Galahad at Blandings by P. G. Wodehouse

87-11Tally ho! Great frivolous follies! Exuberant Amusement! The eccentricity of characters, their roles and merits to me have reached another whole new level from other Wodehouse’s books I have read! I think at this stage I may not laugh in stitches but left with a warm feeling and blithely mood with full of imagination of the Castle. Really admired his beautiful English writing, in my lifetime don’t think I would be up to par with this level.

Checklist of characters to uphold Lord Emsworth’s nightmares and get his pince-nez go into jazz dance routine at Blandings in Shropshire

Faces like prunes ran over by a motor bus: Huxley Winkworth (much annoying and irritating than Edwin the boy who does Friday Acts of Kindness from Jeeves and Wooster)

Autocratic chatelaine: The redoubtable Lady Hermione (Apart from Sisters Constance and Dora, this woman is second-to-none according to her determination and practicalities in attempting to get her brother Clarence fixed and sound, waylay her enemies in actions rather than words)

Curious zeal: Butler Beach in replacement of Efficient Baxter in carrying out his justice and crash the impostor in pieces, snorty and smug than ever

Exuberant/Distraited gents (or in other words, the dull-eyed stripling): Wilfred Allsop (also functioned as a victim of fearsome aunt Lady Hermione; poignant in love); Sam Bagshott (also functioned as the impostor (Augusta Whiffle) of the novel, repairing the rift of love); Tipton Plimsoll (blithe chap from America)

Helpmates: Sandy Callender (red-head insidious secretary); Monica Simmons (a new favourite in lieu of George Cyril Wellbeloved); Veronica Wedge

Eyesore: Daphne Winkworth (a sparkler for old romance, ready to be hummed Indian Love Lyrics)

Hero to save the day: Galahad Threepwood, younger brother of 9th Earl of Emsworth, with gleaming spectacles in spellbinding qualities

While checklist is complete, I could go on with my drooling parts of the novel, one of which is the telling of anecdotes about the members belonging to Old Pelican Club by Galahad. He is really an amazing raconteur of tale telling, the anecdotes sprout up here and there in the stories that make the novel much more entertaining provided with the easy-to-guess-long plots:

  • The stakes and game of guessing which member would be the next to die
  • Abdominal belt worn by Chet Tipton (Uncle of Plimsoll)
  • Puff Benger (the member who admits defeat to Indian Love Lyrics)
  • Buffy Struggles (picked up by Galahad on his theories of weakening the system and reaction of dodging by having tea rather than alcohol, surely been mentioned in Summer Lightning already!)
  • Freddie & Eustace in Hedgehog incident, another example of good potation

Another bits are the sardonic dual rivalries, the stitch-ups to one another and interactions between the characters, for example, the mission conducted and plotted by Aunt Hermione to Wilfred the nephew:

“Lady Hermione had often heard of secret societies where plotters plotted plots together, but she wondered if any plotter in any secret society had ever had so much difficulty as she was having in driving into the head of another plotter what he, the first plotter, was trying to plot.”

Wilfred is actually stunned and shocked that his aunt would not be equal without a supporting assistance and accomplice for her required mission, and thinks she wants him to waylay the plank with an axe!

Apart from that, there is an interesting confrontation between Huxley and Wilfred when he caught him drinking. That little brute is the most annoying kid I have ever come across in Wodehouse’s novels.

The conversations between Monica and Tippy are good ones in which he tries to lay all cards on the table and talks turkey to her about Wilfred.

As usual, there are false starts and imbroglios happening in the Castle till the last page but all resolved in merrily sentiments without abrupt endings. The rewarding point is that I could finally recall and get the resonance mentioned in this book concerning the plots of other stories preceding this one, for instance, the short story of Pig-hoo-ey from The World of Blandings. I am in love with Blandings Castle with its residents and guests. It is my future stamping ground for many years to come!

By the way, I really like the covers of Wodehouse’s works by Everyman’s Library, because when you finish the story and close the book, you would be reminded of the plots and the good bits of it! (Exactly true with this one!) However when I was wandering through Waterstones of my recent trip to England last month, the prices of these publications are a bit expensive because they are hardbacks? Never mind! all Wodehouse’s works are stocked and piled up in line on the shelves make the overall effect look so amazing!

The next one by Wodehouse I am going to read is The Tales of Wrykyn and Elsewhere, hope it is fun!

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Wong Sarah

Making reading the essential part of my life

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