“Full Moon” by PG Wodehouse, starring the awesome Galahad Threepwood, is the funniest of the Blandings Castle comedies. 18 quotations show why.
The Blanding Castle Novels
The six Blandings Castle novels by PG Wodehouse in my Folio Society edition are as follows.
- Summer Lightning
- Heavy Weather
- Uncle Fred in the Springtime
- Full Moon (this review)
- Pigs have Wings
- Service with a smile
Do check them all out!
The cover of my Folio edition of “Full Moon”
Full Moon: full-blooded laugh-out-loud comedy
I thought Full Moon one of the most full-blooded laugh-out-loud contributions to the Blandings Castle canon.
The comedy around Lord Emsworth’s fear and loathing of his younger son, Freddie, is intoxicating. But the most hilarious passages rotate around the neuroses of the semi-alcoholic American millionaire Tipton Plimsoll. He believes that every time he has a drink, an ugly, phantasmagoric ghost appears. Such an apparition does, indeed, hove into view whenever Tipton indulges his vice. But it is in fact the “gorilla-like face” of Galahad Threepwood’s godson, Bill Lister, who through a series of magnificent contrivances happens to stumble on the scene every time Tipton has a snifter. Comedy gold.
18 quotations from “Full Moon” by PG Wodehouse
“Full Moon”: Galahad Threepwood
Galahad Threepwood, or “Gallie”, is a wonderful Wodehousian creation. Here are three quotes about him.
- Where most of [Galahad Threepwood’s] contemporaries had reluctantly thrown in the towel and retired to Harrogate and Buxton to nurse their gout, he had gone blithely on, ever rising on stepping stones of dead whiskies and sodas to higher things. He had discovered the prime grand secret of eternal youth – to keep the decanter circulating and never go to bed before four in the morning. [Comment: correct!]
- [The Hon. Galahad Threepwood] ‘My dear child, mine has been a long life, in the course of which I have frequently been bothered by experts. And always without effect.’
- [The Hon. Galahad Threepwood on his brother, Lord Emsworth] ‘His IQ is about thirty points lower than that of a not too agile-minded jellyfish.’
“Full Moon” teems with splendidly written characters. Here are a few.
- Colonel Wedge was exhibiting that slight sheepishness which comes to married men when the names of those whom they themselves esteem highly but of whom they are aware that their wives disapprove crop up in the course of a conversation.
- In a low, pleasant voice, like clotted cream made audible, [Veronica Wedge] said: ‘Hallo, Dad-dee.’
- Bill clutched at his hair. For an artist’s, it was on the short side, but a determined man can clutch at anything.
- Veronica Wedge stood gazing at Tipton Plimsoll with her enormous eyes, like a cow staring over a hedge at a mangel-wurzel.
- [Tipton Plimsoll] made his way with faltering footsteps to the sitting-room of the Garden Suite and, drawing the flask from his pocket, placed it on the table with something of the sad resignation of a Russian peasant regretfully throwing his infant son to a pursuing wolf pack.
Quotes about nature: dream rabbits and ducks
What qualifies a woman (or, in Wodehouse speak, a girl) to qualify as a “dream rabbit”? Read on:
- It has never been authoritatively established what are the precise attributes which qualify a girl to rank as a dream rabbit, but few impartial judges would have cavilled at the application of the term to Prudence, only daughter of Dora, relict of the late Sir Everard Garland, KCB. For while she had none of that breath-taking beauty which caused photographers to fight over Veronica Wedge, she was quite alluring enough in her trim, slim, blue-eyed way to justify male acquaintances in so addressing her over the telephone. There was not much of her, but what there was was good.
- there is always something very restful about a duck. Whatever earthquakes and upheavals may be afflicting the general public, it stands aloof from them and just goes on being a duck.
Quotations about the calm of Blandings Castle
Ah! The wonderful calm of Blandings Castle!
- The soft-voiced clock over the stables had just struck twelve in the smooth, deferential manner of a butler announcing that dinner is served…
- It was now the hour when the fragrance of tea and the warm, heartening scent of buttered toast begin to float like a benediction over the English home…
Unusual expressions in PG Wodehouse
I often make a note of unusual expressions found in Wodehouse. Full Moon features a plethora of rare vocab:
- ‘He’ll go capering about Long Island City like a nautch-girl’ [meaning: he’ll be pleased: a quick google shows nautch girls to have been professional dancers in India]
- ‘I fancy my guerdon ought to be something more on the lines of assistant manager.’ [meaning: my reward]
- And presently a rather hoarse and roopy voice came to him over the wire…’ [meaning: hoarse]
- When it came to assembling curative unguent, he was there forty ways from the jack [meaning: in every way possible].
- The handshake which he had mistaken for that of a pal had been the handshake of a serpent, and of a serpent who had, the moment his back was turned, intended to go on playing the old army game with the woman he loved. [Can anyone tell me what “playing the old army game” means?]
- For the moment [Prudence] might slake her thirst for good works with Bible classes, but something told Lord Emsworth that in doing so she would be merely warming up, simply hitting fungoes [meaning: a fungo is a baseball hit for practice fielding by a player who throws a ball in the air and hits it as it comes down. It can also refer to a baseball bat]
What to do next
If you like Wodehouse, I would strongly encourage you to look at my own comic writing in Seven Hotel Stories.
It appears that “the old army game” is a reference to what is sometimes called “the shell game”, or a version of three card Monty, where you hide a pea under a shell, one of three, and move them around rapidly with the hand being quicker than the eye.
Ken – thanks! News to me and makes perfect sense.
Yet another priceless offering, Robert! Shall be delighted to reblog it on my humble site, with due credit, of course!
Thanks! Please feel free to repost. More Wodehouse to come!
any use for: “playing the old army game” at: https://classic.esquire.com/article/1944/5/1/playing-the-old-army-game