Right Ho, Jeeves
|Author||P. G. Wodehouse|
|Media type||Print (hardback & paperback)|
|Preceded by||Thank You, Jeeves|
|Followed by||The Code of the Woosters|
Right Ho, Jeeves is a novel by P. G. Wodehouse, the second full-length novel featuring the popular characters Jeeves and Bertie Wooster, after Thank You, Jeeves. It also features a host of other recurring Wodehouse characters (some of whom it introduces), and is mostly set at Brinkley Court, the home of Bertie's Aunt Dahlia. It was first published in the United Kingdom on 5 October 1934 by Herbert Jenkins, London, and in the United States on 15 October 1934 by Little, Brown and Company, Boston, under the title Brinkley Manor. It had also been sold to the Saturday Evening Post, in which it appeared in serial form from 23 December 1933 to 27 January 1934, and in England in the Grand Magazine from April to September 1934. Wodehouse had already started planning this sequel while working on Thank You, Jeeves.
Bertie returns to London from two months in Cannes spent with his Aunt Dahlia Travers and her daughter Angela. In Bertie's absence, Jeeves has been advising Bertie's old school friend, Gussie Fink-Nottle, who is in love with a sentimental girl named Madeline Bassett. Gussie, a shy teetotaler with a passion for newts, is too timid to speak to her. Gussie tries to follow the advice Jeeves gives him about attending a fancy dress ball, but does not make it to the ball. Bertie, doubting Jeeves’s advice and annoyed that his friends consider Jeeves more intelligent than him, takes Gussie's case himself, ordering Jeeves not to offer any more advice. Meanwhile, Bertie has a new white mess jacket that Jeeves dislikes.
Madeline, a friend of Bertie's cousin Angela, is staying at Brinkley Court (country seat of Aunt Dahlia and Uncle Tom). Aunt Dahlia demands that Bertie come to Brinkley Court to make a speech and present the school prizes to students at the local grammar school, which he considers an intimidating task. Bertie sends Gussie to Brinkley Court so that Gussie will have the chance to woo Madeline there, but also so that Gussie will take Bertie’s place at the school.
When Angela breaks her engagement to another friend of Bertie’s, Tuppy Glossop, Bertie feels obliged to go to Brinkley Court to comfort Aunt Dahlia. In addition to her worry about Angela's broken engagement, Aunt Dahlia is anxious because she lost 500 pounds gambling at Cannes, and now needs to ask her miserly husband Tom to replace the money in order to finance her magazine, Milady's Boudoir. Bertie advises her to make Uncle Tom concerned for her by pretending to be so worried that she has lost her appetite. He offers similar advice to Tuppy, to win back Angela. He also offers the same advice to Gussie, to show his love for Madeline. All take his advice and reject their dinners, which upsets Aunt Dahlia's prized chef Anatole, who gives notice to quit. Aunt Dahlia blames Bertie for this disaster.
When Bertie attempts to probe Madeline's feelings about Gussie, she misinterprets his questioning as a marriage proposal. To his relief, she says she cannot marry Bertie, as she has fallen in love with Gussie. Bertie relays the good news to Gussie, but Gussie still loses his nerve when he tries to propose. Bertie decides to embolden him by lacing his orange juice with liquor. Gussie ends up imbibing more liquor than Bertie had intended.
Under its influence, Gussie successfully proposes to Madeline. He then delivers a drunken, uninhibited speech to the grammar school while presenting the school prizes. Madeline, disgusted, breaks the engagement and resolves to marry Bertie instead. The idea of marrying Madeline terrifies Bertie, but his personal code of gentlemanly behaviour will not allow him to turn her down. Meanwhile, Gussie, still drunk, retaliates against Madeline by proposing to Angela, who accepts him in order to score off Tuppy. Jealous, Tuppy chases Gussie around the mansion, vowing to throttle him.
Defeated, Bertie appeals to Jeeves for advice. Jeeves advises Bertie to ring the fire bell so that Tuppy and Gussie will appear heroic to Angela and Madeline, respectively, by coming to their aid; Bertie rings the bell but no heroics occur, and they all the house’s inhabitants end up locked outside. Bertie is sent on a bicycle ride to retrieve the key from the butler, Seppings, who is nine miles away at a dance; however, Bertie is shocked to learn from Seppings that Jeeves had the key all along.
After his arduous journey, Bertie returns to find that everyone is inside the house partying. They had all bonded over mutual animosity towards Bertie, whom they blamed for forcing them outside; after Jeeves claimed to find the key, their animosity changed into amusement that Bertie was sent on his errand for nothing. Angela and Tuppy are reconciled, Gussie and Madeline become engaged again, Anatole withdraws his resignation, and Uncle Tom writes Aunt Dahlia a check for 500 pounds. Relieved that he does not have to marry Madeline, Bertie admits that Jeeves fixed everything, and does not object after Jeeves confesses he has ruined the white mess jacket.
- In the original story, Gussie dressed up as Mephistopheles for a fancy dress ball; no fancy dress ball is mentioned in these two episodes.
- In the original story, Tom Travers has a pistol, which is never fired; in the first episode, he has a shotgun, which Bertie accidentally fires at a chandelier, after which Aunt Dahlia tells Bertie to go home. He returns to Brinkley Court in the following episode.
- Anatole leaves Brinkley Court between the two episodes, and Jeeves is sent to convince him to return.
- In the episode, Bertie does not find out that Jeeves spiked Gussie’s drink until after he himself has done so.
- In the original story, Gussie eventually chooses to drink alcohol, and also unknowingly drinks the spiked orange juice; in the episode, he only drinks the spiked orange juice.
- While running away from Tuppy in the episode, Gussie does not end up on the roof, a scene depicted in the 1st edition cover artwork.
- In the original story, Bertie was obliged to ride his bicycle at night without a lamp, and it was not raining; in the episode, he has a lamp, but it is raining heavily.
- Stephen Fry, in an article titled "What ho! My hero, PG Wodehouse", remarks on the popularity of the work, especially the prize-giving episode:
The masterly episode where Gussie Fink-Nottle presents the prizes at Market Snodsbury grammar school is frequently included in collections of great comic literature and has often been described as the single funniest piece of sustained writing in the language. I would urge you, however, to head straight for a library or bookshop and get hold of the complete novel Right Ho, Jeeves, where you will encounter it fully in context and find that it leaps even more magnificently to life.
- John Le Carré lists the work among his all-time favourite novels.
- In a 2009 internet poll, Right Ho, Jeeves was voted number 1 in the "best comic book by English writer" category.
- In 2012, Christian Science Monitor editors Peder Zane and Elizabeth Drake listed Right Ho, Jeeves as number ten in a list of the ten best comic works in all of literature.
- McIlvaine, E., Sherby, L.S. and Heineman, J.H. (1990) P.G. Wodehouse: A comprehensive bibliography and checklist. New York: James H. Heineman, pp. 66–68. ISBN 087008125X
- Brian Taves; Richard (FRW) Briers (2006), P.G. Wodehouse and Hollywood: screenwriting, satires, and adaptations, McFarland, p. 191, ISBN 978-0-7864-2288-3
- David A. Jasen (2002), P.G. Wodehouse: a portrait of a master, Music Sales Group, p. 132, ISBN 978-0-8256-7275-0
- Wodehouse, page 136.
- "Jeeves and Wooster Series 1, Episode 4". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- "Jeeves and Wooster Series 1, Episode 5". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 5 November 2017.
- Taves, page 128.
- Stephen Fry, What ho! My hero, PG Wodehouse, The Independent, Tuesday, 18 January 2000. A longer version of this article appears as the introduction to "What Ho! The Best of PG Wodehouse".
- Le Carré, John. "Personal Best: Right Ho, Jeeves". Salon.com. Retrieved 30 May 2012.
- Arnold, Sue (28 August 2009). "Right Ho, Jeeves by PG Wodehouse". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
- Drake, Elizabeth; Zane, Peder (12 July 2012). "10 best comic works in literature". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 7 August 2017.
- Wodehouse, P. G. (2008). Right Ho, Jeeves. London: Arrow Books. ISBN 9780099513742.
- Cawthorne, Nigel (2013). A Brief Guide to Jeeves and Wooster. London: Constable & Robinson. ISBN 978-1-78033-824-8.
- Taves, Brian (2006). P. G. Wodehouse and Hollywood. London: McFarland & Company. ISBN 978-0-7864-2288-3.
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