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Posts Tagged ‘Anne Benedick’

 

You know, the more I see of women, the more I think that there ought to be a law. Something has got to be done about this sex, or the whole fabric of society will collapse, and then, what silly asses we shall all look.

(Bertie Wooster)

 

 

 

Aline Peters

Freddie Threepwood’s fiancee in Something Fresh, Aline is the daughter of J Peterson Peters, the American millionaire. She is a gentle, kindly girl who dotes on her father to the extent of starving herself to support his struggle with dyspepsia, and is in turn adored by George Emerson, who she finds too volcanic and over-dashing for her tastes.

Her old school friend Joan Valentine thinks she has been spoiled by too much ease, and that having to fight a little for her independence would be the making of her; Emerson, on the other hand, thinks her perfect. She eventually realizes her long-standing love for him, when he shows signs of weakness and brings out her mothering instinct.

One of the interesting aspects of life highlighted by Plum in Something Fresh is the personality contrast between Aline Peters and Joan Valentine. One is born with a silver spoon in her mouth, so to say, whereas the other has to struggle through life to survive and do well.

 

Anne Benedick

Her laugh is so musical and silvery that she evokes deeper emotions in Jeff; something he realizes is nothing but unalloyed love. Her laugh conjures up visions of a cozy home on a winter’s night, with one’s slippers on one’s feet, the dog on one’s lap, an open fire in the grate and the good old pipe drawing nicely.

We meet her in Money in the Bank. She is 23 years old and a secretary-companion to Clarissa. In secret, she is engaged to Lionel.

For Jeff Miller, at the first sight of Anne Benedick:

There was something about this visitor that seemed to touch some hidden chord in his being, sending joy bells and torchlight processions parading through the echoing corridors of his soul. Romeo, he fancied, must have experienced a somewhat similar, though weaker, emotion on first beholding Juliet.

When Jeff gets hit on the head during a tussle with the Molloys, Anne cries out for Jeff’s sake. The two get engaged in a cellar. The true location of the diamonds occurs to Lord Uffenham and he retrieves them from that spot. Anne agrees to marry Jeff.

 

 

Cora Starr

When it comes to her Goofiness Quotient, Cora (‘Corky’) Pirbright can easily be treated at par with the likes of Roberta Wickham and Stiffy Byng. She does not boast of having red hair, but would always approve of anything that seems likely to tend to start something. Alas, we get to meet her only in The Mating Season. 

When Constable Dobbs gets bit in the leg by Sam Goldwyn, thereby obstructing him in performing his duties to the Crown, she puts the animal’s case extremely well, pointing out that it had probably been pushed around by policemen since it was a slip of a puppy and so was merely fulfilling a legitimate aspiration if it took an occasional nip at one. When Dobbs refuses to accept her view and takes the animal in his custody, all she has to do is to snap her fingers and egg on one of the men around her to go about strewing frogs all over the chokey concerned.

Her uncle Sidney may not be chuffed at the prospect of having someone like Thos around the vicarage, she believes that it is good for a clergyman to have these trials. These make him more spiritual, and consequently hotter at his job.

Though differing from Aunt Agatha in almost every possible respect, Corky has this in common with that outstanding scourge, she is authoritative. When she wants you to do a thing, you find yourself doing it.

Bertie describes her as being one of those lissom girls of medium height whose map has always been worth more than a passing glance. In repose, it has a sort of meditative expression, as if she were a pure white soul thinking beautiful thoughts, and, when animated, so dashed animated that it boosts the morale just to look at her. Her eyes are a kind of browny hazel and her hair rather along the same lines. The general effect is of an angel who eats lots of yeast.

Corky is said to have been wowing the customers with her oomph and espièglerie since she was about sixteen. She distinctly took the eye. Two years in Hollywood had left her even easier to look at than in her earlier times when she used to attend dancing classes with Bertie.

When introduced to her, Gussie Fink Nottle’s thoughts are along the following lines:

It’s extraordinary that a girl as pretty as that should also have a razor-keen intelligence and that amazing way of putting her arguments with a crystal clarity which convinces you in an instant that she is right in every respect.

Esmond Haddock, who is in love with her, thinks she is an angel in human shape. Old Pirbright introduced the two of them. Their eyes met. And it was not more than about two days after that they talked it over and agreed that they were twin souls.

But Esmond’s aunts did not like actors. In their young days, in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, actors were looked on as rogues and vagabonds. As to the aunts, her stock was plainly down in the cellar and the market sluggish.

Corky refuses to consider the idea of hitching up with Esmond unless he defies his aunts, and he very naturally gets the vapours at the mere idea. She thinks he has allowed them to oppress him from childhood, and it’s time he threw off the yoke. She wants him to show her that he is a man of intrepid courage. Her matrimonial plans thus hit a snag, since there is not even a remote chance that Esmond would ever stand up to Dame Daphne Winkworth, and the Misses Charlotte, Emmeline, Harriet, and Myrtle Deverill and make them play ball.

But Bertie and Jeeves conspire to ensure that the two end up walking down the aisle.

 

Dolly Molloy

The newcomer was a girl in the middle twenties, of bold but at the moment rather sullen good looks. She had the bright hazel eyes which seldom go with a meek and contrite heart. Her colouring was vivid, and in the light from the window her hair gleamed with a sheen that was slightly metallic.

(Sam the Sudden)

This is Dora (“Dolly”) Molloy (née Gunn), a young American woman, known to her friends as Fainting Dolly, from her practice of swooning into the arms of rich-looking strangers as a prelude to picking their pockets, hence her alternative nickname of Dolly the Dip.

She is brassy, golden-haired shoplifting wife of Soapy, the brains of the couple. Unlike her husband, Dolly is a firm believer in direct action: in Money in the Bank, Jeff Miller considers her to have the executive abilities of Lady Macbeth.

 

Elizabeth Boyd

She is a hard-working beekeeper in Brookport, Long Island, where she lives with her irresponsible brother “Nutty”, Claude Nutcombe Boyd. A letter from Jerry informs them that Nutcombe’s money went to someone called Lord Dawlish.

When we get introduced to her in Uneasy Money, Elizabeth Boyd is twenty-one, though with her hair tumbling about her shoulders she could have been taken by us to be a child. It is only when we peer into her eyes and notice the resolute tilt of the chin that we realize that she is a young woman very well able to take care of herself in a difficult world. Her hair is very fair and her eyes brown and very bright. These are valiant eyes, full of spirit; eyes, also, that see the humour of things. Her chin, small like the rest of her, is strong; and in the way she holds herself there is a boyish jauntiness.

In New York, Bill sends a letter to Elizabeth offering to split the money, but she sends a reply refusing it. However, circumstances eventually bring them together and love blossoms aboard a train. They plan to get married when the train reaches New York and later run a big bee farm together.

 

Eve Halliday

In Leave it to Psmith, Eve first catches Psmith’s eye while sheltering from the rain under the awning of a coal merchant’s joint opposite the Drones. She takes up an assignment at the Blandings Castle, cataloguing the library, a feat which has not been attempted since the year 1885.

Eve gets by on a small annuity from a late uncle, but frequently has to find work due to tempting but expensive hats, gloves and other necessities. She is a person of dash and vigour. Gazing into her soul, one is apt to find such finer sentiments there as honesty, sympathy and intelligence.

She is a girl of medium height, very straight and slim; and her fair hair, her cheerful smile, and the boyish suppleness of her body all contributed to a general effect of valiant gaiety, a sort of golden sunniness – accentuated by the fact that, like all girls who looked to Paris for inspiration in their dress that season, she often wears black.

A highly attractive young girl, Eve is adept at deflecting proposals from young men like Freddie, but finds Psmith’s advances more difficult to fend off. Capable and efficient, she works hard at her cataloguing job despite Psmith’s attempts to lure her away; a faithful and reliable friend, she does much to help her friend Phyllis get the money she deserves. By the end of the narrative, she is engaged to Psmith.

 

Honoria Glossop

Most of us are already aware that Honoria Glossop is the daughter of Sir Roderick Glossop and the elder sister of Oswald Glossop. Large, brainy, and athletic, she has an assertive personality and a forceful voice. Her laughter is said to make a noise like that of the Scotch express going under a bridge.

She plays every kind of sport, and Bertie suspects she may have boxed for her university. She has a strong presence; Bertie notes that there is something about Honoria which makes almost anybody you meet in the same room seem sort of under-sized and trivial by comparison. She is interested in intellectual pursuits, and reads Nietzsche and Ruskin.

Egged on by Aunt Agatha, Bertie reluctantly agrees to get married to her. While engaged to her, Bertie ruefully describes the time spent with her as follows:

….not a day had passed without her putting in some heavy work in the direction of what Aunt Agatha had called ‘moulding’ me. I had read solid literature till my eyes bubbled; we had legged it together through miles of picture-galleries; and I had been compelled to undergo classical concerts to an extent you would hardly believe… I had just been saying to myself, ‘Death, where is thy jolly old sting?’

But when the eminent doctor pops up for a spot of lunch at his place, the presence of few cats in his bedroom ensure that he is saved from the gallows.

To Bertie, she is simply nothing more nor less than a pot of poison. One of those dashed large, brainy, strenuous, dynamic girls you see so many of these days.

Plum has left behind for us a wide spectrum of women characters. Each one is a unique specimen, even though some of them might sound like duplicates of each other.

 

(Few more women characters to follow in the next post on the subject!)

(Related Posts:

Different Shades of Women in Plumsville 2.0 (Aunts and Seniors)


Of Bertie, Goofy Females and the Wooster Clan

Bertie, Jeeves and the Internet of Things

Some Tips on the Art and Science of Courtship from Rupert Psmith

Different Shades of Women in Plumsville

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