Wodehouse to the rescue!

I think the news is so dire and nasty all round these days that we need to look at the lighter side of life for a while.  Courtesy of a link provided by Cold Fury, I was led to a wonderful collection of quotations from the books of P. G. Wodehouse, creator of Bertie Wooster, Jeeves, and a host of other unforgettable characters.

Wodehouse’s wit was legendary, and hasn’t lost its sparkle with the passage of years.  To keep this article writing-related, authors come in for their fair share of skewering, too.  Here we go!

“I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.”

“I’m not absolutely certain of the facts, but I rather fancy it’s Shakespeare who says that it’s always just when a fellow is feeling particularly braced with things in general that Fate sneaks up behind him with the bit of lead piping.”

“A melancholy-looking man, he had the appearance of one who has searched for the leak in life’s gas-pipe with a lighted candle.”

“It has been well said that an author who expects results from a first novel is in a position similar to that of a man who drops a rose petal down the Grand Canyon of Arizona and listens for the echo.”

“It isn’t often that Aunt Dahlia lets her angry passions rise, but when she does, strong men climb trees and pull them up after them.”

“It was a nasty look. It made me feel as if I were something the dog had brought in and intended to bury later on, when he had time.”

“An apple a day, if well aimed, keeps the doctor away.”

“Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to speak French.”

“Intoxicated? The word did not express it by a mile. He was oiled, boiled, fried, plastered, whiffled, sozzled, and blotto.”

“I don’t suppose she would recognize a deep, beautiful thought if you handed it to her on a skewer with tartare sauce.”

“For an author Jerry Vail was rather nice-looking, most authors, as is widely known, resembling in appearance the more degraded types of fish, unless they look like birds, when they could pass as vultures and no questions asked.”

“It was a confusion of ideas between him and one of the lions he was hunting in Kenya that had caused A. B. Spottsworth to make the obituary column. He thought the lion was dead, and the lion thought it wasn’t.”

“It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.”

“Attila the Hun might have broken off his engagement to her, but nobody except Attila the Hun, and he only on one of his best mornings.”

“The voice of Love seemed to call to me, but it was a wrong number.”

“He had the look of one who had drunk the cup of life and found a dead beetle at the bottom.”

“She looked as if she had been poured into her clothes and had forgotten to say ‘when’.”

“He felt like a man who, chasing rainbows, has had one of them suddenly turn and bite him in the leg.”

There.  I hope those have brought a smile to your face, and brightened your day.  They certainly have mine!

 

6 comments

  1. “Attila the Hun might have broken off his engagement to her, but nobody except Attila the Hun, and he only on one of his best mornings.”

    I don’t know the Wodehouse canon well enough to recognize the quote, but I’m going to guess that the “her” in question was probably Honoria Glossup.

  2. “It has been well said that an author who expects results from a first novel is in a position similar to that of a man who drops a rose petal down the Grand Canyon of Arizona and listens for the echo.”

    Words of wisdom I would do well to remember…

  3. “He felt like a man who, chasing rainbows, has had one of them suddenly turn and bite him in the leg.”
    I’m not sure how I feel about that one. It’s much like one of those foreground/background pictures where you can see one or the other, but not both at the same time. It’s alternately evocative and meaningless. (What does that feel like? I think everyone would have their own answer.)

    1. I am inclined to think that part of what it’s supposed to evoke is an unpleasant reversal that is unexpected to the point of being nonsensical/incomprehensible.

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