When next we meet, The Den(ver) of the Secret Nine will discuss Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit, the 1954 Jeeves and Wooster pairing called Bertie Wooster Sees It Through in the U.S.
That next meeting will be at Pints Pub in downtown Denver at 12:30 pm on Sunday, May 14. Unfortunately this correspondent shall not be there (I shall be up to no good out of the country), and so any RSVPs or questions should be addressed to member Larry or posted at the facebook page.
As is our usual practice, the member who fought tooth and nail to propose the agenda has the privilege, nay the honor, of supplying the rest of us with discussion notes. Member Larry, in his diabolical fashion, however, credits us with more resourcefulness than perhaps is our due. Rather than telling us, he encourages us to seek out our own information. And thus we have:
Notes and Guided Meditations on “Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit”
- Jeeves’ “Specials” play an important part of this story. They are said to be “a moralizing force” that “wake the tigers leaping in a chap” and Wooster reports that after one “fire coursed through my veins.” They seem certainly way more powerful than “mere martinis.” (Chapter 1)
Contemplate: What was the nature of these powerful concoctions of Jeeves? What was in them? What could explain their powerful effects?
- Who notoriously enjoyed “the most frightful bilge”? (Chapter 1)
- Mystery stories are an important motif in this story. From “The Mystery of the Pink Crayfish” to Aunt Agatha’s reading of “Agatha Christie.”
What two famous detectives does Wooster suggest in the following phraseology in Chapter 1:
“These are deep waters, Jeeves.”
“… her bean was crammed to the bursting point with little gray cells”.
- “… makes no secret of his surprise and concern that I am still on the right side of the walls of Colney Hatch or some similar institution.” (Chapter 1)
“I might be the most consummate ass that ever eluded the vigilance of the talent scouts of Colney Hatch.” (Chapter 7)
Research: What and where is Colney Hatch?
- What are the two things that Bertie particularly dislikes about G. D’Arcy Cheesewright? (Chapter 3)
- What do the nightclubs “The Feverish Cheese,” “The Frozen Limit,” “The Startled Shrimp,” and “The Mottled Oyster” all have in common? Speculate about the legal basis for these short-lived institutions to be raided and closed down. (Chapter 5)
- What does Bertie think is “the odd thing about song writers”? (Chapter 5)
- “A little trouble last night with the minions of the law, Jeeves,” I said. “ Quite a bit of that Eugene-Aram-walked-between-with-gyves-upon-his-wrists stuff.” (Chapter 6)
Research: Who is/was Eugene Aram?
(Members would be advised to read The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime by Judith Flanders, ed.)
- Who spent her “girlhood and early womanhood … chivvying the British fox in all weathers” and what two effects did this have on her? (Chapter 8)
- Contemplate: What could be “a trick with two corks and a bit of string which cannot fail to bring a smile to the most tortured face”? (Chapter 9)
- Bertie won the Scripture Knowledge Award at school. What scripture did he interpret that his analysis showed him “you never know where you are these days”? (chapter 18)
- With the clanging of the closing of the safe, what could Bertie see as plainly as if it had been “the top of an occulist’s chart”? (Chapter 19)
- Bertie felt that “culturing pearls is a dirty trick to play on shellfish which simply wants to be alone with his thoughts.” Speculate on what thoughts a shellfish might want to be alone with. (Chapter 20)
- How did Spode act as though he were an arrow that “I shot into the air”? (Chapter 18)
- Be prepared to be render a portion of one or more of the following of Bertie’s bathtub songs. (Chapter1)
Ah Sweet Mystery of Life, Roll out the Barrel, I Love a Lassie, Pale Hands I Love Beside the Shalimar, Every Day I Bring Thee Violets
Thanks Larry for throwing down the gauntlet. It’s a shame I shall miss the spirited discussion these notes will no doubt engender. I also propose our cabal order the modern-day equivalents of one of Jeeves’ Specials at Pints Pub.
As I will be gone, I will throw in my two cents for the suggestion of the next book. I propose either The Adventures of Sally or Jill the Reckless. I’ve also made it a little easier to pick our next book by updating the list of books we’ve read so far.