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Bertie Wooster and Madeline Bassett

  This Bassett, I must explain, had been a fellow visitor of ours at Cannes; and as she and Angela had struck up one of those effervescent friendships which girls do strike up, I had seen quite a bit of her. Indeed, in my moodier moments it sometimes seemed to me that I could not move a step without stubbing my toe on the woman.

And what made it all so painful and distressing was that the more we met, the less did I seem able to find to say to her. You know how it is with some girls. They seem to take the stuffing right out of you. I mean to say, there is something about their personality that paralyses the vocal cords and reduces the contents of the brain to cauliflower. It was like that with this Bassett and me; so much so that I have known occasions when for minutes at a stretch Bertram Wooster might have been observed fumbling with the tie, shuffling the feet, and behaving in all other respects in her presence like the complete dumb brick. When, therefore, she took her departure some two weeks before we did, you may readily imagine that, in Bertram’s opinion, it was not a day too soon. It was not her beauty, mark you, that thus numbed me. She was a pretty enough girl in a droopy, blonde, saucer-eyed way, but not the sort of breath-taker that takes the breath.

  1. Struck up (idiom)
  2. Effervescent (ef-er-ves-uh nt) (adj)
  3. Moodier (moo-dee-er) (adj)
  4. Stubbing (stuhb-ing) (v)
  5. Distressing (dih-stres-ing) (adj)
  6. Take the stuffing out of you (idiom) 
  7. Personality (pur-suh-nal-i-tee) (n)
  8. Paralyses (par-uh-lahyz-s) (v)
  9. Vocal cords (n)
  10. Stretch (stretch) (n)
  11. Fumbling (fuhm-buh l-ing) (v)
  12. Shuffling (shuhf-ling) (v)
  13. Dumb brick (duhm brik) (simile)
  14. Readily (red-i-lee) (adv)
  15. Numbed (nuhm) (v)
  16. Droopy (droo-pee) (adj)
  17. Blonde (blond) (adj)
  18. Saucer-eyed (adj)
  19. Breath-taker (n)
  1. An extremely stupid person (Also, Dumb as a brick)
  2. (Of a woman or girl) having fair hair and usually fair skin and light eyes; can also signify stupid behaviour
  3. To do any work clumsily or inefficiently
  4. Shift one’s position or move one’s feet while standing, typically because of boredom, nervousness, or embarrassment
  5. To start something, typically a relationship; to start playing an instrument
  6. Without hesitation or reluctance, willingly
  7. Merry, vivacious, enthusiastic
  8. Causing anxiety, sorrow or pain; upsetting
  9. To bring to a condition of helpless stoppage, inactivity, or inability to act
  10. A continuous period of time
  11. The combination of characteristics or qualities that form an individual’s distinctive character
  12. Sudden bouts of gloominess or sullenness
  13. Having large round wide-open eyes, usually signifying wonder
  14. Someone who is so astonishing, exciting and astounding, so as to be almost breathtaking
  15. Accidentally strike (one’s toe) against something
  16. Folds of membranous tissue inside the throat that vibrate to produce the voice
  17. To make someone or something very weak (Also, Knock the stuffing out of …)
  18. Unable to think, feel, or respond normally
  19. Lacking in strength or spirit


1. e 2. g 3. l 4. o 5. h
6. q 7. k 8. i 9. p 10. j
11. c 12. d 13. a 14. f 15. r
16. s 17. b 18. m 19. n