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Mike and Psmith   By: (1881-1975)

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MIKE AND PSMITH

By P.G. WODEHOUSE

MEREDITH PRESS / NEW YORK

Copyright 1909 by A. & C. Black

CONTENTS

CHAPTER

1. MR. JACKSON MAKES UP HIS MIND 2. SEDLEIGH 3. PSMITH 4. STAKING OUT A CLAIM 5. GUERRILLA WARFARE 6. UNPLEASANTNESS IN THE SMALL HOURS 7. ADAIR 8. MIKE FINDS OCCUPATION 9. THE FIRE BRIGADE MEETING 10. ACHILLES LEAVES HIS TENT 11. THE MATCH WITH DOWNING'S 12. THE SINGULAR BEHAVIOR OF JELLICOE 13. JELLICOE GOES ON THE SICK LIST 14. MIKE RECEIVES A COMMISSION 15. ... AND FULFILLS IT 16. PURSUIT 17. THE DECORATION OF SAMMY 18. MR. DOWNING ON THE SCENT 19. THE SLEUTH HOUND 20. A CHECK 21. THE DESTROYER OF EVIDENCE 22. MAINLY ABOUT SHOES 23. ON THE TRAIL AGAIN 24. THE ADAIR METHOD 25. ADAIR HAS A WORD WITH MIKE 26. CLEARING THE AIR 27. IN WHICH PEACE IS DECLARED 28. MR. DOWNING MOVES 29. THE ARTIST CLAIMS HIS WORK 30. SEDLEIGH V. WRYKYN

PREFACE

In Evelyn Waugh's book Decline and Fall his hero, applying for a post as a schoolmaster, is told by the agent, "We class schools in four grades leading school, first rate school, good school, and school." Sedleigh in Mike and Psmith would, I suppose, come into the last named class, though not quite as low in it as Mr. Waugh's Llanabba. It is one of those small English schools with aspirations one day to be able to put the word "public" before their name and to have their headmaster qualified to attend the annual Headmaster's Conference. All it needs is a few more Adairs to get things going. And there is this to be noted, that even at a "school" one gets an excellent education. Its only drawback is that it does not play the leading schools or the first rate schools or even the good schools at cricket. But to Mike, fresh from Wrykyn (a "first rate school") and Psmith, coming from Eton (a "leading school") Sedleigh naturally seemed something of a comedown. It took Mike some time to adjust himself to it, though Psmith, the philosopher, accepted the change of conditions with his customary equanimity.

This was the first appearance of Psmith. He came into two other books, Psmith in the City and Psmith, Journalist , before becoming happily married in Leave It to Psmith , but I have always thought that he was most at home in this story of English school life. To give full play to his bland clashings with Authority he needs to have authority to clash with, and there is none more absolute than that of the masters at an English school.

Psmith has the distinction of being the only one of my numerous characters to be drawn from a living model. A cousin of mine was at Eton with the son of D'Oyly Carte, the man who produced the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and one night he told me about this peculiar schoolboy who dressed fastidiously and wore a monocle and who, when one of the masters inquired after his health, replied "Sir, I grow thinnah and thinnah." It was all the information I required in order to start building him in a star part.

If anyone is curious as to what became of Mike and Psmith in later life, I can supply the facts. Mike, always devoted to country life, ran a prosperous farm. Psmith, inevitably perhaps, became an equally prosperous counselor at the bar like Perry Mason, specializing, like Perry, in appearing for the defense.

I must apologize, as I did in the preface to Mike at Wrykyn, for all the cricket in this book. It was unavoidable. There is, however, not quite so much of it this time.

P.G. Wodehouse.

1

MR. JACKSON MAKES UP HIS MIND

If Mike had been in time for breakfast that fatal Easter morning he might have gathered from the expression on his father's face, as Mr. Jackson opened the envelope containing his school report and read the contents, that the document in question was not exactly a paean of praise from beginning to end. But he was late, as usual. Mike always was late for breakfast in the holidays.

When he came down on this particular morning, the meal was nearly over... Continue reading book >>




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