Gentlemen & Their Antics - Livres du Mois
Inspired by the antics of various characters by P.G. Wodehouse, for January's Livres du Mois I have compiled a list of his books alongside novels of other gentleman with their own eccentricities and mishaps, from traveling up the Thames severely unprepared to keeping owls at Eton.
Thank you, Jeeves
P. G. Wodehouse
"Thank You, Jeeves features the incomparable valet Jeeves and his hapless charge Bertie Wooster - and you've hardly started to turn the pages when he resigns over Bertie's dedicated but somewhat untuneful playing of the banjo. In high dudgeon, Bertie disappears to the country as a guest of his chum Chuffy - only to find his peace shattered by the arrival of his ex-fiancée Pauline Stoker, her formidable father and the eminent loony-doctor Sir Roderick Glossop. When Chuffy falls in love with Pauline and Bertie seems to be caught in flagrant, a situation boils up which only Jeeves (whether employed or not) can simmer down... A display of sustained comic brilliance, this novel shows Wodehouse rising to the top of his game."
Three Men in a Boat
Jerome K. Jerome
"Martyrs to hypochondria and general seediness, J. and his friends George and Harris decide that a jaunt up the Thames would suit them to a 'T'. But when they set off, they can hardly predict the troubles that lie ahead with tow-ropes, unreliable weather-forecasts and tins of pineapple chunks - not to mention the devastation left in the wake of J.'s small fox-terrier Montmorency. "
P. G. Wodehouse
"The ivied walls of Blandings Castle have seldom glowed as sunnily as in these wonderful stories - but there are snakes in the rolling parkland ready to nip Clarence, the absent-minded Ninth Earl of Emsworth, when he least expects it.
For a start the Empress of Blandings, in the running for her first prize in the Fat Pigs Class at the Shropshire Agricultural Show, is off her food - and can only be coaxed back to the trough by a call in her own language. Then there is the feud with Head Gardener McAllister, aided by Clarence's sister, the terrifying Lady Constance, and the horrible prospect of the summer fete. Not to mention there is the vexed matter of the custody of the pumpkin."
The Babe B. A.
E. F. Benson
The Babe B. A. Being the Uneventful History of A Young Gentleman at Cambridge University is a very misleading title as many things happen to the Babe throughout his time at Cambridge. "The Babe was a cynical old gentleman of twenty years of age, who played the banjo charmingly…".
From mishaps with his pet bulldog, Mr. Sykes to the Babe acting the role of Clytemnestra in the Agamemnon, where a visiting German student falls in love with him, the Babe goes from one antic to another and all in an Inverness cloak "so loud," he said, "that you could scarcely hear yourself speak."
Young Men in Spats
P. G. Wodehouse
"Young Men in Spats is a collection of short stories by P. G. Wodehouse. The collection, recounting the adventures of various members of the Drones Club (except for the last one), features many familiar characters from Wodehouse's other writings, including Freddie Widgeon and the irrepressible Mr Mulliner. One story, "Uncle Fred Flits By", features the first appearance of Pongo Twistleton and his Uncle Fred, who featured in four novels, including two appearances at Blandings Castle."
Two Owls at Eton
"When Jonathan Franklin takes two baby tawny owls back to Eton, he has no idea how chaotic the following months will be. The birds show no respect for Etonian routine and tradition. They trash his room and rule his daily life, and are known throughout the school as 'Dum' and 'Dee'.
Although a keen naturalist, Jonathan struggles to understand his charges and to find the right food for them; at first meat and feathers, soon mice and rats. Even so, they nearly die of malnutrition on two occasions. Frantic, he searches for natural food. How to keep them alive is a constant worry. He watches them grow from ugly balls of fluff into beautiful adults, every change of plumage and behaviour noted. They play truant, they shock others, and lead Jonathan into hilarious adventures. They charm his housemaster and everybody who meets them. Best of all is seeing them flying about over those famous playing fields. All the time, Jonathan works to train them for eventual return to the wild. Will that be possible? He is never sure whether he will succeed.
Now updated by the author to tell the end of this extraordinary story, Two Owls at Eton very British, very witty, yet always close to the rawness of the natural world is a story to delight everyone whether they ever trod those playing fields, or have never wished to set eyes on the place."
Leave It to Psmith
"The P in his surname is silent ("as in pshrimp", in his own words) and was added by himself, in order to distinguish him from other Smiths. A member of the Drones Club, Psmith is a monocle-sporting Old Etonian. He is something of a dandy, a fluent and witty speaker, and has the ability to pass through incredible adventures unruffled.
The plot is a typical Wodehouse romance, with Psmith inveigling himself into the idyllic castle of Blanding's, where there are the usual crop of girls to woo, crooks to foil, imposters to unmask, haughty aunts to baffle and valuable necklaces to steal. Among the players is Psmith's good friend Mike, married to Phyllis and in dire need of some financial help; the ever-suspicious Rupert Baxter, secretary to Lord Emsworth (much to his horror) is on watch as usual."
I hope you have found some interesting amongst this collection of books but if not, you may find something more to your taste in the Compendium's Library.