MIKE AND PSMITH
By P.G. WODEHOUSEMEREDITH PRESS / NEW YORKCopyright 1909 by A. & C. BlackCONTENTSCHAPTER1. MR. JACKSON MAKES UP HIS MIND 2. SEDLEIGH 3. PSMITH 4. STAKING OUT A CLAIM 5.GUERRILLA WARFARE 6. UNPLEASANTNESS IN THE SMALL HOURS 7. ADAIR 8. MIKE FINDSOCCUPATION 9. THE FIRE BRIGADE MEETING 10. ACHILLES LEAVES HIS TENT 11. THEMATCH WITH DOWNING'S 12. THE SINGULAR BEHAVIOR OF JELLICOE 13. JELLICOE GOESON THE SICK LIST 14. MIKE RECEIVES A COMMISSION 15. … AND FULFILLS IT 16. PURSUIT17. THE DECORATION OF SAMMY 18. MR. DOWNING ON THE SCENT 19. THE SLEUTH-HOUND 20. A CHECK 21. THE DESTROYER OF EVIDENCE 22. MAINLY ABOUT SHOES 23. ONTHE TRAIL AGAIN 24. THE ADAIR METHOD 25. ADAIR HAS A WORD WITH MIKE 26.CLEARING THE AIR 27. IN WHICH PEACE IS DECLARED 28. MR. DOWNING MOVES 29. THEARTIST CLAIMS HIS WORK 30. SEDLEIGH V. WRYKYNPREFACEIn Evelyn Waugh's book Decline and Fall his hero, applying for a post as a schoolmaster, istold by the agent, "We class schools in four grades—leading school, first-rate school,good school, and school." Sedleigh in Mike and Psmith would, I suppose, come into thelast-named class, though not quite as low in it as Mr. Waugh's Llanabba. It is one of thosesmall English schools with aspirations one day to be able to put the word "public" beforetheir name and to have their headmaster qualified to attend the annual Headmaster'sConference. All it needs is a few more Adairs to get things going. And there is this to benoted, that even at a "school" one gets an excellent education. Its only drawback is thatit does not play the leading schools or the first-rate schools or even the good schools atcricket. But to Mike, fresh from Wrykyn (a "first-rate school") and Psmith, coming fromEton (a "leading school") Sedleigh naturally seemed something of a comedown. It tookMike some time to adjust himself to it, though Psmith, the philosopher, accepted thechange of conditions with his customary equanimity.This was the first appearance of Psmith. He came into two other books, Psmith in theCity and Psmith, Journalist, before becoming happily married in Leave It to Psmith, but Ihave always thought that he was most at home in this story of English school life. To givefull play to his bland clashings with Authority he needs to have authority to clash with,and there is none more absolute than that of the masters at an English school.Psmith has the distinction of being the only one of my numerous characters to be drawnfrom a living model. A cousin of mine was at Eton with the son of D'Oyly Carte, the manwho produced the Gilbert and Sullivan operettas, and one night he told me about thispeculiar schoolboy who dressed fastidiously and wore a monocle and who, when one ofthe masters inquired after his health, replied "Sir, I grow thinnah and thinnah." It was allthe information I required in order to start building him in a star part.If anyone is curious as to what became of Mike and Psmith in later life, I can supply thefacts. Mike, always devoted to country life, ran a prosperous farm. Psmith, inevitablyperhaps, became an equally prosperous counselor at the bar like Perry Mason,specializing, like Perry, in appearing for the defense.