Proceed, old gargoyle…you have our ear! (P G Wodehouse revisited after many months!)

I can honestly say that I always look on Pauline as one of the nicest girls I was ever engaged to.

“After all, golf is only a game,” said Millicent. Women say these things without thinking. It does not mean that there is any kink in their character. They simply don’t realise what they’re saying.

Uttered in a certain way–dragged out, if you know what I mean, and starting high up and going down into the lower register, the word “Ah!” can be as sinister and devastating as the word “Ho!”

When you have just been told that the girl you love is definitely betrothed to another, you begin to understand what anarchists feel when the bomb goes off too soon.

Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to speak French.

He trusted neither of them as far as he could spit, and he was a poor spitter, lacking both distance and control.

Mine is a refined and poetic nature. I like to be surrounded by joy and life, and I know nothing more joyless and deader than a dead fish.

‘Don’t blame me, Pongo,’ said Lord Ickenham, ‘if Lady Constance takes her lorgnette to you. God bless my soul, though, you can’t compare the lorgnettes of today with the ones I used to know as a boy. I remember walking one day on Grosvnor Square with my aunt Brenda and her pug dog Jabberwocky, and a policeman came up and said the latter ought to be wearing a muzzle. My aunt made no verbal reply. She merely whipped her lorgnette from its holder and looked at the man, who gave one choking gasp and fell back against the railings, starting eyes as if he had seen some dread- ful sight. A doctor was sent for, and they managed to bring him round, but he was never the same again. He had to leave the Force, and eventually drifted into the grocery business. And that is how Sir Thomas Lipton got his start.

Say what you will, there is something fine about our old aristocracy. I’ll bet Trotsky couldn’t hit a moving secretary with an egg on a dark night.

Introduced to his child in the nursing home, he recoiled with a startled “Oi!” and as the days went by the feeling that he had run up against something red-hot in no way diminished. The only thing that prevented a father’s love from faltering was the fact that there was in his possession a photograph of himself at the same early age, in which he, too, looked like a homicidal fried egg.

His manner had nothing in it of the jolly innkeeper of old-fashioned comic opera. He looked more like Macbeth seeing a couple of Banquos.

… a bleak, austere expression. She was looking more and more like an aunt than anything human. In his boyhood he had observed plattons of his aunts with their features frozen in a similar rigidity.

I may as well tell you that if you are going about the place thinking things pretty, you will never make a modern poet. Be poignant, man, be poignant!

I was sauntering on the river bank with a girl named something that has slipped my mind, when there was a sound of barking and a large hefty dog came galloping up, full of beans and buck and obviously intent on mayhem. And I was just commending my soul to God and feeling that this was where the old flannel trousers got about thirty bobs worth of value bitten out of them, when the girl, waiting till she saw the whites of its eyes, with extraordinary presence of mind opened a coloured Japanese umbrella in the animal’s face. Upon which it did three back somersaults and retired into private life.

One half of the world doesn’t know how the other three-quarters lives.

Unlike the male codfish which, suddenly finding itself the parent of three million five hundred thousand little codfish, cheerfully resolves to love them all, the British aristocracy is apt to look with a somewhat jaundiced eye on its younger sons.

It just shows, what any member of Parliament will tell you, that if you want real oratory, the preliminary noggin is essential. Unless pie-eyed you cannot hope to grip.

You can’t stick lighted matches between the toes of an English butler. He would raise his eyebrows and freeze you with a glance. You’d feel as if he had caught you using the wrong fork.


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