1930-1939
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Very Good, Jeeves (1930) [VGJ] • Big Money (1931) [BM] • Doctor Sally (1932) [DS] • Hot Water (1932) [HW]
Mulliner Nights (1933) [MN] • Heavy Weather (1933) [HvW] • Thank You, Jeeves (1934) [TYJ]
Right Ho, Jeeves (1934) [RHJ] • Blandings Castle and Elsewhere (1935) [BCE]
The Luck of the Bodkins (1935) [LB] • Young Men in Spats (1936) [YMS] • Laughing Gas (1936) [LG]
Lord Emsworth and Others (1937) [LEO] • Summer Moonshine (1938) [SM]
The Code of the Woosters (1938) [CW] • Uncle Fred in the Springtime (1939) [UFS]

VERY GOOD, JEEVES

VGJ, Chapter 2 (The Inferiority Complex of Old Sippy)

Receiving six of the juiciest on the old spot with a cane that bit 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.

Mr Sipperley, if you follow me, is in the position of a man from whose eyes the scales have not fallen. The task that faced me, Jeeves, was to discover some scheme which would cause those scales to fall.

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".

One, marked Private, opened into Sippy's editorial sanctum.

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.

VGJ, Chapter 3 (Jeeves and the Yule-tide Spirit)

At Christmas-time, with all the peace on earth and goodwill towards men that there is knocking about at that season

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".

It practically amounted 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.

And now that there has been a change of programme the iron has entered into your soul.

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

She was suggesting the ripest, fruitiest, brainiest scheme for bringing young Tuppy's 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.

Any girl who can think up a wheeze like that is my idea of a helpmeet.

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.

Thus rendering it possible after one had sown the seed, so to speak, to make a quick getaway.

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.

This one was something in between the last Trump and a tiger calling for breakfast after being on a diet for a day or two.

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.

Pipped me 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.

So that I should eventually be received back into 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.

VGJ, Chapter 4 (Jeeves and the Song of Songs)

Jeeves and the Song of Songs

The "Song of Solomon" or "Song of Songs" (the latter title means "the greatest of all songs") is a collection of love poems. The Jewish and Christian tradition have always interpreted them as an allegory of the loving relationship between God and his people, or between Christ and his Church.

The mere sight of them gave me the sort of feeling Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego must have had when preparing to enter the 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).

VGJ, Chapter 5 (Episode of the Dog McIntosh)

There was a sound 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.

VGJ, Chapter 7 (Jeeves and the Kid Clementina)

A girl who went about the place letting the pure in heart in for the sort of thing I was doing now.

Matthew 5:8 / Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

A sudden bright light shone upon me from below

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.

Perhaps you will endeavour at the eleventh hour to justify your existence, officer

See above.

VGJ, Chapter 8 (The Love that Purifies)

A great light shone upon me.

See above.

He is one of those kids who never let the sun go down on their wrath

Ephesians 4:26 / Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.

Can the leopard change his spots or the Ethiopian his what-not?

Jeremiah 13:23 / Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.

VGJ, Chapter 9 (Jeeves and the Old School Chum)

If you want to see what was once a first-class Garden of Eden becoming utterly ruined as a desirable residence by the machinations of a Serpent, take a look round this place.

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.

It did not take me long to see why the iron had entered into Bingo's soul.

See above.

It was on young Bingo that she concentrated as the brand to be saved from the burning.

Zechariah 3:2 / And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?

"This" refers to Joshua, the high priest, who has escaped the fire that destroyed Jerusalem in 587 BC and the subsequent deportation of the people by the Babylonians.

Welcoming criticism of the lord and master, I mean?

John 13:13-14 / 13 Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. 14 If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.

The Pyke (...) must be cast into outer darkness where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth.

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. The variant "wailing" can be found in Matthew 13:42 and 13:50.

Mrs Bingo had won the Scripture prize by taking a list of the Kings of Judah into the examination room

After the reign of Solomon, the Hebrew nation was split up into two distinct kingdoms, Judah and "Israel" (i.e. the ten northern tribes). The kings of Judah, until the Babylonian captivity in 587 BC, were: Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Ahaziah, Athaliah, Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah.

It was his idea, Bertie, that if a couple of women headed for tea suddenly found the cup snatched from their lips, so to speak, they would turn and rend one another.

Matthew 7:6 / Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you.

VGJ, Chapter 10 (Indian Summer of an Uncle)

The scales had fallen from our eyes.

See above.

"This woman and he will be like—"

"Deep calling to deep, sir?"

Psalm 42:7 / Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

Waters are often used in the Bible as a symbol of deadly peril.

VGJ, Chapter 11 (The Ordeal of Young Tuppy)

There is no danger of getting lugged into a party of amateur waits and having to tramp the countryside in the rain, singing, "While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks By Night."

Luke 2:8 / And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.

The immediate source for this quotation is a poem or hymn by Nicholas Brady: "While shepherds watch'd their flocks by night, / All seated on the ground, / The Angel of the Lord came down, / And glory shone around."

The season of peace and good will found it in full blast.

See above.

Wanted to extend the olive-branch

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.

What you might call the science of the thing is to Bertram Wooster a sealed book.

Isaiah 29:11 / And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed.
Revelation 5:1 / And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

The sealed book symbolises God's secret decrees. Only the Lamb (i.e. Jesus Christ) is worthy "to take the scroll and break the seals of it" (Revelation 5:9).

There's nothing like a bit of rest and what you might call 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.

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BIG MONEY

BM, Chapter 1, section 1

Something of the affectionate approach a conscientious trainer of performing fleas might have shown towards one of his artists who had strayed from 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.

Our chumminess was a silent sermon on Brotherly Love.

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

Me, old boy! Lazarus in person.

Luke 16:19-21 / 19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores. 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

BM, Chapter 1, section 2

If the prophet Job had entered the room at that moment, T Paterson Frisby would have shaken his hand and said, "Old man, I know just how you must have felt."

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.

The iron entered pretty deeply into his soul.

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

It'll be like manna in the wilderness.

Deuteronomy 8:16 / Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end.
John 6:49 / Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

After their flight from Egypt, God provided the Israelites in the desert with a miraculous sort of food, called "manna" (full story in Exodus 16:1-36).

BM, Chapter 1, section 4

In this inner shrine they were standing 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.

BM, Chapter 3

He was feeling now as Elijah would have felt in the wilderness if the ravens had suddenly developed cut-throat business methods.

1 Kings 17:4 / And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.

During a period of drought and famine, the prophet Elijah was ordered by God to hide in the wadi Cherith, east of the Jordan, where ravens brought him bread in the morning and meat in the evening.

You have been wiser in your generation than I in mine, my boy.

Luke 16:8 / And the lord commended the unjust steward, because he had done wisely: for the children of this world are in their generation wiser than the children of light.

BM, Chapter 5

Grim and desolate spots where the foot of white man had not trod nor the Gospel been preached.

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.

I consider it practically a Garden 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.

BM, Chapter 6, section 2

Saved 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.

BM, Chapter 7, section 1

"Oh, sorry, sir!" cried this babe and suckling.

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.

As the crackling of thorns under a pot, he felt, so is the laughter of a fool.

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

BM, Chapter 7, section 2

There is a time for dreaming, and a time for facing the issues of life in a practical spirit.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 / 1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.

Possible reminiscence of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, with its repeated mentions of a time to do something, and a time to do the opposite.

BM, Chapter 8

To smooth his employer's path

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.

Something of this kind was only to be expected in a world in which all flesh was 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.

I thought it might be Barabbas.

John 18:40 / Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.

At the time of Jesus' trial before Pontius Pilate, Barabbas was in custody too. Pilate, feeling himself trapped by the pressure exerted by the Jewish priests, offered to release Jesus in accordance with a custom which allowed him to free one prisoner to popular demand at the feast of the Passover. But the crowd, influenced by the priests, asked for the release of Barabbas instead.

Nobody had started the millennium by lynching J B Hoke.

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 belief in a future millennium of blessedness, either in heaven or on earth.

BM, Chapter 9, section 1

A lonely girl, stranger in a strange land

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".

Buzzing about a lot and rejoicing in her youth, I suppose?

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.

I was the hart that pants for cooling streams when heated in the chase.

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

However, the immediate source for this quotation appears to be the hymn "Converting Grace 230", from "A New Version of the Psalms": "As pants the hart for cooling streams / When heated in the chase; / So longs my soul, Oh God, for Thee, / And Thy refreshing grace".

BM, Chapter 10, section 1

He has the air of one who would be pretty rough with the widow and the orphan if he got a chance.

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)

BM, Chapter 10, section 2

"You Jonah!"

"Judas", corrected Mr Hoke. He liked to get these things right.

Jonah 1:17 / Now the Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. / 2:10 / And the Lord spake unto the fish, and it vomited out Jonah upon the dry land.

The "great fish" has become a "whale" in popular imagination.

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.

BM, Chapter 12, section 2

At the eleventh hour Fate had sent him a man who talked about money

See above.

BM, Chapter 13, section 3

It was as if a great light had shone upon him.

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.

BM, Chapter 13, section 4

The scales have 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".

Seething the kid in its mother's milk, is what I call it.

Exodus 23:19 / The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the Lord thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother's milk.

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DOCTOR SALLY

DS, Chapter 2

Lord Tidmouth, during these exchanges, had been directing at his long-lost friend a look in which remorse and brotherly love were nicely blended. Remorse now faded, and brotherly love had the field to itself.

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

DS, Chapter 3

Bygones be bygones. Let the dead past bury its dead.

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.

The actual quotation, however, comes from Longfellow's "A Psalm of Life": "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!"

As always on occasions such as this, the air became full of a babel of words.

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.

DS, Chapter 4

A bright light shone upon Bill.

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.

DS, Chapter 6

If one of the more austere of the minor prophets had worn plus-fours he would have looked just as Sir Hugo Drake was looking now.

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.

DS, Chapter 7

The scales would fall from his eyes, and his infatuation would wither and decay.

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".

DS, Chapter 10

I'm not interested in your soul. My job has to do with what the hymn-book calls your "vile body".

Philippians 3:20-21 / 20 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: 21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

I have not been able to find a hymn containing the words "vile body". Could Sally have been thinking of the Book of Common Prayer? In "The Order for the Burial of the Dead", the priest says the following beautiful prayer, while earth is cast upon the body: "Forasmuch as it hath pleased Almighty God of his great mercy to take unto himself the soul of our dear brother here departed, we therefore commit his body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection to eternal life, through our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall change our vile body, that it may be like unto his glorious body, according to the mighty working, whereby he is able to subdue all things to himself." In order to appreciate the Bible's positive teaching on the human body, it is essential to note that the word "vile" meant "lowly, humble" at the time the King James Version was published, not "evil" or "worthless"!

DS, Chapter 11

"They say", continued Lord Tidmouth earnestly, "that strong drink biteth like a serpent and—if I remember correctly—stingeth like a jolly old adder. Well, all I have to say is—let it! (...) Excuse me for a moment, old man, while I mix myself a stiffish serpent-and-soda."

Strong drink might bite like an adder, but soda-water could spout like a geyser.

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.

Lord Tidmouth 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.

DS, Chapter 13

Sir Hugo looked like a minor prophet receiving good news about the latest battle with the Philistines.

For the minor prophets, see above. The Philistines were among the most bitter enemies of Israel in the Old Testament.

Directly you saw this woman in the home of your ancestors, beneath the gaze of the family portraits, the scales fell from your eyes and your infatuation withered and died.

See above.

DS, Chapter 15

Sir Hugo raised both hands, like a minor prophet blessing the people.

Luke 24:50 / And he [Jesus] led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands, and blessed them.

For the minor prophets, see above. Raising one's hands in prayer or to bestow God's blessing on his people is a very ancient Jewish custom, adopted by the Christians.

DS, Chapter 16

He spoke with a loving warmth which would have excited the respectful envy of the author of the Song of Solomon.

The "Song of Solomon" or "Song of Songs" (the latter title means "the greatest of all songs") is a collection of love poems. The Jewish and Christian tradition have always interpreted them as an allegory of the loving relationship between God and his people, or between Christ and his Church.

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HOT WATER

HW, Chapter 1, section 5

It was as if there had been a belt of fog hiding the Promised Land from him

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.

HW, Chapter 1, section 6

He seemed to be gazing upon the Promised Land.

See above.

HW, Chapter 2, section 1

It was better to keep the whole subject of the brave old days a sealed book.

Isaiah 29:11 / And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed.

Revelation 5:1 / And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

The sealed book symbolises God's secret decrees. Only the Lamb (i.e. Jesus Christ) is worthy "to take the scroll and break the seals of it" (Revelation 5:9).

HW, Chapter 2, section 2

Undoubtedly a suggestion of Absalom, the son of David.

2 Samuel 14:25-26 / 25 But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 26 And when he polled his head, (for it was at every year's end that he polled it: because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he polled it:) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the king's weight.

Unfortunately, Absalom's luxurious hair was to be the cause of his death. After having raised a rebellion against his father David, he was caught by the hair in the thick branches of a great oak, while riding a mule, and was left hanging between heaven and earth when the mule went on. Joab, David's general, found him there and stabbed him to death.

It was the Old Adam stirring within him once more.

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.

HW, Chapter 2, section 6

The thought of the poor child having to lean on so weak a 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.

HW, Chapter 5

A child could have played with him

Isaiah 11:8 / And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.

Isaiah 11:1-9 is a poem which describes the marvels to be accomplished by the Messiah: the verse quoted here shows that in the messianic era the peace and harmony will be restored which once reigned supreme in Eden.

HW, Chapter 6, section 1

He should have been patient and long-suffering with him.

Colossians 1:11 / Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness.

HW, Chapter 8, section 2

That I have been visiting her—ah—sanctum sanctorum.

The Latin words mean "Holy of Holies", i.e. "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.

HW, Chapter 12

Mr Gedge a little like Daniel threading his way through the den of lions.

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.

HW, Chapter 13, section 1

He looked like one who has passed 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.

HW, Chapter 13, section 3

Her spectacled face lifted itself, not unlike that of a war-horse sniffing the approaching battle.

Job 39:25 / He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

HW, Chapter 14, section 3

He was about to bring tidings of great joy to Mr Slattery.

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.

HW, Chapter 16, section 6

He was far too prone to substitute a left hook to the jaw for that soft answer which the righteous recommend.

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.

HW, Chapter 17, section 1

A sudden falling of scales from the 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".

HW, Chapter 18

We'll just roam about the world together for the rest of our lives, raising Cain hand in hand.

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.

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MULLINER NIGHTS

MN, Chapter 2 (The Story of Webster)

I should describe this letter as more or less what you might call an olive-branch.

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.

At their first meeting he weighed Gladys in the balance and found her 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.

Their dear one has been straying in their absence 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.

Having wrenched himself with difficulty from the lair of the Philistines

The Philistines were among the most bitter enemies of Israel in the Old Testament. Figuratively speaking, a philistine is an uncultured, prosaic person.

With a gesture such as Job might have made on discovering a new boil

Job 2:7 / So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.

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.

At the eleventh hour the reprieve had come.

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.

MN, Chapter 3 (Cats Will Be Cats)

It was as if Savonarola or some minor prophet had suddenly been introduced into the carefree, Bohemian atmosphere of the studio.

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.

Lancelot discovered that the animal (...) 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.

I visualise his higher and lower selves warring.

Romans 7:21-23 / 21 I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. 22 For I delight in the law of God after the inward man: 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.

"How art thou fallen from Heaven, oh Lucifer, Son of Morning", he seemed to be saying

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.

MN, Chapter 4 (The Knightly Quest of Mervyn)

"Then go and buy them, blast you", said Oofy, 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...

He seemed to remember a similar thing having happened to the Israelites in the desert—that time, he reminded me, when they were all saying to each other how well a spot of manna would go down and what a dashed shame it was they hadn't any manna and that was the slipshod way the commissariat department ran things and they wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't a case of graft in high places, and then suddenly out of a blue sky all the manna they could do with and enough over for breakfast next day.

Deuteronomy 8:16 / Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end.

John 6:49 / Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

After their flight from Egypt, God provided the Israelites in the desert with a miraculous sort of food, called "manna" (full story in Exodus 16:1-36).

MN, Chapter 5 (The Voice from the Past)

I thought they had to be a hundred years old and seven feet high, with eyes of flame, and long white beards.

Revelation 1:14 / His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire.

This text is part of a description of a vision in which Christ appears to the author of the Apocalypse. The white hair symbolises his eternity, the eyes of flame his divine knowledge.

To me, a headmaster has always been a sort of blend of Epstein's Genesis and something out of the Book of Revelations.

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.

Manure is a sealed book to me.

Isaiah 29:11 / And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed.

Revelation 5:1 / And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

The sealed book symbolises God's secret decrees. Only the Lamb (i.e. Jesus Christ) is worthy "to take the scroll and break the seals of it" (Revelation 5:9).

Just the sort of goings-on that got the Cities of the Plain so disliked.

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.

While she went on Babylonian orgies all over the place

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.

She had given her heart to a mild, sweet-natured, lovable lamb; and the moment she had done so he had suddenly flung off his sheep's clothing and said: "April fool! I'm a wolf!"

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

MN, Chapter 6 (Open House)

"Mulliner", said Orlando Wotherspoon (...), "thou art the man!"

2 Samuel 12:7 / And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man.

After sleeping with Bathsheba, wife of Uriah, King David had the latter killed by sending him into the front line of battle. Nathan the prophet was sent to David, and told him the (fictitious) story of two men, one rich, the other poor. The poor man had nothing but a "ewe lamb" (see above, chapter 7), "which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter" (2 Samuel 12:3). When a traveller came to stay with the rich man, the latter, refusing to take one of his own, took the poor man's lamb and prepared it for his guest. David's reaction to this tale was as Nathan had foreseen: "As the Lord liveth, the man that hath done this thing shall surely die". After which Nathan only had to draw the conclusion: "Thou art the man", thus denouncing David's crime, as symbolised by the parable of the ewe lamb.

Foolish, mistaken, I may have been, but, as God is my witness, I meant well.

Romans 1:9 / For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I make mention of you always in my prayers.

MN, Chapter 7 (Best Seller)

It seemed to him that his cup of joy was full.

Psalm 23:5 / Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Pie-faced literary agents who (...) wheeze as they enter the editorial sanctum.

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.

MN, Chapter 9 (Gala Night)

She was seething with that febrile exasperation which, since the days of Eve, has come upon women who find themselves linked to a cloth-head.

Genesis 3:20 / And Adam called his wife's name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.

I'm not very well up in these things, but didn't David dance before Saul? Or am I thinking of a couple of other fellows? Anyway, I know that somebody danced before somebody and was extremely highly thought of in consequence.

2 Samuel 6:14 / And David danced before the Lord with all his might: and David was girded with a linen ephod.

1 Samuel 16:23 / And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

Wodehouse is confusing king David dancing before the ark of God (Saul was dead by then), with the young David relieving king Saul of his depressions by playing the harp.

I'm not saying it was David, mind you. It may quite easily have been Samuel.

Samuel was the last of the Judges of Israel, who anointed Saul and David as the nation's first two kings. His life is recorded in the First Book of Samuel.

Or even Nimshi, the son of Bimshi, or somebody like that.

1 Kings 19:16 / And Jehu the son of Nimshi shalt thou anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah shalt thou anoint to be prophet in thy room.

I haven't been able to find any Bimshis in the Bible!

He would gladly see me turned into a pillar of salt like Lot's wife, Genesis 19, 26.

Genesis 19:26 / But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.

When Lot, Abraham's nephew, was summoned by angels to take his wife and his daughters and leave the city of Sodom, which was soon to be destroyed, he was told that they should not look behind them. Lot's wife did, however, with desastrous results. This anecdote is probably a popular explanation of some strangely shaped mass of rock which is still pointed out to tourists near the Dead Sea.

The sound of a manly voice trolling the Psalm for the Second Sunday after Septuagesima.

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

The prudent man looketh well to his going. Proverbs, 14, 15.

Proverbs 14:15 / The simple believeth every word: but the prudent man looketh well to his going.

Remember, many waters cannot quench love. Song of Solomon, 8, 7.

Song of Solomon 8:7 / Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it: if a man would give all the substance of his house for love, it would utterly be contemned.

A manner more suitable to the Cities of the Plain than to our dear England.

See above.

Whoopee! How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel! Numbers, 44, 5.

Numbers 24:5 / How goodly are thy tents, O Jacob, and thy tabernacles, O Israel!

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: "Correctly quoted in Cosmopolitan and Strand, but incorrectly, as Numbers 44, 5 in the book editions."

Your day's toil in the vineyard has earned repose.

Matthew 20:1 / For the kingdom of heaven is like unto a man that is an householder, which went out early in the morning to hire labourers into his vineyard.

The sleep of the labouring man is sweet. Ecclesiastes, 5, 12.

Ecclesiastes 5:12 / The sleep of a labouring man is sweet, whether he eat little or much: but the abundance of the rich will not suffer him to sleep.

Whatsoever thou takest in hand, remember the end and thou shalt never do amiss. Ecclesiastes, 7, 36.

Ecclesiasticus 7:36 / Whatsoever thou takest in hand, remember the end and thou shalt never do amiss.

The source is Ecclesiasticus, not Ecclesiastes! 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: "Incorrectly attributed to Ecclesiastes 7, 36 in the book editions, and nowhere, it seems, given its true origin! Interestingly, the quotations themselves are excluded from the versions of the story in the magazines (Cosmopolitan and Strand), suggesting that perhaps their editors, who were generally accurate, could not locate the source of the quotation!"

They couldn't be more off the poor, unfortunate fish if he were the Scarlet Woman of Babylon.

Revelation 17:3-5 / 3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5 And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.

The "woman in scarlet", also named "the great whore" (Revelation 17:1), symbolises Rome, capital of the empire which is persecuting the infant Church. In the Bible, marital infidelity is often used as a metaphor for idolatry.

If I'm not very much mistaken, we have sown the wind and we shall reap the whirlwind. Hosea, 8, 7.

Hosea 8:7 / For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.

"A merry heart doeth good like a medecine. Proverbs 17, 22", murmured Augustine.

Proverbs 17:22 / A merry heart doeth good like a medecine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.

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HEAVY WEATHER

HvW, Chapter 1

Swallowing camels and straining at gnats is what I should call it.

Matthew 23:23-24 / 23 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. 24 Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel.

HvW, Chapter 2

First at the office, last to come away, and solid, selfless service all the time—no clock-watching, no folding of the hands in...

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.

Since you have no heart, no sympathy, no feeling, no bowels—of compassion, I mean

1 John 3:17 / But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?

The "bowels" or "entrails" are often used like this in Hebrew (and in the Greek of the New Testament, which was nearly always written by men whose mother tongue was a Semitic language), because they are the source of feelings. A good contemporary translation would say "heart".

And a bright light had just flashed upon him.

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.

HvW, Chapter 3

At a moment when he was drooping his long body over the rail of the Empress's sanctum

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.

HvW, Chapter 5

He must regard the dear old days as a sealed book

Isaiah 29:11 / And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed.

Revelation 5:1 / And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

The sealed book symbolises God's secret decrees. Only the Lamb (i.e. Jesus Christ) is worthy "to take the scroll and break the seals of it" (Revelation 5:9).

What is money? Fairy gold. That's what it is. Dead Sea fruit.

Deuteronomy 32:32 / For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter.

The vine of Sodom is a thorny plant found around the Dead Sea. It is sometimes called the "apple of Sodom" or "Dead Sea fruit". Its fruit has a bright red skin, but is not edible because it is full of hard black seeds mingled only with silky hairs resembling ashes. Hence its application to attractive looking things with deceiving contents.

HvW, Chapter 6

A thrill ran through Lady Constance, such as causes the war-horse to start 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?

HvW, Chapter 7

Do you recall that hymn about "See the hosts of Midian prowl and prowl 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.

He put up a good case for himself in extenuation of this resurgence of the Old Adam.

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.

Groaning in spirit, Lord Tilbury walked on.

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.

The interior of the shed was of an Egyptian blackness.

Exodus 10:21-23 / 21 And the Lord said unto Moses, Stretch out thine hand toward heaven, that there may be darkness over the land of Egypt, even darkness which may be felt. 22 And Moses stretched forth his hand toward heaven; and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt three days: 23 They saw not one another, neither rose any from his place for three days: but all the children of Israel had light in their dwellings.

This is the ninth of the "Ten Plagues of Egypt", as narrated in Exodus 7-12.

If you are willing to let the dead past bury its dead

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.

The actual quotation, however, comes from Longfellow's "A Psalm of Life": "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!"

Taking me back into 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.

Even unto half of my kingdom, I mean to say.

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.

HvW, Chapter 8

He had fallen, like Lucifer, from heaven to hell.

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.

What he had heard was really 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.

HvW, Chapter 9

He viewed members of gangs in rather an Old Testament spirit, and believed in their getting treated rough.

The Old Testament is, of course, the first half of the Bible, which contains the Jewish Scriptures dealing with the events preceding the birth of Christ.

Shropshire (...) was now 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.

No Israelite caught in a sudden manna-shower in mid-desert could have felt a greater mixture of surprise and gratification.

Deuteronomy 8:16 / Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end.

John 6:49 / Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

After their flight from Egypt, God provided the Israelites in the desert with a miraculous sort of food, called "manna" (full story in Exodus 16:1-36).

HvW, Chapter 10

Sue (...) seemed to have disappeared 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.

Because if ever there were two women who would descend to the level of the beasts of the field to lay their hooks on it...

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.

HvW, Chapter 11

Just imagine how quick I should be leaving if Emsworth knew that I was the chap who flung wide the gates.

Psalm 24:7 / Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

A passage in Tales of St Austin's proves that Wodehouse is referring to this psalm here, although he does not quote the Authorised Version. Contemporary translations, such as "Today's English Version", read: "Fling wide the gates, open the ancient doors, and the great king will come in". Wodehouse may be quoting from "The Crucifixion", a composition by Sir John Stainer (1840-1901)—words by the Rev J Sparrow-Simpson—in which the choir sings: "Fling wide the gates / for the Saviour waits / to tread in His royal way / He has come from above / in His power and love, / to die on this Passion day."

HvW, Chapter 12

That broken reed on which he had foolishly supposed that it would be possible to lean.

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.

HvW, Chapter 13

He leaned on the rail of the sty and groaned in spirit.

See above.

The Prodigal Son might have mixed with these animals on a clubby basis, but Percy Pilbeam knew himself to be incapable of imitating him.

Luke 15:15-16 / 15 And he went and joined himself to a citizen of that country; and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat: and no man gave unto him.

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.

HvW, Chapter 14

Sir Gregory became aware that he had sown the wind and was reaping the whirlwind.

Hosea 8:7 / For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind: it hath no stalk: the bud shall yield no meal: if so be it yield, the strangers shall swallow it up.

Why skip ye so, ye high hills?

Psalm 68:16 / Why hop ye so, ye high hills? This is God's hill, in the which it pleaseth him to dwell: yea, the Lord will abide in it for ever (Book of Common Prayer).

The psalmist warns other mountains not to be jealous of the hill of Zion, God's dwelling place on earth.

HvW, Chapter 15

These wicked men were apparently going to prosper like a couple of bay trees.

Psalm 37:35 / I myself have seen the ungodly in great power : and flourishing like a green bay-tree (Book of Common Prayer).

But first to spy out the land.

Numbers 13:16-17 / 16 These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua. 17 And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain.

HvW, Chapter 16

Lady Constance's voice caused a statuette of the young David prophesying before Saul to quiver on its base. (...)

This time it was Lord Emsworth's voice that rocked the young David.

1 Samuel 16:23 / And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

The Bible never shows us David prophesying in presence of king Saul. Wodehouse was probably thinking of the episode of the young David relieving the king of his depressions by playing the harp.

Women's voices began to beat upon him like rain upon a roof.

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

Go through fire and water, as you might say.

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.

HvW, Chapter 17

The voice is the voice of Constance, but you can take the sentiments, Clarence, as representing the views of a syndicate.

Genesis 27:22 / And Jacob went near unto Isaac his father; and he felt him, and said, The voice is Jacob's voice, but the hands are the hands of Esau.

Isaac, old and blind, had sent his oldest son Esau to make a kill for a savoury meal, after which he would give him his blessing before dying. His wife Rebecca, having overheard their conversation, told Esau's younger brother Jacob to go and kill two kids, to take them to his father and to receive his blessing in Esau's place. Esau being hairy and Jacob smooth-skinned, Rebecca clothed the latter in Esau's clothes and covered his hands and neck with the kids' skins. Isaac was thus deceived when speaking the words recorded above and bestowing his blessing on his younger son. When he found out, Esau was not amused.

Lord Emsworth stifled a moan, and tried—a task which the deaf adder of Scripture apparently found so easy—to hear nothing

Psalm 58:3-5 / 3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. 4 Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; 5 Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.

These verses are certainly among the Bible texts most often quoted by Wodehouse.

"Take that thingummy", said Lord Emsworth, indicating the young David prophesying before Saul, "and if he so much as stirs hit him a good hard bang with it." (...)

"Very good, m'lord", said the butler, taking a firmer grip on David's left leg. (...)

He put down the young David

See above.

HvW, Chapter 18

You have fought the good fight, Beach.

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.

Back to top

THANK YOU, JEEVES

TYJ, Chapter 1

This George was a man who, after a lifetime of doing down the widow and orphan, had begun to feel the strain a bit.

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)

"Might I inquire, on my side, if you are aware that Mrs Tinkler-Moulke owns a Pomeranian? (...) This animal yaps all day and not infrequently far into the night. So Mrs Tinkler-Moulke has had the nerve to complain of my banjolele, has she? Ha! Let her first pluck out the Pom which is in her own eye", I said, becoming a bit scriptural.

Matthew 7:3-5 / 3 And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? 4 Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? 5 Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.

But since then I had passed 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.

TYJ, Chapter 3

The scales fell 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".

TYJ, Chapter 4

And now that the scales had fallen from my eyes, I could see that what I required for the role of Mrs Bertram Wooster was something rather more on the lines of Janet Gaynor.

See above.

But, as I was about to remark, if what you say is really so, be prepared for 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.

TYJ, Chapter 5

And unless old Stoker buys the Hall, Chuffy will continue to be Kid Lazarus, the man without a bean.

Luke 16:19-21 / 19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day: 20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores. 21 And desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man's table: moreover the dogs came and licked his sores.

TYJ, Chapter 8

"Isn't there a sofa downstairs?"

"There is. Noah's. He brought it ashore on Mount Ararat. I shall be better off in the car."

Genesis 8:4 / And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.

Not ten minutes after I had made up my mind that I should never get to sleep again in this world I was off as comfortably as a babe or suckling.

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.

TYJ, Chapter 9

The light faded from her face, and in its stead there appeared the hurt, bewildered look of a barefoot dancer who, while half-way through The Vision of Salome, steps on a tin tack.

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".

I now intervened, coming across with the word in season.

Proverbs 15:23 / A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!

TYJ, Chapter 10

For some little time I had been feeling rather like Daniel in the lions' den.

She breathed heavily, and for a moment I experienced a return of that lions' den sensation.

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.

TYJ, Chapter 11

"I shall accept his invitation. I regard it as..."

"The amende honorable, sir?"

"I was going to say olive branch."

"Or olive branch. The two terms are virtually synonymous. The French phrase I would be inclined to consider perhaps slightly the more exact in the circumstances—carrying with it, as it does, the implication of remorse, of the desire to make restitution. But if you prefer the expression "olive branch", by all means employ it, sir." (...)

"I shall accept his invitation—whether as an olive branch or an amende honorable is wholly immaterial and doesn't matter a single, solitary damn, Jeeves..."

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.

TYJ, Chapter 12

It is not pyjamas I need, Jeeves, but the wings of a dove.

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

I turned my face to the wall. This was the end.

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...

TYJ, Chapter 13

Jeeves would be back at the Hall by now. I had only to go and get in touch with him and he would bring out pounds of butter 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.

TYJ, Chapter 16

Speaking for myself, I decided to let the dead past bury its dead when I heard that you had been giving little Seabury one or two on the spot indicated.

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.

The actual quotation, however, comes from Longfellow's "A Psalm of Life": "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!"

The butter situation, I am happy to say, is reasonably bright. We can't get any tonight, but it cometh in the morning, so to speak.

Psalm 30:5 / For his anger endureth but a moment: in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

TYJ, Chapter 17

"You really think she loves him still and wishes to extend the amende honorable?"

"Or olive branch? Yes sir."

See above.

TYJ, Chapter 18

I must say I can't see why Jeeves shouldn't go down in legend and song. Daniel did, on the strength of putting in half an hour or so in the lions' den and leaving the dumb chums in a condition of suavity and camaraderie; and if what Jeeves had just done wasn't entitled to rank well above a feat like that, I'm no judge of form.

See above.

TYJ, Chapter 19

I always maintain that it is by a chap's behaviour on this sort of occasion that you can really weigh him in the balance

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.

She is handicapped by possessing a father who bears a striking resemblance to something out of the Book of Revelations.

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.

The scales have fallen from my eyes.

See above.

TYJ, Chapter 20

He was one of those fellows who get their backs up the minute they think their nearest and dearest are trying to shove them into anything; a chap who, as the Bible puts it, if you say Go, he cometh, and if you say Come, he goeth

Matthew 8:8-9 / 8 The centurion answered and said, Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldest come under my roof: but speak the word only, and my servant shall be healed. 9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it.

TYJ, Chapter 21

Not, however, any more deeply than old Stoker, who seemed to be more or less passing through the furnace.

See above.

Because when it was a question of helping a pal he would go through fire and water to do so.

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.

TYJ, Chapter 22

He and I once stood in the same dock together at Bow Street, charged with raising Cain on Boat Race night

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 one thing I do not wish to do till further notice is think of that man of wrath.

Proverbs 19:19 / A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.

Back to top

RIGHT HO, JEEVES

RHJ, Chapter 1

I bade the man a cheery farewell and in generous mood suggested that, as I was dining out, why didn't he take the evening off and go to some improving picture or something. Sort of olive branch, if you see what I mean.

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.

RHJ, Chapter 3

And a moment later there was a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and the relative had crossed the threshold at fifty m.p.h. under her own steam.

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.

RHJ, Chapter 5

Then, suddenly, it is as if the Last Trump had sounded and Judgment Day set in with unusual severity.

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.

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.

When we Woosters put our hands to the plough, we do not readily sheathe the sword.

Luke 9:62 / And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

RHJ, Chapter 6

The whole aspect that of a man who has passed 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.

There was an hour of breathless suspense, and then the joyful tidings arrived

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 possible allusion to the Christmas gospel.

RHJ, Chapter 7

No matter how much you may behave like the deaf adder of Scripture which, as you are doubtless aware, the more one piped, the less it danced, or words to that effect

Psalm 58:3-5 / 3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. 4 Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; 5 Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.

These verses are certainly among the Bible texts most often quoted by Wodehouse.

RHJ, Chapter 9

There was a death-where-is-thy-sting-fullness about her manner which I found distasteful.

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)

"He says that Civilization is in the melting-pot and that all thinking men can read the writing on the wall."

"What wall?"

"Old Testament, ass. Belshazzar's feast."

"Oh, that, yes. I've often wondered how that gag was worked. With mirrors, I expect."

Daniel 5:5 / In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

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.

They hung on my lips. I held them in the hollow of my hand.

Isaiah 40:12 / Who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the hills in a balance?

RHJ, Chapter 11

Be brave, Tuppy. Fix your thoughts on that cold steak-and-kidney pie in the larder. As the Good Book says, it cometh in the morning.

Psalm 30:5 / For his anger endureth but a moment: in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

"Have faith, Aunt Dahlia", I urged.

Mark 11:22 / And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.

A possible reminiscence of Christ's words?

Deprived of Anatole's services, all he was likely to give the wife of his b. was a dirty look.

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...

The scales fell 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".

RHJ, Chapter 12

He started like 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?

RHJ, Chapter 13

"So much for the western front. We now turn to the eastern."

"Sir?"

"I speak in parables, Jeeves. What I mean is, we now approach the matter of Gussie and Miss Bassett."

Matthew 13:3 / And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow.

RHJ, Chapter 14

To be a hissing and a byword at places like the Drones

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".

In short, any girl who, having been rash enough to get engaged to him, has managed at the eleventh hour to slide out is justly entitled to consider herself dashed lucky.

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.

RHJ, Chapter 15

There is a time for studying beetles and a time for not studying beetles.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 / 1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.

Possible reminiscence of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, with its repeated mentions of a time to do something, and a time to do the opposite.

An incident which I long since decided to put out of my mind and let the dead past bury its dead about, if you follow what I mean

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.

The actual quotation, however, comes from Longfellow's "A Psalm of Life": "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!"

Besides, isn't there something in the book of rules about a man may not marry his cousin? Or am I thinking of grandmothers?

Leviticus 18:6 / None of you shall approach to any that is near of kin to him, to uncover their nakedness: I am the Lord.

Is Bertie thinking of the Bible? Leviticus 18 gives a set of rules for conjugal relationships, but they do not forbid a man to marry his cousin.

With something of the relief which those three chaps in the Old Testament must have experienced after sliding out of the 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).

RHJ, Chapter 16

"You say the race is not always to the swift."

"Why?"

"Well, it's a good gag. It generally gets a hand."

"I mean, why isn't it? Why isn't the race to the swift?"

"Ah, there you have me. But the nibs say it isn't."

Ecclesiastes 9:11 / I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

RHJ, Chapter 17

Here today, gone tomorrow, and all flesh is as grass, and what not

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.

What was What's-His-Name—the chap who begat Thingummy?

It is a little difficult to identify the passage Gussie is referring to. The Bible contains several pages of genealogy, mainly in the books Genesis, 1 Chronicles and the first chapter of Matthew, using the formula "A begat B, B begat C", etc. The first verse where the word "begat" occurs in the KJV is Genesis 4:18 : "And unto Enoch was born Irad: and Irad begat Mehujael: and Mehujael begat Methusael: and Methusael begat Lamech."

If that man's pockets, as he entered the examination room, were not stuffed to bursting point with lists of the kings of Judah

After the reign of Solomon, the Hebrew nation was split up into two distinct kingdoms, Judah and "Israel" (i.e. the ten northern tribes). The kings of Judah, until the Babylonian captivity in 587 BC, were: Rehoboam, Abijah, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Jehoram, Ahaziah, Athaliah, Joash, Amaziah, Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, Hezekiah, Manasseh, Amon, Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin and Zedekiah. It is obvious that these names fit comfortably on just one small piece of paper, a further proof of the unreliability of Gussie's statements.

RHJ, Chapter 18

I flung wide the gates

Psalm 24:7 / Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

A passage in Tales of St Austin's proves that Wodehouse is referring to this psalm here, although he does not quote the Authorised Version. Contemporary translations, such as "Today's English Version", read: "Fling wide the gates, open the ancient doors, and the great king will come in". Wodehouse may be quoting from "The Crucifixion", a composition by Sir John Stainer (1840-1901)—words by the Rev J Sparrow-Simpson—in which the choir sings: "Fling wide the gates / for the Saviour waits / to tread in His royal way / He has come from above / in His power and love, / to die on this Passion day."

RHJ, Chapter 19

A sudden bright 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.

"Look at Jael, the wife of Heber."

"Where ever did you hear of Jael, the wife of Heber?" (...)

"Well, as I say, look at Jael, the wife of Heber. Dug spikes into the guest's coconut while he was asleep, and then went swanking about the place like a Girl Guide."

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 remember when I won that Scripture knowledge prize, having to go into the facts about Balaam's ass. I can't quite recall what they were, but I still retain a sort of general impression of something digging its feet in and putting its ears back and refusing to cooperate; and it seemed to me that this was what Angela was doing now. She and Balaam's ass were, so to speak, sisters under the skin.

Numbers 22:23 / And the ass saw the angel of the Lord standing in the way, and his sword drawn in his hand: and the ass turned aside out of the way, and went into the field: and Balaam smote the ass, to turn her into the way.

Read the full story in Numbers 22:1-35, and discover that the priceless ass was Balaam, not his donkey.

In her determination to bring Tuppy's 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.

RHJ, Chapter 20

"If the prophet Job were to walk into the room at this moment, I could sit swapping hard-luck stories with him till bedtime. Not that Job was in my class."

"He had boils."

"Well, what are boils?"

"Dashed painful, I understand."

"Nonsense. I'd take all the boils on the market in exchange for my troubles. (...) And you talk about boils!"

I corrected her on a small point:

"I don't absolutely talk about boils. I merely mentioned that Job had them."

Job 2:7 / So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.

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.

"Be careful how you chew", I advised. "It 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.

RHJ, Chapter 21

I wandered out into the garden, smoking a tortured gasper, with the iron well embedded in the soul.

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

A possible allusion to the Psalm which is quoted more literally elsewhere in the Wodehouse canon.

There is one of the housemaids—Jane, I believe—who already skips like the high hills if I so much as come on her unexpectedly round a corner.

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.

RHJ, Chapter 22

Many is the night I've had it jerk me out of the dreamless like the Last Trump.

See above.

RHJ, Chapter 23

That was the part of it that really jabbed the iron into the soul.

See above.

I had returned to find it a sort of 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.

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BLANDINGS CASTLE AND ELSEWHERE

BCE, Chapter 1 (The Custody of the Pumpkin)

He was keenly alive to the fact that it scarcely fell into the class of 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.

Robert Barker, that 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.

A man already staggering beneath the troubles of a 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.

His tongue seemed to cleave to his palate

Psalm 137:6 / If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.

A possible allusion to the song of the psalmist, who, in exile "by the rivers of Babylon", remembers Zion.

BCE, Chapter 2 (Lord Emsworth Acts for the Best)

Ever since his lordship started to grow it I have seen the writing on the wall plainer and plainer

Daniel 5:5 / In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

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.

One of the worst. A Jebusite and Amalekite.

Numbers 13:29 / The Amalekites dwell in the land of the south: and the Hittites, and the Jebusites, and the Amorites, dwell in the mountains: and the Canaanites dwell by the sea, and by the coast of Jordan.

The Amalekites and the Jebusites are two of the pre-Israelite Palestinian peoples mentioned in the Bible.

BCE, Chapter 3 (Pig-hoo-o-o-o-ey!)

Nevertheless, Lord Emsworth, as he regarded her, mourned and 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).

I suppose she thinks I'm a sort of 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.

BCE, Chapter 4 (Company for Gertrude)

The scales fell 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".

He looked forward contentedly to a succession of sunshine days of 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 trusteth 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".

This young Popjoy stuck 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.

BCE, Chapter 5 (The Go-getter)

His feet were on a level with her eyes, and she saw that they were 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.

To Gertrude it was as if the scales had fallen from her eyes

See above.

BCE, Chapter 6 (Lord Emsworth and the Girl Friend)

Conditions during the tea hour, the marquee having stood all day under a blazing sun, were generally such that Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, had they been there, could have learned something new about burning fiery furnaces.

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).

There was only one man who could have coped adequately with the situation and that was King Herod, who—regrettably—was not among those present.

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.

For this "slaughter of the innocents", see above.

Across the threshold of this Eden the ginger whiskers of Angus McAllister lay like a flaming sword.

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.

BCE, Chapter 7 (Mr Potter Takes a Rest Cure)

His book of political essays—Watchman, What of the Night?

Isaiah 21:11 / The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?

The Edomites are presented in this difficult passage as asking the prophet Isaiah how long their subjection to the Assyrians is going to last.

BCE, Chapter 8 (Monkey Business)

Montrose 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.

If America is not to go the way of Babylon and Rome

The fall of Babylon in 539 BC is described and foretold, among other texts, by Isaiah 13-14, 21:1-10, and Jeremiah 50-51.

We realize that he had feet of clay—and cold ones, to boot.

See above.

BCE, Chapter 9 (The Nodder)

You saw before you the primrose path that led to perdition.

Matthew 7:13 / Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.

BCE, Chapter 12 (The Castaways)

A swell helpmeet you're going to make for a man in my line of business!

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.

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THE LUCK OF THE BODKINS

LB, Chapter 1, section 3

The waiter had proved 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.

LB, Chapter 2

It seemed to Reginald Tennyson that the time had come to speak the word in season.

Proverbs 15:23 / A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!

LB, Chapter 3

They take just that one look too many at the photograph on the dressing-table and the scales fall from their 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".

LB, Chapter 6

That chap in the Old Testament—Jacob, or some such name—had nothing on me. (...)

The old Jacob spirit burned as strongly as ever.

See Genesis 29:15-30. Jacob, received by his uncle Laban, had promised to work for him for seven years in order to win his youngest daughter Rachel. At the end of that period, Laban managed to get his elder and less attractive daughter Lea into Jacob's bed, thanks to the custom of keeping the bride veiled until the wedding night. So Jacob worked for another seven years to get Rachel too.

LB, Chapter 8

The writing was on the wall.

See below.

LB, Chapter 9

In the other historic case of writing on the wall, that which occurred during the celebrated Feast of Belshazzar, and, as Belshazzar said at the time, spoiled a good party, it will be remembered that what caused all the unpleasantness and upset the Babylonian monarch so much was the legend "Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin." It is odd to reflect that if somebody had written that on the wall of Monty's bathroom, he would not have turned a hair; while, conversely, knowing what those Babylonian monarchs were like, one can picture Belshazzar reading the present script and rather enjoying it. So strangely do tastes differ.

Daniel 5:5 / In the same hour came forth fingers of a man's hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaister of the wall of the king's palace: and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.

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.

That minor-prophet-like austerity of his had vanished

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.

LB, Chapter 11

With Ambrose prowling and prowling around like the troops of Midian

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.

The all-in champion of the lilies of the field. The king of the toil-not-nor-spinners.

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.

LB, Chapter 12

Lottie Blossom started like 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?

LB, Chapter 13

With that bright courtesy which stewards (...) always contrive to put on like 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.

To awake this morning with a sense of having passed through the valley of the shadow

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.

The lady belonging to the school of thought which holds that we should not let the sun go down on our wrath

Ephesians 4:26 / Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.

LB, Chapter 14

Mr Llewellyn 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).

For Reggie Tennyson was one of those young men whom the ravens feed.

1 Kings 17:4 / And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.

During a period of drought and famine, the prophet Elijah was ordered by God to hide in the wadi Cherith, east of the Jordan, where ravens brought him bread in the morning and meat in the evening.

LB, Chapter 15

Girdled by the everlasting hills

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.

Hoping against hope that he had not heard his companion aright.

Romans 4:18 / Who [Abraham] against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

LB, Chapter 16

Monty declined to abate by so much as a jot or tittle the gravity of the charge

Matthew 5:18 / For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.

The "jot" (or "jod") is the smallest letter of the Hebrew alphabet, while the "tittle" is a tiny stroke of the pen. Jesus means that the slightest detail of God's law is so sacred that it shall not be abolished.

Panting like the hart when wearied in the chase

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

However, the immediate source for this quotation appears to be the hymn "Converting Grace 230", from "A New Version of the Psalms": "As pants the hart for cooling streams / When heated in the chase; / So longs my soul, Oh God, for Thee, / And Thy refreshing grace".

LB, Chapter 17

Found out at the eleventh hour that they were doing A Pantomime Rehearsal

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.

LB, Chapter 18

A Peasemarch into whose soul the iron had entered.

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

You couldn't ask an artist to change his act at the eleventh hour like that

See above.

He had the air of a man who has passed 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.

LB, Chapter 20

If the expression meant what he supposed it to mean, it was 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.

LB, Chapter 23

Scales fallen from her eyes at last?

See above.

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YOUNG MEN IN SPATS

YMS, Chapter 1 (Fate)

When they started smoking cigars, the scales fell 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".

YMS, Chapter 2 (Tried in the Furnace)

Tried in the Furnace

Psalm 12:6 / The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

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

The fellow was well stricken in years—twenty-eight, if a day.

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.

The Lesson was one of those chapters of the Old Testament all about how Abimelech begat Jazzbo and Jazzbo begat Zachariah.

Would Abimelech have behaved like that to Jazzbo or—for the matter of that—Jazzbo to Zachariah?

The Bible contains several pages of genealogy, mainly in the books Genesis, 1 Chronicles and the first chapter of Matthew, using the formula "A begat B, B begat C", etc. While there are several biblical characters who answer to the names Abimelech and Zachariah—though without a grandfather-grandson relation—Jazzbo is the obvious impostor! There is, however, a Jazzbo Brown in George Gershwin's "Porgy and Bess", which was performed for the first time in 1935, the publication year of "Tried in the Furnace".

Had enough sense not to let himself in for a job like rowing this Noah's Ark home.

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

Tried in the furnace, their friendship had emerged strong and true.

See above.

YMS, Chapter 3 (Trouble Down at Tudsleigh)

At this moment, a disembodied voice suddenly came from inside one of the bushes, causing Freddie to shoot a full two inches out of his seat. He tells me he remembered a similar experience having happened to Moses in the Wilderness, and he wondered if the prophet had taken it as big as he had done.

Exodus 3:2-4 / 2 And the angel of the Lord appeared unto him [Moses] in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush: and he looked, and, behold, the bush burned with fire, and the bush was not consumed. 3 And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. 4 And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush, and said, Moses, Moses. And he said, Here am I.

YMS, Chapter 4 (The Amazing Hat Mystery)

It was as if the scales had fallen from his eyes

See above.

YMS, Chapter 5 (Good-bye to All Cats)

His standing with her, he perceived, was now approximately what King Herod's would have been at an Israelite Mothers' Social Saturday Afternoon.

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".

He stared down, hoping against hope that the animal was merely in some sort of coma.

Romans 4:18 / Who [Abraham] against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

YMS, Chapter 6 (The Luck of the Stiffhams)

Because he has passed beyond the veil.

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.

There is a time to speak of eggs and a time not to speak of eggs.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-2 / 1 To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: 2 A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted.

Possible reminiscence of Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, with its repeated mentions of a time to do something, and a time to do the opposite.

YMS, Chapter 7 (Noblesse Oblige)

He 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.

She took a final sniff, as if she had been hoping against hope that he was not a main sewer

See above.

YMS, Chapter 9 (Archibald and the Masses)

I should be living off the fat of the land, as the saying is

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.

Yes, as I say, my nephew Archibald yearned for Mayfair as the hart pants for cooling streams when heated in the chase.

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

However, the immediate source for this quotation appears to be the hymn "Converting Grace 230", from "A New Version of the Psalms": "As pants the hart for cooling streams / When heated in the chase; / So longs my soul, Oh God, for Thee, / And Thy refreshing grace".

And took it out of the mouth of the widow and the orphan like as not.

"I give you my solemn word", said Archibald, "I wouldn't dream of eating a steak that had been in the mouth of a widow or an 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)

YMS, Chapter 10 (The Code of the Mulliners)

It's the duty of all of us in these licentious post-war days to put our hands to the plough

Luke 9:62 / And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

YMS, Chapter 11 (The Fiery Wooing of Mordred)

Reason told him that these men were mere clods, Philistines, fatheads

The Philistines were among the most bitter enemies of Israel in the Old Testament. Figuratively speaking, a philistine is an uncultured, prosaic person.

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LAUGHING GAS

LG, Chapter 3

That's what they mean when they speak of California 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.

LG, Chapter 4

Just suppose if Job had had him as well as boils!

Job 2:7 / So went Satan forth from the presence of the Lord, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown.

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.

LG, Chapter 5

It was as if a great light had shone upon him.

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.

And decided to extend the olive branch.

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.

LG, Chapter 9

All those silly shibboleths.

Judges 12:5-6 / 5 And the Gileadites took the passages of Jordan before the Ephraimites: and it was so, that when those Ephraimites which were escaped said, Let me go over; that the men of Gilead said unto him, Art thou an Ephraimite? If he said, Nay; 6 Then said they unto him, Say now Shibboleth: and he said Sibboleth: for he could not frame to pronounce it right. Then they took him, and slew him at the passages of Jordan: and there fell at that time of the Ephraimites forty and two thousand.

During the war between the tribes of Ephraim and Gilead, the Ephraimites were betrayed by their mispronunciation of the word "shibboleth", which means either "an ear of corn" or "a flowing stream".

The latter had got off the mark instantly, as if he had had the wings of a dove

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

LG, Chapter 10

The sight of her cheerful face (...) was like manna in the wilderness.

Deuteronomy 8:16 / Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end.

John 6:49 / Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

After their flight from Egypt, God provided the Israelites in the desert with a miraculous sort of food, called "manna" (full story in Exodus 16:1-36).

But when I am asked to countenance turning the thing into a sort of Babylonian orgy

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.

LG, Chapter 16

David, having his unpleasantness with Goliath, could not have made better target practice.

1 Samuel 17:49 / And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang it, and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth.

Goliath was a giant who issued a formal invitation to the Israelites for a personal combat. The boy David, armed only with five stones, a sling and his faith in God, took up the challenge. One stone proved ample to kill the Philistine.

LG, Chapter 17

I had just scattered them carelessly, like a sower going forth sowing.

Matthew 13:3 / And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow.

LG, Chapter 18

I don't suppose I had really hoped much against hope

Romans 4:18 / Who [Abraham] against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.

LG, Chapter 19

Quivering all over as if he had heard 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.

LG, Chapter 20

He leapt 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.

LG, Chapter 22

The scales fell 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".

LG, Chapter 23

They're like the hosts of Midian. They prowl and prowl 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.

LG, Chapter 26

For a second time saving me from the powers of darkness

Luke 22:53 / When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

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LORD EMSWORTH AND OTHERS

LEO, Chapter 1 (The Crime Wave at Blandings)

His going had relieved this Garden of Eden of its one resident snake.

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.

It was not merely the fact that he had caused his late employee to skip like the high hills that induced this glow.

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.

The man had seemed to accept the olive branch

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.

Lady Constance leaped in her seat as if she had heard 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.

LEO, Chapter 2 (Buried Treasure)

In due season there will call at your pantry elephants laden with gold, and camels bearing precious stones and rare spices.

1 Kings 10:2 / And she [the queen of Sheba] came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.

Also apes, ivory and peacocks.

1 Kings 10:22 / For the king [Solomon] had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks.

In the Bible, "T(h)arshish" stands for the western limits of the earth. It is interesting to note that modern translations read "baboons" instead of "peacocks".

LEO, Chapter 3 (The Letter of the Law)

The Salt of Golf, as you might say.

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.

What wives do to their husbands who at the eleventh hour edge out of important luncheon parties

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.

LEO, Chapter 4 (Farewell to Legs)

His laughter is as the crackling of thorns under the pot

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

An inhabitant of ancient Babylon would have beamed approvingly on the spectacle

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.

It must be his task to win her back to the straight and narrow fairway.

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

Shall our dream Paradise be shattered by a snake in the bosom—or is it grass

See above.

All things working 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.

LEO, Chapter 5 (There's Always Golf)

So might the children of Israel have edged away from one of their number who had been so unfortunate as to fall out with the prophet Jeremiah.

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

LEO, Chapter 6 (The Masked Troubadour)

"You would not be far out", replied the Crumpet gravely, "if you said that he had 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.

Hard-boiled eggs? Good God, boy, what is this thing you're planning. A Babylonian orgy?

See above.

He groaned in spirit. He told me so himself. "I groaned in spirit", he said.

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.

The damson-faced man seemed to wash his hands of the whole unpleasant affair.

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.

Their psychology is a sealed book to him.

Isaiah 29:11 / And the vision of all is become unto you as the words of a book that is sealed, which men deliver to one that is learned, saying, Read this, I pray thee: and he saith, I cannot; for it is sealed.

Revelation 5:1 / And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.

The sealed book symbolises God's secret decrees. Only the Lamb (i.e. Jesus Christ) is worthy "to take the scroll and break the seals of it" (Revelation 5:9).

At the Bottleton Palace of Varieties the pause before the actual outbreak of Armageddon was only of a few seconds' duration.

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.

LEO, Chapter 7 (Ukridge and the Home from Home)

He looked like the father of the Prodigal Son.

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.

The man of wrath entered in person.

Proverbs 19:19 / A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.

The kindly powers-that-be recognize the existence of the artistic temperament

Romans 13:1 / Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

In modern English, the expression "the powers that be" is often applied in a humoristic way to the people in authority.

The cook burst into tears and said something about the Wrath of the Lord and the Cities of the Plain—she being a bit on the Biblical side

Numbers 11:33 / And while the flesh was yet between their teeth, ere it was chewed, the wrath of the Lord was kindled against the people, and the Lord smote the people with a very great plague.

The "wrath" or "anger" of God is, in the biblical language, an aspect of his holiness, his righteous displeasure with sin and man's unfaithfulness to his covenant.

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.

Wapshott (...) flung up his head like a war-horse at the note of a 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?

They send a chap on first to spy out the land

Numbers 13:16-17 / 16 These are the names of the men which Moses sent to spy out the land. And Moses called Oshea the son of Nun Jehoshua. 17 And Moses sent them to spy out the land of Canaan, and said unto them, Get you up this way southward, and go up into the mountain.

When I was surrounded by my little flock

Luke 12:32 / Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

And immediately after that there was a sound 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.

LEO, Chapter 8 (The Come-back of Battling Billson)

Talking Films were (...) in a fair way to becoming 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".

The Eden of The Cedars, Wimbledon Common, contained a serpent, and a Grade A serpent at that.

See above.

He was feeling like somebody who had been excluded from Paradise.

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.

The good times among the fleshpots were at an end

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.

Take him (...) by the left ear, and by that ear lead him back on to the straight and narrow path.

See above.

This barmaid (...) had proved 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.

LEO, Chapter 9 (The Level Business Head)

His better nature might after all assert itself even at the eleventh hour.

See above.

One of those blokes who plough the fields and scatter the good seed o'er the land

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.

The direct source, however, is the poem "We Plough the Fields", by Jane Montgomery Campbell, which contains these lines: "We plough the fields, and scatter / The good seed on the land, / But it is fed and watered / By God's Almighty Hand".

I felt as if a sudden bright light had flashed 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.

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SUMMER MOONSHINE

SM, Chapter 1

I'm furious about it, really, and if he hadn't been so crushed and miserable and gashing himself with knives like the priests of Baal, I'd have ticked him off properly.

1 Kings 18:28 / And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.

In 1 Kings 18, the prophet Elijah sets up a competition between 450 priests of Baal (a pagan divinity) and himself, as the representative of the God of Israel. In spite of their impressive self-mutilation, the priests of Baal were unable to make their god ignite a sacrificial bull.

But, gosh, Jane, the guy's most likely a fat, double-chinned, pot-bellied son of Belial with pig's eyes and a licentious look.

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.

She was longing to hear all about that shadowy—one might say, mystic—figure, whose role seemed to be that of Serpent in the Vanringham-Whittaker Garden 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.

SM, Chapter 2

The Baronet's first question at these conferences always had to do with the welfare of his little flock.

Luke 12:32 / Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

Where he merely accelerated his pace to avoid a Waugh-Bonner or a Shepley, he seemed almost to possess the wings of a dove when he sighted Elmer Chinnery.

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

No girl of intelligence would allow herself to regard any observations which he might make as anything but the crackling of thorns beneath the pot.

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

Sir Buckstone 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).

SM, Chapter 3

He did not approve of his employees wandering from the fold during business hours.

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?

Possible allusion to this parable, which Wodehouse quotes elsewhere.

I am walking on air with my hat on the side of my head, and a child could play with me.

Isaiah 11:8 / And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.

Isaiah 11:1-9 is a poem which describes the marvels to be accomplished by the Messiah: the verse quoted here shows that in the messianic era the peace and harmony will be restored which once reigned supreme in Eden.

SM, Chapter 4

I mean cancelled. Expunged. Struck off the register. Razed to its foundations and sown with salt.

Judges 9:45 / And Abimelech fought against the city [Shechem] all that day; and he took the city, and slew the people that was therein, and beat down the city, and sowed it with salt.

Sowing salt on the foundations of a devastated city is a gesture meant to assure the infertility of the soil. It should be noted that this custom was not restricted to the Hebrews and that Wodehouse therefore had not necessarily the Bible in mind when using this expression.

SM, Chapter 10

It was an understood thing that, when in his study, he was supposed to enjoy those privileges of sanctuary which outlaws of old were allowed to claim at the altar.

1 Kings 1:50 / And Adonijah feared because of Solomon, and arose, and went, and caught hold on the horns of the altar.

The "horns" were some sort of protuberances at the four corners of the altar. By clinging to this particularly sacred part of the altar, the guilty could hope to escape punishment. However, embracing an altar in order to be protected from harm was a widespread custom in ancient times, so Wodehouse is not necessarily thinking of the Bible here.

SM, Chapter 11

It was clear to him now that trouble of some kind must have broken out in this Eden.

See above.

SM, Chapter 13

He appreciated how galling it must be for a woman who for years has been looking on a young man as a prodigal to discover suddenly that the prodigal has made good.

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.

SM, Chapter 14

His little knick-knacks were distributed cosily about the saloon, he had plenty of gum and it seemed to him that all the place needed now, to make it like home, was a Gideon Bible.

The Gideons International Association was founded by three salesmen in 1899. Its purpose is evangelization through personal witnessing and the free distribution of Bibles to hotels, schools, universities and prisons. In almost any hotel room in the world you can nowadays find a Gideon Bible. The Association is named after Gideon, one of the Judges of Israel (Book of Judges 6-8).

SM, Chapter 16

A moody frown was on his brow and his gaze, fixed on the river gleaming coolly below him, was a wistful gaze, like that of Moses on the summit of Mount 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.

Manna in the wilderness seemed to him but a feeble way of describing this.

Deuteronomy 8:16 / Who fed thee in the wilderness with manna, which thy fathers knew not, that he might humble thee, and that he might prove thee, to do thee good at thy latter end.

John 6:49 / Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.

After their flight from Egypt, God provided the Israelites in the desert with a miraculous sort of food, called "manna" (full story in Exodus 16:1-36).

SM, Chapter 18

The way he looks at it is that his daughter—his ewe lamb, as you might say -

2 Samuel 12:3 / But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.

I am not at all sure if this or any other biblical text is the direct source of the expression "my ewe lamb".

His flesh might shrink, but his soul was resolute.

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

And unless some beneficent earthquake had engulfed Cyril or kindly bears had come out of the bushes and devoured him, that letter must even now be lying on some table, waiting her return.

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.

What did occasion him concern was the fact that his teeth had strayed from their moorings. Lacking them, he felt like Samson after his hair had been shorn.

Judges 16:19 / And she [Delilah] made him [Samson] sleep upon her knees; and she called for a man, and she caused him to shave off the seven locks of his head; and she began to afflict him, and his strength went from him.

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.

Joe scrutinized Mr Bulpitt. The grass by the milestone having yielded no treasure, he was now crawling along the edge of the road with the air of a Nebuchadnezzar in search of better pasture.

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.

SM, Chapter 22

There was a sound outside like a mighty rushing wind and Sir Buckstone came bursting in.

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.

He gazed at her with the loving, admiring look of a man whose helpmeet tells him that in his absence she, too, has not been idle.

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.

SM, Chapter 23

There is the same sense of shock, the same fleeting illusion that Judgement Day had arrived without warning.

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.

"Ha!" cried Sir Buckstone, in much the same manner as the Biblical character who spoke that word among the trumpets

Job 39:25 / He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha; and he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the captains, and the shouting.

SM, Chapter 24

There suddenly came swelling through the house, reverberating, down back stairs and along stone-flagged passages till it reached the pantry, a noise—a brassy, booming noise so like the Last Trump that Prudence Whittaker and Pollen (...) hurried from the room to investigate.

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.

SM, Chapter 25

The momentary impression which the butler and Prudence Whittaker had received that what they had heard was the Last Trump was a mistaken one.

See above.

V-shaped depressions might be lowering on the horizon, but at least his nakedness was covered.

Genesis 9:23 / And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid it upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father's nakedness.

According to Genesis 9:20-27, Noah was the first to plant vines, and with so much success, that he managed to drink himself drunk, uncovering himself inside his tent in the process. His son Ham saw him like that, and told his brothers, Shem and Japheth, about it. Shem and Japheth then did the square thing by their father, by covering him with a cloak, walking backwards in order not to see his nakedness.

All these weary months, he had been thinking of that five hundred pounds as a loving father might have thought of a prodigal son who had gone for ever. And now it was going to return to the fold.

A nice blend of two parables: the "prodigal son" (see above ) and the "lost sheep" (see above).

Back to top

THE CODE OF THE WOOSTERS

CW, Chapter 1

I had been dreaming that some bounder was driving spikes through my head—not just ordinary spikes, as used by Jael the wife of Heber, but red-hot ones.

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.

You have not forgotten that man of wrath, Jeeves?

Proverbs 19:19 / A man of great wrath shall suffer punishment: for if thou deliver him, yet thou must do it again.

The scales fell 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".

Mercifully, things had been straightened out 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.

You know how harts pant for cooling streams when heated in the chase.

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

However, the immediate source for this quotation appears to be the hymn "Converting Grace 230", from "A New Version of the Psalms": "As pants the hart for cooling streams / When heated in the chase; / So longs my soul, Oh God, for Thee, / And Thy refreshing grace".

"Call a policeman, Roderick!" he cried, 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.

CW, Chapter 3

No father likes to see his ewe lamb on chummy terms with such a one.

2 Samuel 12:3 / But the poor man had nothing, save one little ewe lamb, which he had bought and nourished up: and it grew up together with him, and with his children; it did eat of his own meat, and drank of his own cup, and lay in his bosom, and was unto him as a daughter.

I am not at all sure if this or any other biblical text is the direct source of the expression "my ewe lamb".

CW, Chapter 4

It biteth like a serpent.

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.

He just goes about seeking whom he may 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.

I said to myself: "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.

Samson had the same experience with Delilah.

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.

CW, Chapter 5

Too bad. Still, all flesh is as grass, what?

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.

And courteously drew her attention to a terracotta figure of the Infant Samuel At Prayer.

I could not but recall what had happened to the Infant Samuel.

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."

CW, Chapter 6

As the fellow said, better a dinner of herbs when you're all buddies together than a regular blow-out when you're not

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

CW, Chapter 7

Giving the question a miss like the deaf adder of Scripture

Psalm 58:3-5 / 3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies. 4 Their poison is like the poison of a serpent: they are like the deaf adder that stoppeth her ear; 5 Which will not hearken to the voice of charmers, charming never so wisely.

These verses are certainly among the Bible texts most often quoted by Wodehouse.

Giving it to Aunt Dahlia to break instead of the Infant Samuel At Prayer.

A china vase that stood on the mantelpiece not far from where the Infant Samuel had been.

See above.

Gird up your loins, Jeeves, and accompany me.

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.

This sanctum could have accomodated a dozen Stiffys.

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.

CW, Chapter 8

My signal victory over the forces of darkness as represented by R. Spode

Luke 22:53 / When I was daily with you in the temple, ye stretched forth no hands against me: but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.

They like to think of him as a chap who preaches about Hivites, Jebusites and what not

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.

The Hivites and the Jebusites are two of six or seven pre-Israelite Palestinian peoples mentioned in the Bible.

Speaks the word in season to the backslider

Proverbs 15:23 / A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good it is!

Trying to keep on the straight and narrow path with a shepherd like that!

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

CW, Chapter 9

A strong distaste for having his sanctum cluttered up with Woosters

See above.

Always being a bit of a lad for letting the dead past bury its dead

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.

The actual quotation, however, comes from Longfellow's "A Psalm of Life": "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!"

He was not prepared to classify this under the heading of 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.

Of all the pumpkin-headed foozlers who ever preached about Hivites and Jebusites, he is the foremost.

See above.

CW, Chapter 10

He said we all had our cross to bear in this world

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

CW, Chapter 11

I think he would have preferred at this point to fling himself on the bed and turn 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...

He is 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.

CW, Chapter 12

You could see that he was a man who had passed 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.

CW, Chapter 13

I did not immediately fling wide the gates.

Psalm 24:7 / Lift up your heads, O ye gates; and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in.

A passage in Tales of St Austin's proves that Wodehouse is referring to this psalm here, although he does not quote the Authorised Version. Contemporary translations, such as "Today's English Version", read: "Fling wide the gates, open the ancient doors, and the great king will come in". Wodehouse may be quoting from "The Crucifixion", a composition by Sir John Stainer (1840-1901)—words by the Rev J Sparrow-Simpson—in which the choir sings: "Fling wide the gates / for the Saviour waits / to tread in His royal way / He has come from above / in His power and love, / to die on this Passion day."

When the Assyrian comes down like a wolf on the fold

With the nippiness of a lamb in the fold on observing the approach of Assyrians

Allusion to the opening lines of "The Destruction of Sennacherib", by Lord Byron: "The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold, / And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold; / And the sheen of their spears was like stars on the sea, / When the blue wave rolls nightly on deep Galilee." According to the Bible, when Hezekiah, king of Judah, refused to become an Assyrian feudatory, Sennacherib marched on Jerusalem. Isaiah promised Hezekiah that God would not allow the Assyrian king to take the holy city. "And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the Lord went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses" (2 Kings 19:35).

CW, Chapter 14

Then the scales fell from my eyes

See above.

I was so busy rejoicing in spirit

Luke 10:21 / In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.

The thought of Constable Oates prowling in the rain like the troops of Midian

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.

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UNCLE FRED IN THE SPRINGTIME

UFS, Chapter 1

Though hearing Horace speak of his Uncle Alaric and thinking of his own Uncle Fred, he felt like Noah listening to someone making a fuss about a drizzle.

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.

"He always likes to have someone with him on a railway journey."

"To dance before him, no doubt, and generally entertain him?"

2 Samuel 6:14 / And David danced before the Lord with all his might: and David was girded with a linen ephod.

1 Samuel 16:23 / And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him.

Because of other passages where Wodehouse mistakenly refers to David dancing before Saul, I have a feeling there is a biblical allusion here. The Master confused king David dancing before the ark of God (Saul was dead by then), with the young David relieving king Saul of his depressions by playing the harp.

UFS, Chapter 6

I would have given you anything you asked, 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.

UFS, Chapter 7

"Could I have a glass of water?" he asked feebly, like a hart heated in the chase.

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

However, the immediate source for this quotation appears to be the hymn "Converting Grace 230", from "A New Version of the Psalms": "As pants the hart for cooling streams / When heated in the chase; / So longs my soul, Oh God, for Thee, / And Thy refreshing grace".

UFS, Chapter 8

I suppose you could walk down a lign of people, giving each of them a quick glance, and separate the sheep from the goats like shelling peas.

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.

UFS, Chapter 9

My dear Pongo, you have a gift for taking the dark view that amounts almost to genius. I should imagine that the prophet Isaiah as a young man must have been very like you.

Like the other prophets of the Old Testament, Isaiah proclaimed a message both of threat and of consolation. He was certainly not gloomier than his colleagues... Or was Wodehouse thinking of Jeremiah?

UFS, Chapter 10

"Have we been worried lately?"

The question seemed to affect Horace Davenport much as it might have affected 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.

UFS, Chapter 11

Solomon in all his glory, arrayed for the banquet, could not have surpassed him in splendour, but there is no question that he would have looked happier.

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.

"Yes", he said, "we have set our hands to the plough, and we cannot sheathe the sword."

Luke 9:62 / And Jesus said unto him, No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.

UFS, Chapter 13

A child could have played with him, and the cat attached to the Emsworth Arms had actually done so.

Isaiah 11:8 / And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp, and the weaned child shall put his hand on the cockatrice' den.

Isaiah 11:1-9 is a poem which describes the marvels to be accomplished by the Messiah: the verse quoted here shows that in the messianic era the peace and harmony will be restored which once reigned supreme in Eden.

UFS, Chapter 14

Deep had spoken to deep.

Psalm 42:7 / Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

Waters are often used in the Bible as a symbol of deadly peril.

When he has to decide whether to do the fine, generous thing or be as the beasts that perish.

Psalm 49:12 / Nevertheless man being in honour abideth not: he is like the beasts that perish.

UFS, Chapter 15

And at the sight of him it was as if the scales had suddenly fallen from Ricky Gilpin'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".

And hair's not everything, let me tell you. There's been a lot of fellows that found themselves wishing they'd been more like me in that respect. Absalom, for one.

2 Samuel 14:25-26 / 25 But in all Israel there was none to be so much praised as Absalom for his beauty: from the sole of his foot even to the crown of his head there was no blemish in him. 26 And when he polled his head, (for it was at every year's end that he polled it: because the hair was heavy on him, therefore he polled it:) he weighed the hair of his head at two hundred shekels after the king's weight.

Unfortunately, Absalom's luxurious hair was to be the cause of his death. After having raised a rebellion against his father David, he was caught by the hair in the thick branches of a great oak, while riding a mule, and was left hanging between heaven and earth when the mule went on. Joab, David's general, found him there and stabbed him to death.

And on that last awful day when we all have to render account it will be duly chalked up to you on the credit side.

Matthew 12:36 / But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.

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.

Within half an hour of his arrival, he took his nice round sum off Bosham at Persian Monarchs, and I, wrestling with him as the angel wrestled with Jacob, have taken it off him.

Genesis 32:24 / And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.

Genesis 32:24-30 tells the enigmatic story of Jacob's wrestling with an anonymous person, who refuses to reveal his identity. When the man tells Jacob that his name, from now one, will be Israel, "because you have been strong against God" (Jerusalem Bible), Jacob realises he has been struggling with God. In some of the most ancient texts of the Bible, the "angel of the Lord" is God himself in a visible form.

A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands in sleep, and along comes somebody shaking us by the shoulder.

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.

UFS, Chapter 16

His eyes were the eyes of one who had passed 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.

Let your Yea be Yea and your Nay be Nay.

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.

UFS, Chapter 17

If you display a sufficiently humble and contrite spirit, I see no reason for you to despair.

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.

Dashing into his tailors' from time to time for a new suit of sackcloth and ashes

Matthew 11:21 / Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

Biblical expression of lamentation and/or penitence.

UFS, Chapter 18

Unless her Persian-Monarchs-playing father intervened and saved the situation 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.

One glance at his uncle's face was enough to tell him that this was no exultant bearer of glad tidings who stood before him.

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!

It was only by a judicious use of knock-out drops that he was able to preserve order and harmony in his little flock.

Luke 12:32 / Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

UFS, Chapter 19

The failure of Rupert Baxter to report for duty was affecting him much as their god's unresponsiveness once affected the priests of Baal.

1 Kings 18:28 / And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them.

In 1 Kings 18, the prophet Elijah sets up a competition between 450 priests of Baal (a pagan divinity) and himself, as the representative of the God of Israel. In spite of their impressive self-mutilation, the priests of Baal were unable to make their god ignite a sacrificial bull.

And he feared lest Pongo, when it came to the pinch, might prove 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.

Rueful but resigned, with some of the feelings of Moses gazing at the Promised Land from the summit of Mount Pisgah, he put an eye to the glass and peered through.

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.

His aunt and his butler, who had skipped like the high hills, came back to terra firma.

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.

UFS, Chapter 20

"Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing."

"I'll tell her that. Rather neat. Your own?"

"Proverbs of Solomon."

"Oh? Well, I'll pass it along, anyway. It should go well."

Proverbs 18:22 / Whoso findeth a wife findeth a good thing, and obtaineth favour of the Lord.

The book of Proverbs as a whole is traditionally attributed to Solomon, although the king is only responsible for a part of it.

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