"Company for Gertrude"
is a short story
which first appeared in the United Kingdom in the September 1928 Strand, and in the United States in the October 1928 issue of Cosmopolitan.
the Blandings Castle
features the absent-minded peer Lord
, and was included in the collection Blandings Castle
although the story takes place sometime between the events of
Leave it to Psmith
(1923) and Summer
's world is far from
ideal - not only has his neighbour Sir Gregory Parsloe-Parsloe
, but his niece Gertrude
is imprisoned in the house, mooning miserably about the place and,
worse still, trying to be "helpful" by tidying his study.
Freddie Threepwood, back in
England to promote his father-in-law Mr
Donaldson's "Dog-Joy" biscuits, has just been turned down by
Aunt Georgiana, Gertrude's mother, when he runs into his old
Oxford pal Beefy
Bingham, Freddie learns, is in love with cousin
Gertrude, but as he is not well-off, the family have closed ranks
and sent Gertrude away to Blandings.
Inspired by a Super-film
he has seen,
Freddie sends Bingham down to the castle, under the guise of a Mr
"Popjoy" (based on Lord Emsworth's mishearing of the dog biscuits
Freddie is selling), tasked with ingratiating himself with the
Earl. Emsworth is at first pleased to see Gertrude less dour, and
charmed by his guest's diffidence and helpful ways, but soon finds
himself smothered - Bingham is overdoing the ingratiating. Emsworth
even begins to question the man's sanity, when he wakes in the
night to find the fellow blowing kisses up at his window.
When Bingham tries to help Emsworth off a ladder and knocks him to
the ground, he hopes to remedy the others ills (and anger) with a
bottle of balm
; sadly however, he buys a
product designed for horses, which causes his Lordship considerable
pain. When he sees Emsworth singing during his morning swim, he
mistakes the awful noise for cries for help, and dashes in to save
the aging peer, only to be thanked with a stiff punch in the
Freddie reveals to Emsworth that Popjoy is in fact Bingham, hopeful
of one of the many livings in Emsworth's gift. When Emsworth
realises that he can inflict the man on his enemy Parsloe-Parsloe,
he doesn't hesitate from granting him the job.
The story was adapted for television by the BBC
broadcast in March 1967 as the last of six half-hour episodes,
under the title "Lord Emsworth and Company for Gertrude". The
series starred Ralph Richardson
Lord Emsworth, Derek Nimmo
and Stanley Holloway
as Beach. The
master tapes of all but the first part were wiped, and no known
copies of this episode exist.