Going through a large collection of modern Christmas cards sent to a well connected literary figure, looking for bankable names. It’s not easy because most are signed ‘John & Susan’ etc., so you have to recognise the handwriting or find a clue. Sometimes a book is mentioned or the address is given – e.g ’Vladimir and Vera, Montreux’ (I wish!) There are many different styles, from tiny cheap cards with robins, to elaborate, large, arty and expensive cards. Many are from charities, either bought or received for free, some are hand made, some have original photos on the front, some large classy ones from members of the House of Lords, some with round-robin annual newsletters or long catch-up messages… This one is from someone (’Noripoll’) who appears to send out a parody every year. It’s ‘Wodehouse a la Proust’, next time we will post his ‘Proust a la Wodehouse’:
Wodehouse a la Proust
When Jeeves, on the morning following that reunion with Augustus Fick-Nottle, Esq., at the Drones, proffered me a phial containing one of his special life-restorers, memories came flooding back of the long journey down country lanes to Totleigh Towers during which not only the corn shimmered but Jeeves, in his inimitable manner, shimmered too, black against the black Tarmacadam, as we approached the village close to the Towers, a company, nay a caravan, of gourmet penitents come to entreat the incomparable Anatole, my aunt Dahlia’s chef, not to abscond to the kitchen of Sir Watkyn Bassett; all of us barefooted behind out slowly moving limousines, and one of us, Catsmeat Potter-Pirbright, Esq., on his actual knees (as was not, for him, unusual), in desperate dedication to our mission, while I, wretched Bertram, scion of the Wooster line, who had twice filched Sir Watkyn’s silver cow creamer, under pressure to complicate the plot and provoke frolicsome incidents on tops of wardrobes and up and down ladders propped against the walls of ancient, country mansions, had vividly become aware, my heart throbbing violently all the while, of a refracted light from the late evening sun gleaming upon the brass fitments of an upturned policeman’s helmet, suspended by Agustus, on Totleigh church’s simple, slender spire, from which Anatole’s unsurpassable sauce vinaigrette flowed, lava-like, down the steeple, on to the battlemented tower, thence via gargoyle (one notably resembling Sir Watkyn himself), via pipe and conduit, just clearing the clerestory but developing a tendency to ooze into the nave through a fissure, yet signifying all the while, to those who put their trust in the power of Jeeves, that the great chef would return to my aunt Dahlia’s, once the final drop of precious liquid had dribbled over a flying buttress to reach, not only its elemental origin as it were, but to come, at last, to a full stop.