Wodehouse Quotations

The blow had been too sudden, too overwhelming. Nutty's reason - such as it was - tottered on its throne.

These were the questions that vexed Nutty's mind when he was able to think at all coherently.

Lord Dawlish had found New York enjoyable, but a trifle fatiguing. There was much to be seen in the city, and he had made the mistake of trying to sec it all at once. It had been his intention, when he came home after dinner that night, to try to restore the balance of things by going to bed early.

The desire to rid himself of half the legacy had become a fixed idea with Bill. He had the impression that he could not really feel clean again until he had made matters square with his conscience in this respect. He felt that he was probably a fool to take that view of the thing, but that was the way he was built and there was no getting away from it.

She was big, blonde, skittish, and exuberant; she wore a dress like the sunset of a fine summer evening, and she effervesced with spacious good will to all men. She was one of those girls who splash into public places like stones into quiet pools.

Looking back on the evening later and reviewing its leading features, Lord Dawlish came to the conclusion that he never completely recovered from the first shock of the Good Sport. He was conscious all the time of a dream-like feeling, as if he were watching himself from somewhere outside himself.


He should not have come out on to the dancing-floor. In another moment he was admitting that himself. For just as he was lowering his tray and bending over the table in the pursuance of his professional duties, along came Bill at his customary high rate of speed, propelling his partner before him, and for the first time since he left home Heinrich was conscious of a regret that he had done so. There are worse things than military service!

She had had the usual experiences of the ocean voyager. She had fed, read, and gone to bed. The only notable event in her trip had been her intimacy with Mr Dudley Pickering.

On board the liner he had poured the saga of his life into Claire's attentive ears, and there was a gentle sweetness in her manner which encouraged Mr Pickering mightily, for he had fallen in love with Claire on sight.

It would seem that a schoolgirl in these advanced days would know what to do when she found that a man worth millions was in love with her; yet there were factors in the situation which gave Claire pause.


Claire listened with a radiant display of interest, but she had her doubts as to whether any amount of money would make it worth while to undergo this sort of thing for life.


It required a woman's intuition to divine this fact, for Mr Pickering was not coherent. He did not go straight to the point. He rambled.


Mr Pickering sank back in his chair in a punctured manner. And Claire, making monosyllabic replies to her friend's remarks, was able to bend her mind to the task of finding out how she stood on this important Pickering issue.

He was inclined to stoutness, but not unpardonably so; his hair was thin, but he was not aggressively bald; his face was dull, but certainly not stupid. There was nothing in his outer man which his millions would not offset.


I trust that I am not an unreasonable man, but I decline to admit that a long, green snake is a proper thing to keep about the house.


'I want you to listen to Algie, Claire. A year ago he did not know one end of a paint-brush from the other. He didn't know he had any nerves. If you had brought him the artistic temperament on a plate with a bit of watercress round it, he wouldn't have recognized it.'


I am purposely picking my words on the present occasion in order to prevent the possibility of further misunderstandings. I consider myself an ambassador.


'My sweetheart, when I saw you doing that Dream of What's-thc-girl's-bally-name dance just now, it was all I could do to keep from rushing out on to the floor and hugging you.'

A large man, dancing with a large girl, appeared to have charged into a small waiter, upsetting him and his tray and the contents of his tray. The various actors in the drama were now engaged in sorting themselves out from the ruins.

There is no denying that, seen with a somewhat biased eye, the Good Sport resembled rather closely a poster advertising a revue.

- 'You're very quiet, Claire,' said Polly.

- 'I'm thinking.'

- 'A very good thing, too, so they tell me. I've never tried it myself.'


it had been a great night for Nutty Boyd. If the vision of his sister Elizabeth, at home at the farm speculating sadly on the whereabouts of her wandering boy, ever came before his mental eye he certainly did not allow it to interfere with his appreciation of the festivities. At Frolics in the Air, whither they moved after draining Reigclhcimer's of what joys it had to offer, and at Pealc's, where they went after wearying of Frolics in the Air, he was in the highest spirits. It was only occasionally that the recollection came to vex him that this could not last, that -since his Uncle Ira had played him false - he must return anon to the place whence he had come.

Nutty was wide awake now and full of inquiries; but his companion unfortunately was asleep, and he could not put them to her. A gentleman cannot prod a lady - and his guest, at that -in the ribs in order to wake her up and ask her questions. Nutty sat back and gave himself up to feverish thought.


Nutty was convinced. Arriving finally at Miss Leonard's hotel, he woke her up and saw her in at the door; then, telling the man to drive to the lodgings of his new friend, he urged his mind to rapid thought. He had decided as a first step in the following up of this matter to invite Bill down to Elizabeth's farm, and the thought occurred to him that this had better be done to-night, for he knew by experience that on the morning after these little jaunts he was seldom in the mood to seek people out and invite them to go anywhere.

elizabeth entered Nutty's room and, seating herself on the bed, surveyed him with a bright, quiet eye that drilled holes in her brother's uneasy conscience.

She wanted to massacre him, but at the same time she told herself that the poor dear must be feeling very, very ill, and should have a reasonable respite before the slaughter commenced.

His voice trailed off. He was not a very intelligent young man, but even he could see that his was not a position where righteous indignation could be assumed with any solid chance of success. As a substitute he tried pathos.

'Nutty,' she said, 'I've struggled for years against the conviction that you were a perfect idiot. I've forced myself, against my better judgement, to try to look on you as sane, but now I give in.

I object to having a stranger on the premises spying out the nakedness of the land. I am sensitive about my honest poverty. So, darling Nutty, my precious Nutty, you poor bonehcaded muddier, will you kindly think up at your earliest convenience some plan for politely ejecting this Mr Chalmers of yours from our humble home? - because if you don't, I'm going to have a nervous breakdown.'


He had seen Elizabeth for only a short time on the previous night, but he had taken an immediate liking to her.


Elizabeth fulfilled this qualification. She was not only small and neat, but she had a soft voice to which it was a joy to listen.


'Don't you wear a veil for this sort of job?'

As a rule Elizabeth did. She had reached a stage of intimacy with her bees which rendered a veil a superfluous precaution, but until to-day she had never abandoned it. Her view of the matter was that, though the inhabitants of the hives were familiar and friendly with her by this time and recognized that she came among them without hostile intent, it might well happen that among so many thousands there might be one slow-witted enough and obtuse enough not to have grasped this fact. And in such an event a veil was better than any amount of explanations, for you cannot stick to pure reason when quarrelling with bees.

But it's a ticklish job, for all that, if you're not used to it. I know when I first did it I shut my eyes and wondered whether they would bury my remains or cremate them.


For a moment mortification was the only emotion of which ' Elizabeth was conscious. She felt supremely ridiculous. For this she had schemed and plotted - to give a practised expert the opportunity of doing what he had done a thousand times before!

Gloom had settled upon Dudley Pickering and he smoked sadly. All rather stout automobile manufacturers are sad when ' there is a full moon. It makes them feel lonely. It stirs their hearts to thoughts of love. Marriage loses its terrors for them, and they think wistfully of hooking some fair woman up the back and buying her hats.

the best

A feeling of helplessness swept over Mr Pickcring. He was vaguely conscious of a sense of being treated unjustly, of there being a flaw in Claire's words somewhere if he could only find it, but the sudden attack had deprived him of the free and unfettered use of his powers of reasoning.


He began by touching on his alleged neglect and avoidance , of Claire. He called himself names and more names. He plumbed the depth of repentance and remorse. Proceeding from this, he eulogized her courage, the pluck with which she presented a smiling face to the world while tortured inwardly by separation from her little brother Percy. He then turned to his own feelings.


He flattered himself that he had shown Roscoe Sherrifr pretty well who was who and what was what.


When he had invited Bill to the farm he had had a vague hope that good might come of it, but he had never dreamed that things would turn out as well as they promised to do.

He could not conceal it from himself - Elizabeth appealed to him. Being built on a large scale himself, he had always been attracted by small women. There was a smallness, a daintiness, a liveliness about Elizabeth that was almost irresistible. She was so capable, so cheerful in spite of the fact that she was having a hard time. And then their minds seemed to blend so remarkably. There were no odd corners to be smoothed away.


Claire was querulous at times, and always a little too apt to take offence.


It accounted for the fact that they understood each other so well. It accounted for everything so satisfactorily that he was able to get to sleep that night after all.


He loved Claire with a passionate fervour; he liked Elizabeth very much indeed. He submitted this diagnosis to conscience, and conscience graciously ^ approved and accepted it.


She had the advantage of having a less complicated astonishment to recover from

This speech in itself should have been enough to warn Lord Dawlish of impending doom. As far as love, affection, and tenderness arc concerned, a girl might just as well hit a man with an axe as say 'Well, Bill?' to him when they have met ^ unexpectedly in the moonlight after long separation. But Lord Dawlish was too shattered by surprise to be capable of observing nuances. If his love had ever waned or faltered, as conscience had suggested earlier in the day, it was at full blast now.


She looked at him steadily. She looked at him with a sort of queenly woodenness, as if he were behind a camera with a velvet bag over his head and had just told her to moisten the lips with the tip of the tongue. Her aspect staggered Lord Dawlish. A cursory inspection of his conscience showed nothing but purity and whiteness, but he must have done something, or she would not be staring at him like this.


With a supreme effort Bill succeeded in calming down the excited landscape. He willed the trees to stop dancing, and they came reluctantly to a standstill. The world ceased to swim and flicker.


Lord Dawlish drew in a few breaths of pure Long Island air, but he did not speak. He felt helpless. If he were to be allowed to withdraw into the privacy of the study and wrap a cold, wet towel about his forehead and buckle down to it, he knew that he could draft an excellent and satisfactory explanation of his presence at Reigelhcimer's with the Good Sport. But to do it on the spur of the moment like this was beyond him.


She paused again. She could not remember just what Luella Delia Philpotts had said trust was to love. It was something extremely neat, but it had slipped her memory.


Here a sense of injustice stung Lord Dawlish. It was true that after his regrettable collision with Heinrich, the waiter, he had discovered butter upon his person, but it was only one pat. Claire had spoken as if he had been festooned with butter.

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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)