By: P.G. Wodehouse
September 21, 2019

Leave It to Psmith (1923) is the last and most rewarding of four novels featuring the dandy, wit, and would-be adventurer Ronald Eustace Psmith, one of P.G. Wodehouse‘s most popular characters. (“One can date exactly,” Evelyn Waugh claimed, in reference to Psmith’s debut in the 1909 novel Mike, “the first moment when Wodehouse was touched by the sacred flame.”) Leave It to Psmith‘s copyright enters the public domain in 2019; HiLoBooks is pleased to serialize this terrific book here at HILOBROW. Enjoy!



“How’s your putting coming on?” asked Eve.


“Your putting. You told me you had so much trouble with it.”

She was not looking at him, for she had developed a habit of not looking at him on these occasions; but she assumed that the odd sound which greeted her remark was a hollow, mirthless laugh.

“My putting!”

“Well, you told me yourself it’s the most important part of golf.”

“Golf! Do you think I have time to worry about golf these days?”

“Oh, how splendid, Freddie! Are you really doing some work of some kind? It’s quite time, you know. Think how pleased your father will be!”

“I say,” said Freddie, “I do think you might marry a chap.”

“I suppose I shall some day,” said Eve, “if I meet the right one.”

“No, no,” said Freddie despairingly. She was not usually so dense as this. He had always looked on her as a dashed clever girl. “I mean me.”

Eve sighed. She had hoped to avert the inevitable.

“Oh, Freddie!” she exclaimed, exasperated.

She was still sorry for him, but she could not help being irritated. It was such a splendid afternoon and she had been feeling so happy, and now he had spoiled everything. It always took her at least half an hour to get over the nervous strain of refusing his proposals.

“I love you, dash it!” said Freddie.

“Well, do stop loving me,” said Eve. “I’m an awful girl, really. I’d make you miserable.”

“Happiest man in the world,” corrected Freddie devoutly.

“I’ve got a frightful temper.”

“You’re an angel.”

Eve’s exasperation increased. She always had a curious fear that one of these days, if he went on proposing, she might say yes by mistake. She wished that there was some way known to science of stopping him for once and for all, and in her desperation she thought of a line of argument which she had not yet employed.

“It’s so absurd, Freddie,” she said. “Really, it is. Apart from the fact that I don’t want to marry you, how can you marry anyone? Anyone, I mean, who hasn’t plenty of money.”

“Wouldn’t dream of marrying for money.”

“No, of course not; but —”

“Cupid,” said Freddie woodenly, “pines and sickens in a gilded cage.”

Eve had not expected to be surprised by anything her companion might say, it being her experience that he possessed a vocabulary of about forty-three words and a sum total of ideas that hardly ran into two figures; but this poetic remark took her aback.


Freddie repeated the observation. When it had been flashed on the screen as a spoken subtitle in the six-reel wonder film, Love or Mammon — Beatrice Comely and Brian Fraser — he had approved and made a note of it.

“Oh?” said Eve, and was silent. As Miss Peavey would have put it, it held her for a while. “What I meant,” she went on after a moment, “was that you can’t possibly marry a girl without money unless you’ve some money of your own.”

“I say, dash it!” A strange note of jubilation had come into the wooer’s voice. “I say, is that really all that stands between us? Because —”

“No, it isn’t!”

“Because, look here, I’m going to have quite a good deal of money at any moment. It’s more or less of a secret, you know; in fact, a pretty deadish secret, so keep it dark; but Uncle Joe is going to give me a couple of thousand quid. He promised me. Two thousand of the crispest. Absolutely!”

“Uncle Joe?”

“You know — old Keeble. He’s going to give me a couple of thousand quid, and then I’m going to buy a partnership in a bookie’s business and simply coin money. Stands to reason, I mean. You can’t help making your bally fortune. Look at all the mugs who are losing money all the time at the races. It’s the bookies that get the stuff. A pal of mine who was up at Oxford with me is in a bookie’s office and they’re going to let me in if I —”

The momentous nature of his information had caused Eve to deviate now from her policy of keeping her eyes off Freddie when in emotional vein. And if she had desired to check his lecture on finance, she could have chosen no better method than to look at him; for, meeting her gaze, Freddie immediately lost the thread of his discourse and stood yammering. A direct hit from Eve’s eyes always affected him in this way.

“Mr. Keeble is going to give you two thousand pounds!”

A wave of mortification swept over Eve. If there was one thing on which she prided herself it was the belief that she was a loyal friend, a staunch pal; and now for the first time she found herself facing the unpleasant truth that she had been neglecting Phyllis Jackson’s interest in the most abominable way ever since she had come to Blandings. She had definitely promised Phyllis that she would tackle this stepfather of hers and shame him with burning words into yielding up the three thousand pounds which Phyllis needed so desperately for her Lincolnshire farm. And what had she done? Nothing!

Eve was honest to the core, even in her dealings with herself. A less conscientious girl might have argued that she had had no opportunity of a private interview with Mr. Keeble. She scorned to soothe herself with this specious plea. If she had given her mind to it she could have brought about a dozen private interviews, and she knew it. No; she had allowed the pleasant persistence of Psmith to take up her time, and Phyllis and her troubles had been thrust into the background. She confessed, despising herself, that she had hardly given Phyllis a thought.

And all the while this Mr. Keeble had been in a position to scatter largess, thousands of pounds of it, to undeserving people like Freddie. Why, a word from her about Phyllis would have —

“Two thousand pounds?” she repeated dizzily. “Mr. Keeble?”

“Absolutely!” cried Freddie radiantly.

The first shock of looking into her eyes had passed and he was now reveling in that occupation.

“What for?”

Freddie’s rapt gaze flickered. Love, he perceived, had nearly caused him to be indiscreet.

“Oh, I don’t know,” he mumbled. “He’s just giving it me, you know, don’t you know.”

“Did you simply go to him and ask him for it?”

“Well — er — well, yes. That was about the strength of it.”

“And he didn’t object?”

“No; he seemed rather pleased.”


Eve found breathing difficult. She was feeling rather like a man who suddenly discovers that the hole in his back yard which he has been passing nonchalantly for months is a gold mine. If the operation of extracting money from Mr. Keeble was not only easy but also agreeable to the victim — She became aware of a sudden imperative need for Freddie’s absence. She wanted to think this thing over.

“Well, then,” said Freddie, “coming back to it, will you?”

“What?” said Eve, distrait.

“Marry me, you know. What I mean to say is, I worship the very ground you walk on and all that sort of rot — I mean, and all that. And now that you realize that I’m going to get this couple of thousand — and the bookie’s business — and what not, I mean to say —”

“Freddie,” said Eve tensely, expressing her harassed nerves in a voice that came hotly through clenched teeth, “go away!”


“I don’t want to marry you, and I’m sick of having to keep on telling you so. Will you please go away and leave me alone?”

She stopped. Her sense of fairness told her that she was working off on her hapless suitor venom which should have been expended on herself.

“I’m sorry, Freddie,” she said, softening; “I didn’t mean to be such a beast as that. I know you’re awfully fond of me, but really, really I can’t marry you. You don’t want to marry a girl who doesn’t love you, do you?”

“Yes, I do,” said Freddie stoutly. “If it’s you, I mean. Love is a tiny seed that coldness can wither, but if tended and nurtured in the fostering warmth of an honest heart —”

“But, Freddie!”

“— blossoms into a flower,” concluded Freddie rapidly. “What I mean to say is, love would come after marriage.”


“Well, that’s the way it happened in A Society Mating.”

“Freddie,” said Eve, “I really don’t want to talk any more. Will you be a dear and just go away? I’ve got a lot of thinking to do.”

“Oh, thinking?” said Freddie, impressed. “Right-ho!”

“Thank you so much.”

“Oh — er — not at all. Well, pip-pip.”


“See you later, what?”

“Of course, of course.”

“Fine! Well, toodle-oo!”

And the Honorable Freddie, not ill pleased, for it seemed to him that at long last he detected signs of melting in the party of the second part, swiveled round on his long legs and started for home.



SERIALIZED BY HILOBOOKS: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague | Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”) | Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt | H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook | Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins | William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land | J.D. Beresford’s Goslings | E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man | Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage | Muriel Jaeger’s The Man With Six Senses | Jack London’s “The Red One” | Philip Francis Nowlan’s Armageddon 2419 A.D. | Homer Eon Flint’s The Devolutionist | W.E.B. DuBois’s “The Comet” | Edgar Rice Burroughs’s The Moon Men | Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland | Sax Rohmer’s “The Zayat Kiss” | Eimar O’Duffy’s King Goshawk and the Birds | Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Lost Prince | Morley Roberts’s The Fugitives | Helen MacInnes’s The Unconquerable | Geoffrey Household’s Watcher in the Shadows | William Haggard’s The High Wire | Hammond Innes’s Air Bridge | James Branch Cabell’s Jurgen | John Buchan’s “No Man’s Land” | John Russell’s “The Fourth Man” | E.M. Forster’s “The Machine Stops” | John Buchan’s Huntingtower | Arthur Conan Doyle’s When the World Screamed | Victor Bridges’ A Rogue By Compulsion | Jack London’s The Iron Heel | H. De Vere Stacpoole’s The Man Who Lost Himself | P.G. Wodehouse’s Leave It to Psmith | Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game” | Houdini and Lovecraft’s “Imprisoned with the Pharaohs” | Arthur Conan Doyle’s “The Sussex Vampire”.

RADIUM AGE SCIENCE FICTION: “Radium Age” is HILOBROW’s name for the 1904–33 era, which saw the discovery of radioactivity, the revelation that matter itself is constantly in movement — a fitting metaphor for the first decades of the 20th century, during which old scientific, religious, political, and social certainties were shattered. This era also saw the publication of genre-shattering writing by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Sax Rohmer, E.E. “Doc” Smith, Jack London, Arthur Conan Doyle, Aldous Huxley, Olaf Stapledon, Karel Čapek, H.P. Lovecraft, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Yevgeny Zamyatin, Philip Gordon Wylie, and other pioneers of post-Verne/Wells, pre-Golden Age “science fiction.” More info here.

READ GORGEOUS PAPERBACKS: HiLoBooks has reissued the following 10 obscure but amazing Radium Age science fiction novels in beautiful print editions: Jack London’s The Scarlet Plague, Rudyard Kipling’s With the Night Mail (and “As Easy as A.B.C.”), Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Poison Belt, H. Rider Haggard’s When the World Shook, Edward Shanks’ The People of the Ruins, William Hope Hodgson’s The Night Land, J.D. Beresford’s Goslings, E.V. Odle’s The Clockwork Man, Cicely Hamilton’s Theodore Savage, and Muriel Jaeger’s The Man with Six Senses. For more information, visit the HiLoBooks homepage.