The Humor of P.G. Wodehouse

Wodehouse, unlike Woody Allen, had a very positive outlook on life. He didn't whine or complain. Someone once alluded to the ". . . sunny and civilized world of P.G. Wodehouse." Wodehouse, Plum to his friends, is considered to be a master of the English language, and he is especially popular with other writers. Douglas Adams, who knew a thing or two about humor, put it pretty clearly, "Wodehouse is the greatest comic writer ever." Rudyard Kipling described Wodehouse's "Lord Emsworth and the Girlfriend" as the best short story in English literature.

The London Times

A brilliantly funny writer - perhaps the most consistently funny the English language has yet produced.

Sebastian Faulks

P.G. Wodehouse wrote the best English comic novels of the century.

Evelyn Waugh

Wodehouse's idyllic world can never stale. He will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own. He has made a world for us to live in and delight in.

The Small Bachelor

     It has been well said of Sigsbee H. Waddington that, if men were dominoes, he would be the double-blank.
- Chapter 1 - IV

     "The letter M. seems to be forming itself among the mists."
     "I have a stepdaughter, Molly."
     "Is she tall and dark?"
     "No. Small and fair."
     "Then it is she!" said Madame Eulalie.
- Chapter 5 - I

     "I can mention no names, of course ..."
     "I don't expect you to."
     "Then I will simply say that A, to whom the necklace belongs, is shortly about to be married to B . . . I have my reasons for thinking that the wedding will take place down at Hempstead on Long Island, where C, A's stepmother, has her summer house."
     "Why? Why not in New York?"
     "Because," said Mr Waddington simply, "I expressed a wish that it should take place in New York."
     "What have you got to do with it?"
     "I am D, C's husband."
- Chapter 6 - V

     She was not normally an unkind girl, but the impulse of the female of the species to torture the man it loves is well-known. Women may be a ministering angel when pain and anguish wring the brow: but, if at other times she sees a chance to prod the loved one and watch him squirm, she hates to miss it.
- Chapter 15

Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves

     "Wooster," those who know me have sometimes said, "may be a pretty total loss during the daytime hours, but plunge the world in darkness, switch on the soft lights, uncork the champagne, and shove a dinner into him, and you'd be surprised.

Very Good, Jeeves!

     "Because, if your aunt supposed that I was a pal of yours, she would naturally sack me on the spot."
     Bingo raised his eyebrows.
     "Why? Be reasonable, Bertie. If you were your aunt, and you knew the sort of chap you were, would you let a fellow you knew to be your best pal tutor your son?"
- Chapter 1

     "I did not hear the bell. I was in the sitting-room, sir."
     "Doing this and that, no doubt?"
     "Dusting your new vase, sir."
     My heart warmed to the fellow. If there's one person I like, it's the chap who is not too proud to admit it when he's in the wrong. No actual statement to that effect had passed his lips, of course, but we Woosters can read between the lines. I could see that he was learning to love the vase.
     "How does it look?"
     "Yes, sir."
     A bit cryptic, but I let it go.
- Chapter 2

     "Before you start, sir, perhaps you would ring Miss Wickham up. She instructed me to desire you to do so."
     "You mean she asked you to ask me?"
     "Precisely, sir."
- Chapter 5

     Jeeves inclined his head gracefully.
     "I shall be delighted to accompany you, officer, if such is your wish. And I feel sure that in this connection I may speak for Mr Wooster also. He too, I am confident, will interpose no obstacle in the way of your plans. If you consider that circumstances have placed Mr Wooster in a position that may be termed equivocal, or even compromising, it will naturally be his wish to exculpate himself at the earliest possible ... "
     "Here!" said the policeman, slightly rattled.
     "Less of it."
     "Just as you say, officer."
     "Switch it off and come along."
     "Very good, officer."
- Chapter 7

Right Ho, Jeeves

     "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."
- Chapter 23

The Code of the Woosters

     I remembered something Jeeves had once called Gussie. "A sensitive plant, what?"
     "Exactly. You know your Shelley, Bertie."
     "Oh, am I?"
- Chapter 3

Jeeves in the Offing

     "Are you sure?"
     I said that sure was just what I wasn't anything but.
- Chapter 7

Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit

     "The place is alive with burglars."
     "Burglars? What gives you that idea? I haven't seen any burglars. Have you, Bertie?"
     "Not one. I remember thinking how odd it was."
- Chapter 14

Something Fresh

     One of the Georges - I forget which - once said that a certain number of hours' sleep each night - I cannot recall at the moment how many - made a man something, which for the time being has slipped my memory.
- Chapter 7 - II

     It was not the busy bar, full to overflowing with honest British yeomen, many of them in the same condition, that Baxter sought.
- Chapter 7 - II

The Luck of the Bodkins

     An undertaker, passing at that moment, would have looked at this young man sharply, scenting business. So would a buzzard.
- Chapter 2

     And then for the second time in four days, he received inspiration, thereby putting himself in a class of his own as far as the Bodkins were concerned - his nearest competitor being that Sir Hilary Bodkin, temp Queen Anne, who, according to family tradition handed down over the years from father to son, got an idea just before the Battle of Blenheim and another in the following spring.
- Chapter 16

Full Moon

     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.
- Chapter 4

The Mating Season

     Jeeves, in speaking of this Fink-Nottle, had, if you remember, described him as disgruntled, and it was plain at a glance that the passage of time had done nothing to gruntle him.
- Chapter 9

     Observing me, he switched off the dreamy look. "Oh, hallo, Bertie," he said. "I wanted to see you."
     "Oh, Yes?" I riposted, quick as a flash, and I meant it to sting, for I was feeling a bit fed with Catsmeat. I mean of his own free will he had taken on the job of valeting me, and in his capacity of my gentleman's personal gentleman should have been in and out all the time, brushing here a coat, pressing there a trouser and generally making himself useful, and I hadn't set eyes on him since the night we had arrived. One frowns on this absenteeism.
     "I wanted to tell you the good news."
     I laughed hollowly. "Good news? Is there such a thing?"
     "You bet there's such a thing. Things are looking up. The sun is smiling through. I believe I'm going to swing this Gertrude deal. Owing to the footling social conventions which prevent visiting valets hobnobbing with the daughter of the house, I haven't seen her, of course, to speak to, but I've been sending her notes by Jeeves and she has been sending me notes by Jeeves, and in her latest she shows distinct signs of yielding to my prayers. I think about two more communications, if carefully worded, should do the trick. Don't actually buy the fish-slice yet, but be prepared."
     My pique vanished. As I have said before, the Woosters are fair-minded. I knew what a dickens of a sweat these love letters are, a whole-time job calling for incessant concentration. If Catsmeat had been tied up with a lot of correspondence of this type, he wouldn't have had much time for attending to my wardrobe, of course. You can't press your suit and another fellow's trousers simultaneously.
- Chapter 11

Pigs Have Wings

     Ichabod, felt Lord Emsworth, and was still in a disturbed state of mind, though gradually becoming soothed by listening to that sweetest of all music, the sound of the Empress restoring her tissues, when there appeared at his side, leaning on the rail and surveying the champ through a black-rimmed monocle, a slim, trim, dapper little gentleman in his late fifties, whom he greeted with a cordial "Ah, Galahad."
- Chapter 1 - 3

     "He's absent-minded, isn't he?"
     "Yes, I think one could fairly call him that. If he has a mind, it is very seldom there."
- Chapter 5 - 3

     "Jerry Vail is an author, and you know as well as I do what authors are. Unbalanced. Unreliable. Fatheads, to a man."
- Chapter 9 - 1

The Brinkmanship of Galahad Threepwood

     Gally enlivened their progress with the story of the girl who said to her betrothed, " I will not be dictated to!" and then went and got a job as a stenographer.
- Chapter 6

     For an instant Wilfred Allsop's face lit up, as that of the poet Shelley, whom he so closely resembled, must have done when he suddenly realized that "blithe spirit" rhymes with "near it," not that it does, and another ode as good as off the assembly line.
- Chapter 6

Quick Service

     "I've said it before, and I'll say it again. If George Holbeton had two ounces more brain, just two ounces more, he would be half-witted."
- Chapter 13

Jill the Reckless

     No wonder Freddie experienced the sort of abysmal soul-sadness which afflicts one of Tolstoi's Russian peasants when, after putting in a heavy day's work strangling his father, beating his wife, and dropping the baby into the city reservoir, he turns to the cupboard, only to find the vodka bottle empty.
- Chapter 8-I

Piccadilly Jim

     "You have the aspect of one whom Fate has smitten in the spiritual solar plexus or of one who has been searching for the leak in life's gaspipe with a lighted candle. What's wrong?'
- Chapter 11

     "You can't expect to have a wonderful imagination like yours and not imagine things, can you?"
- Chapter 13

     "I think the heat must have made him irritable. In his normal state he would not strike a lamb. I've known him to do it."
     "Do what?"
     "Not strike lambs."
- Chapter 17

The Plot That Thickens

     She came in like an avenging Fury, closing the door behind her with a bang that brought Mr. Llewellyn out of slumberland with a jerk. He had been having a dream in which he was a spy and was being shot at sunrise, and the bang had synchronized neatly with the activities of the firing squad.
- Chapter 11

Tales from the Drones Club

     He felt as if he had been lolling in the electric chair at Sing-Sing and some practical joker had suddenly turned on the juice.
- The Shadow Passes

Joy in the Morning

     "Before proceeding thither, I think it would be best for me to stop at Mr Fittleworth's residence, apprise him of what has occurred, deposit the luggage and warn him of your coming."
     "Is 'warn' the word?"
     "Inform' I should have said, sir."
- Chapter 11

Sam the Sudden

     One of the rabbit-faced young men said that he could never understand how fellows - or women, for that matter - thought up ideas for stories - or plays, for the matter of that - or, as a matter of fact , any sort of ideas, for that matter.
     The other rabbit-faced young man said that something extremely rummy had once happened to a pal of his. He had forgotten what it was, but it had struck him at the time as distinctly rummy.
- Chapter 16 - I

Uncle Dynamite

     He was a large, stout, moon-faced man with an eye like a codfish, and throughout the proceedings he had kept his eye glued on Sir Aylmer's, as if peering into his soul. And anyone who has ever had his soul peered into by a codfish will testify how extremely unpleasant such an ordeal is.
- Chapter 6, part 3

     "He meant Brabazon-Plank, major. As opposed to my brother, who, being younger than me, is, of course, Brabazon-Plank, minor. I can understand your being confused," said Lord Ickenham with a commiserating glance at the officer, into whose face had crept the boiled look of one who finds the conversation becoming too abstruse. . . . "And what renders it all the more complex is that I myself am a mining engineer by profession. Anyone who wants to get straight on the Brabazon-Plank situation has got to keep steadily before him the fact that the minor is a major and the major a miner. I have known strong men to break down on realizing this. So you know my minor, the major, do you? Most interesting."
- Chapter 7

Bertie Wooster Sees It Through

     I gave him the facts, and he expressed his opinion that the position of affairs was disturbing.
     "You would go so far as that, Jeeves?"
     "Yes, sir. Most disturbing."
     "Ho!" I said borrowing a bit of Stilton's stuff, and was about to tell him that if he couldn't think of a better word than that to describe what was probably the ghastliest imbroglio that had ever broken loose in the history of the human race, I would be glad to provide him with a Roget's Thesaurus at my personal expense, when the gong went and I had to leg it for the trough.
- Chapter 11

     "And if I am to stave off the Cheesewright challenge, I shall have need of a weapon. His strength is the strength of ten, and unarmed I should be corn before his sickle."
     "Extremely well put, sir, if I may say so, and your diagnosis of the situation is perfectly accurate. Mr Cheesewright's robustness would enable him to crush you like a fly."
     "He would obliterate you with a single blow. He would break you in two with his bare hands. He would tear you limb from limb."
     I frowned slightly. I was glad to see that he appreciated the gravity of the situation, but these crude physical details seemed to me uncalled for.
- Chapter 16

     "So there you are, Jeeves. Bend the brain to it. If you wish to pace the corridor, by all means do so."
     "It will not be necessary, sir. One sees what must be done."
     I said I would be glad if he could arrange it so that two could.
- Chapter 19

Service With a Smile

     The only thing that held him back was the thought of his sister Constance. No one knew better than he how high was her standard of behavior for brothers, and if the pitiless light of day were to be thrown on the crime he was contemplating, she would undoubtedly extend herself. She could, he estimated, be counted on for at least ten thousand words of rebuke and recrimination, administered in daily installments over the years. In fact, as he put it to himself, for he was given to homely phrases, he would never hear the end of it.
- Chapter 6

     "Oh, Lord Ickenham!" said Lavender Briggs devoutly. "What a help you are!"
     "Help is a thing I am always glad to be of," said Lord Ickenham in his courteous way.
- Chapter 9


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