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Home: The Toast

wodehousePreviously: A Partial But By No Means Exhaustive List of Egg References in the Works of P.G. Wodehouse

“‘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. Is 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.'”

Jeeves in the Offing

“‘Don’t keep saying ‘Very good.’ It’s nothing of the kind. The place is alive with swans.

‘I will attend to the matter immediately, sir.’

I turned to the Right Hon. I even went so far as to pat him on the back. It was like slapping a wet sponge.

‘All is well,’ I said. ‘Jeeves is coming.’

‘What can he do?’

I frowned a trifle. The man’s tone had been peevish, and I didn’t like it.

‘That,’ I replied with a touch of stiffness, ‘we cannot say until we have seen him in action. He may pursue one course, or he may pursue another. But on one thing you can rely with the utmost confidence–Jeeves will find a way. See, here he comes stealing through the undergrowth, his face shining with the light of pure intelligence. There are no limits ot Jeeves’ brain power. He virtually lives on fish.’

I bent over the edge and peered into the abyss.

‘Look out for the swan, Jeeves.’

‘I have the bird under close observation, sir.’

The swan had been uncoiling a further supply of neck in our direction, but now he whipped round. The sound of a voice speaking in his rear seemed to affect him powerfully. He subjected Jeeves to a short, keen scrutiny; and then, taking in some breath for hissing purposes, gave a sort of jump and charged ahead.

‘Look out, Jeeves!’

‘Very good, sir.’

Well, I could have told the swan it was no use. As swans go, he may have been well up in the ranks of the intelligentsia, but when it came to pitting his  brains against Jeeves, he was simply wasting his time. He might just as well have gone home at once.

Every young man starting life should know how to cope with an angry swan, so I will briefly relate the proper procedure. You begin by picking up the raincoat which somebody has dropped; and then, judging the distance to a nicety, you simply shove the raincoat over the bird’s head; and, taking the boat-hook which you have prudently brought with you, you insert it under the swan and heave. That was Jeeves’s method, and I cannot see how it could be improved upon.”

Jeeves and the Impending Doom  

“Resting his hands on the rail before him, James Belford swelled before their eyes like a young balloon. The muscles on his cheek-bones stood out, his forehead became corrugated, his ears seemed to shimmer. Then, at the very height of the tension, he let it go like, as the poet beautifully puts it, the sound of a great Amen.

‘Pig-HOOOOO-OOO-OOO-O-O-ey!’

They looked at him, awed. Slowly, fading off across hill and dale, the vast bellow died away. And suddenly, as it died, another, softer sound succeeded it. A sort of gulpy, gurgly, plobby, squishy, woffle-some sound, like a thousand eager men drinking soup in a foreign restaurant. And, as he heard it, Lord Emsworth uttered a cry of rapture.

The Empress was feeding.”

Pig Hoo-o-o-o-oey

“Looking back, I always consider that my career as a dog proper really started when I was bought for the sum of half a crown by the Shy Man. That event marked the end of my puppyhood. The knowledge that I was worth actual cash to somebody filled me with a sense of new responsibilities. It sobered me. Besides, it was only after that half-crown changed hands that I went out into the great world; and, however interesting life may be in an East End public-house, it is only when you go out into the world that you really broaden your mind and begin to see things.

Within its limitations, my life had been singularly full and vivid. I was born, as I say, in a public-house in the East End, and, however lacking a public-house may be in refinement and the true culture, it certainly provides plenty of excitement. Before I was six weeks old I had upset three policemen by getting between their legs when they came round to the side-door, thinking they had heard suspicious noises; and I can still recall the interesting sensation of being chased seventeen times round the yard with a broom-handle after a well-planned and completely successful raid on the larder. These and other happenings of a like nature soothed for the moment but could not cure the restlessness which has always been so marked a trait in my character.”

The Mixer

“I started back to the house, and in the drive I met Jeeves. He was at the wheel of Stiffy’s car. Beside him, looking like a Scotch elder rebuking sin, was the dog Bartholomew.”

Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves

“‘Are you afraid of a tiny little dog, Jeeves?’

He corrected me respectfully, giving it as his opinion that the undersigned was not a tiny little dog, but well above the average in muscular development. In particular, he drew my attention to the animal’s teeth.

I reassured him.

‘I think you would find that if you were to make a sudden spring, his teeth would not enter into the matter. You could leap onto the bed, snatch up a sheet, roll him up in it before he knew what was happening, and there we would be.’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘Well, are you going to make a sudden spring?’

‘No, sir.’

A rather stiff silence ensued, during which the dog Bartholomew continued to gaze at me unwinkingly, and once more I found myself noticing–and resenting–the superior, sanctimonious expression on his face.”

The Code of the Woosters

“‘Never mind about Rupert’s dog!’

‘You’ve got to mind Rupert’s dog. You can’t afford to ignore him. He’s a dog to be reckoned with. A dog that counts. And all through Donaldson’s Dog-Joy.’

‘I don’t want to talk about Donaldson’s Dog-Joy.’

‘I do. I want to give you a demonstration. You may not know it, Aunt Georgiana, but over in America the way we advertise this product, so rich in bone-forming vitamins, is as follows: We instruct our demonstrator to stand out in plain view before the many-headed, and, when the audience is of sufficient size, to take a biscuit and break off a piece and chew it. By this means we prove that Donaldson’s Dog-Joy is so superbly wholesome as actually to be fit for human consumption. Our demonstrator not only eats the biscuit–he enjoys it. He rolls it round his tongue. He chews it and mixes it with his saliva…’

‘Freddie, please!’

‘With his saliva,’ repeated Freddie firmly. ‘And so does the dog. He masticates the biscuit. He enjoys it. He becomes a bigger and better dog. I will now eat a Donaldson’s Dog-Biscuit.’

And before his aunt’s nauseated gaze, he proceeded to attempt this gruesome feat. It was an impressive demonstration, but it failed in one particular. To have rendered it perfect, he should not have choked.”

The Go-Getter

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