Vanity Fair (UK), April 13, 1905

(The Spectator complains that closer acquaintance with a favourite novelist is generally disappointing.)

I’D read his books since I was ten,
 My love for him was frantic.
He was my noblest, best of men,
 So strong and so romantic.
I waited on in patience, for
I’d heard he was a bachelor.

At last when time had hurried by
 (His usual occupation),
And I had put my hair up, I
 Received an invitation
“To meet”—I read as through a mist—
“John Blank, the famous novelist.”

I came, I saw, I turned away.
 Ah, disillusion’s dread ache!
My host and hostess bade me stay:
 I said I had a headache.
I add no more, save only that
Not merely was he bald, but fat!

Oh, years have come and years have flown
 Since first my youthful love erred,
But, though I’m better now, I own,
 I’ve never quite recovered.
Cannot a law be passed, I ask,
To make each writer wear a mask?

P. G. Wodehouse. 



Printed with signature in Vanity Fair, despite McIlvaine noting it as “unsigned”; entered by Wodehouse in Money Received for Literary Work.