Love Among the Chickens
© 1906 P.G. Wodehouse
“He’s a very young gentlemen, sir,” said Mrs. Medley, in vague defense of her top room.
“And it’s highly improbable,” said Garnet, “that he will ever grow old, if he repeats his last night’s performance. I have no wish to shed blood wantonly, but there are moments when one must lay aside one’s personal prejudices and act for the good of the race. “
Meet Jerry Garnet, a mildly successful but currently stricken-for-ideas author whose creativity is plagued by the constant distractions of his apartment, chiefly from the musically inclined but ungifted chap upstairs. Garnet wants to get away, and at just the right time comes his old friend Ukridge, who has just conceived a marvelous idea for getting rich quick: move to the country and keep chickens! Ignoring a letter from another friend that says, in effect, “Ukridge will be coming to touch you for money, so clear out”, Garnet affably joins his old companion in what quickly becomes a debacle, but one Garnet doesn’t see coming because he only has eyes for the neighbor’s daughter. P.G. Wodehouse’s first novel, Love Among the Chickens is short and amusing, though not nearly as riotous as his later works. Those familiar with the Wooster stories will recognize the germ of many a Wooster plot here, in schemes that go awry. The biggest, of course, is the notion of keeping chickens: Ukridge is so careless about what kinds of chickens he gets that he ends up with mostly roosters. Roosters are notoriously poor at laying eggs.