Wodehouse Sets the Stage

One of the pleasures of reading Wodehouse is how he frames the story. He starts off “Anselm Gets his Chance” this way

The summer Sunday was drawing to a close. Twilight had fallen on the little garden at the Anglers’ Rest, and the air was fragrant with the sweet scent of jasmine and tobacco plant. Stars were peeping out. Blackbirds sang drowsily in the shrubberies. Bats wheeled through the shadows, and a gentle breeze played fitfully among the hollyhocks It was, in short, as a customer who had looked in for a gina nd tonic rather happily put it, a nice evening.

Lovely. And of course, when a story starts with such a lovely setting, the reader knows that something will grab your attention.  A skilled storyteller knows that the something must appear very soon.  It does

Nevertheless, to Mr. Mulliner and the group assembled in the bar parlour of the inn there was a sense of something missing.

And of course, that something would be a young lady.

I like this example of Wodehouse setting the stage from “The Luck of the Bodkins”

Into the face of the young man who sat on the terrace of the Hotel Magnifique at Cannes, there had crept a look of furtive shame, the shifty hangdog look which announces that an Englishman is about to talk French.



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