Bertam Wilberforce Wooster, ("Bertie" to his friends) is in some respects almost the Platonic Ideal of the Upper Class Twit. He is the narrator and hero of the "Jeeves" stories by P.G. Wodehouse, possibly the greatest comic writer of the 20th Century. Bertie is an example of the Young Man in Spats. In real life, this species of idle rich went extinct during World War I, but Wodehouse kept that idyllic period in British society alive well into the 20th Century.
Bertie is an orphan, having no close family except for a couple formidable aunts: Aunt Agatha (who eats broken glass and howls a the moon) and Aunt Dahlia (his good and deserving aunt who, after a lifetime of fox-hunting, is incapable of speaking any quieter than a bellow). He lives comfortably in his London townhouse, spending much of his time at the Drones Club, a Gentlemen's Club for upper-class slackers. His intelligence, as most of his friends and relations will tell you, is negligible and would doubtlessly have long ago been married or worse if not for the aid of his brilliant valet, Jeeves.
He was educated at Eton and Oxford, although he has managed to escape with little evidence of having learned anything. He takes great pride, however, in having won a school prize for Scriptural Knowledge in his youth. (His friend, Gussie Fink-Nottle, has darkly hinted that he won only by the underhanded trick of copying a list of the Kings of Judah on his shirt sleeve). He also considers himself something of a writer, having dashed off an article on "What the Well-Dressed Young Man is Wearing" for the magazine his Aunt Dahlia publishes. He may have something there, because despite his lack of intelligence in other departments, in the "Jeeves" tales he shows a remarkable ability to tell a story.
He frequently falls into romantic difficulties with women who think he has proposed to them. In some cases he actually has. In any case, his sense of honor ("The Code of the Woosters") forbids him from simply breaking the engagement and so it generally falls to Jeeves to disentangle him from the relationship. Among these would-be brides are Honoria Glossop, (who wants to mold Bertie into something respectable), Florence Craye (an intellectual who has written a novel and who thinks Bertie has a deeper soul yearning to get out; she's wrong), Madeline Basset, (a drippy, sentimental lass who once asked Bertie if he thought the stars were "God's daisy-chain"), and Bobbie Wickham, (most dangerous of all, a free-spirited calculating schemer). All of these ladies think Bertie needs molding; and most of them think he needs to get rid of Jeeves.
But Bertie could never do without Jeeves; if for no other reason than Jeeves makes the most amazing hangover cures this side of Olympus. Jeeves also has impeccable taste in clothing, manners and gambling; he has expert knowledge in practically every field imaginable. Bertie credits Jeeves' intelligence to eating fish, which as we all know is brain food.
On occasion Bertie differs with Jeeves on sartorial matters; he buys a white dinner jacket or a pair of purple socks without his valet's permission, or decides to grow a mustache. Jeeves is always right about these things; but Bertie feels he must exert his authority as Master of the Household. In the end, though, Bertie invariably gives in. After all, he needs Jeeves' assistance to avoid the wrath of G. D'Arcy "Stilton" Cheesewright or Sir Roderick Spode the Amateur Dictator.
Game and Story Use
- In a campaign set in early 20th Century London, Bertie might be encountered at a nightclub, a fancy hotel, or at the Drones Club.
- The era Jeeves and Wooster stories coincides with that of H.P. Lovecraft. This could lead to a twisted cross-over such as in the abovementioned Scream for Jeeves or the story "What Ho, Ancient Gods" from Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Black Dossier.