On about five years ago or so, around the time of some unfortunate business, I happened across some references to a certain Mr. Bertram Wooster and his man Jeeves. Determined to plumb the bottom of the whole horrid affair, I hastened at once to the nearest book dispensary (rather an ungodly sort of place, brim to the gills with overly serious hush-hush types and an odd assortment of soiled young people) and got myself into the possession of a volume in said series, namely, The Code of the Woosters.
Well, I was flat frankly amused at the joy of it all. The story concerned a well-off bachelor by the name of Wooster and his gentleman’s gentleman, a crisp and unflappable fellow going by the nom-de-plume of Jeeves. In short, the flaky but well-intentioned Wooster has a habit of getting himself into improbable jams, and associating with a colorful society who does likewise, and the hopelessly bereft Bertie must rely on the magisterial mentality of his employee to figure a graceful escape.
Of course, much of the subsequent hilarity is due not only to the nonsensical misadventures of the young man himself but to the skippy sort of breeze with which he narrates his foibles, to wit: “I’m a bit short on brain myself; the old bean would appear to have been constructed more for ornament than for use, don’t you know; but give me five minutes to talk the thing over with Jeeves, and I’m game to advise any one about anything. And that’s why, when Bruce Corcoran came to me with his troubles, my first act was to ring the bell and put it up to the lad with the bulging forehead.” (My Man Jeeves)
Etc. Etc. You get the idea.
So it’s the entire spirit of slangy whimsy what gives these stories such a punch in the gulliver. I thought the same again when last week I wanted to show up some recent stress and give it the old what for, and picked up Carry On, Jeeves, a collection of Jeeves and Wooster stories. Splendid, every last word, I say. Capital, even. Can’t recommend the stuff with sufficient vigor.
So, one would do well to bolt up from in front of one’s computer screen and leg it hastily to the closest source of such stories, printed and bound, and see what’s the fuss about. One’s day would be decidedly less rummy.
Jeeves is given to saying things like, “I endeavor to give satisfaction.” Indeed you do, old boy.