Wodehouse Quotations

/Quick Service/

Although he was aware that his hostess possessed the stuff in large quantities and denied her husband nothing, this surprised Lord Holbeton. It seemed to him to strike a note of almost wanton luxury, the sort of thing that causes French Revolutions and Declines and Falls of Roman Empires.

' From what you say, it sounds as if he had become a grouch. Is he married?' 'No.''Then that's the trouble. That's what's made him curdle. Every man ought to be married.''You never spoke a truer word.' 'Are you?'

'Not yet. I'm still waiting for the right girl. When she comes along, you will see quick service.'

Joss shrugged his shoulders. To attempt to reason further would, he saw, be a waste of time. His companion had spoken of this project of his as an idea, but J. B. Duff did not get ideas,' he got obsessions, and on these occasions was like the gentleman in the poem who on honeydew had fed and drunk the milk of Paradise. You just said: 'Beware, beware! His flashing eyes, his floating hair!' and wove a circle round him thrice, and that was practically all you could do about it.

Joss, as we have seen, held decided views on romance. Though he had never yet met a girl on whom he could feel justified in pouring out the full ardour of a richly emotional nature, he was a modern troubadour. It was with a good deal of abhorrence that he stared at this earthy man.

'This is monstrous. Am I to swoon at my -work for want of an occasional custard apple? Any doctor will tell you that a man needs a little something round about the middle of the morning. What is technically known as his elevenses. Otherwise the machine breaks down. I shall talk very straight to J.B. about this, when I see him. Am I in a provision bin or a concentration camp?'

He began to recover. The mists cleared from before his eyes, and the sensation of having been hit on the head by a blunt instrument passed. If not yet actually back in mid-season form, he was at least more himself and able to scrutinize Sally carefully and in detail.

And her eyes, he had fancied, would be hazel. Why, he could not have said. Just an idea.

The fact was that Mr Duff, a devil of a fellow among his own sex, was terrified of women. He avoided them if possible, and when cornered by one without hope of escape always adopted the shrewd tactics of the caterpillar of the puss moth - which, we are told by an eminent authority, not satisfied with Nature's provisions for its safety, makes faces at young birds and alarms them considerably.' That was why Mr Duff's features were working. Nature, making provision for his safety, had given him bushy eyebrows and piercing eyes, and he threw in the faces as an extra.

The action seemed to have the effect of clearing his mind. He had found the right approach, and in a business conference the right approach is everything.

Joss repeated his observation. He had shifted his position slightly, so as to place a substantial chair between them, and had taken from the mantelpiece a stout and serviceable vase - just in case. He was pretty confident of being able to settle this dispute through the channels of diplomacy, but there was no harm in being prepared.

Oh curse of marriage, he said to himself, that we can call these delicate creatures ours, but not their appetites. His impulse was to write her a stinker.'

The attitude of people towards densely moustached stran- I gers who are galloping up, shouting 'Hey!' varies a good deal s according to the individual, joss Weatherby in such circumstances would have stood his ground and investigated the phenomenon. So, probably, would Napoleon, Joe Louis, and Attila the Hun. Lord Holbeton was made of more neurotic stuff. The spectacle, acting upon his already enfeebled morale, was too much for him. Directing at the other a single, horrified glance, he was off up the drive with a briskness which would have put him immediately out of range of anything that was not a Jack rabbit. And even a jack rabbit would have been extended.

In particular, he stressed more than was perhaps actually essential what might be termed the Pekinese motif. Women love men for the dangers they have passed, but Sally could not help feeling that there was no need for him to show her the sore place on his leg three times.

'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. The poor wet smack!'

What you see in me, I can't imagine.' 'Why, your looks. Your character. Your bright future.' 'Is my future bright?''Glittering. You're going to take that portrait to Mr Duff and get your Job back.'

'Better than that. It was a rotten job. All right for a young bachelor, but we men who are planning to marry and settle down have got to look ahead.

Miss Pym, who was plainly much stirred, now proceeded to utter about two hundred and fifty words in the space of time more customarily reserved for uttering ten, and Chibnall felt obliged to remonstrate. 'Who is this speaking?''Me, of course. Vera.'

'Then don't talk like Donald Duck, my girl. You're fusing the wire.'

/The Girl in Blue/

He uttered a laugh of variety usually called mirthless.

Something had told the experienced Willoughby that this jeremiad was going to culminate in some such query, and he exhibited no great concern. He was accustomed to meeting people eager to share his wealth. The exactness of the figures stirred his curiosity a little. Most of those anxious to become debtors were not so precise.

Mutual respect is what matters in marriage. Pyle respects you, doesn't he? Of course he does. And don't tell me you don't respect someone who makes his sort of money.

Exhibited at the table ...., it drew from her a stream of what are called marked tributes.

Anything less luxurious would be an anti-climax.

He was wearing the unmistakable air of a man who has failed to find the blue bird.

Parted lips and bulging eyes showed how keen was their interest, but no verbal comment emerged.

It was more then all right.

England was full of people who would have ridiculed the possibility of ...

There is no terror, cocky, in your threats, for I am armed so strongly in honesty that they pass me like the idle wind, which I respect not.

the whitest man, I know

Well, lots of luck my dream girl. You have mother's best wishes.

Her thoughts strayed for a moment to a heavy ashtray, which was lying on the table, but wiser counsels prevailed.

You're one of those guys who can make a party just by leaving it. It's a great gift.

More than most women she seldom gave a clue as to what she would be up to next.

The Jury took their places in the box; the official whose job it was to keep the court stuffy made it stuffier; and Jerry, gazing at the girl at the far end of the row in which he sat, became more convinced than ever that the odd illusion of having been struck on the frontal bone by an atom bomb, experienced by him on his initial glimpse of her, had been due to love at first sight. It happens that way sometimes.

Here plainly was a girl who had everythingŚnot only good at golf, swimming and tennis, but one with solid brains who could sift and weigh evidence, a girl whose swift intelligence enabled her to understand what the hell all these cryptic blighters were talking about, a thing which he himself had long since given up hope of doing.

She swayed her hearers from the start, especially Jerry. To say that he followed her reasoning would be overstatement, but he agreed with every word of it.

There are girls who are rather pretty and girls who are all right: there are girls who aren't too bad and girls who have a certain something: but it is only seldom that one encounters a girl who is really spectacular and takes the breath away. Into this limited class Vera, only daughter of the late Charles ('Good old Charlie') Upshaw and his wife Dame Flora Faye, the actress, unquestionably fell.

The recent exchanges on the subject of Scropes had robbed him of the little confidence he had possessed when starting out on his mission, and the longer he sat, the less did it seem to him probable that his brother Wil-loughby, good fellow though he was and kindly disposed though he had shown himself in the past to applications for loans on a smaller scale, could be relied on for the stupendous one of two hundred and three pounds six shillings and fourpenceŚa sum roughly equivalent, or so it appeared to Crispin's fevered mind, to what it costs to put a man on the moon.

The clerk was mopping his forehead, wondering what could have induced him to sign on for his current post when there was such a brisk demand for strong young men to clean streets, and Vera had turned to run her eye over the shelf where belles lettres of an older vintage were kept, to make sure that Daffodil Days had not slipped in there by mistake, when the door leading into the street opened, admitting a rush of warm air and something short, stout and American which seemed at first sight to be all hom-rimmcd spectacles. She gave it no attention beyond a quick uninterested glance. Short stout Americans meant nothing to her, whether spectacled or with 20-20 vision.

Homer's life had been singularly free from beautiful girls. He did not go out in the evening very much, almost never to parties where such fauna abound, and during office hours a corporation lawyer's chances of seeing anything in the Helen of Troy class are limited.

Homer's eyes widened to about the size of standard golf balls. He gasped a startled 'Really?'

A girl who has brought a strange man home to meet her mother, rather in the tentative spirit of a dog bringing a bone into a drawing-room, naturally seeks the earliest opportunity of learning the latter's opinion of him.

The policeman on the corner, watching Homer start on his journey back to Chelsea Square, probably debated with himself the advisability of weaving a circle round him thrice, his aspect being so plainly that of one who on honeydew had fed and drunk the milk of Paradise. Only the fact of his wearing spectacles and having a hat on kept attention from being drawn to his flashing eyes and floating hair. He was, indeed, in as uplifted a mood as if he had just received a six-figure fee for negotiating a merger between a multi-million corporation and another multi-million corporation.

As for her daughter Vera, she had been a revelation to him. His first act on reaching his destination was to sit down and write a poem directly inspired by her

She smiled the indulgent smile she usually reserved for the foolish babblings of doctors who told her she smoked too much.

Uncle Bill had been in the sort of effervescent high spirits which make a man leap at the opportunity of doing anything to oblige anybody. Asked for the money, he would have had his cheque book and fountain pen out of his pocket with the swiftness of a conjurer de-rabbiting a top hat

But his guardian angel had seen to it that Bamey should be there, and he was suitably grateful to him. He wished he could find him and slap him on the back and tell him how deeply he appreciated his work.

It was a problem that needed all the thought he could give it. The recent encounter had deepened his conviction that there was only one girl in the world he could possibly marry, and as of even date he could see no way of avoiding marrying another. An impasse, if ever there was one. King Solomon and Brigham Young would have taken it in their stride, but he could see no solution.

'I've been afraid something like this would happen ever since you were dropped on your head as a baby. Goodbye, Jerry.'

Jerry was frankly appalled. To Jane Hunnicut, he presumed, these pennies from heaven, if that was where old Mr. Donahue had gone, had brought happiness and rejoicing, for even in this era of depressed currencies between one and two million dollars is always well worth having, but he saw in her sudden access to the higher income tax brackets the crashing of all his hopes and dreams.

A recent financial venture from which he was hoping that large profits would result had provided Crispin since his return with much food for meditation. Inflamed by Bamey's enthusiasm for its prospects and telling himself that if you do not speculate you cannot accumulate, he had placed one hundred pounds of his brother Bill's two hundred and three pounds six shillings and fourpence on the nose of the horse Brotherly Love in the coming two-thirty race at Newmarket.

It was a policy which Crispin would have been most happy to pursue, but there were reasons, impossible to explain, why he was not at liberty to dismiss butlers from his service. All his sympathies were with Ernest Simms, but he was hampered, handicapped and helpless.

It was a risky thing to do, for out in the open like this he was in grave danger of being buttonholed by his paying guests, by Colonel Norton-Smith, for instance, with his fund of good stories of life in the Far East or R. B. Chisholm, who held gloomy views on what was to become of us all if things went on the way they were doing.

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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)