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Full Moon:, Page 1

P. G. Wodehouse

  Table of Contents

  About the Author

  By the Same Author

  Title Page

  Copyright Page







































  Extract: Right Ho, Jeeves

  Also available in Arrow Blandings Castle

  The Code of the Woosters

  The Inimitable Jeeves

  Summer Lightning

  Something Fresh

  Right Ho, Jeeves

  Piccadilly Jim

  Leave it to Psmith

  Joy in the Morning

  The P G Wodehouse Society (UK)

  Visit our special P.G. Wodehouse website

  The author of almost a hundred books and the creator of Jeeves, Blandings Castle, Psmith, Ukridge, Uncle Fred and Mr Mulliner, P.G. Wodehouse was born in 1881 and educated at Dulwich College. After two years with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank he became a full-time writer, contributing to a variety of periodicals including Punch and the Globe. He married in 1914. As well as his novels and short stories, he wrote lyrics for musical comedies with Guy Bolton and Jerome Kern, and at one time had five musicals running simultaneously on Broadway. His time in Hollywood also provided much source material for fiction.

  At the age of 93, in the New Year's Honours List of 1975,

  he received a long-overdue knighthood, only to die

  on St Valentine's Day some 45 days later.

  Some of the P. G. Wodehouse titles to be published

  by Arrow in 2008


  The Inimitable Jeeves

  Carry On, Jeeves

  Very Good, Jeeves

  Thank You, Jeeves

  Right Ho, Jeeves

  The Code of the Woosters

  Joy in the Morning

  The Mating Season

  Ring for Jeeves

  Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit

  Jeeves in the Offing

  Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves

  Much Obliged, Jeeves

  Aunts Aren't Gentlemen


  Cocktail Time

  Uncle Dynamite


  Something Fresh

  Leave it to Psmith

  Summer Lightning

  Blandings Castle

  Uncle Fred in the Springtime

  Full Moon

  Pigs Have Wings

  Service with a Smile

  A Pelican at Blandings


  Meet Mr Mulliner

  Mulliner Nights

  Mr Mulliner Speaking


  The Clicking of Cuthbert

  The Heart of a Goof


  Piccadilly Jim


  The Luck of the Bodkins

  Laughing Gas

  A Damsel in Distress

  The Small Bachelor

  Hot Water

  Summer Moonshine

  The Adventures of Sally

  Money for Nothing

  The Girl in Blue

  Big Money


  Full Moon

  This eBook is copyright material and must not be copied, reproduced, transferred, distributed, leased, licensed or publicly performed or used in any way except as specifically permitted in writing by the publishers, as allowed under the terms and conditions under which it was purchased or as strictly permitted by applicable copyright law. Any unauthorised distribution or use of this text may be a direct infringement of the author's and publisher's rights and those responsible may be liable in law accordingly.

  ISBN 9781409063599

  Version 1.0

  Published by Arrow Books 2008

  1 3 5 7 9 10 8 6 4 2

  Copyright by The Trustees of the Wodehouse Estate

  All rights reserved

  This electronic book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, resold, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher's prior consent in any form other than that in which it is published and without a similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser

  First published in the United Kingdom in 1947 by Herbert Jenkins Ltd

  Arrow Books

  The Random House Group Limited

  20 Vauxhall Bridge Road, London, SW1V 2SA

  Addresses for companies within The Random House Group Limited

  can be found at:

  The Random House Group Limited Reg. No. 954009

  A CIP catalogue record for this book

  is available from the British Library

  ISBN: 9781409063599

  Version 1.0

  Full Moon


  The refined moon which served Blandings Castle and district was nearly at its full, and the ancestral home of Clarence, ninth Earl of Emsworth, had for some hours now been flooded by its silver rays. They shone on turret and battlement; peeped respectfully in upon Lord Emsworth's sister, Lady Hermione Wedge, as she creamed her face in the Blue Room; and stole through the open window of the Red Room next door, where there was something really worth looking at – Veronica Wedge, to wit, Lady Hermione's outstandingly beautiful daughter, who was lying in bed staring at the ceiling and wishing she had some decent jewellery to wear at the forthcoming County Ball. A lovely girl needs, of course, no jewels but her youth and health and charm, but anybody who had wanted to make Veronica understand that would have had to work like a beaver.

  Moving farther afield, the moon picked up Lord Emsworth's brother-in-law, Colonel Egbert Wedge, as he alighted from the station taxi at the front door; and moving still farther, it illuminated Lord Emsworth himself. The ninth earl was down by the pigsty near the kitchen garden, draped in his boneless way over the rail of the bijou residence of Empress of Blandings, his amiable sow, twice in successive years a popular winner in the Fat Pigs class at the Shropshire Agricultural Show.

  The ecstasy which always came to the vague and woollen-headed peer when in the society of this noble animal was not quite complete, for she had withdrawn for the night to a sort of covered wigwam in the background and he could not see her. But he could hear her deep, regular breathing, and he was drinking it in as absorbedly as if it had been something from the Queen's Hall conducted by Sir Henry Wood, when the scent of a powerful cigar told him that he was no longer alone. Adjusting his pince-nez, he was astonished to behold the soldierly figure of Colonel Wedge.

  The reason he was astonished to behold Colonel Wedge was that he knew the other had gone to London on the previous day to lend his support to the annual banquet of the Loyal Sons of Shropshire. But it was not long before his astute mind had hit upon a possible explanation of his presence in the grounds of Blandings Castle – viz., that he might have come back. And such was indeed the case.

nbsp; 'Ah, Egbert,' he said, courteously uncoiling himself.

  Going for a stroll to stretch his legs after his long journey, Colonel Wedge had supposed himself to be alone with Nature. The shock of discovering that what he had taken for a pile of old clothes was alive and a relation by marriage caused him to speak a little sharply.

  'Good God, Clarence, is that you? What on earth are you doing out here at this time of night?'

  Lord Emsworth had no secrets from his nearest and dearest. He replied that he was listening to his pig, and the statement caused his companion to wince as if some old wound had troubled him. Egbert Wedge had long held the view that the head of the family into which he had married approached more closely to the purely cuckoo every time he saw him, but this seemed to mark a bigger stride in that direction than usual.

  'Listening to your pig?' he said, in an almost awe-struck voice, and paused for a moment, digesting this information. 'You'd better come in and go to bed. You'll be getting lumbago again.'

  'Perhaps you are right,' agreed Lord Emsworth, and fell into step at the other's side.

  For a while they proceeded towards the house in a restful silence, each busy with his own thoughts. Then, as so often happens on these occasions, both spoke simultaneously, the colonel saying that he had run into Freddie last night and Lord Emsworth asking if his companion, when in London, had gone to see Mabel.

  This puzzled the colonel.


  'I mean Dora. I forgot her name for the moment. My sister Dora.'

  'Oh, Dora? Good God, no. When I go to London for a day's pleasure, I don't waste my time seeing Dora.'

  The sentiment was one of which Lord Emsworth thoroughly approved. It made him feel that his brother-in-law was a man of taste and discernment.

  'Of course not, my dear fellow, naturally not,' he hastened to say. 'Nobody in their senses would. Silly of me to have asked. I wrote to Dora the other day, asking her to find me an artist to paint the portrait of my pig, and she wrote back most rudely, telling me not to be ridiculous. Bless my soul, what a horrible collection of pests the female members of my family are. Dora is bad enough, but look at Constance, look at Julia. Above all, look at Hermione.'

  'My wife,' said Colonel Wedge stiffly.

  'Yes,' said Lord Emsworth, giving his arm a sympathetic little pat. 'Now why,' he mused, 'did I ask you if you had seen Dora? There was some reason. Ah, yes, Hermione had a letter from her this morning. Dora is very worried.'


  'Oh, extremely worried.'

  'What about?'

  'I haven't a notion.'

  'Didn't Hermione tell you?'

  'Oh, she told me,' said Lord Emsworth, with the air of one conceding a minor point. 'She explained the circumstances fully. But what they were I have completely forgotten. Except that it was something to do with rabbits.'


  'So Hermione said.'

  'Why the deuce should Dora be worried about rabbits?'

  'Ah,' said Lord Emsworth, as if feeling that he was being taken into deep waters. Then, brightening: 'Perhaps they have been eating her lobelias.'

  A sharp snort escaped Colonel Wedge.

  'Your sister Dora,' he said, 'lives on the fourth floor of Wiltshire House, Grosvenor Square, a block of residential flats in the heart of London. So she has no lobelias.'

  'Then it is difficult to see,' agreed Lord Emsworth, 'how rabbits can have entered into the thing. Tell me,' he proceeded, shelving a topic which had never really gripped his interest, 'did I hear you say that you had had a letter from Freddie?'

  'I said I had met him.'

  'Met him?'

  'In Piccadilly. He was with a tight chap.'

  'A tight chap?'

  Colonel Wedge's temper was inclined to be short, and a tête-à-tête with the rambling old backwoodsman at his side never improved it. The latter's habit of behaving like a Swiss mountain echo or the member of the cross-talk team who asks the questions might well have irritated a more patient man.

  'Yes, a tight chap. A young man under the influence of alcoholic liquor. You know what a tight chap is.'

  'Oh, quite, quite. A tight chap, yes, certainly. But it couldn't have been Freddie, my dear fellow. No, not Freddie. Somebody else, perhaps.'

  Colonel Wedge clenched his teeth. A weaker man might have gnashed them.

  'It was Freddie, I tell you. Do you think I don't know Freddie when I see him? Why the devil shouldn't it have been Freddie?'

  'He's in America.'

  'He is not in America.'

  'He is,' persisted Lord Emsworth stoutly. 'Don't you remember? He married the daughter of an American dog-biscuit manufacturer and went to live in America.'

  'He's been back in England for weeks.'

  'Bless my soul!'

  'His father-in-law sent him over to whack up the English end of the concern.'

  Once again Lord Emsworth blessed his soul. He found the idea of his younger son, the Hon. Freddie Threepwood, whacking up English ends of concerns almost incredible. Years of association with the boy had left him with the opinion that he had just about enough intelligence to open his mouth when he wanted to eat, but certainly no more.

  'His wife came with him, but she has gone on to Paris. Freddie's coming down here to-morrow.'

  Lord Emsworth gave a quick, convulsive leap, then became strangely rigid. Like so many fathers of the English upper classes, he was somewhat allergic to younger sons, and was never at his happiest when entertaining the one whom an unkind Fate had added to his quiver. Freddie, when at Blandings, had a way of mooning about looking like a bored and despairing sheep, with glassy eyes staring out over an eleven-inch cigarette holder, which had always been enough to bring a black frost into this Eden of his.

  'Coming here? Freddie?' A numbness seemed to be paining his sense, as though of hemlock he had drunk. 'He won't be staying long, will he?' he asked, with a father's pathetic eagerness.

  'Weeks and weeks and weeks, I gathered. If not months. In fact, he spoke as if he intended to stay indefinitely. Oh, and I forgot to mention it, he's bringing the tight chap with him. Good night, Clarence, good night,' said Colonel Wedge buoyantly. And, his cheerfulness completely restored by the reflection that he had ruined his relative's beauty sleep, he proceeded to the Blue Room to report to his wife, who had finished creaming her face and was now in bed, skimming the pages of a novel.


  She glanced up as he entered with a pleased cry.


  'Hullo, my dear.'

  Unlike the rest of the female members of her family, who were tall and stately, Lady Hermione Wedge was short and dumpy and looked like a cook – in her softer moods, a cook well satisfied with her latest soufflé; when stirred to anger, a cook about to give notice; but always a cook of strong character. Nevertheless, for the eye of love is not affected by externals, it was with courtly devotion that her husband, avoiding the face cream, bent and kissed the top of her boudoir cap. They were a happy and united couple. Most of those who came into contact with this formidable woman shared Lord Emsworth's opinion of her, trembling – like Ben Bolt's Alice – with fear at her frown, but Colonel Wedge had never for an instant regretted having said: 'Eh? Oh, rather, yes, certainly,' in reply to the clergyman's: 'Wilt thou, Egbert, take this Hermione—?' Where others quailed before her commanding eye, he merely admired it.

  'Well, here I am at last, old girl,' he said. 'The train was a bit late, and I've just been for a stroll in the garden. I ran into Clarence.'

  'He wasn't out in the garden?'

  'Yes, he was. Courting lumbago, and so I told him. What's all this Dora business? I met young Prudence this morning as I was passing though Grosvenor Square – she was airing those dogs of hers – but she never said a word about it. Clarence says you told him she was being worried by rabbits.'

  Lady Hermione tut-tutted, as she had so often been compelled to tut-tut when her brother was the subject of the conversation.

'I wish Clarence would occasionally listen to one, instead of just gaping with his mouth open and not paying the slightest attention to what one is saying. What I told him was that Dora was worried because a man has been calling Prudence a dream rabbit.'

  'Oh, was that it? Who was the man?'

  'She hasn't the remotest idea. That is why she is so worried. It seems that yesterday her butler came and asked where Prudence was, as a gentleman wished to speak to her on the telephone. Prudence was out, so Dora went to the telephone, and a strange male voice said: "Hullo, my precious dream rabbit."'

  'And what did she do?'

  'Bungled everything, as you would expect her to do. Dora really has no sense whatever. Instead of waiting to hear more, she said that this was Prudence's mother speaking. Upon which the man gave a sort of gasp and rang off. Of course she questioned Prudence when she came in, and asked her who it was that called her a dream rabbit, and Prudence said it might have been anyone.'

  'Something in that. Everyone seems to call everyone everything nowadays.'

  'Not "dream rabbit".'

  'You would consider that pretty strong stuff?'

  'I know I should make the most searching enquiries about any young man whom I heard calling Veronica a dream rabbit. I don't wonder Dora is uneasy. She tells me Prudence has been seeing a great deal of Galahad recently, and goodness knows whom he may not have introduced to her. Galahad's idea of a suitable friend for an impressionable young girl might quite easily be a race-course tout or a three-card-trick man.'

  Colonel Wedge was exhibiting that slight sheepishness which comes to married men when the names of those whom they themselves esteem highly but of whom they are aware that their wives disapprove crop up in the course of conversation. He knew that his affection and admiration for Lord Emsworth's younger brother, the Hon. Galahad Threepwood, was not shared by the latter's sisters, who considered that beau sabreur and man about town a blot on the escutcheon of a proud family.