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    Lily@Melbourne, Australia


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If Agatha Christie is my literary godmother, then Miss Jane Marple is the aunt I always wanted, and I always wanted to be Mr. Arthur Hastings

I think the psychology does it for me: the psychology of the murderer, and the main characters. Although some of her novels portray too accurately an evil which on some deep level is scary, so that I feel like hiding the book,  I do admire Christie’s ability to describe good and evil. I think people had more admirable values in the 40s too, and I like to inhabit this celebrity-free era.

I like living too

I like living too


Hercule Poirot’s Christmas

But surely for everything you love you have to pay some price.

I believe the present matters — not the past! The past must go. If we seek to keep the past alive, we end, I think, by distorting it. We see it in exaggerated terms — a false perspective.

I once brought some beautiful blue lapis home from Egypt. Out there, against the sun and the sand, it was a glorious colour – a brilliant warm blue. But when I got it home, the blue of it hardly showed any more. It was just a dull, darkish string of beads.

I don’t think I will. I don’t want anything out of the house. I fell it’s better to break with the past altogether.


A Murder is Announced

Our weapon is our knowledge. But remember, it may be a knowledge we may not know that we possess.

People with a grudge against the world are always dangerous. They seem to think life owes them something. I’ve known many an invalid who has suffered worse and been cut off from life much more . . . and they’ve managed to lead happy contented lives. It’s what’s in yourself that makes you happy or unhappy.

She was the only link with the past. The only one who remembered. One is alone when the last one who remembers is gone. I have nephews and nieces and kind friends – but there’s no one who knew me as a young girl – no one who belongs to the old days. I’ve been alone for quite a long time now.


The A.B.C. Murders

“I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays and have things arranged for them that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas.”

It’s like all those quiet people, when they do lose their tempers they lose them with a vengeance.

‘She said she wanted me to go to see her on my free day – and she said we’d go to the cinema. It was going to be my birthday, sir.’ Suddenly Mary started to cry. ‘You must forgive me, sir. I don’t want to be silly. Crying’s no good. It was the thought of her – and me – looking forward to our day out.’ //little silly things let me cry


Murder Is Easy

Liking is more important than loving. It lasts. I want what is between us to last, Luke. I don’t want us just to love each other and marry and get tired of each other and then want to marry some one else.

“Oh! My dear Love, I know. You want reality. So do I. What’s between us will last for ever because it’s founded on reality.”


Appointment with Death

I’m sorry, but I do hate this differentiation between the sexes. ‘The modern girl has a thoroughly businesslike attitude to life’ That sort of thing. It’s not a bit true! Some girls are businesslike and some aren’t. Some men are sentimental and muddle-headed, others are clear-headed and logical. There are just different types of brains.


Murder on the Orient Express

“You are the patient one, Mademoiselle,’ said Poirot to Miss Debenham.

She shrugged her shoulders slightly. ‘What else can one do?’

You are a philosopher, Mademoiselle.’

That implies a detached attitude. I think my attitude is more selfish. I have learned to save myself useless emotion.


Death Comes As the End

Fear is incomplete knowledge


The Murder on the Links

Now I am old-fashioned. A woman, I consider, should be womanly. I have no patience with the modern neurotic girl who jazzes from morning to night, smokes like a chimney, and uses language which would make a billingsgate fishwoman blush!


Sparkling Cyanide

Most successes are unhappy. That’s why they are successes-they have to reassure themselves about themselves by achieving something that the world will notice…. The happy people are failures because they are on such good terms with themselves that they don’t give a damn.

How little you might know of a person after living in the same house with them!


Death on the Nile

Oh, I’m not afraid of death! What have I got to live for after all? I suppose you believe it’s very wrong to kill a person who has injured you-even if they’ve taken away everything you had in the world?


Three Act Tragedy

“The great merit of being a doctor,” said Sir Bartholomew, “is that you are not obliged to follow your own advice.”

Young people, I feel, should see plenty of people and places – especially people. Otherwise -well, propinquity is sometimes a dangerous thing.

My friend, beware of the day when your dreams come true. That child near us, doubtless she too has dreamt of coming abroad – of the excitement – of how different everything would be. You understand?

If I ever see anyone who appears to think a lot of themselves and boasts unceasingly, I always know that there’s a secret sense of inferiority somewhere.

A fellow who thinks as much of himself as that cannot be worth much.

One knows so little. When one knows more it is too late.

It seems dreadful to say so, but there is something attractive to a girl in being told anyone is a bad man. She thinks at once that her love will reform him.


The Mystery of the Blue Train

A gentleman of the aristocracy would not behave like a Whitechapel coster. He would not do anything low.

To make a success of humanity, George, we must profit by the lessons of those below us in the animal kingdom. I have always done so. I have been the cat, watching the mouse hole. I have always been the good dog following up the scent, and not taking my nose from the trail.

Trains are relentless things, aren’t they, Monsieur Poirot? People are murdered and die, but they go on just the same. I am talking nonsense, but you know what I mean.”

“Yes, yes, I know. Life is like a train, Mademoiselle. It goes on. And it is a good thing that that is so.”


“Because the train gets to its journey’s end at last, and there is a proverb about that in your language, Mademoiselle.”

“‘Journey’s end in lovers meeting.‘” Lenox laughed. “That is not going to be true for me.”

“Yes–yes, it is true. You are young, younger than you yourself know. Trust the train, Mademoiselle, for it is le bon Dieu who drives it.”

“Trust the train, Mademoiselle,” murmured Poirot again. “And trust Hercule Poirot. He knows.”


Destination Unknown

I don’t go in for being sorry for people. For one thing it’s insulting. One is only sorry for people if they are sorry for themselves. Self-pity is the biggest stumbling block in our world today.


Endless Night

The trouble with you and me, is that we don’t live in the real world. We dream of fantastic things that may never happen.

Some are born to sweet delight, Some are born to endless night.



‘Nemesis? And what does that mean?’

‘I think you know,’ said Miss Marple. ‘You are a very well educated woman. Nemesis is long delayed sometimes, but it comes in the end.’

They wish not to become adult—not to have to accept our kind of responsibility. And yet like all children, they want to be thought grown up, and free to do what they think are grown up things. And that leads sometimes to tragedy and sometimes to the aftermath of tragedy.

I know when a couple are really in love with each other. And by that I do not mean just sexually attracted. There is too much talk about sex, too much attention is paid to it. I do not mean that anything about sex is wrong. That is nonsense. But sex cannot take the place of love, it goes with love but it cannot succeed by itself. To love means the words of the marriage service. For better, for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. That is what you take on if you love and wish to marry.


The Mirror Crack’d from Side to Side

The new world was the same as the old. The houses were different, the streets were called Closes, the clothes were different, the voices were different, but the human beings were the same as they always had been. And though using slightly different phraseology, the subjects of conversation were the same.

Heather Badcock meant no harm. She never did mean harm, but there is no doubt that people like Heather Badcock (and like my old friend Alison Wilde), are capable of doing a lot of harm because they lack – not kindness, they have kindness – but any real consideration for the way their actions may affect other people. She though always of what an action meant to her, never sparing a thought to what it might mean to somebody else.

She was a very kind woman and she was always doing things for people. And she was always quite sure she knew the best thing to do. What they thought about it wouldn’t have mattered. I had an aunt like that. Very fond of seed cake herself and she used to bake seed cakes for people and take them to them, and she never troubled to find out whether they liked seed cake or not. There are people can’t bear it, just can’t stand the flavour of caraway.


A Caribbean Mystery

Conversations are always dangerous, if you have something to hide.

Lie is more worth living, more full of interest when you are likely to lose it. It shouldn’t be, perhaps, but it is. When you’re young and strong and healthy, and life stretches ahead of you, living isn’t really important at all. It’s young people who commit suicide easily, out of despair from love, sometimes from sheer anxiety and worry. But old people know how valuable life is and how interesting. 


The Moving Finger

Sometimes, I think it’s really sentiment. She likes to keep things as they were – but not for le bon motif – not because of the resultant harmony – but because it is the way her mother had them.

Only mothers can’t say they don’t want their children and just go away. Or eat them. Cats eat the kittens they don’t like. No waste or mess. But human mothers have to keep their children, and look after them.

“I never can stand seeing people pleased with themselves,” said Joanna. “It arouses all my worst instincts.”

A man travels fastest who travels alone.


The Mysterious Affair at Styles

You know, Emily was a selfish old woman in her way. She was very generous, but she always wanted a return. She never let people forget what she had done for them – and, that way she missed love.

Imagination is a good servant, and a bad master.


Mrs. McGinty’s Dead

Alas,” murmured Poirot to his mustache, “that one can only eat three times a day …”


Death in the Clouds

“Life can be very terrible,” he said. “One needs much courage.”

“To kill oneself? Yes, I suppose one does.”

Also to live,” said Poirot, “one needs courage.”

“If there’s one fellow after you, there’s sure to be another. Seems to be a law of Nature. Sometimes it’s three or four. ”


After the Funeral

Yes, yes-you will give him the earth-because you love him. Love him too much for safety or for happiness. But you cannot give to people what they are incapable of receiving.


The Thumbmark of St. Peter

Everybody is very much alike, really. But fortunately, perhaps, they don’t realise it.


A Pocket Full of Rye

“You think he is marrying her for money?’

‘Yes, I do. Don’t you think so?’

‘I should say quite certainly,’ said Miss Marple. ‘Like young Ellis who married Marion Bates, the rich ironmonger’s daughter. She was a very plain girl and absolutely besotted about him. However, it turned out quite well. People like young Ellis and this Gerald Wright are only really disagreeable when they’ve married a poor girl for love. They are so annoyed with themselves for doing it that they take it out of the girl. But if they marry a rich girl they continue to respect her.

There are some nice people living in it and some extremely unpleasant people as well. Very curious things go on there just as in any other village. Human nature is much the same everywhere, is it not?


Five Little Pigs

With women, love always comes first.

So young. Something innocent, something appealing, something helpless. But youth is not that! Youth is crude, youth is strong, youth is powerful and cruel! And one thing more – youth is vulnerable.

Do you know the way that things suddenly come back to you – after years perhaps. I’ll explain what I mean. Somebody tole me a story once, when I was eleven. I saw no point in that story whatsoever. It didn’t worry me – it just passed straight over my head. I don’t believe I ever, as they say, thought of it again. But about two years ago, sitting in the stalls at a revue, that story came back to me, and I was so surprised that I actually said aloud, ‘Oh, now I see the point of that silly story about the rice pudding.’ And yet there had been no direct allusion on the same lines – only some fun sailing rather near the wind.

All the grown-up emotions – pity, sympathy, understanding. The only things you know – have ever known – are love and hate.


Elephants can Remember

“There is a proverb my grandmother used to repeat: Old sins have long shadows.

Human curiosity. Such a very interesting thing. Think of what we owe to it throughout history. It is said to be usually associated with the cat. Curiosity killed the cat. But I should say really that the Greeks were the inventors of curiosity. They wanted to know. Before them, as far as I can see, nobody wanted to know much. They just wanted to know what the rules of the country they were living in were, and how they could avoid having their heads cut off or being impaled on spikes or something disagreeable happening to them. But they either obey or disobeyed. They didn’t want to know why. But since then a lot of people have wanted to know why and all sorts of things have happened because of that.

Nom d’un petit bonhomme! There are some things, once they have invaded your life, which you find very difficult to get rid of again.


The Complete Miss Marple Collection

Human nature, dear, is very much the same everywhere. It is more difficult to observe it closely in a city, that is all.


Hallowe’en Party

But it is one of the great consolations in nature that a man, however unattractive, will find that he is attractive – to some woman.

“… but one has as well to be a tradesman. You have to sell your wares. .. I carried out mainly my own ideas and I sold them, marketed them perhaps is a better word, to the client who employed me… it is not a very difficult art to learn. There is no more to it than selling a child brown eggs rather than white ones. The customer has to be assured they are the best ones, the right one. .. One does not sell them if one says ‘ they are just eggs. There is only one difference in eggs. They are new laid or they are not’.”

“…People wish to interview her, to know what she thinks about such subjects as student unrest, socialism, girls’ clothing, should sex be permissive, and many other things that are no concern of hers.”
They do not learn very much from Mrs Oliver. They learn only that she is fond of apples…”

It seemed young criminals who came before the juvenile courts. Excuses had to be brought for them. Broken homes. Negligent and unsuitable parents. But the people who spoke the most vehemently for them, the people who sought to bring forth every excuse for them, were usually the type of Rowena Drake. A stern and censorious woman.
Poirot was a man who thought  first always of justice. He was suspicious, had always been suspicious, of mercy—too much mercy, that is to say. Too much mercy, as he knew from former experience both in Belgium and this country, often resulted in further crimes which were fatal to innocent victims who need not have been victims if justice had been put first and mercy second.

There is always a brave new world,” said Poirot, “but only, you know, for very special people. The lucky ones. The ones who carry the making of that world within themselves.


At Bertram’s hotel

It seemed wonderful at first – unchanged you know – like stepping back into the past – to the part of the past that one had loved and enjoyed. But of course, it wasn’t really like that. I learned that one can never go back, that one should not ever try to go back – that the essence of life is going forward. Life is really a One Way Street, isn’t it?

It’s a question of atmosphere…Strangers coming to this country have their own rather queer ideas of what England is like. There are a lot of people who come abroad at rare intervals and who expect this country to be – well, I won’t go back as far as Dickens, but they’ve read Cranford and Henry James, and they don’t want to find this country just the same as their own! So they go back home afterwards and say: ‘there’s a wonderful place in London; Bertram’s Hotel is just like stepping back a hundred years. It just is old England! And the people who stay there! People you’d never come across anywhere else. Wonderful old Duchesses. They serve all the old English dishes, there’s marvellous old-fashioned beefsteak pudding!  You’ve never tasted anything like it; and great sirloins of beef and saddles of mutton, and an old-fashioned English tea and a wonderful English breakfast. And of course all the usually things as well. And it’s wonderfully comfortable. And warm. Great log fires.


One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

What’s the good of manners?

You’ll find they kind of help you along. I haven’t got any myself, but that doesn’t matter so much. To begin with I’m rich, and I’m moderately good-looking, and I’ve got a lot of influential friends – and none of those unfortunate disabilities they talk about so freely in the advertisements nowadays. I can get along all right without manners.

It is not I who am sentimental! That is an English failing! It is in England that they weep over young sweethearts and dying mothers and devoted children.

Yes, we are all human beings. That is what you have not remembered. You have said that Mabelle Sainsbury Seale was a foolish human being and Amberiotis an evil one, and Frank Carter a wastrel – and Morley –Morley was only a dentist and there are other dentists. That is where you and I, M. Blunt, do not see alike. For to me the lives of those four people are just as important as your life.

You are a man of great natural honesty and rectitude. You took one step aside – and outwardly it has not affected you. Publicly you have continued the same, upright, trustworthy, honest. But within you the love of power grew to overwhelming heights. So you sacrificed four human lives and thought them of no account.


Lord Edgware Dies

A woman like that sees only one thing – herself. Such women see nothing of the dangers and hazards that surround them – the million conflicting interests and relationships of life. No, they see only their own forward path. And so – sooner or later – disaster.

Love of money might lead such a one from the prudent and cautious path.

If you care for money too much, it is only the money you see, everything else is in shadow.


By the Pricking of My Thumbs

I’ve got a very nice staff here. People with patience, you know, and good temper, and not too brainy, because if you have people who are brainy, they are bound to be very impatient.


Murder at the Vicarage

There seems to be a general idea that a clergyman is incapable of behaving like a gentleman. That is not true.

Intuition is like reading a word without having to spell it out. A child can’t do that because it has had so little experience. But a grown-up person knows the word because they’ve seen it often before.

We’re a narrow-minded, self-righteous lot, only too keen to judge matters we know nothing about.

I often wonder why the whole world is so prone to generalize. Generalizations are seldom if ever true and are usually utterly inaccurate.

One begins to class people, just as though they were birds or flowers, group so-and-so, genus this, species that. Sometimes, of course, one makes mistakes, but less and less as times goes on. And then, too, one tests oneself.

In fact, the only way is to compare people with other people you have known or come across. You’d be surprised if you knew how very few distinct types there in all.

She used to say: “The young people think the old people are fools, but the old people KNOW the young people are fools!”


Cards on the Table

Oh, my dear friend, it is impossible not to give oneself away – unless one never opens one’s mouth! Speech is the deadliest of revealers.

Miss Anne Meredith turns her score over, draws lines and uses the back. …It means she has the habit of poverty or else is of a naturally economical turn of mind.

We will have tea brought in. I don’t know what you feel about it, but I always think it’s a mistake to rush straight into confidences without any decent paving of the way.


The Mysterious Mr. Quin

Nobody knows what another person is thinking. They may imagine they do, but they are nearly always wrong.


The Body in the Library

If you’re really rather a lonely, tired old man, and if, perhaps, your own family have been neglecting you. To be friend someone who will be overwhelmed with your magnificence. It makes you feel a much greater person – a beneficent monarch! The recipient is more likely to be dazzled, that is a pleasant feeling for you.

Ruby Keene might have asked for what was coming to her, but Pamela Reeves was quite another story.

The sensible thing to do would be to change into trousers and a pullover, or into tweeds. That’s what a girl of our class would do. A well-bred girl is always very particular to wear the right clothes for the right occasion. However hot the day was, a well-bred girl would never turn up at a point-to-point in a silk flowered frock.

She belonged to the class that wear their best clothes, however unsuitable to the occasion. Last year, you know, we had a picnic outing at Scrantor Rocks. You’d be surprised at the unsuitable clothes the girls wore. Foulard dresses and patent-leather shoes and quite elaborate hats, some of them. For climbing about over rocks and in gorse and heather. And the young men in their best suits. Of course, hiking’s different again. That’s practically a uniform, and girls don’t seem to realize that shorts are very unbecoming unless they are very slender.

Sex would have something to do with that. Easier for him to look on her as a daughter than to look on Mr. Gaskell as a son. It works both ways. Women accept a son-in-law as one of the family easily enough, but there aren’t many times when a woman looks on her son’s wife as a daughter.

“I wouldn’t tell a soul.” “People who use that phrase are always the last to live up to it.”

She looked at you very straight, and stood very rigid and just fidgeted with her feet like the others. But you didn’t watch her as she went out of the door. I knew at once then that she’d got something to hide. They nearly always relax too soon.

It has been said that you can only really get under anybody’s skin if you are married to them. When there is no legal bond, people are much more careful, they have to keep assuring themselves how happy and halcyon everything is.


Evil Under  the Sun

She wasn’t exactly a lady. She just went on exactly as she felt like it. She didn’t trouble to be polite if she wasn’t feeling polite. And she’d be all smiles one minute and then, if she couldn’t find something or the bell wasn’t answered at once or her laundry wasn’t back, be downright rude and nasty about it.


Murder in Mesopotamia

Remember, the pudding proves itself only when you eat it.

She doesn’t know as much of the world as I do. It’s when you get to my age that you really appreciate a schoolgirl complexion and a clear eye and a firmly knit young body. But a woman over thirty can listen with rapt attention and throw in a word here and there to show the talker what a fine fellow he is – and few young men can resist that.

It seems odd that as far as I know nobody has yet been murdered for having too perfect a character! And yet perfection is undoubtedly an irritating thing.

We all tend to deceive ourselves as to the motives for our own action. Instinctively we select the best-sounding motive!

You are a man. Behave, like a man! It is against Nature for a man to grovel. Women and Nature have almost exactly the same reactions! Remember it is better to take the largest plate within reach and fling it at a woman’s head than it is to wriggle like a worm whenever she looks at you!

Somehow, the more I get older, and the more I see of people and sadness and illness and everything, the sorrier I get for everyone. Sometimes, I declare, I don’t know what’s becoming of the good, strict principles my aunt brought me up with.


Murder In The Mews

I think a woman smothered in cheap scent is one of the greatest abominations known to mankind – Lord Mayfield

A statesman in these days has a difficult task. He has to pursue the policy he deems advantageous to his country, but he has at the same time to recognize the force of popular feeling. Popular feeling is very often sentimental, muddleheaded, and eminently unsound, but it cannot be disregarded for all that.

Nature repeats herself more than one would imagine. The sea has infinitely more variety.


Sleeping Murder

Children are odd little creatures. If they are badly frightened, especially by something they don’t understand, they don’t talk about it. They bottle it up. Seemingly, perhaps, they forget it. But the memory is still there deep down.

I know a hundred ways of love, And each one makes the loved one true.

Based on the knowledge that one’s love is not returned. And so one goes on waiting, watching, expecting… that the loved one will turn to someone else.

But I must confess that gentlemen do not seem to me to have a great regard for duty in so far as their wives are concerned – public service is another matter.

I make it a rule to take nothing that is told to me as true, unless it is checked.

If you weren’t sure of yourself, you had to boast and assert yourself, and be overbearing.


They Do It With Mirrors

Odd, but quite natural, because when one lives in the same country there is no need to arrange meetings with old friends. One assumes that, sooner or later, one will see them without contrivance. Only, if you move in different spheres, that does not happen.

Human nature is very much the same everywhere. It is more difficult to observe it closely in a city, that is all.


4:50 From Paddington

True to the precepts handed down to her by her mother and grandmother—to wit: that a true lady can neither be shocked nor surprised.

The ones who are really ill usually insist desperately that they’re perfectly well.

She’s the type that’s quite likely to marry late in life – and make a success of it.

Mother was jealous of them for being younger than she was and alive, and she was afraid – it’s a terrible thing to say but it’s true – they would enjoy themselves after she was gone.


The Sittaford Mystery

Nobody understands the art of living nowadays,… Catching trains, making appointments, fixing times for everything—all nonsense. Get up with the sun I say, have your meals when you feel like it, and never tie yourself to a time or a date. I could teach people how to live if they would listen to me.

It was so hard to get an idea of people you had never seen. You had to rely on other people’s judgment. … Other people’s impressions were no good to you. They might be just as true as yours but you couldn’t act on them. You couldn’t, as it were, use another person’s angle of attack.

Don’t know a thing about the man – and yet I ought to. Most ordinary type….It’s like a name on the tip of your tongue and yet for the life of you, you can’t remember it.

It’s a difficult thing to go on really liking a man who can do everything just a little bit better than you can. Burnaby was a narrow-minded, small-natured man.


And Then There Were None

Every one made such a fuss over things nowadays! They wanted injections before they had teeth pulled -they took drugs if they couldn’t sleep-they wanted easy chairs and cushions and the girls allowed their figures to slop about anyhow and lay about half naked on the beaches in summer.

You’re very young…you haven’t got to that yet. But it does come! The blessed relief when you know that you’ve done with it all – that you haven’t got to carry the burden any longer. You’ll feel that too someday…

Crime is terribly revealing. Try and vary your methods as you will, your tastes, your habits, your attitude of mind, and your soul is revealed by your actions.

But no artist, I now realize, can be satisfied with art alone. There is a natural craving for recognition which cannot be gainsaid.


 The Secret Adversary

Never tell all you know—not even to the person you know best.

Don’t be offended because I think you’re young. Youth is a failing only too easily outgrown.

‘Marriage is called all sorts of things, a haven, and a refuge, and a crowning glory, and a state of bondage, and lots more. But do you know what I think it is?’


‘A sport!’

‘And a damned good sport too,’ said Tommy.


The Secret of Chimneys

But, mind you, very few people would understand that point of view. Most people, you see, haven’t got any imagination.

Most of my work has lain amongst these people. What they call the upper classes. The majority of people are always wondering what the neighbours will think. But tramps and aristocrats don’t – they just do the first thing that comes into their heads, and they don’t bother to think what anyone thinks of them. I’m not meaning just the idle rich, the people who give big parties, and so on. I mean those that have had it born and bred in them for generations that nobody else’s opinion counts but their own.  I’ve always found the upper classes the same – fearless, truthful, and sometimes extraordinarily foolish.

My belief in the brotherhood of man died the day I arrived in London last week, when I observed people standing in a Tube train resolutely refuse to move up and make room for those who entered. You won’t turn people into angels by appealing to their better natures just yet awhile – but by judicious force you can coerce them into behaving more or less decently to one another to go on with.


The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories

Curious things, habits. People themselves never knew they had them.

Do you know what they say, madame? Those who never think of money need a great deal of it.


Third Girl

People are never like what you remember them. You make them, as the years go by, more and more the way you wish them to be, and as you think you remember them. If you want to remember them as agreeable and gay and handsome, you make them far more so than they actually were.


The Man in the Brown Suit

It is really a hard life. Men will not be nice to you if you are not good-looking, and women will not be nice to you if you are.

My Great-aunt Jane always used to say that a true lady was neither shocked nor surprised at anything that might happen. I endeavour to live up to her precepts.

“Papa always said that in the beginning men and women roamed the world together, equal in strength – like lions and tigers. They were nomadic, you see. It wasn’t till they settled down in communities, and women did one kind of thing and men another, that women got weak. And of course, underneath, one is still the same – one feels the same, I mean – and that is why women worship physical strength in men – it’s what they once had and have lost.”
You think you admire moral qualities, but when you fall in love, you revert to the primitive where the physical is all that counts. But I don’t think that’s the end, if you lived in primitive conditions it would be all right, but you don’t – and so, in the end, the other thing wins after all. It’s the things that are apparently conquered that always do win, isn’t it? They win in the only way that counts. Like what the Bible says about losing your life and finding it.”



“It worries me sometimes. It doesn’t seem natural, if you know what I mean. I feel she ought to be – more human – more keen on having a good time. Amuse herself – fall in love with a nice boy or two. After all, youth is the time to have one’s fling – not to sit poring over test tubes. It isn’t natural. In our young days we were having fun – flirting – enjoying ourselves – you know.”
I was never what you meant by “young”. I never had what is called “a good time”.


Dead Man’s Folly

There was a slogan that was written up in your underground railways here, I remember, during the war. “It all depends on you.” It was composed, I think, by some eminent divine – but in my opinion it was a dangerous and undesirable doctrine. For it is not true. Everything does not depend on, say, Mrs Blank of Little-Blank-in-the-Marsh. And if she is led to think it does, it will not be good for her character. While she thinks of the part she can play in world affairs, the baby pulls over the kettle.

Put your trust in God, and keep your powder dry.

We know that it is necessary to tell a woman at least once a week, and preferable three or four times, that we love her; and that it is also wise to bring her a few flowers, to pay her a few compliments, to tell her that she looks well in her new dress or new hat.

I mean, what can you say about how you write your books? What I mean is, first you’ve got to think of something, and then when you’ve thought of it you’ve got to force yourself to sit down and write it. That’s all. It would have taken me just three minutes to explain that, and then the Talk would have been ended and everyone would have been very fed up. I can’t imagine why everybody is always so keen for authors to talk about writing. I should have thought it was an author’s business to write, not talk.

Towards Zero

It has been my experience, that women possess little or no pride where love affairs are concerned. Pride is a quality often on their lips, but not apparent in their actions.



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