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Posts Tagged ‘Jeeves’

The Honourable Secretary-General,

The United Nations,

New York City,

New York,

USA.

Respected Sir,

You may recall our brief interaction at the recent launch event of the International League of Happiness. You were then kind enough to spare a few moments of your precious time, graciously appreciating my talk there on preventing the misuse of Artificial Intelligence, just after releasing the Blandings Declaration of Happiness as a part of the proceedings.

As a concerned citizen of this planet of ours, allow me to offer my humble services for the cause of promoting international cooperation and maintaining international order.

Yours truly has an impeccable record in delivering satisfaction to all the employers one has been fortunate enough to assist so far in a long and spotless career. The aspiration hereafter is to offer my unique problem solving abilities for the benefit of all the denizens of this planet.

Permit me, sir, to present my credentials in brief:

Jeeves, Reginald, only son of the late Basil Jeeves, M. A., B. Ph., Oxford and London, and late Daisy Wiggins;

Family: Unmarried, no encumbrances;

Education: Privately;

Career graph:

Have been in service to the following:

  • Esmond Haddock, Deverill Hall, King’s Deverill;
  • Dame Daphne Winkworth, Picklerod Academy for Young Ladies;
  • Percival Craye, 3rd Earl of Worplesdon, Worpley Maltravers;
  • The Hon. Digby Thistleton, 1st Baron Bridgeworth, Mayfair;
  • Nigel Strickland Davenant Rokely Fox-Medlicott, 5th Baron Brancaster Tittleridge;
  • Lord Frederick Ranelagh, Monte Carlo;
  • Montegue Todd;
  • Bertram Wilberforce Wooster (later 8th Earl of Yaxley), Mayfair (later Wooster Castle);
  • William Egerton Bamfylde Ossingham Belfry, 9th Earl of Rowcester, Rowcester Abbey.

Present occupation: Landlord, Angler’s Rest.

Specially appreciated for: Problem solving based on the psychology of the individuals concerned (even if it amounts to breaking a few eggs to make an omelet), Whipping up concoctions which could lift the sagging spirits of my lords and masters, Facilitating the creation of a positive image of even those who might otherwise be considered mentally negligible, Enabling harmony between disharmonious members of any group, Quick grasp of tricky situations and providing satisfaction to all stakeholders, Communication, Literary and scientific knowledge, Game Theory, Estate management and Sartorial matters.

Career objective:

  • To deliver satisfaction to the needy in all parts of the world; to utilize my unique skills in assisting you in the mighty task of promoting international cooperation and maintaining international order;
  • Open to being adviser to a head of state, preferably that of either a developed country or an emerging economy, on matters of international relations, sartorial protocol, management of coalition partners and parliamentary affairs.

General information:

Appeared in two films, Little Lord Fauntleroy and The Vampire of Vitriola, (Perfecto Zizzbaum);

Life member Junior Ganymede Club;

Honorary Deputy Secretary General, International League of Happiness;

Address: Angler’s Rest, Market Blandings, Wooster Estate, UK.

Testimonials and References:

Shall be happy to provide the same, as and when directed to do so.

To the best of my knowledge and belief, the esteemed organization under your wings faces mighty challenges in our turbulent times: Nuclear perils, terrorism, conflict resolution, continued violation of humanitarian laws, climate change, rise of protectionism, unemployment, income and wealth disparities, cyberspace warfare, and the like.

My humble skills have so far got utilized only by the rich and the lazy. Going ahead, it shall be my endeavour to assist someone of your stature in resolving problems which afflict humanity in general.

My advance gratitude for your kind attention and time,

Yours faithfully,

Reginald Jeeves

(Note: Personal and career details of Jeeves courtesy  Jeeves: A Gentleman’s Personal Gentleman’ (ISBN 0-312-44144-4), a book by C. Northcote Parkinson.)

(Related Posts: 

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/12/13/a-brand-called-jeeves

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/10/12/an-invitation-from-the-international-league-of-happiness)

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PGWodehouse

ashokbhatia

All diehard fans of P G Wodehouse are well aware that when Jeeves takes charge, things begin to happen. When PGW HughLaurie-BertieWoostermatters spin out of control and Bertie is twiddling his thumbs trying to figure out how to handle the harsh slings and arrows of life, Jeeves invariably comes to his rescue. With his eyes gleaming with intelligence and the head bulging out at the back, Jeeves is there to provide solace to his master. All others who repose their trust in his superior problem-solving abilities merely need to leave matters in his deft hands and positive results start showing up. More often than not, anyone who comes to depend upon him is concerned if he is eating enough fish those days. And no one really minds being a mere pawn in his hands because he delivers solid results.

How does Jeeves really pull it off? Here are some of the…

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The brand called Jeeves stands for impeccable service. It signifies delivery of results which exceed one’s expectations, that too with due respect, politeness and sagacity. The methods may be rough at times, but the neat results obtained do provide satisfaction to all concerned.

On the flip side, the brand also represents cunning. An undercurrent of subterfuge often manifests itself. An excessive control over the affairs of the hapless and mentally negligible masters is a cost to be borne to avail of the service package on offer.

Residents of Plumsville often wonder as to how Jeeves, the well-known gentleman’s personal gentleman, acquired the traits that eventually made him an indispensable asset to the upper crust of English society – the art of shimmering in and out, the detailed knowledge of Debrett’s British Peerage, the knack of solving some tricky problems facing his blue-blooded masters or his pals, and, of course, a deep understanding of the psychology of the individual.

C. Northcote Parkinson, the proponent of the famous law so very well known in management and bureaucratic circles, in his inimitable whodunit entitled Jeeves: A Gentleman’s Personal Gentleman’ (ISBN 0-312-44144-4), unravels the kind of life Reginald Jeeves led, much before we get introduced to him in the memoirs of Bertie Wooster. For good measure, he also captures for us his life in the later years.

The making of the brand Jeeves

A rolling stone gathers no moss, the wise men have said. Jeeves, with his keen intelligence and a bulky head bulging at the back, uses each of his career pit stops to acquire diverse skills. Failures do not deter him. Instead, he uses these to learn and assimilate his knowledge, to be used for any future employer who might end up needing it.

Jeeves has learnt to beware of aunts. He has learnt to move silently, hear everything and say nothing. As a page boy in an academy for young ladies, he has learnt that all girls are to be avoided as much as possible and that those with red hair are especially dangerous. He has learnt that the ideal employer must always be, and should always remain, a bachelor. He has understood the nuances of flat racing. He has realized that a gentleman’s gentleman leads a more interesting life than that of a butler. He has discovered his talent in playing bridge and poker.

The repertoire of his skill sets is vast indeed. Regrettably, the narrative is completely silent on the kind of fish Jeeves is said to be fond of.

What makes Jeeves happy?

Intense introspection has led him to conclude that his inner happiness lies in resolving a tricky situation in such a manner as to merit a hearty round of applause from all concerned. The final scene has to belong to him. While all others are bewildered and confused, he would like to walk in, offering a neat solution to the problem at hand. He must be imperturbable, dignified and conclusively right. The solution may be such as to not only solve the main problem at hand, but also tie up a couple of other loose ends as well, thereby winning a warm approval from a wider cast of actors in the play. At this stage, the curtains may fall.

His keenest pleasure is in solving problems for people whose ability fell short of his.

Looking for an ideal employer

During the course of his long career, Jeeves has found that his preference is for prosperous and reasonably but not fanatically honest men. His employer must always be a gentleman, without a passion for horses, dogs, goldfish and parrots.

Pragmatic to the core, Jeeves does not boast of exceptionally high moral principles. Instead, he places a higher premium on social standards, excellence in sartorial tastes and polite behaviour.

Glisteroll in hair he does not approve of. Dazzlo toothpaste he scoffs at. Use of Seductor after shave lotion he does not recommend. Such are his exquisite tastes.

Bunter, the man of Lord Peter Wimsey, the detective, advises Jeeves to never work for a very clever gentleman like his own employer. After all, of what use is to work for someone whom one can never hope to deceive, someone who sees through every excuse and knows every trick? One has one’s own private life to lead. One should therefore find an employer who need not be mentally handicapped but should certainly be far from clever.

By seeking an employer who is stupid – good-natured, popular, but utterly brainless – he has the great possibility of making him dependent on himself. In his career, he aspires to be a Holmes to a Dr. Watson.

According to the narrative at hand, Jeeves goes out of his way to ferret out an employer who matches his expectations. Diving deep into the exhaustive journal maintained at the Junior Ganymede Club, he comes across one Bertram Wilberforce Wooster.

For Jeeves to identify his manservant Meadows and file a complaint against him for misappropriating his employer’s socks is the work of a moment. Meadows gets the sack and a vacancy gets created.

Two days later, Jeeves calls at 6A, Crighton Mansions, Berkeley Street, W1, only to find that there is indeed a vacancy for a gentleman’s personal gentleman.

The rest, as we all know, is history.

From valeting to buttling

Bertie taking a fancy to playing the banjolele marks the beginning of a phase where he and Jeeves start drifting apart.

Whereas a butler becomes the key figure in an established household, he does miss his days of roving the world as a bachelor’s personal attendant. ‘In becoming a valet the former valet admits to himself that middle age has arrived. He is about to settle down and put on weight.’

Jeeves accepts a position with the fifth baron Chuffnell, who is struggling to maintain Chuffnell Hall with his limited means. Once the baron decides to settle down with Pauline Stoker, Jeeves moves back to Bertie, when assured that the banjolele had been burnt in a fire at the cottage.

But this turns out to be a short reunion. Soon, the master decides to go off to learning the art of mending socks and Jeeves takes up the role of a butler to William Egerton Bamfylde Ossingham Belfry, 9th Earl of Rowcester, who is struggling to stay afloat at Rowcester Abbey, a picturesque ruin subject to regular flooding. Having assisted him in resolving his problems, Jeeves tactfully gives notice.

Jeeves yearns for permanence

Followers of Plum’s narratives would recall Jeeves returning to Bertie in the role of a valet thereafter. But Parkinson would have us believe that Jeeves has by then realized that to achieve stability and permanence in life, he has to settle down in the role of a butler, but not with some impoverished nobleman. A background of solid wealth is necessary. Eventually, he decides to return to Lord Worplesdon, who is now married to the wealthy Mrs. Gregson, Bertie Wooster’s formidable Aunt Agatha.

For many years, Aunt Agatha has avoided an inner urge to ask her middle-aged nephew to walk down the aisle. Results of her last attempt to do so, when a seemingly innocent girl at Cannes had turned out to be a gangster’s moll, had proven to be highly embarrassing. This time round, however, her attention is focused on Valerie Pendlebury-Davenport. Unbeknown to her, Jeeves intervenes and saves Bertie from losing his bachelor status.

Working with Aunt Agatha needs nerves of chilled steel, something which could be trying even for someone like Jeeves. Moreover, he now goes about polishing the silver with a dwindling enthusiasm and a growing dislike of the Countess, whose dislike for him is fully reciprocated.

Eventually, he puts in his papers and starts wondering as to how to use his many talents in some other field.

Support from a dashing Bertie Wooster

Meanwhile, with the death of Sir George Wooster, the Earl of Yaxley, Bertie Wooster has inherited the family estate, Wooster Castle, which also comprises Angler’s Rest. Countess Maud Wilberforce plans to return to her previous home in East Dulwich.

 

Armed with a title and property, Bertie enjoys a higher degree of self-confidence. He is now a justice of the peace and can no longer afford to pinch policemen’s helmets. No longer can he be considered as one being mentally negligible.

He decides to take a walk down the aisle with one of the most famous, though dreaded, characters from the tribe of the delicately nurtured, overcoming serious objections from her mother. One would not like to play a spoil sport here and reveal the identity of the new Countess, though.

Bertie also offers Jeeves the position of a landlord at Angler’s Rest. If one were to visit it these days, one can be sure of being told by him one of the several Hollywood stories concerning the two movies he had appeared in: Little Lord Fauntleroy and The Vampire of Vitriola, both produced by Perfecto Zizzbaum. Alas, Mr Mulliner has faded slowly into the cold and darkness of the night.

Brand Jeeves: Managing bosses

The character of Jeeves has a distinctive aura of its own. It teaches us the art of managing bosses. Significantly, it also teaches us how to manage our own selves better.

A brand stands for reliability and credibility. It signifies professional excellence. It delivers satisfaction to those it serves. Jeeves qualifies to be labeled as a brand on all these fronts.

The narrative dished out by C. Northcote Parkinson reaffirms the following to be the key factors behind his success in his chosen profession:

  1. Clarity as to what he loves doing in life, and a relentless endeavour to steer his career in that direction.
  2. Using his intelligence to introspect and understand the profile of an ideal employer to suit his temperament; taking adequate steps through proper channels to zero in on such employers from time to time.
  3. A keen sense of observation which helps him to anticipate the needs of his blue-blooded employers; ensuring continued dependence of his employers on him.
  4. Being a respectful and dignified listener, speaking only when necessary.
  5. Excellent learning ability; seeking advice from those in the know of things and following the same when it matches with his own values.
  6. Leading people by appearing to be a devout follower.
  7. Cultivating a boss who would take care of one in one’s sunset years.

Managers of all hues, sizes and shapes could learn much from the brand called Jeeves. An ability to introspect and strategize. Understanding one’s own strengths and weaknesses. Making the best use of opportunities that come our way. Using our inner resources to neutralize the threats we come across. Meeting the boss, dim-wit or otherwise, half-way through. Learning from successes as well as from failures. Being open minded. Choosing the company to work for with due diligence. Commanding respect and building one’s brand equity by delivering in excess of what is expected of oneself.

Those who are not blissfully ignorant of the existence of Jeeves can belong to two schools of thought. One, those who admire Jeeves and would love to have someone like him at their disposal. Two, those who detest him and would not like someone like him controlling their lives, even if it means their having to handle the harsh slings and arrows of Fate single-handedly.

But if there were indeed a Jeeves’ Academy of Boss Management, would you not like to enroll for a course thereat, irrespective of the school of thought you happen to belong to? It might add a unique sparkle to your career graph!

Jeeves by Northcote Parkinson

The fictional biography of Jeeves whipped up by C. Northcote Parkinson supplements the Wodehouse canon beautifully. It is built around characters and events that Plum fans are already familiar with. It captures the spirit of Jeeves’ character very well.

One is left wondering as to how Monte Carlo never came up with the idea of offering a honorary citizenship to Reginald Jeeves, following the example of Meringen (Switzerland) which has honoured Sherlock Holmes thus!

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2018/01/10/jeeves-seeks-a-placement

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/06/03/introducing-jeeves-saviour-or-snake

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/11/09/when-jeeves-takes-charge

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2013/11/13/when-jeeves-takes-charge-2-0

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2014/05/28/sherlock-holmes-the-honorary-citizen-of-meiringen-switzerland)

 

 

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As you prepare yourself for a married life,

Full of love, happiness, joy and domestic bliss;

Here is an utterly butterly Plummy wish

Which you would do well not to miss.

 

Unlike Pauline Stoker, may you never ask your Bingo Little

To swim a mile before breakfast;  

And then playing five sets of tennis post-lunch,

Leaving the hapless guy shaken and aghast.

 

Like Honoria Glossop, may you never be prone to

Slapping the backs of guests with all your might;

Nudging the sterner sex to perform goofy deeds

With no consideration of their own plight.

 

May you never be like Florence Craye,

Trying to mould him into an intellectual cove;

Instead, groom him in washing dishes and changing nappies,

Shaping up a rebel lion into a docile dove.

 

Unlike Stiffy Byng, may you never prompt him

To pinch the helmet of a constable;

Landing him in a chokey,

Missing Bartholomew’s company at the dining table.

 

May you have occasional traces of Madeline,

Capable of gazing moodily at stars in the sky;

While the Bingo Little in your life

Serves some bacon and egg fry.

  

May you be an ideal mate,

Endowed with a generous helping of grey cells;

Feeding enough fish to Jeeves who can protect you both

When life rings its sinister bells.

 

A soulmate dishing out a seven course Anatole meal

With a magic wand;

Ensuring a liberal supply of tissue restoratives,

With pick-me-ups always at hand.

 

Keeping the house clear of invading cousins,

Ex-fiancees, cats, dogs and aunts;

Life free of silver cow creamers, speeches to school kids

and Pa Bassett’s taunts.

 

Fussing over him like Angela,

A spiritual view on life you would possess;

Despite sharks and occasional tiffs,

Helping his pals in distress.

 

If ever you decide to be an auhtor like Rosie M Banks,

May he always support you in thought and deed;

Ensuring that you get your afternoon cup of tea,

Convinced that chums like Laura Pyke you do not need.

 

In matters of attire and appearance,

You would keep Jeeve’s admonitions at bay;

Deploying an empathic stiff upper lip

When his financial misdemeanours lead him astray.  

 

An occasional sojourn of his to the Drones

You would surely not mind;

Keeping the milk of human kindness sloshing about,

Love softening the harsh blows of the daily grind.

 

Warm and cosy evenings may see him

Acting like the perfect preux chevalier;

Cuddling small ones the prattle of whose feet

Would make the home livelier.

 

Much like Sally, may you always inspire him,

Keeping his entrepreneurial ambitions alive and kicking;

Or follow the example of Joan Valentine,

Be an equal when executing a fruity scheme like scarab picking.

 

 Jeeves’ feudal spirit you would skillfully utilize

To ensure domestic harmony and bliss;

Delegating to him the mundane affairs,

A professional career of your own you do not miss.

 

Much like Roberta Wickham,

May you sashay up to the altar with much aplomb;

We pray that each moment spent with you,

May never be for him like a ticking bomb.

 

 May you both be like Joe-Julia and Piggy-Maudie,

Your fondness for each other growing over time;

When concerns about the lining of the stomach rule,

May grand kids enjoy your belting out a nursery rhyme.

 

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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.

(Related Post: https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2015/07/30/the-epidemic-of-wodehousitis)

 

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When someone of the calibre of Arunabha Sengupta decides to wield his pen (oops….keyboard!) and dishes out something Plummy, die-hard fans of the Master Wordsmith of our times rejoice. The sceptics make feeble attempts to punch holes in the arguments put forth. The fence-sitters suddenly realize that there is more to Plum than meets the intellectual eye.

The rest of humanity, comprising those who remain not-so-blissfully unaware of the blissful works of P G Wodehouse, continues to trudge through life, sans the succour which low-hanging fruits of eternal wisdom offer on the streets of Plumsville.

Source: About

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A tide in the affairs of men

Amongst the not-so-delicately-nurtured characters in the Wodehouse canon, there are at least three brainy coves we all admire – Jeeves, Lord Ickenham and Psmith. As to the last one, here is how one of his theories of Life gets bolstered by The Bard.

‘It was one of Psmith’s theories of Life, which he was accustomed to propound to Mike in the small hours of the morning with his feet on the mantelpiece, that the secret of success lay in taking advantage of one’s occasional slices of luck, in seizing, as it were, the happy moment. When Mike, who had had the passage to write out ten times at Wrykyn on one occasion as an imposition, reminded him that Shakespeare had once said something about there being a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken at the flood, &c., Psmith had acknowledged with an easy grace that possibly Shakespeare had got on to it first, and that it was but one more proof of how often great minds thought alike.’

[Psmith in the City (1910)]

A dash of patriotic zeal

When it comes to loving their countries, both Wodehouse and Shakespeare do not disappoint.

‘He spoke of England’s future, which, he pointed out, must rest on these babies and others like them, adding that he scarcely need remind them that the England to which he alluded had been described by the poet Shakespeare as this royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle, this earth of majesty, this seat of Mars, this other Eden, demi-Paradise, this fortress built by nature for herself against infection and the hand of war. Than which, he thought they would all agree with him, nothing could be fairer.’

[Leave it to Algy – A Few Quick Ones (1959)]

Of soldiers with a growth of fungus

“Oh, there you are,” I said.
“Yes, here we are,” replied the relative with a touch of asperity. “What’s kept you all this time?”
“I would have made it snappier, but I was somewhat impeded in my movements by pards.”
“By what?”
“Bearded pards. Shakespeare. Right, Jeeves ?”
“Perfectly correct, sir. Shakespeare, speaks of the soldier as bearded like the pard.”

[Jeeves Makes an Omelette – A Few Quick Ones (1959)]

Of hard-working citizens guaranteeing the country’s future

‘In an age so notoriously avid of pleasure as the one in which we live it is rare to find a young man of such sterling character that he voluntarily absents himself from a village concert in order to sit at home and work: and, contemplating John, one feels quite a glow. It was not as if he had been unaware of what he was missing. The vicar, he knew, was to open the proceedings with a short address: the choir would sing old English glees: the Misses Vivien and Alice Pond-Pond were down on the programme for refined coon songs: and, in addition to other items too numerous and fascinating to mention, Hugo Carmody and his friend Mr Fish would positively appear in person and render that noble example of Shakespeare’s genius, the Quarrel Scene from Julius Caesar.

Yet John Carroll sat in his room, working. England’s future cannot be so dubious as the pessimists would have us believe while her younger generation is made of stuff like this.’

[Money for Nothing (1928)]

When decorum has to be maintained at the Drones

Members of this exalted club need to be persuaded to allow a kid to be allowed on the premises.

‘”Yes,” said a Bean. “He can try as much as he likes to cloud the issue by calling him ‘Algernon Aubrey’, as if he were a brother or cousin or something, but the stark fact remains that the above is his baby. We don’t want infants mewling and puking about the Drones.”
“Keep it clean,” urged a Pieface.
“Shakespeare,” explained the Bean.
“Oh, Shakespeare? Sorry. No,” said the Pieface, “we don’t want any bally babies here.”
A grave look came into the Crumpet’s face.
“You want this one,” he said. “You can’t afford to do without him. Recent events have convinced Bingo that this offspring of his is a Grade A mascot, and he feels that the club should have the benefit of his services. Having heard his story, I agree with him. This half-portion’s knack of doing the right thing at the right time is uncanny. I believe the child is almost human.”
His eloquence was not without its effect.’

Little, Algernon Aubrey [A Few Quick Ones (1959)]

When the nerves are all of a twitter

Very often, Plum’s characters are all of a twitter. Confusion reigns supreme. Here are some snippets where The Bard comes to Plum’s aid.

When Oofy faces a financial dilemma

‘To say that Oofy was all in a dither is really to give too feeble a picture of his emotions. They were such that only a top-notcher like Shakespeare could have slapped them down on paper, and he would have had to go all out.’

[Oofy, Freddie and the Beef Trust, A Few Quick Ones (1959)]

A challenging assignment leaves Bertie shaken and stirred

When Aunt Dahlia tells Bertie to pinch the silver cow creamer, he is all of a twitter. ‘The cat chap’ gets quoted.

‘That is the problem which is torturing me, Jeeves. I can’t make up my mind. You remember that fellow you’ve mentioned to me once or twice, who let something wait upon something? You know who I mean — the cat chap.’
‘Macbeth, sir, a character in a play of that name by the late William Shakespeare. He was described as letting ‘I dare not’ wait upon ‘I would’, like the poor cat i’ th’ adage.’
‘Well, that’s how it is with me. I wobble, and I vacillate — if that’s the word?’
‘Perfectly correct, sir.’

[The Code of the Woosters (1938)]

Ringing for The Bard

In Ring for Jeeves (1953), we find Jeeves offering his services to William “Bill” Rowcester, the impoverished 9th Earl of Rowcester, whose stately home, Rowcester Abbey, is an encumbrance for which the Earl is seeking a buyer. He becomes embroiled in a complicated affair involving ‘fake’ bookies, stolen gems, a wealthy American widow and a big game hunter. Much excitement comes about before he succeeds in resolving matters to the satisfaction of all parties.

In praise of scoundrels

“Popped off like a jack rabbit, with me after him.”
“I don’t wonder you’re upset. Scoundrels like that ought not to be at large. It makes one’s blood boil to think of this . . . this . . . what would Shakespeare have called him, Jeeves?”
“This arrant, rascally, beggarly, lousy knave, m’lord.”
“Ah, yes. Shakespeare put these things well.”
“A whoreson, beetle-headed, flap-eared knave: a knave, a rascal, an eater of broken meats; a beggarly, filthy, worsted- stocking.”

The slings and arrows of Fate

When questioned by Jill as to why she had not been informed by Bill about his knowing Mrs Spottsworth, he is convinced that his Guardian Angels are surely upset.

‘It seemed to Bill that for a pretty good sort of chap who meant no harm to anybody and strove always to do the square thing by one and all, he was being handled rather roughly by Fate tins summer day. The fellow—Shakespeare, he rather thought, though he would have to check with Jeeves —who had spoken of the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, had known what he was talking about. Slings and arrows described it to a nicety.’

When enterprises of great importance are afoot

The Bard comes in handy when Captain Biggar, Bill and Jeeves discuss prospects at the races.

‘Captain Biggar lowered his voice again, this time so far that his words sounded like gas escaping from a pipe.
“There’s something cooking. As Shakespeare says, we have an enterprise of great importance.”

Jeeves winced.

” ‘Enterprises of great pith and moment’ is the exact quotation, sir.”’

When one is a fiancée short

When Bill rues the loss of a beloved, some consolation is in order.

“Precisely. You want to take the big, broad, spacious view. Bill. You are a fiancée short, let’s face it, and your immediate reaction is, no doubt, a disposition to rend the garments and scatter ashes on the head. But you’ve got to look at these things from every angle. Bill, old man. Remember what Shakespeare said: ‘A woman is only a woman, but a good cigar is a smoke.'”

Jeeves winced.

“Kipling, Sir Roderick.”

A magnificent idea, ascribed wrongly to Shakespeare

In The Code of the Woosters (1938), Jeeves advises Bertie to drop the policeman’s helmet out of the window.

‘Yes, sir. But since then I have been giving the matter some thought, and am now in a position to say ‘Eureka!’’
‘Say what?’
‘Eureka, sir. Like Archimedes.’
‘Did he say Eureka? I thought it was Shakespeare.’
‘No, sir. Archimedes.

(To be continued)

(Related Posts:

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/06/26/the-perils-of-not-suffering-from-shakespearitis

https://ashokbhatia.wordpress.com/2017/07/01/presenting-a-plummy-shakespeare-part-1-of-3)

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