R: Thor #451 (September 1992), art by Ron Frenz and Al Milgrom
(Click picture to Simon-size)
'Mr Pickering here tonight, Mac?'and
To which Mac replied:
'He's round in front'which would not have been a bad description of the visitor propped against the wall, who was noticeably stout. Julius Caesar would have liked him.
...in less than the specific time he was in a chair at 8 Enniston Gardens, and Mr Llewellyn was saying 'Listen', prepatory to cleaning his stuffed bosom of the perilous stuff that weights upon the heart, as Shakespeare and the Welsh school marm would have phrased it, though Shakespeare ought to have known better than to put 'stuff' and 'stuffed' in the same sentence like that.Lesser writers would be satisfied with a sentence like, say, 'He gave Joe a disdainful look.' Not Wodehouse. Oh no, no, no, no:
Even to an unobservant eye it would have been apparent that he was not one of Joe's admirers. In the look he gave him as he entered there was something of the open dislike a resident of India exhibits when he comes to take his morning bath and finds a cobra in the bath tub.It's not one hundred percent prime Wodehouse, but there's a lot of gold here in this late novel of his careeryou're along for the joyous ride and you either must forgive the coincidences or accept them as part and parcel of the Wodehousean World: that nothing happens in this universe that does not spiral around itself in an elaborate dance. Joe meets Sally and she spins away again, dinner dates are broken and chances are missed until the very last few pages. Thanks to Bachelors Anonymous, Joe is slipped a Mickey Finn by Ephraim Trout to help him avoid the terrible catastrophe of falling in love, but a few dozen pages from that Trout himself is falling in love with Sally's old nurse, Amelia Bingham. (Even Rosie M. Banks, romance authoress and wife of Bingo Little from the Jeeves stories, gets a name check and provides us with ammunition to continue to tie the Wodehouse Universe together into a cohesive whole.) Nearly everybody falls in love, Joe gets a lucrative Hollywood writing contract, Sally blows her chance at the twenty-five thousand pounds with a careless puff (but isn't love better than money?) and it of course all ends happily, especially for Llewellyn, who's the only one who actually gleefully escapes marriage to a nurse in the hospital who just happens to be Amelia Bingham (she of the betrothed-to-Ephraim Trout-fame). Oh, don't look so shocked and yell at me for not posting a spoiler warning. You don't need a spoiler warning in the world of Wodehouse, you know everyone will end in each other's arms as bluebirds tweet merrily outside of the drawing room.