>> Friday, January 25, 2008
Publication Date: 1923
Challenges: Decades 08 #2 (1920’s), A-Z Reading #6 (I Title)
Delightful! Simply delightful. First of all a great big THANK YOU to Framed & Booked whose review of Jeeves in the Morning convinced me to put this book on my list for the Decades challenge. I will definitely be reading more of the Jeeves series.
Jeeves is the very proper valet of Bertie Wooster. Bertie is aristocratic, well enough off to have no apparent occupation, and somewhat prone to getting himself into situations. Luckily Jeeves usually manages to help things work out for the best.
This book is more like a related series of vignettes than one continuous story. There are a couple of recurring themes in the stories – one of which is Jeeves’ disapproval of various wardrobe items that Bertie wants to wear. Bertie’s friend Bingo Little is hilarious – he falls immediately and madly in love with just about every woman he meets. Bertie’s Aunt Agatha is overbearing, but a hoot and I think I really would have liked Uncle Henry:
My late Uncle Henry, you see, was by way of being the blot on the Wooster escutcheon. An extremely decent chappie personally, and one who had always endeared himself to me by tipping me with considerable lavishness when I was at school, but there’s no doubt he did at times do rather rummy things, notably keeping eleven pet rabbits in his bedroom; and I suppose a purist might have considered him more or less off his onion. In fact, to be perfectly frank, he wound up his career, happy to the last and completely surrounded by rabbits, in some sort of home.I was pleasantly surprised to find myself smiling and giggling at humor that was written in the 1920’s. There is, of course, some dated material, but much of it has stood the test of time.
Although letters of introduction aren’t commonplace, the rest of this particular passage could be out of a modern comedy routine (except for the fact that a modern comedian probably couldn’t pull it off without a string of foul language).
You know, the longer I live, the more clearly I see that half the trouble in this bally world is caused by the light-hearted and thoughtless way in which chappies dash off letters of introduction and hand them to other chappies to deliver to chappies of the third part. It’s one of those things that make you wish you were living in the Stone Age. What I mean to say is, if a fellow in those days wanted to give anyone a letter of introduction, he had to spend a month or so carving it on a large-sized boulder and the chances were that the other chappie got so sick of lugging the thing round in the hot sun that he dropped it after the first mile. But nowadays it’s so easy to write letters of introduction that everybody does it without a second thought, with the result that some perfectly harmless cove like myself gets in the soup.