Something Fresh (Blandings Castle, Book 1)
P. G. Wodehouse
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This is the first Blandings novel, in which P.G. Wodehouse introduces us to the delightfully dotty Lord Emsworth, his bone-headed younger son, the Hon. Freddie Threepwood, his long-suffering secretary, the Efficient Baxter, and Beach the Blandings butler.
As Wodehouse wrote, 'without at least one impostor on the premises, Blandings Castle is never itself'. In Something Fresh there are two, each with an eye on a valuable scarab which Lord Emsworth has acquired without quite realizing how it came into his pocket. But of course things get a lot more complicated than this...
stolen scarab need not be repeated at this point, though it must be admitted that Mr Peters’ version of it differed considerably from the calm, dispassionate description which the author, in his capacity of official historian, has given earlier in the story. In Mr Peters’ version, the Earl of Emsworth appeared as a smooth and purposeful robber, a sort of elderly Raffles, worming his way into the homes of the innocent and only sparing that portion of their property which was too heavy for him to
had the feeling that this strain could not possibly continue, and that within a very short space of time the worst must happen. The prospect of this did much to rouse him from the coma into which he had been frozen by the rigours of the journey. Butlers as a class seem to grow less and less like anything human in proportion to the magnificence of their surroundings. There is a type of butler, employed in the comparatively modest homes of small country gentlemen, who is practically a man and a
steer my way through a complicated system of etiquette. And on top of all that you have the nerve, the insolence, to imagine that you can use me as a punching-bag to work your bad-temper off! You have the immortal rind to suppose that I will stand being nagged and bullied by you whenever your suicidal way of living brings on an attack of indigestion! You have the supreme cheek to fancy that you can talk as you please to me! Very well! I’ve had enough of it. If you want this scarab of yours
on the fourth floor of the Hotel Guelph in Piccadilly, the Hon. Frederick Threepwood sat in bed with his knees drawn up to his chin and glared at the day with a glare of mental anguish. He had very little mind, but what he had was suffering. He had just remembered. It is like that in this life. You wake up, feeling as fit as a fiddle; you look at the window and see the sun and thank Heaven for a fine day; you begin to plan a perfectly corking luncheon-party with some of the chappies you met
bugle-blast to me. Nine out of ten of Gridley Quayle’s triumphs were due to his having overheard something. I think we are now on the right track.’ ‘I don’t. How could he have overheard us? The door was closed, and he was in the street by that time.’ ‘How do you know he was in the street? Did you see him out?’ ‘No, but he went.’ ‘He might have waited on the stairs – you remember how dark they were at No. 7A – and listened.’ ‘Why?’ Ashe reflected. ‘Why? Why? What a beast of a word that is.