Alternatively known as Jeeves in the Offing in the United Kingdom, How Right You Are, Jeeves is one of the later Jeeves and Wooster novels by P. G. Wodehouse, released in 1960. Jeeves is absent for nearly half of the book and indeed plays a small part. The plot focuses on Bertie Wooster’s visit to his Aunt Dahlia’s place, Brinkley Court. In the usual style, it involves numerous engagements, miscommunications, misunderstandings, and everything you can expect from a Jeeves and Wooster story.
For years I have been a fan of the 1990s series starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, but this is the first book I’ve read. I would’ve started from the beginning but this was the one my local library had and so it is here that I began. Not that it matters much, if you know the characters that’s pretty much all you need to know. The book read just like one of the episodes (props to the screenwriter who adapted them) and I couldn’t divorce Hugh Laurie’s voice from Bertie’s dialogue. Not necessarily a bad thing, just the way of things. Here are some great Bertie Wooster passages from How Right You Are, Jeeves:
- “Extremely, one imagines, for she loves me dearly. I’m not saying her manner toward me doesn’t verge at times on the brusque. In childhood days she would occasionally clump me on the side of the head, and since I have grown to riper years she has more than once begged me to tie a brick around my neck and go and drown myself in the pond in the kitchen garden. Nevertheless, she loves her Bertram, and if she heard I was to be shot at sunrise, she would, as you say, be as sore as a gumboil.”
- “The cow-creamer, in case you’re interested, was a silver jug or pitcher or whatever you call it, shaped, of all silly things, like a cow with an arching tail and a juvenile-delinquent expression on its face, a cow that looked as if it were planning, next time it was milked, to haul off and let the milkmaid have it in the lower ribs. Its back opened on a hinge and the tip of the tail touched the spine, thus giving the householder something to catch hold of when pouring. Why anyone should want such a revolting object has always been a mystery to me, it ranking high up on the list of things I would have been reluctant to be found dead in a ditch with.”
- “Really, one sometimes despairs of the modern girl. You’d have thought this Wickham would have learned at her mother’s knee that the last thing a fellow in a highly nervous condition wants, when he’s searching someone’s room, is a disembodied voice in his immediate rear asking how he’s getting on.”
- “She greeted me with one of those piercing view-halloos which she had picked up on the hunting field in the days when she had been an energetic chivvier of the British fox. It sounded like a gas explosion and went through me from stem to stern. I’ve never hunted, myself, but I understand that half the battle is being able to make noises like some jungle animal with dyspepsia, and I believe that Aunt Dahlia in her prime could lift fellow members of the Quorn and Pytchley out of their saddles with a single yip, though separated from them by two plowed fields and a stretch of woodland.”
- “The male sex is divided into rabbits and non-rabbits and the female sex into dashers and dormice, and the trouble is that the male rabbit has a way of getting attracted by the female dasher (who would be fine for the male non-rabbit) and realizing too late that he ought to have been concentrating on some mild, gentle dormouse with whom he could settle down peacefully and nibble lettuce.”