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Funny / Right Ho, Jeeves

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  • The telegram war between Bertie and his Aunt Dahlia.
    Aunt Dahlia: Am taking legal advice to ascertain whether strangling an idiot nephew counts as murder. If it doesn't look out for yourself. Consider your conduct frozen limit. What do you mean by planting your loathsome friends on me like this? Do you think Brinkley Court is a leper colony or what is it? Who is this Spink-Bottle? Love. Travers.
    Aunt Dahlia: Well, this friend of yours has got here, and I must say that for a friend of yours he seems less sub-human than I had expected. A bit of a pop-eyed bleater, but on the whole clean and civil, and certainly most informative about newts. Am considering arranging series of lectures for him in neighbourhood. All the same I like your nerve using my house as a summer-hotel resort and shall have much to say to you on subject when you come down. Expect you thirtieth. Bring spats. Love. Travers.
    Bertie: On consulting engagement book find impossible come Brinkley Court. Deeply regret. Toodle-oo. Bertie.
    Aunt Dahlia: Oh, so it's like that, is it? You and your engagement book, indeed. Deeply regret my foot. Let me tell you, my lad, that you will regret it a jolly sight more deeply if you don't come down. [...] Deeply regret Brinkley Court hundred miles from London, as unable hit you with a brick. Love, Travers.
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  • Bertie and Jeeves's eyebrow competition.
    I consulted Jeeves once more in the language of the eyebrow. He raised one of his. I raised one of mine. He raised his other. I raised my other.
    Then we both raised both. Finally, there seeming no other policy to pursue, I flung wide the gates and Tuppy came shooting in.
    "Now what?" I said, as nonchalantly as I could manage.
    "Why was the door locked?" demanded Tuppy.
    I was in pretty good eyebrow-raising form by now, so I gave him a touch of it.
  • "And if I portrayed the scene with anything like adequate skill, the picture you will have retained of this Fink-Nottle will have been that of a nervous wreck, sagging at the knees, green about the gills, and picking feverishly at the lapels of his coat in an ecstasy of craven fear."
  • Gussie Fink-Nottle's epic drunken speech at the Market Snodsbury grammar-school prize-giving, which is often cited as Wodehouse's funniest passage. Sadly, it is somewhat lengthy to quote here, and makes little sense out of context because it acts as Chekhov's Gunman for half the gags in the book - but rest assured it is well worth reading.
    • Prior to Gussie's aforementioned drunken speech, Bertie and Jeeves discover that he's drunk.
      Bertie: [Gussie's] nerve cracked under the strain, and he sneaked into the dining-room and started mopping the stuff up like a vacuum cleaner. Whisky would seem to be what he filled the radiator with. I gather that he used up most of the decanter. Golly, Jeeves, it's lucky he didn't get at that laced orange juice on top of that, what?
      Jeeves: It was a most prudent act on your part, if I may say so, sir, to dispose of the orange juice.
      Bertie: What? Didn't you?
      Jeeves: No, sir.
      Bertie: Jeeves, let us get this clear. Was it not you who threw away that o.j.?
      Jeeves: No, sir. I assumed, when I entered the room and found the pitcher empty, that you had done so.
      Jeeves: I very much fear, sir -
      Bertie: So do I, Jeeves. [...] The jug was standing on the mantelpiece, for all eyes to behold. Gussie had been complaining of thirst. You found him in here, laughing heartily. I think that there can be little doubt, Jeeves, that the entire contents of that jug are at this moment reposing on top of the existing cargo in that already brilliantly lit man's interior. Disturbing, Jeeves.
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    • After this, they realise Gussie's about to give his famous speech.
      Bertie: And in two shakes of a duck's tail Gussie, with all that lapping about inside him, will be distributing the prizes at Market Snodsbury Grammar School before an audience of all that is fairest and most refined in the county. [...] It seems to me, Jeeves, that the ceremony may be one fraught with considerable interest. [...] What, in your opinion, will the harvest be?
      Jeeves: One finds it difficult to hazard a conjecture, sir.
      I inspected my imagination. He was right. It boggled.
    • How Gussie's speech ended: he said one of the students could only have won a prize by cheating, and the student's mother objected. Jeeves tells Bertie about it afterwards, and says that after this "they sang the national anthem". Bertie thinks this means Gussie and the student's mother sang a duet, and Jeeves has to clarify that everyone else sang it.
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  • "...Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."
  • When Jeeves and Bertie are discussing ringing the fire alarm (like everything else in these books, it Makes Sense In Context), Bertie gets a bit of snark in at Tuppy's Big Eater tendencies.
    Jeeves: Possibly you may recollect that it was an axiom of [...] Sherlock Holmes, that the instinct of everyone, upon an alarm of fire, is to save the object dearest to them.
    Bertie: It seems to me that there is a grave danger of seeing Tuppy come out carrying a steak-and-kidney pie, but resume, Jeeves, resume.
  • The Running Gag of Aunt Dahlia calling Gussie "Spink-Bottle" instead of "Fink-Nottle". Stops being Accidental Misnaming after his speech, when she announces that from now on she'll always think of him as "Bottle".
  • After Gussie makes faces at Anatole through the skylight, Aunt Dahlia isn't happy with Bertie.
    Aunt Dahlia: [to Bertie] Attila. That's the name. Attila, the Hun. I was trying to think who you reminded me of. Somebody who went about strewing ruin and desolation and breaking up homes which, until he came along, had been happy and peaceful. Attila is the man. It's amazing. To look at you, one would think you were just an ordinary sort of amiable idiot—certifiable, perhaps, but quite harmless. Yet, in reality, you are worse a scourge than the Black Death. I tell you, Bertie, when I contemplate you I seem to come up against all the underlying sorrow and horror of life with such a thud that I feel as if I had walked into a lamp post.
    • Then, after summing up the situation, she concludes:
      Aunt Dahlia: If the prophet Job were to walk into the room at this moment, I could sit swapping hard-luck stories with him till bedtime. Not that Job was in my class.
  • The aftermath of Bertie ringing the fire-bell.
    Aunt Dahlia: So much healthier for us out in the open like this than frowsting in bed. I had just dropped off when you did your bell-ringing act. For it was you, my sweet child, who rang that bell, was it not?
    Bertie: I did ring the bell, yes.
    Aunt Dahlia: Any particular reason, or just a whim?
    Bertie: I thought there was a fire.
    Aunt Dahlia: What gave you that impression, dear?
    Bertie: I thought I saw flames.
    Aunt Dahlia: I see. So we have all been dragged out of bed and scared rigid because you have been seeing things.
    • After this:
      Bertie: ...I think I'll go in now.
      Aunt Dahlia: That's fine. Because I was thinking of going in, too, and I don't believe I could sleep knowing you were out here giving rein to that powerful imagination of yours. The next thing that would happen would be that you would think you saw a pink elephant sitting on the drawing-room window-sill and start throwing bricks at it.
    • And then they discover the doors are locked.
      Uncle Thomas: But, confound it all, we can't stop out here all night.
      Aunt Dahlia: Can't we? You just watch us. There is nothing — literally nothing — which a country house party can't do with Attila here operating on the premises.
  • Bertie muses on the aphorism that "Hell hath no fury like a Woman Scorned":
    I had never scorned a woman myself, but Pongo Twistleton once scorned an aunt of his, flatly refusing to meet her son Gerald at Paddington and give him lunch and see him off to school at Waterloo, and he never heard the end of it. Letters were written, he tells me, which had to be seen to be believed. Also two very strong telegrams and a bitter picture post card with a view of the Little Chilbury War Memorial on it.


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