Blandings Castle and Elsewhere, p.1P. G. Wodehouse
Table of Contents
About the Author
By the Same Author
Blandings Castle Chapter 1 THE CUSTODY OF THE PUMPKIN
Chapter 2 LORD EMSWORTH ACTS FOR THE BEST
Chapter 3 PIG-HOO-O-O-O-EY!
Chapter 4 COMPANY FOR GERTRUDE
Chapter 5 THE GO-GETTER
Chapter 6 LORD EMSWORTH AND THE GIRLFRIEND
Elsewhere – Chapter 1. A Bobbie Wickham Story 7 MR POTTER TAKES A REST CURE
Elsewhere – Chapter 2. The Mulliners of Hollywood 8 MONKEY BUSINESS
9 THE NODDER
10 THE JUICE OF AN ORANGE
11 THE RISE OF MINNA NORDSTROM
12 THE CASTAWAYS
Extract: The Code of the Woosters
Also available in Arrow The Code of the Woosters
The Heart of a Goof
The P G Wodehouse Society (UK)
The author of almost a hundred books and the creator of Jeeves, Blandings Castle, Psmith, Ukridge, Uncle Fred and Mr Mulliner, P.G. Wodehouse was born in 1881 and educated at Dulwich College. After two years with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank he became a full-time writer, contributing to a variety of periodicals including Punch and the Globe. He married in 1914. As well as his novels and short stories, he wrote lyrics for musical comedies with Guy Bolton and Jerome Kern, and at one time had five musicals running simultaneously on Broadway. His time in Hollywood also provided much source material for fiction.
At the age of 93, in the New Year's Honours List of 1975,
he received a long-overdue knighthood, only to die
on St Valentine's Day some 45 days later.
Some of the P. G. Wodehouse titles to be published
by Arrow in 2008
The Inimitable Jeeves
Carry On, Jeeves
Very Good, Jeeves
Thank You, Jeeves
Right Ho, Jeeves
The Code of the Woosters
Joy in the Morning
The Mating Season
Ring for Jeeves
Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit
Jeeves in the Offing
Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves
Much Obliged, Jeeves
Aunts Aren't Gentlemen
Leave it to Psmith
Uncle Fred in the Springtime
Pigs Have Wings
Service with a Smile
A Pelican at Blandings
Meet Mr Mulliner
Mr Mulliner Speaking
The Clicking of Cuthbert
The Heart of a Goof
The Luck of the Bodkins
A Damsel in Distress
The Small Bachelor
The Adventures of Sally
Money for Nothing
The Girl in Blue
... AND ELSEWHERE
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Published by Arrow Books 2008
1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2
Copyright by The Trustees of the Wodehouse Estate
All rights reserved
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First published in the United Kingdom in 1935 by Herbert Jenkins Ltd
The Random House Group Limited
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can be found at: www.randomhouse.co.uk/offices.htm
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A CIP catalogue record for this book
is available from the British Library
EXCEPT for the tendency to write articles about the Modern Girl and allow his side-whiskers to grow, there is nothing an author to-day has to guard himself against more carefully than the Saga habit. The least slackening of vigilance and the thing has gripped him. He writes a story. Another story dealing with the same characters occurs to him, and he writes that. He feels that just one more won't hurt him, and he writes a third. And before he knows where he is, he is down with a Saga, and no cure in sight.
This is what happened to me with Bertie Wooster and Jeeves, and it has happened again with Lord Emsworth, his son Frederick, his butler Beach, his pig the Empress and the other residents of Blandings Castle. Beginning with SOMETHING FRESH, I went on to LEAVE IT TO PSMITH, then to SUMMER LIGHTNING, after that to HEAVY WEATHER, and now to the volume which you have just borrowed. And, to show the habit-forming nature of the drug, while it was eight years after SOMETHING FRESH before the urge for LEAVE IT TO PSMITH gripped me, only eighteen months elapsed between SUMMER LIGHTNING and HEAVY WEATHER. In a word, once a man who could take it or leave it alone, I had become an addict.
The stories in the first part of this book represent what I may term the short snorts in between the solid orgies. From time to time I would feel the Blandings Castle craving creeping over me, but I had the manhood to content myself with a small dose.
In point of time, these stories come after LEAVE IT TO PSMITH and before SUMMER LIGHTNING. PIG-HOO-O-O-O-EY, for example, shows Empress of Blandings winning her first silver medal in the Fat Pigs class at the Shropshire Agricultural Show. In SUMMER LIGHTNING and HEAVY WEATHER she is seen struggling to repeat in the following year.
THE CUSTODY OF THE PUMPKIN shows Lord Emsworth passing through the brief pumpkin phase which preceded the more lasting pig seizure.
And so on.
Bobbie Wickham, of MR POTTER TAKES A REST CURE, appeared in three of the stories in a book called MR MULLINER SPEAKING.
The final section of the volume deals with the secret history of Hollywood, revealing in print some of those stories which are whispered over the frosted malted milk when the boys get together in the commissary.
P. G. WODEHOUSE
1 THE CUSTODY OF THE PUMPKIN
THE morning sunshine descended like an amber shower-bath on Blandings Castle, lighting up with a heartening glow its ivied walls, its rollin
'Beach,' said Lord Emsworth.
'I've been swindled. This dashed thing doesn't work.'
'Your lordship cannot see clearly?'
'I can't see at all, dash it. It's all black.'
The butler was an observant man.
'Perhaps if I were to remove the cap at the extremity of the instrument, m'lord, more satisfactory results might be obtained.'
'Eh? Cap? Is there a cap? So there is. Take it off, Beach.'
'Very good, m'lord.'
'Ah!' There was satisfaction in Lord Emsworth's voice. He twiddled and adjusted, and the satisfaction deepened. 'Yes, that's better. That's capital. Beach, I can see a cow.'
'Down in the water-meadows. Remarkable. Might be two yards away. All right, Beach. Shan't want you any longer.'
'Your hat, m'lord?'
'Put it on my head.'
'Very good, m'lord.'
The butler, this kindly act performed, withdrew. Lord Emsworth continued gazing at the cow.
The ninth Earl of Emsworth was a fluffy-minded and amiable old gentleman with a fondness for new toys. Although the main interest of his life was his garden, he was always ready to try a side line, and the latest of these side lines was this telescope of his. Ordered from London in a burst of enthusiasm consequent upon the reading of an article on astronomy in a monthly magazine, it had been placed in position on the previous evening. What was now in progress was its trial trip.
Presently, the cow's audience-appeal began to wane. It was a fine cow, as cows go, but, like so many cows, it lacked sustained dramatic interest. Surfeited after awhile by the spectacle of it chewing the cud and staring glassily at nothing, Lord Emsworth decided to swivel the apparatus round in the hope of picking up something a trifle more sensational. And he was just about to do so, when into the range of his vision there came the Hon. Freddie. White and shining, he tripped along over the turf like a Theocritan shepherd hastening to keep an appointment with a nymph, and a sudden frown marred the serenity of Lord Emsworth's brow. He generally frowned when he saw Freddie, for with the passage of the years that youth had become more and more of a problem to an anxious father.
Unlike the male codfish, which, suddenly finding itself the parent of three million five hundred thousand little codfish, cheerfully resolves to love them all, the British aristocracy is apt to look with a somewhat jaundiced eye on its younger sons. And Freddie Threepwood was one of those younger sons who rather invite the jaundiced eye. It seemed to the head of the family that there was no way of coping with the boy. If he was allowed to live in London, he piled up debts and got into mischief; and when you jerked him back into the purer surroundings of Blandings Castle, he just mooned about the place, moping broodingly. Hamlet's society at Elsinore must have had much the same effect on his stepfather as did that of Freddie Threepwood at Blandings on Lord Emsworth. And it is probable that what induced the latter to keep a telescopic eye on him at this moment was the fact that his demeanour was so mysteriously jaunty, his bearing so intriguingly free from its customary crushed misery. Some inner voice whispered to Lord Emsworth that this smiling, prancing youth was up to no good and would bear watching.
The inner voice was absolutely correct. Within thirty seconds its case had been proved up to the hilt. Scarcely had his lordship had time to wish, as he invariably wished on seeing his offspring, that Freddie had been something entirely different in manners, morals, and appearance, and had been the son of somebody else living a considerable distance away, when out of a small spinney near the end of the meadow there bounded a girl. And Freddie, after a cautious glance over his shoulder, immediately proceeded to fold this female in a warm embrace.
Lord Emsworth had seen enough. He tottered away from the telescope, a shattered man. One of his favourite dreams was of some nice, eligible girl, belonging to a good family, and possessing a bit of money of her own, coming along some day and taking Freddie off his hands; but that inner voice, more confident now than ever, told him that this was not she. Freddie would not sneak off in this furtive fashion to meet eligible girls, nor could he imagine any eligible girl, in her right senses, rushing into Freddie's arms in that enthusiastic way. No, there was only one explanation. In the cloistral seclusion of Blandings, far from the Metropolis with all its conveniences for that sort of thing, Freddie had managed to get himself entangled. Seething with anguish and fury, Lord Emsworth hurried down the stairs and out on to the terrace. Here he prowled like an elderly leopard waiting for feeding-time, until in due season there was a flicker of white among the trees that flanked the drive and a cheerful whistling announced the culprit's approach.
It was with a sour and hostile eye that Lord Emsworth watched his son draw near. He adjusted his pince-nez, and with their assistance was able to perceive that a fatuous smile of self-satisfaction illumined the young man's face, giving him the appearance of a beaming sheep. In the young man's buttonhole there shone a nosegay of simple meadow flowers, which, as he walked, he patted from time to time with a loving hand.
'Frederick!' bellowed his lordship.
The villain of the piece halted abruptly. Sunk in a roseate trance, he had not observed his father. But such was the sunniness of his mood that even this encounter could not damp him. He gambolled happily up.
'Hullo, guv'nor!' he carolled. He searched in his mind for a pleasant topic of conversation – always a matter of some little difficulty on these occasions. 'Lovely day, what?'
His lordship was not to be diverted into a discussion of the weather. He drew a step nearer, looking like the man who smothered the young princes in the Tower.
'Frederick,' he demanded, 'who was that girl?'
The Hon. Freddie started convulsively. He appeared to be swallowing with difficulty something large and jagged.
'Girl?' he quavered. 'Girl? Girl, guv'nor?'
'That girl I saw you kissing ten minutes ago down in the water-meadows.'
'Oh!' said the Hon. Freddie. He paused. 'Oh, ah!' He paused again. 'Oh, ah, yes! I've been meaning to tell you about that, guv'nor.'
'You have, have you?'
'All perfectly correct, you know. Oh, yes, indeed! All most absolutely correct-o! Nothing fishy, I mean to say, or anything like that. She's my fiancée'
A sharp howl escaped Lord Emsworth, as if one of the bees humming in the lavender-beds had taken time off to sting him in the neck.
'Who is she?' he boomed. 'Who is this woman?'
'Her name's Donaldson.'
'Who is she?'
Aggie Donaldson. Aggie's short for Niagara. Her people spent their honeymoon at the Falls, she tells me. She's American and all that. Rummy names they give kids in America,' proceeded Freddie, with hollow chattiness. 'I mean to say! Niagara! I ask you!'
'Who is she?'
'She's most awfully bright, you know. Full of beans. You'll love her.'
'Who is she?'
'And can play the saxophone.'
'Who,' demanded Lord Emsworth for the sixth time, 'is she? And where did you meet her?'
Freddie coughed. The information, he perceived, could no longer be withheld, and he was keenly alive to the fact that it scarcely fell into the class of tidings of great joy.
'Well, as a matter of fact, guv'nor, she's a sor
Lord Emsworth's eyes bulged and he gargled faintly. He had had many unpleasant visions of his son's future, but they had never included one of him walking down the aisle with a sort of cousin of his head-gardener.
'Oh!' he said. 'Oh, indeed?'
'That's the strength of it, guv'nor.'
Lord Emsworth threw his arms up, as if calling on Heaven to witness a good man's persecution, and shot off along the terrace at a rapid trot. Having ranged the grounds for some minutes, he ran his quarry to earth at the entrance to the yew alley.
The head-gardener turned at the sound of his footsteps. He was a sturdy man of medium height, with eyebrows that would have fitted a bigger forehead. These, added to a red and wiry beard, gave him a formidable and uncompromising expression. Honesty Angus McAllister's face had in full measure, and also intelligence; but it was a bit short on sweetness and light.
'McAllister,' said his lordship, plunging without preamble into the matter of his discourse. 'That girl. You must send her away.'
A look of bewilderment clouded such of Mr McAllister's features as were not concealed behind his beard and eyebrows.
'That girl who is staying with you. She must go!'
Lord Emsworth was not in the mood to be finicky about details.
Anywhere,' he said. 'I won't have her here a day longer.'
'Why?' inquired Mr McAllister, who liked to thresh these things out.
'Never mind why. You must send her away immediately.'
Mr McAllister mentioned an insuperable objection.
'She's payin' me twa poon' a week,' he said simply.
Lord Emsworth did not grind his teeth, for he was not given to that form of displaying emotion; but he leaped some ten inches into the air and dropped his pince-nez. And, though normally a fair-minded and reasonable man, well aware that modern earls must think twice before pulling the feudal stuff on their employés, he took on the forthright truculence of a large landowner of the early Norman period ticking off a serf.
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