The following is an incomplete compendium of the fictional characters featured in the stories of P. G. Wodehouse (other than the ones already described in separate guides about Wodehouse series such as Blandings, Jeeves, etc.), in alphabetical order by surname.
The rather mild headmaster of Sanstead House during the events of The Little Nugget, Mr Arnold Abney is a tall and suave man, with a high forehead, thin white hands, a cooing intonation, and a general air of hushed importance.
Abney is an incorrigible namedropper, who rarely completes a sentence without mentioning some noble or important person of his acquaintance. His troublesome ward Ogden Ford refers to him as a 'hot air merchant'. He is also renowned for his propensity for 'popping up to London', generally to meet with some prospective aristocratic parent and invariably leaving his overworked masters in the lurch.
Abney is devoted to maintaining the good name of his school, and makes every effort to keep the boys in his charge from catching colds, both of which become difficult tasks with Ford around. Abney, having led a quiet and regular life, is suitably shocked to find his precious school overrun with gangsters.
Adair, a natural leader, a fit-looking sort of man with broad shoulders, light wiry hair, very bright blue eyes and a square jaw, is captain of cricket (and rugby) at Sedleigh in Mike and Psmith. He is mostly self-taught, and hard-working rather than talented; an orphan, his guardian suffers neuralgia at one end of him and gout at the other. He has a smouldering dislike for the likes of Stone and Robinson, who are apt not to take Sedleigh as seriously as Adair would like. At first he and Mike do not see eye to eye, but they later become firm friends.
A venerably white-bearded old man, a self-professed expert in eugenics, Appleby is in fact a crook, inveigling young Horace into the home of Cooley Paradene in order to rob him of his valuable collection of rare books, in Bill the Conqueror.
A brother of Lord Mountry, young Beckford is a student at Sanstead House during the events of The Little Nugget. A friend of Ogden Ford, Beckford at one point heads off to London with his classmate, overstaying his leave to attend a party at his mother's house.
A short, plump man, Bickersdyke is the head of the New Asiatic Bank. He has a hard, thin-lipped mouth, half-hidden by a ragged moustache. his eyes are also hard, pale and slightly protruding, and he wears gold spectacles. In his schooldays he knew Mr Smith, and later, when a clerk in Morton and Blatherwick's with Mr Waller, he held strong Liberal views, which he expressed in wild and controversial speeches at the "Tulse Hill Parliament", and once he stood for Parliament in the North, as a Liberal candidate, but lost by a couple of thousand.
In later life, during the events of Psmith in the City, he becomes a Unionist, and is elected MP for Kenningford, despite Psmith breaking up meetings and threatening to reveal his past. He has a notorious temper, little time for or understanding of cricket, and is a member of The Senior Conservative Club.
The maiden name of Audrey Sheridan.
The hero of the six stories in A Man of Means, Roland Bleke is a chivalrous and polite young man who more often than not finds himself talked into things against his better judgement. He also finds himself regularly falling for pretty girls, usually totally unsuitable to a man of his quiet and simple temperament, at first sight.
At first a poor clerk, he wins a small fortune in a sweepstake, and from then on his every step seems to bring him further wealth. He is, at various times, a stockholder in a booming gold mine, the proprietor of a theatre, owner of a magazine, and the financier of a plot to organise a revolution in a small South American country.
Wife of Sir Thomas and aunt to Spennie Dreever, Lady Julia is a typically statuesque and imperious aunt who bullies her husband and nephew quite ruthlessly. She owns a priceless necklace, the object of much intrigue, in A Gentleman of Leisure.
In A Gentleman of Leisure, Sir Thomas is the wealthy founder and owner of "Blunt's Stores", uncle by marriage to Spennie Dreever and master of Dreever Castle. He upsets his wife, Lady Julia, with his insistence on having detectives hanging around to protect her jewellery, and his lack of trust for hotel safes. A naturally parsimonious fellow, he finds it better to provide his wife with quality fakes, rather than the real thing.
See "Spennie", Earl of Dreever below.
An old boy of Wrykyn school, Mr Braddock is a wealthy fellow of pleasant temperament, and old friend of Sam Shotter, who affectionately calls him "Bradder". A pinkish, stoutish, solemn young chap, he was a friend and neighbour to Kay Derrick when they were children together in Wiltshire, despite her mockling his habit of wearing bedsocks. He longs to travel and enjoy wild adventures, but is hampered by Mrs Lippett, his nurse in childhood and his housekeeper, in John Street, Mayfair, in later life. He finds champagne an excellent preparation for making a speech, although Mrs Lippett discourages such consumption, suggesting cider as a more healthy alternative. His butler's name is Sleddon.
A thick-set, square-shouldered young man from Wyoming, Brady was once a cowboy and later became a light-weight boxer. He finds the conditions in the East far from ideal; at one point he feels the only friend he has in the world is his old mother. A boost from Psmith and Billy Windsor in Psmith, Journalist, including printing Brady's memoirs in their magazine Cosy Moments, earns him a run of fights leading up to a title challenge against the champ, Jimmy Garvin. He smokes a black cigar when not in training, and is Pugsy Maloney's idol. Jimmy Pitt once went three rounds against him.
The Kid also features in several early shorts.
The captain of the Wrykyn cricket team in Mike, "Billy" Burgess is also the school fast bowler. A genial giant, he is very keen on quality fielding, and always disgusted when Bob Jackson drops someone in the slips off his bowling. Not one to overflow with enthusiasm, the highest compliment he usually pays is "not bad".
The hero of The Little Nugget is a well-to-do man of thirty, in excellent health, with a little sadness in his past. During a hell-raising and somewhat self-absorbed youth, he became engaged to Audrey Blake, but treated her rather poorly, patronizing her from his position of great wealth. When she left him for another, his arrogance was brought home to him, and he wandered the earth for three years, a broken man. When we first meet him, he has recently returned to London and has just become engaged to Cynthia Drassilis, mostly because he felt sorry for her.
Easily manipulated by Cynthia, he takes a job as a master at Sanstead House to further her plan to kidnap Ogden Ford, Burns finds his job complicated by the arrival on the scene of the long-lost Audrey, now a widow and dependent on Elmer Ford for her income. Burns shows considerable wit, courage and endurance in his battles with Smooth Sam Fisher, Buck MacGinnis and Ogden himself, and learns much about himself as he struggles to do the right thing and balance his commitment to Cynthia with his growing feelings for Audrey. His fortunes are resolved largely by the hand of fate.
"J. G. Butterwick" (in Heavy Weather, 1933) and "John G. Butterwick" (in The Luck of the Bodkins, 1935), became "J. B. Butterwick" (in Pearls, Girls and Monty Bodkin, 1972). He is the senior partner in Butterwick, Price and Mandelbaum, Import and Export Merchants.
He is the father of Gertrude Butterwick, and the uncle to Ambrose and Reggie Tennyson. He demands that Monty Bodkin hold a job for one full year before he can marry Gertrude.
Hero of The Swoop, Clarence is a fourteen-year-old Boy Scout, who saves England from invasion by foreign powers thanks to his remarkable nous, and as a result becomes the hero and darling of the nation.
The extremely beautiful Miss Coker was raised mostly in Europe by her mother, on the death of whom she returns to New York, to stay with her father and her beloved brother Judson and to cause havoc amongst the unattached male community. She has a particularly strong effect on Bill "the Conqueror" West, who keeps twelve photos of her in his flat, until he learns she plans to marry a chap in the steel business.
A dissolute youth, proud of his wastrelly ways, particularly his creation of the Fifth Avenue Silks (a club of young men-about-town who stroll the streets dressed entirely in silk), Coker became close friends with Bill West at Harvard. Travelling to London with Bill, Judson struggles with his enforced life of teetotal penury, but eventually finds the effects on his health surprisingly positive. A helpful fellow, he never quite lets his pal Bill down, and eventually learns (from a temperance meeting he chances into) the true evils of drink, leaving the events of Bill the Conqueror a happier man.
An aged man with a long white beard, Mr Cornelius is often said to resemble a druid. An estate agent and historian in the suburb of Valley Fields, he enjoys playing chess with Matthew Wrenn, and is hard at work on a comprehensive history of his beloved suburb. His knowledge of the area's past proves invaluable to Sam Shotter, in Sam the Sudden.
A very pretty young girl, with blues eyes and soft, golden-brown hair, Miss Derrick is the daughter of the late Colonel Eustace Derrick, and is aged twenty-two when we first meet her in Sam the Sudden. She grew up in rural Wiltshire, in a house called Midways Hall. Her neighbour was Willoughby Braddock, and the two played together often; she also enjoyed birds-nesting with Claire Lippett, who later became her maid. On her father's death, she was taken in by her uncle Matthew, and went to live in the suburb of Valley Fields. She is employed for a time as companion to a Mrs Winnington-Bates, but leaves when Mrs Bates' son Claude tries to kiss her; soon after she meets Sam Shotter, who has long admired her.
Cricket master and head of the fire brigade at Sedleigh in Mike and Psmith, Downing is a short, wiry little man with a sharp nose and a general resemblance, both in manner and appearance, to an excitable bullfinch. He is rather strong on the healthy boy and wants every boy to be keen. Fussy, pompous, and openly influenced in his official dealings with his form by his own private likes and dislikes, he makes himself unpopular in the school with his unfair treatment of those outside his own house. He owns a young bull terrier named Sampson (but familiarly known as Sammy). He rather fancies himself as a bowler, until Mike knocks him around the ground.
The ambitious fiancée of Peter Burns and instigator of many of the events of The Little Nugget, Cynthia is a tall, strikingly handsome girl, with clear white skin and pale gold hair, who carries herself magnificently. She also has a rather hard and cynical cast of countenance, and a cool sort of stylishness. Her simplicity of dress contrasts favourably with her mother's glittery tendencies, and she turns the head of many a man.
Having started Burns on his dangerous path, Cynthia spends much of the duration of The Little Nugget offstage, on a yachting cruise in the Mediterranean, appearing only via correspondence, and we later only hear from her mother of her growing attachment to Lord Mountry.
The mother of Cynthia, Mrs Drassilis is the daughter of a provincial solicitor and widow of the Hon. Hugo Drassilis, younger brother of the Earl of Westbourne, who appears in The Little Nugget. Mrs Drassilis, on the death of her husband, was poorly treated by his family, who considered Hugo to have married beneath his class, and thus is forced to live on what for her are inadequate funds. This treatment, and the subsequent privations, spoil Mrs Drassilis' looks and her temper. When we meet her, she is a resident of London's Marlow Square, and is described as 'florid and overdressed'.
Her character is perhaps the root of her daughter's cool and dangerous outlook, and is certainly part of the reason Peter Burns becomes engaged to Cynthia, mainly out of sympathy.
In A Gentleman of Leisure, Hildebrand Spencer Poynt de Burgh John Hannasyde Coombe-Crombie, twelfth Earl of Dreever, is owner (in name at least) of Dreever Castle, but has no money and is supported by his uncle, Sir Thomas Blunt. He is pleasant but foolish and rather spineless young man, bullied by his Aunt Julia and fleeced by card sharps. He loves a girl named Katie, and wishes to join the diplomatic service and marry her, but requires his uncle's blessing and support to do so.
In The Gem Collector, an earlier version of the story, Spennie's surname is Blunt, and his mother is married to McEachern.
A bank-robber of the old school, Mr Finglass was known as "Finky" to his contemporaries, and is remembered for his spectacular theft of around two million dollars in bonds from the New Asiatic Bank. Unfortunately, he was forced to flee the country without his haul; when he later passes away in Buenos Aires prior to the events of Sam the Sudden, he leaves instructions for finding it divided between his old pals Thomas "Soapy" Molloy and Alexander "Chimp" Twist.
"Gazeka" Firby-Smith, so called "because he looks like one", is Head of Wain's house at Wrykyn when Mike joins, in Mike. A rather pompous youth, Mike annoys him by throwing his bag out of the train on the way to school, thinking he had left it behind. All spectacles and front teeth, he is not an attractive lad, and has a rather irritable and cruel nature, especially when he considers he has been "cheeked" by young Mike.
An intellectual kind of crook, "Smooth" Sam Fisher got his nickname for his silky manners as much as for his slippery scheming. He has bright, humorous brown eyes and a plump and rosy complexion, and makes a regular business of trying to kidnap Ogden Ford, a.k.a. The Little Nugget.
He first tried in 1906, in New York, and makes several attempts during Ford's sojourn at Sanstead House. Inveigling himself into the house in the guise of a butler named White, Fisher later proclaims himself, when discovered by Peter Burns chasing villains from the grounds with a revolver, to be a detective from the Pinkerton agency. A master of disguise, he makes a highly convincing butler, and keeps many fooled with his detective story for some time.
He later reveals his true identity to Burns, knowing that Burns' own plans to kidnap the boy will prevent him from revealing it. Burns repeatedly scuppers Fisher's schemes, until he is at last forced to team up with his more brutal rival, Buck MacGinnis. With MacGinnis' help, Ford is successfully taken, and Fisher steals him from the hapless MacGinnis and takes a job as the boy's bodyguard, in lieu of ransom.
An extremely wealthy American, Ford was married to Nesta, until they were divorced in Washington, D.C.. When introduced to the reader of The Little Nugget around a year after this event, he is a large, commanding man of middle age, with powerful shoulders and a square-jawed, clean-shaven, aggressive face reminiscent of a Roman emperor. After the divorce he won custody of their son Ogden, and kept the boy with him at his English country house, understanding that the boy's unpleasant behaviour is mostly due to his mother spoiling him. During the events of The Little Nugget, Ford spends most of his time offstage, taking the waters at Droitwichto soothe his rheumatism, but appears towards the end and is reunited with Nesta thanks to the intervention of "Smooth" Sam Fisher. He hires Fisher as a bodyguard for his son, but sadly passes way prior to the events of Piccadilly Jim.
The titular hero of The Little Nugget, Ogden is an obnoxious, spoiled child, son of the doting Nesta. Despite being a small, fat boy of just fourteen when he first appears, he already smokes, swears and gambles, and has ploughed through numerous private tutors before his father sends him away to be schooled at Sanstead House. In his youth in America he was a popular target for kidnappers, hence his nickname, and is thus familiar with the likes of Buck MacGinnis and "Smooth" Sam Fisher. He is generally treacherous to those around him, especially if their plans involve any personal discomfort, and is more likely to hand himself over to kidnappers than to allow himself to be hidden anywhere cold, damp or free from cigarettes. His manners do not make him a popular lad, but he counts at least Augustus Beckford among his known associates.
Ogden returns in Piccadilly Jim.
An unpleasant youth, who is adopted by Cooley Paradene in Bill the Conqueror on the advice of Professor Appleby, but who is soon revealed to be a member of a devious criminal gang. A little too fond of food for the tastes of his fellow-criminals, he resents being taught lessons, but when his schemes are discovered by his adopted parent his future is mapped out as one learning experience after another.
A sleek-haired, pale young man, known to his intimates and the personal paragraphs of sporting weeklies as 'Tanky', hard-drinking socialite Gifford is in company with Cynthia Drassilis early in The Little Nugget. His attentions to the young lady anger Peter Burns, who refers to Gifford as 'a most unspeakable little cad', and ends up engaged to Cynthia to keep her out of the clutches of such unsavoury men.
An amateur life-insurance salesman, those who know him avoid spending any time alone with Glossop for fear of a lengthy conversation on the gloomy subjects of aging and death. His general response, when confronted with the various dramas thrown at the school during Ogden Ford's time there, is to recommend calling for the police.
Sister of George Alexander Pyke, Lord Tilbury, "Francie" is married to Sinclair Hammond, and keenly promotes the engagement of her nephew Roderick to his niece Flick in Bill the Conqueror. An imperious and overbearing sort, she is prone to ignoring her soft-spoken husband in favour of her more forceful brother, at least until the worm turns.
She pops up again briefly in Sam the Sudden, advising her troubled brother.
An archaeologist and collector of rare books, Hammond is married to Francie, uncle to Flick Sheridan, and an old friend of fellow book-lover Cooley Paradene. A mild and gentle man, he and Flick have a close friendship, and he always comes through for her when she most needs his help, even going as far as standing up to his wife and taking Flick out to wild nightclubs when she needs cheering, up in Bill the Conqueror.
The elder brother of Mike who is still at Wrykyn when Mike arrives there, Bob is a strong bat but a nervous fielder. He finds himself in a difficult position in Mike, when he and his brother compete for the last two places in the school team. He later attends, and plays cricket for, Oxford.
Bat Jarvis is a cat-loving gangster who helps Psmith and Billy Windsor in Psmith, Journalist. He is head of the "Groome Street" gang, and also keeps a pet-shop in Groome Street, in the Bowery. He lives above the shop, and keeps twenty-three cats. A short, stout young man with tough air, he wears his hair in a well-oiled fringe almost down to his eyebrows, giving him the appearance of having no forehead at all; his eyes are small and set close together, his mouth is wide, and his jaw prominent. He is a superstitious soul, believing that cross-eyed cats are lucky, while cats with one blue eye and one yellow bring misfortune. Jarvis appears to be based on Monk Eastman, a real-life New York gangster of the era.
He founded his gang when called on to protect a local dance-hall, Shamrock Hall, from wild youths. It grew steadily, was used by politicians to cast spurious votes en masse, and thus developed power. By the time we meet Mr Jarvis, his gang is the largest in town, unrivalled by the likes of Spider Reilly's "Three Points" or Dude Dawson's "Table Hill" mobs. One of his henchmen is the tall, thin, taciturn "Long Otto".
A boy in Outwood's house at Sedleigh, Jellicoe, a light-haired youth with a cheerful, rather vacant face and a receding chin and a propensity to giggle, shares a dormitory with Mike and Psmith in Mike and Psmith. He is the proud owner of a clockwork rat, and also two Aberdeen Terriers, named John and Jane, which he keeps in a pub near the school during term.
Maid to Kay Derrick, Miss Lippett joined the Derrick household at the age of twelve (her mother being housekepper to the Derrick's neighbours), and become Kay's personal maid on her eighteenth birthday, sticking to her post despite subsequent changes of fortune. A solid little figure with a perky nose, tow-coloured hair and a wide, friendly mouth, she is a temperamental girl, a fine shot with an onion but not the best of cooks. She falls for Hash Todhunter when he kisses her, and they retire to run a pub with her mother at the end of Sam the Sudden.
Mrs Lippett was housekeeper to the family of Willoughby Braddock in his youth, and in later years, when he moved from the country to a house in John Street, Mayfair. She is a tall, thin woman with a nose like an eagle's beak, which she inherited from the Bromage family, her mother's side, and was disappointed not to hand down to her daughter Claire. Something of an autocrat, she rules Mr Braddock's life strictly, leaving him overjoyed when she retires to run a pub with her daughter and Hash Todhunter.
A tough-looking man with wiry limbs and a broken nose, MacGinnis is a New York gang leader who appears in The Little Nugget, hot on the trail of his frequent kidnapping target Ogden Ford. He had, according to Ford himself, previously attempted to kidnap the boy in 1907, in Chicago.
MacGinnis has a strong Bowery accent and a taste for mail-order suits, and despite a sizeable gang often seems keen on taking on a partner, as Peter Burns learns when MacGinnis mistakes him for "Smooth" Sam Fisher. MacGinnis is very much a man of direct and forceful action, lacking Fisher's delicate touch and thoughtful, planning nature.
MacGinnis' association with Burns is not a happy one; after a first encounter in which MacGinnis definitely has the upper hand, at a later meeting Burns tackles MacGinnis to the ground, breaking his leg in the process. He returns to the fray once it has healed, only to break it again in a nasty fall, and having been tricked out of his prize by the real Sam Fisher is assumed to have retired hurt from his chosen profession.
The office-boy at Cosy Moments in Psmith, Journalist, Maloney is a nonchalant youth, with a freckled, mask-like face, the expression of which never varies. He is a cousin of the gangster Bat Jarvis, and wants to be a cowboy. He enjoys movies, and dates a girl whose pa runs a delicatessen in his street; he if given a day off, he likes to take her to the Bronx Zoo. His idol is Kid Brady, who used to be a cowboy himself and gets to smoke cigars.
A large young fellow with a wide, good-natured mouth, friendly grey eyes, long limbs and broad shoulders, Mr Maude is the titular prince of The Prince and Betty, long-lost heir to the throne of Mervo.
A captain of police in New York, McEachern is a huge bull of a man who has made a fortune through graft, all of which is scrupulously saved up to give his daughter Molly a good life. Retiring to England, he moves into decent society, befriending Sir Thomas Blunt in hopes of improving his daughter's future.
McEachern appears in A Gentleman of Leisure, and is called Patrick McEachern in The Gem Collector, an earlier version of the story.
Attractive Molly appears in A Gentleman of Leisure, the daughter of John. An American educated in England, she once lent a book to Phyllis Derrick. She is attracted by Jimmy Pitt's strong and passionate nature, but fears alienating her beloved father. She is fond of animals, but afraid of the boogaboos.
An actor, friend of Jimmy Pitt, Mifflin is the star of the Raffles-like play The Cracksman in New York at the start of A Gentleman of Leisure. He also crops up in many other stories, such as his appearance in the play at the centre of the short "Deep Waters". An alumnus of Cambridge University.
Elmer Ford's private secretary in The Little Nugget, Mr Minnick is a wiry little man with grey hair and spectacles, and a manner which is at once determined and apologetic. He pursues Ford's cause relentlessly, wresting the kidnapped Ogden Ford from the clutches of his mother.
Born Dora Gunn, but known to many as "Fainting Dolly" and "Dolly the Dip", Dora is an expert at fainting near wealthy-looking strangers and picking their pockets while they bend down to assist her. We first meet her in Sam the Sudden, when her partnership with Thomas "Soapy" Molloy is fresh and vigorous (they were married two days before we are introduced to them). She is nevertheless critical of his mental powers, referring to him as a "cake eater". She is in her middle twenties, with bright hazel eyes, vivid colouring and a slightly metallic tinge to her hair, and knows the importance of quality hats, shoes, gloves etc, especially if someone else is paying for them.
An expert at selling fake oil stocks to those even less mentally gifted than himself, Molloy is a tall, rather handsome fellow in middle age. for the purposes of his business he maintains a fine, indeed majestic appearance, and sometimes using the pseudonym "Thomas G. Gunn", a nod to his girl Dora, nee Gunn, who he married just before we first meet him in Sam the Sudden. He once spent some time in Sing Sing, where he took the role of a senator in a play put on by the inmates. A sometime associate of Alexander "Chimp" Twist
A blond, pink-faced, fair-moustached young man of twenty-eight, Lord Mountry appears in The Little Nugget, hosting a yachting party in the Mediterranean which keeps Mrs Nesta Ford off the scene for much of the action. He went to Oxford with Peter Burns, and his younger brother is Augustus Beckford. Always an excessively shy, nervous man, Mountry has a horror of the deeper emotions, is prone to embarrassed gurgling in the presence of the fairer sex, and is often overwhelmed in the company of Nesta and her friend Cynthia Drassilis. He met Nesta in Paris, where he was caring for his sick father, and ends up engaged to Cynthia by the end of their boat trip.
Red-haired Bowery-boy Mullins is a poor thief, who knows Jimmy Pitt and Captain McEachern from New York days, and finds himself on the skids in London. He is taken on as valet by Pitt, who Mullins idolises as a Raffles-style gentleman thief, but later returns to America.
The amiable and somewhat absent-minded head of the house joined by Mike and Psmith on arrival at Sedleigh in Mike and Psmith, Outwood is kindly chap with something pleasant and homely about him. Somehow resembling Smee in Peter Pan, with the same eyebrows and pince-nez and the same motherly look, Outwood's passion is archaeology. He runs the school archeology club, and spends much of his time pondering apses, plinths, and cromlechs.
Hardworking Paradene built up a considerable fortune with his Paradene Pulp and Paper Company, and happily spent much of it building up his impressive collection of rare books, a hobby he shares with his good friend Sinclair Hammond. He was for a time generous to the gaggle of spongers making up his family, the only one of whom he ever had any affection for being Bill West. He changes his mind on family matters, however, when he meets Professor Appleby on a train and hears his theories on eugenics. Disowning his family, he adopts the awful Horace, in Bill the Conqueror.
A sinister character appearing in Psmith, Journalist, Mr Parker could be any age between twenty-five and thirty-five, with a smooth, clean-shaven face, and a cat-like way of moving. A well-dressed man, he sports a tail-coat, sharply-creased trousers, and patent-leather boots of pronounced shininess. His gloves and "tall-shaped" hat complete an impressive picture. Despite appearances, Parker is not a very savoury type, representative of corrupt forces, who at one point kidnaps Psmith at gunpoint.
In the reworked version of the story The Prince and Betty, Parker's first name is Martin.
When Nesta first appears, in The Little Nugget, she is the divorced wife of Elmer Ford, struggling to wrest from her former spouse the control of their son Ogden, on whom Nesta dotes. She has large brown eyes, which are normally hard and imperious, but often soften on contemplation of her boy, who she sometimes refers to as 'Oggie' and who she spoils terribly.
After a dramatic appearance in the opening scene, Mrs Pett spends much of the story off stage on a cruise in the Mediterranean, her schemes to retrieve her beloved boy being carried out through a chain of intermediaries. She returns at the end in powerful form, but is persuaded to reunite with Elmer thanks to a crook.
Nesta returns in Piccadilly Jim.
Pillingshot is a character from the early school stories, one the schoolboys of St. Austin's. His main characteristics are jammy fingers and a runny nose. Moreover, he is cheeky, and likes to pose as a 'master detective'!
Jimmy Pitt is the titular hero of A Gentleman of Leisure. Having quit Yale, American Pitt worked as an actor and a waiter, had a job in a jeweller's (where he learnt how to spot fake gems), and even boxed against Kid Brady before taking up journalism. He inherited a fortune from a stranger who loved his mother, and became a playboy. As a result of a bet with his old bohemian friends, he even has a go at burglary, leading to his meeting and falling in love with Molly McEachern. He also befriends Spike Mullins, and makes the crook his valet.
In The Gem Collector, an earlier version of the story, Sir James Willoughby Pitt, Bart, is an Englishman, expelled from Eton, who turns to crime in America, inherits a baronetcy, and later a fortune from his estranged uncle.
Droopy son of George Alexander Pyke, Lord Tilbury, Oxford-educated, poetry-loving Roderick is too much of an intellectual to please his father's ruthless business mind. A cowardly man, in Bill the Conqueror he develops a fear of bookies attacking him, to get revenge for articles written for Society Spice by his subordinate, the slimy Percy Pilbeam. Having inherited his mother's pretty eyes and hair, he also harbours a secret affection for the stenographer in his office, and a longing to live in Italy and write poetry.
A gangster working for the "Three Points" gang in Psmith, Journalist, Jack Repetto is one of boss Spider Reilly's top men, a nasty tough who sets upon Psmith outside a Kid Brady boxing match, ruining his hat. An albino, he wears his near-white hair in a well-oiled, low on his forehead; his eyes are close together, and his lower lip protrudes and droops unpleasantly.
A boy in Outwood's house at Sedleigh in Mike and Psmith, Robinson is close friends with Stone. A decent batsman and vice-captain of Mr Downing's fire brigade, he lets Stone take the lead in all things.
The head of the Postage Department at the New Asiatic Bank in Psmith in the City, Rossiter is a little man with short, black whiskers. A trifle stern, but not one to rat out his fellows to the boss, Rossiter is a Mancunian, a lover of football and fan of Manchester United.
Stepfather of Betty Silver of The Prince and Betty fame, Mr Scobell is somewhat below medium height, lean with a face like a vulture. He has a greedy mouth, a hooked nose, liquid green eyes and a sallow complexion. He is rarely seen without a half-smoked cigar between his lips. The wealthy financier has no specific field of speciality, but has interests in many fields, including gold mines, model farms, weekly newspapers, and patent medicines, prior to taking over Mervo to build a casino and resort hotel.
The real target of Peter Burns's affection in The Little Nugget, Mrs Sheridan was born Audrey Blake, daughter of a dissolute and rather bad-tempered artist, who eked a meagre living from advertising work and magazine illustrations. When Burns appeared on the scene, Audrey's father encouraged the match, despite Burn's arrogant patronage of the young girl, but died of pneumonia a week after they became engaged.
Audrey fled and married a Mr Sheridan, an artist friend of her father's, and went with him to New York. He died two years later, but we later learn that he had abandoned her almost immediately after they arrived in America, leaving her penniless. She worked variously as a nurse, a waitress, a dressmaker and on the stage with a touring company, among other things, before an old friend who had learned painting from her father found her work with Elmer Ford, as governess to his son Ogden.
She thus appears in The Little Nugget, aged around twenty-five, small, graceful, pretty and brisk, with clear, steady eyes, a sensitive but firm mouth, Irish-blue eyes with expressive, rather heavy brows, and a strong, independent air resulting from her years of adversity.
She feels sorry for Nesta Ford when she must help Mr Mennick deprive her of her son, but she agrees with her employer that Nesta has spoiled the boy. Sent to Sanstead House to keep wtach over him, she is reunited with Burns, and finds him a changed man. Her trust in him is shaken when she learns of his mission to kidnap the boy, but is later restored during the dramatic siege of the school. She admits to having made every effort to steal Burns away from his fiancee, but is chivalrous when she learns of Cynthia's identity, and fate must intervene to ensure her happiness.
Orphaned at an early age, Flick dotes on her uncle and protector Sinclair. She got to know Bill West in her youth, when she was "a little freckly thing", and harbours an affection for him into time of Bill the Conqueror. A plucky girl, her resentment at her family bullying her into marrying a wimp like Roderick Pyke leads her to run away from home, all the way to America. Even when forced to return with her tail between her legs, she still harbours schemes to get out of the wedding, especially once she realises her love for Bill is returned.
The hero of Sam the Sudden, Samuel P. Shotter is a young man of agreeable features, nephew to American Export-Import millionaire John B. Pynsent, a serious man who disapproves of Sam's rather lax attitude to business. Having spent much of his youth traipsing around the world, he travelled much on a tramp steamer, where he became friends with the cook "Hash" Todhunter. During a fishing holiday in Canada, he fell in love with a photograph of Kay Derrick, whom he meets later while employed by Lord Tilbury.
A former student at Wrykyn, Shotter was there at the same time as Willoughby Braddock, and also knew a boy called Claude Bates, who he thrashed soundly one day for stealing jam sandwiches, a deed that stands him in good stead with the Bates-hating Miss Derrick. He does, however, have a tendency to be rather too sudden.
The London representative of the Paradene Pulp and Paper Company, Slingsby extorts Cooley Paradene's wealth to spend on expensive lodgings, motors and dodgy theatrical investments. He runs his own company, to which he sells all of Paradene's produce at rock-bottom prices, in order that he may sell them on for a profit. His farce "Tell It To Papa" is a smash hit, just as he is found out, giving him the necessary to retire to South America, in Bill the Conqueror.
Psmith's father is an eccentric old chap who takes up hobbies. Each hobby is an obsession, until the next comes along and replaces the old completely. At the start of Psmith in the City, where we first meet him, his hobby is cricket, and he has just moved away from Shropshire to Ilsworth Hall in a neighbouring county, in search of better sport. He went to school with John Bickersdyke, whose example he hopes his son will follow, until persuaded otherwise.
While in appearance he resembles an aged version of Psmith, in manner he is quite the opposite of his languorous son, a constantly active man full of nervous energy. He takes on Mike to manage his estates, paying for him to study at Cambridge, but later dies leaving nothing but debts, putting Mike's career in trouble and leaving his son penniless.
A boy in Outwood's house at Sedleigh in Mike and Psmith, Stone is close friends with Robinson. A fair bat and a good slow bowler, he is also captain of the school fire brigade run by Mr Downing. A born ragger, full of animal instincts, he and his friend Robinson are both opposed to early starts.
Former cook on a tramp steamer, Hash is renowned for his excellent hash, although the rest of his cooking leaves much to be desired. Despite this he is hired for a time as cook for his friend Sam Shotter in Sam the Sudden. A long, lean, stringy man of repellent aspect, with a high forehead and ruminant eye, he has a strong pessimistic streak, and when drunk he tends to assert that he should by rights be heir to an Earldom (a long story, never told the same way twice). He falls in love with Claire Lippett, and despite worries that girls turn into their mothers, retires from the sea to help her and Mrs Lippett run a pub.
A small weedy American, when we first meet him in Sam the Sudden, Mr Twist is sporting a small waxed moustache and operating from a fourth-floor office in Tilbury Street, opposite the Tilbury House office of Lord Tilbury. From there he runs the Tilbury Detective Agency under the pseudonym of "J. Sheringham Adair", which claims to have a "Large and Efficient Staff", but in fact is a mere front for Mr Twist's various shady activities. His nickname, by which he is known to both the criminal and law-enforcement communities of his native America, is short for chimpanzee, an allusion to a slightly simian trend in his features. He likes to think of himself as a man of ideas.
George, 6th Viscount Uffenham. Bald and pear-shaped, Lord Uffenham is the owner of Shipley Hall in Kent. An eccentric and absent-minded aristocrat, he usually finds himself impecunious and in need to hire out his Hall.
In Money in the Bank (1942), he converted his fortune into diamonds and hid them at the Hall, then forgot where (due to an unfortunate head injury suffered in an automobile accident), so he had to hire out the Hall to make ends meet. Disguised as a butler named Cakebread to stay at the Hall and seek the gems, his tenants grow uncomfortable with finding him searching their rooms.
In Something Fishy (1957), impoverished again, he hired out the Hall for the summer to an American plotting someone else's marriage. Meanwhile, Lord Uffenham was painting goatees on statues and helping out his niece's lover.
Master of the Wrykyn house which Mike joins in Mike, Mr Wain is stepfather to Wyatt. A tall, thin man, with a serious face partially obscured by a grizzled beard and spectacles, he is a rather stern housemaster, and even sterner stepfather.
A benevolent-looking man, with a pair of mild blue eyes behind his spectacles and a straggling grey beard, Mr Waller is head of the Cash Department at the New Asiatic Bank. A keen socialist and teetotaler, he lives in one of a row of semi-detached villas to the north of Clapham Common, where he is in the habit of making highly energetic speeches on Sundays. A widower, he has a snub-nosed ten-year-old son named Edward, of whom he is very proud, and a niece named Ada. A former member of the "Tulse Hill Parliament", and a friend of his boss Bickersdyke from long ago, when they were clerks together, he befriends Mike and Psmith in Psmith in the City.
A.k.a. Bill the Conqueror, Bill West is an ex-Harvard man, where he was on the football team and became good friends with Judson Coker, but running more to muscle than brain, neglected his studies somewhat. For a time he drifted aimlessly, supported by a generous allowance from his wealthy uncle Cooley, but on falling for Coker's beauteous sister Alice, he resolves to reform and take a job. A large, strong and reliable chap, he is adored by Flick Sheridan, whose life he saved when they were younger, and secretly adores her, keeping the secret even from himself.
Butler at Sanstead House, White is a man of smooth manners and genial, intelligent conversation, who quickly becomes Peter Burns' preferred company when he comes to work at the school in The Little Nugget. His excellent buttling is soon revealed to be a cover for another identity entirely.
A tall, wiry, loose-jointed young man, with unkempt hair and the general demeanour of a caged eagle, Mr Windsor is a native of Wyoming, who comes to New York to further his career as a journalist. In Psmith, Journalist, he and Psmith become friends, and work together to improve the city.
He grew up on his father's ranch in Wyoming, and became a reporter for a tough local paper. After four years on a Kentucky daily, he made for New York, where he struggled as a freelance for a time, before taking the post of sub-editor on Cosy Moments. By the time we meet him, he is twenty-five, and has lost the lobe of one ear and gained a diagonal scar across his left shoulder. When we last see him, he is in jail for hitting a policeman, but thanks to his sterling work uncovering tenement scandals, has been offered his old job back for a hefty rise in pay.
An alumnus of Wrykyn, where he was once given six of the juiciest by Sam Shotter for stealing jam sandwiches from the school shop, Mr Bates grows up to be a thoroughly unpleasant sort, avoiding old acquaintances for fear they may touch him for cash and trying to kiss girls he believes to be under his power. He falls for Kay Derrick while she is working for his mother, resulting in her leaving her job, and later has to be chased off with a hosepipe after following her home, in Sam the Sudden.
Uncle of Kay Derrick, Mr Wrenn resides in a pleasant semi-detached house in the suburb of Valley Fields, with his niece and their maid Claire Lippett. He works for Lord Tilbury, as editor of Pyke's Home Companion. Formerly known as "bad Uncle Matthew", he eloped with Kay's Aunt Enid sometime around 1905, as a result of a visit to Midways, the Derrick family home, to do a piece on stately homes while a cub reporter for the Home Companion. The family outcast until the death of Kay's father and the revelation that the old Colonel had invested badly, he saved the day by kindly taking her in. By the time we meet him in Sam the Sudden, he is an elderly widowed gentleman, tall, with grey hair and a scholarly stoop, who enjoys a game of chess with his old friend Mr Cornelius.
In Mike, Wyatt is something of an all-round hero at Wrykyn - he has a pleasant, square-jawed face, and a pair of very deep-set grey eyes which somehow put Mike at his ease. A first-eleven cricketer, he is a mighty hitter and a fair slow bowler, who made the first eleven the year before Mike. He is also something of a marksman, both in school competition and out of hours - one of Wyatt's fondest pleasures is to sneak around the grounds at night, shooting at cats with an air-pistol. Sadly, he is caught one night and must leave the school to work in a bank, but thanks to Mike's father, finds more salubrious employment in the wild Argentine. His fame at Wrykyn is ensured, however, thanks to his organising of the unprecedented "Great Picnic".