Guy Bolton 'borrowed' Jeeves from Wodehouse for a play. He is now a butler
who helps his master, 9th Earl of Rowcester, make the money he badly needs
for white elephant, leaky, 147-room stately home, Rowcester Abbey. They set
up as bookies - Honest Patch Perkins (Lord Rowcester disguised) and his
clerk (Jeeves disguised). This is a novel shaped out of a play. And Bertie
Wooster is explained away as having gone off to a post-war school that
teaches the aristocracy to fend for itself 'in case the social revolution
sets in with even greater severity'.
The bookie firm is in trouble and has to welsh over a flukey double pulled
off (£3,005 2s 6d) by Captain Biggar, white hunter, in love with Mrs Rosie
Spottsworth, widow of two multi-millionaire Americans. (But she is nice.
She had written vers libre in Greenwich Village before she started marrying
millionaires.) Biggar's code says 'A poor man mustn't make advances to a
rich lady' but he ends up satisfactorily engaged to marry Rosie.
Bill (9th Earl) Rowcester will marry small, pretty Jill Wyvern, freckled,
local vet, ex-hockey outside right. Her father is Chief Constable of
Southmoltonshire. Bill sells the Abbey to Mrs Spottsworth who, not liking
its dampness, will have it transported brick by brick and rebuilt in
California, to dry out at last.
There is something badly wrong, in print anyway, about Jeeves as a butler,
in disguise, acting as a bookie's clerk and hamming it up. He overdoes the
quotation thing ... Pliny the Younger, The Psalms, Whittier, Kipling, Omar,
Tennyson, Shakespeare (eighteen times), Maugham, Marcus Aurelius, Milton,
Byron, Congreve and (slightly inaccurately) Montrose. Languages: 'fons et
origo mali', 'ne quid nimis', 'rem acu tetigisti', 'retiarius'. And French
'faute de mieux'. It is odd that this should ring so false. But it does.
Source: Richard Usborne. Plum Sauce. A P G Wodehouse Companion.