into a dressing-gown. I knew Aunt Agatha well enough to know that, if she had come to see me, she was going to see me. That’s the sort of woman she is.
She was sitting bolt upright in a chair, staring into space. When I came in she looked at me in that darn critical way that always makes me feel as if I had gelatine where my spine ought to be. Aunt Agatha is one of those strong-minded women. I should think Queen Elizabeth must have been something like her. She bosses her husband, Spencer Gregson, a battered little chappie on the Stock Exchange. She bosses my cousin, Gussie Mannering-Phipps. She bosses her sister-in-law, Gussie’s mother. And, worst of all, she bosses me. She has an eye like a man-eating fish, and she has got moral suasion down to a fine point.
I dare say there are fellows in the world–men of blood and iron, don’t you know, and all that sort of thing–whom she couldn’t intimidate; but if you’re a chappie like me, fond of a quiet life, you simply curl into a ball when you see her coming, and hope for the best. My experience is that when Aunt Agatha wants you to do a thing you do it, or else you find yourself wondering why those fellows in the olden days made such a fuss when they had trouble with the Spanish Inquisition.
‘Halloa, Aunt Agatha!’ I said
‘Bertie,’ she said, ‘you look a sight. You look perfectly dissipated.’

I was feeling like a badly wrapped brown-paper parcel. I’m never at my best in the early morning. I said so.
‘Early morning! I had breakfast three hours ago, and have been walking in the park ever since, trying to compose my thoughts.’
If I ever breakfasted at half past eight I should walk on the Embankment, trying to end it all in a watery grave.
‘I am extremely worried, Bertie. That is why I have come to you.’
And then I saw she was going to start something, and I bleated weakly to Jeeves to bring me tea. But she had begun before I could get it.
‘What are your immediate plans, Bertie?’
‘Well, I rather thought of tottering out for a bite of lunch later on, and then possibly staggering round to the club, and after that, if I felt strong enough, I might trickle off to Walton Heath for a round of golf.’
I am not interested in your totterings and tricklings. I mean, have you any important engagements in the next week or so?’
I scented danger.
‘Rather,’ I said. ‘Heaps! Millions! Booked solid!'”

And I’m booked to pull one of Bertie’s adventures off my shelves tonight.


From → Books, culture

One Comment
  1. danmihalache permalink

    Today my spam bin was full. A coleague who thinked he’ll
    remain unknown sent me seriated enraged comments; and
    coarses. He didn’t know my map shows IP adress and location
    and the e-mail.
    Of course I don’t care (the thunder doesn’t stike valleys)…
    I had to add: 新年好 (Happy New year in Chinese)

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