Lawrence Biemiller's Index of QuotationsWhile I was editor of The College Reporter at Franklin and Marshall College, I started taping favorite quotations to the wall behind my desk, which sat in a big bay window with a fine view of Hartman Green. I took the collection of quotes with me when I graduated, and it forms the nucleus of this index.
1. "Poe, a drinker with writing problems, preferred Allan as the spelling of his middle name." (Clyde Haberman, The New York Times, 9 September 1980.)
2. "His diffidence had left him, and he was beginning to realize how safe and easy depravity can seem once one has the courage to begin." (Saki, "The Seventh Pullet.")
3. "What's past and what's to come is strew'd with husks
And formless ruin of oblivion;"
(Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida.)
4. "Young men of this class never do anything for themselves that they can get other people to do for them, and it is the infatuation, the devotion, the superstition of others that keeps them going." (Henry James, Washington Square.)
5. "Of late a sort of pseudo-easy banter -- the sign invariably of secret discontent or suppressed suspicions -- had become a habit between our young friends." (Ivan Turgenev, Fathers and Sons.)
6. "When we are born, we cry that we are come
To this great stage of fools."
(Shakespeare, King Lear, IV.vi.182 [submitted by Keith Weaver].)
7. "What is love? 'Tis not hereafter;
Present mirth hath present laughter;
What's to come is still unsure.
In delay there lies no plenty,
Then come kiss me sweet and twenty;
Youth's a stuff will not endure."
(Shakespeare, Twelfth Night, II.iii; song by clown.)
8. "The world breaks every one and afterward many are strong at the broken places." (Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms, p. 249.)
9. "For God's sake let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories of the death of kings." (Shakespeare, Richard II, III.ii.)
10. "His own enjoyment, or his own ease, was in every particular his ruling principle." (Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility.)
11. "Reginald closed his eyes with the elaborate weariness of one who has rather nice eyelashes and thinks it useless to conceal the fact." (Saki, "Reginald's Drama.")
12. "Well, you never knew exactly how much space you occupied in people's lives." (F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender Is the Night.)
13. "Briarcliff girls somehow are always equipped with a keen grasp of the obvious." (G.B. Trudeau, in "Doonesbury"; spoken by "B.D.")
14. "It's a great advantage not to drink among hard-drinking people. You can hold your tongue, and, moreover, you can time any little irregularity of your own so that everyone else is so blind that they don't see or care." (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby; Jordan Baker describing Daisy Buchanan.)
15. "To the victor belong the spoils." (William Learned Marcy, 1832.)
16. "Writers aren't people exactly." (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Last Tycoon, p. 12.)
17. "When I came back from the East last autumn I felt that I wanted to world to be in uniform and at a sort of moral attention forever; I wanted no more riotous excursions with privileged glimpses into the human heart." (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.)
18. "They were careless people, Tom and Daisy -- they smashed up things and creatures and then retreated back into their money or their vast carelessness, or whatever it was that kept them together, and let other people clean up the mess they had made ... " (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.)
19. "... There may be in the cup
A spider steep'd, and one may drink; depart,
And yet partake no venom (for his knowledge
Is not infected), but if one present
Th' abhorr'd ingredient to his eye, make known
How he hath drunk, he cracks his gorge, his sides,
With violent hefts. I have drunk, and seen the spider."
(Shakespeare, The Winter's Tale, II.i.39-45.)
20. "The sense of tragedy is a luxury of aristocratic societies." (Robert Warshow.)
21. "It was admitted by all her friends, and also by her enemies -- who were in truth the more numerous and active body of the two -- that Lizzie Greystock had done very well with herself." (Anthony Trollope, The Eustace Diamonds; opening lines.)
22. "Considering how much we are all given to discuss the characters of others, and discuss them often not in the strictest spirit of charity, it is singular how little we are inclined to think that others can speak ill-naturedly of us, and how angry and hurt we are when proof reaches us that they have done so. It is hardly too much to say that we all of us occasionally speak of our dearest friends in a manner in which those dearest friends would very little like to hear themselves mentioned, and that we nevertheless expect that our dearest friends shall invariably speak of us as though they were blind to all our faults but keenly alive to every shade of our virtues." (Anthony Trollope, Barchester Towers, p. 199.)
23. "His pen is breathing revenge." (Alexei Konstantinovich Tolstoi, Vasha Shibanov, 1855-65.)
24. "We are never so defenceless against suffering as when we love." (Sigmund Freud, Civilization and Its Discontents.)
25. "It isn't given to us to know those rare moments when people are wide open and the lightest touch can wither or heal." (F. Scott Fitzgerald, "The Freshest Boy.")
26. "...That was it. Send a girl off with one man. Introduce her to another to go off with him. Now go and bring her back. And sign the wire with love. That was it all right. I went in to lunch." (Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises; spoken by Jake Barnes.)
27. "Events did not rhyme quite as he had thought ..." (Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure [submitted by Constance Pilla].)
28. "...And all should cry, Beware! Beware!
His flashing eyes, his floating hair!
Weave a circle round him thrice,
And close your eyes with holy dread,
For he on honeydew hath fed,
And drunk the milk of Paradise."
(Samuel Taylor Coleridge, "Kubla Khan.")
29. "Isn't it rich? Isn't it queer?
Losing my timing so late
In my career?"
(Stephen Sondheim, song "Send in the Clowns" from A Little Night Music.)
30. "I believe every human heart has a finite number of heartbeats. I don't intend to waste any of mine running around doing exercises." (Neil Armstrong [?], quoted in Time, 26 November 197?)
31. HAMLET: "Oh God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space -- were it not that I have bad dreams." (Shakespeare, Hamlet, II.ii.254-6.)
32. "We're all so terribly alone. The least we can do in this life is love one another ... just a hug and a kiss ... " (Andrew Holleran, Dancer From the Dance.)
33. "He's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a horse's health, a boy's love, or a whore's oath." (Shakespeare, King Lear, III.vi.18-9; spoken by the Fool.)
34. "I have known writers ... to phone their homes from their offices, or their offices from their homes, ask for themselves in a low tone, and then, having fortunately discovered that they were 'out,' to collapse in hard-breathing relief. This is particularly true of writers of light pieces running from a thousand to two thousand words." (James Thurber, My Life and Hard Times.)
35. "Considering how dangerous everything is, nothing is really very frightening." (Gertrude Stein, Everybody's Autobiography.)
36. "It is never right to be more Catholic than the Pope." (Helena Modjeska, Memories and Impressions.)
37. "The heaviest penalty for declining to rule is to be ruled by someone inferior to yourself." (Plato, The Republic.)
38. "No thought, no architecture of thoughts no matter how intricate, could make that phone ring. Only beauty, youth, charm, money -- only those things worked. The rest (goodness, worthiness, the conjuring of desire) was a pitiable substitute for the brute fact of glamour." (Edmund White, A Boy's Own Story.)
39. "His friends pointed out that it was a doubtful kindness to initiate a boy from behind a drapery counter into the blessedness of the higher catering, to which Lucas invariably replied that all kindnesses were doubtful. Which was perhaps true." (Saki, "Adrian.")
40. "'It's not as simple as that, Vera,' I said. 'You want everything to be simple. You think I'm just standing there, and this army of men is walking by, shouting, "Choose me, choose me," and I always pick the turkey. Life's not like that. I can't even find a man who lives in the same city I do.'" (Nora Ephron, Heartburn.)
41. "'When I use a word,' Humpty-Dumpty said, in a rather scornful tone, 'it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less.'
"'The question is,' said Alice, 'whether you can make words mean so many different things.'
"'The question is,' said Humpty-Dumpty, 'which is to be master -- that's all.'" (Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass.)
42. "A society that provides a helper for tuna but compels a writer to pack her own bags desperately needs to reorder its priorities." (Fran Lebowitz, Metropolitan Life.)
43. "Water chestnuts are supposed to go in a thing, not to be the thing itself." (Fran Lebowitz, Metropolitan Life.)
44. "New York City is fairly bristling with restaurants of every description and I cannot help but assume that they are there for a reason." (Fran Lebowitz, Metropolitan Life.)
45. "He was just a face I saw in a discotheque one winter, but it was I who ended up going back to Fire Island to pick up his things." (Andrew Holleran, Dancer from The Dance, first line.)
46. "He [Sutherland] turned in the direction of the Swiss doctor and the people watching the parade of flesh, and said to himself with a shudder, 'Oh, God, the years I've wasted here! The dear friends gone!' And then in a louder voice: 'We're going home now. Has everyone seen my tits?'" (Andrew Holleran, Dancer from The Dance.)
47. "I had not been in Texas long before I started having millions of insights about the difference between Texas and the rest of America. I was going to write these insights down, but then I thought -- Nahhh." (Ian Frazier, The New Yorker, 21 February 1983, in a profile of the household-advice columnist Heloise.)
48. "... Mr. Saroyan called The Associated Press five days before his death to leave a posthumous statement: 'Everybody has got to die, but I have always thought an exception would be made in my case. Now what?'" (The New York Times, page one, 19 May 1981.)
49. "My idea of civilization's finest achievement is the 1969 Buick Electra." (Russell Baker, The New York Times, 15 April 1981.)
50. "It is fine for Norman Macrae to say provocative things and then pop back to England, escaping the hail of dead cats. But we who live here must prepare to be pelted ..." (George F. Will, The Washington Post, 5 February 1981.)
51. "[Breakfast is] An essentially unsociable meal, an appropriate time to choose for disinheriting one's natural heirs." (Morton Shand.)
52. "It was said of Harding's utterances that they were like an army of pompous phrases moving over the landscape in search of an idea." (Richard Strout, "TRB from Washington" in The New Republic, 16 August 1980.)
53. "Streets full of water. Advise." (Robert Benchley, on arriving in Venice, in a cable to New York; cited by John Leonard in The New York Times, 4 September 1980.)
54. "I am not a great believer in committees. I think the last one that did any demonstrable good was the one that was named in 1604 to translate the King James Bible." (Meg Greenfield, The Washington Post, 8 December 1982.)
55. "Some people who had confided in him resented being turned, without recourse, into characters. 'I told them I was a writer,' he said in explanation. He was indeed." (The New York Times, 28 August 1984; editorial on the death of Truman Capote.)
56. "But I was in search of love in those days, and I went full of curiosity and the faint, unrecognized apprehension that here, at last, I should find that low door in the wall, which others, I knew, had found before me, which opened on an enclosed and enchanted garden, which was somewhere, not overlooked by any window, in the heart of that grey city." (Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited.)
57. "Il ramona soigneusement ses volcans en activité." (Antoine de Sainte-Exupery, Le petit prince.)
58. "Life sucks and then you die." (Mark McKinnon, UTmost.)
59. "I don't know -- go for it. What the heck, love's a crapshoot anyway ..." (Jeff Danziger, in the cartoon "McGonigle of the Chronicle.")
60. "I just can't go in there, Bart! Some fellow in there and I are wearing the same hat." (Gary Larson, cartoon caption.)
61. "Another damned thick, square book! Always scribble, scribble! Eh! Mr. Gibbon." (The Duke of Gloucester, accepting the second volume of A History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire from its author.)
62. "It's broccoli, dear."
"I say it's spinach, and I say the hell with it."
(Caption for cartoon by Carl Rose in The New Yorker.)
63. "His circle of correspondents was perhaps no larger but it was easily more bewildered than that of any other American of his generation. ... I am not sure we should not judge him too harshly." (James Thurber, on himself.)
64. "Beware of writing to me. I always answer. It is part of my great boringness, never going out or telephoning. An inherited weakness. My father spent the last 20 years of his life writing letters. If someone thanked him for a wedding present, he thanked them for thanking him and there was no end to the exchange but death. Nancy pretended she was going blind to choke me off. ..." (Evelyn Waugh, 30 March 1966, in a letter to Diana, Lady Mosely.)
65. "All right, Fred, whatta we got for the folks this week?" (Calvin Trillin, Floater; line spoken by Pete Smithers.)
66. "LR [Loyal Researcher] starts checking the story, true to her Researcher's Oath to produce a source supporting every fact in story and to find some reason why any sentence suspected of being even remotely graceful must be changed in a way that makes it boring or awkward." (Calvin Trillin, Floater, in the famous prediction memo.)
67. "'We had a chopper in the Saigon bureau,' said Eisen, who enjoyed buying various sorts of conveyances as much as he enjoyed chartering them.
"'I remember that chopper,' said Fenton.
"'Two choppers, really,' Eisen said. 'A chopper and a back-up chopper. I hated to see them go. When Saigon fell, all I could think about was that those little bastards got both my choppers.'" (Calvin Trillin, Floater.)
68. "Malone still had only one set of manners, for all people, and they were somewhat too polite for this place." (Andrew Holleran, Dancer from The Dance.)
69. "Forgive me for inquiring, but -- are you for rent?" (Andrew Holleran, Dancer from The Dance; question asked of Malone by Sutherland.)
70. "Congress shall make no law respecting as establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." (Constitution of the United States of America, First Amendment.)
71. "In his jeans and newsboy cap Robert looked absurd beside you. He had grown too tall. You invited him to join us for tea; I don't think Robert knew that 'tea' could be a meal and the maid in her apron, he told me later, had seemed like a joke, something out of the movies. Clever move on your part, that tea, for I fell into my half of the ritual. I poured while you buttered things and the clattering and tinkling and stirring and passing left Robert speechless. Since I had already complained to Robert about how 'grand' you could be, I was delighted to show you off at your most oppressive and even more thrilled to demonstrate my perfect familiarity with the despised formalities." (Edmund White, Nocturnes for the King of Naples.)
72. "And now, here I was, beginning our story again, an old role I knew too well and had played too long if not lately." (Edmund White, Nocturnes for the King of Naples.)
73. "Chip the glasses and crack the plates! ... That's what Bilbo Baggins hates ..." (J.R.R. Tolkien, song, The Hobbit.)
74. "'What a lot of things you do use Good morning for!' said Gandalf. 'Now you mean that you want to get rid of me, and that it won't be good till I move off.'" (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit.)
75. "Here at the end of all things, Sam." (J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King, from the Lord of the Rings trilogy.)
76. "Mr. Earbrass has been rashly skimming through the early chapters, which he has not looked at for months, and now sees TUH for what it is. Dreadful, dreadful, DREADFUL. He must be mad to go on enduring the unexquisite agony of writing when it all turns out drivel. Mad. Why didn't he become a spy? How does one become one? He will burn the MS. Why is there no fire? Why aren't there the makings of one? How did he get in the unused room on the third floor?" (Edward Gorey, The Unstrung Harp, or, Mr. Earbrass Writes A Novel.)
77. "That is no country for old men." (William Butler Yeats, "Sailing to Byzantium"; first sentence.)
78. "An aged man is but a paltry thing,
A tattered coat upon a stick, unless
Soul clap its hands and sing, and louder sing
For every tatter in its mortal dress, ..."
(William Butler Yeats, "Sailing to Byzantium"; stanza II.)
79. "They listened with the greatest of interest to everything he had to say. And then they ate him." (Mark Twain, recounting the fate of a young missionary sent to work among cannibals; quotation cited by Nichole Hollander in a New York Times Book Review article on Linda Ellerbee's book And So It Goes, in which the quote appeared.)
80. "'Ought we to be drunk every night?' Sebastian asked one morning.
"'Yes, I think so.'
"'I think so too.'"
(Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited.)
81. "To the Editor of The New Yorker:
"I notice in your February 4th issue a story by Richard Lockridge about his career as a counterweight. If you are opening the pages of your magazine to this dubious type of material, I intend to make the most of it. I, too, have a counterweight in my past, and you will be getting off easy if I remember it in under two thousand words." (E.B. White, "Speaking of Counterweights," opening.)
82. "A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the Bog of Allen and, farther westward, softly falling into the dark mutinous Shannon waves. It was falling, too, upon every part of the lonely churchyard on the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead." (James Joyce, last sentences of "The Dead," from the collection The Dubliners. Recommended for inclusion by Jonathan Charles Rauch.)
83. "Well, all right: It had been a fairly baroque parking place -- even for me, even for Georgetown on a Friday night." (Meg Greenfield, "The $70 Parking Lesson," The Washington Post, 3 May 1987.)
84. "There was music from my neighbor's house through the summer nights. In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars." (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, first lines of chapter 3.)
85. "The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were bouyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. They were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house. I must have stood for a few moments listening to the whip and snap of the curtains and the groan of a picture on the wall. Then there was a boom as Tom Buchanan shut the rear windows and the caught wind died out about the room, and the curtains and the rugs and the two young women ballooned slowly to the floor." (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.)
86. "The lawn started at the beach and ran toward the front door for a quarter of a mile, jumping over sun-dials and brick walks and burning gardens -- finally when it reached the house drifting up the side in bright vines as through from the momentum of its run." (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.)
87. "And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors' eyes -- a fresh green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby's house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.
"And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Gatsby's wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy's dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night." (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby.)
88. "They had an automobile, even in those early days, and they took us up into the hills to see early churches. We would rush up a hill and then happily come down a little slower and every two hours or so we ate a dinner. When we finally came back to Barcelona about ten o'clock in the evening they said, now we will have an apéritif and then we will eat dinner. It was exhausting eating so many dinners but we enjoyed ourselves." (Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.)
89. "Our little ford was almost ready. She was later to be called Auntie after Gertrude Stein's aunt Pauline who always behaved admirably in emergencies and behaved fairly well most times if she was properly flattered." (Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.)
90. "About six weeks ago Gertrude Stein said, it does not look to me as if you were ever going to write that autobiography. You know what I am going to do. I am going to write it for you. I am going to write it as simply as Defoe did the autobiography of Robinson Crusoe. And she has and this is it." (Gertrude Stein, The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas.)
91. "Once an angry man dragged his father along the ground through his own orchard. 'Stop!' cried the groaning old man at last, 'Stop! I did not drag my father beyond this tree.'
"It is hard living down the tempers we are born with. We all begin well, for in our youth there is nothing we are more intolerant of than our sins writ large in others and we fight them fiercely in ourselves; but we grow old and we see that these our sins are of all sins the really harmless ones to own, nay that they give a charm to any character, so our struggle with them dies away." (Gertrude Stein, The Making of Americans.)
92. "If, after I depart this vale, you ever remember me and have thought to please my ghost, forgive some sinner and wink your eye at some homely girl." (H. L. Mencken, epitaph, from Smart Set, December 1921.)
93. "Time is a great legalizer, even in the field of morals." (H. L. Mencken, A Book of Prejudices.)
94. "The difference between a moral man and a man of honor is that the latter regrets a discreditable act, even when it has worked and he has not been caught." (H. L. Mencken, Prejudices, Fourth Series.)
95. "Each had his right ear pierced and wore a small gold ring in it. They looked like pirates." (Andrew Holleran, Dancer from the Dance.)
96. "'The Jumping Frog.' (In English. Then in French. Then Clawed Back into a Civilized Language Once More by Patient, Unremunerated Toil.)" (Mark Twain, "The Jumping Frog." Title and subtitle.)
97. "He has not translated it at all; he has simply mixed it all up; it is no more like 'The Jumping Frog' when he gets through with it than I am like a meridian of longitude." (Mark Twain, "The Jumping Frog.")
98. "Cooper's art has some defects. In one place in Deerslayer, and in the restricted space of two-thirds of a page, Cooper has scored 114 offenses against literary art out of a possible 115. It breaks the record." (Mark Twain, "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses.")
99. "To see things clear, if even through your tears, to recognize, notice, observe -- and have to put it all down with a smile, at the very moment when hands are clinging, and lips meeting, and the human gaze is binding with feeling -- it is infamous, Lisabeta, it is indecent, outrageous -- but what good does it do to be outraged?" (Thomas Mann, "Tonio Kröger".)
100. "If your heart is too full, if you are overpowered with the emotions of some sweet or exalted momenth -- nothing simpler! Go to the literary man, he will put it all straight for you instanter. He will analyse and formulate your affair, label it and express it and discuss it and polish it off and make you indifferent to it for time and eternity -- and not charge you a farthing. You will go home quite relieved, cooled off, enlightened; and wonder what it was all about and why you were so mightily moved. And will you seriously enter the lists in behalf of this vain and frigid charlatan?" (Thomas Mann, "Tonio Kröger.")
101. [From Bilbo Baggins's remarks at his 111th birthday party] "'I don't know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.' This was unexpected and rather difficult. There was some scattered clapping, but most of them were trying to work it out and see if it came to a compliment." (J. R. R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring.)
102. "'The rule is, jam tomorrow, and jam yesterday -- but never jam today.'
"'It must sometimes come to "jam today,"' said Alice.
"'No, it can't,' said the Queen. 'It's jam every other day; today isn't any other day, you know.'" (Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass).
103. "These are the 80's. You know what to do." (Marc Ostfield; message on his answering-machine tape.)
104. "I don't want to go out. I want to stay in. Get things done." (David Bowie, "Modern Love.")
105. "The [master planner], attempting to set a point of departure for his successors, commonly does so only in the sense that they depart from his work as speedily as possible." (Montgomery Schuyler, an architecture critic, quoted by Paul Venable Turner in Planning, the journal of the Society for College and University Planning, Volume 16, No. 3, 1987-1988.)
106. "Most recently, however, I have been a reporter of my own life. Half of me has lived -- thoughts, opinions, marriage, motherhood, friendship, doubts -- and the other half has watched me live, notebook in head. 'Could you get up and get me a beer,' my husband said one night, 'without writing about it?'" (Anna Quindlen's farewell "Life in the 30's" column in The New York Times, 1 December 1988.)
107. "How can I know what I think until I read what I write?" (James Reston, during the 1962 New York newspaper strike; quoted by Anna Quindlen in "Life in the 30's," The New York Times, 1 December 1988.)
108. "Christ, I was learning fast there at the end." (Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls.)
109. "To have an opinion is to live." (Gregory Murphy, during a telephone conversation sometime in February or March of 1989.)
110. "Who ever loved that loved not at first sight?" (Christopher Marlowe, Hero and Leander, 1598.)
111. "For the Provident Life and Trust Company, of 1879, surely his grandest success, [Frank Furness] appropriated one of the entrance pavilions of Viollet-le-Duc's Château de Pièrrefonds, lifted it off the ground, and dropped it, as if from a great height, upon a tough little building whose walls all compacted under the impact, arches fracturing in compression, while the roofs of the wings fell in upon the main mass and, most of all, the polished columns were driven like brass pistons into rupturing cylinders, screeching with heat." (Vincent Scully, in a 1969 book called American Architecture and Urbanism.)
112. "Catholics seem a glorious, muddled people." (Jack Herman [probably a nom-de-porn], in a poem entitled "Where's the Men's Room?" which appeared in the March 1986 Advocate Men.)
113. "And when I die, don't pay the preacher, for speaking of my glory and my fame; just see what the boys in the back room will have, and tell them I sigh, tell them I cry, and tell them I died of the same." (From the 1939 movie Destry Rides Again; line spoken by Marlene Dietrich.)
114. "For fear of what it might do to me, you never paid a compliment, and when other people did, you beat it away from me with a stick. 'He certainly is looking nice and grown up.' He'd look a lot nicer if he did something about his skin. 'That's wonderful that he got that job.' Yeah, well, we'll see how long it lasts. You trained me so well, I now perform this service for myself. I deflect every kind word directed to me, and my denials are much more extravagant than the praise. 'Good speech.' Oh, it was way too long, I didn't know what I was talking about, I was just blathering on and on, I was glad when it was over. I do this under the impression that it is humility, a becoming quality in a person. Actually, I am starved for a good word, but after the long drought of my youth, no word is quite good enough. 'Good' isn't enough. Under this thin veneer of modesty lies a monster of greed. I drive away faint praise, beating my little chest, waiting to be named Sun-God, King of America, Idol of Millions, Bringer of Fire, The Great Haji, Thun-Dar the Boy Giant. I don't want to say, 'Thanks, glad you liked it.' I want to say, 'Rise, my people. Remove your faces from the carpet, stand, look me in the face.'" (Garrison Keillor, Lake Wobegone Days.)
115. "After one of the usual rebuffs, [Robert Venturi's] indispensable partner, John Rauch, said, 'Don't take it so hard. You're only a failure. I'm an assistant failure.'" (From Vincent Scully's book American Architecture and Urbanism.)
116. "I lived until the age of 23, completely virgin and utterly depraved; crazed to such a point that I eventually came to seek everywhere some bit of flesh on which to press my lips." (André Gide; no citation available; provided by Chris Ott's boyfriend, David.)
117. "If you ask me what I came into this world to do, I will tell you: I came to live out loud." (Emile Zola, quoted on a birthday card from Mark Silver.)
118. "'The fact is that being seductive is an addiction that can never be satisfied.'" (Gabriel Garcia Marquez, "Bon Voyage, Mr. President," a short story in The New Yorker, 13 September 1993; line spoken by Lázara Davis.)
119. "...[T]he point is that rich colors and fine shapes can be grown in a very small space by anyone. No skill is required, but steadiness is. Watering must be done every day, but it doesn't take long and is a pleasanter responsibility than mortals commonly take on." (Henry Mitchell, in the "Earthman" column, The Washington Post, Sunday 22 August 1993.)
120. "Still, there are blazing hot weekends. The thing to do is make some onion sandwiches, preferably with Walla Walla onions if you can get them, or maybe Vidalias, or just plain onions in a pinch, and get them very cold in the icebox. Cut them in half and sieze two and dash out about noon, munching rapidly to prevent heatstroke. You can view the water lilies for two or three minutes by the clock, then dash back into the house. This can be repeated a number of times on Saturdays and Sundays while the onion supply lasts. It is not the most leisurely way to view your water lilies, but perhaps the most exciting way. Such a pleasure is totally unknown in all the great gardens of Britain." (Henry Mitchell, "A Water Lily's Lust for Life," in One Man's Garden.)
121. "I always thought I'd marry my best friend, the person with whom you could spend your life in a continuing conversation. We are, and have been since the day we met, in a continuous conversation." (Anthony Shorris, a New York City bridegroom, quoted in Lois Brady Smith's "Vows" column in The New York Times, 19 December 1993.)
122. "Evolutionary biologists like [Richard] Dawkins argue that the central purpose of evolution is the survival of DNA, not of the beings that are the DNA's temporary expression. Life perhaps began when the first molecule of RNA, DNA's elder cousin, got itself more or less accurately replicated in some natural stew of chemicals on the primitive earth. The first living cells, the first plants and animals, emerged merely because they were better mechanisms for repeating that first ancient accident of replication.
"DNA has been blindly pursuing the same plan ever since, but with ever more baroque intermediaries, from moss to mouse to man. The artifacts left by these creatures, whether coprolites or cathedrals, are equally void of significance unless they contribute to the ancient imperative "Copy me." An ark's worth of species flower and fade at each tick of the geological clock. Only DNA endures.
"This thoroughly depressing view values only survival, which the DNA is not in a position to appreciate anyway, being just a chemical. If the whole exercise seems futile, that's exactly Dawkins's conclusion. "The universe we observe," he writes, "has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference." (Nicholas Wade, in his column "Method & Madness" in The New York Times Magazine, 29 January 1995.)
123. "The future seems to me a vacuum, while the past, as one considers it, appears substantially uniform, shaped less by new technologies than by predictable human behavior, most of it discouraging. The moral world of the Divine Comedy is, after all, identical to the one we still inhabit." (Jason Epstein, "This Side of Paradiso," in the December 26, 1994, New Yorker.)
124. "My wrath is as fearsome as my countenance is splendid." (The Angel, Angels in America: Perestroika, by Tony Kushner)
125. HARPER: "In your experience of the world, how do people change?"
MORMON MOTHER: "Well it has something to do with God so it's not very nice. God splits the skin with a jagged thumbnail from throat to belly and plunges a huge filthy hand in, he grabs hold of your body tubes and they slip to evade his grasp but he squeezes hard, he insists, he pulls and pulls till all your innards are yanked out and the pain! We can't even talk about that. And then he stuffs them back, dirty, tangled, and torn, It's up to you to do the stitching."
HARPER: "And then get up. And walk around."
MORMON MOTHER: "Just mangled guts pretending."
HARPER: "That's how people change." (Angels in America: Perestroika, by Tony Kushner.)
126. "Once something is seen, it cannot be made to be unseen." (Bertoldt Brecht, quoted in The Washington Post, 6 February 1996)
127. "I have not become the King's First Minister in order to preside over the liquidation of the British Empire." (Winston Churchill, Speech at the Lord Mayor's Day Luncheon, November 10, 1942)
128. [Sebastian, speaking to Charles] "So you see we're a mixed family religiously. Brideshead and Cordelia are both fervent Catholics; he's miserable, she's bird-happy; Julia and I are half-heathen; I am happy, I rather think Julia isn't; Mummy is popularly believed to be a saint and Papa is excommunicated -- and I wouldn't know which of them was happy. Anyhow, however you look at it, happiness doesn't seem to have much to do with it, and that's all I want. ... I wish I liked Catholics more."
"They seem just like other people."
"My dear Charles, that's exactly what they're not -- particularly in this country, where they're so few. It's not just that they're a clique -- as a matter of fact, they're at least four cliques all blackguarding each other half the time -- but they've got an entirely different outlook on life; everything they think is important is different from other people. They try and hide it as much as they can, but it comes out all the time. It's quite natural, really, that they should. But you see it's difficult for semi-heathens like Julia and me."(Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited.)
129. [Lord Marchmain, in the front hall at Brideshead Castle after his return from Italy, announces he cannot take his old rooms]
"'... Too many stairs; must be on the ground floor. Plender, get a bed made up for me downstairs.'
"Plender and Wilcox exchanged an anxious glance.
"'Very good, my lord. Which room shall we put it in?'
"Lord Marchmain thought for a moment. 'The Chinese drawing-room; and, Wilcox, the Queen's Bed.'
"'The Chinese drawing-room, my lord, the Queen's Bed?'
"'Yes, yes. I may be spending some time there in the next few weeks.'
"The Chinese drawing-room was one I had never seen used; in fact one could not normally go further into it than a small roped area round the door, where sight-seers were corralled on the days the house was open to the public; it was a splendid, uninhabitable museum of Chippendale carving and porcelain and lacquer and painted hangings; the Queen's Bed, too, was an exhibition piece, a vast velvet tent like the Baldachino at St. Peter's. ...
"Few things, certainly, could have caused more stir in the house. What had been foreseen as a day of formality became one of fierce exertion; housemaids began making a fire, removing covers, unfolding linen, men in aprons, never normally seen, shifted furniture; the estate carpenters were collected to dismantle the bed. It came down the main staircase in pieces, at intervals during the afternoon; huge sections of rococco, velvet-covered cornice; the twisted gilt and velvet columns which formed its posts; beams of unpolished wood, made not to be seen, which performed invisible, structural functions below the draperies; plumes of dyed feathers, which sprang from gold-mounted ostrich eggs and crowned the canopy; finally, the mattresses with four men toiling to each. Lord Marchmain seemed to derive comfort from the consequences of his whim; he sat by the fire watching the bustle, while we stood in a half-circle -- Cara, Cordelia, Julia and I -- and talked to him. " (Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited.)
130. "KHARTOUM, the Sudan -- Hassan al-Turabi sits in his office overlooking the Nile, talking at the speed of sound, weaving great mosques and minarets of words in the air." (Tim Weiner, lead paragraph of "The Sudan's Islamic Leader: Engimatic For for the West," The New York Times, 24 December 1996.)
131. THOMASINA: "When you stir your rice pudding, Septimus, the spoonful of jam spreads itself round making red trails like the picture of a meteor in my astronomical atlas. But if you stir backward, the jam will not come together again. Indeed, the pudding does not notice and continues to turn pink just as before. Do you think this is odd?"
THOMASINA: "Well, I do. You cannot stir things apart."
SEPTIMUS: "No more you can, time must needs run backward, and since it will not, we must stir our way onward mixing as we go, disorder out of disorder into disorder until pink is complete, unchanging and unchangeable, and we are done with it forever. This is known as free will or self-determination. " (Tom Stoppard, Arcadia, Act I, Scene 1)
132. "'It will be hot,' said Cheyne, as they rolled out of San Diego in the dawn of Sunday. 'We're going to hurry, Mama, just as fast as ever we can; but I really don't think there's any good of your putting on your bonnet and gloves yet. You'd much better lie down and take your medicine. I'd play you a game of dominoes, but it's Sunday.'" (Rudyard Kipling, Captain's Courageous.)
133. "... The six-foot drivers were hammering their way to San Bernardino and the Mohave wastes, but this was no grade for speed. That would come later. The heat of the desert followed the heat of the hills as they turned east to the Needles and the Colorado River. The car cracked in the utter drouth and glare, and they put crushed ice on Mrs. Cheyne's neck, and toiled up the long, long grades, past Ash Fork, towards Flagstaff, where the forests and quarries are, under the dry, remote skies. The needle of the speed-indicator flicked and wagged to and fro; cinders rattled on the roof, and a whirl of dust sucked after the whirling wheels... " (Rudyard Kipling, Captain's Courageous.)
134. [When Lord Marchmain returned from self-imposed exile in Venice at the beginning of World War II, he brought with him to Brideshead Castle his mistress and his valet, Plender. Wilcox was the Brideshead butler; Cordelia was Lord Marchmain's younger daughter.]
"Plender preceded [Lord Marchmain] by some days; there was a difficulty here. Plender was not an original member of the Brideshead household; he had been Lord Marchmain's servant in the yeomanry, and had only once met Wilcox, on the painful occasion of the removal of his master's luggage when it was decided not to return from the war; then Plender had been valet, as, officially, he still was, but he had in the past years introduced a kind of curate, a Swiss body-servant, to attend to the wardrobe and also, when occasion arose, lend a hand with the less dignified tasks about the house, and had in effect become major-domo of that fluctuating and mobile household; sometimes he even referred to himself on the telephone as the 'secretary.' There was an acre of thin ice between him and Wilcox.
"Fortunately the two men took a liking to one another, and the thing was solved in a series of three-cornered discussions with Cordelia. Plender and Wilcox became joint Grooms of the Chambers, like Blues and Life Guards with equal precedence, Plender having as his particular province his Lordship's own apartments, and Wilcox a sphere of influence in the public rooms; the senior footman was given a black coat and promoted butler, the nondescript Swiss, on arrival, was to have full valet's status; there was a general increase in wages to meet the new dignities, and all were content."
(Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited)
135. "Miss Snow draws near
The cab to cheer
Whose watchful sight
Makes safe her flight
Upon the Road of Anthracite."
(Lackawanna Railroad advertisement, 1910, featuring Phoebe Snow. The ad campaign centered on how cleanly the railroad's anthracite coal burned -- with the result that passengers were subject to fewer cinders in the cars. In the ads, Miss Snow is invariably "dressed all in white" to ride the road of anthracite.)
136. "The writer's only responsibility is to his art. . . . Everything else goes by the board: honor, pride, decency, security, happiness, all. . . . If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the 'Ode on a Grecian Urn' is worth any number of old ladies." (William Faulkner, contributed by Scott Carlson.)
137. "I come from a long line of small, elegant, dark-haired women who are somewhat excitable and look good in red." (Valerie Steiker, writing in The New Yorker for December 24 and 31, 2001. This was the lead of an article titled "Dressing for Dinner, and Other Things My Mother Knew.")
138. "I'm an Old Testament type of guy -- /I like my coffee black/and my parole denied." (The Dismemberment Plan, "Sentimental Man.")
139. "The day I went to Suire's I had already eaten a lot. I might say I had already eaten breakfast and brunch, but that would be a lie. In fact, Suire's was my third lunch of the day; there is so much good food in Acadiana that sometimes you have to extend yourself. Arnold Goodman, a famous lawyer in London, a man of formidable forensic skill and gargantuan appetite, was known as Two-Dinners Goodman; I guess I'll be known in the future as Three-Lunches Apple." (R.W. Apple, "It Takes More Than Crayfish to Make a Cajun Wiggle," The New York Times, 4 December 2002.)
140. [From a column comparing British and American newspapers]: "Only the yellow New York Post has some Fleet Street pizzazz. It arrives in the morning with a squeal of tyres and a burst of gunfire. It's read urgently, like a ransom note. It has the city's best collection of gossip columns by far, but they are mostly literal rather than literary. In London, I savour Ephraim Hardcastle's miniaturist eye on the daily trivia in the Daily Mail. I was grateful to learn, for instance, that Roger Moore's toupee varies in colour between marmalade and nutmeg." (Tina Brown, writing in the London Times, 12 December 2002.)
141. "Jealousy is the only vice for which you receive no pleasure in return." (Sydney Omarr, 19 February 2003 horoscope for Aquarians.)
142. "Marilyn Scott-Waters turned against Martha Stewart Living around the time Martha advocated glue-gunning fresh pansies onto children's Easter bonnets. 'I'm thinking, Jesus, you can make your life way more complicated than you need to,' recalls Scott-Waters, a clothing designer who barely had time to wrestle her toddler into his sneakers, even with Velcro. 'My mantra now is Inner Peace Through Lowered Expectations.'" (Paula Span, "Martha, In the Soup," The Washington Post, 4 March 2003.)
143. "For this space of nine years (from my nineteenth year to my eight-and-twentieth) we lived seduced and seducing, deceived and deceiving, in divers lusts ... " (St. Augustine, Confessions 4.1.1.)
144. "I realize that some of you may have come in hopes of hearing tips on how to become a professional writer. I say to you, 'If you really want to hurt your parents, and you don't have the nerve to be a homosexual, the least you can do is go into the arts.' But do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites, standing for absolutely nothing. All they do is show you've been to college." (Kurt Vonnegut, in a speech in September 2003 at the University of Wisconsin at Madison.)
145. "I've always believed in the Nero Wolfe theory of knowledge. You can just sit quietly in your room ... and through sheer mental effort force the tiniest snippets of information to yield the entire story of which they are a fragment, because the whole truth is contained in every particle of it, the way every human cell contains our DNA." (Katha Pollitt, in The New Yorker, January 19, 2004.)
146. "Well! -- what a bracing experience! The dawn, you know. Unexpectedly lively. Fishes, birds, frogs . . . rabbits . . . and very beautiful. If only it did not occur so early in the day." (Septimus Hodge, in Arcadia, by Tom Stoppard.)
147. [Puck] I go, I go; look how I go;
Swifter than arrow from the Tartar's bow.
(Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night's Dream, III.ii.105-6)
148. From an account of a day trip on one of the Rio Grande Southern's home-built "Galloping Geese" — "huge, silver-painted painted rail vans [that] had for their power Winton and Pierce-Arrow motors, a large [less-than-carload freight] compartment in the rear, and seats for approximately seven passengers in the tonneau with the driver":
"In our absence from Telluride a coal drag had contrived to go on the ground and six boxcars reposed at improbable angles just below Vance Station in a farrago of twisted rails and macerated ties. The Goose ran up a crew of cheerful and, it seemed to us, unwarrantedly confident track workers who expected to get the damage repaired before dark. We set out a great store of chains, jacks and blocks and went on our way in the opinion that if they got the Telluride Branch cleared in a week it would be a miracle of impressive proportions." (Lucius Beebe, Mixed Train Daily.)
149. "Mr. Murchison lifted the tails of his overcoat and stood with his back to the stove for a few minutes. Then he sat down and sighed with satisfaction. 'Hugh,' he said to Mr. Flood, 'got something I want to show you.' He took his wallet from a hip pocket, drew out a newspaper clipping, and gave it to me to pass over to Mr. Flood, who was sitting on the other side of the stove. It was a clipping of Lucius Beebe's column, 'This New York,' in The Herald Tribune.
"Mr. Flood glanced at it and said, 'Oh God, what's this? Is he one of those ignorant fellows writes about restaurants in the papers, ohs and ahs about everything they put before him? Every paper nowadays has a fellow writing about restaurants, an expert giving his opinion, a fellow that if he was out of a job and went to a restaurant to get one, this expert on cooking, this Mr. Know-it-all, the practical knowledge he has, why, they wouldn't trust him to peel the potatoes for a stew.'
"'This gentleman is a goormy,' said Mr. Murchison. 'Go ahead and read what it says.'
"Mr. Flood read a paragraph or two. Then he groaned and handed the clipping to me. 'God defend us, son,' he said. 'Read this.'
"In the column, Mr. Beebe describes a dinner that had been 'run up' for him and a friend by Edmond Berger, the chef de cuisine of the Colony Restaurant. He gave the menu in full. One item, the fish course, was 'Fillet de Sole en Bateau Beebe.' 'The sole, courageously created in this name of this department by Chef Berger for the occasion,' Mr. Beebe wrote, 'was a delicate fillet superimposed on a half baked banana and a trick worth remembering.'
"'Good God A'mighty,' said Mr. Flood.
"'Sounds nice, don't it?' asked Mr. Murchison. 'A half baked bananny with a delicate piece of flounder superimposed on the top of it. While he was at it, why didn't the tie a red ribbon around it?'" (Joseph Mitchell, in "Old Mr. Flood," one of the stories collected in Up in the Old Hotel.)