Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit: Brainy Beazels

You see, the trouble with Florence was that though, as I have stated, indubitably comely and well equipped to take office as a pinup girl, she was, as I have also stressed, intellectual to the core, and the ordinary sort of bloke like myself does well to give this type of female as wide a miss as he can manage.

You know how it is with these earnest, brainy beazels of what is called strong character. They can’t let the male soul alone. The want to get behind it and start shoving. Scarcely have they shaken the rice from their hair in the car driving off for the honeymoon than they pull up their socks and begin molding the partner of joys and sorrows, and if there is one thing that gives me the pip, it is being molded. Despite adverse criticism from many quarters—the name of my Aunt Agatha is one that springs to the lips—I like B. Wooster the way he is. Lay off him, I say. Don’t try to change him, or you may lose the flavour.

Even when we were merely affianced, I recalled, this woman had dashed the mystery thriller from my hand, instructing me to read instead a perfectly frightful thing by a bird called Tolstoi. At the thought of what horrors might ensue after the clergyman had done his stuff and she had a legal right to bring my gray hairs in sorrow to the grave, the imagination boggled.

—P.G. Wodehouse, Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit

Jane, Jane, Jane

I thought I’d share some Jane Eyre tidbits I’ve run across lately. First of all there is this gorgeous photo from the latest film adaptation of Jane Eyre:

Jane Eyre 2011

This beautiful image of the authoress at work (recall that Jane Eyre was written as an autobiography) immediately became my desktop wallpaper. Click to see it in its high-resolution glory. And here is what she is writing:

Jane Eyre manuscript

If that inspires you to write, you might enjoy applying your pen to this lovely Charlotte Brontë notebook, the cover of which is printed with a portion of the Jane Eyre manuscript.

Paperblanks Jane Eyre notebook

Finally, Mallory Ortberg was inspired to write a little précis of Jane Eyre. I think it captures Jane’s sensible, no-nonsense attitude in contrast to the overwrought males around her. Here is a snippet:

JANE WHERE HAVE YOU GONE
I AM BEREFT AND WITHOUT MY JANE I SHALL SINK INTO ROGUERY
i am  with my cousins
WHICH COUSIN
IS IT THE SEXY ONE
Please don’t try to talk to me again
IT IS YOUR SEXY COUSIN
“ST. JOHN”
WHAT KIND OF A NAME IS ST. JOHN
I’m not going to answer that
I KNEW IT
DID YOU LEAVE BECAUSE OF MY ATTIC WIFE
IS THAT WHAT THIS IS ABOUT
yes
absolutely

That pretty well sums it up, no?

Something Fresh: Sports in London

When one considers how keenly London, like all large cities, resents physical exercise, unless taken with some practical and immediate utilitarian object in view, this young man’s calm, as he did this peculiar thing, was amazing. The rules governing exercise in London are clearly defined. You may run, if you are running after a hat, or an omnibus; you may jump, if you do so with the idea of avoiding a taxi-cab or because you have stepped on a banana-skin. But, if you run because you wish to develop your lungs or jump because jumping is good for the liver, London punishes you with its mockery. It rallies round and points the finger of scorn.

The first time he appeared in Aurndell Street in his sweater and flannels, he had barely whirled his Indian clubs round his head before he had attracted the following audience:

(a) two cabmen (one intoxicated);
(b) four waiters from the Hotel Mathis;
(c) six waiters from the Hotel Previtali;
(d) six chambermaids from the Hotel Mathis;
(e) five chambermaids from the Hotel Previtali;
(f) the proprietor of the Hotel Mathis;
(g) the proprietor of the Hotel Previtali;
(h) a street-cleaner;
(i) eleven nondescript loafers;
(j) twenty-seven children;
(k) a cat.

They all laughed, even the cat, and kept on laughing. The intoxicated cabman called Ashe ‘Bill Bailey!’ And Ashe kept on swinging his clubs.

A month later, such is the magic of perseverance, his audience had narrowed down to the twenty-seven children. They still laughed, but without that ringing conviction which the sympathetic support of their elders had lent them.

And now, after three months, the neighbourhood, having accepted Ashe and his morning exercises as a natural phenomenon, paid him no further attention.

—P.G. Wodehouse, Something Fresh

I hope this year’s Olympians will not get a similar reception!