Leave It To Psmith by P.G. Wodehouse
Another much appreciated loan from curt_holman, this was both the final Psmith novel chronologically and the last one left for me to read.
I stumbled across a very good Wodehouse book chronology, which clears up some confusion I had in titles…
1909: Mike: A Public School Story, a two part novel, the first later revised and published as Mike at Wrykyn and the second revised and published twice as Enter Psmith and Mike and Psmith.
1910: Psmith in the City
1915: Psmith, Journalist
1915: Something Fresh (in the U.S., Something New), not a Psmith story, but the original story taking place in Blandings Castle, the setting for…
1923: Leave It To Psmith
I read on a website that Leave It is not on Project Gutenberg because, due to its later publishing date, it is somehow included in the extended copyright as fallout from the “Disney rat” copyright extension stuff that went on.
Were I an English major or some such thing, I might take the time to track recurring plot elements in stories such as flowerpots, stolen valuables, obnoxious poets, etc. in all Wodehouse’s works. You could probably set up a family tree and track the mix and match use of such things through the stories.
The first Jeeves and Wooster book of short stories was published in 1919, I believe from a series of magazine columns. In a way, I imagine Wodehouse taking the Psmith character, who begins as a member of the idle rich and ends as a gentleman’s personal secretary, and splitting him in two: Jeeves the gentleman’s personal gentleman taking the impeccable style and high intelligence, and Wooster the idle gentleman taking a propensity to talk incessantly and turn a nice phrase.
An excerpt, dialog between Psmith and his fiance Eve, shortly after becoming engaged:
[Eve] ‘When I met Cynthia at Market Blandings, she told me what the trouble was which made her husband leave her. What do you suppose it was?’
‘From my brief acquaintance with Comrade McTodd, I would hazard the guess that he tried to stab her with the bread-knife. He struck me as a murderous-looking specimen.’
‘They had some people to dinner, and there was chicken, and Cynthia gave all the giblets to the guests, and her husband bounded out of his seat with a wild cry, and, shouting “You know I love those things better than anything in the world!” rushed from the house, never to return!’
‘Precisely how I would have wished him to rush, had I been Mrs. McTodd.’
‘Cynthia told me that he had rushed from the house, never to return, six times since they were married.’
‘May I mention — in passing –‘ said Psmith, ‘that I do not like chicken giblets?’
‘Cynthia advised me,’ proceeded Eve, ‘if ever I married, to marry someone eccentric. She said it was such fun… Well, I don’t suppose I am ever likely to meet anyone more eccentric than you, am I?’
‘I think you would be unwise to wait on the chance.’
If I had read that before performing the ceremony for my brother-in-law’s wedding, I might have worked it in to the script. Probably best that I didn’t.
Just as an aside, the P.G. Wodehouse Quote generator