The Inimitable Jeeves

The Inimitable Jeeves

by P. G. Wodehouse

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Overview

“To dive into a Wodehouse novel is to swim in some of the most elegantly turned phrases in the English language.”—Ben Schott
Follow the adventures of Bertie Wooster and his gentleman’s gentleman, Jeeves, in this stunning new edition of one of the greatest comic short story collections in the English language. This classic collection of linked stories feature some of the funniest episodes in the life of Bertie Wooster, gentleman, and Jeeves, his gentleman’s gentleman—in which Bertie's terrifying Aunt Agatha stalks the pages, seeking whom she may devour, while Bertie’s friend Bingo Little falls in love with seven different girls in succession (he marries the last, bestselling romantic novelist Rosie M. Banks). And Bertie, with Jeeves’s help, just evades the clutches of the terrifying Honoria Glossop. At its heart is one of Wodehouse’s most delicious stories and a comic masterpiece, "The Great Sermon Handicap."

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393339802
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 07/05/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 225
Sales rank: 94,099
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

P. G. Wodehouse was born in England in 1881 and in 1955 became an American citizen. He published more than ninety books and had a successful career writing lyrics and musicals in collaboration with Jerome Kern, Guy Bolton, and Cole Porter, among others.

Date of Birth:

October 15, 1881

Date of Death:

February 14, 1975

Place of Birth:

Guildford, Surrey, England

Place of Death:

Southampton, New York

Education:

Dulwich College, 1894-1900

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

JEEVES EXERTS THE OLD CEREBELLUM

'Morning, Jeeves,' I said.

'Good morning, sir,' said Jeeves.

He put the good old cup of tea softly on the table by my bed, and I took a refreshing sip. Just right, as usual. Not too hot, not too sweet, not too weak, not too strong, not too much milk, and not a drop spilled in the saucer. A most amazing cove, Jeeves. So dashed competent in every respect. I've said it before, and I'll say it again. I mean to say, take just one small instance. Every other valet I've ever had used to barge into my room in the morning while I was still asleep, causing much misery: but Jeeves seems to know when I'm awake by a sort of telepathy. He always floats in with the cup exactly two minutes after I come to life. Makes a deuce of a lot of difference to a fellow's day.

'How's the weather, Jeeves?'

'Exceptionally clement, sir.'

'Anything in the papers?'

'Some slight friction threatening in the Balkans, sir. Otherwise, nothing.'

'I say, Jeeves, a man I met at the club last night told me to put my shirt on Privateer for the two o'clock race this afternoon. How about it?'

'I should not advocate it, sir. The stable is not sanguine.'

'That was enough for me. Jeeves knows. How, I couldn't say, but he knows. There was a time when I would laugh lightly, and go ahead, and lose my little all against his advice, but not now.

'Talking of shirts,' I said, 'have those mauve ones I ordered arrived yet?'

'Yes, sir. I sent them back.'

'Sent them back?'

Yes, sir. They would not have become you.'

Well, I must say I'd thought fairly highly of those shirtings, but I bowed to superior knowledge. Weak? I don't know. Most fellows, no doubt, are all for having their valets confine their activities to creasing trousers and what not without trying to run the home; but it's different with Jeeves. Right from the first day he came to me, I have looked on him as a sort of guide, philosopher, and friend.

'Mr Little rang up on the telephone a few moments ago, sir. I informed him that you were not yet awake.'

'Did he leave a message?'

'No, sir. He mentioned that he had a matter of importance to discuss with you, but confided no details.'

'Oh, well, I expect I shall be seeing him at the club.'

'No doubt, sir.'

I wasn't what you might call in a fever of impatience. Bingo Little is a chap I was at school with, and we see a lot of each other still. He's the nephew of old Mortimer Little, who retired from business recently with a goodish pile. (You've probably heard of Little's Liniment — It Limbers Up the Legs.) Bingo biffs about London on a pretty comfortable allowance given him by his uncle, and leads on the whole a fairly unclouded life. It wasn't likely that anything which he described as a matter of importance would turn out to be really so frightfully important. I took it that he had discovered some new brand of cigarette which he wanted me to try, or something like that, and didn't spoil my breakfast by worrying.

After breakfast I lit a cigarette and went to the open window to inspect the day. It certainly was one of the best and brightest.

'Jeeves.' I said.

'Sir?' said Jeeves. He had been clearing away the breakfast things, but at the sound of the young master's voice cheesed it courteously.

'You were absolutely right about the weather. It is a juicy morning.'

'Decidedly, sir.'

'Spring and all that.'

'Yes, sir.'

'In the spring, Jeeves, a livelier iris gleams upon the burnished dove.'

'So I have been informed, sir.'

'Right ho! Then bring me my whangee, my yellowest shoes, and the old green Homburg. I'm going into the Park to do pastoral dances.'

I don't know if you know that sort of feeling you get on these days round about the end of April and the beginning of May, when the sky's a light blue, with cotton-wool clouds, and there's a bit of a breeze blowing from the west? Kind of uplifted feeling. Romantic, if you know what I mean. I'm not much of a ladies' man, but on this particular morning it seemed to me that what I really wanted was some charming girl to buzz up and ask me to save her from assassins or something. So that it was a bit of an anti-climax when I merely ran into young Bingo Little, looking perfectly foul in a crimson satin tie decorated with horseshoes.

'Hallo, Bertie,' said Bingo.

'My God, man!' I gargled. 'The cravat! The gent's neckwear! Why? For what reason?'

'Oh, the tie?' He blushed. 'I — er — I was given it.'

'He seemed embarrassed, so I dropped the subject. We toddled along a bit, and sat down on a couple of chairs by the Serpentine.

'Jeeves tells me you want to talk to me about something,' I said.

'Eh?' said Bingo, with a start. 'Oh yes, yes. Yes.'

I waited for him to unleash the topic of the day, but he didn't seem to want to get along. Conversation languished. He stared straight ahead of him in a glassy sort of manner.

'I say, Bertie,' he said, after a pause of about an hour and a quarter.

'Hallo!'

'Do you like the name Mabel?'

'No.'

'No?'

'No.'

'You don't think there's a kind of music in the word, like the wind rustling gently through the tree-tops?'

'No.'

He seemed disappointed for a moment; then cheered up.

'Of course, you wouldn't. You always were a fat-headed worm without any soul, weren't you?'

'Just as you say. Who is she? Tell me all.'

For I realized now that poor old Bingo was going through it once again. Ever since I have known him — and we were at school together — he has been perpetually falling in love with someone, generally in the spring, which seems to act on him like magic. At school he had the finest collection of actresses' photographs of anyone of his time; and at Oxford his romantic nature was a byword.

You'd better come along and meet her at lunch,' he said, looking at his watch. '

'A ripe suggestion,' I said. 'Where are you meeting her? At the Ritz?'

'Near the Ritz.'

He was geographically accurate. About fifty yards east of the Ritz there is one of those blighted tea-and-bun shops you see dotted about all over London, and into this, if you'll believe me, young Bingo dived like a homing rabbit; and before I had time to say a word we were wedged in at a table, on the brink of a silent pool of coffee left there by an early luncher.

I'm bound to say I couldn't quite follow the development of the scenario. Bingo, while not absolutely rolling in the stuff, has always had a fair amount of the ready. Apart from what he got from his uncle, I knew that he had finished up the jumping season well on the right side of the ledger. Why, then, was he lunching the girl at this God-forsaken eatery? It couldn't be because he was hard up.

Just then the waitress arrived. Rather a pretty girl.

'Aren't we going to wait —?' I started to say to Bingo, thinking it somewhat thick that, in addition to asking a girl to lunch with him in a place like this, he should fling himself on the foodstuffs before she turned up, when I caught sight of his face, and stopped.

The man was goggling. His entire map was suffused with a rich blush. He looked like the Soul's Awakening done in pink.

'Hullo, Mabel!' he said, with a sort of gulp.

'Hallo!' said the girl.

'Mabel,' said Bingo,

'this is Bertie Wooster, a pal of mine.'

'Pleased to meet you,' she said. 'Nice morning.'

'Fine,' I said.

'You see I'm wearing the tie,' said Bingo.

'It suits you beautiful,' said the girl.

Personally, if anyone had told me that a tie like that suited me,

I should have risen and struck them on the mazzard, regardless of their age and sex; but poor old Bingo simply got all flustered with gratification, and smirked in the most gruesome manner.

'Well, what's it going to be today?' asked the girl, introducing the business touch into the conversation.

Bingo studied the menu devoutly.

'I'll have a cup of cocoa, cold veal and ham pie, slice of fruit cake, and a macaroon. Same for you, Bertie?'

I gazed at the man, revolted. That he could have been a pal of mine all these years and think me capable of insulting the old tum with this sort of stuff cut me to the quick.

'Or how about a bit of hot steak-pudding, with a sparkling limado to wash it down?' said Bingo.

You know, the way love can change a fellow is really frightful to contemplate. This chappie before me, who spoke in that absolutely careless way of macaroons and limado, was the man I had seen in happier days telling the head-waiter at Claridge's exactly how he wanted the chef to prepare the sole frite au gourmet aux champignons, and saying he would jolly well sling it back if it wasn't just right. Ghastly! Ghastly!

A roll and butter and a small coffee seemed the only things on the list that hadn't been specially prepared by the nastier-minded members of the Borgia family for people they had a particular grudge against, so I chose them, and Mabel hopped it.

'Well?' said Bingo rapturously.

I took it that he wanted my opinion of the female poisoner who had just left us.

'Very nice,' I said.

He seemed dissatisfied.

'You don't think she's the most wonderful girl you ever saw?' he said wistfully.

'Oh, absolutely!' I said, to appease the blighter. 'Where did you meet her?'

'At a subscription dance at Camberwell.'

'What on earth were you doing at a subscription dance at Camberwell?'

'Your man Jeeves asked me if I would buy a couple of tickets. It was in aid of some charity or other.'

'Jeeves? I didn't know he went in for that sort of thing.'

'Well, I suppose he has to relax a bit every now and then. Anyway, he was there, swinging a dashed efficient shoe. I hadn't meant to go at first, but I turned up for a lark. Oh, Bertie, think what I might have missed!'

'What might you have missed?' I asked, the old lemon being slightly clouded.

'Mabel, you chump. If I hadn't gone I shouldn't have met Mabel.'

'Oh, ah!'

At this point Bingo fell into a species of trance, and only came out of it to wrap himself round the pie and the macaroon.

'Bertie,' he said, 'I want your advice.' 'Carry on.'

'At least, not your advice, because that wouldn't be much good to anybody. I mean, you're a pretty consummate old ass, aren't you? Not that I want to hurt your feelings, of course.'

'No, no, I see that.'

'What I wish you would do is to put the whole thing to that fellow Jeeves of yours, and see what he suggests. You've often told me that he has helped other pals of yours out of messes. From what you tell me, he's by way of being the brains of the family.'

'He's never let me down yet.'

'Then put my case to him.'

'What case?'

'My problem.'

'What problem?'

'Why, you poor fish, my uncle, of course. What do you think my uncle's going to say to all this? If I sprang it on him cold, he'd tie himself in knots on the hearthrug.'

'One of these emotional johnnies, eh?'

'Somehow or other his mind has got to be prepared to receive the news. But how?'

'Ah!'

'That's a lot of help, that "ah"! You see, I'm pretty well dependent on the old boy. If he cut off my allowance, I should be very much in the soup. So you put the whole binge to Jeeves and see if he can't scare up a happy ending somehow. Tell him my future is in his hands, and that, if the wedding bells ring out, he can rely on me, even unto half my kingdom. Well, call it ten quid. Jeeves would exert himself with ten quid on the horizon, what?'

'Undoubtedly,' I said.

I wasn't in the least surprised at Bingo wanting to lug Jeeves into his private affairs like this. It was the first thing I would have thought of doing myself if I had been in a hole of any description. As I have frequently had occasion to observe, he is a bird of the ripest intellect, full of bright ideas. If anybody could fix things for poor old Bingo, he could.

I stated the case to him that night after dinner.

'Jeeves.'

'Sir?'

'Are you busy just now?'

'No, sir.'

'I mean, not doing anything in particular?'

'No, sir. It is my practice at this hour to read some improving book; but, if you desire my services, this can easily be postponed, or, indeed, abandoned altogether.'

'Well, I want your advice. It's about Mr Little.'

'Young Mr Little, sir, or the elder Mr Little, his uncle, who lives in Pounceby Gardens?'

Jeeves seemed to know everything. Most amazing thing. I'd been pally with Bingo practically all my life, and yet I didn't remember having heard that his uncle lived anywhere in particular.

'How did you know he lived in Pounceby Gardens?' I said.

'I am on terms of some intimacy with the elder Mr Little's cook, sir. In fact, there is an understanding.'

I'm bound to say that this gave me a bit of a start. Somehow I'd never thought of Jeeves going in for that sort of thing.

'Do you mean you're engaged?'

'It may be said to amount to that, sir.'

'Well, well!'

'She is a remarkably excellent cook, sir,' said Jeeves, as though he felt called on to give some explanation. 'What was it you wished to ask me about Mr. Little?'

I sprang the details on him.

'And that's how the matter stands, Jeeves,' I said. 'I think we ought to rally round a trifle and help poor old Bingo put the thing through. Tell me about old Mr. Little. What sort of a chap is he?'

'A somewhat curious character, sir. Since retiring from business he has become a great recluse, and now devotes himself almost entirely to the pleasures of the table.'

'Greedy hog, you mean?'

'I would not, perhaps, take the liberty of describing him in precisely those terms, sir. He is what is usually called a gourmet. Very particular about what he eats, and for that reason sets a high value on Miss Watson's services.'

'The cook?'

'Yes, sir.'

'Well, it looks to me as though our best plan would be to shoot young Bingo in on him after dinner one night. Melting mood, I mean to say, and all that.'

'The difficulty is, sir, that at the moment Mr Little is on a diet, owing to an attack of gout.'

'Things begin to look wobbly.'

'No, sir, I fancy that the elder Mr Little's misfortune may be turned to the younger Mr Little's advantage. I was speaking only the other day to Mr Little's valet, and he was telling me that it has become his principal duty to read to Mr Little in the evenings. If I were in your place, sir, I should send young Mr. Little to read to his uncle.'

'Nephew's devotion, you mean? Old man touched by kindly action, what?'

'Partly that, sir. But I would rely more on young Mr Little's choice of literature.'

'That's no good. Jolly old Bingo has a kind face, but when it comes to literature he stops at the Sporting Times.'

'That difficulty may be overcome. I would be happy to select books for Mr Little to read. Perhaps I might explain my idea a little further?'

'I can't say I quite grasp it yet.'

'The method which I advocate is what, I believe, the advertisers call Direct Suggestion, sir, consisting as it does of driving an idea home by constant repetition. You may have had experience of the system?'

'You mean they keep on telling you that some soap or other is the best, and after a bit you come under the influence and charge round the corner and buy a cake?'

'Exactly, sir. The same method was the basis of all the most valuable propaganda during the recent war. I see no reason why it should not be adopted to bring about the desired result with regard to the subject's views on class distinctions. If young Mr. Little were to read day after day to his uncle a series of narratives in which marriage with young persons of an inferior social status was held up as both feasible and admirable, I fancy it would prepare the elder Mr Little's mind for the reception of the information that his nephew wishes to marry a waitress in a tea-shop.'

'Are there any books of that sort nowadays? The only ones I ever see mentioned in the papers are about married couples who find life grey, and can't stick each other at any price.'

'Yes, sir, there are a great many, neglected by the reviewers but widely read. You have never encountered All for Love, by Rosie M. Banks?'

'No.'

'Nor A Red, Red Summer Rose, by the same author?'

'No.'

'I have an aunt, sir, who owns an almost complete set of Rosie

M. Banks'. I could easily borrow as many volumes as young Mr. Little might require. They make very light, attractive reading.'

'Well, it's worth trying.'

'I should certainly recommend the scheme, sir.'

'All right, then. Toddle round to your aunt's tomorrow and grab a couple of the fruitiest. We can but have a dash at it.'

'Precisely, sir.'

CHAPTER 2

NO WEDDING BELLS FOR BINGO

Bingo reported three days later that Rosie M. Banks was the and beyond a question the stuff to give the troops. Old Little had jibbed somewhat at first at the proposed change of literary diet, he not being much of a lad for fiction and having stuck hitherto exclusively to the heavier monthly reviews; but Bingo had got chapter one of All for Love past his guard before he knew what was happening, and after that there was nothing to it. Since then they had finished A Red, Red Summer Rose, Madcap Myrtle and Only a Factory Girl, and were half-way through The Courtship of Lord Strathmorlick.

Bingo told me all this in a husky voice over an egg beaten up in sherry, The only blot on the thing from his point of view was that it wasn't doing a bit of good to the old vocal cords, which were beginning to show signs of cracking under the strain. He had been looking his symptoms up in a medical dictionary, and he thought, he had got 'clergyman's throat'. But against this you had to set the fact that he was making an undoubted hit in the right quarter, and also that after the evening's reading he always stayed on to dinner; and, from what he told me, the dinners turned out by old Little's cook had to be tasted to be believed. There were tears in the old blighter's eyes as he got on the subject of the clear soup. I suppose to a fellow who for weeks had been tackling macaroons and limado it must have been like Heaven.

(Continues…)


Excerpted from "The Inimitable Jeeves"
by .
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Excerpted by permission of OPEN ROAD INTEGRATED MEDIA.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents


I. Jeeves Exerts the Old Cerebellum
II. No Wedding Bells for Bingo
III. Aunt Agatha Speaks her Mind
IV. Pearls Mean Tears
V. The Pride of the Woosters is Wounded
VI. The Hero's Reward
VII. Introducing Claude and Eustace
VIII. Sir Roderick Comes to Lunch
IX. A Letter of Introduction
X. Startling Dressiness of a Lift Attendant
XI. Comrade Bingo
XII. Bingo has a Bad Goodwood
XIII. The Great Sermon Handicap
XIV. The Purity of the Turf
XV. The Metropolitan Touch
XVI. The Delayed Exit of Claude and Eustace
XVII. Bingo and the Little Woman
XVIII. All's Well
Bibliography 

What People are Saying About This

Evelyn Waugh

Wodehouse’s idyllic world can never stale. He will continue to release future generations from captivity that may be more irksome than our own. He has made a world for us to live in and delight in.

Stephen Fry

You don’t analyze such sunlit perfection, you just bask in its warmth and splendor.

Lynne Truss

You should read Wodehouse when you’re well, and when you’re poorly; when you’re travelling, and when you’re not; when you’re feeling clever, and when you’re feeling utterly dim. Wodehouse always lifts your spirits, no matter how high they happen to be already.

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The Inimitable Jeeves 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A relaxing and funny story!!! Great read!!
Anonymous 7 months ago
A+good+introduction+to+the+world+of+Bertie+Wooster%2C+a+rudderless+but+well+meaning+gentleman%2C+and+his+valet+%28NOT+butler%29+Jeeves%2C+who+ingeniously+sorts+it+all+out+for+him.%0A%0A%0A%0A%0A%0A
brettjames on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wodehouse breaks every rule in comic timing, and it works perfectly.
MuckleFlugga on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first Jeeves & Wooster book I've actually read - although I have watched the TV series several times over. I really enjoyed it but I suspect that all the Jeeves and Wooster books are written along a similar formula. Still; some very amusing characters, plots and sub-plots which kept me entertained.
horacewimsey on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
You would be forgiven for thinking that the stories all seemed the same. Essentially they follow a formula. But try not to read them one right after the other and I think you'll get along nicely. These are, after all, Wodehouse at his best.
billiecat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
"The Inimitable Jeeves" is a collection of short stories that shows Wodehouse's command of the form, but this volume, focusing as many of the stories do on the romantic escapades of Bingo Little, has a little bit more unity than others. As Bingo is almost as funny a feckless idiot (in the words of Aunt Agatha) as Bertie, it is thoroughly enjoyable. Best stories are "No Wedding Bells for Bingo" and, of course, "The Great Sermon Handicap" and "The Purity of the Turf."
nohablo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Frothy and blithe and meant to be read basking outside with blue skies and hella sun.More of a series of quickly Oh Bertie! episodes; moves everything along at a lightening clip, but also makes me miss some of the rumbling cacophony of the more elaborately orchestrated Wodehouse plots.
cyderry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a collection of short stories with Bertie Wooster and his "gentleman" Jeeves. These entertaining stories surround Bertie supporting the love issues of his friend who falls in love every other day with someone new. if you'd like a good chuckle, read on.!
tjsjohanna on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What I enjoyed most about this novel was all the British expressions and the dry humor, not to mention how Jeeves has his employer wrapped around his little finger. I loved how he always managed to make Bertie get rid of clothing that Jeeves didn't like.
riverwillow on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My ultimate comfort read. Superb.
beserene on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love the Jeeves stories. Yes, I know that it's really the same story told over and over again in the same book and in different books and the only things that change -- occasionally -- are the character names, but still... it's funny every damn time. And that is why, when I really need something sharp to make me chortle, I turn to Wodehouse's Jeeves. Those who do not appreciate British humor or who don't have any understanding of the old class system will probably lose patience with these books quite quickly, but for the rest of us, there is no one like Jeeves. And, of course, our ridiculous narrator, Bertie Wooster. The antics of the aforementioned individuals -- though "antic" really only describes one of them -- inform a hundred other novels and authors, from Evelyn Waugh to Terry Pratchett to Connie Willis. Anyone who thinks the classics are stuffy should read a good bit of Wodehouse. Recommended.
iftyzaidi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Wonderful. Even, dare I say it, inimitable! This is the first Jeeves and Wooster book I've read and honestly I can't say why it too me so long to get round to reading it.
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