"All right," [Archibald] said, "I'll try to remember. Tell me about her. I mean, has she any fathers or mothers or any rot of that description?"There's a lesson for comic writers there that's old, but worth restating: the more ridiculous your premise, the more contained and straightforward your language should be. "For the names were strange to him"--can comic genius get more sublimely simple?
"Only an aunt. She lives with her in Park Street. She's potty."
Archibald stared, stung to the quick.
"Potty? That divine . . . I mean that rather attractive-looking girl?"
"Not Aurelia. The aunt. She thinks Bacon wrote Shakespeare."
"Thinks who wrote what?" asked Archibald, puzzled, for the names were strange to him.
"You must have heard of Shakespeare. He's well known. Fellow who used to write plays. Only Aurelia's aunt says he didn't. She maintains that a bloke called Bacon wrote them for him."
"Dashed decent of him," said Archibald, approvingly. "Of course, he may have owed Shakespeare money."
"There's that, of course."
Saturday, February 07, 2009
That bloke Shakespeare
After I quoted a bit of P. G. Wodehouse deploying Shakespeare for comic effect in Thursday's post, I couldn't bear not to share this exchange from another of his Mulliner stories, "The Reverent Wooing of Archibald":