Welcome back to the diner! In this episode I read “Jeeves Takes Charge” by P.G. Wodehouse, one of the earliest stories in the series as it was first published in 1916. It tells the story of how Bertie met his remarkable man, Jeeves, and his very first ill-fated engagement. It features quite a lot of murder imagery (as Bertie doesn’t do well with a guilty conscious) and the rather aggressive critique from Jeeves that Nietzsche is “fundamentally unsound.”
As always, Wodehouse filled this story with quite a few interesting references! I’ve listed the ones I could find here:
- “I can’t give you a better idea of the way things stood than by telling you that the book she’d given me to read was called Types of Ethical Theory…” There a few books by that title, and I couldn’t find anything using Bertie’s direct quotes, so my best guess is that this refers to a book by James Martineau, published in 1898. You can read it here.
- “‘Lord Emsworth? Not the one we know? Not the one at Blandings?'” Yes indeed the one at Blandings! This is a reference to another Wodehouse series, which you can read an excellent guide to here.
- “Fellows who know all about that sort of thing — detectives, and so on — will tell you that the most difficult thing in the world is to get rid of the body. I remember, as a kid, having to learn by heart a poem about a bird by the name of Eugene Aram, who had the deuce of a job in this respect.” Eugene Aram was a British philosopher who killed his business partner. A book was written about it, as well as a play, but Bertie seems to be referencing the ballad “The Dream of Eugene Aram” by Thomas Hood, which you can read here.
- “I sat sucking on a cigarette, feeling rather like a chappie I’d once read about in a book, who murdered another cove and hid the body under the dining-room table, and then had to be the life and soul of a dinner party, with it there all the time.” This is certainly a reference to something, but I don’t recognize it off the top of my head, and I couldn’t find anyone else’s guesses. If you have any ideas, comment them!
- “‘He may be like Raffles.’ ‘Raffles?’ ‘He’s a chap in a book who went about pinching things.'” Raffles is from E.W. Hornung’s series Raffles & Bunny, about a pair of gentlemen thieves who do indeed go about pinching things. I’ve been planning to read something from it one day, but if you’d like to get ahead of me you can read the first book of the series here.
And that’s about it! I hope you join me next week!
Your DJ/Dinner Companion,
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