Wodehouse Quotes

P.G. Wodehouse at his Long Island home 13th October 1971.

Memories are like mulligatawny soup in a cheap restaurant. It is best not to stir them.

*

He was a tubby little chap who looked as if he had been poured into his clothes and had forgotten to say ”when!”

*

Flowers are happy things.

*

The Aberdeen terrier gave me an unpleasant look and said something under his breath in Gaelic

*

There is no surer foundation for a beautiful friendship than a mutual taste in literature.

*

”What ho!” I said.

”What ho!” said Motty.

”What ho! What ho!”

”What ho! What ho! What ho!”

After that it seemed rather difficult to go on with the conversation.”

*

”I always advise people never to give advice.”

*

It was one of those parties where you cough twice before you speak and then decide not to say it after all.

*

”There are moments, Jeeves, when one asks oneself, ’Do trousers matter?'”

”The mood will pass, sir.”

*

A certain critic — for such men, I regret to say, do exist — made the nasty remark about my last novel that it contained ’all the old Wodehouse characters under different names.’ He has probably by now been eaten by bears, like the children who made mock of the prophet Elisha: but if he still survives he will not be able to make a similar charge against Summer Lightning. With my superior intelligence, I have out-generalled the man this time by putting in all the old Wodehouse characters under the same names. Pretty silly it will make him feel, I rather fancy.

*

I hadn’t the heart to touch my breakfast. I told Jeeves to drink it himself.

*

Chumps always make the best husbands. When you marry, Sally, grab a chump. Tap his head first, and if it rings solid, don’t hesitate. All the unhappy marriages come from husbands having brains. What good are brains to a man? They only unsettle him.

*

”I am Psmith,” said the old Etonian reverently. ”There is a preliminary P before the name. This, however, is silent. Like the tomb. Compare such words as ptarmigan, psalm, and phthisis.”
(Psmith, Journalist)

*

I remember her telling me once that rabbits were the gnomes in attendance to the Fairy Queen and that the stars were God’s daisy chain. Perfect rot, of course.

*

”Lady Glossip: Mr. Wooster, how would you support a wife?

Bertie Wooster: Well, I suppose it depends on who’s wife it was, a little gentle pressure beneath the elbow while crossing a busy street usually fits the bill.”

*

A man’s subconscious self is not the ideal companion. It lurks for the greater part of his life in some dark den of its own, hidden away, and emerges only to taunt and deride and increase the misery of a miserable hour.

*

You would be miserable if you had to go through life with a human doormat with ’Welcome’ written on him. You want some one made of sterner stuff. You want, as it were, a sparring-partner, some one with whom you can quarrel happily with the certain knowledge that he will not curl up in a ball for you to kick, but will be there with the return wallop.”
(Piccadilly Jim)

*

I am strongly of the opinion that, after the age of twenty-one, a man ought not to be out of bed and awake at four in the morning. The hour breeds thought. At twenty-one, life being all future, it may be examined with impunity. But, at thirty, having become an uncomfortable mixture of future and past, it is a thing to be looked at only when the sun is high and the world full of warmth and optimism.

*

I don’t want to wrong anybody, so I won’t go so far as to say that she actually wrote poetry, but her conversation, to my mind, was of a nature calculated to excite the liveliest of suspicions. Well, I mean to say, when a girl suddenly asks you out of a blue sky if you don’t sometimes feel that the stars are God’s daisy-chain, you begin to think a bit.”
(Right Ho, Jeeves)

*

Employers are like horses—they require management.”
(Carry On, Jeeves)

*

I can detach myself from the world. If there is a better world to detach oneself from than the one functioning at the moment I have yet to hear of it.”

*

Well, you certainly are the most wonderfully wooly baa lamb that ever stepped.”
(The Code of the Woosters)

*

”Jeeves, you really are a specific dream-rabbit.”

”Thank you miss. I am glad to have given satisfaction.”
(The Code of the Woosters)

*

A man who has spent most of his adult life trying out a series of patent medicines is always an optimist.”
(The Most Of P.G. Wodehouse)

*

”Some time ago,” he said, ”–how long it seems! — I remember saying to a young friend of mine of the name of Spiller, ’Comrade Spiller, never confuse the unusual with the impossible.’ It is my guiding rule in life.”

*

”What do ties matter, Jeeves, at a time like this?”
”There is no time, sir, at which ties do not matter”

*

I spent the afternoon musing on Life. If you come to think of it, what a queer thing Life is! So unlike anything else, don’t you know, if you see what I mean.

*

As we grow older and realize more clearly the limitations of human happiness, we come to see that the only real and abiding pleasure in life is to give pleasure to other people.”
(Something Fresh)

*

The drowsy stillness of the afternoon was shattered by what sounded to his strained senses like G. K. Chesterton falling on a sheet of tin.

*

From my earliest years I had always wanted to be a writer. It was not that I had any particular message for humanity. I am still plugging away and not the ghost of one so far, so it begins to look as though, unless I suddenly hit mid-season form in my eighties, humanity will remain a message short.

*

Always get to the dialogue as soon as possible. I always feel the thing to go for is speed. Nothing puts the reader off more than a big slab of prose at the start.

*

Oh, I don’t know, you know, don’t you know?

*

No one so dislikes being punished unjustly as the person who might have been punished justly on scores of previous occasions, if he had only been found out.”
(Tales of St. Austin’s)

*

One of the Georges – I forget which – once said that a certain number of hours´ sleep each night – I cannot recall at the moment how many – made a man something which for the time being has slipped my memory.”
(Something Fresh)

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When you’re alone you don’t do much laughing.

*

Half a league
Half a league
Half a league onward
With a hey-nonny-nonny
And a hot cha-cha.”

*

A girl who bonnets a policeman with an ashcan full of bottles is obviously good wife-and-mother timber.

*

I read the paragraph again. A peculiar feeling it gave me. I don’t know if you have ever experienced the sensation of seeing the announcement of the engagement of a pal of yours to a girl whom you were only saved from marrying yourself by the skin of your teeth. It induces a sort of — well, it’s difficult to describe it exactly; but I should imagine a fellow would feel much the same if he happened to be strolling through the jungle with a boyhood chum and met a tigress or a jaguar, or what not, and managed to shin up a tree and looked down and saw the friend of his youth vanishing into the undergrowth in the animal’s slavering jaws. A sort of profound, prayerful relief, if you know what I mean, blended at the same time with a pang of pity. What I’m driving at is that, thankful as I was that I hadn’t had to marry Honoria myself, I was sorry to see a real good chap like old Biffy copping it. I sucked down a spot of tea and began brooding over the business.

*

Sturgis had now become involved in a long story of his early manhood, and even had Soapy been less distrait he might have found it difficult to enjoy it to the full. It was about an acquaintance of his who had kept rabbits, and it suffered in lucidity from his unfortunate habit of pronouncing rabbits ’roberts’, combined with the fact that by a singular coincidence the acquaintance had been a Mr. Roberts. Roberts, it seemed, had been deeply attached to roberts. In fact, his practice of keeping roberts in his bedroom had led to trouble with Mrs. Roberts, and in the end Mrs. Roberts had drowned the roberts in the pond and Roberts, who thought the world of his roberts and not quite so highly of Mrs. Roberts, had never forgiven her.

*

He couldn’t have moved quicker if he had been the dachshund Poppet, who at this juncture was running round in circles, trying, if I read his thoughts aright, to work off the rather heavy lunch he had had earlier in the afternoon.”
(How Right You Are, Jeeves)

*

My Aunt Dahlia, who runs a woman’s paper called Milady’s Boudoir, had recently backed me into a corner and made me promise to write her a few words for her ”Husbands and Brothers” page on ”What the Well-Dressed Man is Wearing”. I believe in encouraging aunts, when deserving; and, as there are many worse eggs than her knocking about the metrop, I had consented blithely. But I give you my honest word that if I had had the foggiest notion of what I was letting myself in for, not even a nephew’s devotion would have kept me from giving her the raspberry. A deuce of a job it had been, taxing the physique to the utmost. I don’t wonder now that all these author blokes have bald heads and faces like birds who have suffered.

*

Intoxicated? The word did not express it by a mile. He was oiled, boiled, fried, plastered, whiffled, sozzled, and blotto.”
(Meet Mr. Mulliner)

*

”Talking of being eaten by dogs, there’s a dachshund at Brinkley who when you first meet him will give you the impression that he plans to convert you into a light snack between his regular meals. Pay no attention. It’s all eyewash. His belligerent attitude is simply—”

Sound and fury signifying nothing, sir?”

That’s it. Pure swank. A few civil words, and he will be grappling you . . . What’s the expression I’ve heard you use?”

Grappling me to his soul with hoops of steel, sir?”

In the first two minutes. He wouldn’t hurt a fly, but he has to put up a front because his name’s Poppet. One can readily appreciate that when a dog hears himself addressed day in and day out as Poppet, he feels he must throw his weight about. His self-respect demands it.”

Precisely, sir.”

You’ll like Poppet. Nice dog. Wears his ears inside out. Why do dachshunds wear their ears inside out?”

I could not say, sir.”

Nor me. I’ve often wondered.”

*

Dark hair fell in a sweep over his forehead. He looked like a man who would write vers libre, as indeed he did.

*

”Apparently that dog of hers joined you in the water.”

Yes, that’s right, he took his dip with the rest of us. But what’s that got to do with it?”

Wilbert Cream dived in and saved him.”

He could have got ashore perfectly well under his own steam. In fact, he was already on his way, doing what looked like an Australian crawl.”

That wouldn’t occur to a pinhead like Phyllis. To her Wilbert Cream is the man who rescued her dachshund from a watery grave. So she’s going to marry him.”

But you don’t marry fellows because they rescue dachshunds.”

You do, if you’ve got a mentality like hers.”
(How Right You Are, Jeeves)

*

About Markus Jaaskelainen

Markus Jaaskelainen is a photographer located in the Blue Mountains of Australia.

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