|The Mating Season
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First published in UK: September 9 1949 by Herbert Jenkins, London|
First published in US: November 29 1949 by Didier, New York
- Brachnyj sezon by M. Gilinskij: 1996
- Brachnyj sezon by I. Bernshtein: 1998, 1999, 2002,
2003, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2007, 2007, 2007,
2009, 2009, 2010, 2010, 2010,
Having dispatched Aunt Agatha's young son Thos to his seaside Borstal,
Bertie Wooster intends to pay a visit to Deverill Hall, Hampshire, to lend
a hand with the village entertainment. Before he sets off, his old pal
Catsmeat has a favour to beg: will he ensure that his beloved Gertude is
never alone with the eligible Esmond Haddock? Bertie agrees. He must also
ensure that the Deverill aunts, of which there are many, think highly of
Gussie Fink-Nottle so that the engagement between Gussie and the dreadful
Madeline Bassett remains intact. So Bertie, fearless to the end, poses as
Gussie for the duration. So far, so complicated. The plot thickens even
further, however, when 'Gussie' awakes the next morning only to be told
that there is a new guest at Deverill: someone called Bertie Wooster...
Click for enlarge book cover
(Bertie) Bertram Wilberforce Wooster — Got a Blue in Tennis a
Oxford. Nurse Hogg took care of him when a child.
Jeeves — Has an uncle who is the butler at Deverill Hall
Lady Agatha Worplesdon — Bertie's strong and dominating
aunt who has a son Thomas
Thomas Worplesdon — Aunt Agatha's beastly son
(Gussie) Augustus Fink-Nottle — Bertie's pal engaged to
Madeline but falls in love with Corky
Esmond Haddock — Wealthy, handsome young man who is
dominated by his five aunts. They want him to marry
Gertrude and he wants to marry Corky. He writes sonnets.
Charlie Silversmith — Jeeves' uncle who is the butler at Deveril Hall
Charlotte Deverill — Esmond's aunt who is slightly deaf
Emmeline Deverill — Esmond's dotty aunt who talks to herself
Harriet Deverill — Esmond's aunt
Myrtle Deverill — Esmond's aunt
Dame Daphne Winkworth — Strong, dominating Aunt Agatha-ish widow of P.B.
Winkworth, the historian. Madeline's Godmother.
Gertrude Winkworth — Daphne's daughter who is engaged to Catsmeat
Madeline Bassett — Engaged to Gussie
(Catsmeat) Claude Cattermole Pirbright — Bertie's pal and
schoolchum who is in love with Gertrude. Poses as Meadowes
(Corky) Cora Pirbright — Catsmeat's sister who is a beautiful
movie star in Hollywood who is better known as Cora Starr.
The Vicar's niece who loves Esmond.
The Rev. Sidney Pirbright — Cora's uncle and Vicar of King's Deverill
Sam Goldwyn — Corky's friendly hairy dog
Ernest Dobbs — Police Constable and village atheist engaged to Queenie
The Rev. Aubrey Upjohn — Headmaster of Malvern House,
where Bertie went to school
Queenie Silversmith — Charlie's daughter and parlourmaid at
the Hall who is first engaged to Dobbs, then to Catsmeat, and
finally back to Dobbs
Hilda Gudgeon — Madeline's athletic girl friend who lives at the
Larches, Wimbledon Common. Loves Harold and tennis.
Percy — Hilda's white wooly dog
(Beefy) Harold Anstruther — Bertie's chum from Oxford who is
a tennis champion and is engaged to Hilda
Barmy Phipps (*)
Pongo Twistleton (*)
Mrs. Clara Wellbeloved (*)
Lord Worplesdon (*)
Gussie Fink-Nottle goes wading for newts in a Trafalgar Square fountain at
4 a.m. and is sentenced to fourteen days in prison. This is awkward because
he, as Madeline Bassett's fiancé, is due to present himself at Deverill
Hall, where Madeline's godmother, Dame Daphne Winkworth, lives and wants to
meet him. Bertie is due there too, to star in a village concert organized
by the Vicar's niece, Corky Pirbright, Hollywood star, sister of
'Catsmeat'. Corky is in love, and vice versa, with the squire, rich,
handsome Esmond Haddock. Deverill Hall is his home, but full of his
disapproving aunts, Dame Daphne being one. Corky says she won't marry
Esmond until he defies his aunts and tells them to get off his back.
Bertie must at all costs prevent Madeline knowing that her fiancé is doing
time, since, whenever she rejects Gussie, she reaches for the man who can't
say No, Bertie Wooster. So Bertie goes to Deverill Hall saying he is
Gussie. Then Gussie's sentence is remitted and he arrives saying he is
Bertie Wooster, and Corky ropes him, too, into the concert. He falls in
love with her. Madeline, who could explode this double imposture, announces
that she is coming to the Hall, and she must be kept away. Aunt Agatha, who
could also blow all gaffs, threatens to come. Jeeves goes to her son, Young
Thos's, prep school and easily lures him into doing a bunk and coming to
stay with Corky at the Vicarage - so that his mother will go safely to
Bramley-on-sea to join the search for him in Sussex.
Jeeves's uncle, Charlie Silversmith, is butier at Deverill Hall. And there
is an atheist village policeman who harrasses the Vicar and who's in love
with the housemaid at the hall. Jeeves converts Constable Dobbs to theism
with a cosh. Catsmeat elopes with his beloved Gertrude, daughter of Dame
The big scene is the village concert, at which Esmond comes out strong and
poor Bertie, alias Fink-Nottle, has to recite Winnie-the-Pooh verses.
Two pinpricks and a mild raspberry here could remind the alert that
Wodehouse was remembering three people who had attacked him for his wartime
broadcast talks to America from Berlin. Gussie, up before the beak after
his newt-hunt in the Trafalgar Square fountain, gives his name as Alfred
Duff Cooper. Duff Cooper had been the Minister of Information who had
sponsored William 'Cassandra' Connor's attack on Wodehouse on the BBC
National Service. One of the (bad) performers in the King's Deverill
village concert was Miss Eustacia Pulbrook. Sir Eustace Pulbrook, an
eminent old boy of Dulwich, had spoken or written something derogatory
about eminent Old Boy Wodehouse at the time. And A.A. Milne, whose
Winnie-the-Pooh verses struck such terror (of being given the bird with
vegetables in the air) into Bertie's heart when he found he had to recite
them in public, had written a sly and damaging letter about his 'old
friend' in the Daily Telegraph.
Source: Richard Usborne. Plum Sauce. A P G Wodehouse Companion.