The narrator Bertie and his manservant Jeeves are at Bertie's aunt's house, and must help Bertie's aunt and her romantically entangled guests sort through their problems - an endeavor that Jeeves ends up managing. Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit by P.G. Wodehouse is a book in a series of novels revolving around Bertram Wooster, a wealthy bachelor, and his butler, Jeeves. In this tale, Bertram and Jeeves travel together through several humorous and outrageous adventures where Jeeves, as usual, saves Bertram and members of his family from embarrassment, violence, and even marriage. It is a wonderful comedy filled with British humor and situations only the elite of British society can imagine.
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The story begins with a sartorial conflict between Bertie and his valet Jeeves over the appropriateness of Bertie's newly grown mustache. Bertie thinks it looks handsome and dashing, but Jeeves thinks that facial hair is not elegant and dislikes it. Meanwhile, Bertie's old friend and former fiancee Florence Craye thinks the mustache is cute and nags her boyfriend, a stout bully named Stilton Cheesewright (amusingly named for a variety of stinky blue English cheese) to also grow a mustache like Bertie's. This earns Bertie the enmity of Stilton, both out of jealousy that Florence likes Bertie's new look, and because Stilton hates the idea of having to grow a mustache.
Things get worse for Bertie when a platonic night out at a nightclub with Florence turns chaotic and ends with Bertie's drunken arrest. When he turns up in court the next morning hungover, Stilton is furious and thinks that Bertie spending the evening with Florence was a play to get her from Stilton (which is not at all accurate). The only thing that saves Bertie is that Stilton is ashamed to be seen in public while his mustache is still in its early stages, and so he has become a voluntary recluse for the time being. Then Bertie is then forced to drive down to Brinkley Court, where his Aunt Dahlia lives, when his aunt calls for his help concerning a young man who is a guest at her home. On arriving, however, it is revealed that Percy, the young man, is in love with Florence, who used to be engaged to Bertie. What's more, Aunt Dahlia herself is in trouble, as she has pawned a pearl necklace in an effort to retain the writing services of Daphne Morehead, in order to sell her newspaper to Percy's father, Mr. Trotter. This is why she is hosting the Trotters at her house, buttering them up and feeding them gourmet food prepared by her celebrity French chef, Anatole. Her husband, Tom, is having someone look at the necklace she has, which is now a fake. Jeeves, always ready to help with his sharp brain, devises a plan to steal the necklace back.
There is some interesting class tension in this novel. The Trotters are "new money" from Liverpool. They are self-made millionaires, and the snobby old aristocrats (like Dahlia) simultaneously look down on them for their "vulgar" manners and yet desperately need their money. Meanwhile, the Trotters are also socially ambitious. Mrs. Trotter knows that the next level, after having made money, is to gain social status. And she knows that in England, you gain social status by joining the gentry and aristocracy, so she wants to get her husband a knighthood. She fantasizes about forcing her friends in Liverpool to call her "Lady Trotter". When Mrs. Trotter learns that Dahlia wants the Trotters to buy her magazine, Mrs. Trotter insists that Dahlia include her amazing chef, Anatole, as a part of the package. This dismays Aunt Dahlia a great deal.
When Florence and Stilton again break their engagement due to Wooster's influence, Stilton arrives at the estate, threatening to harm Wooster. As Wooster tries to sneak into Dahlia's room to steal the fake necklace, he finds himself instead in Florence's room, where Stilton locates him. The following day, Wooster retains a cosh for protection, but drops it during a scuffle with Stilton. Dahlia retains it and after being unable to persuade her husband's friend Spode into lying about the necklace, she bashes him on the head. Wooster later returns to find the cosh, and discovers the safe open. He steals a pearl necklace only to discover it is not Dahlia's, but a guest's. It takes the ingenuity of Jeeves to once again save him, Dahlia, and everyone else in the family from disaster. He mixes a soothing drink to cure Mr. Trotter of his indigestion, putting Mr. Trotter in a good mood, and hints to Mr. Trotter that Mrs. Trotter wants to take Anatole as part of her master plan to become a knight's wife. This horrified Mr. Trotter and he decides to buy the magazine while refusing to take Anatole away from Dahlia and Tom. Jeeves found out how to manipulate Mr. Trotter this way by reading a book in his valet club in London which details the personality traits, health and habits of all the gentlemen who employ valets - and Mr. Trotter and his extreme aversion to knighthood was detailed in this book. It turns out that Mr. Trotter is embarrassed about his first name, and he knows that if he were to become a knight, he would be addressed as Sir Lemuel - a prospect that horrifies him. Jeeves also mends the romances by making sure Percy and the beautiful writer Daphne collide, causing Percy to give up Florence and fall in love with Daphne, which results in Florence running back to Stilton. Bertie's accedes that he has been beaten in his efforts to bring harmony, out-done by Jeeves' excellent maneuvers, and shaves off his offending mustache in a symbolic gesture of surrender.
The novel ends on the same light and happy note that it started on, typical for a satirical and light-hearted Wodehouse story.
Best part of story, including ending:
I didn't like that Anatole, the chef, had no say in the matter of who his employer would be. The quirk of trading servants like chattel feels like a throwback to the Middle Ages, and makes you realize how entitled Edwardian aristocrats and even Edwardian self-made millionaires were, and how deep the class divide was back then. It still left a bad taste in my mouth.
Best scene in story:
I thought it was cute when Aunt Dahlia and Bertie were discussing marriage, and brought up Florence (who was sweet on Bertie due to his mustache) and Dahlia's own long marriage to Tom. Dahlia says that men are refined and molded by their wives, and suspects that Florence would like to change Bertie, but says changing a man is a different thing and not easily done. Dahlia says the reason her marriage has lasted is not because she has refined Tom, but because she has not tried to change him.
Opinion about the main character:
It's very hard to dislike Bertie Wooster. What I like most about him is his sweetness and amiable nature.