Posts Tagged ‘Bingo Little’

Respected Sir,

As a lay citizen of India, allow me to say that you are spearheading a great drive to reform the education system of the country. There may be no big ticket announcements, but one can see some incremental steps which would help our youth to realize their full potential in the years to come.

I write this with all humility at my command, merely to suggest one such incremental reform, which, I am reasonably certain, can help our youth to develop their soft skills faster and better.

I write this to suggest that a special drive be launched to expose Indian students to the works of the eminent humourist, P G Wodehouse. By discovering, delving into and devouring these, our future citizens shall turn out to be cheerful, joyous and happy. India would soon become a country which would be not only chasing her Gross Domestic Product numbers, but also shoring up her Gross National Happiness index.

A spurt to ingenuity and innovation

At the school level, his stories – depicting hostel life, cricket rivalries and the kind of goofiness which kids normally display – would entertain and motivate our children no end. On the one hand, headmasters and headmistresses would quickly learn how to be shrewd lion-tamers. On the other, children would get into the right spirit of innovation and ingenuity, thereby brightening the prospects of creating many a Silicon Valley in India in the decades to follow.

Children who have already shifted to ball point pens, iPads and other advanced gadgets would no longer be able to put sherbet in ink pots. But they would still learn how to sneak back into their dormitories, ably assisted by their resourceful seniors. They would understand the importance of giggling and staring at guest lecturers, thereby enabling the latter to improve upon their oratorical skills and overcoming their stage fright.

Seeking protection money would come easily to them. When they grow up and take up responsible positions in administration, such skills would make them hotter at their jobs. Planning for such innovative schemes as creating butter slides for defaulting step-fathers-to-be would help them to sharpen their intuitive faculties. Their decision making abilities would improve. They would end up being better managers. Their employability quotient would register a quantum jump.

Many back benchers in our schools would end up being proficient in such vocations as chimney cleaning et al. The skill of using paraffin to douse flames of any kind would help them to gauge and neutralize terror threats of many kinds. When they grow up, our law enforcing agencies would find them ready for many a delicate task.

When besotted with Bollywood divas, they would rise to their higher selves and learn how to help those in distress. Better discipline and good conduct, whether in schools or at home, would result. Tantrums thrown at the change of a Wi-Fi password at home, or at the announcement of a surprise test in mathematics at school, would be a thing of the past. Hapless parents and teachers would breathe easy.

A boost to chivalry and matrimonial bliss

At the college level, our youth would learn invaluable lessons in chivalry, thereby making our country much safer for the delicately nurtured amongst us. Following in the footsteps of Bertie Wooster, they would go to any length to stand by a pal in distress. Eventually, this would help them to imbibe a feeling of brotherhood and secularism.

Such exquisite hobbies as rearing newts would reignite their respect for environment. They shall imbibe the finer characteristics of canine and feline creatures. They would learn to treat members of all species with due respect. Those who decide to pursue the career of a dietitian may seriously consider specializing in developing healthier diets for the Empress and her ilk.

Standing up to aunts who are not gentlemen would come easily to them. Rebutting the unpleasant endeavours of such bullies as Roderick Spode by ferreting out their Eulalie-kind secrets would help them in their lives. They shall develop a deeply spiritual outlook towards the harsh slings and arrow of fate.

Some of them would surely aspire to be like Jeeves, providing satisfaction to all and sundry with their keen intelligence. They would learn to use the psychology of the individual as a potent tool to achieve their goals in life. Overall, their Emotional Quotient ratings would jump manifold.

The art of sliding down pipes to avoid encounters of an unpleasant kind would be a great value-add to their skill sets. Refusing to be job seekers, they would use their romantic skills to assume key positions in premium dog biscuit manufacturing conglomerates, generating a multitude of employment opportunities. Motivated by the adventures of Sally, many others would create successful start-ups.

When they start experiencing the bliss of married life, Bingo Little would become a role model. Sacrificing a highly proficient cook merely to keep peace at home would make them practice the invaluable art of detachment, as espoused in the Bhagavad Gita. Ensuring that the spouse gets the daily ration of her afternoon tea would sustain matrimonial harmony. The art of bringing up kids and touching others for ten quids would get learnt the easy way. Divorce rates shall plummet. Happier and contented kids would eventually evolve into happier citizens of India.

From Ashe Marson, they would learn to do regular Larsen exercises at an early age. Even if they choose to write detective stories when they grow up, they would land lucrative assignments involving restoration of unmindfully pinched scarabs to their rightful owners. By hobnobbing with those who are less fortunate than them in their station in life, they would develop empathy and compassion, thereby becoming more humane in their approach to life and its myriad situations.

Thanks to Rupert Psmith, the art of managing and controlling bosses would come easy to them. They would make effective managers, and shall be in great demand in the employment market.

Making education enjoyable

Sir, you are undoubtedly aware that our students happen to be a worried and depressed lot these days. At a tender age, they are expected to lug around heavy bags slung on their slender shoulders. When at the secondary stage, the poor souls turn and twist in their beds, worrying about future career choices. Much before they acquire a degree of sorts, they start chewing their nails and twiddling their thumbs trying to figure out ways to support their families by making a decent living.

A dash of humour is what they desperately need. Loads of wisdom and practical advice is what they want. Values and a role model is what they seek. A sense of inner joy, peace and happiness is what they inwardly crave for.

All this, and much more, can be found in the Wodehouse canon. By introducing his works for study at all levels of education, India shall be setting a fine example for the rest of the world.

By ensuring ready availability of his works in libraries, book clubs and reading rooms across the entire country, we shall be enabling our youth to rediscover the value of subtle humour in their lives. Our Teacher Training Institutes can be tasked to expose those in the so-called noble profession to the works of P G Wodehouse. Our multilingual scholars can be persuaded to translate his works into other prominent languages used in India. Local fans of the author may be willing to spare some time to read his books to students at all levels.

By learning to appreciate the sunnier side of their lives, students would overcome their depression and be ready to face the future challenges with a chin-up attitude. Many of them would derive a vicarious pleasure in reading about the decadent British aristocracy, thereby forgetting their own deprivations in life.

A unique initiative with juicy spin offs

It is time that we, as a country, adopt what is good for our youth, rather than only blaming Lord Macaulay, who belongs to a distant past.

If you were to initiate this single change, your colleagues in many other ministries of the Government of India shall feel obliged as well as bucked up. The Home Minister would applaud you. The Health and Family Welfare Minister would praise you. The Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Minister would be in awe of you. The Social Justice and Empowerment Minister would look up to you. The Defence Minister would admire you. The Women and Child Development Minister would envy you. The possibilities and the spin offs are mind boggling.

Sir, this unique initiative is all yours to take. I, on behalf of Wodehouse fans the world over, hope you will not disappoint us.

With kind regards and a hearty pip pip!

An Indian suffering from acute Wodehousitis.

(Caricatures courtesy Kevin Cornell)

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Waitresses and bar maids get a place of prominence in many of the Plum’s narratives. Here is Mabel who is one of the many who captivate the heart of Bingo Little for a brief period of time.


Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Lyons_Corner_House_recreation,_Museum_of_London.JPG) Image adapted from original photograph by Kim Traynor

I confess I have a soft spot for the romantic Bingo Little. When we first meet him in The Inimitable Jeeves,  Bertie warns us about his habit of falling in love.

Ever since I have known him – and we were at school together – he has been perpetually falling in love with someone, generally in the spring, which seems to act on him like magic. At school he had the finest collection of actresses’ photographs of anyone of his time; and at Oxford his romantic nature was a byword.

The first of Bingo’s romances to be chronicled by Bertram Wooster involves a Mabel, a waitress in a tea-and-bun shop. Described by Bertie as ‘rather a pretty girl’, Mabel attracts the attention of both Bingo and Jeeves. At the end of the proceedings, she and Jeeves have ‘an understanding’.

We know very little…

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The romances of Bingo Little are legendary. Before he settles down with Rosie M Banks to nibble some lettuce, he is perpetually falling in and out of love with some of the finest specimens of the delicately nurtured.

Here is a delectable slice of one of his better known romances from the stable of Plumtopia.


‘The only one of the family I really know is the girl.’ I had hardly spoken these words when the most extraordinary change came over young Bingo’s face. His eyes bulged, his cheeks flushed, and his Adam’s apple hopped about like one of those india-rubber balls on the top of the fountain in a shooting gallery.

‘Oh, Bertie!’ he said, in a strangled sort of voice.

I looked at the poor fish anxiously. I knew that he was always falling in love with someone, but it didn’t seem possible that even he could have fallen in love with Honoria Glossop.

This is our introduction to Honoria Glossop, in Chapter Five of The Inimitable Jeeves, and our second encounter with young Bingo, who in Chapter Two was in love with a waitress named Mabel.

Bertie Wooster is astonished that Bingo could love Honoria (daughter of noted ‘nerve specialist’ Sir Roderick Glossop)…

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'The Thinker' : Rodin

‘The Thinker’ : Rodin

The Royal Academy of Goofy Technologies desires to hire the services of a Director Marketing who would assume the responsibility of aggressively marketing its unique range of technologies and products.

The Royal Academy of Goofy Technologies is an ISO-certified international academy of goofy schemes which are designed to resolve ticklish issues afflicting our society. It does so by promoting and propagating non-violent techniques of registering protests and wreaking vengeance upon those who profess views which are at odds with those of theirs. The Academy brings together the world’s leading scientists, engineers and technologists to advance and promote excellence in innovative methods designed to secure socially desirable results.

The First Fellows of the Academy include such illustrious figures as Roberta Wickham and Stephanie Byng. Researchers and innovators of all hues continue to be inspired by their inimitable schemes to pursue the lofty goals of the Academy.

Some examples of technologies developed and gadgets patented so far by illustrious fellows of the Academy include:

  1. Laser-guided Needles usable for puncturing hot water bottles. These guarantee deadly precision, with minimal risk of exposure to the fleshy parts of the target person at the receiving end.
  2. Infra-red Incinerators which allow one to burn offending scripts and memoirs at the push of a button. No smoke is emitted, thereby allowing complete secrecy even within confined spaces.
  3. Magnetic Props which are highly effective in pinching policemen helmets. Field tests have demonstrated a high rate of success even for novice clergymen who might be out to pinch such objects merely to please their current heart-throbs.
  4. Machines which automatically produce 3-D versions of butter slides. These are found very useful by step-sons who have been refused protection money by their would-be step-fathers.
  5. Adhesives of an advanced nature, which allow party of the one part to affix and remove with much ease fungus of any colour from the visage of the party of the other part.
  6. Software which develops and delivers juicy speeches of all kinds to large gatherings of giggling and staring school girls and boys, thereby simplifying life for all those who are left all of a twitter when invited to address the wards under the charge of such illustrious lion-tamers as Rev. Aubrey Upjohn and Miss Tomlinson.
  7. Advanced e-learning kits which enable enthusiasts to learn to play such musical instruments as banjeoles. By using blue-tooth technology, such kits enable one to practice without disturbing one’s neighbours.
  8. Artificial Intelligence enabled gentlemen of gentlemen, duly configured with a Jeeves Service Package. These are extremely popular as wedding gifts which the brides-to-be accept with much glee, enabling them to show the door to the real Jeeves in their would-be husbands’ lives in the post-nuptial phase.
  9. Silver Detectors which can be used by enterprising aunts to locate and steal cow creamers and such other collectibles from castles of rivals. Smart nephews who do not wish to lose the privilege of feasting on Anatole’s delectable spreads use such contraptions to keep their aunts in good humour.
  10. Calorie Counters specifically designed to monitor the feeding pattern of the Empress of Blandings. These enable her to keep winning the top slot at international level sow competitions.
  11. Advanced Algorithms capable of accurately forecasting the results of all kinds of speculative sports. Bingo Littles of the world are thus enabled to keep the dove of matrimonial bliss flapping above their humble abodes at minimal costs.
  12. Aniseed Perfumes specifically developed for those who specialize in stealing detective dogs from the enemy camp in a peaceful and non-violent manner.
  13. Electronic Stunners which can be used for inducing temporary disability amongst cops who might be chasing well-meaning persons out to serve the delicately nurtured members of the society.
  14. Digestive Capsules designed to eliminate any problems of the lining of the stomach amongst those who are routinely taken in by the pleasures of the table and do not believe in the efficacy of Larsen Exercises popularized by Ashe Marson.
  15. Anti-aunt Apps designed to block communications from obnoxious aunts when they refuse to be gentlemen.
  16. Spider Footwear which make it easy to slide down pipes to escape the fury of aunts who insist on having a word with their nephews who are in no mood to face the firing squad.

The Academy has several exciting projects on the drawing board which are set to revolutionize the ways in which any goofy scheme is planned and executed. These include Body Scanners which can enable a member of the delicately nurtured tribe to ascertain the Chivalry Quotient of a matrimonial aspirant; Mental Imagers which can check the Pumpkin Quotient of a person; Cat Detectors which bleep when a bunch of feline characters are in the vicinity; Powder of Milk of Human Kindness and the like.

Countries need no longer wage deadly wars against each other. Terrorists no longer need to use violent methods to achieve their political ends. Almost all the patents mentioned hereinabove can be used to achieve the same goals in a non-violent manner. Comrades owing their allegiance to Brigades of all hues can make the haves of the society simplify their wasteful style of living and instead start philanthropic endeavours to fulfill their social responsibilities.

Harassed husbands do not need to inflict violence upon any of the delicately nurtured to ensure peace and harmony at home. Loving spouses need no longer tutor such despicable kids as Thos, merely to recoup their losses incurred at the turf. Owners of prized sows can enjoy good sleep, free of worries concerned with the calorie intake of their prized possessions.

The Director-Marketing shall be assisted by a team of crack salesmen comprising eminently rogue characters of the stature of Thos, Seabury, Edwin and many others.

The Royal Academy of Goofy Technologies is an equal opportunity employer. Its compensation packages are based on the psychology of the individual and compare with the best in the industry.

Those interested may forward their resumes within a fortnight to directorHR@ragt.com.

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P G Wodehouse has etched out the kids in his works with much finesse.  When it comes to ranking these kids on a Richter scale of Roguishness, our task is not too difficult. If Edwin, Thos and Seabury secure the top ranks, kid Blumenfeld, Bonzo and Sebastian Moon occupy the middle order. Kid Clementina, Oswald and Peggy Mainwaring appear to be competing for the lower ranks.

We also get to meet kids who can only earn a negative rank on the Richter scale of Roguishness. Their conduct is as pure as driven snow.

Prudence Baxter does not herself outsmart the real winners at an Egg and Spoon race. It is Jeeves’ desire to help a Bingo in distress which helps her to claim the prize.

Bingo Junior wins a baby contest and is blissfully unaware of the extent to which his accomplishment boosts up the morale of his father. He is too young even to understand that he saves his Godfather, Oofy Prosser, from the prospect of getting married. A soul’s awakening, as it were.

Here is a recap of the antics of some of the kids we come across in Plumsville, broadly recounted in an increasing order of roguishness.


Algernon Aubrey Little and the Soul’s Awakening

Proving lucky for the father

Well, here is a son who proves lucky for his father, Bingo Little, when he happened to be the editor of Wee Tots, a journal for the nursery and the home. P P Purkiss, the miserly proprietor of this rag, was adept at shrugging off Bingo’s apologetic hints at giving him a raise. The tightness of money and the rising cost of pulp paper were brought up as and when the old miser was endeavoured to be touched for an increase in the pay packet.

A day dawned when the bouncing baby stood first in a baby contest. He wasPGW MatingSeason kissed by the wife of a Cabinet Minister and generally fawned upon by all and sundry. The next morning, the proud father, with a strange glow on his face, strode into the miser’s office without knocking, banged the desk and demanded an additional ten fish in his pay envelope starting the following Saturday itself. When P P Purkiss started to go into his act, Bingo Little banged the desk again and said he hadn’t come there to argue. ‘Yes or no, Purkiss!’ he said, and the old miser meekly consented to the proposal.

In The Mating Season, Bertie narrates this incident to Corky while trying to convince her of the soundness of the scheme to ensure that Esmond Haddock’s hunting song at the village concert is greeted with thunderous applause. This, he is sure, would give Esmond the courage to defy his five aunts, thereby gaining her respect, admiration and love.


Saving a Godfather from a saunter down the aisle

When Mrs Bingo Little is away to see her mother through while she undergoes some treatment at the Droitwich brine bath, Bingo Little loses his allowance on a Gargoyle which merely finishes in the first six. Oofy Prosser refuses to pitch in to make good a loss of ten quids. Since Bingo has intruded into one of his serious romances, he even expresses his desire to dance on the mangled remains of his corpse in hobnailed boots.

Another ten pound note arrives in the mail from Mrs Little. The money is to allow Bingo to open a bank account in the name of Junior. This also gets wiped off in a bet. Bingo then remembers that Oofy Prosser happens to be the Godfather of the child.

On a fateful morning, the son is left behind alone for some time with Oofy. His frightful company, coupled with his ‘homicidal fried egg’ visage, leaves Oofy convinced of the perils of matrimony. To show his gratitude, he consents to give Bingo Little fifty quids, thereby saving the latter an embarrassing ‘Oh, how could you?’ moment with his better half. (Sonny BoyEggs, Beans and Crupmets)

Prudence Baxter, the Egg and Spoon racer

Prudence Baxter is a small girl who is participating in the Egg and Spoon race at the local village school-treat at Twing. She is pretty excited about the rag-doll she has just won in the Lucky Dip and confides in Bertie her plans to name it Gertrude. (The Purity of the Turf: The Inimitable Jeeves)

Prudence turns out to be a good conversationalist but does not seem to havePGW Inimitable_jeeves the build for a winner. According to Jeeves, she is a long shot. Bingo, wounded to the very depth of his soul by the recently failed Cynthia affair, has thirty quids at ten to one riding on her.

The favourite of bookies instead happens to be a Sarah Mills. She has grace and a practised precision about it. Her egg does not even wobble. As widely predicted, she comes first, followed by Jane Parker, Bessie Clay, Rosie Jukes and, well, Prudence Baxter.

Thanks to Jeeves, the first four in the race forfeit their amateur status and get disqualified. The prize, a handsome work-bag, presented by Lord Wickhammersley, goes consequently to Prudence Baxter!


Kid Clementina and the art of celebrating a birthday AWOL

A cousin of Bobbie Wickham, kid Clementina is a quiet, saint-like child.  Bertie is charmed into treating her to dinner and a movie on her thirteenth birthday. Unlike other young women, who snigger and giggle when they are in Bertie’s company, she gazes at her benefactor in silent admiration. She is a sympathetic and attentive listener. Her hands are spotless. Her behavior throughout the evening is unexceptionable. At the conclusion of the proceedings, she even thanks Bertie with visible emotion.

Bobbie is of the opinion that at St Monica’s, Clementina is sourly misjudged.VeryGoodJeeves After all, what is the point in sending a decent kid like her off to bed in the afternoon itself, that too on her birthday, just for putting some sherbet in the ink to make it fizz?

It transpires that the kid is out of her school without leave, and Bertie now has the unenviable task of bunging her in without incurring the wrath of Miss Mapleton, the formidable headmistress who also happens to be a close chum of Aunt Agatha.

Thanks to the super-human intelligence of Jeeves, the mission gets accomplished in a smooth manner, with Bertie earning words of praise from Miss Mapleton, the lion tamer. After all, it is not every day that she comes across a modern young man who can single-handedly tackle burglars in the school garden with much vim and courage. (Jeeves and the Kid Clementina: Very Good, Jeeves)


Oswald and the Australian crawl

The brother of the formidable Honoria Glossop, Oswald happens to be one of those supercilious souls who give you the impression that you went to the wrong school and that your clothes do not quite fit.

Young Bingo finds it very difficult to love Oswald. The hapless guy, who happens to be passing through the Honoria-is-my-soul-mate phase of his life just then has no other option but to keep trying. After all, Honoria is devoted to the little brute. (The Hero’s Reward: The Inimitable Jeeves)

Bertie comes up with a scheme to enable Bingo to win over Honoria’s heart.1923 The Inimitable Jeeves mycopy He would shove Oswald into the lake. Bingo would save him.

At the appointed hour, the push from the stone bridge gets made. A kind of yelp emanates. A splash follows. However, Bingo is not where he is supposed to be. The outcome is that Bertie himself has to chuck off his coat and vault over, only to find upon surfacing that Oswald is already swimming ashore, using the Australian crawl. Honoria decides to marry Bertie, so as to be able to reform him.


Peggy Mainwaring and the art of unnerving lecturers

In Bertie changes his mind (Carry on, Jeeves), we meet Peggy Mainwaring. She is a red-haired young girl with a snub-nose and an extremely large grin. She is perhaps around twelve years of age.

Having enjoyed her half-holiday at Brighton putting pennies in the slotPGW CarryOnJeeves machine, the poor girl ends up getting a nail in her shoe. This delays her return to the boarding school. Faced with the prospect of incurring the wrath of Miss Tomlinson, the formidable headmistress built along the lines of Aunt Agatha, she is all of a twitter.

Bertie and Jeeves offer her a lift and a solution to her grim predicament. Back at school, Bertie is to present himself as an old friend of the young lady’s father. He is supposed to have taken Peggy out for a short drive.

The subterfuge works. Jeeves portrays Bertie as a celebrity of sorts and manages to persuade Miss Tomlinson to get him to address an assembly of girls.

Peggy’s father, Professor Mainwaring, might be an authority on matters philosophical, but the young woman is quite down to earth in her approach to life. She distributes Bertie’s cigarettes for her friends to relish in the shrubbery. Her views on unnerving guest lecturers are also very straight forward.

‘Oh, I say,’ she said, ‘will you give this to Mr Wooster when you see him?’

 She held out Mr Wooster’s cigarette-case.

‘He must have dropped it somewhere. I say,’ she proceeded, ‘it’s an awful lark. He’s going to give a lecture to the school.’

‘Indeed, miss?’

‘We love it when there are lectures. We sit and stare at the poor dears, and try to make them dry up. There was a man last term who got hiccoughs. Do you think Mr Wooster will get hiccoughs?’

‘We can but hope for the best, miss.’

‘It would be such a lark, wouldn’t it?’

‘Highly enjoyable, miss.’

‘Well, I must be getting back. I want to get a front seat.’

The experience of delivering a lecture to a vast group of giggling and staring young women leaves Bertie shaken and stirred. He drops his plans to get married. He gives up his desire of hearing the prattle of young feet around him.

Jeeves manages to avoid severing an association so very pleasant in every respect.

(To be continued)

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In the post-matrimony phase, we find Bingo Little to be a devoted husband. Maintaining matrimonial peace and harmony is the sole purpose of his life. When it comes to keeping his lady-love happy and contented, there is little that he leaves to chance.

If a childhood friend has to be persuaded to soften up an uncle, he does it. If having the same friend being held to be a VeryGoodJeeveslooney helps him to make the dove of peace flap its sonorous wings over his abode, he does not hesitate.

If a cook of the stature of Anatole has to be sacrificed to ensure that his social reputation does not nosedive, so be it.

In Jeeves and the Impending Doom (Very Good, Jeeves), we find him struggling hard to earn his subsistence by tutoring a despicable kid like Thos. He has to ensure that he is not discovered to be a pal of Bertie. He has to also ensure that the kid’s misdemeanours do not get reported to his mother.

Bingo shares his predicament

When Bertie runs into Bingo at Woollam Chersey, he is exhorted to behave like a perfect stranger.

The letter ‘was to tell you that I was down here tutoring your Cousin Thomas, and that it was essential that, when we met, you should treat me as a perfect stranger.’

‘But why?’

Bingo raised his eyebrows.

‘Why? Be reasonable, Bertie. If you were your aunt, and you knew the sort of chap you were, would you let a fellow you knew to be your best pal tutor your son?’

Eventually, the mystery unfolds thus.

‘I will also now reveal why I am staying in this pest-house, tutoring a kid who requires not education in the Greek and Latin languages but a swift slosh on the base of the skull with a black-jack. I came here, Bertie, because it was the only thing I could do. At the last moment before she sailed to America, Rosie decided that I had better stay behind and look after the Peke. She left me a couple of hundred quid to see me through till her return. This sum, judiciously expended over the period of her absence, would have been enough to keep Peke and self in moderate affluence. But you know how it is.’

Odd women and an angry swan

What poor Bingo regarded as a cautious and conservative investment camecupid unstuck. The horse in question came in last, making him blow up the entire allowance in a single go. He has had to find the means of keeping his body and soul together till Rosie’s return, so she does not discover what has occurred.

‘Rosie is the dearest girl in the world; but if you were a married man, Bertie, you would be aware that the best of wives are apt to cut up rough if she finds that her husband has dropped six weeks’ housekeeping money on a single race. Isn’t that so, Jeeves?’

‘Yes, sir. Women are odd in that respect.’

Eventually, Mr Filmer, the Cabinet Minister, faces retribution for having reported Thos smoking in the shrubbery. On a rainy day, he is made to get stranded on an island, facing a swan which has taken serious offence at its family having been disturbed.

Even after he has been rescued, Mr Filmer keeps wondering if Thos was the one who had set his boat adrift. Jeeves manages to shift the burden of this misdemeanour on to Bertie. This saves Bertie from being considered for the position of Mr Filmer’s private secretary, an unagreeable prospect. However, he has to slide down a pipe to avoid an unpleasant confrontation with Aunt Agatha.

Little Bingo ends up retaining his tutoring assignment, thereby securing matrimonial peace. To him, sacrificing a bosom pal’s social reputation for the sake of having peace at home is a worthy trade-off in life.

A rare beauty in Bertie’s nature

Some of us could wonder as to why Bertie keeps helping Little Bingo from time1923 The Inimitable Jeeves mycopy to time. All of us know that he is an ardent follower of The Code of the Woosters. The extent to which he goes out of his way to help his pals, sublimating his own ego, is truly amazing. This is a point which he himself attempts to clarify in yet another narrative, entitled Comrade Bingo (The Inimitable Jeeves):

‘I don’t know why, ever since I first knew him at school, I should have felt a rummy feeling of responsibility for young Bingo. I mean to say, he’s not my son (thank goodness) or my brother or anything like that. He’s got absolutely no claim on me at all, and yet a large-sized chunk of my existence seems to be spent in fussing over him like a bally old hen and hauling him out of the soup. I suppose it must be some rare beauty in my nature or something.’

Friends like Bertie Wooster certainly make our lives sweeter and simpler!

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When it comes to attaining a state of matrimonial bliss, hapless husbands have to resort to tactics of all kinds. TheirVeryGoodJeeves misdemeanours should not come to the notice of the better half. The satiation of their gastric juices has to be accorded a lower priority. The social reputation of their bosom pals has to be sacrificed at the altar of marital peace.

‘Jeeves and the Old School Chum’ (Very Good, Jeeves) is a short story where Bingo Little’s food habits come in for harsh criticism at the hands of Laura Pyke, an old school mate of Rosie M. Banks. Bertie fears that continuous feedback of this nature could result into marital relations between the couple turning sour. However, a missed lunch basket, and a sorely missed afternoon cup of tea, lead to a bitter argument between the school chums. Laura Pyke walks out of their lives. Matrimonial peace continues to reign.

This is how the narrative unfolds.

When two hearts beat like one

‘Oh, sweetie-lambkin, isn’t that lovely?’


‘Laura Pyke wants to come here.’


‘You must have heard me speak of Laura Pyke. She was my dearest friend at school. I simply worshipped her. She always had such a wonderful mind. She wants us to put her up for a week or two.’

‘Right-ho. Bung her in.’

‘You’re sure you don’t mind?’

‘Of course not. Any pal of yours…’

‘Darling!’ said Mrs Bingo, blowing him a kiss.

‘Angel!’ said Bingo, going on with the sausages.

All very charming, in fact. Pleasant domestic scene, I mean. Cheery give-and-take in the home and all that. I said as much to Jeeves as we drove off.

‘In these days of unrest, Jeeves,’ I said, ‘with wives yearning to fulfill themselves and husbands slipping round the corner to do what they shouldn’t, and the home, generally speaking, in the melting pot, as it were, it is nice to find a thoroughly united couple.’

‘Decidedly agreeable, sir.’

‘I allude to the Bingos – Mr and Mrs.’

‘Exactly, sir.’

‘What was it the poet said of couples like the Bingeese?’

‘“Two minds but with a single thought, two hearts that beat as one”, sir.’

‘A dashed good description, Jeeves.’

‘It has, I believe, given uniform satisfaction, sir.’

An innate tendency to reform husbands

Rosie is absolutely potty about Laura Pyke who holds strict views on what should be eaten and how. The cuisine of the house gets shot to pieces. Cocktails get banned, because they corrode the stomach tissues.

‘Are wives often like that? Welcoming criticism of the lord and master, I mean?’

‘They are generally open to suggestion from the outside public with regard to the improvement of their husbands, sir.’

Bertie is worried for his pal, who is under relentless criticism for his dietary habits. Bingo is being projected to his wife as a sort of human boa-constrictor. Under such circumstances, love could wither.

‘You see, what makes matters worse is that Mrs Bingo is romantic. Women like her, who consider the day ill spent if they have not churned out five thousand words of superfatted fiction, are apt even at the best of times to yearn a trifle. The ink gets into their heads. I mean to say, I shouldn’t wonder if right from the start Mrs Bingo hasn’t had a sort of sneaking regret that Bingo isn’t one of those strong, curt, Empire-building kind of Englishmen she puts into her books, with sad, unfathomable eyes, lean sensitive hands, and riding boots. You see what I mean?’

‘Precisely, sir. You imply that Miss Pyke’s criticisms will have been instrumental in moving the hitherto unformulated dissatisfaction from the subconscious to the conscious mind.’

‘Once again, Jeeves?’ I said, trying to grab it as it came off the bat, but missing it by several yards.

The perils of a missed cup of afternoon tea

At the Lakenham races, Jeeves connives to miss the carefully piled up lunch basket. Bertie is of the opinion that Bertie imagemissing the afternoon tea could instead provide the requisite ammunition.

‘I fear you have not studied the sex as I have. Missing her lunch means little or nothing to the female of the species. The feminine attitude towards lunch is notoriously airy and casual. Where you have made your bloomer is in confusing lunch with tea. Hell, it is well-known, has no fury like a woman who wants her tea and can’t get it. At such times the most amiable of the sex become mere bombs which a spark may ignite.’

Jeeves manages to drain out petrol from one of the cars. The result is that both the school chums get stuck in a deserted spot, with only a small house visible in the distance.

Fissures soon appear in their relationship, and a fight ensues. Laura Pyke decides to part company, whereupon Bingo blackmails the baby-sitting house occupant into offering some tea to Rosie.

Romance is back on its throne

‘Well, you jolly well aren’t going to,’ said young Bingo. ‘Unless you go straight to the kitchen, put the kettle on, and start slicing bread for the buttered toast, I’ll yell and wake the baby.’

The Bandit turned ashen.

‘You wouldn’t do that?’

‘I would.’

‘Have you no heart?’


‘No human feeling?’


The Bandit turned to Mrs Bingo. You could see his spirit was broken.

‘Do your shoes squeak?’ he asked humbly.


‘Then come on in.’

Thank you,’ said Mrs Bingo.

She turned for an instant to Bingo, and there was a look in her eyes that one of those damsels in distress might have given the knight as he shot his cuffs and turned away from the dead dragon. It was a look of adoration, of almost reverent respect. Just the sort of look, in fact, that a husband likes to see.

‘Darling!’ she said.

‘Darling!’ said Bingo.

‘Angel!’ said Mrs Bingo.

‘Precious!’ said Bingo.

In place of a tankard of ale, hot Scotch-and-water is planned to be served at home that evening. Unalloyed marital bliss prevails.

To sum up, when it comes to ensuring peace at home, Bingo does not believe in flexing his muscles. He does not assert himself. Instead, he makes great sacrifices. He makes full use of Bertie’s milk of human kindness. He requisitions the services of Jeeves, the stout fellow who is full of fat-soluble vitamins.

Perhaps all husbands, whether permanent members of the Self-harassed Husbands’ Association or otherwise, have a chivalrous Bingo Little squirming within themselves. What they lack is a bosom pal like Bertie and a marvel like Jeeves to help them out in times of marital friction.

A Bertie-Jeeves Heart Reuniting Service?

When it comes to bringing soul mates together, Bertie and Jeeves have an impeccable record. The Mating Season PGW HughLaurie-BertieWoosteritself is a clear demonstration of their prowess in uniting as many as half a dozen pairs of hearts. Trials and tribulations of Bingo Little establish their credentials for married couples as well.

You might tend to agree that if ever they decide to start a Heart Reuniting Service specializing in bringing and keeping sundered hearts together, society would stand to gain. Wedding planners, caterers and trousseau marketers would continue to prosper. Divorce rates would plummet. Judges assigned to family courts would breathe easy. Children would be happier.

Perhaps the only ones to complain would be the lawyers specializing in divorce and settlement cases; they might be found crying all the way to their respective banks.

Bingo Little’s Tips Summarized

1. Reputation of devoted friends is a small price to pay for the dove of peace and harmony continuing to flap its sonorous wings over your abode.

2.  Protect your social reputation with mercenary zeal. Be prepared to make supreme sacrifices, as and when necessary. A spirit of renunciation helps.

3.  When the spouse plans to go to the press with some intimate details, take prompt steps through proper channels and nip all such endeavours in the bud.

4.  Do not blow up six-week’s sustenance allowance on a race horse with unproven credentials.

5.  If the sporting spirit to make speculative gains is too strong, ensure that the allowance for the same is suitably camouflaged and covered in the regular sustenance allowance.

6. Discourage the better half’s school chums from coming over. If unavoidable, subject their dietary preferences to a pitiless analysis. At the earliest possible opportunity, facilitate a rift between the centre of your universe and her school chum.

7. Ensure that she gets her favourite tissue restorative at the appointed hour. Behave like a knight in shining armour when dealing with baby-sitting bandits who stand in her way.

Do this (and much more) and the dove of peace shall continue to flap its wings over your abode!

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In ensuring a state of peace and harmony at home, Bingo demonstrates himself to be a man of chilled steel. In order to be able to protect his social prestige, he even agrees to dispense with the services of God’s gift to our gastric juices – Anatole. For a foodie like him, who, upon noticing a glorious sunset, would be apt to say that it reminded him of a slice of roast beef, cooked just right, this is indeed an instance of supreme sacrifice.

The perils of marrying an author

In ‘Clustering Round Young Bingo’ (Carry On, Jeeves), Rosie M. Banks gets commissioned by Aunt Dahlia to PGW CarryOnJeeveswrite an article for Milady’s Boudoir. Bingo is understandably all of a twitter, because the article, entitled “How I Keep the Love of My Husband-Baby”, has some juicy comments concerning him. If made public, Bingo’s reputation would surely go for a toss.

This is how he shares his predicament with Bertie.

‘…..you have about as much imagination as a warthog, but surely even you can picture to yourself what Jimmy Bowles and Tuppy Rogers, to name only two, will say when they see me referred to in print as “half god, half prattling, mischievous child”?’

‘She doesn’t say that?’ I gasped.

‘She certainly does. And when I tell you that I selected that particular quotation because it’s about the only one I can stand hearing spoken, you will realize what I’m up against.’

Much to the credit of the housewife in Mrs Bingo, she has managed to dig up a Frenchman of the most extraordinary vim and skill. Since this amazing cook, popularly known to all of us as Anatole, has arrived at their home, Old Bingo is said to have picked up at least ten pounds in weight.

However, where she makes her bloomer is in inviting Uncle Tom and Aunt Dahlia over for dinner. A combination of consommé pate d’Italie, paupiettes de sole a la princesse and caneton Aylesbury a la broche ends up reviving Uncle Tom like a watered flower.

A rudimentary sense of morality

Jeeves is commissioned by Aunt Dahlia to somehow persuade Anatole to join her. Bingo is aghast to hear this.

‘What! Is that – that buzzard trying to pinch our cook?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘After eating our bread and salt, dammit?’

‘I fear, sir,’ sighed Jeeves, ‘that when it comes to a matter of cooks, ladies have but a rudimentary sense of morality.’

Jeeves manages to pull off this feat. A breach of cordial relations between the two ladies ensues. Mrs Little declines to contribute the ghastly article for Aunt Dahlia’s rag. Matrimonial peace prevails.

Jeeves even manages to get Mrs Little a proficient housemaid. He also persuades Bertie to be away from the scene of action, since the latter fails in pinching the cylinder of the recording machine containing the article from Bingo’s house. Bertie proceeds to spend some time with Uncle George who is desperate to have some company while at Harrogate.

To go into sordid figures, a gratified Old Bingo Little gifts twenty pounds to Jeeves. Aunt Dahlia, at twenty-five pounds, turns out to be the most generous. Mrs Little pitches in with ten pounds for finding her a satisfactory housemaid. Uncle Thomas matches the generosity of Aunt Dahlia. Uncle George hands over a cheque of ten pounds. When told about the appreciable increase in his savings, even Bertie hands over a fiver to Jeeves!

A deep sense of renunciation

The risk in marrying an author is that one has to be ceaselessly vigilant about the kind of ripe or unripe stuff the spouse is being expected to churn out. In case intimate and unsavoury details are likely to get publicized, prompt steps have to be taken through proper channels to nip the same in the bud. Great sacrifices are called for. Nerves of chilled steel need to be developed.

When there is a choice to be made between public disgrace of some kind and God’s gifts to one’s gastric juices, the latter have to be given up with a feeling of utmost detachment. Willingly parting company with someone of the stature of Anatole is a supreme sacrifice which deserves to be heartily applauded.

Matrimonial peace does not come cheap; often, one has to cultivate a deep sense of renunciation. Old Bingo’s married life is a shining example of this kind. Not for him a confrontation with the better half. Not for him a cold disapproving look at the love of one’s life. No lodging a protest. No wavering in the deep appreciation of the qualities of a soul mate. Sheer resignation to fate. A meek surrender to the superior intelligence of Jeeves. A spirit of renunciation.

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Present tense, future perfect

Many of us, the residents of Plumsville, are familiar with eligible bachelors and spinsters who dot its magnificent landscape. Their attempts at attracting each other, as well as their romantic rifts, keep us glued to many a narrative. Incurable optimists that we are, we believe that once they have tied the knot, they would live happily ever after. Their present may be tense, but their future would surely be perfect.

But life has this innate tendency to keep them baffled. The harsh slings and arrows of Fate continue to torment them with equal ferocity even after they have sauntered down the aisle with their soul mates and we, the gullible readers, have mistakenly decided to breathe easy.

To PG Wodehouse’s credit, he etches out the struggles of married couples with as much aplomb as he does those of bachelors and spinsters in his narratives.

The curious case of Bingo Little: Pre-nuptials

Take the case of Bingo Little. We know that he is a diehard romantic, perennially in love with some dashing female or Wodehouse charactersthe other. Even when at school, he is reported to have had the finest collection of actresses’ photographs; at Oxford, his romantic nature was a byword. He is inclined to fall in love at first sight on a regular basis and become highly emotional about his affections.

Residents of Plumsville are aware that objects of his affection have included a waitress named Mabel; Honoria Glossop, the formidable daughter of Pop Glossop; Daphne Braythwayt, a friend of Honoria; Charlotte Corday Rowbotham, a revolutionary; Lady Cynthia Wickhammersley, a family friend of Bertie’s; and Mary Burgess, niece of the Rev. Francis Heppenstall. After each failed affair, Bingo does not necessarily sulk. The scales fall from his eyes, and he suddenly realizes that the next girl alone is his true soul mate.

After many failed affairs, Bingo ends up marrying the romance novelist Rosie M. Banks, an author whose outlook on life happens to match well with that of his.

The not-so-curious case of Bingo Little: Post-nuptials

However, in the post-matrimony phase, we find a Bingo Little who is completely transformed. He is singularly devoted to his wife. Maintaining matrimonial peace and harmony is the sole purpose of his life. When it comes to keeping his lady-love happy and contented, there is little that he leaves to chance.

If a childhood friend has to be persuaded to soften up an uncle, he does it. If having the same friend being held to be a looney helps him to make the dove of peace flap its sonorous wings over his abode, he does not hesitate.

If a cook of the stature of Anatole has to be sacrificed to ensure that his social reputation does not nosedive, so be it.

If the pocket allowance granted by the better half gets blown away on a racing misadventure, he starts supplementing his income by tutoring a despicable kid like Thos. His idea is that the lapse on his part should not come to the notice of the better half.

If the afternoon cup of tea held in high esteem by the better-half has to be delayed so as to drive a nutrition freak out of the couple’s life and burnish up his own image in the eyes of his lady-love, he does not twiddle his thumbs.

In this series of posts, we try to learn from Bingo Little the art of surviving and doing well in a matrimonial relationship.

A king in Babylon meets a Christian slave

We get introduced to the future Mrs Little in the short story ‘Bingo and the Little Woman’ (The InimitablePGW Inimitable_jeeves Jeeves). She pops up as a waitress at the Senior Liberal, where the youngest member is about eighty-seven. Bertie portrays her as a tallish girl with sort of soft, soulful brown eyes. She has a nice figure and rather decent hands. She raises the standard of the place quite a bit. Predictably, she casts a spell on Bingo.

Jeeves is sounded out.

‘Is Mr Little in trouble, sir?’

‘Well, you might call it that. He’s in love. For about the fifty-third time. I ask you, Jeeves, as man to man, did you ever see such a chap?’

‘Mr Little is certainly warm-hearted, sir.’

‘Warm-hearted! I should think he has to wear asbestos vests.’

Within a span of ten days, Bingo announces that he has been successful in his latest endeavour.

‘Good Lord! That is quick work. You haven’t known her for two weeks.’

‘Not in this life, no,’ said young Bingo. ‘But she has a sort of idea that we must have met in some previous existence. She thinks I must have been a king in Babylon when she was a Christian slave. I can’t say I remember it myself, but there may be something in it.’

Gift of a literary kind softens up Uncle Bittlesham, who agrees not to pit himself against the decrees of Fate and approves of the marriage. Bingo’s allowance continues to flow in every quarter.

The Code of the Woosters

A complication arises in the shape of Bertie himself, who never shies away from helping a pal in distress. Earlier on, he had been introduced to old Bittlesham as an author using a pseudonym – Rosie M. Banks. Mrs Little, upon meeting the old boy, stakes her claim to the name and proves her case. Before she has a chance of accosting Bertie seeking an explanation, Jeeves advises his master to scoot off to Norfolk, honouring a shooting invitation.

By the time Bertie is back, peace prevails. Uncle and the little woman have become great pals, discussing literature and other things. Bingo has no hesitation in telling Bertie that his uncle is convinced that he is a looney.

‘He – what!’

‘Yes. That was Jeeves’ idea, you know. It’s solved the whole problem splendidly. He suggested that I should tell my uncle that I had acted in perfectly good faith in introducing you to him as Rosie M. Banks; that I had repeatedly had it from your own lips that you were, and that I didn’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be. The idea being that you were subject to hallucinations and generally potty. And then we got hold of Sir Roderick Glossop – you remember, the old boy whose kid you pushed into the lake that day down at Ditteredge Hall – and he rallied round with his story of how he had come to lunch with you and found your bedroom full up with cats and fish, and how you had pinched his hat while you were driving past his car in a taxi, and all that, you know. It just rounded the whole thing off nicely. I always say, and I always shall say, that you’ve only got to stand on Jeeves, and fate can’t touch you.’

In ensuring a state of peace and harmony at home, Bingo demonstrates himself to be a man of chilled steel. Quoting their togetherness at school and college, he continues to persuade Bertie to smoothen things out between himself and his uncle. But when the situation warrants his establishing Bertie’s credentials as a looney, he does not hesitate. In managing uncles and in unraveling his own goofy scheme, projecting Bertie as Rosie M. Banks, he proves himself to be a ruthless husband.

The members of the so-called sterner sex who happen to be permanent members of the Self-harassed Husbands’ Association can perhaps learn a lot from Bingo Little’s example.

(Illustrations courtesy www)

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