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#1 - 01 - The Pawn of Fate

Their Mutual Child

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Download 01 - The Pawn of Fate audio
Download 02 - Ruth States Her Intentions audio
Download 05 - Wherein opposites agree audio
Download 06 - Breaking the News audio
Download 07 - Sufficient unto themselves audio
Download 09 - The White Hope is Turned Down audio
Download 10 - An Interlude of Peace audio
Download 11 - Stung to Action audio
Download 14 - An Unknown Path audio
Download 15 - The Misadventure of Steve audio
Download 16 - The Widening Gap audio
Download 17 - The Real Thing audio
Download 19 - Cutting the Tangled Knot audio
Download 20 - Steve to the Rescue audio
Download 21 - At One in the Morning audio
Download 22 - Accepting the Gifts of the Gods audio
Download 23 - Mr Penway on the Grill audio
Download 24 - Dolls with Souls audio
Download 26 - The Sixty-first Street Cyclone audio
Download 27 - Mrs. Porter's Waterloo audio
Download 28 - The White-Hope Link audio
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Their Mutual Child (aka The Coming of Bill and The White Hope) is full of the loveable characters, preposterous situations, and opportunities to chuckle, if not outright laughs, that we expect from PG Wodehouse. It lacks the frantic slapstick of some Wodehouse comedy, but has a quieter more reflective humour.

Kirk, the erstwhile hero, is a typical Wodehousian hero. At the beginning of the story, he is thoroughly likeable, a healthy, but a somewhat weak and malleable fellow. He dabs at beings a painter for a living, and runs with a gang of hangers-on, who sponge off him. However, his life changes dramatically when he meets the charming and lovely Ruth. Ruth is out of Kirk's league socially and financially. She possesses an exceedingly rich father and an excessively dominant and eccentric aunt, Miss Laura Delane Porter. Miss Porter’s claim to fame is her authorship of books and pamphlets aimed at bettering the world through hygiene and eugenics (the highly questionable “science” of race improvement by restricting mating to superior types deemed suited to each other).

Against her father’s strong objections, but with Aunt Laura's approval, Ruth marries Kirk and for a while, wedded bliss surrounds them, crowned off by the birth of their son, Bill. Like all babies, Bill is deemed by one and all to be miraculous—unique and amazing.

However, all good things must end, as they say. Kirk, embarrassed by his inability to support Ruth in the manner in which she is accustomed, heads off to South America to seek his fortune, where he is quickly and thoroughly ruined. However, in the meantime, Ruth and her brother Bailey inherit their father's wealth. Also in Kirk’s absence, enter, of course, Laura Delane Porter, with her scrupulous ideas of hygiene and her horrors of germs, and the baby’s life becomes a nightmare. When Kirk returns, unsuccessful in his endeavors and outraged at the state of affairs at home, the marriage quickly sours.

Can anyone save Ruth and Kirk from themselves and rebuild their happy home?

Their Mutual Child aka The Coming of Bill or The White Hope by P. G. Wodehouse, first appeared in “Munsey's Magazine” in May 1914, under the title "The White Hope.” It was published in the U.S. under the title Their Mutual Child in 1919, and in the U.K. with the title, The Coming of Bill in 1920. (Introduction by Susan Claybrook and Tim Bulkeley with information from the Wikipedia entry.)

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