Regular readers and bots will know that my reading diet includes the occasional, semi-regular dose of Wodehouse. It's all good and well to keep the grey cells ticking over with some philosophy or science, or to engage the senses with a potboiler or adventure story, but the trusty P.G.Wodehouse must to returned to every now and then to maintain the natural order of things, to keep things sweet and light and to maintain the broader perspective.
"Much Obliged Jeeves" is my second Jeeves & Wooster undertaking, the first being The Inimitable Jeeves, which I read back in 2008. Much Obliged brings together some goings-ons in earlier books in the Jeeves series, although these books are not pre-requisite reading. As can be relied upon, we have the usual hi-jinx, convolutions, and the occasional quotable gem and turn of phrase.
'Exactly', I said. I couldn't have put it better myself. 'One always has to budget for a change in the weather. Still, the thing is to keep on being happy while you can.'
'I see,' I said. I could appreciate that this put him in quite a spot, the feudal spirit making him wish to do the square thing by the young master, while a natural disinclination to get bunged out of a well-loved club urged him to let the young master boil his head. The situation seemed to me to call for what is known as a compromise.
To many of my circle are apt when inviting me to their homes to stress the fact that they are only expecting me for the weekend and to dwell with too much enthusiasm on the excellence of the earlier trains back to the Metropolis on Monday morning.
"a twenty minute egg" (description of someone who takes a lot of work to get what you want out of them)
'The rely on me. Such an assignment should be well within my scope.'
'Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party?'
Having restored the tissues with the excellent nourishment ...
'Lost weight, haven't you? You ought to live in the country like me and get good country butter.'
'I believe his political views were very far to the left at the time when he was in your employment. They changed when he became a man of property.'
...'I suppose it often happens that the views of a fellow like Bingley change when they come into money'
'Very frequently. They regard the coming revolution from a different standpoint.'
A man in his position has to exercise considerable care in his choice of secretaries, ruling out anything that might have done well in the latest Miss America contest. But you could certainly describe her appearance as pleasant. She gave me the impression of being one of those quiet, sympathetic girls whom you could tell your troubles to in the certain confidence of having your hand held and your hand patted. The sort of girl you could go to and say 'I've just committed a murder and it's worrying me rather.' and she would reply 'There, there, try not to think about it, it's the sort of thing that might happen to anybody.'
I might have gone to pay my respect to Anatole, but then again I thought better not. He too, is inclined to the long monologue when he gets you in his power, his pet subject the state of his interior.
'...England is strewn with ex-fiances who she bounded because they didn't come up to her specifications. Dozens of them. I believe they form clubs and societies.'
I don't know how many of my public have ever been slapped with a wet fish, but those who will have will appreciate my emotions as the seventh Earl of Sidcup delivered this devastating bulletin.
'The man's an ass.'
'One might almost say a silly ass'
'Comes of sleeping all the time'.
'I believe that's the trouble.'
'Addles the brain.'
'Must, I imagine.' It's the same thing with Gus the car. I love Gus like a brother, but after years of non-stop sleep, he's got about as much genuine intelligence as a Cabinet minister.'
'The great thing in life, Jeeves, if we wish to be happy and prosperous, is to miss as many political debates as possible.'
'Into each life some rain must fall, sir.'