In P.G. Wodehouse's "The Man Upstairs," who is Rupert Morrison?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Rupert Morison is an incidental character in P.G. Wodehouse's charming short story "The Man Upstairs." The story is about a large-hearted young millionaire who becomes enamored of a young lady he sees walking on the street. He innocently follows her onto the subway and across a Square to her apartment building in Chelsea, England.

Her building has a studio room "to let" (for rent) and so, though he is not an artist, he takes it. It happens to be just above the young lady's flat and, as she is hard at work composing a tricky phrase of an original waltz, he takes to banging on the ceiling with his boot heel in feigned irritation. Eventually this drives her in genuine ire upstairs to express her irritation with his ceiling banging.

Well, their friendship develops better than his painting does and, as a philanthropic millionaire, he begins to do good deeds for herself and another neighbor in the building. One day this Mr. Rupert Morrison, staying at the young man's other flat to write his novel in peace and undisturbed quiet, telephones to the general building telephone out in the hall and demands of whatever voice happens to answer the phone to know what to do with all the sheet music that is being delivered to his door day after day resulting in a "two-yards high" carpet of music.

Mr. Morrison then exits the story as his purpose is only to deepen our understanding of the philanthropic young millionaire's character traits and to reveal to the piano playing young lady downstairs the true identity of the man upstairs and the true source of the myriad purchases of her newly published waltz. At this point, Mr. Morrison is no longer needed because the philanthropic young millionaire upstairs asks the young lady composer downstairs to marry him, to which she eventually says yes.

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