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The Girl in Blue (1970) [GIB] • Much Obliged, Jeeves (1971) [MOJ]
Pearls, Girls and Monty Bodkin (1972) [PGM] • Bachelors Anonymous (1973) [BA]
Aunts Aren't Gentlemen (1974) [AAG] • Sunset at Blandings (1977) [SAB]

THE GIRL IN BLUE

GIB, Chapter 1

The atmosphere in the manager's sanctum had now changed completely

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.

GIB, Chapter 2, section 1

A Daniel come to judgement, he was saying to himself.

"A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel! / O wise young judge, how I do honour thee!" Shakespeare, Jeeves? Yes, sir, his "Merchant of Venise". The Swan of Avon's words echo the "History of Susanna", in the protestant Bible one of the apocryphal books, but in the catholic tradition chapter 13 of the Book of Daniel. Daniel 13:1-64 tells the story of two elders who surprise Susanna, the beautiful wife of Joakim, while she is bathing in her garden. The elders want her to yield to their passions, and when Susanna refuses, they accuse her in public of having made love to a young man. She is tried and condemned to death, but a young boy of the name of Daniel, by shrewdly questioning the two elders separately, manages to establish Susanna's innocence.

GIB, Chapter 2, section 2

Except for the Gadarene swine, famous through the ages for their prowess at the short sprint

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

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

GIB, Chapter 2, section 3

Either her memory was as treacherous as his own or, like the deaf adder in Holy Writ, she was a bad listener.

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.

GIB, Chapter 3

He liked the dead past to 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!"

GIB, Chapter 4

He did happen to know that bit in the Psalms about Joy coming 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.

I suppose there were Scropes at Mellingham at the time of the Flood.

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

The fellow I was talking to said Brotherly Love would win going away.

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

Not that I'm one to cast the first stone.

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

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

GIB, Chapter 6, section 1

There must be no folding of the hands, no sitting back and taking it easy

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.

There was only one girl in the world he could possibly marry, and as of even date he could see no way of avoiding marrying another. An impasse, if ever there was one. King Solomon and Brigham Young would have taken it in their stride, but he could see no solution.

1 Kings 11:1 / But king Solomon loved many strange women, together with the daughter of Pharaoh, women of the Moabites, Ammonites, Edomites, Zidonians, and Hittites.

1 Kings 11:3 / And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hunderd concubines: and his wives turned away his heart.

GIB, Chapter 6, section 2

She had promised her ewe lamb that she would get her betrothed on the telephone

Dame Flora had stressed the fact that the ewe lamb considered him weak

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".

GIB, Chapter 6, section 3

His general aspect that of one who, like Lot's wife, has been unexpectedly turned into a pillar of salt.

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.

GIB, Chapter 8

He said he'd make me wish I'd never been born.

Job 3:1-3 / 1 After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day. 2 And Job spake, and said, 3 Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.

This may be an allusion to the very first words of Job's long lamentations.

Though that was calculated to make him a hissing and a byword at the bar of world opinion

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".

GIB, Chapter 9, section 1

Came within an ace of singing like the Cherubim and Seraphim

Probable allusion to the hymn "Glorious Majesty" by Samuel Johan Hedborn. The first stanza runs as follows: "Glorious Majesty, before thee / We bow to worship and adore thee; / With grateful hearts to thee we sing, / Earth and heaven tell the story / Of thine eternal might and glory, / And all thy works their incense bring. / Lo, hosts of cherubim and countless seraphim / Sing hosanna, holy is God / Almighty God, all merciful and all wise God!" Cherubim and seraphim are the two highest orders of angels. In the Temple of Jerusalem, cherubs (or cherubim, in Hebrew) covered the ark with their wings, garding God's presence. In the prophet Isaiah's vision (Isaiah 6:1-13), seraphim stood above God's throne. In the Bible, however, angels never sing "Hosanna"; this shout of acclaim is only heard at Jesus' solemn entry in Jerusalem (Matthew 21:9).

GIB, Chapter 10

He was the weakest possible reed on which 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.

It's unwise to marry her if she has 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.

GIB, Chapter 11, section 1

Vera was not to be comforted.

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

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

GIB, Chapter 11, section 2

I feel like turning my 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...

A bright light had flashed upon her.

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.

GIB, Chapter 11, section 3

Something resembling the animation of a war horse that has heard the sound of the bugle. The war horse, we are told, when the sound of the bugle is drawn to its attention, becomes a good deal stirred. It starts. It quivers. It paws the valley, rejoices in its strength and says "Ha, ha" among the trumpets, and it was thus, give or take a "Ha, ha" or two, that Crispin behaved.

"Ha!" said Crispin, as if he were saying it among the trumpets.

Job 39:21 / He paweth in the valley, and rejoiceth in his strength: he goeth on to meet the armed men.

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.

Curiously enough, Wodehouse is quoting here not only the Authorised Version ("He saith among the trumpets, Ha, ha"), but also 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?

It must be 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.

GIB, Chapter 11, section 5

How would he comport himself in Mrs Bernadette Clayborne's inner sanctum?

See above.

I have 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.

GIB, Chapter 12, section 3

If you described him as going about seeking whom he might devour, you wouldn't be far wrong.

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

GIB, Chapter 13, section 1

She said she was laying up treasure in heaven

Matthew 6:20 / But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.

GIB, Chapter 13, section 2

Manna in the wilderness, as you might say.

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).

GIB, Chapter 13, section 3

The latter's expressed desire to make the former wish he had never been born

See above.

GIB, Chapter 13, section 6

Chippendale said, "Cor stone the crows", not mentioning which crows or who was to cast the first stone.

See above.

GIB, Chapter 15, section 1

She's a designing 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.

GIB, Chapter 15, section 2

Causing him to skip 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.

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MUCH OBLIGED, JEEVES

MOJ, Chapter 1

But just as I was about to put in my order for 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.

Why not 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!"

MOJ, Chapter 3

There is a time to call someone an overbearing dishpot, and a time not to.

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.

MOJ, Chapter 4

When at my private school I once won a prize for Scripture Knowledge, which naturally involved a lot of researching into Holy Writ, and in the course of my researches I came upon the story of the military chap who used to say "Come" and they cometh and "Go" and they goeth. I have always thought that that was Florence in a nutshell. She would have given short shrift, as the expression is, to anyone who had gone when she said "Come" or the other way round.

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.

MOJ, Chapter 5

Spode, mark you, whom I had thought and hoped I had seen the last of after dusting the dust of Totleigh Towers from the Wooster feet

Matthew 10:14 / And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Jewish gesture, signifying that the place or the house that refuses Jesus' word is to be considered as "unclean", i.e. unworthy to approach God.

Spode, who went about seeking whom he might devour

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

MOJ, Chapter 6

That sort of thing might be overlooked in the cities of the plain, but not in Market Snodsbury.

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 the not very straitlaced towns of Sodom and Gomorrah.

While L P Runkle went on flourishing like a green bay tree.

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

MOJ, Chapter 7

The whole lay-out, I felt, must be g and wormwood for Angela

Deuteronomy 29:18 / Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood.

"Jeeves", I said, "You're fairly well up in Hymns Ancient and Modern, I should imagine. Who were the fellows in the hymn who used to prowl and prowl around?"

"The troops of Midian, sir."

"That's right. Was Spode mentioned as one of them?"

"Sir?"

"I ask because he's prowling around as if Midian was his home town."

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.

MOJ, Chapter 8

It has been well said of Bertram Wooster that when he sets his hand to the plough he does not stop to pick daisies and let the grass grow under his feet.

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.

I had half a mind to draw his attention to the Parable of the Talents, with which I had become familiar when doing research for that Scripture Knowledge prize I won at school.

The "Parable of the Talents" can be found in Matthew 25:14-30. It is about a man who, before going abroad, entrusts his property, in the form of "talents", to three of his servants. The meaning is clear: Jesus wants his disciples to make a good use of the gifts God has given them.

Not so grim as my Aunt Agatha, perhaps, for that could hardly be expected, but certainly well up in the class of Jael the wife of Heber

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.

MOJ, Chapter 9

She had somehow spotted that in some manner 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.

Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye, Wooster? I found myself asking myself, it having been one of the many good things I had picked up in my researches when I won that Scripture Knowledge prize.

Matthew 7:3 / And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?

Tough on you, but we all have our cross to bear.

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

I couldn't have become stiffer if I had been Lot's wife, whose painful story I had had to read up when I won that Scripture Knowledge prize.

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.

MOJ, Chapter 10

Leaning against the side of the house, I breathed rather in the manner copyrighted by the hart which 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".

The realization of how narrowly I had missed having to mingle again with this blockbusting female barrister kept me Lot's-wifed for what seemed an hour or so (...) Then gradually I ceased to be a pillar of salt

See above.

I have often thought that the deaf adder I read about when I won my Scripture Knowledge prize would have got the message right enough if the aged relative had been one of the charmers.

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 alluded to by Wodehouse.

He said with a most offensive leer that he was Father Christmas bringing me 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).

...and 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.

MOJ, Chapter 11

The fear that the proceedings were going to lead up to six of the best from a cane that stung like an adder

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

I could hardly have made less of a contribution to our conversation if I had been the deaf adder I mentioned earlier.

See above.

He couldn't have had a warmer welcome if he had been the prodigal son whose life story I had had to bone up when I won that Scripture Knowledge prize.

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.

MOJ, Chapter 13

It was as though she had said "Oh for the wings of a dove" and had got them.

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

But he always remains as unco-operative as Balaam's ass, who, you may remember, dug his feet in and firmly refused to play ball.

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.

MOJ, Chapter 14

Putting it in a nutshell, my frame of mind was approximately that of the fellows in the hymn who got such a start when they looked over their shoulders and saw the troops of Midian prowling and prowling around.

See above.

Even with conditions what they were in this disturbed post-war world I hadn't been expecting to be turned into a pillar of salt again for some considerable time, but this had done it.

See above.

MOJ, Chapter 15

"Runkle being short of bowels of compassion."

"Precisely, sir. A twenty-minute egg."

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".

"You're a ... what were you saying the other day about Daniel somebody?"

"A Daniel come to judgment, sir?"

"That was it. You're a Daniel come to judgment."

"It is very kind of you to say so, sir." (...)

"Then you may leave us, Jeeves. Much obliged for your Daniel come to judgmenting."

"A Daniel come to judgment! yea, a Daniel! / O wise young judge, how I do honour thee!" Shakespeare, Jeeves? Yes, sir, his "Merchant of Venise". The Swan of Avon's words echo the "History of Susanna", in the protestant Bible one of the apocryphal books, but in the catholic tradition chapter 13 of the Book of Daniel. Daniel 13:1-64 tells the story of two elders who surprise Susanna, the beautiful wife of Joakim, while she is bathing in her garden. The elders want her to yield to their passions, and when Susanna refuses, they accuse her in public of having made love to a young man. She is tried and condemned to death, but a young boy of the name of Daniel, by shrewdly questioning the two elders separately, manages to establish Susanna's innocence.

No doubt he looked on her request as what is known as 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.

But his eye was not dimmed nor his natural force abated.

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

And from there he has, as one might put it, gone from strength to strength.

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

MOJ, Chapter 16

A little more than the charmers got ouf of the deaf adder, but not much.

See above.

My cup runneth over, young Bertie.

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.

Because if I knew who it was, I would send camels bearing apes, ivory and peacocks to his address.

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".

"Exactly. A purely business transaction", said Runkle, obviously considering him a Daniel come to judgment.

See above.

MOJ, Chapter 17

A pity that Bingley is flourishing like a green what-is-it, but one can't have everything.

See above.

And we know how easily it can fall into the hands of 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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PEARLS, GIRLS AND MONTY BODKIN

PGM, Chapter 1

To me he has always seemed like one of those unpleasant creatures in the Book of Revelation.

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.

PGM, Chapter 2, section 1

Extraordinarily interesting story, rather like Jacob and Rachel in the Bible, except that Jacob had to serve seven years to get Rachel, while Monty only had to serve one.

In fact, Jacob served fourteen years to get his sweetheart! 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.

PGM, Chapter 3, section 1

She'll come back all starched up and thinking she's the queen of Sheba or someone, I said.

1 Kings 10:1 / And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, she came to prove him with hard questions.

PGM, Chapter 3, section 2

England's great heritage of verse was 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).

Chimp started like a war horse at the sound of the trumpet.

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?

PGM, Chapter 6, section 1

While a young waster of the Montrose Bodkin type (...) flourished like a green bay tree.

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

PGM, Chapter 6, section 2

Causing a meditative hen which had stepped into the road to take to itself 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.

Cast him into outer darkness, my dear Mr Llewellyn, where there is wailing and gnashing of teeth, and see that he stays there.

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.

And clutched it to my bosom, as 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).

PGM, Chapter 7, section 1

Its every word had stung like a serpent and bitten 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.

PGM, Chapter 8, section 1

If James Ponder (...) were to stray 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.

A young man who was the apple of the respective eyes of Lord Riverhead, Lord Woking and Sir Peregrine Voules, Bart

Deuteronomy 32:10 / He [the Lord] found him [his people] in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.

PGM, Chapter 8, section 3

It seemed to her that all things were 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.

My cup runneth over, she might have said, if she had been familiar with the expression.

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.

PGM, Chapter 10, section 1

Thieves in the night had visited Mellingham Hall

1 Thessalonians 5:2 / For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

On that occasion he had come within an ace of bursting into song like the Cherubim and Seraphim

Probable allusion to the hymn "Glorious Majesty" by Samuel Johan Hedborn. The first stanza runs as follows: "Glorious Majesty, before thee / We bow to worship and adore thee; / With grateful hearts to thee we sing, / Earth and heaven tell the story / Of thine eternal might and glory, / And all thy works their incense bring. / Lo, hosts of cherubim and countless seraphim / Sing hosanna, holy is God / Almighty God, all merciful and all wise God!" Cherubim and seraphim are the two highest orders of angels. In the Temple of Jerusalem, cherubs (or cherubim, in Hebrew) covered the ark with their wings, garding God's presence. In the prophet Isaiah's vision (Isaiah 6:1-13), seraphim stood above God's throne. In the Bible, however, angels never sing "Hosanna"; this shout of acclaim is only heard at Jesus' solemn entry in Jerusalem (Matthew 21:9).

PGM, Chapter 10, section 2

She was animated by the same sentiment which made Samson pull down the temple pillars at Gaza.

Judges 16:29-30 / 29 And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left. 30 And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life.

After his capture by the Philistines, Samson was put in prison in Gaza to grind corn. When they sent for him to make mock of him on the occasion of a sacrifice to their god Dagon, he killed

himself and three thousand Philistines in the way described above.

PGM, Chapter 10, section 3

He had panted for it 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".

Mr Llewellyn might have let the sun go down on his wrath, but daylight had apparently adjusted matters.

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

He had commented to Sandy on the resemblance (...) between this man and the less lovable fauna of the Book of Revelation

See above.

PGM, Chapter 11, section 1

These were not words that conjured up a picture of a man who was master in his own house and ruled one and all with a rod of iron

Revelation 2:27 / And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

PGM, Chapter 11, section 3

And he tells me the exhaust box has been short-circuiting with the commutator, or whatever it may be, and I go on my way rejoicing

Acts 8:39 / And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.

I should imagine he ships half a dozen grand pianos to a bloke in West Africa, and the bloke in West Africa sends him apes, ivory and peacocks in exchange.

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".

PGM, Chapter 12

Bodkin (...) would give half his kingdom to have your slippers laid out beside his on the bedroom floor

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.

When he returned to the fold without the pearls

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.

Go, woman, and sin no more.

John 8:11 / She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

In John 8:3-11, the scribes and Pharisees bring a woman along who has been caught committing adultery, the penalty for which offence is death by stoning, according to the law of Moses. Looking for something to use against him, they ask Jesus what he thinks of the matter. After his remarkable reply, the accusers withdraw, and Jesus dismisses the woman with the words: "Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more."

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BACHELORS ANONYMOUS

BA, Chapter 5, section 1

Sally's address was a sealed book to Joe

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).

Mr. Llewellyn's reasons for requiring his services had still to be made clear. Possibly he wanted someone to dance before him as David danced before Saul

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.

BA, Chapter 6, section 1

The newcomer might reveal herself later as the snake in this Garden of Eden, but she looked all right, very attractive, in fact.

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.

BA, Chapter 8, section 1

He's a bit apt to throw porridge at people when the spirit moves him, but apart from that he's all sweetness and light.

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

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

BA, Chapter 8, section 3

Impossible not to be touched by such fidelity, especially when the man you had mistakenly supposed love you as you had mistakingly supposed you loved him had turned out not so much to have feet of clay as to be clay all the way up.

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.

BA, Chapter 9, section 1

He was deeply offended. He was not accustomed to mixing with deaf adders.

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 alluded to by Wodehouse.

For an instant he almost decided to withdraw from his mission and allow Joe to rush into ruin in the manner popularized by the Gadarene swine.

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

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

She (...) occupied herself by reading the Old Testament, from which she could quote freely, and thinking up ways of annoying her next-door neighbour.

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. The funny thing is that the five biblical quotations Mrs Priestley is about to utter are all from the New Testament!

I know your sort. You go about seeking whom you 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.

"Repent ye", said Miss Priestley, becoming biblical, "for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."

Matthew 3:2 / And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

God shall smite thee, thou whited wall.

Acts 23:2-3 / 2 And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him [Paul] to smite him on the mouth. 3 Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?

The best explanation of the term of abuse "whited wall" can be found in Matthew 23:27, where Jesus says: "Alas for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You who are like whitewashed tombs that look handsome on the outside, but inside are full of dead men's bones and every kind of corruption."

Abstain from fleshy lusts which war against the soul.

1 Peter 2:11 / Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.

In my edition of BA (Penguin Books, reprinted 1982) I read "fleshy", which ought to be "fleshly".

BA, Chapter 9, section 2

"But, madam—"

"Get thou behind me, Satan."

Matthew 16:23 / But he [Jesus] turned, and said to Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.

This one fell limply at Mr Trout's feet, and as he stooped to recover it a sudden breeze sprang up and lent it 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.

He yearned for Amelia Bingham as harts are said to yearn for waterbrooks.

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

BA, Chapter 10

Who was it described bachelors as wild asses of the desert? I forget, but he was right, and what future is there for a wild ass? Practically none. It just goes on being a wild ass until something happens to end its aimless existence, and nobody cares a damn when it's gone.

Job 24:5 / Behold, as wild asses in the desert, go they forth to their work; rising betimes for a prey: the wilderness yieldeth food for them and for their children.

BA, Chapter 11

Not the woman with the X-ray eyes who talked about fleshy lusts and told me the Kingdom of Heaven was at hand?

For the fleshy lusts and the Kingdom of Heaven, see above. Again, in my edition of BA (Penguin Books, reprinted 1982) I read "fleshy", which ought to be "fleshly".

BA, Chapter 14

"With the Dolby prowling and prowling around like the troops of Midian!"

"She wasn't prowling around. That's the whole point."

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.

When he replaced the receiver, his face wore the expression which one notices on the faces of those who have been saved from the scaffold 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.

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AUNTS AREN'T GENTLEMEN

AAG, Chapter 2

His whole demeanour was that of 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".

He has a big house in the country with a stable of racehorses, as he can well afford to after his years of grinding the faces of the widow and the orphan.

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

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)

AAG, Chapter 3

He was looking like a minor prophet about to rebuke the sins of the people.

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.

AAG, Chapter 4

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".

AAG, Chapter 6

A haven where I would have peace perfect peace with loved ones far away, as the hymnbook says.

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".

If I refused to eat my spinach I would hear about it on Judgment Day

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.

AAG, Chapter 9

I had girded my loins

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.

"A bit like Balaam's ass", I said, referring to one of the dramatis personae who had figured in the examination paper the time I won that Scripture Knowledge prize at my private school. "If you recall, it too dug in its feet and refused to play ball."

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.

She had come up against someone she couldn't say "Go" to and he goeth, as the fellow said.

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.

AAG, Chapter 11

"Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings!" I said to myself. "Out of the mouth 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.

AAG, Chapter 12

I would have preferred to let the dead past bury its dead as the fellow said.

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 scales had fallen from my eyes and I saw all.

See above.

AAG, Chapter 13

One of the questions put to me when I won that Scripture Knowledge prize at my private school was, I recall, "What do you know of the deaf adder?", and my grip on Holy Writ enabled me to reply correctly that it stopped its ears and would not hear the voice of the charmer, charm he never so wisely.

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

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

Bringing my 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.

When you were a babe and suckling

See above.

"...and it was that that acted like... like what?"

"Balm in Gilead, sir?"

Jeremiah 8:22 / Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there? Why then is not the health of the daughter of my people recovered?

A well-known hymn, based on an African-American spiritual, has this refrain: "There is a balm in Gilead / To make the wounded whole; / There is a balm in Gilead / To heal the sin sick soul." The trees of the mountains of Gilead, east of the river Jordan, were noted for the healing balms produced from them.

Exactly. I was going to say manna in the wilderness, but balm in Gilead hits it off better.

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).

AAG, Chapter 14

It's yours, 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.

AAG, Chapter 15

"Cast him into outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth", they would have said.

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.

AAG, Chapter 16

You will start skipping like the high hills, not that I've ever seen high hills skip, or low hills for that matter.

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.

You have made my path straight.

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.

Your words are like the crackling of thorns under the pot, as the fellow said.

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

AAG, Chapter 17

Barking like this, I felt, could not go unheard unless Cook's outdoor staff had been recruited entirely from deaf adders.

See above.

AAG, Chapter 18

As if entering Cook's presence in his present difficult mood wasn't much the same as joining Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, of whom I had read when I won that Scripture Knowledge prize at my private school, on their way to 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).

AAG, Chapter 19

With both hands pressed to the top of my head to prevent it taking to itself the wings of a dove and soaring to the ceiling...

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 doubt if he would do much more than raise an eyebrow if, when entering his pantry, he found one of those peculiar fauna from the Book of Revelations in the sink.

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.

AAG, Chapter 20

Rejoicing in my youth

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

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SUNSET AT BLANDINGS

SAB, Chapter 1

This was Sergeant E.B. Murchison, the detective appointed by the special branch of Scotland Yard to accompany Sir James wherever he went and see to it that he came to no harm from the terror by night and the arrow that flieth by day.

Psalm 91:5 / Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day.

SAB, Chapter 2

He was too elderly to be rejoicing in his youth, but he gave the impression of rejoicing in something.

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.

He had been, till that institution passed beyond the veil, a man at whom the Pelican Club pointed with pride

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.

I have shaken the dust of London from my feet.

Matthew 10:14 / And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Jewish gesture, signifying that the place or the house that refuses Jesus' word is to be considered as "unclean", i.e. unworthy to approach God.

SAB, Chapter 8

"Is he here for long?"

"He won't be if the powers of darkness hear you calling him Jeff."

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.

SAB, Chapter 11

"Jeff", he said, "you look like the seven years of Famine we read of in Scripture."

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

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

SAB, Chapter 12

He remained as steadfast as Jacob or any of the others who became famous for their constancy.

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.

SAB, Chapter 13

Not once but on several occasions Jeff had had to listen to outpourings from him reminiscent 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.

SAB, Chapter 14

Gone with the wind, one with Nineveh and Tyre.

Quotation from Kipling's "Recessional": "Lo, all our pomp of yesterday / Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!" Nineveh, capital of the Assyrian empire, was destroyed in 612 BC. The fall of the city is the main subject of the Book of Nahum, one of the Minor Prophets. Tyre, at the beginning of the 6th century BC, was a flourishing commercial city. It was devastated by the Babylonians in 573 BC. Ezekiel 26-28 contain several oracles against Tyre.

Hope, so recently consigned to the obituary column, had cast off its winding cloths and risen from the grave.

Your webmaster may be pardoned for being moved by this final biblical allusion in the Master's last, unfinished novel: is it possible not to link this metaphor to the central mystery of Christian faith, that of the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ? May Plum live forever, not only in his books, but with Him who said: "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10).

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