Jeeves and Friends by P. G. Wodehouse

Jeeves and Friends by P. G. Wodehouse

From the introduction by Hugh Laurie: “The first thing you should know and probably the last too is that PG Wodehouse is still the funniest writer ever to put words on paper. This much is uncontested by all but the most irretrievably insane. Fact number two: with the Jeeves stories, Wodehouse created the best of the best. The world of Jeeves is complete and integral; every bit as structured, layered, ordered, complex and self-contained as King Lear and considerably funnier.”

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Jeeves and Friends by P. G. Wodehouse

Now, this business of old Jeeves – my valet, you know – well, a lot of people, like my Aunt Agatha, think I’m much too dependent on him. And what I say is, why not? The man’s super-intelligent. I stopped trying to organize my own life a week after he came to work for me. That was about six years ago, just after the rather rummy business of Florence Craye, my Uncle Willoughby’s book, and Edwin, the boy scout.

The thing really began when I got back to Easeby, my uncle’s country home in Shropshire. I was spending a week or so there, as I usually did in summer, but I had had to break my visit to come back to London, in order to get a new valet. At Easeby, I had found Meadowes, my valet at the time, stealing my silk socks. Well, no strong-minded employer should ever put up with that kind of thing. And as I discovered he had stolen a lot of other things here and there, I was forced to sack him and go to London to an employment agency. They sent me Jeeves.

Jeeves and Friends by P. G. Wodehouse

I shall always remember the morning he came. I had been present at a rather cheerful little supper the night before, and consequently was feeling a bit unwell. On top of this, I was trying to read a book Florence Craye had given me. She had been staying at Easeby, and two or three days earlier we had got engaged. I knew she would expect me to finish the book by the time I returned. You see, she was concentrating on developing my intelligence, so that I could understand the kind of thing she was interested in. She was a girl with a wonderful profile, but also a deep sense of serious purpose. You’ll see what I mean when I tell you that the book she’d given me to read was called Behavioural Types of Transactional Thinking. When I picked it up, it fell open at a page beginning:

The common understanding involved in most types of human expression is certainly extraordinarily efficient in assisting language, which is its tool, and in producing communication in multi-level society, which is the purpose of both.

All perfectly true, no doubt, but not the kind of thing to throw at a fellow with a morning headache.

I was doing my best to read this bright little book when the bell rang. Painfully, I felt my way to the door and opened it. A polite kind of chappie stood outside.

‘I understand that you wish to employ a valet,’ he said. What I really wished to do was die, but I told him to stagger in, and he floated noiselessly through the doorway. I found this rather encouraging, as Meadowes had had flat feet, and used to walk very heavily. This fellow didn’t appear to have any feet at all. And he had a serious, sympathetic face. He seemed to understand exactly how I felt…

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