Best Seller

by

P.G. Wodehouse

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Best Seller can help.

Evangeline Pembury Character Analysis

Egbert’s fiancée, Evangeline, inspired by her love for him, writes a novel. It’s horrible—at once unoriginal and poorly written—but becomes a best seller nonetheless. At first, Evangeline isn’t sure how to handle her success—she stammers when a reporter comes to interview her, for instance—yet she quickly learns to enjoy her fame. She gives lectures, sends letters to her fans, and learns to use highbrow jargon to describe her work. She also begins to spend a great deal of time with her agent, Jno. Henderson Banks. When Egbert objects to this, she breaks off the engagement, making it clear that she is not willing to conform to the role he has in mind for her. However, it turns out that although Evangeline enjoys being a literary celebrity, she doesn’t actually like writing. She panics when she realizes she doesn’t have it in her to produce the additional stories for which she has been paid in advance. When Egbert comes to interview her for the magazine at which he is an editor, she initially greets him with cool formality. Still, it’s clear that she has feelings for him, and her distress eventually gets the better of her. She throws herself melodramatically onto the sofa and breaks into tears, showing that despite her pose of literary sophistication, she remains absurdly sentimental. She explains her predicament, and Egbert offers to solve the problem by allowing her to publish his work under her name. She accepts at once, and the story ends with the two lovers reconciled.

Evangeline Pembury Quotes in Best Seller

The Best Seller quotes below are all either spoken by Evangeline Pembury or refer to Evangeline Pembury. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
The Portrayal of Women Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Overlook Press edition of Best Seller published in 2003.
Best Seller Quotes

“’Slovely,” said Miss Postlethwaite. “It lays the soul of Woman bare as with a scalpel.”

Page Number: 164
Explanation and Analysis:

From far away in the distance came the faint strains of the town band, as it picked its way through the Star of Eve song from Tannhäuser—somewhat impeded by the second trombone, who had got his music-sheets mixed and was playing “The Wedding of the Painted Doll.”

Related Characters: Egbert Mulliner, Evangeline Pembury
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:

As for his proposal, that was inserted verbatim; and, as he listened, Egbert shuddered to think that he could have polluted the air with such frightful horse-radish.

Related Characters: Egbert Mulliner, Evangeline Pembury
Page Number: 170
Explanation and Analysis:

It is these swift, unheralded changes of the public mind which make publishers stick straws in their hair and powerful young novelists rush round to the wholesale grocery firms to ask if the berth of junior clerk is still open.

Related Characters: Egbert Mulliner, Evangeline Pembury
Page Number: 172
Explanation and Analysis:

“Am I a serf?” demanded Evangeline.

“A what?” said Egbert.

“A serf. A slave. A peon. A creature subservient to your lightest whim.”

Ebert considered the point.

“No,” he said. “I shouldn’t think so.”

“No,” said Evangeline. “I am not. And I refuse to allow you to dictate to me in the choice of my friends.”

Related Characters: Egbert Mulliner (speaker), Evangeline Pembury (speaker), Jno. Henderson Banks
Page Number: 177
Explanation and Analysis:

When a column on “Myrtle Bootle Among Her Books” was required, it was Egbert whom he sent to the No Man’s Land of Bloomsbury. When young Eustace Johnson, a novice who ought never to have been entrusted with such a dangerous commission, was found walking round in circles and bumping his head against the railings of Regent’s Park after twenty minutes with Laura La Motte Grindlay, the great sex novelist, it was Egbert who was flung into the breach.

Related Characters: Egbert Mulliner, Evangeline Pembury
Page Number: 178
Explanation and Analysis:

“Oh, quite,” said Evangeline. “I will send out for a dog. I love dogs—and flowers.”

“You are happiest among your flowers, no doubt?”

“On the whole, yes.”

“You sometimes think they are the souls of little children who have died in their innocence?”

“Frequently.”

Related Characters: Egbert Mulliner, Evangeline Pembury
Related Symbols: Dogs and Flowers
Page Number: 181
Explanation and Analysis:

Evangeline’s “Oh, Egbert!” had been accompanied by a Niagara of tears. She had flung herself on the sofa and was now chewing the cushion in an ecstasy of grief. She gulped like a bull-pup swallowing a chunk of steak.

Related Characters: Evangeline Pembury (speaker), Egbert Mulliner
Page Number: 182
Explanation and Analysis:

It is not the being paid money in advance that jars the sensitive artist: it is the having to work.

Related Characters: Evangeline Pembury
Page Number: 184
Explanation and Analysis:

“Before I saw the light, I, too, used to write stearine bilge just like ‘Parted Ways.’”

Related Characters: Egbert Mulliner (speaker), Evangeline Pembury
Page Number: 185
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Best Seller LitChart as a printable PDF.
Best Seller PDF

Evangeline Pembury Character Timeline in Best Seller

The timeline below shows where the character Evangeline Pembury appears in Best Seller. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Best Seller
The Absurdity of Romantic Conventions Theme Icon
Mr. Mulliner notes that he has a particular interest in the novel’s author, Evangeline Pembury, who is his niece by marriage. He offers to tell the story of how... (full context)
The Absurdity of Romantic Conventions Theme Icon
Mr. Mulliner’s narration begins with Egbert and Evangeline standing on a pier in the moonlight. A breathless Egbert is preparing to ask an... (full context)
The Portrayal of Women Theme Icon
...specialist prescribed rest in order to “augment the red corpuscles.” During his recovery, Egbert met Evangeline at a picnic. He fell in love with her the moment he saw her. (full context)
The Portrayal of Women Theme Icon
The Absurdity of Romantic Conventions Theme Icon
On the pier, Egbert does not immediately propose but instead asks with some trepidation whether Evangeline has ever written a novel; his “pet aversion” is a distinct dislike for female novelists.... (full context)
The Portrayal of Women Theme Icon
Highbrow Versus Lowbrow Art Theme Icon
Evangeline, inspired by her feelings for Egbert, writes a novel titled Parted Ways. The next time... (full context)
Highbrow Versus Lowbrow Art Theme Icon
Evangeline’s publisher is focusing its marketing efforts on a different book titled Offal. As part of... (full context)
Highbrow Versus Lowbrow Art Theme Icon
Egbert is distressed that Evangeline’s success seems to be changing her. She is unsure of herself at first, but she... (full context)
The Portrayal of Women Theme Icon
Egbert is assigned to interview none other than his ex-fiancée, Evangeline Pembury. Arriving in her sitting-room, he feels a pang of emotion, but he hides it.... (full context)
The Absurdity of Romantic Conventions Theme Icon
Evangeline’s answers continue to be perfunctory until Egbert asks how her novel’s sequel is progressing. In... (full context)
Highbrow Versus Lowbrow Art Theme Icon
Evangeline explains that Jno. Henderson Banks has arranged for her to publish serials and short stories... (full context)
The Portrayal of Women Theme Icon
The Absurdity of Romantic Conventions Theme Icon
Egbert has a solution to Evangeline’s predicament: he tells her that she doesn’t have to write anymore, because he himself is... (full context)