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Aunts Aren't Gentlemen

af P. G. Wodehouse

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Serier: Jeeves (14)

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1,3623110,142 (4.05)50
On doctor's orders, Bertie Wooster retires to sample the bucolic delights of Maiden Eggesford. But his idyll is rudely shattered by Aunt Dahlia who wants him to nobble a racehorse. Similar blots on Bertie's horizon come in the shape of Major Plank, the African explorer; Vanessa Cook, proud beauty and 'molder of men'; and Orlo Porter, who seems to have nothing else to do but think of sundering Bertie's head from his body.… (mere)

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There is nothing like Wodehouse, there really ain't.

Let it be said that Aunts Aren't Gentlemen is not a shining gem in the Jeeves canon. It was written in the author's nineties, and was the final novel he completed, after an output of well over 100 books. The plotting is a lot simpler, some of the recurring jokes wear a bit thin, and there's a sense that reader and writer alike were skating along on mutual bonhomie.

Having said that, even an average Wodehouse is hysterical, and this still hits the spot page after page. It's a little comedy of errors that satisfies mostly with the endless wit of Bertie and Aunt Dahlia, and a general sense of antediluvian silliness. It's a fun read but something is missing. Newcomers to Jeeves and Wooster might find this rather bland. Start in the early years, and let this be a kind of delicate after-dinner mint once you've enjoyed the banquet. ( )
  therebelprince | Nov 15, 2020 |
This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Aunt's Aren't Gentlemen
Series: Jeeves Omnibus #5.2
Author: P.G. Wodehouse
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Humor
Pages: 178
Words: 37K

Synopsis:


From Wikipedia

Concerned by pink spots on his chest, Bertie goes to see E. Jimpson Murgatroyd, the Harley Street doctor recommended by his friend Tipton Plimsoll (who himself saw Murgatroyd for spots in Full Moon). On the way, Bertie sees Vanessa Cook, a headstrong girl he once proposed to but no longer wants to marry, leading a protest march. She is with her fiancé Orlo J. Porter, an acquaintance of Bertie's. Orlo and Vanessa are unable to marry since Vanessa's father, the trustee of Orlo's inheritance, refuses to give Orlo his inheritance because Orlo is a communist.

Bertie finds Major Plank (who was told that Bertie is a thief called Alpine Joe in Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves) in the doctor's waiting room, though Plank does not recognize Bertie. Murgatroyd tells Bertie that the spots will go away, but recommends that Bertie get fresh air and exercise in the country. Bertie's Aunt Dahlia is going to Eggesford Hall, the home of her friend Colonel James Briscoe in the town of Maiden Eggesford in Somerset, near the seaside resort of Bridmouth-on-Sea, and gets a cottage called Wee Nooke for Bertie there. Jeeves is disappointed that they must cancel their upcoming trip to New York, but has the consolation that he will see his aunt in Maiden Eggesford.

At Maiden Eggesford, Bertie walks to Eggesford Hall, but goes to Eggesford Court, the home of Vanessa's father Mr. Cook, by mistake. Seeing a black cat with white fur on its chest and nose, Bertie pets it and moves to hold it. Cook sees this and thinks Bertie is stealing the cat. After he threatens Bertie with a hunting crop, Plank, who is Cook's guest, advises Bertie to leave, which he hastily does. Jeeves informs Bertie that Cook's horse Potato Chip and Briscoe's horse Simla will soon compete in a race at Bridmouth-on-Sea, and to perform well, Potato Chip must be near this stray cat that it recently befriended.

Vanessa urges Orlo to demand his inheritance from Cook. When Orlo refuses, she ends the engagement and decides she will marry Bertie. Bertie doesn't want to marry her, but is too polite to turn her down.

Aunt Dahlia has bet on Simla's victory in the race, and arranged for poacher Herbert "Billy" Graham (a joking reference to evangelist Billy Graham) to kidnap the cat to sabotage Potato Chip. Graham brings the cat to Bertie's cottage, but Bertie pays Graham to return the cat to avoid trouble.

After suggesting that Orlo approach Cook about his inheritance after Cook is mellowed by a good dinner, Jeeves goes to visit his aunt, Mrs. Pigott. Plank remembers that Bertie is Alpine Joe, and he and Cook suspect Bertie of stealing the cat. Graham fails to return the cat, so Bertie tries to return it himself. Carrying the cat up to Eggesford Court, Bertie trips and loses it. The cat ultimately goes back to Bertie's cottage.

Orlo is unable to convince Cook to give him his inheritance, yet Vanessa is happy that Orlo confronted her father anyway, and they elope. At his cottage, Bertie is accosted by Cook and Plank, who believe that Vanessa wants to marry Bertie. Bertie hands over a letter from Orlo proving that Orlo and Vanessa eloped. Cook is apologetic to Bertie, until the cat wanders in.

Thinking Bertie stole the cat, Cook and Plank tie him up. Cook brings the cat back to Potato Chip while Plank leaves to fetch the police. Jeeves appears and unties Bertie. Plank returns and initially thinks Jeeves is a policeman called Inspector Witherspoon (from Stiff Upper Lip, Jeeves), but Jeeves denies this. Pretending to be Bertie's solicitor, Jeeves convinces Plank that he is mistaken about Bertie, since Bertie, having ample wealth, has no reason to be a thief like Alpine Joe.

Jeeves realized that the stray cat actually belongs to his aunt. Bertie and Jeeves make a deal with Cook to lend him the cat until the race is over and not press charges for tying Bertie up, in exchange for Cook paying Mrs. Pigott a fee and giving Orlo his inheritance.

Bertie and Jeeves go to New York, which Bertie finds much calmer and quieter than Maiden Eggesford. In a letter, Aunt Dahlia's husband Tom Travers writes that the race was awarded to Briscoe's Simla after Cook's cat ran across the racecourse and startled Simla. Bertie is pleased for his aunt. However, he attributes the tranquility of his and Jeeves's stay in New York to their distance from aunts, particularly Aunt Dahlia, who, though genial, has a lax moral code. The trouble with aunts, Bertie tells Jeeves, is that they are not gentlemen.

My Thoughts:

So this was the last published novel by Wodehouse about Jeeves and Wooster. There are another book's worth of short stories, etc, but I'm closing in on the end of the adventures!

While this was just as amusing as some of the other books, I found myself not as amused. I don't know if it was because I'm getting burnt out on Wodehouse's particular brand of humor or if it was life or work or what. I still enjoyed this and I recommend Wodehouse still but you know, at some point things just need to stop or be taken a break from.

Bertie is spineless and that pretty much sums up why everything happens to him. If he'd just make ONE decision his whole life would change. But he can't do that and so he just slides from one situation into another. Makes you feel kind of sorry that such people actually do exist. Without a guardian like Jeeves, someone like Bertie slides right under a bus and dies.

Crap, am I in a melancholic mood or what!?!? Sorry, future me. I hope you are a brighter ray of rainbow unicorn sunshine than me at this moment.

★★★☆½ ( )
  BookstoogeLT | Sep 29, 2020 |
I'm in the camp of Wodehouse fans, so even though his novels generally follow a certain pattern, and everything eventually works out in the end, I still enjoy the romp along the way, and anything with Bertie and Jeeves is worth reading. Good ol' Aunt Dahlia cracks me up when she gives Bertie what for, and goodness knows she's a few spices short of a rack herself, but that's part of what keeps me coming back for more. This is the usual fare of misunderstandings and misguided plans, but that's why we love Plum. ( )
  MadMaudie | Sep 5, 2020 |
Bertie Wooster's life is beset with the usual challenges in “Aunts Aren't Gentlemen” (1974): an aunt, of course; young lovers with obstacles on their path to matrimony, and gruff older men, who usually provide those obstacles. But this time there's a newcomer to the plot, a cat.

Published when P.G. Wodehouse was in his 90s, just a year or so before his death, “Aunts Aren't Gentlemen” is more reflective of the time in which it was written than most Jeeves and Wooster novels. There's a reference to Billy Graham, for example, even if the Billy Graham of the novel is a poacher, and there's a passage about leftists throwing bottles at police officers that reads like it could have been written yesterday. But demonstrations, sometimes turning violent, were also commonplace in the early 1970s.

When Bertie finds his body covered with spots, his doctor suggests rest in the country, and his Aunt Dahlia offers him a village cottage that seems ideal, especially because Jeeves happens to have an aunt living in the same village. This aunt takes Jeeves away for most of the story, leaving Bertie on his own, which always means trouble.

Bertie's aunt has a ulterior motive for her invitation to her nephew. She wants him to hide a stolen cat. The cat pacifies a certain horse about to race against another horse on which Aunt Dahlia has placed a great deal of money. Bertie, showing a stronger sense of ethics than usual in these tales, objects and hires Billy Graham to stealthily return the cat. The cat, however, likes Bertie and keeps coming back.

Meanwhile Vanessa, the daughter of the man with the horse and the cat, happens to be the bottle thrower. She is also a young beauty who once rejected Bertie's marriage proposal, to his great relief after he came to his senses. Now, after a fight with her boyfriend, she tells Bertie she will marry him after all, and she begins immediately to start reforming him, reminding him of why it was such a great relief when she previously turned him down. So Bertie is stuck with both a cat and a fiancee he doesn't want. Where is Jeeves when he needs him?

Wodehouse may have been a very old man when he wrote this novel, but it shows no sign of a decline in his ability. In fact, this is better than the earliest Jeeves and Wooster stories. It's pure delight from beginning to end. ( )
  hardlyhardy | Sep 3, 2020 |
Not the strongest Jeeves and Wooster story. Perhaps I've just finally had enough of the formula, but this did seem even more formulaic than usual, and with fewer clever witticisms. Even within this short novel, some of the jokes were repetitive.

> She uttered a sound rather like an elephant taking its foot out of a mud hole in a Burmese teak forest

> Experience over the years ought to have taught me that where this aunt was concerned anything went and the sky was the limit, but nevertheless I was … I know there's a word that just describes it … Ah, yes, I thought I'd get it … I was dumbfounded.

> When it comes to returning cats that have been snitched from their lawful homes, you need a specialist. Where Lloyd George or Winston Churchill would have failed, this Graham, I knew would succeed.

> "I'm in sore straits, Jeeves." "I am sorry to hear that, sir." "You'll be sorrier when I explain further. Have you ever seen a garrison besieged by howling savages, with their ammunition down to the last box of cartridges, the water supply giving out and the United States Marines nowhere in sight?"

> "I will begin by saying that Miss Cook, to whom I'm engaged, is a lady for whom I have the utmost esteem and respect, but on certain matters we do not … what's the expression?" "See eye to eye, sir?" "That's right. And unfortunately those matters are the what-d'youcall-it of my whole policy. What is it that policies have?" "I think the word for which you are groping, sir, may possibly be cornerstone."

> "Good morning, sir," he said. He expressed no surprise at seeing me tied to a sofa with curtain cords, just as he would have e. no s. if he had seen me being eaten by a crocodile like the late Abercrombie-Smith, though in the latter case he might have heaved a regretful sigh. ( )
  breic | Feb 19, 2020 |
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On doctor's orders, Bertie Wooster retires to sample the bucolic delights of Maiden Eggesford. But his idyll is rudely shattered by Aunt Dahlia who wants him to nobble a racehorse. Similar blots on Bertie's horizon come in the shape of Major Plank, the African explorer; Vanessa Cook, proud beauty and 'molder of men'; and Orlo Porter, who seems to have nothing else to do but think of sundering Bertie's head from his body.

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