1920-1929
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The Coming of Bill (1920) [CB] • Jill the Reckless (1921) [JR] • Indiscretions of Archie (1921) [IA]
The Clicking of Cuthbert (1922) [CC] • The Girl on the Boat (1922) [GOB]
The Adventures of Sally (1922) [AS] • The Inimitable Jeeves (1923) [IJ] • Leave it to Psmith (1923) [LP]
Ukridge (1924) [U] • Bill the Conqueror (1924) [BC] • Carry On, Jeeves (1925) [COJ]
The Heart of a Goof (1926) [HG] • The Small Bachelor (1927) [SB] • Meet Mr Mulliner (1927) [MMM]
Money for Nothing (1928) [MFN] • Mr Mulliner Speaking (1929) [MMS] • Summer Lightning (1929) [SL]

THE COMING OF BILL

CB, Book One, Chapter 4

Old Mrs Dingle had refused to be comforted

Jeremiah 31:15 / Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.

Several Bible texts speak of persons who refuse to be comforted, but the verse quoted above is more likely to have left its marks in the memory of P G Wodehouse, as it is quoted by the evangelist Matthew to illustrate the distress of the mothers of the slaughtered innocents. When Herod, king of Judaea, heard of the birth of an infant who was to be king of the Jews, he ordered the massacre of all the children of two years and younger, expecting the newborn king to be among the victims. "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not" (Matthew 2:17-18).

CB, Book One, Chapter 5

I'm not fit to shine her shoes.

Mark 1:7 / And [John] preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.

John the Baptist, speaking of Christ, states he is not even worthy to serve him in a way usually reserved to slaves.

CB, Book One, Chapter 7

Sufficient Unto Themselves

Matthew 6:34 / Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

A possible adaptation of the gospel text which is quoted elsewhere in the Wodehouse canon?

She was the angel with the flaming sword who guarded their paradise. (...)

The angel with the flaming sword stood between them.

Genesis 3:24 / So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

After the Fall, Adam and Eve were banished from paradise, while cherubs, one of the two highest orders of angels, were posted at the entry.

He was certainly a whole-hearted convert. As to Saul of Tarsus, so to him there had come a sudden blinding light.

Acts 9:3-4 / 3 And as he [Saul] journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

Acts 9:1-19 relate the conversion of Saul, as the apostle Paul was known then. He was born in Tarsus, in Asia Minor. Saul was travelling to Damascus, in order to persecute Jesus' disciples there, when there came a light from heaven, causing him to fall to the ground, and a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" When Saul got up, he could see nothing at all, until a disciple who lived in Damascus, Ananias, laid his hands on him, whereupon the "scales fell away from Saul's eyes".

She had weighed him in the balance against wealth and comfort

Daniel 5:27 / Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

Belshazzar, whom the book of Daniel calls "king" of Babylon and son of Nebuchadnezzar (he was, in fact, the son of Nabonidus and was never king), was giving a great banquet—one of these "Babylonian orgies" to which the Master periodically refers—when suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the wall: "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin". Daniel was able to interpret this "writing on the wall", and gave the meaning of the word "tekel": "You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting". That same night, Belshazzar was murdered.

But she was of a chatty disposition and no respecter of persons.

Acts 10:34 / Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.

CB, Book One, Chapter 9

William Bannister (...) would not be comforted

See above.

William Bannister (...) weighed him up in one long stare, found him wanting

See above.

CB, Book One, Chapter 10

She has a habit of splitting up and altering the face of the world

Psalm 104:30 / Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created: and thou renewest the face of the earth.

A possible reminiscence of the Psalm verse; "face of the world/earth" is a biblical phrase.

CB, Book One, Chapter 11

Instead of comforting me like this, and making me think I'm rather a fine sort of a fellow, you ought to be lashing me with scorpions.

1 Kings 12:11 / And now whereas my father did lade you with a heavy yoke, I will add to your yoke: my father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions.

After his father Solomon's death, Rehoboam, when asked to lighten his predecessor's severity, gave the above harsh answer.

CB, Book One, Chapter 12

Till the thoughts leaped and ran like tongues of fire scorching him.

Acts 2:3 / And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.

The phrase "tongues of fire" may have been inspired by this verse, describing the Holy Ghost descending on the Apostles on the feast of Pentecost.

CB, Book Two, Chapter 2

It was unlucky money, grudgingly given at the eleventh hour.

Matthew 20:6 / And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

In the "Parable of the vineyard labourers", Jesus tells us of a landowner going out several times a day to hire workers for his vineyard: at daybreak, at the third hour (about 9 am), at the sixth hour (midday), at the ninth hour (3 pm) and, surprisingly, even at the eleventh hour (about 5 pm)! In the end, those who were hired at the eleventh hour receive the same wages as those who have been working all day. This story thus illustrates God's generosity, which exceeds the human understanding of justice.

It is curious what a large part hair and its treatment may play in the undoing of strong men. The case of Samson may be recalled in this connection.

Judges 16:4-5 / 4 And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.

Full story in Judges 16:4-22. Samson's wife Delilah betrayed the secret of his great strength—namely that his head had never been shorn—to the Philistines, lulled him to sleep in her lap, and summoned a man who sheared Samson's hair. The Philistines were so enabled to seize him and put out his eyes.

He felt like a stranger in a strange world.

Exodus 2:22 / And she [Zipporah] bare him [Moses] a son, and he called his name Gershon: for he said, I have been a stranger in a strange land.

This is one of the many examples of popular etymology in the Bible, "ger" being the Hebrew word for "stranger".

He could not bring himself to realize Ruth as one of the great army of cranks preaching and carrying out the gospel of Lora Delane Porter.

Matthew 4:23 / And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people.

This is the first time the expression "preaching the gospel" occurs in the New Testament. The "gospel" is the "good news" of the impending coming of the kingdom of God.

CB, Book Two, Chapter 3

A future in which she was driven from Bill's presence into outer darkness

Matthew 22:13 / Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

In the light of Wodehouse's fondness for this verse (see the Biblical Index), we may assume that the "outer darkness" Mr Crocker slid into is another reference to the same text.

CB, Book Two, Chapter 5

This cotton-wool existence was stealing from the child the birthright of courage which was his from both his parents.

Genesis 25:29-34 / 29 And Jacob sod pottage: and Esau came from the field, and he was faint: 30 And Esau said to Jacob, Feed me, I pray thee, with that same red pottage; for I am faint: therefore was his name called Edom. 31 And Jacob said, Sell me this day thy birthright. 32 And Esau said, Behold, I am at the point to die: and what profit shall this birthright do to me? 33 And Jacob said, Swear to me this day; and he sware unto him: and he sold his birthright unto Jacob. 34 Then Jacob gave Esau bread and pottage of lentiles; and he did eat and drink, and rose up, and went his way: thus Esau despised his birthright.

CB, Book Two, Chapter 6

Cast them into a burning fiery furnace.

Daniel 3:20 / And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

These three friends of Daniel—perhaps the most popular biblical characters in the Wodehouse canon—had refused to worship the statue of king Nebuchadnezzar, and were thrown in the furnace. But the fire had no power on them, "nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them" (Daniel 3:27).

He no longer sat down when the spirit moved him

Judges 13:25 / And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

This verse—speaking of Samson—is a possible source for the phrase which sounds very biblical indeed, but which is difficult to trace back to any passage in particular.

The superficial observer (...) would say that I ought to be singing psalms of joy.

James 5:13 / Is any among you afflicted? Let him pray. Is any merry? Let him sing psalms.

A psalm is any of the religious songs and hymns which together form the biblical "Book of Psalms".

CB, Book Two, Chapter 7

He did that which was right in his own eyes

Judges 17:6 / In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

For days Mr. Penway had been hinting that the time had arrived for a folding of the hands.

Proverbs 6:9-11 / 9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

CB, Book Two, Chapter 10

She had never known what the morrow might bring forth

Proverbs 27:1 / Boast not thyself of to morrow; for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth.

It was not their business to watch his comings in and his goings out.

Psalm 121:8 / The Lord shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

CB, Book Two, Chapter 12

She ate the bread of sorrow in captivity.

Psalm 127:2 / It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows: for so he giveth his beloved sleep.

In the last few days the scales had fallen from her eyes

Acts 9:18 / And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 9:1-19 relate the conversion of Saul, as the apostle Paul was known then. He was travelling to Damascus, in order to persecute Jesus' disciples there, when there came a light from heaven, causing him to fall to the ground, and a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" When Saul got up, he could see nothing at all, until a disciple who lived in Damascus, Ananias, laid his hands on him, whereupon the "scales fell away from Saul's eyes".

CB, Book Two, Chapter 15

There are always possibilities of a return to the gods of wood and stone

Deuteronomy 28:36 / The Lord shall bring thee, and thy king which thou shalt set over thee, unto a nation which neither thou nor thy fathers have known; and there shalt thou serve other gods, wood and stone.

CB, Book Two, Chapter 16

If ever money was the root of all evil, this had been.

1 Timothy 6:10 / For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

To-morrow must look after itself.

See above.

Back to top

JILL THE RECKLESS

JR, Chapter 1, section 1

The spirit was willing, but the jolly old flesh would have none of it.

Matthew 26:41 / Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

JR, Chapter 1, section 2

They may put away childish things

1 Corinthians 13:11 / When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

The friend that sticketh closer than a brother

Proverbs 18:24 / A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

JR, Chapter 1, section 3

She was a woman of great will-power and accustomed to triumph over the weaknesses of the flesh.

See above, for the "weak flesh". In the language of the Bible, "flesh" denotes man considered as a frail and mortal being.

Acting as the spirit moves us

Judges 13:25 / And the Spirit of the Lord began to move him at times in the camp of Dan between Zorah and Eshtaol.

This verse—speaking of Samson—is a possible source for the phrase which sounds very biblical indeed, but which is difficult to trace back to any passage in particular.

JR, Chapter 1, section 4

She always puts the fear of God into me.

Proverbs 1:7 / The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

One of the countless mentions of the "fear of the Lord" in the Bible. It may be useful to remark that this "fear" has nothing to do with feelings of danger or terror, but is practically synonymous with reverence and devotion.

JR, Chapter 2, section 1

"Better a dinner of 'erbs where love is than a stalled ox and 'atred therewith", said Barker, helping himself to a walnut.

Proverbs 15:17 / Better is a dinner of herbs where love is, than a stalled ox and hatred therewith.

Barker's partaking of a sober walnut puts this bit of biblical wisdom in a nutshell!

JR, Chapter 2, section 2

During an earthquake or a shipwreck and possibly on the Day of Judgment, yes.

2 Peter 3:7 / But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

The New Testament teaches that Christ will return in glory on the "day of the Lord", which will also be the "day of judgment", when the dead will rise to be judged.

JR, Chapter 4, section 1

However she might have strayed in those early days from the straight and narrow path

Matthew 7:14 / Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

JR, Chapter 4, section 3

There might be specks upon her idol—that its feet might be clay she could never believe

Daniel 2:33 / His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

In the second chapter of the Book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar has a puzzling dream, which only Daniel is able able to reveal: "Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces" (Daniel 2:31-34). Daniel's interpretation of the dream is too long to be discussed in detail (read Daniel 2:36-45), but we must note the meaning of the "feet of clay": "And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken" (Daniel 2:42). Hence the modern use of the expression "feet of clay" to indicate a flaw in the character of an admired person.

JR, Chapter 4, section 4

So you buzzed out of the fiery furnace all right? (...) ...but to be called on at a moment's notice to play Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego rolled into one, without rehearsal or make-up, is a bit too thick!

Daniel 3:20 / And he commanded the most mighty men that were in his army to bind Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and to cast them into the midst of the burning fiery furnace.

These three friends of Daniel—perhaps the most popular biblical characters in the Wodehouse canon—had refused to worship the statue of king Nebuchadnezzar, and were thrown in the furnace. But the fire had no power on them, "nor was an hair of their head singed, neither were their coats changed, nor the smell of fire had passed on them" (Daniel 3:27).

JR, Chapter 5, section 2

All the time she had felt that Freddie was a broken reed

Isaiah 36:6 / Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.

JR, Chapter 6, section 1

He followed Jill into the house, groaning in spirit

John 11:33 / When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.

On that occasion I set sail for the land of promise

Genesis 12:7 / And the Lord appeared unto Abram, and said, Unto thy seed will I give this land: and there builded he an altar unto the Lord, who appeared unto him.

Hebrews 11:9 / By faith he [Abraham] sojourned in the land of promise, as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise.

JR, Chapter 7, section 1

With the land of promise within biscuit-throw

See above.

JR, Chapter 7, section 2

Neither was Uncle Chris' picture of it as an earthly paradise.

Genesis 2:8 / And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

The Hebrew word for "garden" was translated as "paradise" in the Greek version of the Old Testament.

JR, Chapter 7, section 3

It was a small thing, but it had the significance of that little cloud that arose out of the sea like a man's hand.

1 Kings 18:44 / And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he [Elijah] said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.

1 Kings 18:41-46 describe how God, at the prophet Elijah's prayer, puts an end to a period of great drought. Seven times Elijah, on Mount Carmel, tells his servant to go and look out to the sea. The seventh time, the apparition of a small cloud heralds the arrival of torrential rains.

JR, Chapter 10, section 1

The rank and file of the profession were greeted, like Moses on Pisgah, with a fleeting glimpse of the promised land

Deuteronomy 34:1-4 / 1 And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, 2 and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, 3 and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. 4 And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.

For some shortage of faith, which remains obscure, Moses was not allowed to enter the promised land. On the peak of Pisgah, he was granted a sight of it.

JR, Chapter 12, section 1

They have been so busy wrenching money away from the widow and the orphan

Exodus 22:21 / You must not be harsh with the widow, or with the orphan; if you are harsh with them, they will surely cry out to me, and be sure I shall hear their cry. (Jerusalem Bible)

JR, Chapter 14, section 1

Once the company found its feet, it would be returned to him a hundred-fold.

Matthew 19:29 / And every one that hath forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, shall receive an hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting life.

JR, Chapter 14, section 2

He reminds me of the troops of Midian in the hymn. The chappies who prowled and prowled around.

Allusion to a hymn by John Mason Neale (1818-1866), first published for congregational use in his Parish Hymn Book (1863): "Christian, dost thou see them / On the holy ground? / How the troops of Midian / Prowl and prowl around? / Christian, up and smite them, / Counting gain but loss; / Smite them by the merit / Of the holy cross." In the Old Testament, the Midianites lived to the south of the Promised Land. Their raids on the neighbourhood lead them to blows with the Hebrews. Judges 6-8 describe how Gideon delivered Israel from their oppression.

JR, Chapter 16, section 1

At least, he said that he washed his hands of the piece.

Matthew 27:24 / When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

JR, Chapter 16, section 2

"Don't you worry, honey!" advised the well-meaning girl who would have been in her element looking in on Job with Bildad the Shuhite and his friends.

Job 2:11 / Now when Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.

Job is a God-fearing and honest man, who loses his possessions and his children, and whose own body is afflicted with horrible ulcers. Three friends then turn up to offer sympathy, each of them giving a different answer to the question why God allows such a good man to suffer. In fact, Job thinks their words are no more than Dutch comfort: "I have heard many such things: miserable comforters are ye all" (Job 16:2).

JR, Chapter 17, section 1

Mr Pilkington groaned in spirit.

See above.

JR, Chapter 18, section 2

I refuse to stand by and see the slaughter of the innocents.

Matthew 2:16 / Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.

When Herod, king of Judaea, heard of the birth of an infant who was to be king of the Jews, he ordered the massacre of all the children of two years and younger, expecting the newborn king to be among the victims. This massacre is also called the "slaughter of the innocents".

JR, Chapter 19, section 1

"Headache?" said Uncle Chris, starting like a war-horse that had heard the bugle.

See Job 39:25. Curiously enough, this is one of the passages where Wodehouse does not quote the Authorised Version, which he uses elsewhere ("He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha"), but a different translation, in which the war-horse starts at the sound of the bugle. On the internet, I have found only one version that comes close to our text, the so-called "New Living Translation": "It snorts at the sound of the bugle." Unfortunately, this translation was only published in 1996! Could someone help me to identify the version used by Wodehouse?

The seed fell on stony ground.

Mark 4:3-5 / 3 Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: 4 and it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. 5 And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth.

In the "Parable of the sower", Jesus describes the different ways people listen to his word, symbolised by the seed. As he explains in Mark 4:16-17, those who receive the seed on stony ground "are people who, when first they hear the word, welcome it at once with joy. But they have no root in them, they do not last; should some trial come, or some persecution on account of the word, they fall away at once" (Jerusalem Bible). In the context of JR, the simile simply means Mrs Peagrim is not receptive to Major Selby's glad tidings about Nervino.

JR, Chapter 20, section 2

It might be the blazing and crackling of thorns, but is was not the fire.

Ecclesiastes 7:6 / For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.

Is there a reminiscence here of this verse, which Wodehouse quotes elsewhere (see the Biblical Index)?

JR, Chapter 20, section 3

The jolly good scales seemed to fall, if you follow me, from my good old eyes. (...)

For the second time in the evening the jolly old scales had fallen from Freddie's good old eyes

Acts 9:18 / And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 9:1-19 relate the conversion of Saul, as the apostle Paul was known then. He was travelling to Damascus, in order to persecute Jesus' disciples there, when there came a light from heaven, causing him to fall to the ground, and a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" When Saul got up, he could see nothing at all, until a disciple who lived in Damascus, Ananias, laid his hands on him, whereupon the "scales fell away from Saul's eyes".

Back to top

INDISCRETIONS OF ARCHIE

IA, Chapter 1

The blighter whose head I want on a charger is the bally manager.

Mark 6:27-28 / 27 And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his [i.e. John the Baptist's] head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother.

Salome's dancing so pleased her stepfather Herod Antipas, that he promised to give her anything she might demand, "unto the half of my kingdom". At her mother Herodias' request, the girl asked for the head of John the Baptist, who had denounced Herodias' illegal marriage with Herod Antipas.

The unforgivable insult had been offered.

Matthew 12:32 / And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

The "unforgivable insult" maybe a reminiscence of the one unpardonable sin, according to the teaching of Jesus, viz. the "sin against the Holy Spirit", i.e. deliberately and consciously resisting God's grace.

IA, Chapter 4

Detesting all that therein is

Psalm 146:6 / Which [God] made heaven, and earth, the sea, and all that therein is: which keepeth truth for ever.

The phrase "all that therein is" can be found elsewhere in the Bible, but Wodehouse is more likely to have picked it up in the Psalms.

"I always looked on you as one of our leading lilies of the field", he said. "Why this anxiety to toil and spin?"

Matthew 6:28-29 / 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

IA, Chapter 5

Jelly-backboned son of Belial

Deuteronomy 13:13 / Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known.

"Belial" is a Hebrew word of uncertain etymology, probably meaning "worthlessness" or "wickedness". It gradually came to be taken as the proper name of an evil spirit.

I don't mind telling you that, in the fullness of time, I believe this is going to spread a good deal of sweetness and light.

Galatians 4:4 / But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.

The "fulness of time" is the moment, foretold by the prophets, for the Messiah to come.

A sudden bright light had been vouchsafed to Archie

Isaiah 9:2 / The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

IA, Chapter 6

I know th'sort well! Trampling on th'face av th'poor!

Isaiah 3:15 / What mean ye that ye beat my people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor? saith the Lord God of hosts.

IA, Chapter 7

Mourning over his lost home-brew and refusing, like Niobe, to be comforted

Jeremiah 31:15 / Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.

Several Bible texts speak of persons who refuse to be comforted, but the verse quoted above is more likely to have left its marks in the memory of P G Wodehouse, as it is quoted by the evangelist Matthew to illustrate the distress of the mothers of the slaughtered innocents. When Herod, king of Judaea, heard of the birth of an infant who was to be king of the Jews, he ordered the massacre of all the children of two years and younger, expecting the newborn king to be among the victims. "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not" (Matthew 2:17-18).

Niobe, in Greek mythology, was the daughter of Tantalus. She was changed into stone while weeping for her children. Bringing together the biblical quotation and Niobe's grief is rather orginal!

Was his little Garden of Eden on the fifth floor of the Cosmopolis Hotel likely to be improved by the advent of even the most amiable and winsome of serpents?

Genesis 2:8 / And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

The Hebrew word for "garden" was translated as "paradise" in the Greek version of the Old Testament.

Genesis 3:1 / Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

The serpent symbolises a force hostile to God and mankind. The New Testament and the Christian tradition identify this being with the Devil or Satan.

IA, Chapter 8

When he had come to man's estate and had put off childish things

1 Corinthians 13:11 / When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

IA, Chapter 9

"How art thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!" (Isaiah xiv. 12).

Isaiah 14:12 / How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Isaiah 14:3-21 is a satire on the king of Babylon's death. The name "Lucifer", Latin for "light-bearer", is used in classical mythology for the planet Venus. The Fathers of the Church saw in the fall of this "morning star" a symbol of that of the devil. That was how "Lucifer" became a synonym for Satan.

I have little doubt that all will be well with me and that I shall not fall like a sparrow to the ground.

Matthew 10:29 / Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? And one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father.

"I have been young and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread" (Psalms xxxvii. 25).

Psalm 37:25 / I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.

"If thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head" (Romans xii. 20).

Romans 12:20 / Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink; for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head.

The apostle Paul cites from Proverbs 25:21.

"A wise son maketh a glad father" (Proverbs x. 1).

Proverbs 10:1 / The Proverbs of Solomon. A wise son maketh a glad father: but a foolish son is the heaviness of his mother.

IA, Chapter 10

Archie was glad of the moral support of even such a wobbly reed as Reggie van Tuyl.

Isaiah 36:6 / Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.

IA, Chapter 11

I don't know why they make such a fuss about Job. Job never had anything like you around!

Job is a God-fearing and honest man, who loses his possessions and his children, and whose own body is afflicted with horrible ulcers. The Book of Job chiefly consists of long discussions between Job and three of his friends who, while trying to comfort him, are more trying than comforting.

IA, Chapter 12

In Archie's opinion, practically all a place needed to make it an earthly Paradise, was for Mr Daniel Brewster to be about forty-seven miles away from it.

See above.

He regarded the eternal hills with the comfortable affection of a healthy man who is breakfasting well.

Genesis 49:26 / The blessings of thy father have prevailed above the blessings of my progenitors unto the utmost bound of the everlasting hills: they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him that was separate from his brethren.

Recovering a certain amount of that intelligence which raises man above the level of the beasts of the field.

Daniel 4:32 / And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

Towards the end of his life, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, suffered a form of madness which lead him to believe he was an animal. The author of the book of Daniel considered this a punishment for worshipping the wrong gods. Chapter 4 gives the biblical version of this strange disease.

Job was the only man that ever lived who was really qualified to write a play, and he would have found it pretty tough going if his leading woman had been anyone like Vera Silverton!

See above.

IA, Chapter 14

He felt, like Herbert Parker, that the righteous was not forsaken.

See above.

The jeweller eyed him approvingly, a man after his own heart

1 Samuel 13:14 / But now thy [Saul's] kingdom shall not continue: the Lord hath sought him a man after his own heart [David], and the Lord hath commanded him to be captain over his people, because thou hast not kept that which the Lord commanded thee.

The good old Dove of Peace flapping its little wings fairly briskly and all that?

Genesis 8:11 / And the dove came in to him [Noah] in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.

The olive leaf or branch, heralding the end of the flood, has become the universal symbol of peace and goodwill.

IA, Chapter 15

There is a time for all things.

Ecclesiastes 3:1 / To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven.

He groaned in bitterness of spirit.

John 11:33 / When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.

Slip it across on a lordly dish!

Judges 5:24-25 / 24 Blessed above women shall Jael the wife of Heber the Kenite be, blessed shall she be above women in the tent. 25 He asked water, and she gave him milk; she brought forth butter in a lordly dish.

Judges 4:17-22 tells how Jael, one of the Master's all-time favourites, managed to kill Sisera, the commander of the armies of Jabin, king of Canaan. She first assisted the fleeing Sisera in her tent, and when he was fast asleep, drove a nail into his temples.

IA, Chapter 16

You could trample on the poor man's face

See above.

IA, Chapter 19

Lucille's voice was the voice of one who sees light in darkness.

See above.

It's no good trying to explain to him that your Mabel is in the chorus but not of the chorus, so to speak.

John 17:11 / And now I [Jesus] am no more in the world, but these [his disciples] are in the world, and I come to thee...

John 17:14 / I have given them [Jesus' disciples] thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

The italics are mine, of course!

Wandering about as if the cares of the world were on his shoulders

Mark 4:19 / And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

IA, Chapter 20

"Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings", he said, picking a piece of banana off his right eyebrow. "Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings."

Psalm 8:2 / Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger.

Jesus quotes this verse in Matthew 21:16, to justify the behaviour of the children shouting, "Hosanna to the Son of David" in the temple, on the day of his solemn entry in Jerusalem.

IA, Chapter 21

And close the door. The fatted calf is getting cold.

Luke 15:23 / And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry.

The "prodigal son" is the name usually given to the younger of two sons in the parable told by Jesus in Luke 15:11-32. Having demanded of his father his share of the estate, he left for a distant country and "wasted his substance with riotous living." Came a famine, and he hired himself out to one of the inhabitants who made him feed his pigs. "And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him." So he decided to go home. Instead of rebuking him, his father clasped him in his arms, kissed him, and ordered his servants to bring out the best clothes and to kill the fatted calf. One of the most beautiful parables of the Gospel, illustrating God's mercy.

He'll fight the good fight for you.

2 Timothy 4:7 / I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith.

The apostle Paul, shortly before his martyrdom in 67, looks back on a well-spent life.

This poor egg's nominee has given him the raspberry at the eleventh hour

Matthew 20:6 / And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

In the "Parable of the vineyard labourers", Jesus tells us of a landowner going out several times a day to hire workers for his vineyard: at daybreak, at the third hour (about 9 am), at the sixth hour (midday), at the ninth hour (3 pm) and, surprisingly, even at the eleventh hour (about 5 pm)! In the end, those who were hired at the eleventh hour receive the same wages as those who have been working all day. This story thus illustrates God's generosity, which exceeds the human understanding of justice.

IA, Chapter 22

Swore off pie at the eleventh hour

See above.

IA, chapter 23

Who am I to cast the first stone?

John 8:7 / So when they continued asking him, he [Jesus] lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

In John 8:3-11, the scribes and Pharisees bring a woman along who has been caught committing adultery, the penalty for which offence is death by stoning, according to the law of Moses. Looking for something to use against him, they ask Jesus what he thinks of the matter. After his remarkable reply, the accusers withdraw, and Jesus dismisses the woman with the words: "Neither do I condemn you; go away, and don't sin any more."

IA, Chapter 25

What are you talking about, you Tishbite?

2 Kings 1:7-8 / 7 And he [king Ahaziah] said unto them, What manner of man was he which came up to meet you, and told you these words? 8 And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.

Elijah is called a Tishbite, because he came from the town of Tishbe in Gilead. The derogatory use of "Tishbite" appears to be school slang, based on the above bit of biblical dialogue—especially the "hairy man"—which does sound rather funny, and not only to a schoolboy's ears! "Tishbite" thus seems to be the equivalent of "hairy ape" or "ugly brute".

You misguided son of Belial

See above.

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THE CLICKING OF CUTHBERT

CC, Chapter 1 (The Clicking of Cuthbert)

"Be of good cheer", said the Oldest Member.

Matthew 9:2 / And, behold, they brought to him a man sick of the palsy, lying on a bed: and Jesus seeing their faith said unto the sick of the palsy; Son, be of good cheer: thy sins be forgiven thee.

The only occasion during the year on which the lion, so to speak, lay down with the lamb

Isaiah 11:6-7 / 6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

The "lion lying down with the lamb" is a mixture of images taken from Isaiah 11:1-9, a poem which describes the marvels to be accomplished by the Messiah. It announces that in the messianic era the peace and harmony will be restored which once reigned supreme in Eden.

The mantle of the great Russians has descended on Mr Devine.

2 Kings 2:13 / He [Elisha] took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan.

When the prophet Elijah went up to heaven in a chariot of fire, he dropped his mantle, as a symbol of his spiritual legacy to his disciple Elisha.

And now her hero had been shown to have feet of clay.

Daniel 2:33 / His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

In the second chapter of the Book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar has a puzzling dream, which only Daniel is able able to reveal: "Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces" (Daniel 2:31-34). Daniel's interpretation of the dream is too long to be discussed in detail (read Daniel 2:36-45), but we must note the meaning of the "feet of clay": "And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken" (Daniel 2:42). Hence the modern use of the expression "feet of clay" to indicate a flaw in the character of an admired person.

Before her very eyes the stone which the builders had rejected had become the main thing

Psalm 118:22 / The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.

Psalm 118 is a hymn of thanksgiving. Verse 22 is an allusion to the destruction of the Temple in 587 BC and its rebuilding towards the end of the 6th century BC. The "head stone of the corner" is a messianic theme which the New Testament applies to Jesus Christ: he was refused by the "builders" (the Jewish establishment), but became the "keystone" of God's covenant with mankind, by his resurrection.

CC, Chapter 2 (A Woman Is Only a Woman)

Who can trace to its first beginnings the love (...) of David for Jonathan

1 Samuel 18:1 / And it came to pass, when he had made an end of speaking unto Saul, that the soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as his own soul.

The friendship of David and Jonathan, son of Saul, is celebrated by the Bible.

And then the Woman came into their lives, like the Serpent in the Links of Eden

Genesis 2:8 / And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

The Hebrew word for "garden" was translated as "paradise" in the Greek version of the Old Testament.

Genesis 3:1 / Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

The serpent symbolises a force hostile to God and mankind. The New Testament and the Christian tradition identify this being with the Devil or Satan.

CC, Chapter 3 (A Mixed Threesome)

I experience the emotions of a creator. Here, I say to myself, is a semi-sentient being into whose soulless carcass I am breathing life.

Genesis 2:7 / And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

CC, Chapter 4 (Sundered Hearts)

After breaking a statuette of the Infant Samuel in Prayer

A picture of the Infant Samuel in prayer, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, apparently inspired the little statuette which could be found in nearly every respectable protestant household in the days of yore. Sir Joshua may have based his painting on 1 Samuel 3:1-18, where the child Samuel is called by the Lord and replies: "Speak; for thy servant heareth."

And so, in the fullness of time, they came home

Galatians 4:4 / But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.

The "fullness of time" is the moment, foretold by the prophets, for the Messiah to come.

CC, Chapter 5 (The Salvation of George Mackintosh)

How many a young man have I seen go out with Herbert Pobsley exulting in his youth

Ecclesiastes 11:9 / Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

As the crackling of thorns under a pot...

Ecclesiastes 7:6 / For as the crackling of thorns under a pot, so is the laughter of the fool: this also is vanity.

Women have to learn to bear anecdotes from the men they love. It is the curse of Eve.

Genesis 3:16 / Unto the woman he [the Lord God] said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

After eating the forbidden fruit, Adam and Eve received each a specific punishment. Eve—and all her sex—was condemned to bear children in pain and to be dominated by the male.

A rather similar action, under far less provocation, once made Jael the wife of Heber the most popular woman in Israel.

Judges 4:21 / Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.

Judges 4:17-22 tells how Jael, one of the Master's all-time favourites, managed to kill Sisera, the commander of the armies of Jabin, king of Canaan.

I am unclean, unclean!

Leviticus 13:45 / And the leper in whom the plague is, his clothes shall be rent, and his head bare, and he shall put a covering on his upper lip, and shall cry, Unclean, unclean.

In the Old Testament, that is "unclean" which makes a person unfit for ritual worship.

CC, Chapter 6 (Ordeal by Golf)

When it looked into yours you saw in it that perfect peace

Isaiah 26:3 / Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Isaiah 57:19 / Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord.

A probable allusion to the hymn "Peace, perfect peace", which was written by Edward H. Bickersteth, Jr. (1825-1906) in 1875, and which contains the lines: "Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away? / In Jesus' keeping we are safe, and they".

That peace beyond understanding, which comes at its maximum only to the man who has given up golf.

Philippians 4:7 / And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

It was as if my ball had fallen into the pit which my niblick had digged.

Psalm 57:6 / They have prepared a net for my steps; my soul is bowed down: they have digged a pit before me, into the midst whereof they are fallen themselves.

CC, Chapter 9 (The Rough Stuff)

There might have come his way in the fullness of time some nice, homely girl

See above.

"Madam", he said, "in similar circumstances I would have kicked the Archangel Gabriel!"

Luke 1:19 / And the angel answering said unto him [Zacharias], I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings.

In the New Testament, the archangel Gabriel foretells the birth of John the Baptist to his father Zacharias, and announces the conception of Jesus to the Virgin Mary.

CC, Chapter 10 (The Coming of Gowf)

Quoting from the well-known treatise of Nimrod, the recognized text-book on the sport

Genesis 10:8-9 / 8 And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.

Nimrod's name has become a synonym for a hunter.

The High Priest was refreshing himself in the vestry (...) with a small milk and honey.

Exodus 3:8 / And I am come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey; unto the place of the Canaanites, and the Hittites, and the Amorites, and the Perizzites, and the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

It is written in the sacred book of Hec, your Majesty, "Thou shalt not follow after strange gods".

Psalm 81:9 / There shall no strange god be in thee; neither shalt thou worship any strange god.

Thou art well stricken in years

Genesis 18:11 / Now Abraham and Sarah were old and well stricken in age...

Luke 1:7 / And they [Zacharias and Elisabeth] had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years.

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THE GIRL ON THE BOAT

GOB, Chapter 1

Windles was as the breath of life to her.

Genesis 2:7 / And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Although Wodehouse is certainly not deliberately quoting the Bible, the modern expression "breath of life" finds its origin in the book of Genesis.

Sam, who had imagined that he had long since grown to man's estate and put off childish things

1 Corinthians 13:11 / When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

GOB, Chapter 2, section 2

About now, the sheep would be separating from the goats; the passengers would be on deck and their friends returning to the shore.

Matthew 25:31-32 / 31 When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: 32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.

GOB, Chapter 3

Realizing this at the eleventh hour

Matthew 20:6 / And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

In the "Parable of the vineyard labourers", Jesus tells us of a landowner going out several times a day to hire workers for his vineyard: at daybreak, at the third hour (about 9 am), at the sixth hour (midday), at the ninth hour (3 pm) and, surprisingly, even at the eleventh hour (about 5 pm)! In the end, those who were hired at the eleventh hour receive the same wages as those who have been working all day. This story thus illustrates God's generosity, which exceeds the human understanding of justice.

GOB, Chapter 4, section 2

"This is the end", said Eustace Hignett, turning his face to the wall.

2 Kings 20:1-2 / 1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. 2 Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord...

And then I saw you! It was like the gate of heaven opening.

Genesis 28:17 / And he [Jacob] was afraid, and said, How dreadful is this place! This is none other but the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven.

GOB, Chapter 4, section 3

The idea of your trying to hide your light under a bushel!

Matthew 5:15-16 / 15 Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. 16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.

GOB, Chapter 4, section 4

I had always thought him romantic, and when this happened the scales seemed to fall from my eyes.

Acts 9:18 / And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 9:1-19 relate the conversion of Saul, as the apostle Paul was known then. He was travelling to Damascus, in order to persecute Jesus' disciples there, when there came a light from heaven, causing him to fall to the ground, and a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" When Saul got up, he could see nothing at all, until a disciple who lived in Damascus, Ananias, laid his hands on him, whereupon the "scales fell away from Saul's eyes".

GOB, Chapter 7

I put you on a pedestal and I find you have feet of clay.

Daniel 2:33 / His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

In the second chapter of the Book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar has a puzzling dream, which only Daniel is able able to reveal: "Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces" (Daniel 2:31-34). Daniel's interpretation of the dream is too long to be discussed in detail (read Daniel 2:36-45), but we must note the meaning of the "feet of clay": "And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken" (Daniel 2:42). Hence the modern use of the expression "feet of clay" to indicate a flaw in the character of an admired person.

GOB, Chapter 8, section 1

Why, then, was Sam Marlowe visiting this ozone-swept Gehenna?

Joshua 15:8 / And the border went up by the valley of the son of Hinnom unto the south side of the Jebusite; the same is Jerusalem: and the border went up to the top of the mountain that lieth before the valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the end of the valley of the giants northward.

"Gehenna" literally means "valley of Hinnom", which is how it is translated in the Authorised Version. From early times the valley, to the southwest of Jerusalem, was a place of human sacrifice. That is the reason why later Jewish writings considered it to be a place of divine punishment. In the New Testament the word "gehenna" is used to designate the final place or state of torment for the wicked after death. In the English versions of the Bible, the word "gehenna" is nearly always translated as "hell".

"Trust no future, howe'er pleasant! Let the dead past bury its dead! Act, act, in the living present, Heart within and God o'erhead!"

Matthew 8:21-22 / 21 And another of his disciples said unto him, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. 22 But Jesus said unto him, Follow me; and let the dead bury their dead.

Miss Milliken is quoting Longfellow's "A Psalm of Life".

GOB, Chapter 10, section 1

Mr Bennett, who had lived his life in a country of warmth and sunshine, the thing affected in much the same way as the early days of the Flood must have affected Noah.

Genesis 7:11-12 / 11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. 12 And the rain was upon the earth forty days and forty nights.

GOB, Chapter 11

The more Mr Bennett examined his conduct, the deeper the iron entered into his soul.

Psalm 105:18 / Whose feet they hurt in the stocks: the iron entered into his soul (Book of Common Prayer).

He resented being dragged out of the valley of the shadow of death by the scruff of his neck like this.

Psalm 23:4 / Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

GOB, Chapter 15

It was the nearest thing modern civilization has seen to the lion lying down with the lamb.

Isaiah 11:6-7 / 6 The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them. 7 And the cow and the bear shall feed; their young ones shall lie down together: and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.

The "lion lying down with the lamb" is a mixture of images taken from Isaiah 11:1-9, a poem which describes the marvels to be accomplished by the Messiah. It announces that in the messianic era the peace and harmony will be restored which once reigned supreme in Eden.

GOB, Chapter 17, section 1

He recognized the truth of the scriptural adage that there is a time for dancing, and that this was not it.

Ecclesiastes 3:4 / A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.

GOB, Chapter 17, section 3

Eustace became aware, as never before, of the truth of that well-known ligne—"Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away."

Isaiah 26:3 / Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteh in thee.

Isaiah 57:19 / Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord.

The hymn "Peace, perfect peace" was written by Edward H. Bickersteth, Jr. (1825-1906) in 1875, and contains the lines: "Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away? / In Jesus' keeping we are safe, and they".

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THE ADVENTURES OF SALLY

AS, Chapter 1, section 2

In that last hectic scene three years ago, which had ended in their going out into the world together like a second Adam and Eve, the verbal victory had been hers.

Genesis 3:24 / So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

After the Fall, Adam and Eve were banished from paradise, while cherubs, one of the two highest orders of angels, were posted at the entry.

AS, Chapter 2, section 3

He did not look like a dove of peace

Genesis 8:11 / And the dove came in to him [Noah] in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.

The olive leaf or branch, heralding the end of the flood, has become the universal symbol of peace and goodwill.

Until presently all that was left of Armageddon was one solitary small Scotch terrier, thoughtfully licking a chewed leg.

Revelation 16:16 / And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.

Armageddon means "the mountains of Megiddo". The second Book of Kings (23:29-30) relates the defeat of King Josiah, killed in battle against Egypt near this town of Megiddo, making the place symbolise disaster for any armies assembling there.

AS, Chapter 2, section 5

In these days of cheap books of instruction on every subject under the sun

Ecclesiastes 1:3 / What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

The expression "under the sun" comes from Ecclesiastes, where it is repeated about thirty times. It is equivalent to "upon the earth", with reference to life in the material world.

Jules (...) lowered the car to the ground floor, where, after a glance of infinite longing at the keys on the distant desk, the sort of glance which Moses must have cast at the Promised Land from the summit of Mount Pisgah, he sagged down in a heap and resumed his slumbers.

Deuteronomy 34:1-4 / 1 And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, 2 and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, 3 and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. 4 And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.

For some shortage of faith, which remains obscure, Moses was not allowed to enter the promised land. On the peak of Pisgah, he was granted a sight of it.

AS, Chapter 3, section 3

At least he had assumed that she was French, and it was startling to be addressed by her now in fluent English. How had she suddenly acquired this gift of tongues?

Acts 2:4 / And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

This verse describes one of the phenomena of the Pentecost miracle, when the Holy Ghost descended on the Apostles: the "gift of tongues".

AS, Chapter 5

She has the face of an angel and the histrionic ability of that curious suet pudding which our estimable Mrs Meecher is apt to give us on Fridays.

Acts 6:15 / And all that sat in the council, looking stedfastly on him [Stephen], saw his face as it had been the face of angel.

A possible allusion to the only person thus described in the Bible, Stephen, one of seven deacons, the first Christian martyr.

AS, Chapter 6, section 4

And at the same time Mr Reginald Cracknell hurried on to the stage, his whole demeanour that of the bearer of evil tidings.

Isaiah 52:7 / How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace: that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Negative version of a biblical expression Wodehouse uses elsewhere.

It rang through the empty theatre like the last trump

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 / 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. / 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

The trumpet is a traditional feature of so-called apocalyptic imagery, i.e. the language describing metaphorically what will happen at the end of time. The instrument symbolises the solemn fulfilment of God's plan.

AS, Chapter 7

If the Millennium had arrived, the members of the Primrose Way Company could not have been on better terms with themselves.

Revelation 20:4 / And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

The thousand-year period or "millennium" described here in the Book of Revelation, has been explained in different ways throughout the ages. "Millenarianists" are those who interpret these texts literally, and who believe in a future millennium of blessedness, either in heaven or on earth.

AS, Chapter 8, section 2

The Family have washed their hands of him.

Matthew 27:24 / When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

AS, Chapter 8, section 3

"He's had good news. His brother's dead.

"What!

"Not, I don't mean, that that was good news, far from it, though, come to think of it, all flesh is as grass and we all got to be prepared for somep'n of the sort breaking loose..."

Isaiah 40:6 / The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field.

1 Peter 1:24 / For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.

AS, Chapter 12

He is staying at the Savoy, and they took me off there to lunch, whooping joyfully as over a strayed lamb.

Matthew 18:12-13 / 12 How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? 13 And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray.

There were uncles and aunts all over the place. I felt like a small lion in a den of Daniels.

Daniel 6:16 / Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said to Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.

The satraps of the kingdom of Darius, resenting Daniel's promotion, had set a trap for him by inducing Darius to sign a decree banning prayer to anyone but the king. When Daniel was seen praying to his God, the king had no choice but to order him to be thrown into a den of lions. Next morning, Daniel was found, unhurt, and his accusers were thrown to the lions instead.—But why does Sally feel like a small lion in a den of Daniels, and not like Daniel in a den of lions? Is this an allusion to Daniel's reputation as an arbiter? "A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel! / O wise young judge, how I do honour thee!" Shakespeare, Jeeves? Yes, sir, his "Merchant of Venise". The Swan of Avon's words echo the "History of Susanna", in the protestant Bible one of the apocryphal books, but in the catholic tradition chapter 13 of the Book of Daniel. Daniel 13:1-64 tells the story of two elders who surprise Susanna, the beautiful wife of Joakim, while she is bathing in her garden. The elders want her to yield to their passions, and when Susanna refuses, they accuse her in public of having made love to a young man. She is tried and condemned to death, but a young boy of the name of Daniel, by shrewdly questioning the two elders separately, manages to establish Susanna's innocence.—Sally goes on writing to Ginger: "I know exactly now what you mean about the Family. They look at you! Of course, it's all right for me, because I am snowy white clear through, but I can just imagine what it must have been like for you with your permanently guilty conscience. You must have had an awful time."

It sometimes seems as though they were weighing me in the balance. Well let 'em weigh! (...) Yours in the balance, Sally.

Daniel 5:27 / Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

Belshazzar, whom the book of Daniel calls "king" of Babylon and son of Nebuchadnezzar (he was, in fact, the son of Nabonidus and was never king), was giving a great banquet—one of these "Babylonian orgies" to which the Master periodically refers—when suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the wall: "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin". Daniel was able to interpret this "writing on the wall", and gave the meaning of the word "tekel": "You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting". That same night, Belshazzar was murdered.

AS, Chapter 13, section 2

If ever a man had an excuse for leaping like a young ram, Fillmore had it.

Psalm 114:4 / The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs.

This Psalm deals with the crossing of the Red Sea by the children of Israel, as related in Exodus, chapter 14. The phrase "skipping like the (high) hills" is one of Wodehouse's favourite biblical gags. But "leaping like a young ram" may be another possible application of the same Psalm.

AS, Chapter 13, section 4

He comported himself with the care-free jauntiness of an infant about to demolish a Noah's Ark with a tack-hammer.

Genesis 6:13-14 / 13 And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth. 14 Make thee an ark of gopher wood; rooms shalt thou make in the ark, and shalt pitch it within and without with pitch.

The Master's text refers to a toy replica of the vessel in which Noah saved his family and the animal kingdom.

If Ginger had seemed a new Ginger to Sally, still more did this seem a new Bugs Butler to Mr. Burrowes, and the manager groaned in spirit.

John 11:33 / When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.

AS, Chapter 16, section 3

But at this moment Fate, being no respecter of persons, sent into his life the disturbing personality of George Washington Williams.

Acts 10:34 / Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.

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THE INIMITABLE JEEVES

IJ, Chapter 1 (Jeeves Exerts the Old Cerebellum)

He can rely on me, even unto half my kingdom.

Mark 6:22-23 / 22 And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, she danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it to thee. 23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.

Whereupon, at her mother Herodias' request, the girl asked for the head of John the Baptist, who had denounced Herodias' illegal marriage with Herod Antipas.

IJ, Chapter 2 (No Wedding Bells for Bingo)

I have had my cross to bear.

Matthew 10:38 / And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

IJ, Chapter 7 (Introducing Claude and Eustace)

I had just been saying to myself, "Death, where is thy jolly old sting?"

1 Corinthians 15:55 / O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Another verse often quoted by P G Wodehouse, and always, one regrets to say, used in the wrong way! In the 15th chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul reminds his readers of the fundamental creed of the Christians: the resurrection of the dead, heralded by Christ's own rising from the dead. At the end of his explanation, he exclaims triumphantly: "When this perishable nature has put on imperishability, and when this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the words of scripture will come true: Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?" (Jerusalem Bible)

IJ, Chapter 9 (A Letter of Introduction)

Sort of olive branch, you know. Or do I mean orange blossom?

I looked on this chump Bassington-Bassington, when he arrived, more or less as a Dove of Peace

Genesis 8:11 / And the dove came in to him [Noah] in the evening; and, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth.

The olive leaf or branch, heralding the end of the flood, has become the universal symbol of peace and goodwill.

IJ, Chapter 11 (Comrade Bingo)

On the Sabbath after my return to the good old Metrop

Exodus 20:8 / Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

The Sabbath is the seventh day of the Jewish week, considered as the day of religious rest ordered by the fourth of the Ten Commandments. The word "Sabbath" is often applied, in the protestant tradition, to the Sunday, which the Christians observe as the Lord's day instead of the Jewish Sabbath.

His god is his belly

Philippians 3:19 / Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.

"Tea, pa!" said Charlotte, starting at the word like the old war-horse who hears the bugle

See Job 39:25. Curiously enough, this is one of the passages where Wodehouse does not quote the Authorised Version, which he uses elsewhere ("He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha"), but a different translation, in which the war-horse starts at the sound of the bugle. On the internet, I have found only one version that comes close to our text, the so-called "New Living Translation": "It snorts at the sound of the bugle." Unfortunately, this translation was only published in 1996! Could someone help me to identify the version used by Wodehouse?

IJ, Chapter 12 (Bingo Has a Bad Goodwood)

It will show you to what an extent the iron had entered into my soul

Psalm 105:18 / Whose feet they hurt in the stocks: the iron entered into his soul (Book of Common Prayer).

He had a voice like the Last Trump

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 / 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

The trumpet is a traditional feature of so-called apocalyptic imagery, i.e. the language describing metaphorically what will happen at the end of time. The instrument symbolises the solemn fulfilment of God's plan.

IJ, Chapter 13 (The Great Sermon Handicap)

There was one sermon of his on Brotherly Love which lasted forty-five minutes if it lasted a second.

Romans 12:10 / Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honour preferring one another.

I (...) flew downstairs like a mighty, rushing wind.

Acts 2:2 / And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.

This verse describes the Holy Ghost descending on the Apostles on the feast of Pentecost.

IJ, Chapter 14 (The Purity of the Turf)

The explosion, when it came, sounded like the end of all things.

1 Peter 4:7 / But the end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer.

IJ, Chapter 15 (The Metropolitan Touch)

A scene of peace and cheery good-will.

Luke 2:14 / Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

The above song of praise, rendered by the angels in Bethlehem, has become the beginning of a hymn sung in both Catholic and Anglican worship, the "Gloria in excelsis Deo".

I must once again pay a marked tribute to good old Jeeves. A modern Solomon.

1 Kings 4:29-30 / 29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding exceeding much, and largeness of heart, even as the sand that is on the sea shore. 30 And Solomon's wisdom excelled the wisdom of all the children of the east country, and all the wisdom of Egypt.

IJ, Chapter 16 (The Delayed Exit of Claude and Eustace)

"After which, no doubt", said Claude, "the Lord will provide."

Genesis 22:8 / And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together.

A possible allusion to the story of the sacrifice of Isaac.

IJ, Chapter 17 (Bingo and the Little Woman)

Causing me to leap like a young ram.

Psalm 114:4 / The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs.

This Psalm deals with the crossing of the Red Sea by the children of Israel, as related in Exodus, chapter 14. The phrase "skipping like the (high) hills" is one of Wodehouse's favourite biblical gags. But "leaping like a young ram" may be another possible application of the same Psalm.

You go from strength to strength.

Psalm 84:7 / They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.

Fresh from a perusal of this noble work of yours, I cannot harden my heart.

Exodus 9:35 / And the heart of Pharaoh was hardened, neither would he let the children of Israel go; as the Lord had spoken by Moses.

When Pharaoh remained reluctant to Moses' plea "let my people go", ten plagues befell the Egyptians (see Exodus 7:8-12:34). Only the last one, the death of all the first-borns in the country, broke his resistance.

IJ, Chapter 18 (All's Well)

What can prevail against a pure and all-consuming love? Neither principalities nor powers, my lord

Romans 8:38-39 / 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The dove of peace is flapping its wings all over the place.

See above.

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LEAVE IT TO PSMITH

LP, Chapter 1, section 1

But no man, pop he never so wisely, can hope to potter with any good result if the world is a mere blur.

Psalm 58:3-5 / 3 The ungodly are froward, even from their mother's womb: as soon as they are born, they go astray, and speak lies. / 4 They are as venomous as the poison of a serpent: even like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ears; / 5 Which refuseth to hear the voice of the charmer: charm he never so wisely. (Book of Common Prayer)

The phrase "pop he never so wisely" is an indirect reference to the "deaf adder" Psalm verses, highly popular in the Wodehouse canon.

LP, Chapter 1, section 2

"Angus McAllister", observed Lord Emsworth bitterly, "is an obstinate, stiff-necked son of Belial."

Exodus 32:9 / And the Lord said unto Moses, I have seen this people, and, behold, it is a stiffnecked people.

The figurative use of the word "stiff-necked", denoting stubborness, is of biblical origin.

Deuteronomy 13:13 / Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known.

"Belial" is a Hebrew word of uncertain etymology, probably meaning "worthlessness" or "wickedness". It gradually came to be taken as the proper name of an evil spirit.

LP, Chapter 5

To keep an eye on me and see that I did not raise Cain.

See Genesis 4:1-26. Cain is the first son of Adam and Eve, and a tiller of the soil, while his brother Abel was a shepherd. When both made gifts to God of their produce, the Lord accepted the latter's offering, but not the former's. Cain killed Abel and was condemned by God to be "a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth." Making trouble is raising the spirit of Cain.

And the upshot of it all was that my uncle washed his hands of me

Matthew 27:24 / When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

My uncle has definitely withdrawn his countenance from me, Miss Clarkson.

Deuteronomy 31:17 / Then my anger shall be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them, and I will hide my face from them, and they shall be devoured, and many evils and troubles shall befall them; so that they will say in that day, Are not these evils come upon us, because our God is not among us?

Although the exact wording is not to be found in the Bible, Psmith's vocabulary is definitely biblical. God is said to "hide his face" when he withdraws his grace. On the other hand, he "lets his face shine" upon those he loves.

LP, Chapter 6, section 1

And its contents consisted of a printed brochure entitled, "This Night Shall Thy Soul Be Required Of Thee"

Luke 12:20 / But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?

"If", said Psmith, "you were anywhere within the radius of a dozen yards while I was chatting with the recent deaf adder, I think it is possible that you did."

See above.

LP, Chapter 6, section 2

"Are you really broke!"

"As broke as the Ten Commandments."

Exodus 32:19 / And it came to pass, as soon as he [Moses] came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses' anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.

When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets, containing the Ten Commandments, in his hands, and discovered the statue of a golden calf made by the Hebrews during his absence, he broke the tablets at the foot of the mountain, because the people had broken their covenant with the Lord.

LP, Chapter 6, section 3

Although the lean years had arrived

Genesis 41:27 / And the seven thin and ill favoured kine that came up after them are seven years; and the seven empty ears blasted with the east wind shall be seven years of famine.

In Genesis 41, Pharaoh has a series of strange dreams, in which seven fat cows are eaten by seven lean ones, and seven good ears of corn are swallowed by seven meagre ones. Joseph, son of Jacob, gives Pharaoh the interpretation of the dream: seven years of plenty are to be followed by seven years of famine. The latter are traditionally called the seven "lean years".

LP, Chapter 7, section 1

There came to him a sense of being unfairly put upon, as towards the end of his troubles it might have come upon Job.

Job is a God-fearing and honest man, who loses his possessions and his children, and whose own body is afflicted with horrible ulcers. The Book of Job chiefly consists of long discussions between Job and three of his friends who, while trying to comfort him, are more trying than comforting.

LP, Chapter 8, section 6

Still, we must bear these things without wincing. They are our cross.

Matthew 10:38 / And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

LP, Chapter 9, section 3

It was in a humble and contrite spirit that Edward Cootes proceeded on his way to Market Blandings.

Isaiah 57:15 / For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.

LP, Chapter 9, section 6

He shivered slightly, as might a war-horse at the sound of the bugle.

See Job 39:25. Curiously enough, this is one of the passages where Wodehouse does not quote the Authorised Version, which he uses elsewhere ("He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha"), but a different translation, in which the war-horse starts at the sound of the bugle. On the internet, I have found only one version that comes close to our text, the so-called "New Living Translation": "It snorts at the sound of the bugle." Unfortunately, this translation was only published in 1996! Could someone help me to identify the version used by Wodehouse?

LP, Chapter 10, section 3

His opinion that Freddie was but a broken reed had not changed.

Isaiah 36:6 / Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.

LP, Chapter 11, section 2

After that Lucifer-like descent from the second floor to the first he was taking no more chances.

Isaiah 14:12 / How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

Isaiah 14:3-21 is a satire on the king of Babylon's death. The name "Lucifer", Latin for "light-bearer", is used in classical mythology for the planet Venus. The Fathers of the Church saw in the fall of this "morning star" a symbol of that of the devil. That was how "Lucifer" became a synonym for Satan.

LP, Chapter 13, section 2

If he had asked for a necklace and been given a dead bat, he was surely more to be pitied than censured.

Matthew 7:9-10 / 9 Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? 10 Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent?

LP, Chapter 14

You see, until recently I was more or less one of the idle rich. I toiled not, neither did I—except once, after a bump-supper at Cambridge—spin.

Matthew 6:28-29 / 28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: / 29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.

Wonderful biblical pun, by a great spindoctor!

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UKRIDGE

U, Chapter 1 (Ukridge's Dog College)

Listen to me, you son of Belial.

Deuteronomy 13:13 / Certain men, the children of Belial, are gone out from among you, and have withdrawn the inhabitants of their city, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which ye have not known.

"Belial" is a Hebrew word of uncertain etymology, probably meaning "worthlessness" or "wickedness". It gradually came to be taken as the proper name of an evil spirit.

He seemed to be filled with a solemn joy, as over a reformed prodigal.

The "prodigal son" is the name usually given to the younger of two sons in the parable told by Jesus in Luke 15:11-32. Having demanded of his father his share of the estate, he left for a distant country and "wasted his substance with riotous living." Came a famine, and he hired himself out to one of the inhabitants who made him feed his pigs. "And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him." So he decided to go home. Instead of rebuking him, his father clasped him in his arms, kissed him, and ordered his servants to bring out the best clothes and to kill the fatted calf. One of the most beautiful parables of the Gospel, illustrating God's mercy.

I suppose you're living off the fat of the land.

Genesis 45:18 / And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land.

"Ichabod!" I murmured sadly to myself as I passed on down Oxford Street. "Ichabod!"

1 Samuel 4:19-21 / 19 And his daughter in law, Phineas' wife, was with child, near to be delivered: and when she heard the tidings that the ark of God was taken, and that her father in law and her husband were dead, she bowed herself and travailed; for her pains came upon her. 20 And about the time of her death the women that stood by her said unto her, Fear not; for thou hast born a son. But she answered not, neither did she regard it. 21 And she named the child Ichabod, saying, The glory is departed from Israel: because the ark of God was taken, and because of her father in law and her husband.

"Ichabod" means "Where is the glory?", viz. the glory of the Lord, whose "throne", the ark of the covenant, has been captured by the Philistines. The tragic circumstances surrounding the boy's birth have lead to his name being used as an exclamation of distress. Corky is weeping Ukridge's "lost glory".

I should have had more faith.

Luke 17:5 / And the apostles said unto the Lord, Increase our faith.

A possible reminiscence?

Eyes that seemed to weigh me dispassionately and find me wanting.

Daniel 5:27 / Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.

Belshazzar, whom the book of Daniel calls "king" of Babylon and son of Nebuchadnezzar (he was, in fact, the son of Nabonidus and was never king), was giving a great banquet—one of these "Babylonian orgies" to which the Master periodically refers—when suddenly the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the wall: "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin". Daniel was able to interpret this "writing on the wall", and gave the meaning of the word "tekel": "You have been weighed in the balance and found wanting". That same night, Belshazzar was murdered.

He swept his arm round dramatically, overturning a plaster cast of the Infant Samuel at Prayer.

A picture of the Infant Samuel in prayer, by Sir Joshua Reynolds, apparently inspired the little statuette which could be found in nearly every respectable protestant household in the days of yore. Sir Joshua may have based his painting on 1 Samuel 3:1-18, where the child Samuel is called by the Lord and replies: "Speak; for thy servant heareth."

It was the sort of telegram which Job might have sent off after a lengthy session with Bildad the Shuhite

Job 2:11 / Now when Job's three friends heard of all the evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place: Eliphaz the Temanite, and Bildad the Shuhite, and Zophar the Naamathite: for they had made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him.

Job is a God-fearing and honest man, who loses his possessions and his children, and whose own body is afflicted with horrible ulcers. The Book of Job chiefly consists of long discussions between Job and three of his friends who, while trying to comfort him, are more trying than comforting.

Mr Nickerson looked like one of the less amiable prophets of the Old Testament about to interview the captive monarch of the Amalekites.

1 Samuel 15:32 / Then said Samuel, Bring ye hither to me Agag the king of the Amalekites. And Agag came unto him delicately. And Agag said, Surely the bitterness of death is past.

When Saul defeated the Amalekites, but spared the life of their king Agag, inspite of God's order that the Amalekites be destroyed completely, the prophet Samuel was sent to finish the job. After rebuking Saul, Samuel summoned Agag, who "came unto him delicately", and "hewed" him "in pieces".

He resembled a minor prophet who has been hit behind the ear with a stuffed eel-skin.

The last twelve books of the Old Testament, all attributed to different prophets, are called the "Minor Prophets", not because they are less important than the "major" prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel), but because their writings are much shorter. They are, in the traditional order, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Like that of all prophets, their message is a melange of threat and consolation. In the Wodehouse canon, a Minor Prophet is practically the equivalent of a Scottish elder rebuking sin from the pulpit.

By Gad, that fellow is the salt of the earth.

Matthew 5:13 / Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Hence the use of this phrase to indicate a person who is thought to make the world a better place.

U, Chapter 2 (Ukridge's Accident Syndicate)

This blighter is a broken reed.

Isaiah 36:6 / Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.

Our hopes had been built on sand.

Matthew 7:26-27 / 26 And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: 27 And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it.

A wistful look came into Teddy Weeks's eye, such a look as must have come into the eye of Moses on the summit of Pisgah.

Deuteronomy 34:1-4 / 1 And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, to the top of Pisgah, that is over against Jericho. And the Lord shewed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan, 2 and all Naphtali, and the land of Ephraim, and Manasseh, and all the land of Judah, unto the utmost sea, 3 and the south, and the plain of the valley of Jericho, the city of palm trees, unto Zoar. 4 And the Lord said unto him, This is the land which I sware unto Abraham, unto Isaac, and unto Jacob, saying, I will give it unto thy seed: I have caused thee to see it with thine eyes, but thou shalt not go over thither.

For some shortage of faith, which remains obscure, Moses was not allowed to enter the promised land. On the peak of Pisgah, he was granted a sight of it.

U, Chapter 3 (The Debut of Battling Billson)

A great light shone upon me.

Isaiah 9:2 / The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

U, Chapter 4 (First Aid for Dora)

The thing that makes them a hissing and a byword

Jeremiah 29:18 / And I will persecute them with the sword, with the famine, and with the pestilence, and will deliver them to be removed to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a curse, and an astonishment, and a hissing, and a reproach, among all the nations whither I have driven them.

Other versions of the Bible, found on the Internet, read "byword" instead of "reproach".

A bloke who would go through fire and water to do a pal a good turn.

Psalm 66:12 / Thou hast caused men to ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water: but thou broughtest us out into a wealthy place.

That ass Tuppy proved a broken reed.

See above.

U, Chapter 5 (The Return of Battling Billson)

He was building on sandy soil.

See above.

She came along at the eleventh hour

Matthew 20:6 / And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

In the "Parable of the vineyard labourers", Jesus tells us of a landowner going out several times a day to hire workers for his vineyard: at daybreak, at the third hour (about 9 am), at the sixth hour (midday), at the ninth hour (3 pm) and, surprisingly, even at the eleventh hour (about 5 pm)! In the end, those who were hired at the eleventh hour receive the same wages as those who have been working all day. This story thus illustrates God's generosity, which exceeds the human understanding of justice.

The weak-minded, furtive, underhanded son of Belial

See above.

U, Chapter 6 (Ukridge Sees Her Through)

"Hank Philbrick", said Ukridge without preamble, "is a son of Belial, a leper, and a worm."

See above.

He's let me down, the weak-minded Tishbite!

2 Kings 1:7-8 / 7 And he [king Ahaziah] said unto them, What manner of man was he which came up to meet you, and told you these words? 8 And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a girdle of leather about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite.

Elijah is called a Tishbite, because he came from the town of Tishbe in Gilead. The derogatory use of "Tishbite" appears to be school slang, based on the above bit of biblical dialogue—especially the "hairy man"—which does sound rather funny, and not only to a schoolboy's ears! "Tishbite" thus seems to be the equivalent of "hairy ape" or "ugly brute".

As if they were meditating on the body upstairs and realizing that all flesh is as grass.

Isaiah 40:6 / The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field.

1 Peter 1:24 / For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.

U, Chapter 7 (No Wedding Bells for Him)

Yet another proof of the way in which all things in this world of ours work together for good.

Romans 8:28 / And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Always sow the good seed, laddie.

Matthew 13:24 / Another parable put he [Jesus] forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field.

It was so swiftly done that he seemed to have been snatched up to heaven.

2 Kings 2:11 / And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven.

We may safely assume that Elijah's spectacular translation into heaven is the biblical image Wodehouse had in mind.

U, Chapter 8 (The Long Arm of Looney Coote)

You accuse the rival candidate of every low act under the sun

Ecclesiastes 1:3 / What profit hath a man of all his labour which he taketh under the sun?

The expression "under the sun" comes from Ecclesiastes, where it is repeated about thirty times. It is equivalent to "upon the earth", with reference to life in the material world.

It was grasping Ukridge's shoulder in a weighty grip in the sight of all men.

Romans 12:17 / Recompense to no man evil for evil. Provide things honest in the sight of all men.

U, Chapter 9 (The Exit of Battling Billson)

The voice of a prophet crying in the wilderness.

Isaiah 40:3 / The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.

Matthew 3:3 / For this is he [John the Baptist] that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.

Sighings and wailings went up like the smoke of a furnace.

Genesis 19:28 / And he [Abraham] looked toward Sodom and Gomorrah, and toward all the land of the plain, and beheld, and, lo, the smoke of the country went up as the smoke of a furnace.

Sinful, that's what beer is. It stingeth like a serpent and biteth like a ruddy adder.

Proverbs 23:31-32 / 31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. 32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

I tried to soothe what I took to be an eleventh-hour attack of stage-fright.

See above.

Then he turned the other cheek.

Matthew 5:39 / But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also.

Christ forbids his disciples to return evil for evil in the "Eye for eye, tooth for tooth" spirit. His own example in John 18:22-23 shows us that it is not forbidden to resist unjust attacks.

U, Chapter 10 (Ukridge Rounds a Nasty Corner)

But he would not be comforted.

Jeremiah 31:15 / Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.

Several Bible texts speak of persons who refuse to be comforted, but the verse quoted above is more likely to have left its marks in the memory of P G Wodehouse, as it is quoted by the evangelist Matthew to illustrate the distress of the mothers of the slaughtered innocents. When Herod, king of Judaea, heard of the birth of an infant who was to be king of the Jews, he ordered the massacre of all the children of two years and younger, expecting the newborn king to be among the victims. "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not" (Matthew 2:17-18).

But mark, laddie, how all things work together for good.

See above.

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BILL THE CONQUEROR

BC, Chapter 1, section 1

A page of helpful thoughts for the Sabbath Hour

Exodus 20:8 / Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

The Sabbath is the seventh day of the Jewish week, considered as the day of religious rest ordered by the fourth of the Ten Commandments. The word "Sabbath" is often applied, in the protestant tradition, to the Sunday, which the Christians observe as the Lord's day instead of the Jewish Sabbath.

But recently she had come to accept it as her cross in this life

Matthew 10:38 / And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

BC, Chapter 1, section 4

Mr Hammond was fond of his garden. It was—for a suburb—quite an Eden.

Genesis 2:8 / And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

The Hebrew word for "garden" was translated as "paradise" in the Greek version of the Old Testament.

BC, Chapter 2, section 1

A man need not lower himself to the level of the beasts of the field

Daniel 4:32 / And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

Towards the end of his life, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, suffered a form of madness which lead him to believe he was an animal. The author of the book of Daniel considered this a punishment for worshipping the wrong gods. Chapter 4 gives the biblical version of this strange disease.

Something had happened to Mr Paradene recently, purging the old Adam out of him

Romans 6:6 / Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him [Christ], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

The "old man" or "old Adam" is man considered as sinful and in want of redemption and re-creation.

BC, Chapter 2, section 2

Something resembling one of those peculiar Beasts in the Book of Revelations on one of its bad mornings.

The Book of Revelation, or "Apocalypse of John", is the last book of the New Testament and of the entire Bible. Like other apocalyptic literature, its aim is to reveal hidden things, especially what will happen when this world ends. The language used in this sort of writing is highly symbolic, and its visions of horror and destruction should not be taken literally. The true message of the Book of Revelation is a hopeful one: God protects his persecuted Church and will lead her to victory.

BC, Chapter 2, section 4

Seen at close range he achieved almost the impressiveness of a minor prophet.

The last twelve books of the Old Testament, all attributed to different prophets, are called the "Minor Prophets", not because they are less important than the "major" prophets (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Daniel), but because their writings are much shorter. They are, in the traditional order, Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah and Malachi. Like that of all prophets, their message is a melange of threat and consolation. In the Wodehouse canon, a Minor Prophet is practically the equivalent of a Scottish elder rebuking sin from the pulpit.

BC, Chapter 2, section 5

Perfect peace brooded upon Mr Cooley Paradene's house and grounds.

Isaiah 26:3 / Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Isaiah 57:19 / Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the Lord.

A possible allusion to the hymn "Peace, perfect peace", which was written by Edward H Bickersteth, Jr (1825-1906) in 1875, and contains the lines: "Peace, perfect peace, with loved ones far away? / In Jesus' keeping we are safe, and they".

BC, Chapter 2, section 6

The minor prophet continued.

See above.

BC, Chapter 3, section 2

He was in a state of such nervous hostility to Mr Slingsby as only tobacco and the ungirt loin could soothe.

Luke 12:35 / Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning.

Wearing a girdle round one's loins or waist means being ready for action, or equipped for a journey.

BC, Chapter 4, section 2

Roderick groaned in spirit

John 11:33 / When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.

BC, Chapter 5, section 1

You were my brother's keeper.

Genesis 4:9 / And the Lord said unto Cain, Where is Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: Am I my brother's keeper?

Cain is the first son of Adam and Eve, and a tiller of the soil, while his brother Abel was a shepherd. When both made gifts to God of their produce, the Lord accepted the latter's offering, but not the former's. Cain killed Abel, after which the Lord called him to account.

The heir of the Cokers would return to the fold.

Matthew 18:12 / How think ye? If a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

A probable allusion to the parable of the lost sheep.

BC, Chapter 5, section 3

Into this refined gathering Bill charged like a ravening wolf.

Matthew 7:15 / Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

BC, Chapter 5, section 5

Breathing fire through his nostrils and seeking whom he might devour

1 Peter 5:8 / Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.

BC, Chapter 5, section 6

Bill was so big and comforting. A rock of strength.

Psalm 62:7 / In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.

BC, Chapter 6, section 1

Mr Paradene, hearing these words, felt like one who sees looming above the horizon a cloud no bigger than a man's hand.

1 Kings 18:44 / And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he [Elijah] said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.

1 Kings 18:41-46 describe how God, at the prophet Elijah's prayer, puts an end to a period of great drought. Seven times Elijah, on Mount Carmel, tells his servant to go and look out to the sea. The seventh time, the apparition of a small cloud heralds the arrival of torrential rains.

A dazzling light shone on his darkness.

Isaiah 9:2 / The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

BC, Chapter 6, section 2

"You've got it soft, ain't you, sittin' pretty in this swell home, livin' off the fat of the land?"

"I don't eat fat."

"It's about all you don't eat."

Genesis 45:18 / And take your father and your households, and come unto me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye shall eat the fat of the land.

BC, Chapter 6, section 3

He had mistaken it after a too superficial inspection for an earthly paradise

See above.

BC, Chapter 9, section 2

She (...) walked into that sanctum without a pause.

The Latin word means "holy place" (Exodus 26:33, Authorised Version). In the Temple of Jerusalem, the Holy (Place) was the middle room, between the Porch and the Holy of Holies.

BC, Chapter 11, section 1

Yet here he was fleeing like the wicked man in the Psalms

Psalm 68:1 / Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him.

I am not sure this is the Psalm Wodehouse had in mind.

Blushing and walking backwards, realizing that they are on holy ground.

Exodus 3:5 / And he [the Lord] said [to Moses], Draw not nigh hither: put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground.

A possible allusion?

BC, Chapter 12, section 1

His favourite character in history was Herod the Great.

Matthew 2:16 / Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.

When Herod, king of Judaea, heard of the birth of an infant who was to be king of the Jews, he ordered the massacre of all the children of two years and younger, expecting the newborn king to be among the victims. This massacre is also called the "slaughter of the innocents".

BC, Chapter 12, section 2

He was looking more like a benevolent minor prophet than ever.

"You've no time for rubbering at girls", said Professor Appleby like a minor prophet rebuking the sins of the people.

See above.

BC, Chapter 12, section 3

The fact that he still kept Bill's photograph in his library, that holy of holies

"Holy of Holies" means "most holy place" (Exodus 26:34, Authorised Version). In the Temple of Jerusalem, the back room of the building was the most sacred place, because it contained the ark of the covenant; it was therefore called the "Holy of Holies". The high priest alone was allowed to enter this chamber, once a year only.

BC, Chapter 13, section 1

It occurred to him to let his fiancee hear his voice tell the world the glad tidings of their approaching nuptials

Isaiah 52:7 / How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace: that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!

Romans 10:15 / And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

BC, Chapter 14, section 1

All that had happened was that the scales had fallen from his eyes

Acts 9:18 / And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 9:1-19 relate the conversion of Saul, as the apostle Paul was known then. He was travelling to Damascus, in order to persecute Jesus' disciples there, when there came a light from heaven, causing him to fall to the ground, and a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" When Saul got up, he could see nothing at all, until a disciple who lived in Damascus, Ananias, laid his hands on him, whereupon the "scales fell away from Saul's eyes".

BC, Chapter 15

Bill groaned in spirit.

See above.

BC, Chapter 16

The way fellows you would ordinarily think darned shrewd, level-headed birds make goofs of themselves with women beats me. Look at Samson!

Judges 16:4-5 / 4 And it came to pass afterward, that he loved a woman in the valley of Sorek, whose name was Delilah. 5 And the lords of the Philistines came up unto her, and said unto her, Entice him, and see wherein his great strength lieth, and by what means we may prevail against him, that we may bind him to afflict him: and we will give thee every one of us eleven hundred pieces of silver.

Full story in Judges 16:4-22. Samson's wife Delilah betrayed the secret of his great strength—namely that his head had never been shorn—to the Philistines, lulled him to sleep in her lap, and summoned a man who sheared Samson's hair. The Philistines were so enabled to seize him and put out his eyes.

BC, Chapter 17, section 1

In spite of the fact that the return of prodigals is almost proverbially associated with joyful revellings and effervescent gaiety on the part of the whole strength of the company, with the possible exception of the fatted calf

Luke 15:23 / And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry.

The "prodigal son" is the name usually given to the younger of two sons in the parable told by Jesus in Luke 15:11-32. Having demanded of his father his share of the estate, he left for a distant country and "wasted his substance with riotous living." Came a famine, and he hired himself out to one of the inhabitants who made him feed his pigs. "And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him." So he decided to go home. Instead of rebuking him, his father clasped him in his arms, kissed him, and ordered his servants to bring out the best clothes and to kill the fatted calf. One of the most beautiful parables of the Gospel, illustrating God's mercy.

BC, Chapter 17, section 3

Twenty years ago, I would have spent the concluding hours of the Sabbath surrounded by my loved ones beneath my own roof-tree.

See above.

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CARRY ON, JEEVES

COJ, Chapter 2 (The Artistic Career of Corky)

All he would consider would be that I had gone and taken an important step without asking his advice, and he would raise Cain automatically.

See Genesis 4:1-26. Cain is the first son of Adam and Eve, and a tiller of the soil, while his brother Abel was a shepherd. When both made gifts to God of their produce, the Lord accepted the latter's offering, but not the former's. Cain killed Abel and was condemned by God to be "a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth." Making trouble is raising the spirit of Cain.

COJ, Chapter 3 (Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest)

Why interfere with life's morning? Young man, rejoice in thy youth! Tra-la! What ho!

Ecclesiastes 11:9 / Rejoice, O young man, in thy youth; and let thy heart cheer thee in the days of thy youth, and walk in the ways of thine heart, and in the sight of thine eyes: but know thou, that for all these things God will bring thee into judgment.

There really is nobody like Jeeves. He walked straight into the sitting-room, the biggest feat since Daniel and the lions' den, without a quiver.

Daniel 6:16 / Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said to Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.

The satraps of the kingdom of Darius, resenting Daniel's promotion, had set a trap for him by inducing Darius to sign a decree banning prayer to anyone but the king. When Daniel was seen praying to his God, the king had no choice but to order him to be thrown into a den of lions. Next morning, Daniel was found, unhurt, and his accusers were thrown to the lions instead.

COJ, Chapter 5 (The Aunt and the Sluggard)

The Aunt and the Sluggard

Proverbs 6:6 / Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise.

Given Wodehouse's familiarity with the "sluggard" paragraph of the Book of Proverbs (6:6-11, see the Biblical Index) and the comparable pronunciation—especially in North America—of the words "aunt" and "ant", I am inclined to think the title of this short story was inspired by the Bible.

To have to leave my little cottage and take a stuffy, smelly, over-heated hole of an apartment in this Heaven-forsaken, festering Gehenna.

Joshua 15:8 / And the border went up by the valley of the son of Hinnom unto the south side of the Jebusite; the same is Jerusalem: and the border went up to the top of the mountain that lieth before the valley of Hinnom westward, which is at the end of the valley of the giants northward.

"Gehenna" literally means "valley of Hinnom", which is how it is translated in the Authorised Version. From early times the valley, to the southwest of Jerusalem, was a place of human sacrifice. That is the reason why later Jewish writings considered it to be a place of divine punishment. In the New Testament the word "gehenna" is used to designate the final place or state of torment for the wicked after death. In the English versions of the Bible, the word "gehenna" is nearly always translated as "hell".

I felt rather like Lot's friends must have done when they dropped in for a quiet chat and their genial host began to criticize the Cities of the Plain.

Genesis 19:29 / And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.

The "cities of the plain" include Sodom and Gomorrah. Bertie clearly has forgotten much of his Scripture knowledge in these early short stories: Lot, nephew of Abraham, lived in Sodom, but had to be told by angels to leave the city as God was going to destroy it. The Bible neither shows us Lot criticizing the "cities of the plain", nor chatting with his friends.

Mr Mundy was wonderful! He was like some prophet of old, scouring the sins of the people.

Isaiah 58:1 / Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.

He said that the tango and the fox-trot were devices of the devil to drag people down into the Bottomless Pit.

Revelation 9:1-2 / 1 And the fifth angel sounded, and I saw a star fall from heaven unto the earth: and to him was given the key of the bottomless pit. 2 And he opened the bottomless pit; and there arose a smoke out of the pit, as the smoke of a great furnace; and the sun and the air were darkened by reason of the smoke of the pit.

In the Book of Revelation, the "bottomless pit" or "abyss" is the place where the fallen angels are incarcerated.

He said that there was more sin in ten minutes with a negro banjo orchestra than in all the ancient revels of Nineveh and Babylon.

Daniel 5:1-4 / 1 Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. 2 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. 3 Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. 4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.

This banquet, given by Belshazzar, in reality son of the last king of Babylon, Nabonidus, may well be the prototype of the "Babylonian orgy" to which Wodehouse periodically refers. It was during this meal that the "writing on the wall" appeared, announcing Belshazzar's downfall. Nineveh, capital of the Assyrian empire, was destroyed in 612 BC. The fall of the city is the main subject of the Book of Nahum, one of the Minor Prophets.

COJ, Chapter 6 (The Rummy Affair of Old Biffy)

Jeeves, I know now how a general feels when he plans out some great scientific movement and his troops let him down at the eleventh hour.

Matthew 20:6 / And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

In the "Parable of the vineyard labourers", Jesus tells us of a landowner going out several times a day to hire workers for his vineyard: at daybreak, at the third hour (about 9 am), at the sixth hour (midday), at the ninth hour (3 pm) and, surprisingly, even at the eleventh hour (about 5 pm)! In the end, those who were hired at the eleventh hour receive the same wages as those who have been working all day. This story thus illustrates God's generosity, which exceeds the human understanding of justice.

COJ, Chapter 7 (Without the Option)

There is one night in the year when, putting all other engagements aside, I am rather apt to let myself go a bit and renew my lost youth, as it were.

Psalm 103:5 / Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle's.

And, believe me, I had hardly got my first cigarette nicely under way when a shadow fell on my book and there was young Sticketh-Closer-Than-a-Brother in person.

Proverbs 18:24 / A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.

At the sound of my voice she executed a sort of leap or bound, not unlike a barefoot dancer who steps on a tin-tack halfway through the Vision of Salome.

See Mark 6:21-29. Although the New Testament does not mention her name, Salome is the girl whose dancing so pleased her stepfather Herod Antipas, that he promised to give her anything she might demand, "unto the half of my kingdom". At her mother Herodias' request, she asked for the head of John the Baptist, who had denounced Herodias' unlawful marriage to Herod Antipas. Wodehouse's immediate source, however, must be Maud Allan (1873-1956), who was a huge success on the London stage, in or about 1908, with a daring number called "Vision of Salome", most probably inspired by Oscar Wilde's "Salome".

COJ, Chapter 9 (Clustering Round Young Bingo)

"Jeeves", said young Bingo in a quivering voice, "if you see me through this fearful crisis, ask of me what you will even unto half my kingdom."

Mark 6:22-23 / 22 And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, she danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it to thee. 23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.

Whereupon, at her mother Herodias' request, the girl asked for the head of John the Baptist, who had denounced Herodias' illegal marriage with Herod Antipas.

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THE HEART OF A GOOF

HG, Chapter 2 (High Stakes)

The serpent was tempting him—tempting him grievously.

Genesis 3:1 / Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

The serpent symbolises a force hostile to God and mankind. In the Book of Genesis, it tempts Adam and Eve to eat from the forbidden fruit. The New Testament and the Christian tradition identify this being with the Devil or Satan.

HG, Chapter 3 (Keeping in with Vosper)

"Until this is done", he agreed, "the millennium cannot but be set back indefinitely."

Revelation 20:4 / And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

The thousand-year period or "millennium" described here in the Book of Revelation, has been explained in different ways throughout the ages. "Millenarianists" are those who interpret these texts literally, and who believe in a future millennium of blessedness, either in heaven or on earth.

Although we are told nothing about it, there can be little doubt that one of Job's chief trials was that his wife insisted on playing golf with him.

Job 2:9-10 / 9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? Curse God and die. 10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Job is a God-fearing and honest man, who loses his possessions and his children, and whose own body is afflicted with horrible ulcers. The Book of Job chiefly consists of long discussions between Job and three of his friends who, while trying to comfort him, are more trying than comforting. Although the Bible doesn't teach us more about Job's wife than the two verses quoted above, it is sufficient to know that she was indeed one of her husband's many trials.

But that retribution which waits on all, both small and great, who defy Green Committees had marked Alfred down.

Revelation 20:12 / And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.

Of all the tainted millionaires who, after years of plundering the widow and the orphan, have devoted the evening of their life to the game of golf

Exodus 22:21 / You must not be harsh with the widow, or with the orphan; if you are harsh with them, they will surely cry out to me, and be sure I shall hear their cry. (Jerusalem Bible)

HG, Chapter 4 (Chester Forgets Himself)

Every club, I suppose, has a cross of this kind to bear

Matthew 10:38 / And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me.

"They are the direct lineal descendants of the Gadarene swine", said Chester firmly. "Every time they come out I expect to see them rush down the hill from the first tee and hurl themselves into the lake at the second."

Mark 5:11-13 / 11 Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding. 12 And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them. 13 And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

For the full story, read Mark 5:1-20, and the parallel versions in Matthew 8:28-34 and Luke 8:26-39. The incident, takes place in the country of the "Gadarenes" or "Gerasenes", east of the Sea of Galilee.

HG, Chapter 5 (The Magic Plus Fours)

And Wallace, having acquired self-confidence, went on from strength to strength.

Psalm 84:7 / They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.

Clad in the old grey flannels of his early golfing days, Wallace felt diffident, feeble, uncertain of himself. It was as though virtue had gone out of him

Mark 5:30 / And Jesus, immediately knowing in himself that virtue had gone out of him, turned him about in the press, and said, Who touched my clothes?

On the face of Charlotte Dix was the look of a mother whose prodigal son has rolled into the old home once more.

The "prodigal son" is the name usually given to the younger of two sons in the parable told by Jesus in Luke 15:11-32. Having demanded of his father his share of the estate, he left for a distant country and "wasted his substance with riotous living." Came a famine, and he hired himself out to one of the inhabitants who made him feed his pigs. "And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him." So he decided to go home. Instead of rebuking him, his father clasped him in his arms, kissed him, and ordered his servants to bring out the best clothes and to kill the fatted calf. One of the most beautiful parables of the Gospel, illustrating God's mercy.

HG, Chapter 6 (The Awakening of Rollo Podmarsh)

What with one thing and another, he was in an almost Job-like condition of despondency.

See above.

The scales had fallen from her eyes.

Acts 9:18 / And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 9:1-19 relate the conversion of Saul, as the apostle Paul was known then. He was travelling to Damascus, in order to persecute Jesus' disciples there, when there came a light from heaven, causing him to fall to the ground, and a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" When Saul got up, he could see nothing at all, until a disciple who lived in Damascus, Ananias, laid his hands on him, whereupon the "scales fell away from Saul's eyes".

HG, Chapter 8 (Jane Gets off the Fairway)

There comes a moment in married life when every wife gazes squarely at her husband and the scales seem to fall from her eyes and she sees him as he is—one of Nature's Class A fatheads.

See above.

William, squashed into his corner, had long gazed at the man with sullen dislike, yearning to gather him up by the slack of his trousers and heave him into outer darkness

Matthew 22:13 / Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Traditional biblical description of damnation.

What shall it profit a man that he do the long hole in four, if there is no loving wife at his elbow to squeak congratulations?

Mark 8:36 / For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?

HG, Chapter 9 (The Purification of Rodney Spelvin)

"And at that moment Adela came in. Death", said the secretary, "where is thy sting?"

1 Corinthians 15:55 / O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Another verse often quoted by P G Wodehouse, and always, one regrets to say, used in the wrong way! In the 15th chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul reminds his readers of the fundamental creed of the Christians: the resurrection of the dead, heralded by Christ's own rising from the dead. At the end of his explanation, he exclaims triumphantly: "When this perishable nature has put on imperishability, and when this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the words of scripture will come true: Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?" (Jerusalem Bible)

The title of the picture, "Tried in the Furnace", had suggested nothing to her.

Isaiah 48:10 / Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

There are many other passages in the Bible which compare chastening experiences to the fire of a furnace.

Have I asked her to marry me? I, who am not worthy to polish the blade of her niblick!

Mark 1:7 / And [John] preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose.

Possibly a jocular reminiscence of the gospel text. John the Baptist, speaking of Christ, states he is not even worthy to serve him in a way usually reserved to slaves.

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THE SMALL BACHELOR

SB, Chapter 1, section 3

Mr Beamish filled the eye. An aura of authority went before him as the pillar of fire went before the Israelites in the desert.

Exodus 13:21 / And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night.

SB, Chapter 1, section 4

"I was thinking", said George, "that you might take me round and introduce me."

"And have your blood on my head? No, no."

"What do you mean, my blood?"

Joshua 2:19 / And it shall be, that whosoever shall go out of the doors of thy house into the street, his blood shall be upon his head, and we will be guiltless: and whosoever shall be with thee in the house, his blood shall be on our head, if any hand be upon him.

Biblical expression, used to indicate someone's responsibility for another person's death.

SB, Chapter 2, section 1

"It was so kind of you to come", said Mrs Waddington, pivotting on her axis and panting like a hart after the waterbrooks.

Psalm 42:1 / As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

SB, Chapter 3, section 1

It seemed to George as if the scales had fallen from his eyes and he was seeing her for the first time.

Acts 9:18 / And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 9:1-19 relate the conversion of Saul, as the apostle Paul was known then. He was travelling to Damascus, in order to persecute Jesus' disciples there, when there came a light from heaven, causing him to fall to the ground, and a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" When Saul got up, he could see nothing at all, until a disciple who lived in Damascus, Ananias, laid his hands on him, whereupon the "scales fell away from Saul's eyes".

But, whether it was cold or hot, there was always in Mrs Waddington's gaze one constant factor—a sort of sick loathing which nothing that he could ever do, George felt, would have the power to allay. It was the kind of look which Sisera might have surprised in the eye of Jael the wife of Heber, had he chanced to catch it immediately before she began operations with the spike.

Judges 4:21 / Then Jael Heber's wife took a nail of the tent, and took an hammer in her hand, and went softly unto him, and smote the nail into his temples, and fastened it into the ground: for he was fast asleep and weary. So he died.

Judges 4:17-22 tells how Jael, one of the Master's all-time favourites, managed to kill Sisera, the commander of the armies of Jabin, king of Canaan.

SB, Chapter 3, section 2

"If your name is Pinch, admit it like a man. Let your yea be yea and your nay be nay", said Mr Waddington a little severely

James 5:12 / But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

SB, Chapter 3, section 3

When she had looked at him before it had been merely with the almost impersonal horror and disgust with which any hostess looks at an excrescence who at the eleventh hour horns in on one of her carefully planned dinners.

Matthew 20:6 / And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

In the "Parable of the vineyard labourers", Jesus tells us of a landowner going out several times a day to hire workers for his vineyard: at daybreak, at the third hour (about 9 am), at the sixth hour (midday), at the ninth hour (3 pm) and, surprisingly, even at the eleventh hour (about 5 pm)! In the end, those who were hired at the eleventh hour receive the same wages as those who have been working all day. This story thus illustrates God's generosity, which exceeds the human understanding of justice.

SB, Chapter 8

In there sat a suffering woman who, thinking of him, mourned and would not be comforted

Matthew 2:17-18 / 17 Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, 18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.

When Herod, king of Judaea, heard of the birth of an infant who was to be king of the Jews, he ordered the massacre of all the children of two years and younger, expecting the newborn king to be among the victims. In order to illustrate the distress of the mothers of the slaughtered innocents, Matthew quotes a passage from the prophet Jeremiah.

SB, Chapter 17, section 2

Up on the roof, Officer Garroway started as a war-horse at the sound of the bugle.

See Job 39:25. Curiously enough, this is one of the passages where Wodehouse does not quote the Authorised Version, which he uses elsewhere ("He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha"), but a different translation, in which the war-horse starts at the sound of the bugle. On the internet, I have found only one version that comes close to our text, the so-called "New Living Translation": "It snorts at the sound of the bugle." Unfortunately, this translation was only published in 1996! Could someone help me to identify the version used by Wodehouse?

SB, Chapter 18

"Ah!" said Hamilton Beamish, relaxing. "Splendid for the transversalis muscle, that, converting it into a living belt which girds the loins. Have you ever given considered thought to the loins, Garroway?"

The policeman shook his head.

"Not that I know of", he said indifferently. "I've seen 'em in the Bronx Zoo."

Luke 12:35 / Let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning.

Wearing a girdle round one's loins or waist means being ready for action, or equipped for a journey.

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MEET MR MULLINER

MMM, Chapter 1 (The Truth about George)

By the time he was thirty he knew more about Eli, the prophet, Ra, the Sun God, and the bird Emu than anybody else in the country except Susan Blake

Eli was a prophet and priest of the Old Testament, mainly mentioned in 1 Samuel 1-4. His servant was the infant Samuel.

Will you be my wife, married woman, matron, spouse, help-meet

Genesis 2:18 / And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

MMM, Chapter 3 (Mulliner's Buck-U-Uppo)

The meek shall inherit the earth. Am I sufficiently meek? I wonder.

Psalm 37:11 / But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

Matthew 5:5 / Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

"His eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated. Deuteronomy xxxiv. 7", he agreed.

Deuteronomy 34:7 / And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.

"Great is truth and mighty above all things. Esdras iv. 41", said Augustine.

1 Esdras 4:41 / And with that he held his peace. And all the people then shouted, and said, Great is truth, and mighty above all things.

Slip of the tongue of the Rev Augustine Mulliner here: he should have quoted his source as "1 Esdras", as the apocryphal book is known in the Anglican tradition.

Though singularly blessed in the possession of a devoted helpmeet

See above.

"Truly", sighed the bishop, "as a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion. Proverbs xi. 21."

"Twenty-two", corrected Augustine.

"I should have said twenty-two."

Proverbs 11:22 / As a jewel of gold in a swine's snout, so is a fair woman which is without discretion.

He whistled a few bars of the psalm appointed for the twenty-sixth of June

A psalm is any of the religious songs and hymns which together form the biblical "Book of Psalms".

"Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store." Deuteronomy xxviii 5.

Deuteronomy 28:5 / Blessed shall be thy basket and thy store.

MMM, Chapter 4 (The Bishop's Move)

There was a smile upon his face and possibly upon his lips a snatch of some gay psalm.

See above.

For lo! The winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in the land. Song of Solomon ii. 11, 12.

Song of Solomon 2:11-12 / 11 For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; 12 The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land.

It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop than with a brawling woman in a wide house. Proverbs xxi. 9.

Proverbs 21:9 / It is better to dwell in a corner of the housetop, than with a brawling woman in a wide house.

"A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike. Proverbs xxvii. 15", agreed Augustine.

Proverbs 27:15 / A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.

"Peace be on thy walls, Catsmeat, and prosperity within thy palaces", said the bishop. "Proverbs cxxxi. 6."

Psalm 122:7 / Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces.

In Tony Ring's and Geoffrey Jaggard's "The Millennium Wodehouse Concordance", volume 2: "Wodehouse at the Anglers' Rest", at the entry "God, The Word of", one can read: "Shown as Proverbs 121, 6 in the first book editions, and as Proverbs 131, 6 in some later reprints. However, the correct attribution can be found in the Strand version."

"Oh, that I had wings like a dove. Psalm xlv. 6", muttered the bishop.

Psalm 55:6 / And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! For then would I fly away, and be at rest.

In Tony Ring's and Geoffrey Jaggard's "The Millennium Wodehouse Concordance", volume 2: "Wodehouse at the Anglers' Rest", at the entry "God, The Word of", one can read: "Shown correctly in both Strand and Liberty. Book versions generally show Psalm 45, 6."

"Then all I can say", fumed the general, "is that I wash my hands of the whole business, the whole business, the whole business."

Matthew 27:24 / When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

The wife of thy bosom. Deuteronomy xiii.6.

Deuteronomy 13:6 / If thy brother, the son of thy mother, or thy son, or thy daughter, or the wife of thy bosom, or thy friend, which is as thine own soul, entice thee secretly, saying, Let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known, thou, nor thy fathers...

A bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter. Ecclesiastes x. 20.

Ecclesiastes 10:20 / Curse not the king, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bedchamber: for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

MMM, Chapter 5 (Came the Dawn)

He was a man who never let his left hip know what his right hip was doing.

Matthew 6:3 / But when thou doest alms, let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doeth.

I have just been to see my uncle and he has washed his hands of me

See above.

MMM, Chapter 6 (The Story of William)

He seemed to be conscious of a babel of screams and shouts.

Genesis 11:9 / Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth.

In Genesis 11:1-9, Babel is the name of the city, where God caused the confusion of languages, in order to put a halt to the presumptuous construction of a tower reaching to heaven.

MMM, Chapter 9 (Honeysuckle Cottage)

It seemed to James that his lot had been cast in pleasant places.

Psalm 16:6 / The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

The Book of Common Prayer reads: "The lot is fallen unto me in a fair ground."

The garden was littered with objects ranging from match boxes to a plaster statuette of the young Joseph prophesying before Pharaoh.

He had even made a plucky attempt to devour the remains of the young Joseph prophesying before Pharaoh.

For once it is not the Infant Samuel who is being smashed to pieces! In Genesis 41, Pharaoh has a series of strange dreams, in which seven fat cows are eaten by seven lean ones, and seven good ears of corn are swallowed by seven meagre ones. Joseph, son of Jacob, gives Pharaoh the interpretation of the dream: seven years of plenty are to be followed by seven years of famine.

"Don't do it", said Mr McKinnon, a stout bachelor. "You're too young to marry.

"So was Methuselah", said James, a stouter.

Genesis 5:27 / And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.

Methuselah holds the record for longevity in the Bible.

He had allowed himself to develop a great many habits which were as the breath of life to him

Genesis 2:7 / And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

Although Wodehouse is certainly not deliberately quoting the Bible, the modern expression "breath of life" finds its origin in the book of Genesis.

The scales seemed to fall from James's eyes.

Acts 9:18 / And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 9:1-19 relate the conversion of Saul, as the apostle Paul was known then. He was travelling to Damascus, in order to persecute Jesus' disciples there, when there came a light from heaven, causing him to fall to the ground, and a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" When Saul got up, he could see nothing at all, until a disciple who lived in Damascus, Ananias, laid his hands on him, whereupon the "scales fell away from Saul's eyes".

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MONEY FOR NOTHING

MFN, Chapter 1, section 2

The word came out of him like the note of the Last Trump

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 / 51 Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed. 52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

The trumpet is a traditional feature of so-called apocalyptic imagery, i.e. the language describing metaphorically what will happen at the end of time. The instrument symbolises the solemn fulfilment of God's plan.

MFN, Chapter 1, section 4

The scales seemed to have fallen from his eyes

Acts 9:18 / And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

Acts 9:1-19 relate the conversion of Saul, as the apostle Paul was known then. He was travelling to Damascus, in order to persecute Jesus' disciples there, when there came a light from heaven, causing him to fall to the ground, and a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?" When Saul got up, he could see nothing at all, until a disciple who lived in Damascus, Ananias, laid his hands on him, whereupon the "scales fell away from Saul's eyes".

MFN, Chapter 2

At the eleventh hour matters could at last be put on a satisfactory business basis.

Matthew 20:6 / And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

In the "Parable of the vineyard labourers", Jesus tells us of a landowner going out several times a day to hire workers for his vineyard: at daybreak, at the third hour (about 9 am), at the sixth hour (midday), at the ninth hour (3 pm) and, surprisingly, even at the eleventh hour (about 5 pm)! In the end, those who were hired at the eleventh hour receive the same wages as those who have been working all day. This story thus illustrates God's generosity, which exceeds the human understanding of justice.

MFN, Chapter 4, section 2

He was brooding on the scene in much the same spirit of captious criticism in which Lot had once regarded the Cities of the Plain

Genesis 19:29 / And it came to pass, when God destroyed the cities of the plain, that God remembered Abraham, and sent Lot out of the midst of the overthrow, when he overthrew the cities in the which Lot dwelt.

The "cities of the plain" include Sodom and Gomorrah. Plum's biblical memory is not in mid-season form here: Lot, nephew of Abraham, lived in Sodom, but had to be told by angels to leave the city as God was going to destroy it. The Bible neither shows us Lot criticizing the "cities of the plain", nor chatting with his friends.

MFN, Chapter 5, section 4

Providence, since the days of Job always curious to know just how much a good man can bear

Job 1:8-12 / 8 And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? 9 Then Satan answered the Lord, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? 10 Hast not thou made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Thou hast blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. 11 But put forth thine hand now, and touch all that he hath, and he will curse thee to thy face. 12 And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy power; only upon himself put not forth thine hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of the Lord.

Job is a God-fearing and honest man, who—in the fictitious dialogue cited above—becomes the object of a wager between God and Satan. He loses his possessions and his children, and whose own body is afflicted with horrible ulcers. The Book of Job chiefly consists of long discussions between Job and three of his friends who, while trying to comfort him, are more trying than comforting.

The iron entered into Lester Carmody's soul.

Psalm 105:18 / Whose feet they hurt in the stocks: the iron entered into his soul (Book of Common Prayer).

MFN, Chapter 5, section 5

Mr Molloy was still groping in outer darkness

Matthew 22:13 / Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

In the light of Wodehouse's fondness for this verse (see the Biblical Index), we may assume that the "outer darkness" here is another reference to the same text.

MFN, Chapter 7, section 1

This one's attitude towards life seemed to have been borrowed from her favourite light reading, the works of the Prophet Jeremiah, and Pat, as she emerged into the sunshine after some eighty minutes of her society, was feeling rather like Jeremiah's younger sister.

Jeremiah was a prophet of the 7th century BC. His prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem, his rather pessimistic message, and his personal sufferings, caused by the misunderstanding of his people, have made his name a synonym for despair and lamentation.

MFN, Chapter 7, section 7

Not do a thing to bring their grey hairs in sorrow to the grave?

Genesis 42:38 / And he said, My son shall not go down with you; for his brother is dead, and he is left alone: if mischief befall him by the way in the which ye go, then shall ye bring down my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.

He's not a force. A broken reed.

Isaiah 36:6 / Lo, thou trustest in the staff of this broken reed, on Egypt; whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it: so is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all that trust in him.

MFN, Chapter 8, section 2

The tranquil beauty of the night wrapped them about as in a garment.

Psalm 104:1-2 / 1 Bless the Lord, O my soul. O Lord my God, thou art very great; thou art clothed with honour and majesty. 2 Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain.

MFN, Chapter 8, section 3

He says I mustn't speak to you or Hugo or Mr Carmody or Emily—not that I want to speak to Emily, the little blighter—nor your ox nor your ass nor anything that is within your gates.

Deuteronomy 5:14 / But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou.

The italics are mine, of course.

MFN, Chapter 10, section 1

Clean up as his helpmeet had directed.

Genesis 2:18 / And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

Mr Molloy groaned in spirit.

John 11:33 / When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.

And the very first blow of the hammer or axe or chisel selected for the operation must inevitably bring Methuselah's little brother popping through that green baize door

Genesis 5:27 / And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died.

Methuselah holds the record for longevity in the Bible.

Sturgis reappeared, packing-case in one hand, hatchet in the other, looking like Noah taking ship's stores aboard the Ark.

Genesis 6:5—9:17 relates the biblical story of Noah and his ark.

MFN, Chapter 10, section 2

Mentally labelling Mr Carmody a fat, pop-eyed, crooked, swindling, pie-faced, double-crossing Judas

Matthew 26:14-16 / 14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him [Jesus] unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him.

MFN, Chapter 11, section 2

That a young fellow with a lovely sister like what you've got can bring himself to lower himself to the beasts of the field, as the saying is.

Daniel 4:32 / And they shall drive thee from men, and thy dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field: they shall make thee to eat grass as oxen, and seven times shall pass over thee, until thou know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will.

Towards the end of his life, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, suffered a form of madness which lead him to believe he was an animal. The author of the book of Daniel considered this a punishment for worshipping the wrong gods. Chapter 4 gives the biblical version of this strange disease.

The more he contemplated the iniquity of the Molloy family, the deeper did the iron enter into his soul.

Psalm 105:18 / Whose feet they hurt in the stocks: the iron entered into his soul (Book of Common Prayer).

MFN, Chapter 13, section 1

Between intention and performance there was, when Mr Flannery set out to whisper tenderly, a great gulf fixed.

Luke 16:26 / And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

In Luke 16:19-31, Jesus tells the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. After their death, the former goes to hell, while the latter is carried by the angels "into Abraham's bosom". In his torment, the rich man asks Abraham to send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his burning tongue. But Abraham refuses with the words quoted above, the "great gulf" being a symbol of the fact that the final destiny of the saved and damned is unalterable.

MFN, Chapter 13, section 2

The moment was obviously one for cunning and craftiness, and John accordingly dropped his head on the pillow, cunningly closed his eyes, and craftily began to breathe like one deep in sleep.

Ephesians 4:14 / That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive.

MFN, Chapter 13, section 3

So overwhelming was the joy of these tidings

Luke 2:10-11 / 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

A most likely reminiscence of the expression "tidings of great joy", much quoted elsewhere.

On that Last Awful Day, Mr Twist, when you and I and all of us come up before the Judgment Seat

2 Corinthians 5:10 / For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ: that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.

MFN, Chapter 14, section 2

He felt hardened, like one who has been through the furnace.

Isaiah 48:10 / Behold, I have refined thee, but not with silver; I have chosen thee in the furnace of affliction.

There are many other passages in the Bible which compare chastening experiences to the fire of a furnace.

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MR MULLINER SPEAKING

MMS, Chapter 1 (The Reverent Wooing of Archibald)

It was not long after this that he informed me that he had sown the good seed

Matthew 13:24 / Another parable put he [Jesus] forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field.

Among the things which helped to differentiate it from a Babylonian orgy was the fact that, in deference to his known prejudices, no wine was served to Archibald.

Daniel 5:1-4 / 1 Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. 2 Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. 3 Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. 4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.

This banquet, given by Belshazzar, in reality son of the last king of Babylon, Nabonidus, may well be the prototype of the "Babylonian orgy" to which Wodehouse periodically refers. It was during this meal that the "writing on the wall" appeared, announcing Belshazzar's downfall.

MMS, Chapter 2 (The Man Who Gave Up Smoking)

But George was not to be comforted.

Jeremiah 31:15 / Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.

Several Bible texts speak of persons who refuse to be comforted, but the verse quoted above is more likely to have left its marks in the memory of P G Wodehouse, as it is quoted by the evangelist Matthew to illustrate the distress of the mothers of the slaughtered innocents. When Herod, king of Judaea, heard of the birth of an infant who was to be king of the Jews, he ordered the massacre of all the children of two years and younger, expecting the newborn king to be among the victims. "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not" (Matthew 2:17-18).

MMS, Chapter 3 (The Story of Cedric)

He panted for the driver as the hart pants after the water-brooks.

Psalm 42:1 / As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

A fare of his entered our front garden some time back and instantly vanished off the face of the earth

Genesis 6:1 / And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them

This is the first verse where the frequent biblical expression "face of the earth/world" occurs.

MMS, Chapter 4 (The Ordeal of Osbert Mulliner)

They gave him much the same feeling the prophet Daniel must have had on entering the lions' den, before his relations with the animals had been established on their subsequent basis of easy camaraderie.

Daniel 6:16 / Then the king commanded, and they brought Daniel, and cast him into the den of lions. Now the king spake and said to Daniel, Thy God whom thou servest continually, he will deliver thee.

The satraps of the kingdom of Darius, resenting Daniel's promotion, had set a trap for him by inducing Darius to sign a decree banning prayer to anyone but the king. When Daniel was seen praying to his God, the king had no choice but to order him to be thrown into a den of lions. Next morning, Daniel was found, unhurt, and his accusers were thrown to the lions instead.

MMS, Chapter 5 (Unpleasantness at Bludleigh Court)

When he grew up and put aside childish things

1 Corinthians 13:11 / When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.

MMS, Chapter 6 (Those in Peril on the Tee)

And I have good news for you, John—tidings of great joy.

Luke 2:10-11 / 10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.

Gone was the exhilarating ferment which had caused him to skip like a young ram (...)

Had she not at the psychological moment skipped in a manner extraordinarily reminiscent of the high hills mentioned in Sacred Writ.

Psalm 114:4 / The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs.

This Psalm deals with the crossing of the Red Sea by the children of Israel, as related in Exodus, chapter 14. Although the book of Exodus does not mention any "skipping mountains", this and other extraordinary phenomena are part of the metaphorical language the Bible uses to evoke the power and glory of God. The "high hills" instead of "mountains" may be found in Psalm 68:16 / Why leap ye, ye high hills? This is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever.—The phrase "skipping like the (high) hills" is one of Wodehouse's favourite biblical gags. But "leaping like a young ram" may be another possible application of the same Psalm.

MMS, Chapter 8 (The Awful Gladness of the Mater)

A bright light shone upon Dudley.

Isaiah 9:2 / The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

"Is there anything I can do?"

"Outside of bringing me the blighter's head on a charger, nothing, thanks."

Mark 6:27-28 / 27 And immediately the king sent an executioner, and commanded his [i.e. John the Baptist's] head to be brought: and he went and beheaded him in the prison, 28 and brought his head on a charger, and gave it to the damsel: and the damsel gave it to her mother.

Salome's dancing so pleased her stepfather Herod Antipas, that he promised to give her anything she might demand, "unto the half of my kingdom". At her mother Herodias' request, the girl asked for the head of John the Baptist, who had denounced Herodias' illegal marriage with Herod Antipas.

MMS, Chapter 9 (The Passing of Ambrose)

Nor could he get the slightest thrill out of the Babylonian Banquet scene which had cost five hundred thousand dollars.

See above.

To discover that his goddess had feet of clay

Daniel 2:33 / His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.

In the second chapter of the Book of Daniel, Nebuchadnezzar has a puzzling dream, which only Daniel is able able to reveal: "Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee; and the form thereof was terrible. This image's head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, his legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay. Thou sawest till that a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay, and brake them to pieces" (Daniel 2:31-34). Daniel's interpretation of the dream is too long to be discussed in detail (read Daniel 2:36-45), but we must note the meaning of the "feet of clay": "And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong, and partly broken" (Daniel 2:42). Hence the modern use of the expression "feet of clay" to indicate a flaw in the character of an admired person.

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SUMMER LIGHTNING

SL, Preface

He has probably by now been eaten by bears, like the children who made mock of the prophet Elisha

2 Kings 2:23-24 / 23 And he [Elisha] went up from thence unto Beth-el: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. 24 And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.

SL, Chapter 1, section 1

"Perhaps you are not aware, sir", said the butler, having trousered the wages of sin, "that her ladyship went up to London on the three-thirty train?"

Romans 6:23 / For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.

A Garden of Eden, shall I call it?

Genesis 2:8 / And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

The Hebrew word for "garden" was translated as "paradise" in the Greek version of the Old Testament.

... I may occasionally on warm afternoons go in to some extent for the folding of the hands to sleep...

Proverbs 6:9-11 / 9 How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep? 10 Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to sleep: 11 So shall thy poverty come as one that travelleth, and thy want as an armed man.

SL, Chapter 1, section 2

His eye was not dimmed nor his natural force abated.

Deuteronomy 34:7 / And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was not dim, nor his natural force abated.

SL, Chapter 1, section 4

The native good sense of the Carmodys asserted itself at the eleventh hour.

Matthew 20:6 / And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle?

In the "Parable of the vineyard labourers", Jesus tells us of a landowner going out several times a day to hire workers for his vineyard: at daybreak, at the third hour (about 9 am), at the sixth hour (midday), at the ninth hour (3 pm) and, surprisingly, even at the eleventh hour (about 5 pm)! In the end, those who were hired at the eleventh hour receive the same wages as those who have been working all day. This story thus illustrates God's generosity, which exceeds the human understanding of justice.

SL, Chapter 2, section 3

"Miss Schoonmaker, my aunt, Lady Constance Keeble", said Ronnie, going from strength to strength

Psalm 84:7 / They go from strength to strength, every one of them in Zion appeareth before God.

SL, Chapter 3, section 1

He bounced his tennis-ball and groaned in spirit.

John 11:33 / When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.

SL, Chapter 3, section 2

Of the relief which was presumably flooding his soul at the discovery that Rupert Baxter was still on this side of the veil, he gave no outward sign.

Hebrews 6:19-20 / 19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; 20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

The most sacred room of the Temple of Jerusalem, called the "Holy of Holies", was separated from the rest of the edifice by a veil, beyond which only the high priest was allowed to go. The Epistle to the Hebrews presents Jesus as the eternal high priest, who, through his death and resurrection, has passed "beyond the veil" of the heavenly sanctuary, to take place at God's right hand. The phrase "beyond the veil" or "passing the veil" is therefore commonly used with reference to the next world.

SL, Chapter 4, section 1

Restore the animal in time for the Agricultural Show, and you may ask of Lord Emsworth what you will, even unto half his kingdom.

Mark 6:22-23 / 22 And when the daughter of the said Herodias came in, she danced, and pleased Herod and them that sat with him, the king said unto the damsel, Ask of me whatsoever thou wilt, and I will give it to thee. 23 And he sware unto her, Whatsoever thou shalt ask of me, I will give it thee, unto the half of my kingdom.

Whereupon, at her mother Herodias' request, the girl asked for the head of John the Baptist, who had denounced Herodias' illegal marriage with Herod Antipas.

SL, Chapter 4, section 2

Ah! this must be the bringer of glad tidings, come to say my call is through.

Isaiah 52:7 / How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace: that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!
Romans 10:15 / And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!

SL, Chapter 4, section 4

Leopold's band playing in a sort of hushed undertone like a band that has seen strange things.

Luke 5:26 / And they were all amazed, and they glorified God, and were filled with fear, saying, We have seen strange things to day.

SL, Chapter 5

Ronnie declined to be comforted.

Jeremiah 31:15 / Thus saith the Lord; A voice was heard in Ramah, lamentation, and bitter weeping; Rahel weeping for her children refused to be comforted for her children, because they were not.

Several Bible texts speak of persons who refuse to be comforted, but the verse quoted above is more likely to have left its marks in the memory of P G Wodehouse, as it is quoted by the evangelist Matthew to illustrate the distress of the mothers of the slaughtered innocents. When Herod, king of Judaea, heard of the birth of an infant who was to be king of the Jews, he ordered the massacre of all the children of two years and younger, expecting the newborn king to be among the victims. "Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not" (Matthew 2:17-18).

SL, Chapter 7, section 2

Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe (...) was one of those men who start their lives well, skid for a while, and then slide back on to the strait and narrow path and stay there.

Matthew 7:14 / Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.

He always looked rather like a Regency buck who has done himself well for years among the fleshpots.

Exodus 16:3 / And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger.

SL, Chapter 8

You're wreathed in smiles, dash it, and skipping like the high hills.

Psalm 114:4 / The mountains skipped like rams, and the little hills like lambs.

One of Wodehouse's favourite biblical gags. This Psalm deals with the crossing of the Red Sea by the children of Israel, as related in Exodus, chapter 14. Although the book of Exodus does not mention any "skipping mountains", this and other extraordinary phenomena are part of the metaphorical language the Bible uses to evoke the power and glory of God. The "high hills" instead of "mountains" may be found in Psalm 68:16 / Why leap ye, ye high hills? This is the hill which God desireth to dwell in; yea, the Lord will dwell in it for ever.

"Exactly", said Lady Constance, a little dazed at finding this Saul among the prophets

1 Samuel 10:11 / And it came to pass, when all that knew him [Saul] beforetime saw that, behold, he prophesied among the prophets, then the people said one to another, What is this that is come upon the son of Kish? Is Saul also among the prophets?

Shortly after his consecration as king of Israel, the spirit of God seized on Saul, and he fell into ecstasy in the middle of a group of prophets. Those who knew Saul were astounded that a man of his rank should mix with these fanatics, hence the question.

SL, Chapter 10, section 2

Feeling so kindly towards her, it occurred to him that a word in season, opening her eyes to his nephew's true character, might prevent the girl making a mistake which she would regret for ever when it was too late.

Proverbs 15:23 / A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!

SL, Chapter 11, section 1

It was a laugh which (...) had caused commissionaires to leap like war-horses at the note of the bugle

See Job 39:25. Curiously enough, this is one of the passages where Wodehouse does not quote the Authorised Version, which he uses elsewhere ("He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha"), but a different translation, in which the war-horse starts/leaps at the sound/note of the bugle. On the internet, I have found only one version that comes close to our text, the so-called "New Living Translation": "It snorts at the sound of the bugle." Unfortunately, this translation was only published in 1996! Could someone help me to identify the version used by Wodehouse?

SL, Chapter 11, section 2

There had appeared in the nick of time an angel from heaven

Luke 22:43 / And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

SL, Chapter 11, section 3

"Death, where is thy sting?" said Hugo

1 Corinthians 15:55 / O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

Another verse often quoted by P G Wodehouse, and always, one regrets to say, used in the wrong way! In the 15th chapter of his first epistle to the Corinthians, the apostle Paul reminds his readers of the fundamental creed of the Christians: the resurrection of the dead, heralded by Christ's own rising from the dead. At the end of his explanation, he exclaims triumphantly: "When this perishable nature has put on imperishability, and when this mortal nature has put on immortality, then the words of scripture will come true: Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?" (Jerusalem Bible)

SL, Chapter 12, section 3

This Good Samaritan had been stooping.

The "Good Samaritan" is the name of the parable which you can find in Luke 10:29-37. It is a story about a man assaulted by brigands and left half dead on the road, whose distress is ignored by a priest and a Levite, but who is finally taken care of by—of all people—a Samaritan, belonging to a people whom the orthodox Jews looked upon as heretics.

SL, Chapter 13, section 1

Samson, as he heard the pillars of the temple begin to crack, must have felt the same.

Judges 16:29-30 / 29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. 30 And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.

After his capture by the Philistines, Samson was put in prison in Gaza to grind corn. When they sent for him to make mock of him on the occasion of a sacrifice to their god Dagon, he killed himself and three thousand Philistines in the way described above.

He groaned in spirit

See above.

Don't want the sun to go down on my wrath.

Ephesians 4:26 / Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.

SL, Chapter 13, section 2

It bit like a serpent and stung like an adder.

Proverbs 23:31-32 / 31 Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright. 32 At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

SL, Chapter 13, section 3

His manner seemed to indicate that he washed his hands of Hugo.

Matthew 27:24 / When Pilate saw that he could prevail nothing, but that rather a tumult was made, he took water, and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, I am innocent of the blood of this just person: see ye to it.

SL, Chapter 14, section 1

No good angel, aware of what the future held, stood on the threshold to bar his entry.

Genesis 3:24 / So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

After the Fall, Adam and Eve were banished from paradise, while cherubs, one of the two highest orders of angels, were posted at the entry.

SL, Chapter 14, section 2

This eleventh hour alteration of plans

See above.

SL, Chapter 15

But, after all, he's getting on and all flesh is as grass

Isaiah 40:6 / The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field.

1 Peter 1:24 / For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass.

SL, Chapter 18

He looked like some father in melodrama welcoming the prodigal daughter.

The "prodigal son" is the name usually given to the younger of two sons in the parable told by Jesus in Luke 15:11-32. Having demanded of his father his share of the estate, he left for a distant country and "wasted his substance with riotous living." Came a famine, and he hired himself out to one of the inhabitants who made him feed his pigs. "And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him." So he decided to go home. Instead of rebuking him, his father clasped him in his arms, kissed him, and ordered his servants to bring out the best clothes and to kill the fatted calf. One of the most beautiful parables of the Gospel, illustrating God's mercy.

SL, Chapter 19

It was his intention to shake the dust of Blandings off his feet

Matthew 10:14 / And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Jewish gesture, signifying that the place or the house that refuses Jesus' word is to be considered as "unclean", i.e. unworthy to approach God.

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