[On writing Jeeves and Wooster stories]: You tell yourself that you can take Jeeves stories or leave them alone, that one more can't possibly hurt you, because you know you can pull up whenever you feel like it, but it is merely wish-full thinking. The craving has gripped you and there is no resisting it. You have passed the point of no return.
I suppose the fundamental distinction between Shakespeare and myself is one of treatment. We get our effects differently. Take the familiar farcical situation of someone who suddenly discovers that something unpleasant is standing behind them. Here is how Shakespeare handles it in "The Winter's Tale, " Act 3, Scene 3: ANTIGONUS: Farewell! A lullaby too rough. I never saw the heavens so dim by day. A savage clamour! Well may I get aboard! This is the chase: I am gone for ever. And then comes literature's most famous stage direction, "Exit pursued by a bear." All well and good, but here's the way I would handle it: BERTIE: Touch of indigestion, Jeeves? JEEVES: No, Sir. BERTIE: Then why is your tummy rumbling? JEEVES: Pardon me, Sir, the noise to which you allude does not emanate from my interior but from that of that animal that has just joined us. BERTIE: Animal? What animal? JEEVES: A bear, Sir. If you will turn your head, you will observe that a bear is standing in your immediate rear inspecting you in a somewhat menacing manner. BERTIE (as narrator): I pivoted the loaf. The honest fellow was perfectly correct. It was a bear. And not a small bear, either. One of the large economy size. Its eye was bleak and it gnashed a tooth or two, and I could see at a g. that it was going to be difficult for me to find a formula. "Advise me, Jeeves, " I yipped. "What do I do for the best?" JEEVES: I fancy it might be judicious if you were to make an exit, Sir. BERTIE (narrator): No sooner s. than d. I streaked for the horizon, closely followed across country by the dumb chum. And that, boys and girls, is how your grandfather clipped six seconds off Roger Bannister's mile. Who can say which method is superior?" (As reproduced in Plum, Shakespeare and the Cat Chap )
I was surprised to learn that doing household chores qualifies as romantic for most of you [women]. That's exactly why you should never hire a butler if you strike it rich - the minute that Jeeves starts unloading the dishwasher without being asked, your wife is going to start humping his leg.
Oh, Jeeves,' I said; 'about that check suit.' Yes, sir?' Is it really a frost?' A trifle too bizarre, sir, in my opinion.' But lots of fellows have asked me who my tailor is.' Doubtless in order to avoid him, sir.' He's supposed to be one of the best men in London.' I am saying nothing against his moral character, sir.
P. G. Wodehouse
I suppose even Dictators have their chummy moments, when they put their feet up and relax with the boys, but it was plain from the outset that if Roderick Spode had a sunnier side, he had not come with any idea of exhibiting it now. His manner was curt. One sensed the absence of the bonhomous note. ... Here he laid a hand on my shoulder, and I can't remember when I have experienced anything more unpleasant. Apart from what Jeeves would have called the symbolism of the action, he had a grip like the bite of a horse. "Did you say 'Oh yes?'" he asked. "Oh no," I assured him.
P. G. Wodehouse
There is, of course, this to be said for the Omnibus Book in general and this one in particular. When you buy it, you have got something. The bulk of this volume makes it almost the ideal paper-weight. The number of its pages assures its posessor of plenty of shaving paper on his vacation. Place upon the waistline and jerked up and down each morning, it will reduce embonpoint and strengthen the abdominal muscles. And those still at their public school will find that between, say, Caesar's Commentaries in limp cloth and this Jeeves book there is no comparison as a missile in an inter-study brawl.