Friday, 22 May 2009

heartbreaking wodehouse

If you haven't read Duff Cooper's diaries, it's literally not my fault.

A young-ish Duff is in London in 1915 (he was F/O and wasn't allowed to join up until 1917, or that's the story in the diaries, and I think Duff believes it, and I can't remember whether I did, but I think so). He dines with Lady Goonie, Winston (yes, that one) and Bongy, who argues stridently against conscription.

The next day, Duff learns Tommie Robartes has been killed (Capt. the Hon. Thomas Agar-Robartes, MP for St Austell and West Cornwall since 1908). Steffie is mad with grief. Duff goes on: 'I do hope that Osbert, Bim and Yvo are alright, the last especially. It seems a lot to hope as they are all in the Grenadiers who I hear have suffered as usual.'

As it happened, Bim (or Bimbo) Tennant, first cousin of Duff's friend Kakoo Granby, would die on the Somme. Yvo Charteris, fourth son of the Ear of Wemyss, brother of Ego, was killed at Loos. And for the rest of the war, Duff recounts a paralysing litany of dead young friends that makes you realise that Wodehouse wasn't going out on as wild a limb with his names as it sounds to us.

2 comments:

jondrytay said...

As typos go, the 'Ear of Wemyss' looks pretty credible, especially considering the company it's keeping.

Robert Hudson said...

Oh. My policy is to edit when someone points out that I have cocked up something like this (my sub-editing has always been terrible, which, since you are obsessed with psychoanalysing me, is because I assume everything I write is so amazingly perfect that I literally never have to look at it again). But this time, just for you, and because it's such a nice typo, I shall leave it.