Wodehouse Quotations

But what had given him even more pleasure than his relative's mordant critique of the appearance of the four pursuivants, Rouge Croix, Bluemantle, Rouge Dragon and Portcullis, as they headed the procession, had been the stimulating thought that, having this engagement, he ran no risk at the conclusion of the meal of being enticed by his guest into what the latter called one of their pleasant and instructive afternoons. The ordeal of sharing these in the past had never failed to freeze his blood. The occasion when they had gone to the dog races together some years previously remained particularly green in his memory.

-She does not like curates?'- 'That's the idea one gets.'

- 'Odd. She doesn't like me, either. Very hard to please, that woman. What's wrong with curates?'

- No chance of Bill Bailey becoming an earl, I suppose?'- 'Not unless he murders about fifty-seven uncles and cousins.'

- 'Which a curate, of course, would hesitate to do. So what was Connie's procedure?'

But this Myra seems to be a sensible, levelheaded girl ...

- 'Of course I'm coming. Two witnesses are always better than one, and little Myra - '

- 'I can't guarantee that she's little.'

Lord Ickenham tried to comfort him with the quite erroneous statement that it was early yet.

'I quite understand. I've done the same thing myself. I suppose if the scruples I've overcome in my time were laid end to end, they would reach from London to Glasgow.

Bill's rugged features registered displeasure.

' My dear fellow, time is never wasted when it is passed in pleasant company'.

I know Dunstable, of course, and I know Ricky, but this Archibald is a sealed book to me.

'No, I would call Bill's an interesting rather than a beautiful face. He reminds me a little of one of my colleagues on the Wyoming ranch where I held a salaried position in my younger days as a cow-puncher, of whom another of my colleagues, a gifted phrasemaker, said that he had a face that would stop a clock. No doubt Bill has stopped dozens. But surely the little Myra I used to wrap in a bath towel and dandle on my knee can't have grown up into the sort of girl who attaches all that importance to looks.'

'Use your bean. Uncle Fred. You know what you do when your girl gives you the push. You dash off and propose to another girl. just to show her she isn't the only onion in the stew.'

Pongo quivered like an aspen. He always quivered like an aspen when reminded of the afternoon when he had attended the dog races in Lord Ickenham's company. Though on that occasion, as his uncle had often pointed out, a wiser policeman would have been content with a mere reprimand.

It was not within Lord Emsworth's power to laugh bitterly, but he uttered a bleating sound which was as near as he could get to a bitter laugh.

'I don't know what to do, Ickenham,' he said, his sombre train of thought coming to its terminus.

'That seems scarcely credible.'

'Too bad. Well. the whole set-up sounds extraordinarily like Devil's Island, and I am not surprised that you find it difficult to keep the upper lip as stiff as one likes to see upper lips.'

'Ah!' said Lord Emsworth with a sigh. as he allowed his mind to dwell on this Utopian picture.

Horror leaped into Pongo's eyes. He started violently, and came within an ace of spilling his martini with a spot of lemon peel in it. Fond though he was of his Uncle Fred, he had never wavered in his view that in the interests of young English manhood he ought to be kept on a chain and seldom allowed at large.

He had seemed to notice during the early stages of the journey a tendency on the other's part to twitch like a galvanized frog and allow a sort of glaze to creep over his eyes.

I can readily imagine that for a novice an experience of this sort cannot fail to be quite testing.

'Your conversational method, my dear Bill.' said Lord Ickenham, regarding him approvingly, 'impresses me a good deal and has shown me that I must change the set-up as I had envisaged it.

To say that she was glad to see Lord Ickenham would be overstating the case. and she had already spoken her mind to her brother Clarence with reference to his imbecility in inviting him - with a friend - to Blandings Castle.

In a voice that was almost cordial she said...

He has this unfortunate habit so many Americans have of living in America.

'I always predicted that he would be. I never actually saw him talking into three telephones at the same time, for he had not yet reached those heights, but it was obvious that the day would come when he would be able to do it without difficulty."

There was a shocked horror in Lord Ickenham's 'Tut-tut!'

'Is she emotionally disturbed at being parted from the man of her choice?'

It would be too much, perhaps, to say that Lady Constance snorted at this explanation of Bill's presence in the home. but she unquestionably sniffed. She said nothing, and ate a cucumber sandwich in rather a marked manner.

'Well, what else did the silly ass expect would happen? Connie,' said the Duke, dismissing a topic that had failed from the start to grip him.

On a knoll overlooking the lake there stood a little sort of imitation Greek temple, erected by Lord Emsworth's grandfather in the days when landowners went in for little sort of imitation Greek temples in their grounds. In front of it there was a marble bench, and on this bench Myra Schoonmaker was sitting, gazing with what are called unseeing eyes at the Church Lads bobbing about in the water below. She was not in the gayest of spirits. Her brow, indeed, was as furrowed and her lips as drawn as they had been three days earlier when she had accompanied Lord Emsworth to the Empress's sty.

It was not often that Lord Ickenham was bewildered, but he found himself now unequal to the intellectual pressure of the conversation.

- 'Are you crazy?'

- 'The charge has sometimes been brought against me, but there's nothing in it. Just exuberant.

I always strive, when I can to spread sweetness and light. There have been several complaints about it.

He had plenty to occupy his mind. As a man who specialized in spreading sweetness and light, he was often confronted with problems difficult of solution, but he had seldom found them so numerous.

What had astonished him was not the other's presence there, j for the proprietor of a country house has of course a perfect right to cross lawns on his own premises, but the fact that he was wet. Indeed, the word 'wet' was barely adequate. He was soaked from head to foot and playing like a Versailles fountain.

This puzzled Lord Ickenham. He was aware that his host sometimes took a dip in the lake, but he had not known that he did it immediately after breakfast with all his clothes on. and abandoning his usual policy of allowing nothing to get him out of his hammock till the hour of the midday cocktail, he started in pursuit.

'Any particular reason for diving? Or did it just seem a good idea at the time?'

I am convinced that he was perfectly well aware that the object in the water was not one of his playmates and that he had deliberately deceived me. Oh yes. I feel sure of it, and I'll tell you why.

When a visitor to a country house learns that his host, as to the stability of whose mental balance he has long entertained the gravest doubts, has suddenly Jumped into a lake with all his clothes on, he cannot but feel concern. He shakes his head. He purses his lips and raises his eyebrows. Something has given, he says to himself, and strains have been cracked under.

The Duke, who had been brooding on the seeming impossibility of getting an egg boiled the way he liked it in this blasted house, came out of his thoughts.

What he had heard convinced him of the need for a summit meeting.

Lady Constance would have preferred to talk about the ink-pot, the two photographs and the vase of roses, but he gave her no opportunity. He had always been a difficult man to stop.

'Don't know why you seem surprised. It didn't surprise me I was saddened, yes, but not surprised. Been expecting something like this for a long time. It's just the sort of thing a man" would do whose intellect had been sapped by constant association with a pig. And that's why I tell you that the pig must go,l Eliminate it, and all may still be well. I'm not saying that any- thing could make Emsworth actually sane, one mustn't expccta miracles, but I'm convinced that if he hadn't this pig to unsettle him all the time, you would see a marked improvement. He'l| be an altogether brighter, less potty man. Well, say something, woman. Don't just sit there. Take steps, take steps.'

- 'How extraordinary!' - 'Opportunity of a lifetime.' - 'Clarence must be made to see reason.'

- 'Who's going to make him? I can't.'

The top-hat incident he could have overlooked, for he knew that when small boys are confronted with a man wearing that type of headgear and there is a crusty roll within reach, they are almost bound to lose their calm judgment.

As Hamlet would have put it. their offence was rank and smelled to heaven. And if heaven would not mete out retribution to them - and there was not a sign so far of any activity in the front office - somebody else would have to attend to it. And that somebody, he was convinced, was Ickenham. He had left Ickenham pondering on the situation, and who knew that by this time his fertile mind might not have hit on a suitable method of vengeance.

The Duke's head had begun to swim a little, but with the sensation of slight giddiness had come an unwilling respect for this goggled girl. Superficially all that stanza forty-eight stuff might seem merely another indication of the pottiness which was so marked a feature of the other sex, but there was something in her manner that suggested that she had more to say and that eventually something would emerge that made sense. This feeling solidified as she proceeded.

'Ten pounds?' Lavender Briggs smiled pityingly, as if some acquaintance of hers, quoting Horace, had made a false quantity.

He had seen her around from time to time and knew who she was, but he had not the pleasure of her acquaintance, and he was wondering to what he owed the honour of this visit.

'Who - me?' said George Cyril, blinking. He had frequently had much the same sort of thing said to him before, for he proved in outspoken circles, but somehow it seemed worse and more wounding coming from those Kensingtonian lips. For a moment he debated within himself the advisability of dotting v the speaker one on the boko. but decided against this. You never know what influential friends these women had.

- 'I was informed that you would sell your grandmother for twopence.'

George Cyril said he did not have a grandmother, and seemed a good deal outraged by the suggestion that, if that relative had not long since gone to reside with the morning stars, he would have parted with her at such bargain-basement rates. A good grandmother should fetch at least a couple of bob.

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Quotes - By books

Index from book Wodehouse on Wodehouse. | Article "About Stories" | Dedications1 | Dedications 2 | Prefaces1 | Prefaces2 | Prefaces3 | Prefaces4 | "Facts from Usborn" (forewords from Vintage Wodehouse)