The Pride of the Woosters

A Character Study of Bertram Wooster.

P.G. Wodehouse has created numerous characters with a range of attributes - and I ought to catalog as many as I can in this short life allotted to me.

The tragedy of someone like Wodehouse is that his output was so prolific that in a normal reader's lifetime they can't hope to have completely comprehensive connection to everything PGW produced.

In the short time I have left, I must catalog as least, say, the top 5 or 6, or 210 characters that P G Wodehouse created.

Here is one:

Augustus Wiffle. Author of Care of the Pig.

No -- not him. We'll cover A.W. aoCotP, when we get to him.

For now -- It's B. Wooster.

Bertie Wooster has several titles and epithets: let's list a few, including an indication of the circs. in which each is used:

Bertram Wilbeforce Wooster.

— Formal. (Or magistrate.)

Master Bertram Wooster.

— School roll call.

Bertie Wooster.

— Friend.

"B. Wooster."

— Enveloper of Letter from Friend.


— A displeased aunt.


— A pal.

Oh Bertie.

— A gawdhelpus.

Mr Wooster.

— A toucher.

B.W. Wooster.

— Correspondance.


— School chum. Or Spode.

The Last of the Woosters.

— Self.

That blighted wooster.

— Multifarious Others.


— Aunt Dahlia, Old Flesh and blood.


— Bingley (former Valet, now gentrified.)


— Jeeves.

And you should see already why "Jeeves Stands Alone." But Jeeves is well down the list, despite standing so very much alone. We get to Jeeves, fifth, at best.

Now, with titles established let's get down to brass tacks. The res. Here is it:

Bertie has a Code.

He calls it "The Code of the Woosters" -- but let's not pretend this is anything other than Bertram's personal code.

The code arises from a particular and a peculiar form of pride -- pride is the biblical sin that bertie can't shrug off -- and it is this specific and very carefully misplaced pride that is the "gisti" of the "teti" we wish to rem in the most acu of ways.

The Peculiar Pride of Bertram Wooster

"The Peculiar Pride of Bertram Wooster" -- that is the nub of the thing right there.

Without that P.P., the stories would not be stories, just recollections, and without that P.P. -- he wouldn't even be a tragic comic figure, up there with, absolute no one else apart from Don Quixote. And maybe one other whom I don't wish to even mention in the same <p> tag as Bertram and Don.

(Only Caderouse from The Count of Monte-Cristo is on a par with these two, and he being so much of a villain compared to their stature as surprise heroes, he only gets this <small> enclosed mention, all by itself.)

Here are the rules of the thing according to Bertie's Revealed Preference, (i.e. behaviour, not only words)

  • Always follow the "Personal Code" of Bertie Woostie, which is explicitly known to be "Never let down a pal"
  • A friend in need will always find a friend in Bertram
  • Always rally round an old friend, now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party and all that
  • Always be preux.* (always be a preux chevalier, particularly as regards the other sex.)
  • Woosters are so frightfully honest and open
  • Woosters keep open house
  • Given the opportunity, we are capable of winning Scripture Knowledge Prizes.
  • Given the opportunity, we can write an article, or piece, as we journalists call them, on "What the Well-Dressed Man is Wearing."
  • Should the opportunity arise, we are willing to use the knowledge which we acquired, when cramming to win that Scripture Knowledge Prize at school.
  • We are fierce in the hunt! We fight with all the vim of grand old Sieur de Wooster at the Battle of Agincourt!
  • Able to generally be able to give a fairly accurate account on "What the Well-Dressed Man is Wearing." - despite what some hidebound, reactionaries might think.
  • (This is interpreted to make me a dandy or even fopish ('foppish?') - though I'd never (in 5 million words) use either word myself.
  • Should the opportunity arise, we are willing to remind you that we won that Scripture Knowledge Prize at school.
  • Remember always that you possess the proud blood of the Woosters that that held the field at the battle of Agincourt.
  • When called upon we are more than willing to display the chivalrous spirit of the Woosters.
  • At other times we Display the Wooster Chivalry
  • Though I might be indeed, the Very Last of the Woosters, I still show the Wooster pride, the good old Wooster spirit, and the rare old Wooster Blood
  • We like to be of that sunny disposition and good cheer that is beloved to all (and generally only possible once you've engulfed an egg or two)
  • Even though it's not our best trait, when tempted, one finds oneself trying to appear smart, even when the odds are decidedly against us.
  • Though we are often down we are never out. Ask anyone at the drones.
  • As long as there's blood in the Wooster body there's hope springing in the old boy yet.
  • We carry that puritan strait and are moderate to a fault, but when called upon we can flash the fine sporting spirit of the Woosters.
  • Avoid soppy nonsense. Always.
  • Do not avoid the cocktail hour, do not be a hermit, do not hide in country homes studying newts, be sociable and of good cheer.
  • A club where someone gets someone's attention by throwing a breadroll is the correct level. A person who is not happy until they've been thrown out of seven bars and thrown their soup at the fan, is a suitable companion I should not think.

See also


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