I longed to spend hours reading over my four-day holiday weekend, unfortunately it didn’t work out as planned. I did spend hours reading but it was all school related. Sigh. Still, I managed to finish My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse. But you don’t have to buy the book if you want to read it. It is in the public domain and can be downloaded for free in pretty near any digital format that pleases you.
This was my first Wodehouse and my first Jeeves and it definitely won’t be my last of either. I believe My Man Jeeves is the first story collection with Jeeves in it. I was expecting the book to be all Jeeves all the time but there are several stories with a bloke named Reggie who is just as daft and amiable as Bertie except Reggie doesn’t have a Jeeves. Oh, and I just found out that Reggie is supposedly an early prototype for Bertie which explains why they felt like the same person.
What I love about these stories is that Bertie and Reggie are such pleasant young men with money who only want to enjoy themselves and not think too hard. They manage to get into scrapes while helping their friends get out of scrapes.
When it comes to Jeeves, he is a marvel. Jeeves is Bertie’s butler and I think must be the epitome of all butlers. Jeeves is the idea man behind Bertie’s follies. His ideas to help Bertie and his friends are always the most elaborate roundabout schemes it is possible to come up with. When they go wrong, as they inevitably do, Jeeves doesn’t bat an eyelash but has a second elaborate scheme at the ready to counteract the first. And Bertie and friends fall for it every time.
One of my favorite stories is the last one in the book, “The Aunt and the Sluggard” I believe it is called. A friend of Bertie’s who lives in the country, scarping by writing the odd poem here and there while waiting for his aunt to die and leave him all her money, gets a letter from said aunt who wants to start paying him his legacy now on the condition that he live in New York and live a rousing social life and write her a letter about it every week. The aunt longs to go to New York herself but feels her health is failing her so wants to live vicariously through her nephew. The nephew hates New York but wants the money. So Jeeves cleverly offers to go round to all the entertainments and make reports to the poet nephew who will then write up Jeeves’ notes in his weekly letters.
Of course Jeeves has a great time and between his reports and the nephew’s embellished letters the aunt decides she is feeling well enough to visit New York after all and shows up suddenly one afternoon at Bertie’s apartment thinking it belongs to her nephew. You’ll have to read the story to find out what happens, but needless to say, Jeeves has a lark of a time throughout and ends up being praised and thanked by Bertie and friend for his brilliance.
I’d give you a funny quote or two but my Bookman has the Kindle and both are not at home this evening. So you’ll have to trust me when I say the stories are often hilarious. The word “madcap” also comes to mind. If you are looking for some short stories to tickle your funnybone, these will definitely do the trick!