P G Wodehouse
Literary and Cultural References
Blandings Castle and Elsewhere (some editions use the title Blandings Castle) appeared in book form in the UK on 12 April 1935 (Herbert Jenkins) and in the USA on 20 September 1935 (Doubleday Doran).
Page references in these notes are based on the 2000 Penguin edition (David Hitch cover art). Also, note that these annotations are incomplete, not all the stories have been covered.
The Custody of the Pumpkin (1924)
Lord Emsworth Acts for the Best (1926)
Company for Gertrude (1928)
The Go-Getter (1931)
Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend (1928)
Mr Potter Takes a Rest Cure (1926)
Monkey Business (1932)
The Nodder (1933)
The Juice of an Orange (1933)
The Rise of Minna Nordstrom (1933)
The Castaways (1933)
the Saga habit (p.0)
Something Fresh appeared in 1915, Leave It To Psmith in 1923, Summer Lightning in 1929 and Heavy Weather in 1933.
The Custody of the Pumpkin (p.3)
Runs from pp 1 to 26 in the 2000 Penguin edition.
This story first appeared in the Saturday Evening Post of 29 November 1924 and in the Strand of December 1924.
Angus McAllister (p.3)
First appeared in Leave It To Psmith: he returns in most of the Blandings stories up to and including Full Moon (1947). In Something Fresh the gardener was called Thorne — Murphy has discovered that this was the name of Wodehouse’s grandmother’s gardener.
The “Scottish gardener” has been a familiar stereotype in England since at least the mid-18th century: as with other “Scottish” professions (doctors, engineers, etc.), the reason was partly that there were better opportunities to follow the necessary training in Scotland than in England, and partly that there were more jobs in England than in Scotland.
In Agatha Christie’s One, Two, Three, Buckle my Shoe (1940), Alistair Blunt’s head gardener is called MacAlister — anybody’s guess whether this is a bow to Wodehouse or parallel evolution.
McAllister and its variants occur in both Scotland and Ireland (Alistair is a Celtic form of Alexander). Although not very common, it is easily recognisable as a Celtic name. Wodehouse seems to be using it as simply a generic Scottish name.
the Hon. Freddie Threepwood (p.3)
First appeared in Something Fresh. Honourable is a courtesy title enjoyed by (inter alia) the younger sons of Earls.
Messuage is a term in land-law for the land occupied by a house and its immediate out-buildings.
white flannels (p.3)
Informal white trousers worn for tennis, cricket, etc. in the summer months. (Flannel is an open woollen material, but the term was probably used indiscriminately to cover cotton summer trousers as well.)
Theocritan shepherd (p.4)
The Greek poet Theocritus (ca. 310-250 BCE) was the most famous exponent of pastoral poetry, which presents an idyllic world of nymphs and shepherds in contrast to the corruption of city life.
Blandings itself, and this story in particular, could be seen as a notable example of the influence of the pastoral ideal in English literature.
younger sons (p.5)
Only the eldest son (in this case, Freddie’s brother, Lord Bosham) can inherit the title and estates. Thus a younger son has to be provided with some means of supporting himself. Traditionally, they would be encouraged to go into the Church or the Army.
Hamlet ... Elsinore (p.5)
In Shakespeare’s play, Claudius has murdered his brother, Hamlet Sr., seized the crown, and married his brother’s widow, Gertrude. When Hamlet Jr. returns from university with a sack of dirty laundry, his behaviour causes the guilty Claudius a certain amount of disquiet.
Elsinore (Helsingør) is the Danish royal castle on the Sound, a few km north of Copenhagen. If Hamlet ever existed, then it was long before the construction of the present castle on the site.
Spectacles without earpieces, attached to the nose (French: nose-pincher). We know from Leave It To Psmith that Emsworth keeps his on a string, which sometimes falls down his back.
princes in the Tower (p.6)
The young Edward V and his younger brother Richard were confined in the Tower of London on the orders of Richard, Duke of Gloucester (the future Richard III) on the death of their father Edward IV in 1483. What happened to them subsequently is still a matter of hot debate, but it seems likely that they were murdered, possibly on the orders of Gloucester, although there is no hard evidence.
The name Donaldson is an anglicized variant of MacDonald - thus people with this surname usually claim descent from the Lords of the Isles in western Scotland.
There don’t seem to be any other Donaldsons in the canon, apart from Aggie’s immediate family (see below).
Robert the Bruce (p.9)
Robert I (1274-1329). As Earl of Bruce he fought against the English together with Wallace, and was crowned King of Scotland in 1306. His victory at Bannockburn confirmed Scottish independence.
twa poon’ (p.9)
This is not an affectation: Wodehouse would have seen it as perfectly everyday usage (cf. Psmith in the City, Ch.4). At the turn of the century, the French word was still current in Britain for salaried staff like bank clerks. The American word “employee” was just starting to come into favour, but tended to be used to mean everyone employed by an organisation, irrespective of status.
early Norman period (p.9)
The Norman period started with William the Conqueror in 1066. This was the period in English history when the feudal system, based on this sort of relationship between lord and serf, was introduced.
The Scots under Robert the Bruce defeated Edward II’s English army at this battle near Stirling in 1314.
William Wallace (p.9)
Scottish soldier (ca. 1272-1305). Fought succesfully against Edward I in the late 13th century, but was later captured and executed by the English.
Matchingham Hall (p.10)
No obvious source. The web page mentioned below claims Aldersham Hall as the original for Matchingham, without further explanation.
The placename element Matching only occurs in Essex.
Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe (p.10)
This is his first appearance in the canon: he reappears in most of the later Blandings stories.
Parslow (and its variants) seems to be a Shropshire name. As a placename it also appears in Buckinghamshire (Parslow’s Hillock; Drayton Parslow).
Robert Barker (p.11)
This name Barker seems to occur from time to time in the canon as an alternative (or mistake!) for Baxter or Parker. Examples include the couple who keep house for Freddie Rooke in Jill the Reckless, and Julia Ukridge’s butler in one story.
King George (p.11)
George V was born in 1865, so would have been a near-contemporary of Emsworth. He acceded to the throne in 1910, and died in 1936.
Buxton Crescent ... Cromwell Road (p.11)
The Cromwell Road runs roughly west from the Victoria and Albert Museum in the direction of Earls Court. This would be a likely area to find furnished rooms in Wodehouse’s day.
London has many Buxton Roads, Gardens and Streets, but none of them seems to be in this area. To be near Kensington Gardens, it would have to be at the eastern end of the Cromwell Road, in the neighbourhood of Gloucester Road underground station.
Buxton is a spa town in Derbyshire, most of which was owned by the Dukes of Devonshire, who also owned a lot of land in London. It is thus a doubly likely name for a street built in the Georgian period.
Kensington Gardens (p.11)
Formal gardens at the Kensington Palace end of Hyde Park. Famous for the Round Pond (where children go to sail toy boats) and the statue of Peter Pan (1912).http://www.royalparks.gov.uk/parks/kensington_gardens/history.cfm
broken reed (p.12)
Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt;
whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it:
so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.
[Bible, Isaiah, 36:6]
Dr Johnson (p.12)
Why, Sir, you find no man, at all intellectual, who is willing to leave London. No, Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.
[Johnson, Dr Samuel, Cited in Boswell’s Life of Johnson, 17 Sept 1779]http://www.samueljohnson.com/tiredlon.html
Hotel Magnificent (p.13)
Northumberland Avenue hotels in the early 20th century included the Grand, the Metropole, and the Victoria. The Metropole, opposite the baths at the Embankment end of the street, seems the most likely.http://www.victorianlondon.org/publications2/dinners-37.htm
Kensington Gardens are about 4km from Northumberland Avenue - St. James’s Park would have been much nearer.
Senior Conservative Club (p.13)
This London club first appeared in Psmith in the City, and is established as Emsworth’s club in Leave It To Psmith.
Murphy identifies it convincingly as the Constitutional Club, formerly on Northumberland Avenue. Wodehouse became a member some time before 1908. It is mentioned by name in the preface to The Girl on the Boat.
The French spelling seems to have predominated over the English “detour” until the late 19th century.
Interestingly, the OED cites a passage from Eugene O’Neill’s The Hairy Ape “They make wide detours to avoid the spot where he stands in the middle of the pavement.” Only a year before the publication of this story, and almost the identical context!
high, ... middle and ... low justice (p.18)
This formula, traditionally used to define the powers of a seigneur in feudal France, is often used in English as a jokey way of saying “absolute power”.
Large, solid constable (p.19)
The Royal Parks nowadays have their own police force, the Royal Parks Constabulary. This was only set up in 1974: before that time the keepers of the parks had some legal powers under the Royal Parks Regulation Act of 1872, but were presumably supported in their task by Metropolitan Police officers.
taxi-drivers ... bus-conductors (p.19)
As well as enforcing the usual traffic laws, the Metropolitan Police has responsibilities for licensing taxis and regulating public transport that are held in most other cities by the local councils. London has always been notorious for the strictness with which these powers are exercised.
tough time ... New Deal (p.23)
This section was obviously rewritten for the book publication in 1935: in 1924 when the story was first published, Coolidge was president and the American economy was still on the way up. The New Deal is also mentioned in the 1936 story, “The Crime-Wave at Blandings”.
The New Deal was a programme of economic and social reforms brought in by US president Franklin D. Roosevelt between 1933 and 1939 to help the United States recover from the depression of the 1930s. Roosevelt's measures aroused a lot of opposition, in particular from conservative politicians. We are to assume that Lord Emsworth is similarly conservative in his gardening policy.
Long Island City (p.23)
A largely industrial area at the western end of Long Island, just over the bridge from Manhattan.
Wodehouse lived at Bellport, Long Island for some time after his marriage. He would have been very familiar with the journey from Bellport to New York, passing through Long Island City.
(The Wodehouses bought a house in Remsenburg, Long Island, when they returned to the USA for good in 1947.)
Agricultural Show (p.26)
The Shropshire and West Midlands Agricultural Society hold their annual show on Shrewsbury showground, by the Severn. (Originally the agricultural show was part of the Shrewsbury Flower Show, first held in 1875, but the two later became separate events.)http://www.west-mid-show.org.uk/
Lord Emsworth Acts for the Best (p.27)
Runs from pp 27 to 48 in the 2000 Penguin edition.
This story first appeared in the US magazine Liberty of 5 June 1926 and in the Strand of June 1926.
General Headquarters - seems to be a military term dating from the First World War.
We know from Something Fresh the the housekeeper's room is the place where the senior domestic staff have their meals.
strong emotion and adenoids (p.27)
Beach is evidently still - at least to some extent - the hypochondriac we met in Something Fresh.
Mrs Twemlow (p.27)
Appeared in Something Fresh - this is the only other occasion when she is mentioned by name.
writing on the wall (p.27)
1 Belshaz'zar the king made a great
feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.
2 Belshaz'zar, while he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnez'zar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king and his princes, his wives and his concubines, might drink therein.
3 Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king and his princes, his wives and his concubines, drank in them.
4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
5 In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
[Bible, Daniel, 5:1-5]
eighteen years (p.27)
Beach's early career is not very well established. Here he tells us that he started at Blandings eighteen years ago (thus 1906 if the story is set in 1924; 1917 if it is set in 1935). We also know from Summer Lightning that he was still working for Major-General Magnus in 1912 (it's not said in what capacity), and from "The Crime-Wave at Blandings" that he was not at Blandings in Lord Emsworth's early air-gun period.
Since an under-footman would not have been likely to be much over twenty, this would suggest that Beach is still only in his forties at the time of the present story, if we were to be so foolish as to ignore the time-dilation that is part of the Blandings scene.
The slang term "beaver" for a person with a beard seems to have originated in the years before World War I, but it isn't very clear where it comes from. In the early twenties, there was briefly a craze for a game in which the players scored points by spotting beards and shouting "beaver!"
Presumably this is all a part of the reaction against the older generation that started after the war - beards were almost universal for older men in the Victorian period. One possibility, not suggested in the OED, is that it is related to the obsolete term "beaver" for the chin-protecting armour attached to a helmet (cf. modern French "bavière" = bib).
The use of "beaver" for the female pubic hair or genitalia is an obvious extension, and seems to have originated in the mid-twenties (the first example in the OED is from 1927).
Milk-Giving Jerseys (p.28)
The Jersey cow, a breed originally developed in the Channel Islands, but known in England since at least the 18th century, is one of the most productive dairy breeds. They are typically a light fawn or reddish colour.http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/cattle/jersey/
Donaldson ... Long Island City (p.29)
See "The Custody of the Pumpkin", p.21 above
the Savoy (p.30)
The Savoy Hotel, on the Strand in London, was opened by Richard D’Oyly Carte in 1889. He employed César Ritz as hotel manager and Auguste Escoffier in the restaurant; it was legendary for its phenomenal number of bathrooms, and for being one of the first large scale applications of electric lighting in London. Its name recalls the Savoy Palace, the grand London residence of the Dukes of Lancaster, which stood on the site until it was destroyed in the Peasants' Revolt of 1381.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Savoy_Palace
King Street (p.30)
There are many streets in London called "King Street" - probably the most likely is the one in Covent Garden, a couple of streets away from the Savoy. But the one off St. James's Street is another strong candidate.
Pauline Petite (p.31)
Perhaps the first name was inspired by the famous 1914 silent film serial The Perils of Pauline, in which Pearl White was forever being tied to railway tracks. Of course, Pauline Stoker of the heliotrope pyjamas (Thank You, Jeeves) is another dangerous American lady called Pauline. Given that the name could be either from the original 1926 version of the story or the revised 1935 version, Wodehouse could have had almost any actress from Lillian Gish to Mae West in mind.
Passion's Slaves ... (p.32)
Fictitious, of course - none of these titles appears in the IMDB listing prior to 1935, although there are plenty of real titles that contain words like "passion", "fetters", "bonds", etc.http://www.imdb.com
Great Scott (p.32)
Late-19th century euphemism for "Great God" - notice how Emsworth is oddly being less Victorian than his son here.
The OED credits the writer "F. Anstey" (who would be a near contemporary of Lord Emsworth) as the first to use it in print, in 1885.
Jane Yorke (p.32)
Jane is usually a name Wodehouse reserves for sympathetic characters (e.g. the niece in "The Crime-Wave at Blandings", the elephant-gun toting Jane Hubbard in The Girl On The Boat, Jane Opal in Hot Water). With the exception of Ms Yorke, Lord Ickenham's absent wife is perhaps the nearest we get to an unpleasant Jane.
There are two Yorkes in the early school stories (one a master, one a cricketer), but otherwise the only other person of this name is the novelist Leila Yorke ([The] Ice in the Bedroom), who is also a sympathetic character.
Jebusite ... Amalekite (p.32)
The Jebusites and the Amalekites were among the groups who had the misfortune already to be living in Canaan when the Israelites turned up there. As a result they tend to get rather a bad press in the Old Testament. However, they don't really turn up in the same context, so it's a bit of a puzzle why Freddie is juxtaposing them here.
[Adrian Mulliner (David Rosenbaum) adds]: In fact, the Amalekites are not part of the "seven nations" (sometimes 10) whose land was promised to the Israelites. The first
time Amalek is mentioned is the Amalek who was the son of Elifaz and the grandson of Esau.
Furthermore, Amalekites actually came to fight with the Israelites in the Sinai desert immediately after the latter had left Egypt. The Jebusites waited another 40 years, until the Israelites actually crossed the Jordan.
So I'm not sure where Freddie got it from. But recall that we do not know if Freddie is proficient in Scripture. So it may be his mistake. If it was Bertram Wilberforce Wooster talking, we'd be puzzled.
[Augustine Mulliner (Fr Rob Bovendeaard) adds]:
There is little to add, I think, to my cousin's reflections. There exists, however, a verse which juxtaposes the two peoples, Numbers 13:29 - "The Amalekites live in the Negev; the Hittites, Jebusites and Amorites live in the hill country; and the Canaanites live near the sea and along the Jordan."
Perhaps one could also argue that the Amalekites (2 Samuel 1) and the Jebusites (2 Samuel 5) were the two enemies, along with the good old Philistines, that David had to defeat before being able to establish himself solidly in Jerusalem. But this may be far-fetched!
Paris ... divorce (p.33)
In the 1920s, it seems to have been fairly common for wealthier American and British couples to take advantage of the more flexible French divorce law (e.g. Elaine Thayer, who got a French divorce in 1921 to marry e.e. cummings). In Britain, until the late 1960s, the only way to get a divorce in practice was to obtain evidence of adultery, with the inevitable sensational press reports, great expense, and a long delay before the court would allow either of the partners to remarry.
made your bed ... stew in it (p.33)
The usual expression is "you have made your bed and you must lie in it". Emsworth is mixing it up with the schoolboy slang "stewing in bed" and another cliché, to make someone "stew in their own juice".
Twopence (two old pennies, or 0.8333p in decimal currency) was the basic charge for local calls from public telephones in Britain for many years - the price was changed to 2p when decimal currency was introduced (presumably because it would have been difficult to adapt phones to take the much smaller 1p coin) and has increased a lot since then.
spent egg (p.33)
An odd choice of expression. Literally, a spent egg is what remains after the embryo has hatched. Freddie clearly doesn't mean this - he seems to be mixing the more usual "spent force" with "egg" in the "eggs, beans and crumpets" sense.
ague ... botts... (p.34)
Ague is a general term used to describe illnesses like malaria in which the patient passes through a succession of feverish, shivering fits.
The botts (normally it is always used with an article) describes a whole range of diseases of domestic animals caused by the parasitical larvae of certain flies.
Greenfly are small, green aphids that flourish on rose bushes in the summer months.
Foot-and-mouth is a highly-infectious disease of domestic animals that periodically sweeps through farming communities.
Kensington Gardens (p.35)
See p.17 above.
Regent Grill (p.35)
In Ch.6 of Piccadilly Jim, Jimmy Crocker follows Anne Chester into the Regent Grill and overhears her explaining to a companion that "Jimmy Crocker is a worm."
From that reference, we know that it is at the top (Piccadilly Circus) end of Regent Street, and that it has an orchestra fond of playing "My Little Grey Home in the West" and selections from "La Bohème".
It sounds a bit unlikely for a man of Lord Emsworth's tastes - even if the Senior Conservative would have been inconvenient for someone travelling from Kensington Gardens to the Savoy, one might have expected him to lunch somewhere like Simpson's in the Strand.
move by faith alone (p.36)
This is not a directly biblical reference, but rather another pulpit cliché, deriving from Christ's remark (see e.g. Matthew 17:20, 21:21, Mark 11:23, 1 Corinthians 13:2) that, if you have faith, you can move mountains.
English triumph during the Hundred Years War. In October 1415, Henry V faced a vastly larger, but undisciplined, French army on their own soil. English courage (or the technical superiority of the longbow) carried the day.
An ancestor of Wodehouse is supposed to have fought at Agincourt. The French probably had more reason than the English to take cover, but of course we don't know which side Emsworth's ancestor fought on...
Dopey Smith (p.38)
Probably coincidence, but a man called Walter "Dopey" Smith was arrested after a shoot-out with police in Salt Lake City in 1921.
The name clearly doesn't come from the character in Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, which only appeared in 1937.http://www.upoa.org/memorial/green_b_hamby.htm
Jiminy Christmas (p.39)
Jiminy, thought to be a contraction of "Jesu domine," seems to have entered American English in the mid-19th century from either German or Dutch. The OED records the first use in print of "Jiminy cricket" as 1848; "Jiminy Christmas" first appeared in Kipling's Captains Courageous in 1896.
Ralph Vandeleur (p.39)
This must be a reference to The Hound of the Baskervilles, where Vandeleur is one of the aliases of the villain. Conan-Doyle doesn't bother with a first name in this case, but Wodehouse may well have added Ralph as suitably bad-baronetish.
Vandeleur is a Dutch name, of course, but there was a family of that name who became prominent landowners in County Clare. Wodehouse often seems to use the names of upper-class Irish families in this way.http://clare.local.ie/content/18758.shtml/kilrush/history/social_history
Swedish exercises (p.39)
Per Henrik Ling (1766-1839) developed a system of gymnastic training for the Swedish military, in which massed groups of people performed synchronised sequences of movements. The emphasis was on developing aesthetically satisfying movements, rather than physical strength. These ideas were imported into America in the 1880s, and remained popular in Europe until at least the 1930s.http://www.hickoksports.com/history/gymnastics02.shtml
Broadway Whispers ... Town Gossip (p.40)
Although these don't ever seem to have been the titles of real scandal sheets, they certainly desrve to have been...
man of steel (p.42)
Not Superman, who only appeared in 1937, but possibly a reference to the Russian leader, Stalin.
apple sauce (p.44)
Nonsense - cf Hot Water, ch.13 pt.3 (Hot Water also uses the variant "apple gravy").
Super-Ultra-Art Film Company (p.44)
Other Hollywood studios in Wodehouse include: Perfecto-Fishbein and Zizzbaum-Celluloid (later to merge as Perfecto-Zizzbaum), Outstanding Screen-Favourites, Colossal-Exquisite, Medulla-Oblongata [-Glutz] - all from "The Rise of Minna Nordstrom";
Brinkmeyer-Magnifico (Laughing Gas);
Superba-Llewellyn (The Luck of the Bodkins et seq.)
- and no doubt many more.
sack ... Bosphorus (p.44)
Ottoman sultans used this method for disposing of unwanted members of their harems. Ibrahim the Mad (ruled 1640-1648) is said to have had 280 of his concubines drowned, for example.
Brewer cites this as a possible origin of the phrase "to give someone the sack", but also admits to the more plausible theory that it refers to the bag a discharged worker would use to carry away his tools.
A Woman's Price (p.46)
The IMDB records titles like "Any Woman's Choice" (1914), "Woman's Burden" (1914), "A Woman's Experience" (1921), "A Woman's Place" (1921), "A Woman's Sacrifice" (1922), "A Woman's Justice" (1931), but this one doesn't seem to have been used in our period.
Freddie has presumably got the phrase from the Bible.http://www.imdb.com/
"They go into the bedroom and ---" (p.46)
An old trick, but it always works!
First appeared in Liberty (US) on 9 July 1927 and the Strand (UK) of August 1927. In book form it appeared in both the UK and US versions of Blandings Castle. Runs from pp 49-73 in the 2000 Penguin edition.
Bridgnorth, Shifnal and Albrighton Argus (p.49)
These are real towns in Shropshire. In some of the other Blandings books, the first two are disguised as Bridgeford and Shifley. The current local paper in Bridgnorth is the Journal.
Norman Murphy has identified Weston Park, five miles from Shifnal, as one of the main sources for Blandings.http://www.bridgnorthjournal.com/
Shropshire Agricultural Show (p.49)
Cf. "The Custody of the Pumpkin," (p.26) above. The Shropshire and West Midlands Agricultural Society hold their annual show on Shrewsbury showground, by the Severn. The agricultural show started life as part of the Shrewsbury Flower Show, first held in 1875, so the 87th annual show would have been in 1962, nearly 30 years after the publication of this book!
Black Berkshire sow (p.49)
The Berkshire breed of pigs was developed in Britain in the mid-19th century, and was recognised as a distinct breed in 1885.
This is the first mention of the Empress of Blandings in the canon - she reappears in all the subsequent Blandings stories. Norman Murphy has discovered that Charles LeStrange kept a black Berkshire sow at Hunstanton Hall in the late 20s, when Wodehouse was staying there and writing these stories.http://www.rarebreeds.co.nz/berkshire.html http://www.wodehouse.org/PlumLines/piggery.html
George Cyril Wellbeloved (p.49)
His first appearance in the canon. Apart from George Cyril and his niece, Marlene, the only other Wellbeloveds are an old lady in The Mating Season and a gardener in Ring For Jeeves. In the last case, Jeeves asserts that Wellbeloved is a Shropshire name, so presumably Wodehouse knew someone of that name when his parents lived in Stableford.
In fact, the name seems to occur in other places as well, notably Berkshire and Surrey.
Wodehouse is quoting the pigman's full name and age to reflect the style in which local papers report proceedings in the Magistrates' Court, but evidently liked the sound of "George Cyril Wellbeloved" so much that he gets the full three names on all his subsequent appearances.
Police Constable Evans (p.49)
He (or a colleague of the same name) is still on the strength of the local constabulary 25 years later in Pigs Have Wings, and also appears in Galahad at Blandings.
Evans is a common Welsh name, and would certainly not be unusual on the Shropshire side of the border.
Goat and Feathers (p.49)
This pub doesn't seem to appear in the other Blandings stories. The Goat and Feathers sounds as though it should be an English pub-name, but doesn't seem to occur in real life. Goat and Compasses is fairly common, and is often said to be a corruption of "God encompasseth us," although there appears to be no evidence for this. More likely it is some sort of trade sign, now forgotten. Feathers are usually associated with the Prince of Wales, whose badge has three feathers.
The taproom is the part of the pub where draught beer is served - the public bar, in modern terms.
Lady Constance Keeble (p.50)
First appeared in Leave It to Psmith.
This seems to be his only appearance, unless he is the same Smithers that ran a fat farm for dogs on Long Island in Piccadilly Jim.
This is his only appearance. Heacham is a village in Norfolk, not far from Hunstanton.
...less than ten days (p.51)
We have an unusually precise definition of the date of this story: we are told explicitly that it is the 21st of July, and that the agricultural show is on Wednesday week, fewer than ten days away.
By definition, "Wednesday week" means "more than seven days away", so the 21st must be a Sunday, Monday, or Tuesday.
The only years in the period shortly before the story was written for which this is true are 1924 and 1925. The former seems more likely, as it puts GCW's orgy on a Friday night and court appearance on Saturday. In this case, we can work out that the Empress's big day was to be Wednesday, the 30th of July 1924.
(Incidentally, this rules out the possibility that it really was the 87th Show - in 1962 the 21st was on a Saturday.)
James Belford (p.51)
This story is his only appearance. Not counting his father (who may well have been a canon too) he is the only Belford in the canon.
Belford is a village on the old Great North Road in Northumberland, or a fishing port in New Jersey - Wodehouse might well have been more familiar with the latter than the former.
One of no fewer than six of Lord Emsworth's nieces who find themselves in this situation. She isn't given a surname, but Garrison and Tony Ring both conclude that she must be the sister of Wilfred Allsop (Galahad at Blandings). See Ring's version of the Threepwood family tree, as reproduced in Sunset at Blandings.
Meeker's twenty-acre field (p.52)
Wodehouse is poking affectionate fun at the way in which country people see the world. Meeker is presumably a local farmer (not necessarily a landowner, as Garrison supposes - Emsworth would still call it "Meeker's field" if he owned it himself and the Meekers were tenant farmers).
Meeker seems to be a Midland name: interestingly, there still seems to be at least one pig farmer called Meeker (in Wiltshire).
20 acres (8ha.) would be a field of around 400m by 200m.http://www.cnsnews.com/ViewForeignBureaus.asp?Page=%5CForeignBureaus%5Carchive%5C200301%5CFOR20030130d.html
oxy-acetylene blowpipe (p.53)
Oxy-acetylene blowpipes also feature in Leave It To Psmith.
poor Jane (p.54)
Obviously another of Lord Emsworth's ten sisters. This seems to be the only direct mention of her.
Musical expression: most loudly
...where beyond those voices there was peace (p.55)
?? must be a quotation
Professor Franz Lehmann (1860-1942) of the University of Göttingen Institute for Animal Physiology, building on the work done by his predecessors Wilhelm Henneberg and Emil Wolff, established a set of scientific standards for determining the quantity of feed farm animals should be given.http://wwwuser.gwdg.de/~tierphys/geschich.html http://www.oznet.ksu.edu/historicpublications/Pubs/SB115.PDF
fifty-seven thousand eight hundred calories (p.56)
About 240 kJ
James Bartholomew Belford (p.58)
Another good middle name. Other Bartholomews in the canon include Stiffy Bing's terrier.
Damasks ... Ayshires (p.60)
Damask roses (Rosa damascena), which are native to Asia, are typified by fragrant red or pink flowers. This is the source of the perfume attar of roses. They have tall weak arching stems and dull foliage and the flowers bloom in clusters and have weak stalks which tend to droop.
Ayrshire roses are myrrh-scented hybrids of the wild field rose, rosa arvensis. They appeared in the early 19th century, and were originally grown mostly in southern Scotland, hence the name. Lord Marshmoreton in A Damsel In Distress also grows Ayrshires.
Presumably Lord Emsworth would approve in principle of Prodigals, who, at least in the Gospels, are sound on pigs.
And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country;
and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.
And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat:
and no man gave unto him.
[Bible, Luke, 15:15-16]
American name for apple brandy (Calvados) - cf. Hot Water ch.18.
afternoon call (p.61)
For anyone who grew up in turn-of-the-century upper middle class society, this expression would automatically conjure up incongruous visions of ladies drinking tea out of delicate china cups after complex rituals involving visiting cards.
Apparently the background to this is that the wild ancestors of the domesticated pigs of today would use sound signals to tell their friends if they found something good to eat. The hog-caller attempts to trigger the pig's instinctive response to these calls.
Komm, Schweine (p.62)
German: literally "Come, pigs!"
Fred Patzel (p.63)
This Nebraska farmer really existed, and was a celebrated hog-calling champion in the 1920s - see David Landman's article about him in Plumlines.
Hog-calling championships still seem to be a feature of country fairs in some parts of America.http://www.wodehouse.org/PlumLines/patzel.html
staccato ... falsetto (p.63)
Musical terms: staccato (It.: "detached") is an instruction to shorten a note by about half its normal length to give a clear separation from the following note; falsetto is a singing technique in which a male singer extends his voice upwards to notes beyond his normal range.
two sharp ... five-five (p.64)
In Leave It To Psmith the afternoon trains from Paddington to Market Blandings are at twelve-fifty and five sharp, while in Uncle Fred In The Springtime there is also a two-forty-five.
Note that in Britain it is usual to refer to trains by their departure times, rather than train numbers, which the railways use for internal purposes only.
Swindon Junction (p.64)
Cf. Something Fresh, where the Market Blandings train also runs via Swindon. If Blandings Castle is in Shropshire, the train would go by way of Oxford, not Swindon. Norman Murphy (In Search of Blandings) accounts for this anomaly with the explanation that 'Blandings' is an amalgam of two real locations that Wodehouse would have known — Sudely Castle in Gloucestershire (reached via Swindon and Cheltenham) and Weston Park, Staffordshire (reached via Oxford).
Angela's grandmother (p.66)
Presumably he is thinking of Mrs probably-Allsopp rather than Angela's maternal grandmother, Lord Emsworth's mother.
going blah (p.67)
Cf. Money for Nothing, ch.4, where Pat tells Johnnie that he's "gone blah," meaning that he's become dull and unadventurous as a result of country life. Here the sense seems to be more like the modern "to switch off."
Bohunk was originally an American slang term for immigrants from central Europe (apparently formed from "Bohemian" + "Hungarian"), but there doesn't appear to be any record of "bohunkus" outside Wodehouse. It occurs in a few other stories: for instance Monty uses it of his prospective father-in-law in The Luck of The Bodkins, ch.4.
WHO stole my heart away... (p.68)
This is a Jerome Kern song, from the film Sunny (1925).
Who stole my heart away,
who makes me dream all day?
Dreams I know will never come true,
seems as though I'll ever be blue.
Who means my happiness,
who would I answer yes to?
Well you oughta guess,
who, no one but you.
[Harbach, Otto & Hammerstein II, Oscar, Kern, Jerome, Who stole my heart away?]
eighteen years (p.69)
This tells us that the action of this story takes place within twelve months of that of "Lord Emsworth Acts for the Best," where Beach also states that he has been with Lord Emsworth for eighteen years.
sty ... distance from the castle walls (p.70)
See the location plan showing the Hunstanton Hall pigsty, as reproduced in Plumlines.http://www.wodehouse.org/PlumLines/piggery.html
village blacksmith's daughter (p.71)
Longfellow doesn't make it entirely clear if it's the blacksmith's daughter or the parson's. Possibly he doesn't know for sure.
He goes on Sunday to the church,
And sits among his boys;
He hears the parson pray and preach,
He hears his daughter's voice,
Singing in the village choir,
And it makes his heart rejoice.
It sounds to him like her mother's voice,
Singing in Paradise!
He needs must think of her once more,
How in the grave she lies;
And with his hard, rough hand he wipes
A tear out of his eyes.
[Longfellow, Henry Wadsworth (1807-1882), The Village Blacksmith, ll.25-36]
a low minor of two quarter notes... (p.72)
This seems to be mostly Wodehouse poking fun at musicians' shop-talk - as a lyricist he must have had a fair amount of it to endure - or at the very least Belford astutely pulling the wool over Emsworth's eyes.
But, with a bit of goodwill, it could almost be read onto the notated version of Patzel's call reproduced in David Landman's article. It does start with quarter-notes (American for crotchets), rises up to F sharp, and has pairs of half-notes in it.http://www.wodehouse.org/PlumLines/patzel.html
...sound of a great amen (p.73)
The poet in question, Adelaide Anne Procter, would presumably have been forgotten altogether were it not for Sullivan's celebrated setting of this poem, the apotheosis of the Victorian drawing-room ballad.
SEATED one day at the Organ,
I was weary and ill at ease,
And my fingers wandered idly
Over the noisy keys.
I do not know what I was playing,
Or what I was dreaming then;
But I struck one chord of music,
Like the sound of a great Amen.
It flooded the crimson twilight
Like the close of an angel's Psalm,
And it lay on my fevered spirit
With a touch of infinite calm.
It quieted pain and sorrow,
Like love overcoming strife;
It seemed the harmonious echo
From our discordant life.
It linked all perplexèd meanings
Into one perfect peace,
And trembled away into silence,
As if it were loath to cease.
I have sought, but I seek it vainly,
That one lost chord divine,
That came from the soul of the Organ
And entered into mine.
It may be that Death's bright angel
Will speak in that chord again,--
It may be that only in Heaven
I shall hear that grand Amen.
[Procter, Adelaide Anne (1825-1864), Sullivan, Sir Arthur, The Lost Chord]
Company for Gertrude (p.74)
First appeared in the Strand for September 1928 and Cosmopolitan for October 1928. In book form it appears in both the UK and US versions of Blandings Castle. Runs from p(p.74) to 96 in the 2000 Penguin edition.
Donaldson's Dog-Biscuits (p.74)
See "The Custody of the Pumpkin", p.23 above.
aunt Georgiana ... Alcester (p.74)
Another of Lord Emsworth's ten sisters. She only appears in this story and "The Go-Getter". Tony Ring concludes that as the only one of the sisters to be a duchess or marchioness, she must be the mother of Lord Percy Stockheath, recent subject of a breach-of-promise action in Something Fresh. Lord Percy's style indicates that he is a younger son, so Percy and Gertrude must have another, older brother, not mentioned in the canon.
Alcester is the name of a market town in Warwickshire. Wodehouse would have known it from his visits to nearby Droitwich Spa.
Pekes ... Poms ... (p.74)
Pekes (Pekinese dogs) played a large role in Wodehouse's own life, of course. Poms [Pomeranians] are another breed of small dogs, also mentioned for example in Thank You Jeeves and Leave It To Psmith. Yorkshire terriers and Sealyhams are both small, short-legged terriers; Airedales resemble Sealyhams but have much longer legs; the Borzoi is a large Russian hunting dog, like a greyhound but with a winter coat.http://www.akc.org
A coin worth two shillings and sixpence (12.5p in decimal terms).
Trade name for an early type of transparent plastic film, made from regenerated cellulose. It was invented, and the name was registered, by the Société Industrielle de Thaon in Alsace in 1912. It became very successful as a packaging material: the expression "Cellophane fresh" was an advertising cliché of the thirties.
Even today, many people still refer to any kind of transparent film generically as "Cellophane".
Upper Brook Street (p.74)
Expensive residential street in Mayfair. Upper Brook Street is the continuation of Brook Street between Grosvenor Square and Park Lane.http://www.streetmap.co.uk/streetmap.dll?G2M?X=528239&Y=180816&A=Y&Z=1
Beefy Bingham (p.74)
The Rev. Rupert Bingham is one of the links between the Jeeves and Blandings cycles. He first appeared in "Jeeves and the Song of Songs" (1927). He returns in "The Go-Getter".
There are a number of other Binghams in the canon: Freddie in "A Job of Work" and Tod in "The Debut of Battling Billson" are both pugnacious types like Beefy; the widow Amelia in Bachelors Anonymous is not.
Wodehouse presumably got the name from the entirely unpugnacious Mr. Bingham in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.
Blood ... Trial Eights (p.74)
Blood is public school slang for someone who is very prominent socially or as a sportsman. Trial Eights implies that Beefy was one of the people on the shortlist to row against Cambridge in the Boat Race. Note that Freddie's experience of rowing seems to have been very similar to Bertie Wooster's (in Bertie's case it was Stilton who made the rude remarks).
To this day, rowing coaches cycle along the bank of the Isis shouting rude things through a megaphone.
collar ... without studs (p.74)
Most Church of England clergymen adopted the "Roman collar" in the late nineteenth century. This was a variant of the stiff detachable collars worn by laymen, but without an opening at the front. The shape was designed to recall the white neckbands worn by Victorian clergymen. Because of the lack of a visible opening, it would have been impossible to tell how it was attached to the shirt.
Anglican clergy were supported by a 10% tax on agricultural production in their parishes. This was abolished early in the 19th century in most parts of the British Isles, but survived rather longer (??? when was this) in England, to the fury of non-Anglicans. Nowadays the income of the church comes in part from the large amount of land it owns, and the rest from charitable gifts.
Clergy like Bingham, working in poor urban parishes, would have to rely on charitable trusts (like the Extra Curates' Society) if they did not have a private income of their own.
Park Street (p.76)
Crosses Upper Brook Street halfway from Grosvenor Square to Park Lane. It isn't very obvious where they are going - if they were heading for the Drones, they would continue along Upper Brook Street to cross Grosvenor Square. Freddie might perhaps be heading for his Aunt Julia's house at 17 Norfolk St (now Dunraven Lane - cf. Summer Lightning), which would involve going a short distance up Park Street, then turning left into Woods Mews.http://www.streetmap.co.uk/streetmap.dll?G2M?X=528239&Y=180816&A=Y&Z=1
Young Hearts Adrift (p.76)
Fictitious once again, although real film titles include "Old Heads and Young Hearts" (1910), "Hearts Adrift" (1914), "When Hearts are Young" (1915), "When the Heart is Young" (1917), "Hearts of Youth" (1921), "Fluttering Hearts" (1927), etc.http://www.imdb.com
Rosalie Norton (p.76)
The only Norton in the canon is Peggy, chorus girl in The Indiscretions of Archie. Mr Bickersdyke in Psmith in the City formerly worked for Norton and Biggleswade (and/or Morton and Blatherwick).
Rosalie was the title of a show Wodehouse worked on, together with a remarkable number of other writers and composers (Guy Bolton, Bill McGuire, George & Ira Gershwin, Sigmund Romberg), which opened in 1927, and later came back to haunt Wodehouse in Hollywood.
Otto Byng (p.76)
The first Byng in the canon is Lord Marshmoreton's sister, Lady Caroline, the avatar of Lady Constance Keeble in A Damsel in Distress. Wilmot Byng is the hero of "The Letter of the Law" (1936), and Stiffy first appears in The Code of the Woosters (1938).
There were of course many men called Otto in Hollywood in the twenties, so it is hard to say whether this is a specific reference or not. Probably Wodehouse is mocking the incongruity of actors' stage-names by matching a British surname with a German first name.
livings up his sleeve (p.77)
In English law, many landowners retained the advowson, the right to nominate the parish priests of the churches that had originally been endowed by previous lords of the manor. The nominee had to be presented to and approved by the diocesan bishop (before 1898, some landowners had the right of advowson donative, which meant that not even the bishop of the diocese could veto their nominee).
The post of parish priest is sometimes known as a living, because of the income attached to it.
Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe (p.78)
See "The Custody of the Pumpkin", p.26 above, for his first appearance.
George Cyril Wellbeloved (p.78)
Made his first, offstage, appearance in "Pig-hoo-o-o-o-ey", p.49 above.
the scales fell from his eyes (p.79)
17 And Anani'as went his way, and entered into the
house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus,
that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou
mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.
[Bible, Acts of the Apostles, 9:17-18]
Justice of the Peace (p.79)
Justices of the Peace are lay (i.e. not legally-trained) magistrates, who try minor offences in the local magistrates' courts. They are nominated by some mysterious process, and appointed by the Lord Chancellor. Local landowners would have been appointed almost automatically - nowadays the process has become a little more transparent, and there is always a sprinkling of headmasters, trade union officials and the like on the bench.
telephone closet (p.79)
On p.81 below the phrase "cupboard" is used - the term "closet" for a walk-in cupboard is something of an Americanism.
British houses often had the telephone tucked away in a special alcove or enclosure, ostensibly for privacy but actually to make telephoning as uncomfortable as possible and keep calls short. Cf. Money for Nothing, where the telephone cupboard plays a prominent role. Blandings later seems to acquire an extension in the library.
the three-fifteen (p.80)
Only twenty pages ago, in "Pig-hoo-o-o-o-ey", we are clearly told that there is nothing between the two o'clock train and the five-five. Obviously the GWR have revised their timetable in the meantime.
[Without getting into the "who invented television?" discussion...]
The idea of video-telephones in the 1920s isn't as outrageous as it might seem to a modern reader. The first experimental transmissions using the Baird electro-mechanical television system took place in 1924. The BBC started a trial public service in 1929, a year after this story first appeared. The Baird system, using a 30-line image, had an extremely low bandwidth requirement, and could have been transmitted down a telephone wire without any great difficulty (the signal could even be recorded on a conventional wax disc).http://inventors.about.com/library/inventors/blbaird.htm
Perhaps Belgium's most celebrated man of letters after Simenon and Hergé, the Nobel laureate Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949) was an important poet, dramatist and essayist. He is best-known in the English-speaking world for his plays, (e.g. Pelléas et Mélisande 1892), which tend to have vaguely medieval settings and tragic conclusions, while being heavily loaded with mysticism.http://www.nobel.se/literature/laureates/1911/maeterlinck-bio.html
peace, perfect peace... (p.83)
Peace, perfect peace, in this dark world of sin?
The blood of Jesus whispers peace within.
Peace, perfect peace, by thronging duties pressed?
To do the will of Jesus, this is rest.
Peace, perfect peace, with sorrows surging round?
On Jesus’ bosom naught but calm is found.
Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away?
In Jesus’ keeping we are safe, and they.
Peace, perfect peace, our future all unknown?
Jesus we know, and he is on the throne.
Peace, perfect peace, death shadowing us and ours?
Jesus has vanquished death and all its powers.
It is enough: earth’s struggles soon shall cease,
And Jesus call us to heaven’s perfect peace.
[Bickersteth, Edward H. (1875), Hymn]
beneath his window (p.83)
Lovers in Wodehouse always get the wrong window on these occasions.
closer than a brother (p.85)
A man that hath friends must show himself friendly; and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Mary ... lamb (p.85)
There seems to be considerable debate about the origins of this verse, but it is most often attributed to the American writer Sarah Hale (1788-1879), and the owner of the lamb cited as Mary Sawyer, of Sterling, Massachussets.
Mary had a little lamb
Its fleece was white as snow;
And everywhere that Mary went,
The lamb was sure to go.
It followed her to school one day,
Which was against the rule;
It made the children laugh and play,
To see a lamb at school.
And so the teacher turned it out,
But still it lingered near,
And waited patiently about
Till Mary did appear.
"Why does the lamb love Mary so?"
The eager children cry;
"Why, Mary loves the lamb, you know"
The teacher did reply.
[Hale, Sarah (1830), Mary had a little lamb (Nursery Rhyme)]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sarah_Hale
music ... mystic language of the soul (p.90)
This must be a quotation, surely???
A great many people have said things similar to this, but I haven't found this exact phrase.
'Love me ... ' (p.91)
I wander on as in a dream,
My goal a paradise must be,
For there an angel waits 'twould seem,
Yet lo, dear heart, 'tis only thee.
Suns may shine to light my way dear,
Wealth be mine for ever dear,
Queens may pledge their riches too;
Yet the world would still be lonely,
With such virtues only.
Life to me dear, means just you.
I care not for the stars that shine,
I dare not hope to e'er be thine,
I only know I love you.
Love me, and the world is mine.
[Reed, Dave Jr., Ball, Ernest R., Love me and the world is mine (song, 1906)]
waste of waters (p.92)
This is another of those ancient poetic formulae that turn out (probably) to have been invented by Sir Walter Scott. The alliteration makes us think of Anglo-Saxon verse, and modern writers have used the phrase in translations of Beowulf, but it looks as though the phrase itself is rather modern. [Strictly speaking, the word "waste" only came into English, via Old French, in the Middle Ages, although there was a similar Old English word "westen".]
The term "waste" (i.e. uncultivated land) has been applied poetically to the oceans since at least the 16th century, but according to the OED the phrase "waste of waters" appeared for the first time in Scott's Heart of Midlothian (1815).
incognito - unrecognised, in disguise (an Italian expression, commonly used for e.g. a royal personage who does not wish to be recognised as such).
King Lear (p.95)
The eponymous central character of Shakespeare's play, not noted for getting on well with his children.
old Braithwaite (p.95)
The only Braithwaite listed by Garrison is in the Lower Fourth at St Austin's. Braithwaite is the name of a village near Keswick in the Lake District and a fairly common family name in the north of England.
Came the dawn! (p.96)
Wodehouse used this as the title of a story a year earlier, in 1927. This seems to be another cliché of obscure origins.
The Go-getter (p.97)
First published (with the US title "Sales Resistance") in Cosmopolitan in March 1931 and in the Strand in August 1931. Appears in both UK and US versions of Blandings Castle. Runs from pp.97-119 in the 2000 Penguin edition of Blandings Castle.
The OED cites the first appearance of the term "go-getter" as 1921 - it seems to come from US "self-help" literature, but it had become well-established in the general language by the thirties.
calceolarias ... lobelias (p.97)
Calceorlarias (slipper-flower, or slipper-wort) have a vaguely slipper-shaped flower, and are popular with British gardeners, although originally from South America.
The lobelia is a herb, often used as a decorative plant for ground cover, in window boxes, etc., producing large numbers of flowers (usually blue, purple or crimson). Lobelias are also mentioned in Summer Lightning.
paddock at Ascot (p.97)
Royal Ascot - the most fashionable race meeting at the Ascot racecourse in Berkshire - has been held in the third week of June since 1711.
At a racecourse, the paddock is an enclosure where the horses and jockeys assemble before the race. To "cut" someone, i.e. to pretend you don't know them, in the paddock at Ascot would be the most public way possible to indicate disapproval.
Aunt Georgiana (p.97)
See "Company for Gertrude", p.74 above. Her collection of dogs does not seem to have changed since that story.
in loco parentis (p.99)
Latin: In the parent's place.
A legal expression, indicating that someone (e.g a guardian, a schoolteacher) has a responsibility for looking after a young person in a given situation.
Orlo Watkins, the crooning tenor (p.99)
Appears only in this story, and according to Garrison the only Watkins in the canon.
Orlo seems to be relatively rare as a first name outside the US. In Italian "orlo" means something like border, edge, threshold - it exists in this sense in English as an architectural term. The only directly musical association is that in Spanish the word "orlo" is used for a crumhorn.
"Croon" is a Scottish word, popularised in English by Burns, meaning "to emit a low groaning sound". In the late 1920s it started to be used - ironically at first - to describe the then-new style of singing in a low voice with the lips close to a microphone. Bing Crosby was perhaps the most famous crooner.http://members.iinet.net.au/~nickl/crumhorn.html
gifted young men ... Lady Constance Keeble (p.99)
Lady Constance has apparently not been cured of this habit by the events of Leave It To Psmith, where it is first mentioned. However, she does seem to abandon it after this story.
Adelphi Hotel, Liverpool (p.99)
Liverpool would still have been Britain's busiest port after London at this period, and was thus the natural home of shipping magnates. The Adelphi, opened in 1826 (or possibly 1869??) and rebuilt in 1912 to serve the passengers of great liners like the Titanic, is the city's grandest hotel.http://www.bbc.co.uk/liverpool/localhistory/journey/lime_street/adelphi/hotel.shtml
Love and the Moonlight and You (p.99)
Seems to be a generic reference to song lyrics - I can't find a real song with this exact phrase in it, although of course there are thousands that come very close.
British Broadcasting Corporation (p.99)
The privately-owned British Broadcasting Company Ltd. was set up in 1922; it was taken over by the government in 1927 to become the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Although BBC engagements probably didn't pay very much, surely a man of Watkins's talents would have been able to earn a living wage from recording contracts and club appearances?
bone-forming vitamins (p.100)
Of course, bones are formed from minerals rather than vitamins, although the latter do play a role in helping the body to metabolise things like calcium, iron and phosphorus that are required to make bones.
Genealogical College (p.102)
Although heralds traditionally exist as colleges, this doesn't seem to be the normal collective term for genealogists. There are of course colleges that teach people to be genealogists (mostly in the state of Utah), but this probably isn't what Wodehouse is referring to here.
Pastor of Souls (p.102)
This expression has been used since the early days of the Christian church to describe the priest's role as "shepherd" of the congregation. Wodehouse is also reminding us that Bingham is now vicar in his own right, and no longer a Curate of Souls.
Kind hearts... (p.105)
Howe'er it be, it seems to me,
'T is only noble to be good.
Kind hearts are more than coronets,
And simple faith than Norman blood.
[Tennyson, Alfred Lord (1809-1892), Lady Clara Vere de Vere, 7
Burke and Debrett (p.106)
The two best-known directories of the British titled classes.
Burke's Peerage was first published by John Burke in 1826, and continued to be revised until about 1970. The name and copyright were sold on to third parties when the original company went into liquidation, and are still in use.
Debrett’s Peerage of England, Scotland and Ireland was originally compiled by John Debrett (1750-1822), which first appeared in 1803.
The Castaways (p.253)
Eunice Westleigh (p.253)
There are a number of places in Britain called Westleigh, including two in North Devon (one near Tiverton, an area a number of other Wodehouse placenames come form; the other near Bideford), and one near Wigan.
Cyril Trevelyan (p.253)
Trevelyan is a well-known Cornish name. Wodehouse often gives the heroes of fictitious romantic novels Cornish names - cf. for instance Lord Claude Tremaine ("No Wedding Bells for him"). Maybe this is a nod towards Daphne Du Maurier?
the old Press Gang (p.254)
During the Napoleonic wars, the Royal Navy was allowed to patrol the streets of seaports and impress (i.e. forcibly recruit) any seamen they were able to find. Contrary to common belief, they weren't allowed to impress landsmen.
Genevieve Bootle (p.254)
Bootle is on the Mersey, near Liverpool.
A Whisky Sour in "The Code of the Mulliners" mentions that his wife is a "Miss Bootle, as was."
Bulstrode Mulliner (p.254)
This is his only appearance. There are many minor characters in the canon called Bulstrode as a surname - e.g. the householder through whose domain Uncle Fred flits; the family of the Mabel who has a Bit of Luck when she escapes marriage to Ukridge; and butlers in Barmy In Wonderland and Ring For Jeeves.
Bulstrode is an English surname: probably the only famous person to have had it as a first name was the puritan MP and Civil War diarist Bulstrode Whitelock (1605-1676).
Bulstrode Park is an estate near Gerards Cross, Buckinghamshire, which passed into the hands of the Dukes of Somerset in the late 17th century.http://www.spartacus.schoolnet.co.uk/STUwhitelockB.htm
Genevieve Bootle (p.254)
cf. "The Code of the Mulliners", where a Whisky Sour is married to "Miss Bootle, as was." Bootle is on the Mersey, just north of Liverpool.