Wodehouse Quotations

Nevertheless, it would have surprised him greatly had he known that his appearance was being adversely criticized, for he was in that happy frame of mind when men forget they have an appearance.

And now, having put Hash on an east-bound tram, he was filled with that pleasant sense of well-being and content which comes on those rare occasions when the world is just about right.


Hash had, it seemed, betted his entire savings on this animal, and not content with this, had pestered Sam to lend him all his remaining cash to add to the investment. And though Sam had found no difficulty in remaining firm, it is always a bore to have to keep saying no.

The stoutest heart may have its black moments. Depression claimed Sam for its own.


The lamp-light shone on glistening streets, on pensive policemen, on smoothly prowling cats, and on a young man in a shocking suit of clothes whose faith in human nature was at zero.

! ;-)

A psychologist, had one been present, would have told him that the pangs of starvation from which he supposed himself to suffer were purely a figment of the mind, and that it was merely his subconscious self reacting to the suggestion of food. Sam, however, had positive inside information to the contrary; and he halted before the coffee-stall, staring wolfishly.

Shakespeare, who knew too much ever to be surprised at man's ingratitude, would probably have accepted this latest evidence of it with stoicism. It absolutely stunned Sam. A little pcevishness from the two gentlemen of leisure he had expected, but that his sympathy and support should be received in this fashion by the man in uniform was simply disintegrating. It seemed to be his fate tonight to lack appeal for men in uniform.

Of certain supreme moments in life it is not easy to write. The workaday tellers of tales, whose gifts, if any, lie rather in the direction of recording events than of analysing emotion, finds himself baffled by them.

:-) tt

Yet it is hard to find words that will effectually meet the case. Perhaps it is simplest to say that his feelings at this juncture were to all intents and purposes those of the garrison besieged by savages in the final red of a motion-picture super-super-film when the operator flashes on the screen the sub-title, 'Hurrah! Here come the United States Marines!'

'You are doubtless surprised,' he said, plagiarizing the literary style of Mr Todhunter, 'to see me here.'


He paused. He had an uncomfortable feeling that the story y sounded thin. He passed it in a swift review before his mind. Yes, thin.

'Nothing, nothing,' said Sam hastily. 'I admire them. It only occurred to me as a passing thought -'


'Oh, all right, I'll go. One of these days, when my limousine splashes you with mud, you will be sorry for this.'

For some minutes he remained where he was, hoping for Mr Braddock's return. But the moments passed and no sound of footsteps, however distant, broke the stillness; so, after going < through a brief commination service in which the names of Hash Todhunter, Claude Bates and Willoughby Braddock were prominently featured, he decided to make a move.

But Fate is not so easily outmanoeuvred. Fate, for its own inscrutable reasons, had decided that Sam was to be thoroughly persecuted tonight, and it took up the attack again without delay. There was a sharp cracking sound and the wooden shelf collapsed in ruin. Sam had many excellent qualities, but he did not in the least resemble a potted geranium, and he went through the woodwork as if it had been paper. And Pate, which observes no rules of the ring and has no hesitation about hitting a man when he is down, immediately proceeded to pour water down his neck through a hole in the broken roof.


dear bradder: You will doubtless be surprised to learn that I have borrowed your money. I will return it in God's good time. sj Meanwhile, as Sir Philip Sidney said to the wounded soldier, my need is greater than yours.

Trusting this finds you in the pink,

Yrs Obedtly.


A sense of something omitted, some little kindly act forgotten, arrested him at the head of the stairs.


His voice, as he eyed the money on the table, was soft and gentle. He still looked like a druid priest, but a druid priest on his afternoon off.

Mr Cornelius smiled indulgently. He was thoroughly pro-Sam by now.


The proverb about casting pearls before swine occurred to Sam.

Sam was not interested in his senile diversions.


The tonic effect of new clothes is recognized by all students of human nature. Sam walked with a springy jauntiness, and his gay bearing, combined with the brightness of his exterior, drew many eyes upon him.


'Well?' said Hash suspiciously. The last time an American had addressed him as brother it had cost him eleven dollars and seventy-five cents.

The man did not reply. Consternation was writ upon his face, and he passed a hand feebly across his broad forehead. The silence was broken by the cold voice of the barmaid."That'll be threepence 111 kindly ask you for, for that glass,' said the barmaid. 'And if,' she added with asperity, 'you 'ad to pay for the shock you give me, it 'ud cost you a tenner.'

'Girlie,' replied the man sadly, watching Hash as he shambled through the doorway, 'you aren't the only one that's had a shock.'


Lord Tilbury was a short, stout, commanding-looking man, and practically everything he did had in it something of the Napoleonic quality. His demeanour now suggested Napoleon in captivity, striding the deck of the Bellerophon with vultures gnawing at his breast.

His Lordship came to a standstill and something faintly resembling relief appeared in his square-cut face. Ever since the days when he had been plain George Pyke, starting in business with a small capital and a large ambition, his sister Frances had always been a rock of support. It might be that her advice would help him cope with the problem which was vexing him now.


'Exactly. I imagined I was being shrewd. I supposed that I was introducing into the affair just that little human touch which sometimes makes all the difference. Well, it will be a bitter warning to me never again to be too clever. Half the business deals in this world are ruined by one side or the V other trying to be too clever.'

'My brother,' she announced, 'wishes -'

'- was hoping,' corrected Lord Tilbury.


Sam caught Lord Tilbury's personal eye, decided that he had no wish to be under it, and shook his head.

-------------------------------'Just try to realize what that means,' proceeded Sam. 'What it amounts to is that the writer of that paragraph has with a stroke of a pen made the world a better place. He has brightened a home. Possibly he has averted serious trouble between man and wife. A.M.B. gets the ordinary swede, digs out the top, pushes in the salt, and a week later she has ceased to bully her husband and beat the baby and is a ray of sunshine about the house - and all through Pyke's Home Companion"'What my brother means -' said Mrs Hammond.'Similarly,' said Sam, 'with G.D.H. (Tulse Hill), who wants to know how to improve the flavour of prunes. You or I would say that the flavour of prunes was past praying for, that the only thing to do when cornered by a prune was to set your teeth and get it over with. Not so Pyke's-''He means -''- Home Companion. "A little vinegar added to stewed prunes," says the writer, "greatly improves the flavour. And although it may seem strange, it causes less sugar to be used." What happens? What is the result? G.D.H.'s husband comes back tired and hungry after a day's work. "Prunes for dinner again, I suppose?" he says moodily. "Yes dear," replies G.D.H., "but of a greatly improved flavour." Well, he doesn't believe her, of course. He sits down sullenly. Then, as he deposits the first stone on his plate, a delighted smile comes into his face. "By jove!" he cries. "The flavour is greatly improved. They still taste like brown paper soaked in machine oil, but a much superior grade of brown paper. How did you manage it?" "It was not I, dearest," says G.D.H., "but Pyke's Home Companion. Acting on their advice, I added a little vinegar, with the result that not only is the flavour greatly improved but, strange though it may seem, I used less sugar." "Heaven bless Pyke's Home Companion!" cries the. husband. With your permission then,' said Sam, 'I will go straight to Mr Wrenn and inform him that I have come to fight the good fight under his banner.''


tt ;-)

'Well, a boy's best friend is his mother. Have you ever seen one of those cowboy films where there is trouble .in the barroom? It was like that. Mrs Bates started to dismiss me, but I got in first with my resignation, shooting from the hip, as it were. And then I came away, and here I am.'


This girl before him was marvellous. Helen of Troy could have been nothing to her. V He loved her shining eyes, unaware that they shone with loathing. He worshipped her rose-flushed cheeks, not knowing that they were flushed because he had been staring at her for thirty-three seconds without blinking and she was growing restive beneath his gaze.

Mr Wrenn approached the matter from a fresh angle.


A most extraordinary sensation flooded over Sam. It was hard to analyse, but its effects were thoroughly definite. At the discovery that this wonderful girl knew the old Bradder and that they could pave the way to a beautiful friendship by talking about the old Bradder, the office of Pyke's Home Companion became all at once flooded with brilliant sunshine. Birds twittered from the ceiling, and blended with their notes was the soft music of violins and harps.


There was that about Kay's face when in repose which, even when she was merely wondering what trimming to put on a hat, gave strangers the impression that here was a pure white soul musing wistfully on life's sadness. The consequence was that when she smiled it was as if the sun had suddenly shone out through clouds. Her smile seemed to make the world on the instant a sweeter and a better place. Policemen, when she flashed it on them after being told the way somewhere, became of a sudden gayer, happier policemen and sang as they directed the traffic. Beggars, receiving it as a supplement to a small donation, perked up like magic and started to bite the ears of the passers-by with an abandon that made all the difference. And when they saw that smile even babies in their perambulators stopped looking like peevish poached eggs and became almost human.


Here the writing is not only clear and golden but, when read, -stimulating to the imagination.

Alexander Twist therefore was in a position, if he pleased, to gaze straight into the private sanctum of the proprietor of the Mammoth Publishing Company and obtain the spiritual uplift which could hardly fail to -result from the spectacle of that great man at work.

' And what I want to know is, was he telling the truth or was he off somewhere at one of these here new gilded night-clubs, cutting up with a bunch of janes and doing me wrong?'


Mr Twist snorted. It is not easy to classify snorts, but this was one which would have been recognized immediately by any expert as the snort despairing, caused by the contemplation of the depths to which human nature can sink.


'Have a heart, petty,' pleaded Mr Molloy. 'Exercise a little discretion, sweetness.'


Kay stalked across the hall, and, having turned the handle, found confronting her a young woman of spectacular appearance, clad in gorgeous raiment and surmounted by a bird-of-paradise feathered hat so much too good for her that Kay's immediate reaction on beholding it was one of simple / and ignoble jealousy. It was the sort of hat she would have liked to be able to afford herself, and its presence on the dyed hair of another cemented the prejudice which that other's face and eyes had aroused within her.

Lord Tilbury inclined his head. He quite saw the force of the argument that it would be jolly for anyone, meeting him.


His Lordship remained aloof, buried in his thoughts and fraternizing with none of them.

He knew its significance. Such a look could mean but one thing - that Kay, though living next door to Sam, did not regard him as one of the pleasant features of the neighbourhood.


Lord Tilbury's last doubts were removed. He felt that all was for the best in the best of all possible worlds. Like some joyous reveller out of Rabelais, he raised his glass with a light-hearted flourish. He looked as if he were about to start a drinking chorus.

'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.'


'Dud,' said the dark shingled girl. 'Who's going to believe nowadays that a girl is such a chump as to mind a man's kissing her?'

tt :-)

dear mr shotter, - I should be obliged if you would ask your manservant not to chirrup at me out of trees. Yours truly,

kay derrick.

He had to read this curt communication twice before he was able to fully grasp its meaning. When he did so a Hood of self-pity poured over Sam. He quivered with commiseration for the hardness of his lot. Here he was, doing all that a man could to establish pleasant neighbourly relations with the house next door, and all the while Hash was foiling his every effort by chirruping out of trees from morning till night. It was bitter, bitter.


' Perhaps it's all for the best,' said Sam. He leaned forward and pulled the animal's ears in friendly fashion. Amy simpered in a ladylike way, well pleased. 'Would you say she was a bloodhound. Hash?'


'What is there about you that could make this misguided female commit such a rash act? If I were a girl, and you begged me for one little rose from my hair, I wouldn't give it to you.''But-'

'No,' said Sam firmly, 'it's no use arguing; I just wouldn't give it to you. What did she see in you?'


An aching sense of the injustice of things afflicted Sam.


Kay lay in bed, thinking. Ever and anon a little chuckle escaped her. She was feeling curiously happy tonight. The world seemed \! to have become all of a sudden interesting and amusing. An odd, uncontrollable impulse urged her to sing.


From midnight until two in the morning the dog Amy had given a spirited imitation of ten dogs being torn asunder by red-hot pincers. At two. Hash Todhunter had risen reluctantly from his bed, and arming himself with the number-eleven shoe mentioned in the previous chapter, had reasoned with her. This had produced a brief respite, but by a quarter to three large numbers of dogs were once more being massacred on the premises of Mon Repos, that ill-named house.

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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)