A purely artificial code
The other day we had a bit of Bernard Williams on moral relativism; today we get the musings of Bertie Wooster.
Wooster has been caught in apparent flagrante delicto with Pauline Stoker by her father, who dislikes him and thinks Pauline is in love with him.
“It was enough to give any parent the jitters, and I was not surprised that his demeanour was that of stout Cortez staring at the Pacific. A fellow with fifty millions in his kick doesn’t have to wear the mask. If he wants to give any selected bloke a nasty look, he gives him a nasty look. He was giving me one now…
Fortunately, the thing did not go beyond looks. Say what you like against civilization, it comes in dashed handy in a crisis like this. It may be a purely artificial code that keeps a father from hoofing his daughter’s kisser when they are fellow guests at a house, but at this moment I felt that I could do with all the purely artificial codes that were going.”
Quite profound, wouldn’t you say?