Wodehouse Quotations

He looked from one to the other, apparently astonished at their slowncss of understanding. Then an idea occurred to him.

The dead silence in which his words were received stimulated him to further speech. It occurred to him that, after that letter of his, perhaps these people were wary about believing anything he said.

Mr Nichols was surprised. He could not detect the connexion of ideas.

The stout man, ceasing to be silent, became interrogative.

It was only too plain to Elizabeth that he was a man who liked to digest one idea slowly before going on to absorb the next.


The car started as if it were some living thing that had had ' a sharp instrument jabbed into it.

Once or twice in his life it had happened to the stout man to encounter an idea which he could swallow at a gulp. This was one of them.

The mother of three said that if her offspring did not go right along to the end of the car and look at the pretty trees trouble must infallibly ensue.

'It's a pin. And I'm going to dig it right into you wherever I think it will hurt most, unless you stop being Harold at once.'

'That's a good child. Bill, listen. Come closer and tell me all sorts of nice things about myself till we get to Jamaica, and then

I'll tell you what I think of you. We've just passed Islip, so you've plenty of time.'

/Uncle Fred in The Springtime/


To say that this information surprised Pongo would be correct. To say that he was astounded, however, would be going too far. His Uncle Alaric's eccentricities were a favourite theme of conversation with Horace Davenport, and in Pongo he had always found a sympathetic confidant, for Pongo had an eccentric uncle himself.

'I am inclined to think, sir, that something may have occurred to annoy His Grace.'

The thing was cast in narrative form, being, he found on examination, a sort of saga in which the leading character - a star part, if ever there was one - was somebody referred to as The Subject.

Strange I' said Mr Pott. 'Queer!''Curious,' assented Pongo.'Unusual,' said Claude Pott.'Bizarre,' suggested Pongo.'Most. Shows what a small world it is.''Dashed small.'

Horace, who had been listening to these philosophical exchanges with some impatience, intervened...

Pongo cleared his throat. It was not precisely the moment he would have chosen for putting his fortune to the test, had he been free to choose, but his needs were immediate, the day was already well advanced and no business done, and he had gathered that Horace's time in the near future was likely to be rather fully occupied.

'Cannot we,' he suggested coldly, 'preserve the decencies of debate ?'

Lord Emsworth forced a welcoming smile to his lips. His breeding - and about fifteen thousand words from Lady Constance from time to time - had taught him that a host must wear the mask. He tried his hardest not to feel like a stag at bay.


Bosham was useless. Beach, his butler, was sympathetic, but not a constructive thinker.

But just as the years had failed to deprive him of his slender figure, so had they been impoten to quench his indomitable spirit.

Such ready intelligence on the part of an uncle should have pleased a nephew, but Pongo remained sombre. Now that the moment had come, his natural pessimism had asserted itself again.

'What did he say?'

'He didn't say anything. He seemed to be one of those strong, silent men. He just looked at me and nodded.'

'Yes, now that you mention it, I recollect her saying something about your being some offensive breed of insect. An emotional girl.'

to the title

Leave it to me. I will get into his ribs for you. There are no limits, literally none, to what I can accomplish in the springtime.'

I don't know if you happen to know what the word "excesses" means, but those are what Pongo's Uncle Fred, when in London, invariably commits.'


His Uncle Fred's theory that Horace Davenport, scicntifically worked, would develop pay gold had impressed Pongo Twistlcton a good deal both when he heard it and during the remainder of the day. Throughout the drive back to London it kept him in optimistic mood. But when he woke on the following morning the idea struck him as unsound and impractical.

It was hopeless, he felt, to expect to mace any one given person for a sum like two hundred pounds. The only possible solution of his financial worries was to open a subscription list and let the general public in on the tmng. He decided to look in at the Drones immediately and test the sentiment of the investors. And having arrived there, he was gratified to note that all the indications seemed to point to a successful flotation.

good speech

'Gentlemen and sportsmen, I know gentlemen and sportsmen when I see them, and what I have been privileged to overhear of your conversation since enter-ine this room has shown me that you are all gentlemen and sportsmen who are ready at all times to take part in a little sporting flutter.'


For from the very inception of these proceedings it had beel clear to Pongo that Fortune, hitherto capricious, had at last decided that it was no use trying to keep a good man down and had handed him something on a plate.


Lord Ickenham's manner, however, was reassuring. Though considering him weak in the head, he had always liked Horace, and he was touched by the forlornness of his aspect.


'Yes. I was chatting with her last night, and your name " happened to come up.'

cs! ue

'I'm afraid you have let Pongo down rather badly. When Pongo joins the Foreign Legion, the responsibility will be yours.


Lord Ickenham found himself unable to reconcile cause and effect.


You have probably got your facts twisted.

Everything was a sort of blur, and I just jabbed wild in the general direction of what I thought was the seat of the trouble.

You can't conduct a delicate negotiation like this over the telephone. You need the language of the eye ... those little appealing gestures of the hand ...

Well, dash it, I want to tell her to go and explain to Ricky that my behaviour towards her throughout was scrupulously correct. At present, he's got the idea that I'm a kind of .. Who was the chap who was such a devil with the other sex? ... Donald something?' 'Donald Duck?'

Don Juan. That's the fellow I mean.

There was a chap named Bricky Bostock in my young days who laid a fellow out for weeks over some misunderstanding about a girl, and it was pitiful to sec his remorse when he realized what he had done. Used to hang; about outside the hospital all the time the man was in danger trembling like a leaf. But, as I said to him, "What's the use of trembling like a leaf now? The time to have trembled like a leaf was when you had your hands on his throat and were starting to squeeze the juice out of him."

the method of Lord Ernsworth, when telling a story, being to repeat all the unimportant parts several times and to diverge from the main stream of narrative at intervals in order to supply lengthy character studies of the various persons involved in it, luncheon was almost over before he was able to place his guest in full possession of the facts relating to the Empress of Blandings. When eventually he had succeeded in doing so, he adjusted his pince-nez and looked hopefully across the table.


'Well, it is obvious that immediate steps must be taken through the proper channels, but the question that presents itself is "What steps?"

I was expecting you to say that. I knew your razor-like brain would cut cleanly to the heart of the thing.

'Ah? That seems to constitute an obstacle.'

There came in reply from somewhere in the distance a voice which even in his gloom Pongo was able to recognize as silvery.

He spoke a little huskily, for he had once more fallen in love at first sight.


The heart of Pongo Twistleton had always been an open door with 'Welcome' clearly inscribed on the mat, and you never knew what would walk in next.

At brief intervals during the past few years he had fallen in love at first sight with a mixed gaggle or assortment of females to the number of about twenty, but as he gazed at this girl like an ostrich goggling at a brass door-knob it seemed to him that here was the best yet. There was something about her that differentiated her from the other lodgers.


It was something about her personality - a matiness, a simplicity, an absence of that lipsticky sophistication to which the others had been so addicted. This was a cosy girl. A girl you could tell your troubles to. You could lay your head in her lap and ask her to stroke it.


Did you fall in love at first sight ?' 'Oh, yes.'

'My nephew Pongo always does. Perhaps it's the best way. Saves time.'

about boxing

'And here is a piece of advice which you will find useful in your married life. Don't watch his eye. Watch his knees. They will tell you when he is setting himself for a swing. And when he swings, roll with the punch.'

The ideal thing, of course, would be if you could meet Dunstable without him knowing who you are and play upon him like a stringed instrument. Because you could, you know. You've no notion what a pretty charming girl you are, Polly. You'd be surprised.

As a rule, when he fell in love at his sight, his primary impulse was a desire to reach out to the adored object and start handling her like a sack of coals, but the love with which this girl inspired him was a tender chivalrous love. Her appeal was to his finer side, not to the caveman who lurked in all the Twistletons. He wanted to shield her from a harsh world. He wanted to perform knight services for her. She was the sort of girl he could see himself kissing gently on the forehead and then going out into the sunset. And the thought of her being in trouble gashed bin like a knife.


There may be men who arc able to invite unattached and unexplained girls of great personal charm to their homes, but Ernsworth is not one of them. He has a sister. Lady Constance Keeble, who holds revisionary powers over his visiting list.

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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)