PG Wodehouse

Wodehouse was a genius. This is from Right Ho, Jeeves and is just a sample of the superb writing. Augustus “Gussie” Fink-Nottle is a rather reclusive schoolmate of the protagonist and “the Bassett” is not a hound but Madiline Bassett, the girl engaged to Gussie. Here’s how Wodehouse describes the arrangement:

Nobody could love a freak like Gussie except a similar freak like the Bassett. The shot wasn’t on the board. A splendid chap, of course, in many ways — courteous, amiable, and just the fellow to tell you what to do till the doctor came, if you had a sick newt on your hands — but quite obviously not of Mendelssohn’s March timbre. I have no doubt that you could have flung bricks by the hour in England’s most densely-populated districts without endangering the safety of a single girl capable of becoming Mrs Augustus Fink-Nottle without anaesthetic.

Later on in the same chapter here is an exchange between Bertie, the protagonist, and his cousin who has gotten engaged to Gussie in order to spite her real fiance:

I curled the lip about half an inch. ‘Being a female, you wouldn’t. You gentler sexers are like that. You pull off the rawest stuff without a pang. You pride yourselves on it. Look at Jael, the wife of Heber.’
‘Where did you ever hear of Jael, the wife of Heber?’
‘Possibly you are not aware that I once won a Scripture-knowledge prize at school?’
‘Oh, yes. I remember Augustus mentioning it in his speech.’
‘Quite,’ I said hurriedly. I had no wish to be reminded of Augustus’s speech. ‘Well, as I say, look at Jael, the wife of Heber. Dug spikes into the guest’s coconut while he was asleep, and then went swanking about the place like a Girl Guide. No wonder they say “Oh, woman, woman!”‘
‘The chaps who do. Coo, what a sex! But you aren’t proposing to keep this up, of course?’

Credenda/Agenda did an entire issue on Wodehouse. Check it out if you want to know more.

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