Publication notes: First appeared in the 28 May 1910 issue of Collier’s Weekly, subsequently in the June 1910 issue of The Strand Magazine. Each magazine appearance set the story in its country of publication: Ocean City for American readers, and Marvis Bay for British readers. It was published in book form as part of The Man Upstairs collection in 1914 by Methuen & Co. As published in book form, the setting is Marvis Bay.
- Marvis Bay
- The American publication in the Illustrated Sunday Magazine of March 1916 sets ‘Wilton's Vacation’ in Rockport (perhaps a reference to the harbour town in Massachusetts). The narrator is from New York.
- 'Twas ever thus.
Wodehouse's favourite fictional British seaside resort, Marvis Bay, was an echo of the real Carbis Bay, near St Ives, Cornwall (cf. Roville-sur-Mer, which echos Colleville-sur-Mer in name and Deauville in spirit). Marvis Bay sees visits by George Callender in this story (1910), by Reggie Pepper in ‘Helping Freddie’ (1911) and by Bertie Wooster and Jeeves in the not-dissimilar ‘Fixing it for Freddie’, both of which move Marvis Bay east to Dorset; by Lord Dawlish before the start of the novel Uneasy Money (1916), which moves Marvis Bay back to Cornwall; and by the Oldest Member in ‘Ordeal by Golf’ (1919) and ‘The Heart of a Goof’ (1923).
When the short story ‘Wilton's Holiday’ (1915) was published in The Strand Magazine, it was set in Marvis Bay as well,1 transformed into Marois Bay when published in book form in the British edition of The Man With Two Left Feet (1917)—that locale's sole appearance. The change of a single letter likely represents some form of editorial second-guessing.
As mentioned in the entry for "Something to Worry About", Thomas Moore's poem ‘The Fire Worshippers’ (1817) contains the line ‘Oh! Ever thus from childhood's hour’. Wodehouse is likely quoting Charles Dickens's parody in the The Old Curiosity Shop.