This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 10 January 2015

Saturday Rave: Chester Forgets Himself by PG Wodehouse

The other day I found myself having a conversation with an editor of golf brochures.

Yes, he was an editor, though he seemed a perfectly nice man. He hadn't ever read PG Wodehouse's golf stories, though. I do hope he reads them soon, because even for someone like me, with absolutely no interest in any kind of sport, they are one of the joys of life.

Chester, the hero of Chester Forgets Himself, is a fine golfer and he also is a nice man, though inclined to ripe language in moments of high emotion. When he falls in love with Felicia it seems vital that he both reins in his tongue, and that he also pretends not to loathe Felicia's absent brother Crispin.

The unfortunate result of all this holding-back is a stiff and repellent manner, and a firm refusal of his proposal of marriage.

All that the heart-broken Chester can do, as he and Felicia finish their round of golf, is to try to break the course record as a tribute to her perfections. He's very nearly succeeded when someone plugs him in the seat of his plus-fours with a golf ball and makes him muff a vital shot.

And it is at that point that Chester forgets himself.

" '! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ' said Chester.

Dimly he was aware of a wordless exclamation from the girl beside him, but he was too distraught to think of her now. It was as if all the oaths pent up within his bosom for so many weary days were struggling and jostling to see which could get out first. They cannoned into one another, they linked hands and formed parties, they got themselves all mixed up in weird vowel-sounds, the second syllable of some red-hot verb forming a temporary union with the first syllable of some blistering noun.

'-!-!!-!!!-!!!!-!!!!!' cried Chester.' "

Has ever true passion been more vividly described?

I'm really not sure it ever has.

Word To Use Today: oath. This word comes from the Old English āth.


  1. How gorgeous. It crosses my mind to wonder why we don't think and write like this now...PJW is unique of course but still. I don't see books like this getting past any modern editor....very sad. Thank goodness we have these books.

    1. You're quite right, Adele, they wouldn't. We seem to have ended up in a place, lampooned so brilliantly by PGW himself, where only misery and torture counts. I must look out the wise words of the owner of the Villa Chutney, Putney, soon, and feature them here as a corrective.