wodehouse’s emsworth portrait (1919)
“Belpher, in addition to all the advantages of the usual village, has a quiet charm all its own, due to the fact that that it has seen better days. In a sense, it is a ruin, and ruins are always soothing to the bruised soul.
“Ten years before,
Belpher had been a flourishing centre of the South of
England oyster trade. It is situated by the shore, where
“For years Belpher
oysters had been the mainstay of gay supper parties at the
“There was a typhoid scare – quite a passing and unjustified scare, but strong enough to do its deadly work, and almost overnight Belpher passed from a place of flourishing industry to the sleepy, by-the-world-forgotten spot which it was when George Bevan discovered it.
“The shallow water is still there; the mud is still there; even the oyster-beds are still there; but not the oysters nor the little world of activity which had sprung up around them. The glory of Belpher is dead, and over its gates Ichabod is written. But, if it has lost in importance, it has gained in charm; and George, for one, had no regrets.”
A Damsel in Distress
Extracted by Bob Smyth