R: Barbie Fashion #39 (March 1994), art by Amanda Conner and Jeffrey Albrecht
(Click picture to 20,000 leagues-size)
'I suppose if all the girls Freddie Widgeon has been in love with were placed end to endnot that one could do it, of coursethey would reach from Piccadilly Circus to Hyde Park Corner. Further than that, probably, because some of them were pretty tall.'Wodehouse doesn't do the math...so let's us do it, shall we?:
There was a frown on Leila Yorke's brow, as if she had temporarily suspended the thinking of lovely thoughts and had turned to others of an inferior grade.She curses, she's a hard drinker, she wants to write an important and bleak urban novelLeila Yorke is the Mickey Spillane of Wodehouse. I picture her played by Elaine Stritch. Despite her hard edges, she's not instrumental in playing Cupid to Freddie and Sally, but is the subject of a love story herself as her ex-husband Joe, the snake charmer, slithers lovingly back into her life.
'You look peeved," said Sally, noticing this.
'I'm feeling peeved,' said Miss Yorke. 'What was that bell I heard?'
'That was the County starting to call. A Mr Cornelius. I don't know who he is.'
'He's the house agent. Keeps rabbits.'
'Oh, does he? Well, he likes to be neighbourly, so he brought you the Sunday papers.'
'Bless him. Just what I wanted.'
'And thirty-two of your books, to be autographed.'
'Curse him. May his rabbits get myx-whatever-it-is.'
'And he wants you to give a little talk to his literary society which meets every second Tuesday.'
'Keep calm. I got you out of it. I told him you were thinking out a new novel.'
Leila Yorke snorted bitterly.
'...I shut myself up in my room and wrote my first novel. It was Heather o' the Hills. Ever read it?'Ladies and gentlemen, take it from me, a little stuffed bull who gets to help out at a New York publisher: that's the entire publishing business boiled to down its bare essentials.
'Pure slush, but it was taken by Popgood and Grooly, and didn't do too badly, and they sent the sheets over to Singleton Brothers in New York, who turn out books like sausages and don't' care how bad they are, so long as they run to eighty thousand words. They chucked it into the sausage machine and twiddled the handle and darned if it wasn't one if the biggest sellers they had that season. What's known as a sleeper.'