The main smoking-room of the Strollers' Club had been filling for the last half-hour, and was now nearly full. In many ways, the Strollers', though not the most magnificent, is the pleasantest club in New York. Its ideals are comfort without pomp; and it is given over after eleven o'clock at night mainly to the Stage. Everybody is young, clean-shaven, and full of conversation: and the conversation strikes a purely professional note. Everybody in the room on this July night had ...
The main smoking-room of the Strollers' Club had been filling for the last half-hour, and was now nearly full. In many ways, the Strollers', though not the most magnificent, is the pleasantest club in New York. Its ideals are comfort without pomp; and it is given over after eleven o'clock at night mainly to the Stage. Everybody is young, clean-shaven, and full of conversation: and the conversation strikes a purely professional note.
Everybody in the room on this July night had come from the theater. Most of those present had been acting, but a certain number had been to the opening performance of the latest better-than-Raffles play. There had been something of a boom that season in dramas whose heroes appealed to the public more pleasantly across the footlights than they might have done in real life. In the play that had opened to-night, Arthur Mifflin, an exemplary young man off the stage, had been warmly applauded for a series of actions which, performed anywhere except in the theater, would certainly have debarred him from remaining a member of the Strollers' or any other club. In faultless evening dress, with a debonair smile on his face, he had broken open a safe, stolen bonds and jewelry to a large amount, and escaped without a blush of shame via the window. He had foiled a detective through four acts, and held up a band of pursuers with a revolver. A large audience had intimated complete approval throughout.
"It's a hit all right," said somebody through the smoke.
"These near-'Raffles' plays always are," grumbled Willett, who played bluff fathers in musical comedy. "A few years ago, they would have been scared to death of putting on a show with a crook as hero. Now, it seems to me the public doesn't want anything else. Not that they know what they DO want," he concluded, mournfully.
"The Belle of Boulogne," in which Willett sustained the role of Cyrus K. Higgs, a Chicago millionaire, was slowly fading away on a diet of paper, and this possibly prejudiced him.
Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was an English humorist, whose body of work includes novels, short stories, plays, poems, song lyrics and numerous pieces of journalism. He enjoyed enormous popular success during a career that lasted more than seventy years and his many writings continue to be widely read.
Pelham Grenville Wodehouse was born in 1881 in Guildford, the son of a civil servant, and educated at Dulwich College. He spent a brief period working for the Hong Kong and Shanghai Bank before abandoning finance for writing, earning a living by journalism and selling stories to magazines.
An enormously popular and prolific writer, he produced about 100 books. In Jeeves, the ever resourceful "gentleman's personal gentleman", and the good-hearted young blunderer Bertie Wooster, he created two of the best known and best loved characters in twentieth century literature. Their exploits, first collected in Carry On, Jeeves, were chronicled in fourteen books, and have been repeatedly adapted for television, radio and the stage. Wodehouse also created many other comic figures, notably Lord Emsworth, the Hon. Galahad Threepwood, Psmith and the numerous members of the Drones Club. He was part-author and writer of fifteen straight plays and 250 lyrics for some 30 musical comedies. The Times hailed him as a "comic genius recognized in his lifetime as a classic and an old master of farce."
P. G. Wodehouse said, "I believe there are two ways of writing novels. One is mine, making a sort of musical comedy without music and ignoring real life altogether; the other is going right deep down into life and not caring a damn ...."
Wodehouse married in 1914 and took American citizenship in 1955. He was created a Knight of the British Empire in the 1975 New Year's Honours List. In a BBC interview he said that he had no ambitions left now that he had been knighted and there was a waxwork of him in Madame Tussaud's. He died on St. Valentine's Day, 1975, at the age of ninety-three.