Wodehouse quotes for every occasion: Aunt and Uncle Day

“That was Pongo Twistleton. He’s all broken up about his Uncle Fred.”

“Dead?”

“No such luck. Coming up to London again tomorrow. Pongo had a wire this morning.”

P.G. Wodehouse – Uncle Fred Flits By

aunts gentlemen26 July is Aunt and Uncle Day apparently.

The nub of the thing, I gather, is to commemorate the wonderful aunts and uncles in our lives. A nice idea, but it’s not an occasion I’m familiar with and I have no idea how it’s celebrated. A family dinner might be fitting. You could write or call them to say hello — or even send flowers.

Or you could try the P.G. Wodehouse method. Wodehouse created a memorable cast of aunts and uncles in his works, and it’s generally believed that he drew his inspiration from life. One can only imagine how his relations felt about being immortalised in this way.

My friends at the Fans of PG Wodehouse Facebook group have helped me compile a few favourite quotations on the subject for your enjoyment. They come with a warning – be cautious before sharing them with your own aunts and uncles.

From The Inimitable Jeeves

As a rule, you see, I’m not lugged into Family Rows. On the occasions when Aunt is calling Aunt like mastodons bellowing across premieval swamps and Uncle James’s letter about Cousin Mabel’s peculiar behaviour is being shot round the family circle (‘Please read this carefully and send it on Jane’) the clan has a tendency to ignore me.

And this

It was my Uncle George who discovered alcohol was a food well in advance of modern medical thought.

From The Mating Season

On the cue ‘five aunts’ I had given at the knees a trifle, for the thought of being confronted with such a solid gaggle of aunts, even if those of another, was an unnerving one. Reminding myself that in this life it is not aunts that matter, but the courage that one brings to them, I pulled myself together.

And this

As far as the eye could reach, I found myself gazing on a surging sea of aunts. There were tall aunts, short aunts, stout aunts, thin aunts, and an aunt who was carrying on a conversation in a low voice to which nobody seemed to be paying the slightest attention.

From Uncle Fred and the Springtime

His Uncle Alaric’s eccentricities were a favourite theme of conversation with Horace Davenport, and in Pongo he had always found a sympathetic confidant, for Pongo had an eccentric uncle himself. Though hearing Horace speak of his Uncle Alaric and thinking of his own Uncle Fred, he felt like Noah listening to someone making a fuss about a drizzle.

From The Code of the Woosters

It is no use telling me there are bad aunts and good aunts. At the core, they are all alike. Sooner or later, out pops the cloven hoof. 

From Right-Ho, Jeeves

Uncle Tom, who always looked a bit like a pterodactyl with a secret sorrow.

From Extricating Young Gussie

There are some things a chappie’s mind absolutely refuses to picture, and Aunt Julia singing ‘Rumpty-tiddley-umpty-ay’ is one of them.

From Jill the Reckless

“Barker!” [Freddie’s] voice had a ring of pain.
“Sir?”
“What’s this?”
“Poached egg, sir.”
Freddie averted his eyes with a silent shudder.
“It looks just like an old aunt of mine,” he said.

From Barmy in Wonderland

She was looking more and more like an aunt than anything human. In his boyhood he had observed platoons of his aunts with their features frozen in a similar rigidity.

From Uncle Dynamite

“And that’s not all. Who has the star bedroom? Me? No! Uncle Aylmer. Who collars the morning paper? Me? No! Uncle Aylmer. Who gets the brown egg at breakfast?”

“Don’t tell me. Let me guess. Uncle Aylmer?”

“Yes. Blast him!”

And finally, from: Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen

I took a deep breath. It was some small comfort to feel that she was at the end of a telephone wire a mile and a half away. You can never be certain what aunts will do when at close quarters.

And there are plenty more where these came from.

HP

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22 thoughts on “Wodehouse quotes for every occasion: Aunt and Uncle Day

  1. The only aunt I have left used to frighten me when I was boy, so large and forceful she seemed then. At my late mum’s 90th birthday party two years ago, I told her this and my sweet, grey haired, tiny old auntie smiled up at me: “Who me?” Then she grabbed the microphone and entertained us all with a series of jokes, a couple of them ever-so-slightly off-colour. She is now 98 years old and physically confined to home, having recently recovered from a broken hip. I say physically because she is a terror on the internet (which is where she gets her jokes) and e-mail. It’s just as well Plum lived before the internet or his phalanxes of aunts (and, oooh, Uncle Fred) would have been creating even more havoc than they did with just snail mail, fixed line telephones and telegrams at their disposal. The mind boggles.

  2. George P. Smith

    It was my uncle R. that introduced me to Wodehouse. And I will be forever grateful for that. Later I understood that he is a Wodehouse character himself! Never worked a day in his life, he taught me to enjoy sports, good reads, a well deserved nap and La Dolce Vita when it comes your way. Never get married, now at 81 he is in a sort of engagement with an old flame. the end is yet to be written, anyway.

      1. George P. Smith

        Actually, I’m writing one. Just completed chapter 7 (out of 10 plus epilogue scheduled) just yesterday. I would like to talk with you about that: can I send you an e-mail
        at mrsplum@hotmail.com ?

      2. George P. Smith

        Thanks Honoria. Please check the spam also, please. Unfortunately some messages of mine are magnetically attracted by the bin!

  3. George P. Smith

    On the other side, my aunt T. was the most incredible aunt ever! A little tornado, a real Tina Turner lookalike, always ready to help (also financially) and to turn her nephews’ life inside out.
    She was married to a popular jazz and piano bar player turned architect, but soon after his death, she decided to cut all family ties and moved to Kenya. PGW would have delighted with her!

  4. Fred

    Just a thought or query pops into my mind. How many of Bertie’s aunts are spinsters? Gentry life was always sprinkled with a dusting of the unmarried female.

      1. Until Fred posed the question, I’d never given it a thought that Bertie is not actually oppressed by a surging sea of aunts — only two (and another who got left behind). The aunts are someone else’s, notably Esmond Haddock’s but also through Mr Mulliner’s vast family and, in a minor way, various Drones. It seems to me that we have all extrapolated Bertie’s trenchant views of Agatha and Dahlia (both married and mothers) into a mythology of Bertie drowning in said surging sea. If you want to talk about aunts you really need to go to the Blandings cycle and Lord Emsworth’s sisters. Now there are some aunties for you.

      2. Absolutely Noel.
        Someone once recorded the full list of aunts, uncles and other relations mentioned by Bertie. I have the book in storage and will check when I can get my hands on it. It’s a goodish long list, but Aunts Agatha and Dahlia are the cause of his woes and general views on aunts. There are Uncles who give him trouble, but not quite so persistently as his aunts.
        When it comes to a surging sea of Aunts, Wodehouse knew his stuff — he had a fair gaggle of them himself.

  5. Pingback: Wodehouse quotes for every occasion: Aunt and Uncle Day « Robert Pimm

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