Lord Uffenham, sixth earl, is pear-shaped, with huge feet and a tendency to
go on about his gallant youth, Boat Race Nights revelry and being thrown
out of Victorian music halls. He has rented his ancestral Shipley Hall to
rich, big-game-huntress widow Mrs Cork, and she is running it as a
vegetarian, teetotal health farm. Lord Uffenham stays on in the guise of
butler, Cakebread. He has hidden some diamonds away and cannot remember
where. He worries because they are all he can give his niece Anne as dowry.
If he can't find the diamonds, he will have to make the supreme sacrifice
for Anne's sake, and marry Mrs Cork for her money. It turns out that the
diamonds, which have given the book its treasure-hunting, with Chimp Twist,
Dolly and Soapy Molloy at it again, are in the bank at the other side of
Jeff Miller, like Romeo, and so many Wodehouse heroes, is engaged to the
wrong girl at the start. Anne Benedick, heroine, is likewise engaged, to
handsome, silky-moustached, feet-of-clay Lionel Green, interior decorator.
Anne, at the end, says 'I ever want to see another beautiful man as long as
Wodehouse wrote this novel while interned by the Germans. Probably all-male
camps account for the use of words such as 'fanny', 'bloody awful', 'too
bloody much' and 'lavatory inspector'. Such modernisms must be balanced
against Wodehouse's dreamy return to an England where telephones hardly
exist. At one stage in this story Jeff goes up to London from the hall to
send a message to Chimp at Halsey Court, Mayfair, by district messenger.
The Cork Health Farm, filled with clients longing for square meals, may
have got an impetus from internment camps.
Here Jeff Miller is a buzzer. Not the first, but it's the first time
Wodehouse has used the word for the type. Chimp says here that he wishes he
had thought of starting a health farm, forgetting that in the earlier Money
for Nothing he had been running one.
Source: Richard Usborne. Plum Sauce. A P G Wodehouse Companion.