Here we must say goodbye to Freddie Widgeon. He's off to Kenya with Sally
(neé Foster) whose tip-tilted nose twitches like a rabbit's, with a £3,000
loan from old Mr Cornelius of Valley Fields, and the blessing of Sally's
boss, best-seller Leila Yorke, who has found a long-lost husband, too.
But let's start at the start. Freddie, who has a lowly job in the
solicitors' office of Shoesmiths (four of them), shares Peacehaven in
Valley Fields with a policeman who was a college friend. Sally and Leila
normally live in Sussex where 'Leila Yorke' turns out very successful
'predigested pap' (her own phrase) novels. Irked by the critics who refer
to her stuff in much the same phrases, she decides to show them she can
write a Hardy/Gissing type of novel too, 'grey as a stevedore's vest', if
she can only find somewhere grey to live for a while for atmosphere.
Bottleton East? No, says Freddie, they live for pleasure alone in Botdeton
East. Come to grey, grey Valley Fields - the house next to mine is vacant
etc., etc. So Leila and Sally come to Castlewood, which, as it happens,
Soapy and Dolly Molloy had rented previously and where they had stashed
some nice diamonds that Dolly had lifted off Mrs Oofy Prosser.
Soapy has been selling his dud 'Silver River' oil stock regardless of age
or sex - to Leila, to Lord Blicester (Freddie's uncle), to Oofy Prosser
(twice) and to Freddie. Lord Blicester as a young man, Rodney Widgeon, has
been engaged to Leila, but she had broken it off because he got so fat.
Oofy Prosser has the majority of the shares of Popgood and Grooly, the
publishers of Leila's books. And so it goes, round and round. And it's just
as well that Leila brought her shotgun to Valley Fields with her. Bang,
bang, and Chimp Twist regrets he has taken up burglary again.
Wodehouse wrote that he thought Sam the Sudden was 'darned good'. So is Ice
in the Bedroom. And Leila Yorke is a great addition to Wodehouse's beloved
female bestsellers. She has been making £15,000 a year for the last fifteen
years, has saved most of it and has sold her last novel to Hollywood for
$300,000. And she is very funny about it all. The Aunt Dahlia of the book
Source: Richard Usborne. Plum Sauce. A P G Wodehouse Companion.