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The Jeeves Omnibus - Vol 1:, Page 1

P. G. Wodehouse


  About the Book

  Also by P. G. Wodehouse

  Title Page

  Thank You, Jeeves


  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18

  Chapter 19

  Chapter 20

  Chapter 21

  Chapter 22

  The Code of the Woosters

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  The Inimitable Jeeves

  Chapter 1

  Chapter 2

  Chapter 3

  Chapter 4

  Chapter 5

  Chapter 6

  Chapter 7

  Chapter 8

  Chapter 9

  Chapter 10

  Chapter 11

  Chapter 12

  Chapter 13

  Chapter 14

  Chapter 15

  Chapter 16

  Chapter 17

  Chapter 18


  About the Book

  ‘It beats me why a man of his genius is satisfied to hang around pressing my clothes and what not,’ says Bertie. ‘If I had Jeeves’s brain, I should have a stab at being Prime Minister or something.’

  Luckily for us, Bertie Wooster manages to retain Jeeves’s services through all the vicissitudes of purple socks and policemen’s helmets, and here, gathered together for the first time, is an omnibus of Jeeves novels and stories: Thank You, Jeeves, The Code of the Woosters and The Inimitable Jeeves.

  Books by P. G. Wodehouse

  Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen

  The Adventures of Sally

  Bachelors Anonymous

  Barmy in Wonderland

  Big Money

  Bill the Conqueror

  Blandings Castle and Elsewhere

  Carry on, Jeeves

  The Clicking of Cuthbert

  Cocktail Time

  The Code of the Woosters

  The Coming of Bill

  Company for Henry

  A Damsel in Distress

  Do Butlers Burgle Banks?

  Doctor Sally

  Eggs, Beans and Crumpets

  A Few Quick Ones

  French Leave

  Frozen Assets

  Full Moon

  Galahad at Blandings

  A Gentleman of Leisure

  The Girl in Blue

  The Girl on the Boat

  The Gold Bat

  The Head of Kay’s

  The Heart of a Goof

  Heavy Weather

  Hot Water

  Ice in the Bedroom

  If I Were You

  Indiscretions of Archie

  The Inimitable Jeeves

  Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit

  Jeeves in the Offing

  Jill the Reckless

  Joy in the Morning

  Laughing Gas

  Leave it to Psmith

  The Little Nugget

  Lord Emsworth and Others

  Louder and Funnier

  Love Among the Chickens

  The Luck of the Bodkins

  The Man Upstairs

  The Man with Two Left Feet

  The Mating Season

  Meet Mr Mulliner

  Mike and Psmith

  Mike at Wrykyn

  Money for Nothing

  Money in the Bank

  Mr Mulliner Speaking

  Much Obliged, Jeeves

  Mulliner Nights

  Not George Washington

  Nothing Serious

  The Old Reliable

  Pearls, Girls and Monty Bodkin

  A Pelican at Blandings

  Piccadilly Jim

  Pigs Have Wings

  Plum Pie

  The Pothunters

  A Prefect’s Uncle

  The Prince and Betty

  Psmith, Journalist

  Psmith in the City

  Quick Service

  Right Ho, Jeeves

  Ring for Jeeves

  Sam the Sudden

  Service with a Smile

  The Small Bachelor

  Something Fishy

  Something Fresh

  Spring Fever

  Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves

  Summer Lightning

  Summer Moonshine

  Sunset at Blandings

  The Swoop

  Tales of St Austin’s

  Thank You, Jeeves


  Uncle Dynamite

  Uncle Fred in the Springtime

  Uneasy Money

  Very Good, Jeeves

  The White Feather

  William Tell Told Again

  Young Men in Spats


  The Golf Omnibus

  The World of Blandings

  The World of Jeeves

  The World of Mr Mulliner

  The World of Psmith

  The World of Ukridge

  The World of Uncle Fred

  Tales From The Drones Club

  Wodehouse Nuggets (edited by Richard Usborne)

  The World of Wodehouse Clergy

  The Hollywood Omnibus

  Weekend Wodehouse

  The Aunts Omnibus

  The Jeeves Omnibus 2


  The Parrot and Other Poems


  Wodehouse on Wodehouse (comprising Bring on the Girls, Over Seventy, Performing Flea)


  Yours, Plum

  * * *



  This is the first of the full-length novels about Jeeves and Bertie Wooster, and it is the only book of mine which I tried to produce without sitting down at the typewriter and getting a crick in the back.

  Not that I ever thought of dictating it to a stenographer. How anybody can compose a story by word of mouth, face to face with a bored looking secretary with a notebook is more than I can imagine. Yet many authors think nothing of saying ‘Ready, Miss Spelvin? Take dictation. Quote No comma Lord Jasper Murgatroyd comma close quote said no better make it hissed Evangeline comma quote I would not marry you if you were the last man on earth close quote period Quote Well comma, I’m not the last man on earth comma so the point does not arise comma close quote replied Lord Jasper comma twirling his moustache cynically period And so the long day wore on.’

  If I started to do that sort of thing I should be feeling all the time that the girl was saying to herself as she took it down, ‘Well comma this beats me period How comma with homes for the feeble minded touting for customers on every side comma has a fathead like this Wodehouse succeeded in remaining at large all these years mark of interrogation.’

  But I did get one of those machines where you talk into a mouth-piece and have your observations recorded on wax, and I started Thank You, Jeeves, on it. And after the first few paragraphs I thought I would run back and play the stuff over to hear how it sounded.

  It sounded too awful for human consumption. Until that moment I had never realized
that I had a voice like that of a very pompous school-master addressing the young scholars in his charge from the pulpit in the school chapel. There was a kind of foggy dreariness about it that chilled the spirits. It stunned me, I had been hoping, if all went well, to make Thank You, Jeeves an amusing book – gay, if you see what I mean, rollicking if you still follow me and debonair, and it was plain to me that a man with a voice like that could never come within several miles of being debonair. With him at the controls the thing would develop into one of those dim tragedies of peasant life which we return to the library after a quick glance at Page One. I sold the machine next day and felt like the Ancient Mariner when he got rid of the albatross. So now I confine myself to the good old typewriter.

  Writing my stories I enjoy. It is the thinking them out that is apt to blot the sunshine from my life. You can’t think out plots like mine without getting a suspicion from time to time that something has gone seriously wrong with the brain’s two hemispheres and the broad band of transversely running fibres known as the corpus collosum. It is my practice to make about 400 pages of notes before starting a novel, and during this process there always comes a moment when I say to myself ‘Oh, what a noble mind is here o’erthrown.’ The odd thing is that just as I am feeling that I must get a proposer and seconder and have myself put up for the loony bin, something always clicks and after that all is joy and jollity.

  P. G. Wodehouse


  * * *

  Jeeves Gives Notice

  I WAS A shade perturbed. Nothing to signify, really, but still just a spot concerned. As I sat in the old flat, idly touching the strings of my banjolele, an instrument to which I had become greatly addicted of late, and you couldn’t have said that the brow was actually furrowed, and yet, on the other hand, you couldn’t have stated absolutely that it wasn’t. Perhaps the word ‘pensive’ about covers it. It seemed to me that a situation fraught with embarrassing potentialities had arisen.

  ‘Jeeves,’ I said, ‘do you know what?’

  ‘No, sir.’

  ‘Do you know whom I saw last night?’

  ‘No, sir.’

  ‘J. Washburn Stoker and his daughter, Pauline.’

  ‘Indeed, sir?’

  ‘They must be over here.’

  ‘It would seem so, sir.’

  ‘Awkward, what?’

  ‘I can conceive that after what occurred in New York it might be distressing for you to encounter Miss Stoker, sir. But I fancy the contingency need scarcely arise.’

  I weighed this.

  ‘When you start talking about contingencies arising, Jeeves, the brain seems to flicker and I rather miss the gist. Do you mean that I ought to be able to keep out of her way?’

  ‘Yes, sir.’

  ‘Avoid her?’

  ‘Yes, sir.’

  I played five bars of ‘Old Man River’ with something of abandon. His pronouncement had eased my mind. I followed his reasoning. After all, London’s a large place. Quite simple not to run into people, if you don’t want to.

  ‘It gave me rather a shock, though.’

  ‘I can readily imagine so, sir.’

  ‘Accentuated by the fact that they were accompanied by Sir Roderick Glossop.’

  ‘Indeed, sir?’

  ‘Yes. It was at the Savoy Grill. They were putting on the nosebag together at a table by the window. And here’s rather a rummy thing, Jeeves. The fourth member of the party was Lord Chuffnell’s aunt, Myrtle. What would she be doing in that gang?’

  ‘Possibly her ladyship is an acquaintance either of Mr Stoker, Miss Stoker, or Sir Roderick, sir.’

  ‘Yes, that may be so. Yes, that might account for it. But it surprised me, I confess.’

  ‘Did you enter into conversation with them, sir?’

  ‘Who, me? No, Jeeves. I was out of the room like a streak. Apart from wishing to dodge the Stokers, can you see me wantonly and deliberately going and chatting with old Glossop?’

  ‘Certainly he has never proved a very congenial companion in the past, sir.’

  ‘If there is one man in the world I hope never to exchange speech with again, it is that old crumb.’

  ‘I forgot to mention, sir, that Sir Roderick called to see you this morning.’


  ‘Yes, sir.’

  ‘He called to see me?’

  ‘Yes, sir.’

  ‘After what has passed between us?’

  ‘Yes, sir.’

  ‘Well, I’m dashed!’

  ‘Yes, sir. I informed him that you had not yet risen, and he said that he would return later.’

  ‘He did, did he?’ I laughed. One of those sardonic ones. ‘Well, when he does, set the dog on him.’

  ‘We have no dog, sir.’

  ‘Then step down to the flat below and borrow Mrs Tinkler-Moulke’s Pomeranian. Paying social calls after the way he behaved in New York! I never heard of such a thing. Did you ever hear of such a thing, Jeeves?’

  ‘I confess that in the circumstances his advent occasioned me surprise, sir.’

  ‘I should think it did. Good Lord! Good heavens! Good gosh! The man must have the crust of a rhinoceros.’

  And when I have given you the inside story, I think you will agree with me that my heat was justified. Let me marshal my facts and go to it.

  About three months before, noting a certain liveliness in my Aunt Agatha, I had deemed it prudent to pop across to New York for a space to give her time to blow over. And about half-way through my first week there, in the course of a beano of some description at the Sherry-Netherland, I made the acquaintance of Pauline Stoker.

  She got right in amongst me. Her beauty maddened me like wine.

  ‘Jeeves,’ I recollect saying, on returning to the apartment, ‘who was the fellow who on looking at something felt like somebody looking at something? I learned the passage at school, but it has escaped me.’

  ‘I fancy the individual you have in mind, sir, is the poet Keats, who compared his emotions on first reading Chapman’s Homer to those of stout Cortez when with eagle eyes he stared at the Pacific.’

  ‘The Pacific, eh?’

  ‘Yes, sir. And all his men looked at each other with a wild surmise, silent upon a peak in Darien.’

  ‘Of course. It all comes back to me. Well, that’s how I felt this afternoon on being introduced to Miss Pauline Stoker. Press the trousers with special care tonight, Jeeves. I am dining with her.’

  In New York, I have always found, one get off the mark quickly in matters of the heart. This, I believe, is due to something in the air. Two weeks later I proposed to Pauline. She accepted me. So far, so good. But mark the sequel. Scarcely forty-eight hours after that a monkey wrench was bunged into the machinery and the whole thing was off.

  The hand that flung that monkey wrench was the hand of Sir Roderick Glossop.

  In these memoirs of mine, as you may recall, I have had occasion to make somewhat frequent mention of this old pot of poison. A bald-domed, bushy-browed blighter, ostensibly a nerve specialist, but in reality, as everybody knows, nothing more nor less than a high-priced loony-doctor, he has been cropping up in my path for years, always with the most momentous results. And it so happened that he was in New York when the announcement of my engagement appeared in the papers.

  What brought him there was one of his periodical visits to J. Washburn Stoker’s second cousin, George. This George was a man who, after a lifetime of doing down the widow and orphan, had begun to feel the strain a bit. His conversation was odd, and he had a tendency to walk on his hands. He had been a patient of Sir Roderick’s for some years, and it was the latter’s practice to dash over to New York every once in a while to take a look at him. He arrived on the present occasion just in time to read over the morning coffee and egg the news that Bertram Wooster and Pauline Stoker were planning to do the Wedding Glide. And, as far as I can ascertain, he was at the telephone, ringing up the father of the bride-to-be, without so much as stopping to wipe his

  Well, what he told J. Washburn about me I cannot, of course, say: but, at a venture, I imagine he informed him that I had once been engaged to his daughter, Honoria, and that he had broken off the match because he had decided that I was barmy to the core. He would have touched, no doubt, on the incident of the cats and the fish in my bedroom: possibly, also, on the episode of the stolen hat and my habit of climbing down water-spouts: winding up, it may be, with a description of the unfortunate affair of the punctured hot-water bottle at Lady Wickham’s.

  A close friend of J. Washburn’s and a man on whose judgment J. W. relied, I take it that he had little difficulty in persuading the latter that I was not the ideal son-in-law. At any rate, as I say, within a mere forty-eight hours of the holy moment I was notified that it would be unnecessary for me to order the new spongebag trousers and gardenia, because my nomination had been cancelled.

  And it was this man who was having the cool what’s-the-word to come calling at the Wooster home. I mean, I ask you!

  I resolved to be pretty terse with him.

  I was still playing the banjolele when he arrived. Those who know Bertram Wooster best are aware that he is a man of sudden, strong enthusiasms and that, when in the grip of one of these, he becomes a remorseless machine – tense, absorbed, single-minded. It was so in the matter of this banjolele-playing of mine. Since the night at the Alhambra when the supreme virtuosity of Ben Bloom and his Sixteen Baltimore Buddies had fired me to take up the study of the instrument, not a day had passed without its couple of hours’ assiduous practice. And I was twanging the strings like one inspired when the door opened and Jeeves shovelled in the foul strait-waistcoat specialist to whom I have just been alluding.

  In the interval which had elapsed since I had first been apprised of the man’s desire to have speech with me, I had been thinking things over: and the only conclusion to which I could come was that he must have had a change of heart of some nature and decided that an apology was due to me for the way he had behaved. It was, therefore, a somewhat softened Bertram Wooster who now rose to do the honours.

  ‘Ah, Sir Roderick,’ I said. ‘Good morning.’

  Nothing could have exceeded the courtesy with which I had spoken. Conceive of my astonishment, therefore, when his only reply was a grunt, and an indubitably unpleasant grunt, at that. I felt that my diagnosis of the situation had been wrong. Right off the bull’s-eye I had been. Here was no square-shooting apologizer. He couldn’t have been glaring at me with more obvious distaste if I had been the germ of dementia praecox.