Service with a Smile
First published 1961
(ed. published 2008 by
Arrow Books, London)
"'South Kensington? Where sin stalks naked throught the dark alleys and only might is right. Give this man a miss. He'll lead you astray.'" (p.28)
"Some twenty muinutes had elapsed, and there were still no signs of the bride-to-be, and nothing so surely saps the morale of a bridegroom on this wedding day as the failure of the party of the second part to put in an appearance at the tryst. [...] Lord Ickenham tried to comfort him with the quite erroneous statement that it was early yet." (p.33)
"Going by the form book, he took it for granted that ere many suns had set the old buster would be up to some kind of hell which would ultimately stagger civilization and turn the moon to blood, but what mattered was that he would be up to it a t Lord Emsworth's rural seat and not in London." (p.47)
"'Nervous, Bill?' he said, regarding the Rev Cuthbert sympathetically. He had seemed to nitice during the early stages of the journey a tendency on the other's part to twitch like a galvanized frog and allow a sort of glaze to creep over his eyes." (p.48)
"'I happened to be doing some visiting there for a pal of mine who had sprained an ancle while trying to teach the choir boys to dance the carioca, and I came along just as someone was snatching her bag. So, of course, I biffed the blighter.'
'Where did they bury the unfortunate man?'
'Oh, I didn't biff him much, just enough to make him see how wrong it is to snatch bags'" (p.50)
"'I always strive, when I can, to spread sweetness and light. There have been several complaints about it.'" (p.62)
Lord Emsworth had been subjected to a cruel trick by the Church Lads Brigade, camping out in his grounds under his sister Connie's protection and consults Ickenham on the subject of retaliation:
"'Ah, that wants thinking over, doesn't it? I'll devote earnest thought to the matter, and if anything occurs to me, I'll let you know. You wouldn't consider mowing them down with a shotgun?'
'Eh? No, I doubt if that would be advisable.'
'Might cause remark, you feel?' said Lord Ickenham. 'Perhaps you're right. Never mind. I'll think of something else.'" (p.67)
The dastardly Duke of Dunstable covets the Empress of Blandings, that magnificent, prize-winning Berkshire pig of Emsworth's:
"'I've asked him a dozen times. 'I'll give you five hundred pounds cash down for that bulbous mass of lard and snuffle,' I said to him. 'Say the word,' I said, 'and I'll have the revolting object shipped off right away to my place in Wiltshire, paying all the expenses of removal.' He refused, and was offensive about it, too. The man's besotted.'" (p.72)
"'[You would buy the Empress] Just to do Clarance good?' she said, amazed. She had not credited her guest with this atruism.
'Certainly not,' said the Duke, offended that he should be supposed capable of such a motive." (p.73)
"Prefacing her remarks with the statement that if girls like Lavender Briggs were skinned alive and dipped in boiling oil, this would be a better and sweeter world, Myra embarked on her narrative." (p.94)
According to Ickenham, breaking off an engagement is the easiest thing in the world:
"'You're strolling with him in the moonlight. He says something about how jolly it's going to be when you and he are settled down in your little nest, and you say, 'Oh, I forgot to tell you about that. It's off.' He says, 'What!' You say, 'You heard,' and he reddens and goes to Africa.'" (p.138)
"In the life of every successful man there is always some little something missing. Lord Tilbury had wealth and power and the comforting knowledge that, catering as he did for readers who had all been mentally arrested at the age of twelve, he would continue to enjoy these indefinitely" (p.140)
"He mistrusted these newspaper fellers. You told them something in the strictest confidence, and the next thing you knew it was spread all over the gossip page with a six-inch headline at the top and probably a photograph of you, looking like somepne the police were anxious to question in connextion with the Dover Street smash-and-grab raid." (p.147)
"Once more, Archie Gilpin ran a hand through his hair. The impression he conveyed was that if the vultures gnawing at his bosom did not shortly change their act, he would begin pulling it out in handfuls." (p.162)
"Seated on the stile, hist deportment was rather like that of a young Hindu fakir lying for the first time on the traditional bed of spikes, Archie Gilpin seemed still to find a difficulty clothing his thoughts in words." (p. 163)
"Archie nodded. He had never blinded himself to the fact that anyone trying to separate cash from the Duke of Dunstable was in much the same position as a man endeavouring to take a bone from a short-tempered wolf-hound." (p. 168)
"'Are you there, Stinker?'
If the Duke had not been a little deaf in the right ear, he might have heard a sound like an inexperienced motorist chaning gears in an old-fashioned car. It was the proprietor of the Mammoth Publishing Company grinding his teeth. Sometimes, when we hear a familiar voice, the heart leaps up like that of the poet Wordsworth when he beheld a rainbow in the sky. Lord Tilbury's was far from doing this." (p.170)
"[Lord Tilbury] proceeded to answer in the negative. This took some time for in addition to saying 'No' he had to tell the Duke what he thought of him, indicating one by one the various points on which his character diverged from that of the ideal man." (p.171)
"'Well, well!' said Mr Schoonmaker.
'Well, well, well!' said Lord Ickenham.
'Well, well, well, well!' said Mr Schoonmaker.
Lord Emsworth interrupted the reunion before it could reach the height of its fever." (p.179)
Mr Schoonmaker has difficulties mustering the courage to propose to Constance Keeble:
"'When I try to propose to her, the words won't come. It's happened a dozen times. The sight of that calm aristocratic profile wipes them from my lips.'
'Try not looking at her sidways'" (p.184)
The Duke of Dunstable on his favourite theme:
"'Hasn't he got any? You told me he came from Brazil. Fellers make money in Brazil.'
'He didn't. A wasting sickness struck the Brazil nuts, and he lost all his capital.'
'Your sympathy does you credit. Yes, his lack of money is the trouble.'" (p.202)
"'You know and I know that Dunstable is a man who sticks at nothing and would walk ten miles in the snow to chisel a starevng orphan out of tuppence'" (p.210)
"'Should I escort you there, sir?'
'No, don't bother. I'll find it. Oh, Beach?'
'Here,' said Mr Schoonmaker, and thrusting a piece of paper into the butler's hand he curvetted off like, thought Beach, an unusually extrovert lamb in springtime.
Beach looked at the paper, and being alone, with nobody to report him to his guild, permitted himself a sharp gasp. It was a ten-pound note" (p.212)
"Mr Schoonmaker, meanwhile, touching the ground only at odd spots, had arrived at Lavender Briggs' office ...[and was] pacing the floor in a manner popularized by tigers at a zoo" (p. 213-214)
"The Duke, who had been scowling at the typewriter, as if daring it to start something, became more composed. A curious gurgling noise suggested that he had chuckled" (p.219)