Posts Tagged ‘Rosie M Banks’

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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