Aunts aren’t Gentlemen.

It is adventure time in Wooster’s world as he trundles along with Jeeves for pastoral peace that will help cure the spots appearing on his chest.

Bertie and the Cat in Aunts Aren’t Gentlemen     Image Courtesy – Russian Wodehouse Society

The idyllic peace is shattered by the usual complications – sundered lovers, Bertie being the stand-in fiancé, horses and bets, imposing Aunt Dahlia and an interesting cameo for the Cat that has a charming sphere of influence.

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Wooster starts of a rather placid note – a visit to the Doctor advises him to give up the ‘young-man-around-the-Town’ life for a while and practice a bohemian life in the peaceful countryside. By an odd coincidence that abound in Wooster’s life, Aunt Dahlia offers him a cottage retreat just as per the terms and condition advised by the Doc.

Little suspecting that there is a deeper design and conspiracy Bertie lands up at the place accompanied by his ‘Man Friday’ Jeeves.  A spot of bother appears when he learns that he is in close company with Ms. Vanessa Cook, to whom he had happened to propose marriage and had been promptly refused.

His chummy buddy, Orlo Potter, turns up as well. Orlo is eking out a tedious living by working as an Insurance agent  – his chief grouse in life is not being able to extract funds from Pa Cook who is the Trustee of his inheritance and lack of finances putting a spanner in his works to marry his ladylove Vanessa. Potter is jealous and suspicious on finding Bertie at the scene and is forever issuing threats to him about punitive action should he be caught trying to attract Vanessa’s affections.

To liven things up further, we learn that Aunt Dahlia is staying with the Briscoes and her chief occupation presently is to ensure that Simla, backed by the Briscoes, trumps Potato Chip, backed by Cook, in the local derby. Such an outcome is of utmost importance since a pot of Honey rides on the betting sweepstakes driving the event.

Drama happens on account of a lover’s tiff wherein Vanessa calls Orlo a ‘lily livered poltroon’ and snaps off the engagement. She is unhappy about him not standing up to her father – Pa Cook with the menacing hunting crop – to ensure that they get married at the earliest. This lands Bertie in the soup as he is asked to depute as the stand-in ‘Fiance’ and forced up to start reading ‘The Prose Ramblings Of A Rhymester‘ by Reginald Sprockett instead of the popular pedestrian fiction available at hand i.e. ‘By Order of the Czar’.

More complications arise on the appearance of Major Plank, a game hunter from Africa, who gradually recalls his memories of Wooster as ‘Alpine Joe’ – a con man and trickster specializing in thievery. And the potential for indulging in stealing existing by the bucketfuls as Aunt Dahlia arranges for a Cat to be delivered to Bertie for safe-keeping. The Cat in question seems to have earned the affections of Potato Chip and its unavailability will have a material impact on the training and performance of the star for the upcoming race.

Bertie gets mired in mud, swimming pool and stockaded in a barn as he tries to restore order by trying to return the Cat. It all amounts to no avail since he is caught red-handed with the goods by Pa Cook and Major Plank. In the meanwhile Potter and Vanessa decide to elope and relieve Bertie of his troubles as a stand-in fiancé. The dark clouds gather on other fronts though and there seems to be no silver-lining in the horizon till Jeeves steps in and resolves the issue.

Finally we are in for a tame end when it is ‘all-is-well-that-ends-well’. But Wooster has learnt his lesson well about the moral scruples of his Aunts and close the story with a neat remark, ‘Aunts aren’t Gentlemen’.


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