12 APRIL 1935, Page 32

Emsworths and Mulliners

Blandings Castle and Elsewhere. By P. G. Wodehouse. (Jenkins. 7s. 6d.) A GOOD many admirers of the Jeeves and Blandings sagas prefer what the Master himself has called " the short snorts

between the solid orgies " ; or, in other and less forceful words;

they consider that Mr. P. G. Wodehouse is at his best in the short story. The solid orgies have predominated in the last few years, and only those who have pursued Mr. Wodehouse with relentless enthusiasm through the pages of magazines from the good old Captain days onwards know that he is constantly indulging in short snorts on the sly.

Blandings Castle and Elsewhere reveals what has been going on behind the scenes since we left things to Psmith in

1923, eight years after the opening of the Blandings saga in

1915 with Something Fresh.. The first six stories in the book are documents of considerable interest to the higtorian

of the House of Emsworth for the light they throw on the

titular head of the family. We would even go so far as to say that no serious student of the later chronicle, Summer Lightning, and its sequel, Heavy Weather, can afford to

overlook these preliminary studies, which have only been available hitherto in the pages of various learned journals.

It is commonly believed, for example, that Lord Emsworth is a perfectly futile old gentleman with no greater ambition in life than to be left alone with his enormous Pig and his portentous marrowfat gourd or Pumpkin, in peace, perfect peace with loved ones—Hon. Freddie, Lady Alcester and Aunt Constance —far away. Mr. Wodehouse would be the first to admit that, taken out of his element, the noble earl is liable to sudden attacks of mental and emotional instability. The practising, of a pig-yodel in the Senior Conservative Club and the plucking of flowers in Kensington Gardens are cases in point; and it must be confessed, though reluctantly, that he behaved some- what imprudently when faced with his erring daughter-in- law's dog in a Strange bedroom at the Salioy. But in the sixth and last snort—an account of the Annual August Bank Holiday Treat in the park at Blandings--he acts in the same spirit of courage and determination that animated an earlier Emsworth and the almost legendary Sieur de Wooster on the field of Agincourt. " Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend " is a

memorable chapter in the Blandings saga, the outstanding story in the present collection of hilarious fantasies ; for in it Mr. Wodehouse shows us how Lord Emsworth, with the sole: support of a London slum-child, defied -Aunt Constance, defied the head-gardener, who only recently had handed in the pumpkin portfolio,, and walked out on the assembled multitude. It is a superb moment, only marred by the un-• dignified behaviour of a top-hat:

A slight pause is advisable before following Mr. Wodehouse. " elsewhere," in this case to meet tfie Mulliners of Hollywood. It is in no-carpingspiritthat we confess that the world of Mr.

Milliner seems a little commonplace beside the extraordinary wonders of Blandings Castle. After all, that shadow of a great

rock in a weary land, Beach the Butler, not to mention the Pumpkin and the Pig, could not possibly exist in the same world as the Perfceto-Zizzbaum Corporation ; some adjustment of the sensibilities.is necessary before passing froni One to another, before we meet, for instance, Mr. Montrose Mulliner and the gorilla who suddenly spoke out loud and bold and announced with some show of pride that he had been educated