Tag Archives: Plum Pie

12 Days of Wodehouse Christmas

What Ho! Ho! Ho!

I hope the festive season finds you happy, healthy and well.

Earlier this December, I had a bit of Twitter fun with a Wodehouse themed 12 Days of Christmas – featuring Wodehouse related gift ideas. This piece provides a summary for those of you who don’t follow Twitter. It may be a lazy way to blog, but news media organisations are reporting Tweets as news these days, and even Wodehouse wasn’t averse to reusing his own material. I hope it gives you some good gift ideas — for Christmas or any time of year.

With all the compliments of the season,

Honoria

On the 1st day of Christmas, my true love gave to me — membership of a Wodehouse Society #12daysofWodehouse https://t.co/VBGQdSJz8g via @HonoriaPlum

1st

On the 2nd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me –delicious Plum Pie #12daysofwodehouse pic.twitter.com/qqivdG207m

2nd

On the 3rd day of Christmas, my true love gave to me — something shiny #12daysofWodehouse https://t.co/wy2M6bNCVm via @HonoriaPlum

3rd

On the 4th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me – Mulliner’s Buck-U-Uppo https://t.co/4mnM9GES48 #12daysofWodehouse pic.twitter.com/yLXPFCj7B0

4th

On the 5th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me – tickets to a Wodehouse show. Try Love on the Links at Salisbury Playhouse @salisburyplay #12daysofWodehouse https://t.co/iEG6KUTfib

5th

On the 6th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me — a My Man Jeeves carry bag https://t.co/Ab9qgdYrEj #12daysofWodehouse pic.twitter.com/yhl0cCReCB

6th

On the 7th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me – The Amazing Hat Mystery https://t.co/ar1ABDaxZm #12daysofWodehouse pic.twitter.com/MfkDiOQTyl

7th

On the 8th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me — Wodehouse in modern Dutch #12daysofWodehouse https://t.co/XrcFVGTm7C

8th.JPG

On the 9th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, Wodehouse on DVD #12daysofWodehouse pic.twitter.com/tynu6Bc0hK

9th

On the 10th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, ‘Goodbye to All Cats’ a PG Wodehouse pick-me-up https://t.co/5ThqkiP3pn #12daysofWodehouse pic.twitter.com/SZw7axlVep

10th

On the 11th day of Christmas my true love gave to me, ‘Bring on the Girls!’ by P.G. Wodehouse and Guy Bolton– on their days in musical theatre #12daysofWodehouse https://t.co/oJSzS4bqD9 pic.twitter.com/fLpQ1JCZtP

11th

On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me, The Smile that Wins #12daysofWodehouse pic.twitter.com/z7By5lVq3J

12th.JPG

P.G. Wodehouse reading list: the Blandings stories

blandings-castleLord Emsworth breathed heavily. He had not supposed that in these degenerate days a family like this existed. The sister copped Angus McAllister on the shin with stones, the brother bit Constance in the leg . . . It was like listening to some grand saga of the exploits of heroes and demigods.

‘Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend’

(Blandings Castle)

This is a guide for readers wanting to discover the joys of P.G. Wodehouse’s Blandings series. It follows previous guides:

We start with a Blandings reading list, followed by notes on the series.

Blandings Reading List

Blandings Castle has joined Narnia, Brideshead and 221B Baker Street as a hallowed setting of English literature. Every enthusiast knows its rose garden, the terraces overlooking the lake, the steps down to the lawn where Gally sips a thoughtful whiskey, the gardens presided over by McAllister, the cottage in the West Wood suitable for concealing diamond necklaces or Berkshire pigs, and the hamlet of Blandings Parva which adjoins the estate.

N.T.P Murphy: The P.G. Wodehouse Miscellany

something-fresh

The much loved Blandings series features the absent-minded Lord Emsworth, his prize-winning pig the Empress of Blandings, and a changing cast of relations, staff, guests and imposters. The first Blandings novel Something Fresh, written in 1915, is one of my favourites and a great place to start. Wodehouse continued to write about Blandings for another 60 years (he was working on Sunset at Blandings when he died).

The early novels have a different atmosphere to the Blandings that emerges in Blandings Castle, in which Lord Emsworth’s prize-winning pig, the Empress of Blandings is introduced.

Blandings Castle is a short-story collection containing several classic Blandings stories, mostly written before Summer Lightning. Blandings Castle should be read before Summer Lightning to avoid spoilers. The stories are among Wodehouse’s best, and include:

  • The Custody of the Pumpkin (1929)
  • Lord Emsworth Acts for the Best (1926)
  • Pig-Hoo-o-o-o-ey (1927)
  • Company for Gertrude (1928)
  • Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend (1928)
  • The Go-getter (1931)

The volume also includes some fine non-Blandings short stories.

The tranquillity of Lord Emsworth’s life at Blandings is constantly under threat throughout the series: from oily villains (like Smooth Lizzie and Eddie Cootes); regrettable relatives (such as Lady Constance Keeble and younger son Freddie Threepwood); supercilious staff (Rupert Baxter); and invited guests (the revolting Duke of Dunstable).

At an earlier point in this chronicle, we have compared the aspect of Rupert Baxter, when burning with resentment, to a thunder-cloud, and it is possible that the reader may have formed a mental picture of just an ordinary thunder-cloud, the kind that rumbles a bit but does not really amount to anything very much. It was not this kind of cloud that the secretary resembled now, but one of those which burst over cities in the Tropics, inundating countrysides while thousands flee.

‘The Crime Wave at Blandings’ in Lord Emsworth and Others

32-23Happily for Lord Emsworth, Blandings’ extended cast of heroes and heroines are equal to the challenges presented to them.

Lord Emsworth’s younger brother, the Hon. Galahad Threepwood, makes his first appearance in Summer Lightning. He and Uncle Fred (Frederick Twistleton, 5th Earl of Ickenham) put a debonair spring-in-the-step of the later novels, much as Psmith had done in the earlier Leave it to Psmith.

The final novel Sunset at Blandings was completed after Wodehouse’s death, from his draft manuscript and notes, by Richard Usborne.

When you’ve completed the novels, you may also wish to track down the remaining short stories, which can found in the following collections:

Happy reading!

HP

The romances of Bingo Little: Honoria Glossop

‘The only one of the family I really know is the girl.’ I had hardly spoken these words when the most extraordinary change came over young Bingo’s face. His eyes bulged, his cheeks flushed, and his Adam’s apple hopped about like one of those india-rubber balls on the top of the fountain in a shooting gallery.

‘Oh, Bertie!’ he said, in a strangled sort of voice.

I looked at the poor fish anxiously. I knew that he was always falling in love with someone, but it didn’t seem possible that even he could have fallen in love with Honoria Glossop.

The Inimitable Jeeves

This is our introduction to Honoria Glossop, in Chapter Five of The Inimitable Jeeves, and our second encounter with young Bingo, who in Chapter Two was in love with a waitress named Mabel.

Bertie Wooster is astonished that Bingo could love Honoria (daughter of noted ‘nerve specialist’ Sir Roderick Glossop), whom he describes as:

One of those dashed large, brainy, strenuous, dynamic girls you see so many of these days. She had been at Girton, where, in addition to enlarging her brain to the most frightful extent, she had gone in for every kind of sport and developed the physique of a middle-weight catch-as-can wrestler. I’m not sure she didn’t box for the ‘Varsity while she was up. The effect she had on me whenever she appeared was to make me want to slide into a cellar and lie low till they blew the All-Clear.

Honoria Glossop is no model of delicate femininity. She excels in sports and has a serious, educated sort of mind that she’s not afraid to use. Poor Bertie quivers in her presence, no doubt scarred from his former engagement to Lady Florence Cray, who made him read Types of Ethical Theory and was about to start him on Nietzsche.

Whatever his faults, Bingo Little does not share Bertie’s prejudices. He has the endearing capacity to appreciate the merits in any woman. Bertie shrinks from Honoria’s Amazonian qualities, Bingo admires them.

‘Have you told her?’

‘No. I haven’t the nerve. But we walk together in the garden most evenings, and it sometimes seems to me that there is a look in her eyes.’

‘I know that look. Like a sergeant-major.’

‘Nothing of the kind! Like a tender goddess.’

‘Half a second, old thing,’ I said. ‘Are you sure we’re talking about the same girl? The one I mean is Honoria. Perhaps there is a younger sister or something I’ve not heard of?’

‘Her name is Honoria,’ bawled Bingo reverently.

‘And she strikes you as a tender goddess?

‘She does.

‘God bless you!’ I said.

‘She walks in beauty like the night of cloudless climes and starry skies; and all that’s best of dark and bright meet in her aspect and her eyes. Another bit of bread and cheese,’ he said to the lad behind the bar.

I include Bingo’s poetic testimony here because Bertie’s assessment of Honoria is so often accepted as the only plausible one. Considered objectively, Honoria has her good points; she is bright, capable and jolly. Her characteristic laugh — ‘like a train going into a tunnel’ or ‘the Scotch express going under a bridge’ — may delight her pals and admirers. Fond as I am of Bertie, we should remember that he is an unreliable narrator whose view is prejudiced by his own character and tastes, just as Bingo’s assessment is blinded, if briefly, by love.

And I mean briefly — Bingo’s love for Honoria lasts exactly ten pages in my old Penguin edition. The spell is broken not by any action on her part, but by the appearance of another eligible female on the premises:

Walking across the lawn I saw the most radiant, the most beautiful girl in the world. There is none like her, none. Bertie, do you believe in love at first sight? You do believe in love at first sight, don’t you Bertie, old man? Directly I saw her, she seemed to draw me like a magnet. I seemed to forget everything. We two were alone in a world of music and sunshine. I joined her. I got into conversation. She is a Miss Braythwayt, Bertie—Daphne Braythwayt. Directly our eyes met, I realized that what I had imagined to be my love for Honoria Glossop had been a mere passing whim. Bertie, you do believe in love at first sight, don’t you? She is so wonderful, so sympathetic. Like a tender goddess——”

If Bingo’s endearing capacity to fall in love with any woman has a down-side, it’s his lack of constancy. We hear nothing further of Miss Braythwayt, and when we meet ‘Comrade Bingo’ again in Chapter 11 he in love with someone new (I look forward to discussing that particular romance another day).

Meanwhile, Bingo thinks nothing of leaving Bertie with the unpleasant task of disengaging himself from Honoria Glossop, a feat he has to perform again in ‘Jeeves and the Greasy Bird’ (Plum Pie). Bertie also saves old pal ‘Biffy’ Biffen from marrying Honoria in ‘The Rummy Affair Of Old Biffy’ (in Carry On, Jeeves):

Of course, there are probably fellows in the world — tough, hardy blokes with strong chins and glittering eyes — who could get engaged to this Glossop menace and like it; but I knew perfectly well that Biffy was not one of them.

Honoria, you see, is one of those robust, dynamic girls with the muscles of a welter-weight and a laugh like a squadron of cavalry charging over a tin bridge. A beastly thing to have to face over the breakfast table. Brainy, moreover. The sort of girl who reduces you to pulp with sixteen sets of tennis and a few rounds of golf, and then comes down to dinner as fresh as a daisy, expecting you to take an intelligent interest in Freud.

SuzanneLenglen
This picture of 1920s tennis player Suzanne Lenglen (image via wikimedia commons) perhaps captures something of Honoria’s robust and strenuous spirit.

After some rough treatment from these flitting and sipping Drones, Honoria Glossop’s friends and well-wishers will be pleased to hear that she seems set to marry the ‘angry young novelist’ Blair Eggleston at the conclusion of ‘Jeeves and the Greasy Bird’. The news was certainly a great relief to Bertie Wooster.

HP