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A Man Of Means

by P. G. Wodehouse

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Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (October 15, 1881 - February 14, 1975) was an English comic writer who has enjoyed enormous popular success for more than seventy years. Wodehouse was an acknowledged master of English prose, admired both by contemporaries like Hilaire Belloc, Evelyn Waugh and Rudyard Kipling and by modern writers like Douglas Adams, Salman Rushdie, Christopher Hitchens and Terry Pratchett. Sean O'Casey famously called him "English literature's performing flea", a description that Wodehouse said he believed was "meant to be complimentary", and which he used as the title of a collection of his letters to a friend, Bill Townend, which was published in 1953. Best known today for the Jeeves and Blandings Castle novels and short stories, Wodehouse was also a talented playwright and lyricist who was part author and writer of fifteen plays and of 250 lyrics for some thirty musical comedies. He worked with Cole Porter on the musical Anything Goes and frequently collaborated with Jerome Kern and Guy Bolton. He wrote the lyrics for the hit song "Bill" in Show Boat.

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It was precisely this quality of elusiveness which had first attracted Mr. Montague. He was a far-seeing man, and to him the topographical advantages of the theater were enormous. It was further from a fire-station than any other building of the same insurance value in London, even without having regard to the mystery which enveloped its whereabouts. Often after a good dinner he would lean comfortably back in his chair and see in the smoke of his cigar a vision of the Windsor Theater blazing merrily, while distracted firemen galloped madly all over London, vainly endeavoring to get some one to direct them to the scene of the conflagration. So Mr. Montague bought the theater for a mere song, and prepared to get busy.



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