Thursday, 24 April 2014

Right Ho, Jeeves

by P. G. Wodehouse

It’s funny that, though being a fan of the old J. & W. show, I never read anything by P. G. Wodehouse himself, until now that is. But — listen. Last Christmas two young feline creatures named Jeeves and Wooster made their first short appearance around here. Since then, I completely forgot about them. And then I went away for a month and learned that they were visiting again and made themselves at home, to the extent that they viewed the living room rightly theirs and regarded anyone else as visitors. Right ho, I said to myself, what a wonderful world, or something on those lines. So I downloaded this book onto Kindle and read most of it in the air, somewhere between Las Palmas and Helsinki. Marvellous. And did it have anything on cats? What cats? It never was about cats.

I remember when I was a kid at school having to learn a poem of sorts about a fellow named Pig-something — a sculptor he would have been, no doubt — who made a statue of a girl, and what should happen one morning but that the bally thing suddenly came to life. A pretty nasty shock for the chap, of course, but the point I’m working round to is that there were a couple of lines that went, if I remember correctly:
She starts. She moves. She seems to feel
The stir of life along her keel
The discovery of a toy duck in the soap dish, presumably the property of some former juvenile visitor, contributed not a little to this new and happier frame of mind. What with one thing and another, I hadn’t played with toy ducks in my bath for years, and I found the novel experience most invigorating. For the benefit of those interested, I may mention that if you shove the thing under the surface with the sponge and then let it go, it shoots out of the water in a manner calculated to divert the most careworn.
His hair was full of twigs, and there was a beetle hanging to the side of his head which would have interested Gussie Fink-Nottle. To this, however, I paid scant attention. There is a time for studying beetles and a time for not studying beetles.
I consulted Jeeves once more in the language of the eyebrow. He raised one of his. I raised one of mine. He raised his other. I raised my other. Then we both raised both.
“Curse all dancing chauffeurs! What on earth does a chauffeur want to dance for? I mistrusted that man from the start. Something told me he was a dancer.”
“Bertie, I have something to say to you.”
“I have something to say to you.”
“I know. I said ‘What?’”
“Oh, I thought you didn’t hear what I said.”
“Yes, I heard what you said, all right, but not what you were going to say.”
“Oh, I see.”

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