Friday, November 18, 2011

quotes from 'Jill the Reckless'

'Barker!' His voice had a ring of pain.
'What's this?'
'Poached egg, sir.'
Freddie averted his eyes with a silent shudder.
'It looks just like an old aunt of mine,' he said. 'Remove it.'

This woman always made Freddie feel as if he were being disemboweled by some clumsy amateur.

...the little dinner at Freddie Rooke's had not been an unqualified success. Searching the records for an adequately gloomy parallel to the taxi-cab journey to the theatre which followed it, one can only think of Napoleon's retreat from Moscow. And yet even that was probably not conducted in dead silence.

If there is one thing that startles a well-bred Londoner and throws him off his balance, it it to be addressed unexpectedly by a stranger. Freddie's sense of decency was revolted. A voice from the tomb could hardly have shaken him more.

There are men who fear the repartee of a wife more keenly than a sword. Derek was one of these. Like most men of single outlook, whose dignity is their most precious possession, he winced from an edged tongue....She did not speak the words. If she had an edged tongue, she had also the control of it.

Lady Underhill, having said all she had to say, recovered her breath and begin to say it again. Frequent iteration was one of her strongest weapons.

He was fond of children, but they made the deuce of a noise and regarded jam as an external ornament.

No wonder Freddie experienced the sort of abysmal soul-sadness which afflicts one of Tolstoi's Russian peasants when, after putting in a heavy day's work strangling his father, beating his wife, and dropping the baby into the city reservoir, he turns to the cupboard, only to find the vodka-bottle empty.

He was a snub-nosed boy. His ears and hair were vermilion. His name was Ralph. He has seven hundred and forty-three pimples.

He stared again at Jill. The inspection was long and lingering and affected Jill with a sense of being inadequately clothed. She returned the gaze as defiantly as she could, but her heart was beating fast. She had never yet been frightened of any man, but there was something reptilian about this fat, yellow-haired individual which disquieted her, much as cockroaches had done in her childhood. A momentary thought flashed through her mind that it would be horrible to be touched by him. He looked soft and glutinous.

'Don't you worry, honey!' advised the well-meaning girl who would have been in her element looking in on Job with Bildad the Shuhite and his friends. 'Don't you worry!'

'I say,' said Freddie in an awed voice. 'He's a bit of a nut, that lad, what? He reminds me of the troops of Midian in the hymn. The chappies who prowled and prowled around. I'll bet he's worn a groove in the carpet like a jolly old tiger at the Zoo at feeding time. Wouldn't be surprised at any moment to look down and find him biting a piece out of my leg!'

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