Mike Jackson, cricketer and scion of a cricketing clan, has dreams of Cambridge upset by father s financial troubles, sent under Manager Bickersdyke to New Asiatic Bank Thankfully fellow cricketer PSmith draws off his lavender gloves to work as well, especially unwanted attention to Manager They squeeze in cricket too


10 thoughts on “Psmith in the City

  1. Luffy Luffy says:

    Psmith appears in several of Wodehouse s books, in unrelated stories He is not really the poor man s Galahad Threepwood, but his surroundings are less rich than Blandings Castle This book clocks in at only 172 pages It was an easy read But if it were long, I think the plot would suffer from too much watering down I m quite jealous of Wodehouse s ease in rhetoric If I could faintly master the way he uses the English languagethere are many adaptations of Psmith and his ilk all Wodehouse c Psmith appears in several of Wodehouse s books, in unrelated stories He is not really the poor man s Galahad Threepwood, but his surroundings are less rich than Blandings Castle This book clocks in at only 172 pages It was an easy read But if it were long, I think the plot would suffer from too much watering down I m quite jealous of Wodehouse s ease in rhetoric If I could faintly master the way he uses the English languagethere are many adaptations of Psmith and his ilk all Wodehouse creations in other parts of the world The way Wodehouse s characters are adapted by various natives from all over the world is fascinating, but here may not be the place to analyze that The book is easy, but whether it s easy on the eyes of the mind is a different matter Psmith and his acolyte Mike Jackson both appear as often, but Psmith is the brains behind the cogs and wheels of the plot If you are a fan and haven t read this particular book, I can safely recommend it Before reading this book there have been reviews hailing it as hilarious I didn t find it exactly that, but I can see where they re coming from 3 stars out of 5


  2. Dan Schwent Dan Schwent says:

    The only bad things about the Psmith books is that Wodehouse only wrote four of them The cry goes out around the town Psmith is the alligator s Adam s apple.


  3. Lindley Walter-smith Lindley Walter-smith says:

    The immaculate, verbose, eminently patronising Psmith finds himself, at the tender age of nineteen, entereing Commerce in order to indulge a whim of his father and not perhaps coincidentally bring joy and light into the life of his school friend Mike, exiled to work in the same Bank by his own family losing its money Psmith indeed spends joy and light everywhere, and it would be most unkind to call him impertinent or accuse him of blackmail, manipulation, or causing chaos He also interests h The immaculate, verbose, eminently patronising Psmith finds himself, at the tender age of nineteen, entereing Commerce in order to indulge a whim of his father and not perhaps coincidentally bring joy and light into the life of his school friend Mike, exiled to work in the same Bank by his own family losing its money Psmith indeed spends joy and light everywhere, and it would be most unkind to call him impertinent or accuse him of blackmail, manipulation, or causing chaos He also interests himself in politics, like the staunch Socialist he is, and particularly in his unlikable employer s attempts to be elected as a Conservative candidate.In this novel inarticulate, kind and loyal Mike and the monocled vision that is his best friend Psmith graduate from the Wodehouse school stories to the adult world, and the result is utterly delicious This is probably the best of the early Wodehouse stories, mostly due to Psmith, who moves with devastatingly unhurried grace through the bleak grey world of London like a juvenile Earl of Ickenham


  4. Nandakishore Varma Nandakishore Varma says:

    The meeting was in excellent spirits when Mr Bickersdyke rose to address it.The effort of doing justice to the last speaker had left the free and independent electors at the back of the hall slightly limp The bank manager s opening remarks were received without any demonstration.Mr Bickersdyke spoke well He had a penetrating, if harsh, voice, and he said what he had to say forcibly Little by little the audience came under his spell When, at the end of a well turned sentence, he paused and to The meeting was in excellent spirits when Mr Bickersdyke rose to address it.The effort of doing justice to the last speaker had left the free and independent electors at the back of the hall slightly limp The bank manager s opening remarks were received without any demonstration.Mr Bickersdyke spoke well He had a penetrating, if harsh, voice, and he said what he had to say forcibly Little by little the audience came under his spell When, at the end of a well turned sentence, he paused and took a sip of water, there was a round of applause, in which many of the admirers of Mr Harry Lauder joined.He resumed his speech The audience listened intently Mr Bickersdyke, having said some nasty things about Free Trade and the Alien Immigrant, turned to the Needs of the Navy and the necessity of increasing the fleet at all costs This is no time for half measures, he said We must do our utmost.We must burn our boats Excuse me, said a gentle voice.Mr Bickersdyke broke off In the centre of the hall a tall figure had risen Mr Bickersdyke found himself looking at a gleaming eye glass which the speaker had just polished and inserted in his eye.The ordinary heckler Mr Bickersdyke would have taken in his stride He had got his audience, and simply by continuing and ignoring the interruption, he could have won through in safety But the sudden appearance of Psmith unnerved him He remained silent How, asked Psmith, do you propose to strengthen the Navy by burning boats The inanity of the question enraged even the pleasure seekers at the back Order Order cried the earnest contingent Sit down, fice roared the pleasure seekers.Psmith sat down with a patient smile.Mr Bickersdyke resumed his speech But the fire had gone out of it He had lost his audience A moment before, he had grasped them and played on their minds or what passed for minds down Kenningford way as on a stringed instrument Now he had lost his hold.He spoke on rapidly, but he could not get into his stride The trivial interruption had broken the spell His words lacked grip The dead silence in which the first part of his speech had been received, that silence which is a greater tribute to the speaker than any applause, had given place to a restless medley of little noises here a cough there a scraping of a boot along the floor, as its wearer moved uneasily in his seat in another place a whispered conversation The audience was bored.Mr Bickersdyke left the Navy, and went on togeneral topics But he was not interesting He quoted figures, saw a moment later that he had not quoted them accurately, and instead of carrying on boldly, went back and corrected himself Gow up top said a voice at the back of the hall, and there was a general laugh.Mr Bickersdyke galloped unsteadily on He condemned the Government He said they had betrayed their trust.And then he told an anecdote The Government, gentlemen, he said, achieves nothing worth achieving, and every individual member of the Government takes all the credit for what is done to himself Their methods remind me, gentlemen, of an amusing experience I had while fishing one summer in the Lake District In a volume entitled Three Men in a Boat there is a story of how the author and a friend go into a riverside inn and see a very large trout in a glass case They make inquiries about it, have men assure them, one by one, that the trout was caught by themselves In the end the trout turns out to be made of plaster of Paris.Mr Bickersdyke told that story as an experience of his own while fishing one summer in the Lake District.It went well The meeting was amused Mr Bickersdyke went on to draw a trenchant comparison between the lack of genuine merit in the trout and the lack of genuine merit in the achievements of His Majesty s Government.There was applause.When it had ceased, Psmith rose to his feet again Excuse me, he said Mike had refused to accompany Psmith to the meeting that evening, saying that he got too many chances in the ordinary way of business of hearing Mr Bickersdyke speak, without going out of his way to makeSo Psmith had gone off to Kenningford alone, and Mike, feeling too lazy to sally out to any place of entertainment, had remained at the flat with a novel.He was deep in this, when there was the sound of a key in the latch, and shortly afterwards Psmith entered the room On Psmith s brow there was a look of pensive care, and also a slight discoloration When he removed his overcoat, Mike saw that his collar was burst and hanging loose and that he had no tie On his erstwhile speckless and gleaming shirt front were number of finger impressions, of a boldness and clearness of outline which would have made a Bertillon expert leap with joy Hullo said Mike dropping his book.Psmith nodded in silence, went to his bedroom, and returned with a looking glass Propping this up on a table, he proceeded to examine himself with the utmost care He shuddered slightly as his eye fell on the finger marks and without a word he went into his bathroom again He emerged after an interval of ten minutes in sky blue pyjamas, slippers, and an Old Etonian blazer He lit a cigarette and, sitting down, stared pensively into the fire What the dickens have you been playing at demanded Mike.Psmith heaved a sigh That, he replied, I could not say precisely At one moment it seemed to be Rugby football, at another a jiu jitsu seance Later, it bore a resemblance to a pantomime rally However, whatever it was, it was all very bright and interesting A distinct experience Have you been scrapping asked Mike What happened Was there a row There was, said Psmith, in a measure what might be described as a row At least, when you find a perfect stranger attaching himself to your collar and pulling, you begin to suspect that something of that kind is on the bill Did they do that Psmith nodded A merchant in a moth eaten bowler started warbling to a certain extent with me It was all very trying for a man of culture He was a man who had, I should say, discovered that alcohol was a food long before the doctors found it out A good chap, possibly, but a little boisterous in his manner Well, well Psmith shook his head sadly He got you one on the forehead, said Mike, or somebody did Tell us what happened I wish the dickens I d come with you I d no notion there would be a rag of any sort What did happen Comrade Jackson, said Psmith sorrowfully, how sad it is in this life of ours to be consistently misunderstood You know, of course, how wrapped up I am in Comrade Bickersdyke s welfare You know that all my efforts are directed towards making a decent man of him that, in short, I am his truest friend Does he show by so much as a word that he appreciates my labours Not he I believe that man is beginning to dislike me, Comrade Jackson What happened, anyhow Never mind about Bickersdyke Perhaps it was mistaken zeal on my part Well, I will tell you all Make a long arm for the shovel, Comrade Jackson, and pile on a fewcoals I thank you Well, all went quite smoothly for a while Comrade B in quite good form Got his second wind, and was going strong for the tape, when a regrettable incident occurred He informed the meeting, that while up in the Lake country, fishing, he went to an inn and saw a remarkably large stuffed trout in a glass case He made inquiries, and found that five separate and distinct people had caught Why, dash it all, said Mike, that s a frightful chestnut Psmith nodded It certainly has appeared in print, he said In fact I should have said it was rather a well known story I was so interested in Comrade Bickersdyke s statement that the thing had happened to himself that, purely out of good will towards him, I got up and told him that I thought it was my duty, as a friend, to let him know that a man named Jerome had pinched his story, put it in a book, and got money by it Money, mark you, that should by rights have been Comrade Bickersdyke s He didn t appear to care much about sifting the matter thoroughly In fact, he seemed anxious to get on with his speech, and slur the matter over But, tactlessly perhaps, I continued rather to harp on the thing I said that the book in which the story had appeared was published in 1889 I asked him how long ago it was that he had been on his fishing tour, because it was important to know in order to bring the charge home against Jerome Well, after a bit, I was amazed, and pained, too, to hear Comrade Bickersdyke urging certain bravoes in the audience to turn me out If ever there was a case of biting the hand that fed him Well, well By this time the meeting had begun to take sides to some extent What I might call my party, the Earnest Investigators, were whistling between their fingers, stamping on the floor, and shouting, Chestnuts while the opposing party, the bravoes, seemed to be trying, as I say, to do jiu jitsu tricks with me It was a painful situation I know the cultivated man of affairs should have passed the thing off with a short, careless laugh but, owing to the above mentioned alcohol expert having got both hands under my collar, short, careless laughs were off I was compelled, very reluctantly, to conclude the interview by tapping the bright boy on the jaw He took the hint, and sat down on the floor I thought noof the matter, and was making my way thoughtfully to the exit, when a second man of wrath put the above on my forehead You can t ignore a thing like that I collected some of his waistcoat and one of his legs, and hove him with some vim into the middle distance By this time a good many of the Earnest Investigators were beginning to join in and it was just there that the affair began to have certain points of resemblance to a pantomime rally Everybody seemed to be shouting a good deal and hitting everybody else It was no place for a man of delicate culture, so I edged towards the door, and drifted out There was a cab in the offing I boarded it And, having kicked a vigorous politician in the stomach, as he was endeavouring to climb in too, I drove off home Psmith got up, looked at his forehead oncein the glass, sighed, and sat down again All very disturbing, he said.Any resemblance of the above to a certain Presidential candidate s election rallies is purely coincidental, as Wodehouse wrote this novel in the last century


  5. Zedder Zedder says:

    This has some choice moments mostly when Psmith is caught red handed and talks his way out of it but overall I found it much less enjoyable than Leave it to Psmith The problem is the plot it mostly revolves around Psmith s friend Mike it starts and ends with prolonged descriptions of Mike playing cricket rather than Psmith s own hi jinks I guess Wodehouse eventually figured out that Psmith was a much stronger character, which is why he dominates the later Mike and Psmith stories.That sa This has some choice moments mostly when Psmith is caught red handed and talks his way out of it but overall I found it much less enjoyable than Leave it to Psmith The problem is the plot it mostly revolves around Psmith s friend Mike it starts and ends with prolonged descriptions of Mike playing cricket rather than Psmith s own hi jinks I guess Wodehouse eventually figured out that Psmith was a much stronger character, which is why he dominates the later Mike and Psmith stories.That said, Psmith in the City does provide for useful reflection on some of the differences between Psmith s and Uncle Fred s volubility They are both good at talking their way out of situations in which they are caught misbehaving, but they do it in opposite ways Uncle Fred lies, to an absurd degree His talent is in being able to instantly make up stories that explain why it s alright for him to be doing what he s doing As others enter the situation, he just makes upandabsurd lies, which somehow all hang together and get him out of trouble in the end Psmith s talent is completely different When he s caught misbehaving, he never lies Rather, he takes control of the situation by granting that he s been misbehaving He then launches into a prolonged account of why his own sort of misbehavior is particularly insidious, thereby making it pointless for anyone else to offer a critique of him I think what I like most about Psmith is the way in which his complete ironic detachment makes him impervious to many of the trials and tribulations of life It provides him with a complete immunity to criticism from others Gotta love that


  6. Girish Girish says:

    My first Psmith book and probably like a schoolboy s first week in a new school, I felt myself missing the crazy world of Bertie and Jeeves That aside, the book was still a humor of elastic bands a stretch.Mike Jackson, a brilliant cricketer and a Cambridge aspirant, ends up working at the New Asiatic Bank postal department due to family situation The good thing is that his onfield partner PSmith too joins him there to teach a few things to their manager Bickersdyke Bonding with comrades My first Psmith book and probably like a schoolboy s first week in a new school, I felt myself missing the crazy world of Bertie and Jeeves That aside, the book was still a humor of elastic bands a stretch.Mike Jackson, a brilliant cricketer and a Cambridge aspirant, ends up working at the New Asiatic Bank postal department due to family situation The good thing is that his onfield partner PSmith too joins him there to teach a few things to their manager Bickersdyke Bonding with comrades over Manchester United, Socialism, Long tea breaks and Sauna baths, PSmith becomes an absolute pain to manager who is also running the elections We also get to see a Lord s cricket match which seals Mike s future.The book had some really funny parts Psmith s grandiose speeches makes him not so likeable and even a bit thickheaded, even if he is our hero Jack for his part wasthe crowd favorite Psmith s dad makes quite an impression as the cricket scion and a man of wealth The descriptions and subtle humor are trademark Wodehouse The ending quite contrived Warm quick read


  7. Robin Robin says:

    Entertaining, but not the best Wodehouse.


  8. Leslie Leslie says:

    I was glad to find that Mike Jackson was still with Psmith in this And I must have absorbed some cricket terminology during the first book in the series as I immediately recognized lbw as leg before wicket whatever that is, I know it s some sort of out or foul Psmith is much funnier in this second book in the series the way he needled the head of the bank Comrade Bickersdyke was priceless.Jonathan Cecil was again excellent in his narration.


  9. Zen Cho Zen Cho says:

    Comfort reading par excellence I think this is the pslashiest of the Psmith books Interesting for the stuff about class I think it was TFV said that when Wodehouse was writing the school stories he hadn t yet achieved the complete detachment from reality you see in his later works, and that s true for the Psmith books as well.I hadn t realised when I first read this how strongly autobiographical it is the New Asiatic Bank is HSBC Cambridge is Oxford Dulwich College is, well, Dulwich Co Comfort reading par excellence I think this is the pslashiest of the Psmith books Interesting for the stuff about class I think it was TFV said that when Wodehouse was writing the school stories he hadn t yet achieved the complete detachment from reality you see in his later works, and that s true for the Psmith books as well.I hadn t realised when I first read this how strongly autobiographical it is the New Asiatic Bank is HSBC Cambridge is Oxford Dulwich College is, well, Dulwich College Found Mike on the Dulwich playing fields very touching And Mike is Plum shy, very bad at expressing his feelings, but essentially sympathetic I suppose Psmith is also Plum all the clever things he would ve liked to say, the Holmesesque friend he would have liked to have be.How presumptuous all this musing is Anyway I love this book It s less problematic than Psmith, Journalist which has some dreffly dodgy race stuff and it is SO SLASHY and I love Mike and Psmith and Wodehouse


  10. Anna Anna says:

    After some effortful reading, I was of a mind to enjoy a light and easy novel What better author that P.G Wodehouse for this purpose, and what better series than the adventures of Mike Psmith I read a great deal of Wodehousethan ten years ago, so a re read feels fresh and new I ve always been especially fond of this minor Wodehouse series, as the pair are so charming Psmith, with his languid manner, pronounced sense of style, insistence on referring to all men as Comrade , and incr After some effortful reading, I was of a mind to enjoy a light and easy novel What better author that P.G Wodehouse for this purpose, and what better series than the adventures of Mike Psmith I read a great deal of Wodehousethan ten years ago, so a re read feels fresh and new I ve always been especially fond of this minor Wodehouse series, as the pair are so charming Psmith, with his languid manner, pronounced sense of style, insistence on referring to all men as Comrade , and incredible ability to be so polite that it circles back around to rudeness He consistently declares himself a Socialist, yet in this book expresses horror at taking a tram and spends a good amount of time at the Conservative Club That incongruity tells you a lot about the British class system Mike, meanwhile, is a quiet and stoic fellow of many feelings, most of them about cricket He lacks Psmith s gift of volubility, but is always willing to back him up In this installment, the pair would like to go to Cambridge and are instead sent to London by their fathers in order to earn a living at the New Asiatic Bank Wodehouse clearly has little fondness for banks in general and the managers that run them in particular Although I largely took Psmith in the City at face value and enjoyed it greatly on that basis, I couldn t help noting some interesting matters of class politics Mike and Psmith repeatedly clash with the unpleasant Mr Bickersdyke, who it becomes clear is a self made man Whereas he was formerly an enthusiastic Socialist, he is subsequently elected MP on a Unionist platform This shift in allegiance is depicted as hypocritical and used by Psmith to elegantly manipulate the man Indeed, Bickersdyke is clearly not entirely comfortable in the upper class circles that he has worked his way into, something that Psmith unerringly hones in on Psmith and Mike are both firmly of the landed aristocracy, although Mike s family are experiencing some financial difficulty The subtext is clear toil and effort can never be a substitute for good breeding Indeed, Wodehouse heavily implies that there is something undignified about hard work per se cricket and witty remarks aresuitable employment for a gentleman Yet Psmith and Mike are not mere caricatures and the insight into class dynamics was, to me,entertaining than maddening After all, Bickersdyke may have rings run around him by Psmith, but ultimately he ends up in a better position than before He s still bank manager, has become an MP, and has divested himself of two very annoying employees who did hardly any work Everyone wins Analysis aside, Wodehouse has an absolutely wonderful turn of phrase and yen for the absurd Examples abound, I will provide only a brief sampling.That is the peculiarity of London There is a sort of cold unfriendliness about it A city like New York makes the new arrival feel at home in half an hour but London is a specialist in what Psmith called in his letter the Distant Stare You have to buy London s good will I believe that the above is as true now as it was in 1910, probablyso Mr Rossiter had discovered Psmith s and Mike s absence about five minutes after they had left the building Ever since then, he had been popping out of his lair at intervals of three minutes, to see whether they had returned Constant disappointment in this respect had rendered him decidedly jumpy When Psmith and Mike reached the desk, he as a kind of human soda water bottle He fizzed over with questions, reproofs, and warnings What does it mean What does it mean he cried Where have you been Where have you been Poetry, said Psmith approvingly.If you like the above passage, you will likely enjoy the whole novel very much Given the complete absence of female characters even the lone landlady who receives an early cameo is referred to as a pantomime dame , there is a somewhat homoerotic air about this sort of thing I need you, Comrade Jackson, Psmith said, when Mike lodged a protest on finding himself bound for the stalls for the second night in succession We must stick together As my confidential secretary and adviser, your place is by my side Who knows but that between the acts tonight I might not be seized with some luminous thought Could I utter this to my next door neighbour or the programme girl Stand by me, Comrade Jackson, or we are undone So Mike stood by him.The fussiness of Wodehouse characters with regards to dress is a great joy to me, exemplified in this extract from a Psmith monologue The moment I concentrate myself on Comrade Bickersdyke for a brief spell, and seem to be doing him a bit of good, what happens Why, Comrade Bristow sneaks off and buys a sort of woolen sunset I saw the thing unexpectedly I tell you I was shaken It is the suddenness of that waistcoat that hits you It s discouraging, this sort of thing I try always to think well of my fellow man As an energetic Socialist, I do my best to see the good that is in him, but it s hard Comrade Bristow s the most striking argument against the equality of man I ve ever come across And I must conclude with a few of Wodehouse s delightfully memorable one liners.Mike proceeded to the meeting with the air of an about to be washed dog We were legging it with the infuriated mob on our heels An ignominious position for a Shropshire Psmith but, after all, Napoleon did the same He looked at Psmith with what was intended to be a dignified stare But dignity is hard to achieve in a couple of parti coloured towels The rain keeps off, said Psmith.Mr Bickersdyke looked as if he wished his employee would imitate the rain, but made no reply.It s a pity that Wodehouse never wrote a whole novel of Mike Psmith s adventures at Cambridge, that would be just the thing at the moment