Company For Gertrude by P.G. Wodehouse, 1928
The magic trick:
Low stakes, high humor
Happy birthday to me. It’s SSMT tradition to celebrate with a P.G. Wodehouse story. Any age-related stress falls by the wayside when you take a visit to Blandings Castle.
Now, if I’m being honest, this is pretty poor Wodehouse. The plot feels like a novel crammed into a story – and not in the dizzying, exciting kind of way. It plays out with hurried transitions, half-baked motivations, and unfinished plot threads.
But who cares?
It’s Blandings. It’s Lord Emsworth. It’s a world where the stakes are low and even the bad jokes are funny. That’s more than enough for a good birthday present.
And that’s quite a trick on Wodehouse’s part.
“Good-oh!” said Freddie. “Is the old doss-house very full up at the moment?”
“If,” replied his lordship, “you are alluding to Blandings Castle, there is nobody at present staying here except myself and your cousin Gertrude. Why?” he added in quick alarm. “Were you thinking of coming down?”
“Good Godm no!” cried his son with equal horror. “I mean to say, I’d love it, of course but just now I’m too busy with Dog-Joy.”
“Who is Popjoy?”
“Popjoy? Popjoy? Oh, ah, yes. He’s a pal of mine and, as you’ve plenty of room, I want you to put him up for a bit. Nice chap. You’ll like him. Right-ho, then, I’ll ship him off on the three-fifteen.”
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