This is part of an on-going effort by the members of the Blandings Yahoo! Group to document references, allusions, quotations, etc in the works of P G Wodehouse.

Right Ho, Jeeves was originally annotated by Dan (last name unknown) (aka Worplesdon). They have been reformatted somewhat, but credit goes to Dan for his original efforts, even while we bear the blame for errors of fact or interpretation.

Right Ho, Jeeves was first published on October 5 1934 by Herbert Jenkins, London, and on October 15 1934 by Little Brown, New York. It was serialised in The Saturday Evening Post, The Grand Magazine and The Yorkshire Weekly Post prior to book publication.

These annotations relate to the 1983 Penguin (UK) reprint.


Chapter 1

gone off the rails. (p 5)

A colorful expression referring to a trainwreck, meaning the author has strayed from his path.

Cannes (p 5)

Southern French city renowned for tourism, nightlife and gambling. Now chiefly known for its film festival.

white mess jacket (p 5)

A waist-length fitted jacket, typically part of a uniform and worn on formal occasions.

baccarat (p 5)

A card game popular in casinos, very similar to chemin de fer.

Ascot (p 6)

An English horse racing course, site of an important yearly racing event.

point d'appui (p 6)

French: entry point (literally: point of support, fulcrum)

aqua planing (p 6)

Similar to water-skiing but uses a single, wide board: the style at that time. Water-skiing is done with one or two skis or, sometimes, barefooted.

soup and fish (p 6)

Formal dinner wear.

What news on the Rialto? (p 7)

Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice, III:1 The Rialto is a bridge over the Grand Canal and a central meeting point in Venice.

Eton and Harrow match. (p 7)

Two large and prestigious private schools for teenage boys in England, the match refers to a hotly contested annual cricket match held every summer. Bertie and Gussie were both Etonians.

newts (p 7)

Newts are members of the salamander group, amphibians that live in ponds and streams, often mistaken for lizards which they resemble in shape and size. Lizards are, of course, reptiles. British newts are of the order Urodela, family Salamandridae. Jeeves states they are genus Molge, but modern taxonomy puts them in genus Triturus. If this in-and-out running surprises you, recall that the father of taxonomy is Carl Linnaeus, a Swede. As is well-known, the Swedes are a peculiar people, and when the impressionable young come under their sway, for instance, D'Arcy "Stilton" Cheesewright, they are liable to end up involved in such excesses as doing "swedish exercises" every morning in the nude. Given this, it is less surprising that they would pull the rug out from under Jeeves in this fashion.

piscine (p 8)

Relating to fish.

rummy (p 9)

"Rum," slang that means odd or strange.

ruling of the form book (p 9)

The form book is a reference to horse-racing, it gives information on the horses.

cognoscenti (p 10)

Italian word meaning well-informed or learned.

bring himself to the scratch. (p 10)

Starting line in a race.

letting I dare not wait upon I would. (p 10)

[Lady Macbeth] Was the hope drunk
Wherein you dress'd yourself? hath it slept since?
And wakes it now, to look so green and pale
At what it did so freely? From this time
Such I account thy love. Art thou afeard
To be the same in thine own act and valour
As thou art in desire? Wouldst thou have that
Which thou esteem'st the ornament of life,
And live a coward in thine own esteem,
Letting 'I dare not' wait upon 'I would,'
Like the poor cat i' the adage?

[Shakespeare - Macbeth, Act 1 scene 7]

divine p (p 11)

Divine Passion.

treading upon Life's banana skins (p 11)

Banana peels can be extremely slippery on a smooth surface, and cause a nasty slip.

Tallulah Bankhead (p 12)

Comely Hollywood star of the 1920s and 30s. Notorious for her "hard partying" lifestyle.

stymied (p 14)

Golfing expression: in a situation where a putt is blocked by an opponent's ball. The stymie has been obsolete since 1952 -- a player was "laid a stymie" if, on the green, the opponent's ball fell in the line of his path to the hole (providing the balls were not within 6 inches of one another). The player was not allowed to strike the opponent's ball when putting his own ball.

the knee-length (p 14)

This appears to be a reference to the length of the tails in his dinner jacket.

treading the measure (p 15)


Battle of Agincourt (p 15)

English triumph during the Hundred Years War. Taking place in October 1415, Henry V faced a vastly larger, but undisciplined, French army on their own soil. English courage and longbow superiority carried the day.

vest (p 15)

In America, this would be an undershirt

Blue Train (p 15)

Luxury train between Paris and the Côte d'Azur, first ran in 1922.

tout ce qu'il y a de chic (p 15)

French: all that's elegant

olive branch (p 16)

A peacemaking gift and gesture. Probably related to the dove bringing back the olive leaf to Noah to signal an end of the Great Flood.

Mephistopheles (p 16)

A synonym for Satan, he is one of the seven Princes of Hell.

Chapter 2

shake like an aspen (p 17)

A tree with leaves that flutter in the slightest breeze.

fancy-dress ball (p 17)

costume party

Pierrot (p 17)

Harlequin, clown, especially in pantomime, wears whiteface with bright clothes; cf. several early Picasso paintings and "Pierrot Lunaire," a song-cycle by Arnold Schõnberg.

roof-tree (p 17)

The main, center pole of a tent or building which holds up its roof, typically carved from a single tree.

rout or revel (p 18)


gassing all over the place (p 18)

Talking out of turn, spilling secrets.

non-starter (p 19)

Horse removed from a race for any reason.

cipher (p 20)

An unimportant or powerless person.

shirty (p 20)


iron hand (p 20)

The iron hand in the velvet glove. A saying suggesting great power with a benign front.

de riguer (p 20)

French: required, necessary.

always been a whale (p 20)

Has always been learned and enthusiastic about a subject.

snaps it out of the bag (p 20)

Brings up the subject.

binge (p 21)


visionary (p 23)

Person with the ability to see into the future.

Chapter 3

snifter (p 26)

A special glass designed for drinking brandy, cognac, armagnac, calvados, and the other brandywine drinks.

Martinis and a dividend (p 26)

When a pitcher of mixed drinks is prepared, the portion left over in the pitcher that is not quite a full drink is called the "dividend."

the well-cooked (p 26)

well prepared meal

the better element (p 27)

the aristocracy, his well-bred friends

V-shaped rumminess (p 27)

The reference is to the depiction on a synoptic weather chart of the fronts associated with a depression, or low pressure system. The warm and cold fronts usually appear as an inverted 'V', with its apex at the center of the depression. In Britain, such frontal systems almost always bring thick cloud and rain. Thanks to Terry Mordue.

dissentient (p 28)

A very odd choice of words, perhaps this is a joke with Bertie mangling his vocabulary again. The proper term would typically be "dissenting," meaning "disagreeing." "Sentient" means thinking, capable of emotions or perceptions, and this author has never seen the word with the "dis" prefix.

fortnight (p 28)

An term for "two weeks," seldom used in North America, a contraction of "fourteen nights."

mighty rushing wind (p 29)

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

[Bible - Acts, ii, 2]

Chapter 4

the year Bluebottle won the Cambridgeshire (p 30)

The Cambridgeshire Handicap, run at Newmarket in October, is one of the main races of the horseracing calendar. The horse Bluebottle appears to be fictitious. Wodehouse often avoids committing himself to a date by referring to a horserace.

Milady's Boudoir (p 30)

Magazine for the delicately nurtured edited by Aunt Dahlia Travers. Also known as "Madame's Nightshirt," by her husband Tom Travers, who foots the bills for it.

Home Counties (p 30)

The [former] counties which contain London are Middlesex and Surrey; the surrounding counties of Kent, Sussex, Hampshire, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire and Essex (clockwise from the Thames estuary) are also usually considered as Home Counties. English counties have been revised a couple of times over the last century, this list is according to the situation as it was in 1918.

vis-à-vis (p 31)

French, face to face.

chivvying (p 31)

chasing, pursuing

out on the tiles (p 31)

Out dancing, hanging around in nightclubs.

Noblesse oblige (p 31)

French, noble obligations.

oolong (p 31)

a kind of dark tea, from Chinese Wu Lung (black dragon).

like a drowning man at a straw hat (p 31)

Proverbial - usually just "at a straw" (or "at straws"). OED records first use as "Clarissa" (Richardson, 1748):

"A drowning man will catch at a straw, the Proverb well says."

Reported to have originated in 'Dialogue of Comfort Against Tribulation' (1534) by Thomas More (1478-1535). The addition of the word "hat" subverts the cliché completely, of course.

this awful thing that had come upon me. (p 32)

Job 3:25: For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me,...

oz. of the lifesaving (p 33)

ounce of tea

strained a fetlock and must scratch his nomination (p 33)

Fetlock: third metacarpal/metatarsal bone in a horse's leg, similar to the ankle joint. Scratch his nomination: withdraw from the race/event.

Dotheboys Hall (p 34)

The boy's school in the Dickens novel 'Nicholas Nickleby." As is typical in Dickens's work, it is hell on earth, run by tyrants who surpass even M. Aubrey Upjohn, Bertie's imperious schoolmaster in his youth at Bramley-on-Sea..

nib (p 35)

A distinguished person.

spats (p 35)

A piece of cloth or leather covering the ankle and part of the shoe and buttoned on the side. Spatterdashes were long gaiters or leggings worn when riding to protect the breeches and stockings from mud (mainly 18th century). Spats were literally short spatterdashes - a 19th century adaptation to keep mud off your shoes and socks in city streets. With paved streets and the decreasing use of horses in city traffic they became purely decorative by the early 20th century. They fell out of favor when fashionable young men started wearing shoes instead of ankle boots, largely due to the fashion influence of the Prince of Wales.

topper (p 35)

top hat, large tall hat worn on formal occasions

address a girl's school (p 35)

Bertie is referring to an unfortunate incident detailed in the short story "Bertie Changes His Mind."

a frost (p 35)


Chapter 5

raspberry (p 37)

Putting the tongue firmly between the lips and blowing, making a rude sound.

human lark, leaving his watery nest at daybreak. (p 37)

The lark is a bird notorious for rising early and singing, causing much negative comment in the neighborhood.

[Davenant, William, (1606-1668)]

The lark now leaves his wat'ry nest,
And climbing shakes his dewy wings.
He takes this window for the East,
And to implore your light he sings--
Awake, awake! the morn will never rise
Till she can dress her beauty at your eyes.
The merchant bows unto the seaman's star,
The ploughman from the sun his season takes;
But still the lover wonders what they are
Who look for day before his mistress wakes.
Awake, awake! break thro' your veils of lawn!
Then draw your curtains, and begin the dawn!


bung (p 37)


rising on stepping-stones of his dead self to higher things. (p 38)

See Tennyson, "In Memoriam A.H.H.": "That men may rise on stepping-stones of their dead selves to higher things."

Colney Hatch (p 41)

A noted insane asylum.

put our hands to the plough, we do not readily sheathe the sword. (p 41)

A muddled mixture of two sayings from Bertie, the first is from the Bible: St. Luke 9, 62, "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God." The second is Shakespeare, Hevry V act III scene 1: "Have in these parts from morn till even fought, and sheath'd their swords for lack of argument."

It also could be influenced by the famous quote from Isaiah (2:4), in which "swords" and "ploughs/plows" are juxtaposed.

"And they will hammer their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not lift up sword against nation, and never again will they learn war."

Chapter 6

plugs decarbonized (p 44)

A reference to the sparkplugs of a car, which gradually become dirty with carbon from burning gasoline and need to be cleaned or replaced.

poultice (p 44)

A soft medicine, typically warmed and spread on a wound or other bodily damage

mousse (p 45)

A sweetened chilled desert, typically made with whipped cream and gelatin.

tender pash (p 45)

Tender passion, i.e., Love.

grab the gold ring on a merry-go-round (p 46)

A merry-go-round is a carnival ride, a round platform with horses mounted on it, it spins around and people sit on the horses and pretend they are riding. Some merry-go-rounds have a system of prizes given for grabbing rings from a stationary object as you roll by.

beach pyjamas (p 46)

In the twenties and thirties, beach pyjamas were loose-fitting and normally rather gaudy clothes intended to be worn (mainly by women) over a bathing costume after swimming.

précis (p 46)

a concise summary

Borstal (p 48)

reform school

bleater (p 50)


Master of Revels (p 50)

(the below was shamelessly stolen from a Shakespeare website)

Anyone involved in the production of plays in Elizabethan England, from the playwright to the theatre owners, knew that the Master of Revels was the man to impress and fear, for he auditioned acting troupes, selected the plays they would perform, and controlled the scenery and costumes to be used in each production. During the reign of James I, the Master of Revels reached the apex of his power and had complete authority over both the production and the publication of plays. The Master of Revels, deputy to the Lord Chamberlain, headed the Revels Office, the department of the royal household responsible for the coordination of theatrical entertainment at court.

cowardy custard (p 50)

slang: scaredy-cat, etc.

Chapter 7

two-seater (p 53)

A small sports car.

the hour of the evening cocktail (p 54)

The cocktail hour is the hour before dinner, in America it is generally between four and six p.m. It may be later in England, since Europeans often have dinner later than Americans.

g. (p 54)


conspic. by its a. (p 54)

conspicuous by its absence

argot (p 54)

French: jargon

Ancient Mariner (p 54)

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, a poem by Coleridge.

Time, the great healer. (p 55)

The closest true quote seems to be from Benjamin Disraeli's "Henrietta Temple." "Time is the great physician."

oofy (p 56)


oom beroofen (p 59)

Puzzling, probably a German expression. "Rufen" means to call, e.g.: "Aus der Tiefen rufe ich, Herr, zu dir," a cantata by Bach, {Out of the depths I call, Lord, to you.") The closest thing I can find is "unberufen," which means "uncalled for," "unbidden."

deaf adder (p 61)

Psalm 58, 4: They are as venomous as the poison of a serpent: even like the deaf adder which stoppeth her ears; Which refuseth to hear the voice of the charmer: charm he never so wisely.

Mechlin (p 61)

A city in Belgium, famous for its lace. "Mechlin" is the old English spelling: it is now usually written Mechelen, (in French, Malines).

Chapter 8

swimming bath (p 63)

swimming pool

melancholy...had marked him for her own. (p 64)

And Melancholy mark'd him for her own.

[Thomas Gray, "Elegy in a Country Churchyard."]

gasper (p 64)


wheeze (p 70)


Chapter 9

salle de bain (p 71)

French: bathroom

in-the-soup (p 71)

in trouble

porcelain (p 71)

A form of china often used to make bathtubs and sinks.

You know my methods, Jeeves. Apply them. (p 72)

"You know my methods. Apply them."

[Sherlock Holmes to Watson in "The Sign of Four."]

subj. (p 73)


My emotions were too deep for speech. (p 73)


"To me the meanest flower that blows can give,
Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears."

[Wordsworth, "Ode, Intimations of Immortality."]

smeller (p 74)

misfortune, accident

bring home the gravy (p 74)

Another mangled bit of slang from Bertie. Should be "bring home the bacon," which means to be successful.

f-c (p 77)

finely chiseled (face)

j. (p 77)


Abernethy Towers (p 77)

Abernethy is an ancient town in Scotland. The Abernethy Tower dates probably from the 9th or 10th century, with 11th century alterations. It is 72 feet high and only 8 feet in interior diameter, with walls 3 1/2 feet thick. These towers served the Celtic clergy as steeples, watch-towers against Viking invaders, and refuges.

Having said this, I do not understand this reference in context, nor the following reference to a musical comedy.

death where is thy sting (p 77)

"O death, where is thy sting?
O grave, where is thy victory?"

[First Corinthians, 15:55.]

Belshazzar's Feast (p 78)

See Daniel, chapter five.

mere (p 79)

sea, ocean. French: mer.

Tabasco (p 79)

Pepper sauce for cooking, in other words, "hot stuff," or a "good idea."

Plimsoll mark (p 81)

A line painted on the outside of a ship which shows how deep it is legally allowed to go down into the water when it is loaded.

Devil's Island (p 81)

An island in the Caribbean used by the French as a prison.

badinage (p 81)

small talk, social chit-chat

pterodactyl (p 81)

A bird-like dinosaur with wings.

clarion (p 82)

an old style of trumpet

d.f. (p 83)

disarming frankness.

the what-d'you-call-it (p 83)

The word Bertie is searching for is "cynosure."

Pig-something (p 86)

The sculptor Pygmalion of Greek mythology.

She starts. She moves... (p 86)

And see! she stirs!
She starts,-she moves,-she seems to feel
The thrill of life along her keel,
And, spurning with her foot the ground,
With one exulting, joyous bound,
She leaps into the ocean's arms!

[Longfellow, The Building of the Ship.]

Now fades the glimmering landscape... (p 86)

The Poet Gray again, from "Elegy in a Country Churchyard.":

Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight, And all the air a solemn stillness holds.

pace the meadows with a heavy tread (p 87)

This sounds like a quote, but I can't find it. Help please.

gloaming (p 87)

Crepuscular. The part of the day after the sun has gone down and before the sky is completely dark.

Chapter 10

Hot Dog! (p 90)

American slang, an exclamation of excitement or emphasis.

glutinous (p 90)

Sticky, gummy. From "gluten," a gluey protein in wheat which makes bread dough sticky.

cheese it (p 90)

run away

fag-end (p 90)

cigarette butt

map (p 90)


soul's awakening (p 90)

This is a difficult quotation, possibly a reference to "The Soul's Awakening," a mystery play written by Rudolf Steiner, in 1922. There is also supposed to be a painting by Millais with this title. Also an anonymous painting with this title has been found, and it may have been a generic painting subject of the Victorian age.


soupiness (p 90)

emotion, sentimentality

hung fire (p 91)

When lighting a fuse, if it stops burning quickly, yet doesn't go out, it is said to "hang fire."

Michael Arlen (p 91)

1895-1956, English novelist, b. Bulgaria as Dikran Kuyumjian. The son of Armenian parents, he was brought to England as a child. In 1922 he became a British subject and changed his name, and in 1928 he married Countess Atalanta Mercati. Arlen is best remembered for his fantastically successful novel (and play) The Green Hat (1924), which depicts the licentious postwar life of fashionable London society. His characters are disillusioned, cynical, and witty. Although sophisticated, the novel is ultimately sentimental. Arlen's novels depicted the mood of the 1920s, and by the 30s he was no longer read. His last novel, Flying Dutchman, appeared in 1939.

A figure from the twenties if ever there was one. His nickname in society was 'The Baron'. Many thought that this was because young Dikran, back in his native Armenia was a member of that admirable nation's aristocracy. Some believed he was indeed an Armenian Baron. Sadly this proved to be inaccurate. The truth lay in the simple fact that the Armenian word for 'Mr' is 'Bahr-ron.'

spinney (p 91)

small patch of trees

mashed potatoes (p 94)

syrupy love talk

marked starting of the pores (p 94)


by the time the whistle blew (p 94)

Finished, a whistle is blown to mark the end of the workday or sporting event.

persp. (p 95)


Niagara (p 95)

Niagara Falls, a very large waterfall on the American-Canadian border.

let it ride (p 95)

In gambling, to not take your winnings at the end of a wager but let all the money stay on for the next bet.

vamp (p 96)


chukker (p 97)

The game of polo is divided into six intervals known as "chukkers."

Boadicea (p 97)

Boudicca, early British queen known in Roman annals as Boadicea, was born into aristocracy around 30 A.D. Little or nothing is known of where she came from; many believe that her name, Boudicca, was not her name at all, but that she may have been called Boudiga -- the Celtic goddess of Victory -- by her followers, which would lead to the Latinized name given as 'Boadicea Victoria' given by Roman historians. Boudicca married into the Iceni royalty in southeastern Britain, believed about 48 A.D., and bore two daughters who had reached adolescence before her husband died of illness in 60 or 61 A.D. After his death came a series of surprising and ruthless attacks on her and her daughters by the Romans, and for this the Iceni tribe became outraged and Boudicca ultimately led a force believed to number over one hundred thousand or more, in a massive rebellion that left a permanent thorn in the side of the Roman Empire.

gollup (p 98)


keep his head down and not press (p 98)

A bit of good advice for golfers.

two penn'orth of wassail (p 99)

Two pennies worth of a hot drink made with beer or wine and spices.

Chapter 11

raw spirit (p 100)

Undiluted hard liquor, here it is a reference to whisky.

the day he overcame the Nervii (p 100)

If you have tears, prepare to shed them now.
You all do know this mantle: I remember
The first time Caesar ever put it on;
'Twas on a summer's evening, in his tent,
That day he overcame the Nervii.

[Shakespeare, "Julius Caesar," ii,174.]

cloth-headed guffins (p 100)

Slang: idiot, fool.

under the ether (p 100)

Ether was an early anesthetic, but what Bertie is referring to here is comparing the effects of love to ether. See also "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock, by T.S. Eliot: "Let us go then, you and I, When the evening is spread out against the sky Like a patient etherized upon a table."

pourparlers (p 100)

conference, initial exchange of greetings

tonsils of the soul (p 101)

Confusing reference, but probably refers to spiritual agonies causing the odd sounds rather than physical ones.

motif (p 101)

theme, subject

travail (p 101)

painful heavy work

apple sauce (p 104)

Slang: emotional rants, or gooey insincere flattery.

crack (p 106)

insult, sharp reply

animus (p 106)

anger, prejudicial hatred

melting pots (p 107)

In this context referring to Great Britain as a "melting pot" means that people of different countries and races have come their to live and blend in. In the larger context conservative individuals like Uncle Tom take this as a type of invasion that will jeopardize the country and its institutions.

floater (p 108)

blunder, mistake

pterodactyl (p 108)

A winged bird-like dinosaur.

Old Home Week in Moscow (p 108)

A reunion in Moscow, evidently if this happened Bertie thinks a riot would ensue.

b. (p 108)


Lord Tennyson (p 109)

distinguished English poet

Provençal (p 109)

southern France

Gauls (p 109)

old-fashioned word for French

spilt milk blows nobody any good (p 109)

A befuddled mix of two sayings: "There is no use crying over spilt milk." and "It's an ill wind that blows no good."

Chapter 12

m. (p 115)


gimlet (p 115)

A tool for putting holes in wood.

stap my vitals (p 116)

Also "stap me vitals." A common expression or exclamation that is somewhat obscure. The OED says that it's a mispronunciation of "stop my vitals," as popularised by the character Lord Foppington in Sir John Vanbrugh's play The Relapse (1696).

blue around the rims. (p 116)

I believe this is a reference to mold, including mold on cheese.

Masonic uniform (p 117)

The Masons are an ancient quasi-religious fraternal organization, who trace their origins to the building of the Temple of Solomon.

omitting no detail, however apparently slight. (p 118)

An echo or take-off on Sherlock Holmes.

the year Shining Light was disqualified in the Cesarewitch for boring, (p 119)

A reference to a scandal in racehorse circles, details unknown, but the Cesarewitch is a race in October, in Newmarket. The full phrase would have been 'bumping and boring' which means that one jockey has been accused of purposely encouraging his horse to run into another, thus putting it off it's stride.

apoplectic fits (p 120)

An old-fashioned term for "stroke."

conv. (p 121)


Chapter 13

sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought (p 123)

Shakespeare, from Hamlet's "To be or not to be" soliloquy.

Thus Conscience does make Cowards of us all, And thus the Native hew of Resolution Is sicklied o'er, with the pale cast of Thought, And enterprises of great pith and moment, With this regard their Currents turn away, And loose the name of Action. Soft you now, The fair Ophelia? Nymph, in thy Horizons Be all my sins remembered.

Eden rock at Antibes (p 125)

Antibes Juan les Pins is a city in the French Riviera or "Côte d'Azur." Eden Rock is a tourist attraction therein.

original call of two spades (p 126)

An opening bid of two of a suit in the game of Bridge requires strong overall high card values or complete control of the suit bid. There would naturally be some debate over how fully a suit was controlled if the bidder lacked the ace, and Goren would inevitably be consulted.

gasper (p 126)


If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well it were done quickly: (p 130)

More Shakespeare, Macbeth contemplating the murder of Duncan in Act 1, scene 7.

Chapter 14

full of beans and buck. (p 133)

Slang, apparently means enthusiasm and energy.

penalized for "sticks.' (p 133)

This is a reference to field hockey, a popular girl's game. This probably refers to holding the stick too high during play (high sticking is what it is called in ice hockey).

a copy of Omar Khayyam (p 134)

This is a reference to the poem "The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam" in the very popular Fitzgerald translation.

gaucherie (p 134)

A gaucherie is something done clumsily or ineptly.

oik...mass of side...bargee (p 135)

An oik is somebody of the lower classes, `putting on a mass of side' is showing off considerably, and a bargee is somebody who works on a canal barge and therefore to be looked down upon (about the same social status as a gypsy had at that time).

outsider (p 135)

A person lacking the social status of the individuals he is consorting with, typically used by the upper classes as a reference to someone of inferior status.

a hissing and a byword (p 137)

This appears to be a biblical quote, but a precise reference cannot be found, perhaps it is from The Book of Common Prayer. The closest found in the King James version is from Jeremiah 29:18: "And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and an hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them."

rash you get on your face (p 138)

Here Bertie is mixing up "ecstatic" with "eczema."

Chapter 15

rocketing pheasant (p 140)

A wild gamebird, relative of the domestic chicken, that is famed for its sudden burst into flight when startled.

Quotha...Odds Bodikins...Eh Ba Goom (p 140)

Obscure and archaic exclamations.

approbrious? (p 141)

This word should be "opprobrious." Unknown if this is a mistake of Bertie or Plum's editors, or a misprint.

acrid (p 141)

bitter, harsh

haggis (p 142)

A Scottish traditional dish, entrails and various items cooked inside a sheep's stomach, and according to all reports even worse than it sounds. One recipe is:

"Stomach bag and pluck (heart, liver and lights of a sheep -- you can substitute a selection of organ meats) 2 onions, peeled 2 c pinhead oatmeal (Irish oatmeal) 1 2/3 c suet salt & pepper trussing needle and fine string Thoroughly wash the stomach bag in cold water. Turn it inside out and scald it, then scrape the surface with a knife. Soak it in cold salted water overnight. Next day remove the bag from the water and leave it on one side while preparing the filling. Wash the pluck. Put it into a pan, with the windpipe hanging over the side into a bowl, to let out any impurities. Cover the pluck with cold water, add 1 teaspoon of salt and bring the water to a boil. Skim the surface, then simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Meanwhile parboil the onions, drain, reserving the liquid, and chop them roughly. Also toast the pinhead oatmeal until golden brown. Drain the pluck when ready and cut away the windpipe and any excess gristle. Mince half the liver with all the heart and lights, then stir in the shredded suet, the toasted oatmeal and the onions. Season well with salt and pepper. Moisten with as much of the onion or pluck water as necessary to make the mixture soft. With the rough surface of the bag outside fill it just over half full, the oatmeal will swell during cooking, and sew the ends together with the trussing needle and fine string. Prick the bag in places with the needle. Place the haggis on and enamel plate and put it into a pan of boiling water. Cover the pan and cook for about 3 hours, adding more boiling water when necessary to keep the haggis covered." Note that not only does haggis appear to be utterly unfit for human consumption, but that it is very labor intensive as well. Also note that "lights" is an old-fashioned term for "lungs."

round the mulberry bush (p 143)

A game where hands are linked in a large circle and then singing children walk or dance around a central child.

many headed (p 144)


let the dead past bury its dead (p 144)

This is from a Longfellow poem, since it is short and contains many other Bertie-isms I am reproducing it in whole:

Tell me not in mournful numbers,
Life is but an empty dream!
For the soul is dead that slumbers,
And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!
And the grave is not its goal;
Dust thou are, to dust thou returnest,
Was not spoken of the soul.

Not enjoyment, and not sorrow,
Is our destined end or way;
But to act, that each tomorrow
Find us farther than today.

Art is long, and Time is fleeting,
And our hearts, though stout and brave,
Still, like muffled drums, are beating
Funeral marches to the grave.

In the world's broad field of battle,
In the bivouac of Life,
Be not like dumb, driven cattle!
Be a hero in the strife!

Trust no Future, howe'er pleasant!
Let the dead Past bury its dead!
Act, - act in the living Present!
Heart within, and God o'erhead!

Lives of great men all remind us
We can make our lives sublime,
And, departing, leave behind us
Footprints on the sand of time;

Footprints, that perhaps another,
Sailing o'er life's solemn main,
A forlorn and shipwrecked brother,
Seeing, shall take heart again.

Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any fate;
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.

[Longfellow - A Psalm of Life]

beak (p 145)


Three chaps in the Old Testament (p 148)

A reference to Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who had a minor difference of opinion with Nebuchadnezzar and ended up in a furnace, emerging unscathed. The whole laughable misunderstanding can be found in the third chapter of Daniel.

au pied de la lettre (p 149)

French, "do not take literally."

Chapter 16

the race is not always to the swift (p 153)

"I returned, and saw under the sun,
that the race is not to the swift,
nor the battle to the strong,
neither yet bread to the wise,
nor yet riches to men of understanding,
nor yet favour to men of skill;
but time and chance happeneth to them all."

[Ecclesiastes 9:11.]

D.S.O. (p 154)

The Distinguished Service Order was established to reward officers who exhibited individual instances of meritorious or distinguished service in war. It was usually awarded for service under fire or under conditions equivalent to service in actual combat with the enemy.

a mockery and a scorn. (p 154)

Apparently a stock phrase. The word "mockery" doesn't appear in the AV - there is "a scorn and a derision" in Psalms 44 and 79, which is presumably the translation of a stock phrase in Hebrew.

osteopath (p 154)

An osteopath specializes in healing by joint manipulation.

linnet (p 159)

A singing bird.

C3 (p 161)

Wodehouse often makes reference to "C3" items. This was the lowest category of physical fitness defined in the Military Service Act of 1916, thus colloquially means inferior, low quality, not up to scratch.

solemn stillness (p 163)

Another reference to Thomas Gray, "Elegy in a Country Churchyard.": Now fades the glimmering landscape on the sight, And all the air a solemn stillness holds.

Chapter 17

stevedore (p 166)

Someone who loads and unloads cargo in the hold on ships. Americans often use the term "longshoreman."

fug (p 167)

Slang: an airless smoky smelly atmosphere.

chandler (p 167)

A dealer in specific goods, a corn chandler would be someone who deals strictly in corn and related products.

essency (p 167)

Probably a misprint, perhaps Bertie mangling a word.

fagged (p 169)

Slang: tired.

Trial gallops (p 171)

Short testing races for horses.

perspicacious (p 171)

Having good judgment, observant.

baize (p 171)

A coarse felt-like cloth.

one over the eight (p 171)

British military slang for "drunk," based on the idea that eight pints of beer is the maximum one can drink safely.

there are sermons in books (p 172)

And this our life, exempt from public haunt,
Finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything.

[Shakespeare, "As You Like It," II.i.12]

tongue-tied (p 172)

A birth defect when the frenulum, the skin under the tongue, holds the tongue in place more than normal, making speech difficult.

conte (p 172)

French: story, tale.


Possibly a misprint for "frowst," or a rare alternative spelling. A hot stuffy fustiness.

blushful Hippocrene (p 174)

O for a draught of vintage! that hath been
Cool'd a long age in the deep-delvèd earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country-green,
Dance, and Provençal song, and sunburnt mirth!
O for a beaker full of the warm South!
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene,
With beaded bubbles winking at the brim,
And purple-stainèd mouth;
That I might drink, and leave the world unseen,
And with thee fade away into the forest dim.

[Keats, "Ode to a Nightingale."]

bilge (p 177)

Bottom of a ship, often full of foul water. In this context it means rubbish or nonsense.

Thingummy (p 178)

A word used, especially in spoken English, when the name of an object has been forgotten.

ganglions (p 179)

A mass of nerve cells outside the central nervous system, "ganglia" is the preferred plural.

coiffure (p 183)

French: hairstyle.

Chapter 18

swimming b. (p 185)

Swimming bath, what Yanks would call a swimming pool, or possibly, if from the rural districts, a "cement pond." Also possibly a reference to the Bath Club, in Dover Street, which was one of the models for The Drones club.

knocked me down with a f. (p 187)

Feather: shocked, so shocked as to be unsteady and easily pushed over.

non-goose-bo-ing (p 188)

This is a variation of the old phrase: "Wouldn't say bo (or boo) to a goose." It means timid, as in someone who wouldn't have the confidence to stand up to even something so normally peaceful (when not breeding) as a goose.

Landseer (p 189)

Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, 1802-1873, very popular Victorian artist, specialized in animal portraits. Most tourists visiting London are probably unaware that the four lions at the base of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square were sculpted by him.

Chapter 19

taking a cooler (p 192)

Obscure, possibly sipping a cold refreshing drink, or just cooling off in the shade.

The shot wasn't on the board. (p 193)

A gambling term for a bet not worth making, a longshot, possibly a reference to Darts.

Mendelssohn's March timbre (p 193)

A mildly puzzling reference to the extremely popular Wedding March from Mendelssohn's incidental music to "A Midsummer Night's Dream." Timbre is a musical term referring to musical tone, color, etc. Is this a pun on "timber" as a quality of manliness, e.g., "presidential timber?" Some references use "timbre" as an archaic spelling of "timber."

Jael, wife of Heber (p 194)

An amusing story from the fourth book of Judges, which Bertie refers to often. It seems that Sisera, captain of a host of Canaan, so forgot himself as to attack the children of Israel, with unfortunate results. He fled the field and sought refuge with Jael while her husband was out of town on business. The raw work that Bertie refers to was her ruse of encouraging Sisera to take a nap, and then pounding a tent stake through his head.

Balaam's ass (p 194)

A reference to an incident in the 22nd chapter of Numbers. The ass saw an angel that Balaam could not, and fell to its knees.

recal (p 194)

The word Bertie is searching for is "recalcitrant," meaning stubborn.

Tuppy's grey hairs in sorrow to the grave. (p 196)

More bible fun:

"And Jacob their father said unto them, Me have ye bereaved of my children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away: all these things are against me.

And Reuben spake unto his father, saying, Slay my two sons, if I bring him not to thee: deliver him into my hand, and I will bring him to thee again.

And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave."

[Genesis chapter 42]

Note variant spellings: grey/gray.

f. of the s. being more d. than the m. (p 196)

The female of the species being more deadly than the male, from Kipling's poem, "The Female of the Species."

Everything is for the best in this best of all possible worlds. (p 197)

A reference to the sunny optimism of Dr. Pangloss in Voltaire's "Candide."

vowing he would ne'er consent, he consented. (p 198)

A reference to Lord Byron's poem, "Don Juan."

Chapter 20

linseed poultice (p 199)

Linseed, also known as flax, produces a very oily seed. The extracted oil is used in paints, as animal feed, and as a poultice. Poultice preparation.--To boiling water, 10 fluid ounces, add gradually, powdered flaxseed, 4 1/2 ounces, or a sufficient quantity; stir constantly, so as to make cataplasm (Lond.). The British Pharmacopoeia directs 4 ounces of linseed-meal. If American "cake-meal" be employed, the addition of about 1/4 ounce of olive oil will be necessary. Some prefer a mixture of linseed-meal and cake-meal for this purpose. Action and Medical Uses.--This is a valuable emollient cataplasm, to allay pain, inflammation, and favor suppuration. It is used for similar purposes with the elm poultice. If it should decompose, as it is apt to do, it may vesicate, or at least cause a pustular eruption, sweet oil, lard, glycerin, or olive oil may be mixed with or spread upon the poultice, both as a preservative and preventive. Flaxseed poultice causes the skin to be blanched, sodden, and wrinkled. Flaxseed poultice is frequently employed in acute pulmonic disorders.

Carnera (p 199)

Primo Carnera, born 1906, a popular Italian heavyweight boxer of the 30s.

phlegmatic (p 200)

A reference to the classical Four Temperaments: phlegmatic is the slow and stolid temperament, the others being sanguine (cheerful-extroverted), choleric (optimistic-confident-aggressive-easily angered), and melancholic (sad-analytical-Schopenhauer-esque).

gargoyles (p 200)

Stone demons carved into large buildings, in particular cathedrals. One of the saddest moments in cinema is in the 1939 Charles Laughton version of "The Hunchback of Notre Dame". At the very end the deformed and outcast Quasimodo sidles up to a gargoyle and asks: "Why could I not have been made of stone, like thee?"

Swedish exercise (p 201)

Calisthenics, aerobic exercises done in the nude by Stilton Cheesewright.

St. Bernard dogs (p 206)

Large rescue dogs of the Alps, according to legend they carried a small wooden flask of brandy on their collars to aid lost travelers.

Attila the Hun (p 206)

Notorious Asian warlord who laid waste to much of the world.

Black Death (p 206)

Also known as Bubonic Plague, one of the greatest calamities in history when it killed approximately 1/3 of all the inhabitants of Europe during about 1330-1360.

dyspepsia (p 207)


Yogi deep breathing (p 208)

Known popularly as "yoga," thought to be very relaxing.

Chapter 21

the doom had come upon me (p 210)

Nothing obvious comes to mind, but the passage Job 3:24-26 "For the thing which I greatly feared is come upon me, and that which I was afraid of is come unto me." is close. Possibly a reference to Tennyson's "The Lady of Shallot" -- the curse has come upon me....

relict (p 212)

Old fashioned term for "widow."

Cyrano de Bergerac, Schnozzle Durante (p 215)

Cyrano is well-known as a courtly warrior with a big nose, who helped another woo Roxanne, even though he was in love with her, because he thought she would reject him. Jimmy Durante (1893-1980) was a very popular movie and stage commedian and entertainer, but few today remember that he started out as a jazz pianist. He was reknowned for the size of his nose, which he made the constant butt of his own jokes.

iron well embedded in the soul (p 216)

This is one of the instances in which the Book of Common Prayer differs with the King James. In KJV Psalm 105:18 it says in reference to Joseph: "Whose feet they hurt with fetters: he was laid in irons:" The passage in the Book of Common Prayer says: "Whose feet they hurt in the stocks: the iron entered into his soul."

Sherlock Holmes (p 219)

When a woman thinks that her house is on fire, her instinct is at once to rush to the thing which she values most. It is a perfectly overpowering impulse, and I have more than once taken advantage of it. "

Sherlock Holmes/Conan Doyle in "A Scandal in Bohemia."

Chapter 22

goose-fleshy (p 221)

Goose flesh, also called "goose bumps." The small bumps on the skin when someone is cold or scared, when the erector pilae muscles elevate the hairs of the body. The name comes from the appearance of a freshly plucked goose. In most mammals, with more hair, this makes you warmer by increasing the loft of the hair, and increases your apparent size if attacked. In humans it is an evolutionary holdover.

the Last Trump (p 221)

A reference to the book of Revelations, when various angels are blowing horns to signal the last days.

in my puff (p 222)

Slang: all my life.

police rattle (p 223)

Like a police whistle, something to bring attention to a criminal act or the need for assistance.

Guy Fawkes Day (p 223)

November 5th is Guy Fawkes Day, a holiday of carousing and setting off fireworks to celebrate the arrest of Fawkes and the stopping of "The Gunpowder Plot. The latter was a scheme to blow up Parliament, and hopefully a few members of the royal family, in 1605.

frowsting in bed (p 225)

froust/frowst - apparently this was first used at Harrow School to refer to the extra time the boys were allowed to stay in bed on Sunday mornings.

rogommier (p 225)

French; slang for drunkard.

Lloyd George, Winston, Baldwin (p 226)

David Lloyd George was born on 17 January 1863. During WW1, he was made Minister of Munitions and later Minister of War, for his great efficiency in supplying the troops. Sir Winston Churchill was prime minister of Great Britain during WWII, one of the outstanding world figures of the 20th Century. In 1934, at the time this book was published, he had not yet become Prime Minister, but was a very highly regarded government official nevertheless. Stanley Baldwin served as the Prime Minister of the British government three times between 1923 and 1937.

Yoicks and Tantivy (p 227)

Hunting cries when pursuing a fox on horseback.

the goat (p 229)

Scapegoat (n.) A goat upon whose head were symbolically placed the sins of the people, after which he was suffered to escape into the wilderness. Hence, a person or thing that is made to bear blame for others. In this instance, Bertie is being sacrificed for the greater good of the party, which is only fair under the circumstances.

bump-supper (p 231)

This is to do with "eights week," the inter-college rowing competition in Oxford University. As the river Isis (elsewhere known as the Thames, don't ask why...) at Oxford isn't wide enough for two eights to race side by side, the boats of all the various colleges set off equally spaced in line astern. If the bow of your boat catches up with the stern of the boat ahead, you are said to have "bumped" them, and you move up one place in the line in the following day's race. The aim is to end up at the "head of the river" at the end of the week. A bump supper is a celebration of such a victory. Traditionally the winning boat is ceremonially burnt in the quad - these days they're rather too expensive for that.

the Good News from Aix to Ghent (p 231)

Bertie (or Aunt Dahlia) gets it backwards, it should be "from Ghent to Aix," (now known as Aachen in Germany). This is a poem by Robert Browning, and the underlying incident that inspired his divine fire apparently never occurred. Rather, Browning just made it up, but of course that doesn't detract from the beauty of the poem.

I SPRANG to the stirrup, and Joris, and he:
I galloped, Dirck galloped, we galloped all three;
"Good speed!" cried the watch as the gate-bolts undrew;
"Speed" echoed the wall to us galloping through.
Behind shut the postern, the lights sank to rest,
And into the midnight we galloped abreast.

Not a word to each other: we kept the great pace--
Neck by neck, stride by stride, never changing our place;
I turned in my saddle and made its girths tight,
Then shortened each stirrup and set the pique right,
Rebuckled the check-strap, chained slacker the bit,
Nor galloped less steadily Roland a whit.

'Twas moonset at starting; but while we drew near
Lokeren, the cocks crew and twilight dawned clear;
At Boom a great yellow star came out to see;
At Dueffeld 'twas morning as plain as could be;
And from Mecheln church-steeple we heard the half-chime--
So Joris broke silence with "Yet there is time!"

At Aerschot up leaped of a sudden the sun,
And against him the cattle stood black every one,
To stare through the mist at us galloping past;
And I saw my stout galloper Roland at last,
With resolute shoulders, each butting away
The haze, as some bluff river headland its spray;

And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear bent back
For my voice, and the other pricked out on his track;
And one eye's black intelligence,--ever that glance
O'er its white edge at me, its own master, askance;
And the thick heavy spume-flakes, which aye and anon
His fierce lips shook upward in galloping on.

By Hasselt Dirck groaned; and cried Joris, "Stay spur!
Your Roos galloped bravely, the fault's not in her;
We'll remember at Aix"--for one heard the quick wheeze
Of her chest, saw the stretched neck, and the staggering knees
And sunk tail, and horrible heave of the flank,
As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank.

So we were left galloping, Joris and I,
Past Looz and past Tongres, no cloud in the sky;
The broad sun above laughed a pitiless laugh;
'Neath our feet broke the brittle, bright stubble like chaff;
Till over by Dalhem a dome-spire sprang white,
And "Gallop" gasped Joris, "for Aix is in sight!"
"How they'll greet us!"--and all in a moment his roan
Rolled neck and croup over, lay dead as a stone;
And there was my Roland to bear the whole weight
Of the news which alone could save Aix from her fate,
With his nostrils like pits full of blood to the brim,
And with circles of red for his eye-sockets' rim.

Then I cast loose my buff-coat, each holster let fall,
Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all,
Stoop up in the stirrups, leaned, patted his ear,
Called my Roland his pet-name, my horse without peer--
Clapped my hands, laughed and sung, any noise, bad or good,
Till at length into Aix Roland galloped and stood.

And all I remember is friends flocking round,
As I sate with his head 'twixt my knees on the ground;
And no voice but was praising this Roland of mine,
As I poured down his throat our last measure of wine,
Which (the burgesses voted by common consent)
Was no more than his due who brought good news from Ghent.

[Robert Browning - How They Brought The Good News From Ghent To Aix]

velocipede (p 234)

A very old-fashioned kind of bicycle with an enormous front wheel and a very small back wheel. Also used as a general term for the very early bicycles.

skijoring (p 234)

A form of travel on skis, while being pulled by a large dog.

boulevardier (p 235)

Man about town, city slicker.

tweenies (p 235)

Short for "between stairs maid" - a servant who assists both the cook ("below stairs") and the housemaid ("above stairs"). The lowest step on the ladder for a young girl just starting out as a servant.

en déshabille (p 236)

French: undressed, improperly dressed.

Chapter 23

hell hath no fury like a woman scorned (p 238)

Heav'n has no rage like love to hatred turn'd Nor Hell a fury, like a woman scorn'd.

The saying is from the closing line of act III of William Congreve's The Mourning Bride, first produced in 1697.

Little Chilbury War Memorial (p 238)

An imaginary place, there are towns of Chirbury and Chilbolton to be found in Great Britain, but The Master apparently made up this name to amuse himself.

croup (p 238)

Croup is an infection that causes the trachea (windpipe) and larynx (voice box) to swell. It is usually part of a cold.

Young Lochinvar (p 238)

"Lochinvar" is a ballade by Sir Walter Scott, which is actually part of a larger epic poem called "Marmion." Lochinvar showed up uninvited at a wedding and was so lacking in social graces as to run off with the bride. In his defense, Ellen is clearly identified as a former girlfriend, and her betrothed as a lazy coward. Still, one cannot help but purse the lips in disapproval of this high-handed act.

O young Lochinvar is come out of the west,
Through all the wide Border his steed was the best;
And save his good broadsword he weapons had none.
He rode all unarm'd, and he rode all alone.
So faithful in love, and so dauntless in war,
There never was knight like the young Lochinvar
He staid not for brake, and he stoppd not for stone.
He swam the Eske river where ford there was none;
But ere he alighted at Netherby gate,
The bride had consented, the gallant came late:
For a laggard in love, and a dastard in war,
Was to wed the fair Ellen of brave Lochinvar.
So boldly he enter'd the Netherby Hall,
Among bride's-men, and kinsmen, and brothers and all:
Then spoke the bride's father, his hand on his sword,
(For the poor craven bridegroom said never a word,)
'O come ye in peace here, or come ye in war.
Or to dance at our bridal. young Lord Lochinvar?'
'I long woo'd your daughter, my suit you denied;-
Love swells like the Solway, but ebbs like its tide-
And now I am come, with this lost love of mine.
To lead but one measure, drink one cup of wine.
There are maidens in Scotland more lovely by far,
That would gladly be bride to the young Lochinvar.'
The bride kiss'd the goblet: the knight took it up.
He quaff'd off the wine, and he threw down the cup.
She lookd down to blush. and she look'd up to sigh.
With a smile on her lips and a tear in her eye.
He took her soft hand, ere her mother could bar, -
'Now tread we a measure!' said young Lochinvar.
So stately his form, and so lovely her face.
That never a hall such a galliard did grace;
While her mother did fret, and her father did fume,
And the bridegroom stood dangling his bonnet and plume;
And the bride-maidens whisper'd, "Twere better by far
To have match'd our fair cousin with young Lochinvar.'
One touch to her hand, and one word in her ear.
When they reach'd the hall-door, and the charger stood near;
So light to the croupe the fair lady he swung,
So light to the saddle before her he sprung!
'She is won! we are gone, over bank, bush, and scaur;
Theyll have fleet steeds that follow', quoth young Lochinvar.
There was mounting 'mong Graemes of the Netherby clan;
Forsters, Fenwicks, and Musgraves, they rode and they ran:
There was racing and chasing on Cannobie Lee,
But the lost bride of Netherby ne'er did they see.
So daring in love, and so dauntless in war,
Have ye e'er heard of gallant like young Lochinvar?

[Sir Walter Scott - LOCHINVAR from Marmion]

billowy portions (p 238)

Nether regions, the place upon which one would sit while on a bicycle.

jaundiced (p 239)

Literally, jaundice is a symptom of a diseased liver, marked by yellowish skin and eyes. It is caused by a build-up of bilirubin- a byproduct of decomposing red blood cells. In this context it means general disapproval, an apprehension of poor results to come.

The Wreck of the Hesperus. (p 243)

A poem by Longfellow about a captain who takes his doomed schooner on a wintry trip with his beautiful daughter for company.

à quoi sert-il. (p 248)

French: "What's the use of it?" or "What's the point?"

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict Valid CSS!