Is There A Hell?

“I will not continue in a job which involves being kissed by worms like Claude Bates. No, no, no, sir!”

Mr Wrenn raised a shocked and wrathful face.
“He kissed you?”

“Yes. You had an article in the Home Companion last week, uncle, saying what a holy and beautiful thing the first kiss is. Well, Claude Bates’s wasn’t. He hadn’t shaved and he was wearing a dressing-gown. Also, he was pallid and greenish, and looked as if he had been out all night. Anything less beautiful and holy I never saw.”

“He kissed you! What did you do?”

Wim van den Heuvel en Yoka Berretty (1961)

“I hit him very hard with a book which I was taking to read to Mrs Bates. It was the Rev. Aubrey Jerningham’s Is There a Hell? and I’ll bet Claude thought there was. Until then I had always rather disliked Mrs Bates’s taste in literature, which shows how foolish I was. If she had preferred magazines, where would I have been? There was about six hundred pages of Aubrey Jerningham, bound in stiff cloth, and he blacked Claude’s eye like a scholar and a gentleman…”

…. And at the thought a deep thrill of gratitude to the Rev. Aubrey Jerningham passed through Kay. How many a time, wearied by his duties about the parish, must that excellent clergyman have been tempted to scamp his work and shirk the labour of adding that extra couple of thousand words which just make all the difference to literature when considered in the light of a missile.

But he had been strong. He had completed his full six hundred pages and seen to it that his binding had been heavy and hard and sharp about the edges. For a moment, as she sat there, the Rev. Aubrey Jerningham seemed to Kay the one bright spot in a black world.

from Sam the Sudden by P.G. Wodehouse

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