Sunday, 17 October 2021

Wodehouse Gems: II

Stiff Upper Lip Jeeves by Sir P G Wodehouse, KBE, published  in 1963

Bertie Wooster's arch-adversary, Roderick Spode, Earl of Sidcup, features heavily in this book.

Spode, as Bertie calls him, is a character we all love to hate.

Here is one of my favourite passages that always makes me laugh:-

'...Spode pivoted round and gave me a penetrating look. He had grown a bit, I noticed, since I had last seen him, being now about nine foot seven. ...I had compared him to a gorilla, and what I had had in mind had been the ordinary run-of-the-mill gorilla, not the large economy size'. 

...'To ease the strain, I asked him if he would have a cucumber sandwich, but with an impassioned gesture he indicated that he was not in the market for cucumber sandwiches..."a muffin?" 

No, not a muffin, either. He seemed to be on a diet.

"Wooster", he said, his jaw muscles moving freely, "I can't make up my mind whether to break your neck or not."

And so on. Wodehouse's command of the English language was supreme. Brilliant.

Wodehouse's character, Spode, is believed to be modelled on the war-time fascist leader, Sir Oswald Mosley Bt.

The Mosleys had a connection with Staffordshire, the county where Spode pottery is made; hence the name.

First published in March, 2009.


Anonymous said...

Have you seen this?

Crom Castle has been transformed in recent days as filming gets under way for the BBC production Blandings, starring Jennifer Saunders and Timothy Spall.

Demetrius said...

Another Staffordshire family was that of Sneyd of Keele, at one time a major landed family with many off shoots. Keele Hall was sold 70 odd years ago by the last Sneyd of Keele, Ralph Sneyd to the County Council to become Keele University College, now University. Ralph had gone broke as a consequence of investing in three legged race horses and heavy betting on too many short odds losers. The income from mining had been lost among other things. It is thought that Ralph and his friends could have been models for the members of The Drones Club. One of the Sneyd other lines pitched up in Hampshire, one Jeremy was Secretary to Lord North. His nephew Rev. Wetenhall Sneyd is an ancestor to the Earl's of Antrim and of Home.