What ho Bertie! That aged relation Aunt Dahlia needs Bertie to steal Sir Watkyn Bassett’s cow creamer, there’s a serious rift in the engagement between Gussie Fink-Nottle and Madeline Bassett and Stiffy Byng and the Reverend Harold ‘Stinker’ Pinker have their own plans for Bertie, so with Jeeves at his side it’s off to Totleigh Towers, Totleigh-in-the-Wold, because you can’t let a pal down, it’s the code of the Woosters,
‘I braced myself with the old Wooster grit. Up came the chin, back went the shoulders’
Honestly this was so much fun, all completely ridiculous, the joyously crisp language moving along at break neck speed – chattering and gossipy references to friends and past adventures that made it all very personable, as if we’re all in the club together. There’s no time to stop for long descriptions, just Bertie giving out snippets of information, like this introduction to Stiffy:
`. . . a girl came around the corner, an attractive young prune upholstered in heather-mixture tweeds, and I recognised the familiar features of S. Byng.’
But I found all the characters so confidently drawn that there was never any doubt I was going to mix up my aunts or Drones’ Club members! Published in 1938 even the would-be Dictator Roderick Spode ‘with a small moustache and the sort of eye that can open an oyster at sixty paces’ and his gang of Black Shorts are dealt with as an obstacle of fun.
It’s a cosy, delightful world full of crumpets and tea and whisky and soda by the fire and I see there are 99 volumes in the Everyman Wodehouse collection, and I’ve only read 1!