Sunday, February 10, 2008

Wodehouse on Aunts

One of my all-time favorite Wodehouse quotes, said in a moment of exasperation by the character Bertie Wooster (in conversation with valet Jeeves) after being pulled into yet another doubtful venture by an overbearing aunt:

If I had my life to live again, Jeeves, I would start it as an orphan without any aunts. Don't they put aunts in Turkey in sacks and drop them in the Bosphorus?
Odalisques, sir, I understand. Not aunts.
Well, why not aunts? Look at the trouble they cause in the world. I tell you, Jeeves, and you may quote me as saying this: Behind every poor, innocent, harmless blighter who is going down for the third time in the soup you will find, if you look carefully enough, the aunt who shoved him into it.
There is much in what you say, sir.
It is no use telling me that there are bad aunts and good aunts. At the core, they are all alike. Sooner or later, out pops the cloven hoof.
--The Code of the Woosters, chapter 2

Funny thing is, Wodehouse himself had a comparatively easy time as far as female relatives go; although he was technically raised by his aunts, the majority of his childhood was spent at boarding schools.

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