Archie attached himself to the top button of Mr Brewster's coat, and was immediately dislodged by an irritable jerk of the other's substantial body.Mr Brewster loves his hotel, second only to his daughter Lucille. He doesn't react well to Archie's complaints, finally asking him to vacate his room. Archie does so willingly, since he has been invited to a house-party in Miami. Some time later, Mr Brewster gets a telegram from his daughter, who has been staying in Miami: "Returning New York today with darling Archie." Having no idea who this Archie might be, he is by no means pleased to find his daughter married to his complaining guest - one who moreover has no job and no prospects. He has no intention of supporting this unwelcome son-in-law, though he does reluctantly allow the couple a suite in the hotel (and meals in the restaurants).
'Listen, old thing! I came over to this country to nose about in search of a job, because there doesn't seem what you might call a general demand for my services in England. Directly I was demobbed, the family started talking about the Land of Opportunity and shot me on to a liner. The idea was that I might get hold of something in America -'
He got hold of Mr Brewster's coat-button, and was again shaken off.
'Between ourselves, I've never done anything much in England, and I fancy the family were getting a bit fed. At any rate, they sent me over here -'
Mr Brewster disentangled himself for the third time.
'I would prefer to postpone the story of your life,' he said coldly; 'and be informed what is your specific complaint against the Hotel Cosmopolis.'
I started this 1921 novel just after I finished Margery Sharp's Harlequin House. Initially I found Archie a little too much like the feckless young man in that book, a little annoying, and I set this aside to read something else. I am very glad I came back to it, though, because Archie is a good egg. He has the kindly nature of a Wodehouse hero, he is always willing to help out a friend in trouble, he loves his wife and wants to make her happy. He does look for work in a desultory kind of way, finding all kind of adventures along the way. Eventually he finagles his way into a job. I admired his nerve, though I'm not sure he'll really be a success at it.
The scrapes that Archie gets himself into - and out of - follow a familiar Wodehouse pattern. I could imagine Bertie Wooster or the Eggs, Beans and Crumpets of the Drones Club landing themselves in similar situations. I did however notice some unusual elements in this story. I think this is the first Wodehouse book I have read that features a Great War veteran, who occasionally reminisces about his war-time experiences - in a light-hearted way, of course. Archie isn't haunted by the war. But at one point he meets an army acquaintance, down and out on the streets, who has lost his memory. Archie does everything he can to help this man, out of gratitude for food shared in the middle of a campaign (Archie calls him "The Sausage Chappie"), even though his friend has no memory of him (or the sausage). It felt a little odd to have the shadow of the Great War fall, however lightly, on a Wodehouse story. And this is the only book of his I have read so far that features a pregnant character. Children in Wodehouse's books are usually trouble, it seems to me - at least the younger ones.