“Right ho! What a jolly read! It is a plot-laden novel, but light-hearted, funny and entertaining; moreover, its ending leaves you with a warm-fuzzy feeling.” – Such tedious talking isn’t it? For all the Wodehouse fans here, surely you have all come across such comments on links, but right now I just can’t think of anything more suitable and cleverer to bolster this post. I have been lazy this week, and my brain is jammed all over. But seriously I am really into this novel.
I read Something Fresh as a one of the stories in an omnibus called The World of Blandings. Before that I have read Summer Lightning as my first try on Blandings Castle novels, and found it just as amusing as first reading Jeeves and Wooster. I started to transform myself into a bait on Wodehouse’s writing, and I also prodded myself into reasoning why I love his formula so much. All his characters, no matter great and small, have a common trait, that is often being lunatic and paranoid in their situations that they often end up contriving plans that they think wise and sophisticated; however all their plots would just cram into places where they don’t fit. It happens in the case of Invaluable Efficient Baxter – “a chappie can’t take a step in this bally house without stumbling over that damn feller Baxter”- being all there in the business and often plunges into action; he always crashes and fails. I just could not wait reading Leave it to Psmith and see how he leaves himself a blot by “committing a vile flower-pot crime” against Lord Emsworth!
Apart from the misfortune of Efficient Baxter, I also love how the younger and aristocratic generations are always considered as eyesores to the elders. The Hon. Frederick Threepwood is one of my favourite Nature’s prune in this novel. He, rather than competing against George Emerson for the rapture of Aline Peters, slips over the stairs for the cat and ends up staying in bed reading Gridley Quayle in afternoons. Even the elopement does happen, he just searches for something adequate to say to the deputation to suppress his dream state of mind, just like his father. What I like about the prestigious aristocrats are that they all are not in the prospect of the promise of marriage and wandering about like mad hatters!
As much as the omnipresent playful prunes and plots, I also like the deception bits that prevails throughout the story. Ashe Marson, the writer of the detective stories of Gridley Quayle, is one of the interesting characters in the novel. At the opening chapters we see him doing the Swedish Exercise that arouses all laugh and finger-pointing attitude of other spectators in the hotel in Leicester Square. But who can guess that he would get embroiled in a maelstrom in disguising himself as the valet of the dyspepsia Mr. Peters, and carry out the task of recovering a sought-after Scarab with Joan Valentine who, on the other hand, camouflages as the maid of Aline Peters as Miss Simpson.
Moreover, I have gained more knowledge of the aristocratic household, for example, in where the servants and staff located at dinner, whether of the Steward’s Room or the Servants’ Hall; when the breaking down the social barriers could take place (occurs 2 times, one in abusing Baxter and the elopement case); the servants’ honourable disagreement with another feller on “getting Above Himself”, and also the method in addressing one another,
“Ashe noted as curious fact that while the actual valet of any person under discussion spoke of him almost affectionately by his Christian name, the rest o the company used the greatest ceremony and gave him the title with all respect.”
The ending of this story, so philosophical, just to examine the circle of life bumping and going of the gong you met in life. Such are the aberrations and the funny narration of human nature I love in the stories of Blandings Castle. I can’t wait to read other shorter stories in The World of Blandings!