Rhyme and Reason is where the excerpts I enjoy, from books I’m currently reading, come to live.
As I’ve discovered, reading Wodehouse in public comes with its share of dangers. You will be pegged as “the strange girl in the corner who has been reduced to snorting and giggling fits.” If only that meant that commuters would give me a wide berth and leave me a little legroom, but no such luck.
The Hon. Galahad produced a black-rimmed monocle, and screwing it into his eye, surveyed the table with a frown of distaste. ‘Tea?’
Millicent reached for a cup. ‘Cream and sugar, Uncle Gally?’
He stopped her with a gesture of shocked loathing. ‘You know I never drink tea. Too much respect for my inside. Don’t tell me you are ruining your inside with that poison.’
‘Sorry, Uncle Gally. I like it.’
‘You be careful,’ urged the Hon. Galahad, who was fond of his niece and did not like to see her falling into bad habits. ‘You be very careful how you fool about with that stuff. Did I ever tell you about poor Buffy Struggles back in ‘ninety-three? Some misguided person lured poor old Buffy into one of those temperance lectures illustrated with coloured slides, and he called on me the next day ashen, poor old chap – ashen. “Gally,” he said. “What would you say the procedure was when a fellow wants to buy tea? How would a fellow set about it?” “Tea?” I said. “What do you want tea for?” “To drink,” said Buffy. “Pull yourself together, dear boy,” I said. “You’re talking wildly. You can’t drink tea. Have a brandy-and-soda.” “No more alcohol for me,” said Buffy. “Look what it does to the common earthworm.” “But you’re not a common earthworm,” I said, putting my finger on the flaw in his argument right away. “I dashed soon shall be if I go on drinking alcohol,” said Buffy. Well, I begged him with tears in my eyes not to do anything rash, but I couldn’t move him. He ordered in ten pounds of the much and was dead inside the year.’
‘Good heavens! Really?’
The Hon. Galahad nodded impressively. ‘Dead as a door-nail. Got run over by a hansom cab, poor dear old chap, as he was crossing Piccadilly. You’ll find the story in my book.’
Summer Lightning by P. G. Wodehouse