Thursday, October 11, 2007

Thirteen Of My Favorite Excerpts From Books (plus one more for good measure)

Thirteen Things about mom huebert

"Well--there are two men who--who--want to marry me."

"The usual story, I suppose? One rich, one poor, and the poor one is the one you like!"...

"You see, ... Gerald is a dear, but he's desperately poor-- though he's a very clever engineer .... The other, Mr. Partridge, is a very good man, I am sure-- and well off, and if I married him it would be an end of all our troubles. But-- but..."

"I know," said Tuppence sympathetically. "It isn't the same thing at all. You can go on telling yourself how good and worthy he is, and adding up his qualities as though they were an addition sum-- and it all has simply a refrigerating effect."

from Partners in Crime, Agatha Christie, Signet, 2000.

Then the four human prisoners were roped together, not cruelly but securely, and made to march down to the shore. Reepicheep was carried. He had stopped biting, on a threat of having his mouth tied up, but he had a great deal to say, and Lucy really wondered how any man could bear to have the things said to him which were said to the slave dealer by the Mouse. But the slave dealer, far from objecting, only said, "Go on," whenever Reepicheep paused for breath, occasionally adding, "It's as good as a play," or, "Blimey, you can't help almost thinking it knows what it's saying!" or "Was it one of you what trained it?" This so infuriated Reepicheep that in the end the number of things he thought of saying all at once nearly suffocated him and he became silent.

from The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, C.S. Lewis, Collier Books 1970.

Aravis immediately began, sitting quite still and using a rather different tone and style from her usual one. For in Calormen, story-telling (whether the stories are true or made up) is a thing you're taught, just as English boys and girls are taught essay-writing. The difference is that people want to hear the stories, whereas I've never heard of anyone who wanted to read the essays.

from The Horse and His Boy, C.S. Lewis, Collier Books, 1970.

"That's the worst of girls," said Edmund to Peter and the Dwarf. "They never can carry a map in their heads."

"That's because our heads have something inside them," said Lucy.

from Prince Caspian, C.S. Lewis, Collier Books, 1970.

#5 might have led to something had not a lady called a newspaper to say that it wasn't true that only truck tires were getting hit. She said that she had been painfully pricked by a pea-tack as she was crossing Second Avenue.

"Who missed?" demanded Maxie Mannerman when the newspapers reported this interesting development.

"I didn't miss," said Harry the Hot Dog. "She insulted my sauerkraut, and for once I couldn't resist."

"For once we understand," said General Anna. "But it shouldn't happen twice."

from The Pushcart War, Jean Merrill, Harper Collins, 1987.

I cut off all those things {smoking, drinking tea and coffee and hot scotch} for two days and night; in fact, I cut off all kinds of food, too, and all drinks except water, and at the end of forty-eight hours the lumbago was discouraged and left me. I was a well man; so I gave thanks and took to those delicacies again.

It seemed a valuable medical course, and I recommended it to a lady. She had run down and down and down, and had at last reached a point where medicines no longer had any helpful effect upon her. I said I knew I could put her upon her feet in a week. It brightened her up, it filled her with hope, and she said she would do everything I told her to do. So I said she must stop swearing and drinking, and smoking and eating, for four days, and then she would be all right again. And it would have happened just so, I know it; but she said she could not stop swearing, and smoking, and drinking, because she had never done those things. So there it was. She had neglected her habits, and had't any. Now that they would have come good, there were none in stock. She had nothing to fall back on. She was a sinking vessel, with no freight in her to throw overboard and lighten the ship. Why, even one or two little bad habits could have saved her, but she was just a moral pauper....These things should be attended to while a person is young; otherwise, when age and disease come, there is nothing effectual to fight them with.

from Following The Equator, Mark Twain, A Journey Around The World, Dover edition.

"Contrary to what you may have read about it, it has been my experience that these seemingly hopeless situations actually are. And when you, as hostess, do something gallant and inventive, the guests will probably wish you hadn't. They were primed for turkey, you see,....and they are not going to like that brave lima-bean-peanut-butter casserole you created out of what was around."

from Peg Bracken's Appendix To The I Hate To Cook Book, Peg Bracken, Fawcett Crest, 1967.


"I would have preferred the presidential approach taken by Franklin D. Roosevelt when he tried to convert into English his own government's memos, such as this blackout order of 1942:

'Such preparations shall be made as will completely obscure all Federal buildings and non-Federal buildings occupied by the Federal government during an air raid for any period of time from visibility by reason of internal or external illumination.'

'Tell them,' Roosevelt said, 'that in buildings where they have to keep the work going to put something across the windows.'

from On Writing Well, William Zinsser, Harper Collins College Publishers, 1995.

Almanzo couldn't understand it. He had seen the pea under that shell, and then it wasn't there. He asked Father how the man had done it.

"I don't know, Almanzo," Father said. "But he knows. It's his game. Never bet your money on another man's game."

from Farmer Boy, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Harper Collins, 1971.
He banged his fist on the counter and told them, "That wheat's mine and I've got a right to charge any price I want to for it."

"That's so, Loftus, you have," Mr. Ingalls agreed with him. "This is a free country and every man's got a right to do as he pleases with his own property." He said to the crowd, "You know that's a fact, boys," and he went on, "Don't forget every one of us is free and independent, Loftus. This winter won't last forever and maybe you want to go on doing business after it's over."

"Threatening me, are you?" Mr. Loftus demanded.

"We don't need to," Mr. Ingalls replied. "It's a plain fact. If you've got a right to do as you please, we've got a right to do as we please. It works both ways. You've got us down now. That's your business, as you say. But your business depends on our good will. You maybe don't notice that now, but along next summer you'll likely notice it."

from The Long Winter, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Harper Collins, 1971.

"From what I've seen," Pa went on, "the trouble with organizing a thing is that pretty soon folks get to paying more attention to the organization than to what they're organized for. I take it we're pretty well agreed right now on what we want. If we start organizing and electing, the chances are we won't be as well agreed on who's to be elected. So I suggest, let's just go straight ahead and do what we want to do...."

"That's the ticket, Ingalls!" Mr. Clancy sang out, and as Pa sat down, a good many began to clap.

from Little Town on The Prairie, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Harper Collins,1971.

"Got to start by finding it, have we?" answered Puddleglum. "Not allowed to start by looking for it, I suppose?"

from The Silver Chair, C.S. Lewis, Collier Books, 1970.


The Arab leaned on his shovel in the lazy way that made Madame so angry when the water was turned off.

"Is she the woman who talks to herself?" he asked.

"I never heard her talk to herself," said Josine. "She's too busy talking to us."

"We do," said the man. "Every day she comes out and talks at us. But we don't listen, so she is talking to herself."

from A Brother For The Orphelines, Natalie Savage Carlson, Dell Publishing Co., Inc., 1972

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Cher said...

I really need to read CS Lewis

Cocoa said...

Love the Little House and C.S. Lewis books! We're always reading some great book aloud to the children. Our latest read aloud is Just David by Eleanor Porter (same author as Pollyanna). My TT is up at Besides Chocolate

Buck Naked Politics said...

What a great list: I actually remember #9.

Bloggers said...

Great post!

Working at Home Mom

My Ice Cream Diary said...

My dad taught me the lesson about never betting on another man's game with a card trick. It made a very good point. I wonder if he learned it from the book or if it is a lesson every dad is supposed to give his children?

Lola Granola said...

That's a GOOD list.

Lulu said...

Oh, how I loved the Laura Ingalls Wilder books! In fact, I should probably read those again. They are definitely timeless as well as ageless...

Nicholas said...

I've not read any of those. Kudos to FDR!