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The Coming of Bill

P. G. Wodehouse

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Sir Pelham Grenville Wodehouse (1881-1975) was a master of English prose, who produced novels, collections of short stories, scripts, screenplays and lyrics for Broadway shows. Wodehouse enjoyed a long, prosperous career, despite the many political and social changes that he witnessed throughout his life. Although he spent most of his time in France and the United States, his works usually reflected his early life experiences in pre-war English upper-class society, and were typically characterized by the trials and tribulations of the well-to-do. "The Coming of Bill" (1919) is the story of Kirk Winfield, an aspiring artist, and his marriage to wealthy heiress Ruth Bannister. Ruth's strong-willed aunt, Mrs. Lora Delane Porter, is a proponent of eugenics and upon the birth of the couple's first child takes an active role in his upbringing. Bill sets out on a dangerous mission to South American in hopes of improving the family's finances, but returns to find his home quite different than when he left it.