Sunday, 29 December 2013

PG Wodehouse Never Posted His Letters-Maybe

Cheltenham High Street 1905
P G Wodehouse, the inventor of Bertie Wooster and Jeeves books, was reputed never to have posted his own letters. He would stamp and address the envelope before throwing them from his window, reasoning that the people of Britain were honest and public-spirited enough to pick them up and pop them in a post box.

“Someone always picks it up,” PG wrote. “And it saves me going down four flights of stairs every time I want to mail a letter.”

Percy Jeeves
I was fascinated to hear that this theory was recently tested in Cheltenham, which is where I live - in that eighteen letters were stamped and addressed to the Gloucestershire Echo staff, at both their homes and the newspaper's office. The letters were placed where they could conceivably been forgotten by the authors, i.e. on window ledges and bins, in bus stops and on benches, cafĂ© and pub tables.

15 of the 18 letters were delivered, although details of where they were left are here, but is probably of scant interest to those who don't know the town.

Apparently, PG Wodehouse's parents lived in Cheltenham and he has fond memories of the town. He recounted that he found the name for his Jeeves character when watching Worcestershire cricketer Percy Jeeves play at Cheltenham College’s ground during a festival match between Gloucestershire and Worcestershire in the summer of 1913. Percy Jeeves was killed at the Battle of the Somme in 1916 when he was 28.

Website of the Jeeves Society

1 comment:

Petrea Burchard said...

You may not believe this, but I know TWO people in Cheltenham!