There is a certain something in P. G. Wodehouse's precise articulation of lunacy that brings the reader moments of great jollity. In other words, Hilarity Ensues at least once on every page.
Works with their own pages:
- The Code of the Woosters
- Right Ho, Jeeves
- Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit
- Joy in the Morning
- Much Obliged, Jeeves
- Aunts Aren't Gentlemen
- One of the most hilarious early-morning conversations in fiction:"What ho!" I said."What ho!" said Motty."What ho! What ho!"After that it seemed rather difficult to go on with the conversation.
- "I'm not absolutely certain of my facts, but I rather fancy it's Shakespeare — or, if not, it's some equally brainy lad — who says that it's always just when a chappie is feeling particularly top-hole, and more than usually braced with things in general that Fate sneaks up behind him with a bit of lead piping."
- Bertie meets the husband of one of his ex-girlfriends.Have you ever been turned down by a girl who afterwards married and then been introduced to her husband? If so you'll understand how I felt when Clarence burst on me. You know the feeling. First of all, when you hear about the marriage, you say to yourself, "I wonder what he's like." Then you meet him, and think, "There must be some mistake. She can't have preferred this to me!"
- Bertie reflecting on the refining effect of suffering in The Aunt and the Sluggard.As I stood in my lonely bedroom at the hotel, trying to tie my white tie myself, it struck me for the first time that there must be whole squads of chappies in the world who had to get along without a man to look after them. I'd always thought of Jeeves as a kind of natural phenomenon; but, by Jove! of course, when you come to think of it, there must be quite a lot of fellows who have to press their own clothes themselves, and haven't got anybody to bring them tea in the morning, and so on. It was rather a solemn thought, don't you know. I mean to say, ever since then I've been able to appreciate the frightful privations the poor have to stick.
- "The funny thing was that he wasn't altogether a fool in other ways. Deep down in him there was a kind of stratum of sense. I had known him, once or twice, show an almost human intelligence. But to reach that stratum, mind you, you needed dynamite."
- Bingo falls for a young woman with poor taste in neckwear.'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 flustered with gratification, and smirked in the most gruesome manner.
- Bertie: What are the chances of a cobra biting Harold, Jeeves?Jeeves: Slight, I should imagine, sir. And in such an event, knowing the boy as intimately as I do, my anxiety would be entirely for the snake.
- "We Woosters do not lightly forget. At least, we do - some things - appointments, and people's birthdays, and letters to post, and all that - but not an absolutely bally insult like the above."
- Bertie reflects on his place in the family.As a rule, you see, I'm not lugged into Family Rows. On the occasions when Aunt is calling Aunt like mastodons bellowing across premieval swamps and Uncle James's letter about Cousin Mabel's peculiar behaviour is being shot round the family circle ('Please read this carefully and send it on Jane') the clan has a tendency to ignore me. It's one of the advantages I get from being a bachelor - and, according to my nearest and dearest, practically a half-witted bachelor at that.
- The twins arrive.Claude: Hear that, Eustace? He wishes we were staying a good long time."I expect it will seem a good long time," said Eustace, philosophically.
- Bertie displays his complete lack of tact yet again.Jeeves: [Harold] is of an outspoken disposition, and had made an opprobrious remark respecting my personal appearance.Bertie: What did he say about your appearance?Jeeves (austerely): I have forgotten, sir. But it was opprobrious.
- Bingo falls in love (again) and spends the night outside what he thinks is the girl's window. Turns out it's the butler's window.
- The Delayed Exit of Claude and Eustace. All of it. Especially when the titular twins have just been expelled from Oxford and Bertie thinks they're on their way to South Africa... and then Claude walks into Bertie's room.I'd been having so many distorted nightmares since I had dropped off to sleep that for half a minute I thought this was simply one more of them, and the worst of the lot. It was only when Claude sat down on my feet that I got on to the fact that this was stern reality.
Claude: Very sound fellow, Eustace. Probably end up by being a magnate of some kind. I shall watch his future progress with considerable interest. And now you must excuse me for a moment, Bertie. I want to go and hunt up Jeeves and get him to mix me one of those pick-me-ups of his. For some reason which I can't explain, I've got a slight headache this morning.Bertie: [narrating] And, believe me or believe me not, the door had hardly closed behind him when in blew Eustace with a shining morning face that made me ill to look at.
- Claude reveals that he's fallen in love with a girl called Marion Wardour, so he "gave Eustace the slip at Waterloo" to come back in hopes of seeing her again. Then he starts talking about Eustace, who he thinks is on a boat bound for South Africa.
...[Claude] came in in person, looking like a giant refreshed. There's no doubt that Jeeves's pick-me-ups will produce immediate results in anything short of an Egyptian mummy. [...] Claude had revived like a watered flower, but he nearly had a relapse when he saw his bally brother goggling at him over the bed-rail.
- Eustace reveals that he's in love with Marion too, and he thinks Claude is en route to South Africa. Then Claude returns.
Aunt Agatha: ...What I was thinking was, are [Claude and Eustace] safe?Bertie: Are they what?It seemed such a rummy adjective to apply to the twins, they being about as innocuous as a couple of sprightly young tarantulas.
- And then, while the twins are staying with Bertie and trying to see which one of them Marion will choose, Aunt Agatha comes to visit, and as far as she knows the two of them are in South Africa.
Aunt Agatha: You do think those poor, dear boys are safe, Bertie? They have not met with some horrible accident?It made my mouth water to think of it, but I said no, I didn't think they had met with any horrible accident. I thought Eustace was a horrible accident, and Claude about the same, but I didn't say so.
- Aunt Agatha then reveals that Uncle George saw what he thought was Eustace's ghost.
Marion: Your cousins not at home, Bertie?Bertie: No, thank goodness!Marion: Then I'll tell you where they are. They're in my sitting-room, glaring at each other from opposite corners, waiting for me to come in. Bertie, this has got to stop.Bertie: You're seeing a good deal of them, are you?Marion: I can't move a step without tripping over one or both of them. Generally both. They've taken to calling together, and they just settle down grimly and try to sit each other out. It's wearing me to a shadow.
- Then poor Marion, the object of the twins' affection, comes to call.
- Claude gives Marion a cigarette case. Then Aunt Agatha visits again, and Bertie learns that it's Uncle George's cigarette case, and Claude stole it.
- "What's the use of a great city having temptations if fellows don't yield to them? Makes it so bally discouraging for the great city."
- Bertie's descriptions of people or things are always good for a laugh.He looked haggard and careworn, like a Borgia who has suddenly remembered that he has forgotten to shove cyanide in the consommé, and the dinner-gong due any moment.
- Bertie meets Sir Roderick.If ever there was a bloke at the very mention of whose name it would be excusable for people to tremble like aspens, that bloke is Sir Roderick Glossop. He has an enormous bald head, all the hair which ought to be on it seeming to have run into his eyebrows, and his eyes go through you like a couple of Death Rays."How are you, how are you, how are you?" I said, overcoming a slight desire to leap backwards out of the window.
- "The voice of Love seemed to call to me, but it was a wrong number."
- "Unseen in the background, Fate was quietly slipping lead into the boxing glove."
- Bertie forgets his quotations again.Hell, it is well known, has no fury like a woman who wants her tea and can't get it.
- In The Ordeal of Young Tuppy Jeeves demonstrates that when dealing with Bertie, you have to be a Captain Obvious.Bertie: I will read [Tuppy's telegram] to you. [...] When you come tomorrow, bring my football boots. Also, if humanly possible, Irish water-spaniel. Urgent. Regards. Tuppy. What do you make of that, Jeeves?Jeeves: As I interpret the document, sir, Mr. Glossop wishes you, when you come tomorrow, to bring his football boots. Also, if humanly possible, an Irish water-spaniel. He hints that the matter is urgent, and sends his regards.Bertie: Yes, that is how I read it. But why football boots?Jeeves: Perhaps Mr. Glossop wishes to play football, sir.
- And in the same story, Bertie's description of Tuppy during the climactic rugby match.He was so crusted with alluvial deposits that one realized how little a mere bath would ever be able to effect. To fit him to take his place once more in polite society, he would certainly have to be sent to the cleaner's. Indeed, it was a moot point whether it wouldn't be simpler just to throw him away.
- And in the same story, Bertie's description of Tuppy during the climactic rugby match.
- In "Jeeves and the Yule-Tide Spirit", Jeeves advises Bertie against pursuing Bobbie Wickham, calling her "volatile and frivolous." Later in the story Bertie tells Jeeves that he's about to eat his words: Bobbie just gave him an excellent plan to prank Tuppy Glossop by puncturing his hot water bottle, "and this is the girl you were calling volatile and frivolous."
- In The Love That Purifies, Bertie's cousins Thomas and Bonzo are the subject of a bet: whichever is the most well-behaved until Mr. Anstruther leaves gets five pounds. And then there's The Reveal of why they're both so well-behaved: Bonzo has fallen in love with Lillian Gish, and Thomas is in love with Greta Garbo. And then Sebastian Moon comes along with a crush on Clara Bow...
- Also in The Love That Purifies, Thomas finally snaps and tries to throw a bucket of water at Sebastian. Unfortunately, Sebastian dodges, and poor Mr. Anstruther gets it instead.[Thomas], for some reason plainly stirred to the depths of his being, moved adroitly to one side and, poising the bucket for an instant, discharged its contents. And Mr Anstruther, who had just moved to the same side, received, as far as I could gather from a distance, the entire consignment. In one second, without any previous training or upbringing, he had become the wettest man in Worcestershire.
- Bertie has been informed by his landlord that he must, by popular demand, either cease his attempts to learn to play the banjolele, or take himself and 'that infernal din' elsewhere.'Complaints, it would seem, have been lodged by the Honorable Mrs. Tinkler-Moulke of C-6; by Lieutenant Colonel J. J. Bustard (DSO) of B-5; and Sir Everard and Lady Blennerhassett, of B-7. All right. So be it. I don't care. We shall be well-rid of these Tinkler-Moulkes, these Bustards, and these Blennerhassetts. I leave them without a pang.'
- "I mean, if you're asking a fellow to come out of a room so that you can dismember him with a carving knife, it's absurd to tack a 'sir' on to every sentence. The two things don't go together."
- A memorable scene occurs when Police Constable Dobbs, in hot pursuit of Gussie Fink-Nottle, chases him up a tree.And what [Gussie] expected to get out of this maneuver, only his diseased mind knew. Constable Dobbs may not have been one of Dorsetshire's finest thinkers, but he was smart enough to stand under a tree. And this he proceeded to do. Apparent in the lines of his broad back was the determination to fight it out on these lines if it took all summer [...] I closed my eyes to shut out the painful scene. When I re-opened them [...] I beheld the officer flat on his back in the middle of the road, while Jeeves was replacing something in his pocket which instinct told me was small, serviceable, and made of India-rubber."I coshed the officer, sir," said Jeeves respectfully. "It seemed to me the best course to pursue."
- "In your walks about London you will sometimes see bent, haggard figures that look as if they had recently been caught in some powerful machinery. They are those fellows who got mixed up with Catsmeat when he was meaning well."
- "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."
- Bertie grumbling about how everyone makes him do the things they don't want to.Whenever there is a job to be taken on of a kind calculated to make Humanity shudder, the cry goes up, "Let Wooster do it."
- Bertie saying that Aunt Dahlia could never read in the paper that he'll be shot at sunrise... because he's never up that early.
- Bobbie's mother calls Bertie and is very upset over something she read in The Times. Confused, Bertie looks at the paper to find out what it is, and discovers someone has sent in an announcement of his engagement to Bobbie, who he most definitely is not engaged to.
- Followed by The Reveal that Bobbie herself put the announcement in. Why? She's in love with Kipper, one of Bertie's friends, but her mother wouldn't approve of him, so she took advantage of the fact that her mother approves of Bertie even less to fake an engagement to him, then fake a break-up so she can get together with Kipper. Ridiculously overcomplicated? Yes. Inevitably going to go wrong? Yes. Hilarious? Yes.
- Bertie is so startled at seeing Aunt Dahlia's new "butler" (otherwise known as Roderick Glossop) that he spills his tea... all over his former headmaster....we all know what happens when you start violently while holding a full cup of tea. The contents of mine flew through the air and came to rest on the trousers of Aubrey Upjohn, MA, moistening them to no little extent. Indeed, it would scarcely be distorting the facts to say that he was now not so much wearing trousers as wearing tea.
- Aunt Dahlia discovers how difficult it is to talk to Phyllis.Phyllis: [about her father taking libel action against a newspaper] It's this book Daddy wrote about preparatory schools. He wrote a book about preparatory schools. Did you know he had written a book about preparatory schools?Aunt Dahlia: Hadn't an inkling. Nobody tells me anything.Phyllis: Well, he wrote this book about preparatory schools. It was about preparatory schools.Aunt Dahlia: About preparatory schools, was it?Phyllis: Yes, about preparatory schools.
- Bertie informs Jeeves that a dachshund is currently among the guests at his aunt's.Bertie: Nice dog. Wears his ears inside out. Why do dachshunds wear their ears inside out, Jeeves?
Jeeves: I could not say, sir.
- Bertie snarking at Madeline's melodramatic declaration to Gussie.'I hate you, I hate you!' cried Madeline, a thing I didn't know anyone ever said except in the second act of a musical comedy.
- Stinker's introduction. Especially when Bertie comments on his fondness for playing football.Rugby football is more or less a sealed book to me, I never having gone in for it, but even I could see that he was good. The lissomness with which he moved hither and thither was most impressive, as was his homicidal ardour when doing what I believe is called tackling. Like the Canadian Mounted Police he always got his man, and when he did so the air was vibrant with the excited cries of morticians in the audience making bids for the body.
- "[Stinker] gave me the impression of a two-hundred-pound curate with something on his mind beside his hair."
- Aunt Dahlia's phone call to Bertie.Aunt Dahlia: Bertie, you foul young blot on the landscape! [...] I got your telegram. [...] What do you mean, you're leaving town? You never leave town except to come down here and wallow in Anatole's cooking. Where are you going?...I said I was going to Totleigh Towers, and she uttered an impatient snort.Aunt Dahlia: There's something wrong with this blasted wire. It sounded as if you were saying you were going to Totleigh Towers.Bertie: I am.
Bertie: Incredulous!Aunt Dahlia: If you mean incredible, you're wrong. I told you how he had fallen under Jeeves's spell when he was here. He used to follow him with his eyes as he buttled, like a cat watching a duck, as Anatole would say. And one morning I heard him making him a definite proposition. Well? What's the matter with you? Have you fainted?
- Then Aunt Dahlia reveals that Mr. Bassett wants to steal Jeeves away.
- Bertie meets Roderick Spode.Spode: Wooster, I can't make up my mind whether to break your neck or not.'Not' would have been the way my vote would have been cast, but he didn't give me time to say so.
...I was interested to learn that this was what snakes did.
- Then Spode accuses Bertie of trying to come between Madeline and Gussie, "like a creeping snake".
- Mr. Glossop's reaction to learning Bertie is coming to stay for at least a week... after Bertie arrives.
- Bertie's description of the atmosphere at Totleigh Towers.Sombre, that's the word I was trying to think of. The atmosphere was sombre. The whole binge might have been a scene from one of those Russian plays my Aunt Agatha sometimes makes me take her son Thos to at the Old Vic in order to improve his mind, which, as is widely known, can do with all the improvement that's coming to it.
- Jeeves objects to Bertie's alpine hat.Bertie: If you really want to know, several fellows at the Drones asked me where I had got it.
- Jeeves gets Bertie out of having to marry Madeline, by claiming Bertie's a kleptomaniac.
- Jeeves reads over Bertie's article on "What the Well-Dressed Man Is Wearing" for Milady's Boudoir:I watched him narrowly as he read on, and, as I was expecting, what you might call the love-light suddenly died out of his eyes. I braced myself for an unpleasant scene.
"Come to the bit about soft silk shirts for evening wear?" I asked carelessly.
"Yes, sir," said Jeeves in a low, cold voice, as if he'd been bitten in the leg by a personal friend.
- "If that doesn't leave me without a stain on my character, well, then I don't know what it does leave me without a stain on."
The TV series
- Aunt Agatha saying that Honoria Glossop is the perfect wife for Bertie because "she will mould you".Bertie: I don't want to be moulded! I'm not a jelly!Aunt Agatha: That is a matter of opinion.
- Jeeves expresses his doubts about Bertie's plan.Jeeves: Any undertaking that requires the presence of four people in one place at the same time, while two of them are unaware of the fact, is fraught with the possibility of mishap, sir.
- "Well, [Honoria] didn't phone me, exactly. I mean, I picked the phone up because I was standing beside it." "What did she say?" "She said, 'Let me talk to someone with a brain'. But it was friendly, the way she said it!"
- One of Bertie's cousins says that Barmy "has the IQ of a backward clam". Jeeves replies, "It's my understanding that amongst his fellow members of the Drones Club he is considered something of a dangerous intellectual."
- When the cats run out of Bertie's bedroom, the Glossops jump up on the furniture to get away from them.
- Bertie trying to enlist Jeeves to sing "Minnie the Moocher" with him.Jeeves: Hoo-dee hoo-dee hoo, sir.
- "Whenever I see Miss Wickham, I know that trouble cannot be far behind."
- The look on Jeeves' face as he takes Macintosh (Aunt Agatha's dog) for a walk.
- "I was on my way there, when something happened! I can't remember what exactly."
- Barmy boasts about a new golfing gadget he's got that buzzes to tell him when to start the downswing. Then, when he tests it for the first time, it doesn't work. Turns out he forgot to wind it up.
- Bertie's first golfing attempt, which is always interrupted by Macintosh's barking. He finally hits the ball... and, thanks to Macintosh, sends it flying into a group of people, hitting one of them.
- Then a little later, he hits the ball then ducks as it bounces off several trees and ends up back at his feet.
- "If you ask me, Jeeves, that animal [Macintosh] is in the pay of the Fotheringay-Phippses!"
- The "menu" Bobby sends Bertie: roly-poly pudding, with lots of jam, oysters, ice cream and plenty of chocolate.Bertie: She must be on some sort of diet.
- When Bertie goes to retrieve Aunt Agatha's dog, at least three other dogs follow him into the hotel where Macintosh was taken because of the aniseed on his trousers.
- Bertie diving behind the couch when Mr. Blumenfield comes to call.
- Uncle George sends Bertie a message telling him to come and see him, and it's urgent.Bertie: I got a message that it was urgent.Uncle George: Oh, it is, yes, it is. Yes, yes, yes. What I wanted to ask you was, where do you get those ties you wear?Bertie: Ties?
- "Great Scott, Uncle George! You're not thinking about getting married?" "Yes, confound you, I am thinking about getting married. And if your Aunt Agatha comes sticking her oar in, I'll... well, I'll know what to do about it."
- Jeeves reveals that Uncle George's intended, Miss Platt, is a waitress.Bertie: Good Lord, well, how is Aunt Agatha going to take to this?
- Aunt Agatha hears the news.Aunt Agatha: [to Bertie] I'm sorry to have to tell you that my brother has gone mad.
- Bertie has a rare attack of genre savviness when Aunt Agatha suggests bribing Miss Platt not to marry Uncle George.Bertie: ...[W]henever people do that in books the girl gets the sympathy every time.[...]Aunt Agatha: What trash you do read, Bertie. I sometimes despair of you.Bertie: Well, I just think you're going to find it dashed embarrassing, offering this girl money.Aunt Agatha: I am not proposing to do any such thing. You will undertake the negotiations.
- "If it's not troubling you too much, Bertie, I should be greatly obliged if you would stop driveling!"
- After Uncle George switches his affections from Miss Platt to her aunt Mrs. Wilberforce, he decides to take Mrs. Wilberforce to meet Aunt Agatha. Jeeves promptly starts packing.Jeeves: Now, perhaps you would like the change before the journey, sir. I thought you would drive down after lunch while I take the baggage by train.Bertie: What train? What journey? Why are we packing?Jeeves: Your uncle has taken Mrs. Wilberforce to meet Mrs. Gregson this afternoon, sir.Bertie: He's taken her to meet Aunt Agatha?Jeeves: I think perhaps if we were to leave the metropolis for a while, it might be expedient, sir.
- Bertie's perfectly innocent "Me? W-what have I done?" a few moments after he'd accidentally shot a chandelier from its ceiling rose with a hunting rifle.
- "Jeeves! I'm not yet awake, I've not yet had my tea, and yet you bring me Fink-Nottles? Is this a time for Fink or any other kind of Nottle?"
- "You've heard of Market Snodsbury Grammar School?" "Never." "It's a grammar school, in Market Snodsbury."
- Jeeves's opinion of Bertie's white dinner jacket. "I assumed it had got into your wardrobe by mistake, sir, or else that it had been placed there by your enemies."
- Jeeves refusing to pack the jacket, only to be foiled when Bertie packs it instead. The look on Jeeves's face when Bertie reveals this is priceless.
- Tuppy calls Angela a little blighter, then says he loves her passionately immediately afterward.
- The beginning of the episode, which shows Bertie trying to make tea while consulting a book on household management. Then the phone rings, the kettle starts whistling, and someone rings the doorbell, all within seconds of each other. Then the person at the door (Cyril "Barmy" Fotheringjay-Phipps) says he knows Bertie is in there because he can hear him whistling (it's actually the kettle). Bertie pretends to be Jeeves and asks who it is. When he hears who it is, he says, "Barmy!"Barmy: [startled; still thinking he's speaking to Jeeves] Steady on, Jeeves!
Bertie: Oh no, that was me.Barmy: But he said he was Jeeves.Bertie: That was me pretending to be Jeeves!
- Then, when Bertie lets Barmy in, the latter says, "Most extraordinary thing! I was talking to your man Jeeves a moment ago."
- Bertie asks Jeeves for help deciphering the cookbook's instructions.Bertie: It says here it's best to use soft water, but after boiling it may then become hard. Well, I mean, that's ice isn't it? And it says here that "one teaspoonful [of tea] per person and one for the pot". Why does the pot get one?
- Bertie's comments on Brinkley Court.Bertie: Same old emotion quagmire down there, I suppose? Tuppy grinding his teeth, Angela aloof, Uncle Tom off his feed, Madeline off her head, and Fink-Nottle trembling at the thought of this prize-giving.
- Bertie puts some whiskey in Gussie's orange juice to help calm his nerves before he gives a speech. Then he finds out Jeeves also did it, and they both look forward with identical Oh, Crap! expressions.
- "I should say, Fink-Nottle.""Well, of course you should, you silly ass!"
- Bertie saying he won't be persuaded to go to Brinkley, then being offended when it turns out Aunt Dahlia isn't even trying to persuade him.
- The Running Gag of Bertie's various friends coming to have a smoke at his house.
- Bertie describes a girl insulting someone's manners, morals "and method of eating asparagus", and saying the only thing to his credit was that, as far as she knew, he'd never burnt down an orphanage.
- Jeeves tries to advise Bertie against his "alcohol-in-orange-juice" plan, citing the case of a parrot.Bertie: There's a flaw here, Jeeves. [...] Gussie isn't a parrot.
- Whenever Jeeves shows disapproval on any of Bertie's (or Bertie's friends) crazy fashion statements. From a white Mess jacket with brass buttons to a tie with horseshoes on it to Bertie's mustache. Made even funnier with Stephen Fry's wonderful facial expressions.
- Particularly the moment where Rocky reveals that he "dresses" by throwing on a sweater over his pajamas:Bertie: Don't listen, Jeeves!
Jeeves: [anguished sob]
- Particularly the moment where Rocky reveals that he "dresses" by throwing on a sweater over his pajamas:
- Jeeves convinces Aunt Agatha that she's seeing ghosts. 'Nuff said.
- The Running Gag where Stilton Cheesewright threatens to break Bertie's "rotten spine in three (then four, then five, then six) places!"
- Anytime they take the piss out of Roderick Spode and his "blackshorts".
- The first time we see Bertie kiss a girl, he basically just grabs her and starts making out with her cheek. And then her dad sees them...
- The show's first genuine slice of Ho Yay which comes completely out of nowhere, spoken by Jeeves Disguised in Drag:Jeeves: Why are you men holding hands like that? Is that some sort of English custom?
- In the penultimate episode "Trouble at Totley Towers" when Gussie finally liberates himself from Madeleine Bassett, who's been making him eat a vegetarian diet.Gussie: In that case, I am going to eat a ham sandwich!