Opposite the Drones Club is the Demosthenes Club. A brazil nut from the
Drones window from a catapult in the hands of Lord Ickenham bashes the
topper of pompous barrister Sir Raymond Bastable, Lady Ickenham's
half-brother. Sir Raymond blames it on the young, and furiously writes a
novel fearlessly attacking that generation of vipers. But, not wanting his
name on its spine, he gives it to his sister Phoebe's scrounger son Cosmo
to claim authorship. It becomes a succes de scandale, Cocktail Time.
It's a pity about 'Beefy' Bastable. He used to be a very proper young
gentleman: had eaten seven vanilla ices on the trot at school, followed by
only three days in the San; he was an Oxford rugger blue; he was often
thrown out of the Empire. Now he's a stuffed shirt: he bullies his sister
and proposes to stand for Parliament for Bottleton East. Just the man for
Lord Ickenham to get to work on.
'Beefy's' butler, Peasemarch, ex-ship's steward (The Luck of the Bodkins)
is a friend of, and ex-Home Guards warrior with, Lord Ickenham. Lord
Ickenham's godson, Johnny Pearce, writer of suspense thrillers, has rented
a country house to 'Beefy'. Barbara Crowe, once engaged to 'Beefy', works
at the literary agency that handles Cocktail Time. So, as end products of
Lord Ickenham's spreading of sweetness and light, a nicer, more spiritual
'Beefy' will marry Barbara, Peasemarch will marry Phoebe, Johnny will marry
his Belinda and Johnny's limpet-like ex-nannie will be taken off his back
and marry a policeman.
Three elderly romances, one younger. We meet, briefly, Sir Roderick Glossop
again, a second (or is it third?) Bishop of Stortford (he preaches against
Cocktail Time in the pulpit of the church of St Jude the Resilient), crooks
Oily and Sweetie Carlisle again, and an eminent literary agent, Barbara's
boss, who knits socks to keep himself from smoking. Also the policeman,
Cyril McMurdo, who wins £500 in a football pool, which delays Nanny Bruce's
acceptance of his courtship. And we learn that Lord Ickenham's nephew,
long-suffering Pongo, is safely married now to Sally Painter.
Source: Richard Usborne. Plum Sauce. A P G Wodehouse Companion.