It's time for Part Seven of my latest Tale for Our Time: Psmith, Journalist, a rare combination of Wodehousian whimsy with a dash of social conscience - at least as far as the revolting corruption of Tammany New York is concerned. We headlined last night's episode with Psmith's inspiring cry of defiance to the mobsters threatening his hitherto somnolent magazine:
Cozy Moments cannot be muzzled.
Which prompted this from Nathan, a New York member of The Mark Steyn Club:
I'm really enjoying this reading. I first heard of this book from either Salman Rushdie's memoir Joseph Anton or Christopher Hitchens's memoir Hitch-22. Apparently this title was their shared favorite of Wodehouse's (no surprise) and through the years they would invoke the phrase 'Cozy Moments cannot be muzzled!' as a shibboleth of their friendship.
Hitchens loved that line, as I think any wrier would: It's brilliant.
In tonight's episode, having dined at the Astor, Psmith and Billy stroll homeward, only to discover they're being followed:
The Astor Hotel faces on to Times Square. A few paces to the right of the main entrance the Times Building towers to the sky; and at the foot of this the stream of traffic breaks, forming two channels. To the right of the building is Seventh Avenue, quiet, dark, and dull. To the left is Broadway, the Great White Way, the longest, straightest, brightest, wickedest street in the world.
Psmith and Billy, having left the Astor, started to walk down Broadway to Billy's lodgings in Fourteenth Street. The usual crowd was drifting slowly up and down in the glare of the white lights.
They had reached Herald Square, when a voice behind them exclaimed, "Why, it's Mr. Windsor!"
They wheeled round. A flashily dressed man was standing with outstetched hand.
"I saw you come out of the Astor," he said cheerily. "I said to myself, 'I know that man.' Darned if I could put a name to you, though. So I just followed you along, and right here it came to me."
"It did, did it?" said Billy politely.
Is he friend or foe? Well, it's New York at night so you figure the odds...
Members of The Mark Steyn Club can listen to me read Part Seven of our tale simply by clicking here and logging-in. And, if you've missed the beginning of Psmith, Journalist, you can start fresh with Part One and have a good old binge-listen here.
By the way, have Herald Square and Macy's ever been lamer than in this year's Covid-compliant holiday flopperoo? The rock band Kiss were not happy:
We Showed Up At The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade After Being Shown Sketches Of A HUGE Float And Told We Would Be Surrounded By 100 Baton Twirlers In KISS Makeup. Instead We Got THIS!!! An SUV With A U-Haul Attached And Two Unimpressed Escorts.
Preach it brother, Cozy Kiss cannot be muzzled!
If you'd like to join Nathan in The Mark Steyn Club, we'd love to have you along for our fourth season. So please click here for more info - and don't forget, for fellow fans of classic fiction and/or poetry, our Steyn Club Gift Membership.
I'll see you on the telly for Tucker, and be back here on Saturday evening for Part Eight of Psmith, Journalist.