Wodehouse Quotations

R.Q. - "Russian" Quotes



Vladimir Brusiloff proceeded to sum up.

"No novelists any good except me. Sovietski-yah! Nastikoff-bah! I spit me of zem all. No novelists anywhere any good except me. P. G. Wodehouse and Tolstoi not bad. Not good, but not bad. No novelists any good except me."

The Clicking of Cuthbert



To-day, however, though there were eleven of the studio's weirdest authors present, each well worth more than a cursory inspection, he found himself unable to overcome the dull listlessness which had been gripping him since he had first gone to the refrigerator that morning to put ice on his temples. As the poet Keats put it in his "Ode to a Nightingale", his head ached and a drowsy numbness pained his sense. And the sight of Mabel Potter, recalling to him those dreams of happiness, which he had once dared to dream and which now could never come to fulfilment, plunged him still deeper into the despondency. If he had been a character in a Russian novel, he would have gone and hanged himself in the barn. As it was, he merely sat staring before him and keeping perfectly rigid.

Most people, eyeing him, would have been reminded of a corpse which had been several days in the water: but Mr. Schnellenhamer thought he looked like a leopard about to spring, and he mentioned this to Mr. Levitsky in an undertone.

The Nodder



I have a tender heart (said Mr Mulliner), and I dislike to dwell on the spectacle of a human being groaning under the iron heel of Fate. Such morbid gloating, I consider, is better left to the Russians. I will spare you, therefore, a detailed analysis of my distant cousin Monirose's emotions as the long day wore on. Suffice it to say that by a few minutes to five o'clock he had become a mere toad beneath the harrow. He wandered aimlessly to and fro about the lot in the growing dusk, and it seemed to him that the falling shades of evening resembled the cloud that had settled upon his life.

Monkey Business



"Voules," I was preparing to say, "enough is enough. This police persecution must stop. It is monstrous and uncalled-for. We are not in Russia, Voules. There are such things, I would have you remember, Voules, as strong letters to The Times."

Thank you, Jeeves



"Aline, my pet, it's no good arguing. You might just as well argue with a wolf on the trail of a fat Russian peasant."

Something New



'I'd like Robert Milton to stage the book,' said Guy.

'Isn't that the red-headed Russian who talks about "pear-shaped tones"?'

'Yes, but he's clever just the same, and he's begging for a chance to do a musical.'

Bring on The Girls



'What does polyandrous mean?' Bob Milton inquired. He was a Russian whose real name was Davidoff and a surprisingly short time before he had known no English words at all.

Bring on The Girls



When the bard had finished twelve refrains, cunningly introducing the butterfly, the Woolworth Building, the Growing Unrest In The Balkans and Venus Rising From The Sea, the management decided that they didn't want to use those costumes after all, and handed him another batch. Critics have often commented on the sombre gloom which permeates all Wodehouse novels like the smell of muddy shoes in a locker-room and have wished that, fine as they are, there was not quite so much of the Russian spirit of pessimism and hopelessness in them, but now that it has been revealed that he wrote the lyrics for The Second Century Show, they will understand and sympathize.

Bring on The Girls



Marguerite, the soul of amiability, cheerfully consented to substitute for the Greek costume something simple and inconspicuous. When Guy called for her that night, she was wearing a bright scarlet dress trimmed with astrakan and a matching shlyapa, or, as we would say, hat. Around her neck was a collar decorated with silver bells similar in design to those seen in paintings of troikas pursued through the Siberian woods by wolves. Short red Russian boots completed the costume, each having a large bell hanging where one would have expected a tassel. The tout ensemble, though perfect for Old Home Week at Nijni-Novgorod, was not so good, Guy felt, for the Ritz-Carlton, where he had been intending to dine. Didn't she think, he said, that the Ritz-Carlton was a bit stodgy, and wouldn't a Bohemian place be more fun?

Bring on The Girls



The new arrival was Pavel Solokolov of the Ballet Russe. He had known Marguerite in Moscow when she had appeared at the Malenskia Theatre with Isadora Duncan and her troupe of dancers. Guy and Plum once more rose politely, but contributed little to the conversation. It was in Russian, and their Russian was a bit rusty. They were inclined to be peevish as they resumed their soup, and Guy was just saying that the next one that came along he was going to fix three of these straws together and get his standing up, when Marguerite interrupted him. 'Feodor! Feodor, my pet!'

Bring on The Girls



'Oh, yes, she's wonderful at languages. You understood what Daddy and Mummy were talking about, didn't you, darling?'

Peggy nodded.

'Well, say those figures for Daddy.'

'Sechzig, siebzig, athtzig.'

'Before she says it in Russian,' said Guy bitterly, 'I'll call up and get that reservation on the Golden Arrow.'

Bring on The Girls


The best!

"Mr. Devine," replied Adeline, blushing faintly, "is going to be a great man. Already he has achieved much. The critics say that he is more Russian than any other young English writer."

"And is that good?"

"Of course it's good."

"I should have thought the wheeze would be to be more English than any other young English writer."

"Nonsense ! Who wants an English writer to be English ? You've got to be Russian or Spanish or something to be a real success. The mantle of the great Russians has descended on Mr. Devine."

"From what I've heard of Russians, I should hate to have that happen to me."

The Clicking of Cuthbert



This Vladimir Brusiloff to whom I have referred was the famous Russian novelist, and, owing to the fact of his being in the country on a lecturing tour at the moment, there had been something of a boom in his works. The Wood Hills Literary Society had been studying them for weeks, and never since his first entrance into intellectual circles had Cuthbert Banks come nearer to throwing in the towel. Vladimir specialized in grey studies of hopeless misery, where nothing happened till page three hundred and eighty, when the moujik decided to commit suicide. It was tough going for a man whose deepest reading hitherto had been Vardon on the Push-Shot, and there can be no greater proof of the magic of love than the fact that Cuthbert stuck it without a cry. But the strain was terrible and I am inclined to think that he must have cracked, had it not been for the daily reports in the papers of the internecine strife which was proceeding so briskly in Russia. Cuthbert was an optimist at heart, and it seemed to him that, at the rate at which the inhabitants of that interesting country were murdering one another, the supply of Russian novelists must eventually give out.

The Clicking of Cuthbert


Obaldet' ! ;-)

"Possibly," said Mr. Devine. "Possibly. Competent critics have said that my work closely resembles that of the great Russian Masters."

"Your psychology is so deep."

"Yes, yes."

"And your atmosphere."

"Quite." Cuthbert in a perfect agony of spirit prepared to withdraw from this love-feast. The sun was shining brightly, but the world was black to him. Birds sang in the tree-tops, but he did not hear them. He might have been a moujik for all the pleasure he found in life.

The Clicking of Cuthbert


;-) ;-)

When Cuthbert had entered the drawing-room on the following Wednesday and had taken his usual place in a distant corner where, while able to feast his gaze on Adeline, he had a sporting chance of being overlooked or mistaken for a piece of furniture, he perceived the great Russian thinker seated in the midst of a circle of admiring females. Raymond Parsloe Devine had not yet arrived.

His first glance at the novelist surprised Cuthbert. Doubtless with the best motives, Vladimir Brusiloff had permitted his face to become almost entirely concealed behind a dense zareba of hair, but his eyes were visible through the undergrowth, and it seemed to Cuthbert that there was an expression in them not unlike that of a cat in a strange backyard surrounded by small boys. The man looked forlorn and hopeless, and Cuthbert wondered whether he had had bad news from home.

The Clicking of Cuthbert


Wow! Wow! Wow!

"The critics," said Mr. Devine, "have been kind enough to say that my poor efforts contain a good deal of the Russian spirit. I owe much to the great Russians. I have been greatly influenced by Sovietski."

Down in the forest something stirred. It was Vladimir Brusiloff's mouth opening, as he prepared to speak. He was not a man who prattled readily, especially in a foreign tongue. He gave the impression that each word was excavated from his interior by some up-to-date process of mining. He glared bleakly at Mr. Devine, and allowed three words to drop out of him.

"Sovietski no good ! "

He paused for a moment, set the machinery working again, and delivered five more at the pithead.

"I spit me of Sovietski ! "

The Clicking of Cuthbert



A strained, anguished look came into Mrs. Smethurst's face and was reflected in the faces of the other members of the circle. The eminent Russian had sprung two entirely new ones on them, and they felt that their ignorance was about to be exposed. What would Vladimir Brusiloff think of the Wood Hills Literary Society? The reputation of the Wood Hills Literary Society was at stake, trembling in the balance, and coming up for the third time. In dumb agony Mrs. Smethurst rolled her eyes about the room searching for someone capable of coming to the rescue. She drew blank.

And then, from a distant corner, there sounded a deprecating cough, and those nearest Cuthbert Banks saw that he had stopped twisting his right foot round his left ankle and his left foot round his right ankle and was sitting up with a light of almost human intelligence in his eyes.

"Er--- " said Cuthbert, blushing as every eye in the room seemed to fix itself on him.

The Clicking of Cuthbert



"I keep thinking of him as a sharecropper. Couldn't tell you why. Something in his manner. The Commissaire or whatever he is. Though it's come as a surprise to me to find that they have commissaires in France. I thought it was only the Russians. Shows how this Communism is spreading."

French Leave



'I would like to meet your aunt. Interesting woman'

'She wouldn't like to meet you. You're an artist.'

'Ah yes, all those Russian princesses. She strikes me as a bit on the austere side. Why do you go back to her?'

The Girl in Blue



Ricky Gilpin's heart seemed to leap straight up into the air twiddling its feet, like a Russian dancer. He had sometimes wondered how fellows in the electric chair must feel when the authorities turned on the juce.

Uncle Fred In Springtime



'Never heard of her,' said Nutty, in a sort of ecstasy of wistful gloom. 'That will show you how long I've been away. Who is she?'

Miss Leonard invoked the name of Mike.

'Don't you ever get the papers in your village, Nutty?'

'I never read the papers. I don't suppose I've read a paper for years. I can't stand 'em. Who is Lady Pauline Wetherby?'

'She does Greek dances - at least, I suppose they're Greek. They all are nowadays, unless they're Russian. She's an English peeress.'

Miss Leonard's friend said she was crazy about these picturesque old English families; and they went in to supper.

Uneasy Money




I tut-tutted sympathetically, but I was wishing that I could edge the conversation back to that notebook. One so frequently finds in girls a disinclination to stick to the important subject.

'The way Oates went on about it, you would have thought Bartholomew had taken his pound of flesh. And Isuppose it's all going to happen again now. I'm fed up with this police persecution. One might as well be in Russia. Don't you loathe policemen, Bertie?'

I was not prepared to go quite so far as this in my attitude towards an, on the whole, excellent body of men.

'Well, not en masse, if you understand the expression. I suppose they vary, like other sections of the community, some being full of quiet charm, others not so full. I've met some very decent policemen. With the one on duty outside the Drones I am distinctly chummy. In re this Oates of yours, I haven't seen enough of him, of course, to form an opinion.'

The Code of the Woosters



All over the inhabited globe, so the well-informed sheet gave one to understand, every kind of accident was happening every day to practically everybody in existence except Teddy Weeks. Farmers in Minnesota were getting mixed up with reaping-machines; peasants in India were being bisected by crocodiles; iron girders from skyscrapers were falling hourly on the heads of citizens in every town from Philadelphia to San Francisco; and the only people who were not down with ptomaine poisoning were those who had walked over cliffs, driven motors into walls, tripped over manholes, or assumed on too slight evidence that the gun was not loaded. In a crippled world, it seemed, Teddy Weeks walked alone, whole and glowing with health. It was one of those grim, ironical, hopeless, grey, despairful situations which the Russian novelists love to write about, and I could not find it in me to blame Ukridge for taking direct action in this crisis. My only regret was that bad luck caused so excellent a plan to miscarry.




"Good God! You put a private eye on to him?"

"It was a simplest method of keeping myself au courant with his affairs"

"God bless you, Keggs! You ought to be head of secret police in Moscow"

"I doubt if I would care for residence in Russia, sir. The climate. Would there be anything further, Mr.Bayliss?"

Something Fishy


... And Lord Uffenham said the Field Marshal ougth to lose no time in having his head examined, because anybody with an ounce more sense than a child with water on the brain knew that those Labor blisters were nothing but a bunch of bally Bolsheviks. And the political argument that ensued--with Lord Uffenham accusing the Field Marshal of being in the pay of Moscow and the Field Marshal reminding Lord Uffenham that Mr. Aneurin Bevan had described him and the likes him as lower than vermin ...

Something Fishy

  'They don't like each other, you mean?'
'Pecisely, sir'
'I suppose it's often that way in the country. Not much to do except think what a tick your neighbour is.'
'It may be as you say, sir, but in the present case there is more solid ground for hostility, at least on Mr Cook's part. Colonel Briscoe is chairman of the board of magistrates and in that capacity recently imposed a substatial fine on Mr Cook for moving pigs without permit'.
I nodded intelligently. I could see how this must have rankled. I do not keep pigs, but if I did I should strongly resent not being allowed to give them a change of air and scenery without getting permission from a board of magistrates. Are we in Russia?

/Aunts aren't gentlemen. PG Wodehouse/


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Quotaions from: Michel | Alla | Masha | "Russian" Quotes Articles: Stephen Fry | Hugh Laurie | Sound Quotations on pgw.ru

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)