R: Star Wars #4 (October 1977), art by Gil Kane (?) and Dave Cockrum (?)
(Click picture to Death Star-size)
From time to time as he moved about his new home, Jerry had been aware of curious noises, evidently supernatural. If asked by the Committee of the Society of Psychical Research to describe these noises, he would have been rather at a loss. Well, sort of grunting noises, he would have told them.And...scene. Wodehouse ends the chapter section precisely on that line, leaving us to guess and only later find out what it was that Jerry came face to snout with. But really, the book's called Pigs Have Wings...what did you expect him to have hidden in his kitchen?
When you say grunting, do you mean grunting?
That's right. It doesn't go on all the time, of course. But for a while there will be a kind of lull, as if the spectre were thinking things over and resting its vocal chords. Then, refreshed, off it goes again...grunting, if you see what I mean.
Upon which, the Committee of the Society of Psychical Research would have said 'Well, Lord-love-a-duck!' grunting ghosts being new in their experience.
It was in the living room that the sounds were most noticeable. Back there now, he was startled by a series of five or six almost at his elbow. The poltergeist, for such he assumed it to be, appeared to have holed up behind the door that led presumably to the kitchen, the only part of the house he had not yet inspected.
He opened the door.
Once again it was Lord Emsworth who broke the spell. Hopeful by now that his brother Galahad might have removed himself, he came out of the drawing-room to have another try for that tête- à-tête, only to discover that though the terrace was free from Galahads, it had become all stocked up with Penny Donaldsons. He paused and said 'Er.'Your heart goes out to him, but shed no tears for Lord Emsworth; he's happy of course at the end with the only being who truly deserves his full love: Empress of Blandings. Clarence's late wife is seldom mentioned in the Blandings saga (she's briefly alluded to in Pigs Have Wings) but I like to picture her as having been a very kind and very patient woman.
There was another longish silence.
'The moon,' said Lord Emsworth, indicating it.
'Yes,' said Maudie.
'Bright,' said Lord Emsworth, paying it a well-deserved tribute.
'Yes,' said Maudie.
'Very bright,' said Lord Emsworth. 'Oh, very very bright,' and seemed for a moment about to converse with easy fluency. But inspiration failed him, and with a 'Quite, quite, Capital,' he disappeared again.
'Oh Clarence,' she said, 'have you seen Penelope anywhere?'See? All up to speed, we are. And this is the important part...Lady Constance is none the wiser that we are. You don't want to get on Lady Constance's bad side, take it from me.
'Who,' asked Lord Emsworth courteously, 'is Penelope Donaldson?'
Last Constance sighed. Had she not been the daughter of a hundred Earls, she would have snorted. Her manner lost its amiability. She struck her forehead with a jewelled hand and rolled her eyes heavenward for a moment.
'Penelope Donaldson,' she said, speaking with the strained sweetness of a woman striving to be patient while conversing with one of the less intelligent of the Jukes family, 'is the younger daughter of the Mr Donaldson of Long Island City in the United States of America whose elder daughter is married to your son Frederick. Frederick married the elder Miss Donaldson. The younger Miss Donaldsonher name is Penelopeis staying with us now at Blandings Castlethis is Blandings Castleand what I am asking you is...Have you see her? And I do wish, Clarence, that you would not let your mouth hang open when I am talking to you. It makes you look like a goldfish.'
It isn't often, goodness knows, that we are urged to quit the prose with which we earn our daily bread and take to poetry instead. But great events come now and then which call for the poetic pen. So you will pardon us, we know, if dealing with the Shropshire Show, we lisp in numbers to explain that Emp. of Blandings won again.Sheer joy.