Alan Bradley · 399 pages
Rating: (31.6K votes)
“Whenever I'm with other people, part of me shrinks a little. Only when I am alone can I fully enjoy my own company.”
“Compared with my life Cinderella was a spoiled brat.”
“Sorry, old girl," I said to [my bicycle] Gladys in the gray dishwater light of early morning, "but I have to leave you at home."
I could see that she was disappointed, even though she managed to put on a brave face.
"I need you to stay here as a decoy," I whispered. "When they see you leaning against the greenhouse, they'll think I'm still in bed."
Gladys brightened considerably at the thought of a conspiracy. [...]
At the corner of the garden, I turned, and mouthed the words, "Don't do anything I wouldn't do," and Gladys signaled that she wouldn't.
I was off like a shot.”
“…because I was only eleven years old, I was wrapped in the best cloak of invisibility in the world.”
“How very kind of her, ' I said. 'I must remember to send her a card.'
I'd send her a card alright. It would be the Ace of Spades, and I'd mail it anonymously from somewhere other than Bishop's Lacey.”
“I had long ago discovered that when a word or formula refused to come to mind the best thing for it was to think of something else: tigers for instance or oatmeal. Then when the fugitive word was least expecting it I would suddenly turn the full blaze of my attention back onto it catching the culprit in the beam of my mental torch before it could sneak off again into the darkness.”
“They seem nice, though, your sisters, really,' Porcelain remarked.
'Ha!' I said. 'Shows what little you know! I hate them!'
'Hate them? I should have thought you'd love them.'
'Of course I love them,' I said.... 'That's why I'm so good at hating them.”
“I was learning that among friends, a smile can be better than a belly laugh.”
“Spare us the pout, there’s enough lip in the world without you adding to it.”
“There’s nothing that a liar hates more than finding out that another liar has lied to them.”
“It’s not polite to ask ” he said with a slight smile. “One must never ask a policeman his secrets.”
“Why not ”
“For the same reason I don’t ask you yours.”
How I adored this man! Here we were the two of us engaged in a mental game of chess in which both of us knew that one of us was cheating.
At the risk of repetition, how I adored this man!”
“Death by family silver, I thought, before I could turn off that part of my mind.”
“It was quite wrong of me Had I heard what I thought I’d heard or were my ears playing hob with me It was more likely that the sun and the moon should suddenly dance a jolly jig in the heavens than that one of my sisters should apologize. It was simply unheard of.”
“I remembered Father remarking once that if rudeness was not attributable to ignorance it could be taken as a sure sign that one was speaking to a member of the aristocracy.”
“The very best people are like that. They don't entangle you like flypaper.”
“It always surprises me after a family row to find that the world outdoors has remained the same. While the passions and feelings that accumulate like noxious gases inside a house seem to condense and cling to the walls and ceilings like old smoke the out-of-doors is different. The landscape seems incapable of accumulating human radiation. Perhaps the wind blows anger away.”
“I waved my hand like a frantic dust mop fingers spread ludicrously wide apart as if to say “What jolly fun ” What I wanted to do actually was to leap to my feet strike a pose and burst into one of those “Yo-ho for the open road ” songs they always play in the cinema musicals but I stifled the urge and settled for a ghastly grin and an extra twiddle of the fingers.”
“Oh, there you are, you odious little prawn...”
“Thinking and prayer are much the same thing anyway, when you stop to think about it -- if that makes any sense. Prayer goes up and thought comes down -- or so it seems. As far as I can tell, that's the only difference.”
“I had to make water ” I said. It was the classic female excuse and no male in recorded history had ever questioned it.
“I see ” the Inspector said and left it at that.
Later I would have a quick piddle behind the caravan for insurance purposes. No one would be any the wiser.”
“ALONE AT LAST! Whenever I’m with other people, part of me shrinks a little. Only when I am alone can I fully enjoy my own company.”
“You must have loved her awfully," I said, realizing even as I spoke that I made it sound as if Fenella were already dead. "Yes, sometimes very much," Porcelain said reflectively, "-and sometimes not at all." She must have seen my startled reaction. "Love's not some big river that flows on and on forever, and if you believe it is, you're a bloody fool. It can be dammed up until nothing's left but a trickle..." "Or stopped completely, I added.”
“If there is anything more delicious than a sausage roasted over an open Bunsen burner, I can't image what it might be--Porcelain and I tore into our food like cannibals after a missionary famine.”
“As I had been forced to learn at a very young age, there’s no better way to mask a lie—or at least a glaring omission—than to wrap it in an emotional outpouring of truth.”
“Prayer goes up and thought comes down -- or so it seems. As far as I can tell, that's the only difference.”
“For all practical purposes, Feely's enthusiasms stopped where her skin ended.”
“I remembered that Johnson had declared portrait painting to be an improper employment for a woman. “Public practice of any art and staring in men’s faces is very indelicate in a female,” he had said.
Well I’d seen Dr. Johnson’s face in the book’s frontispiece and I couldn’t imagine anyone male or female wanting to stare into it for any length of time —the man was an absolute toad.”
“Perhaps the wind blows anger away.”
“Tell me." Edward had to raise his voice a little. "Do you live by the principle that what people don't know can't hurt them?"
"No," Harper replied. "What people don't know can't hurt me.”
“Who cares what other people think? Don't let the opinions of others define you.”
“It was worth saving up all my luck until now, because it means I get to spend the rest of my life with you.”
“They explored me high enough as mountain climbers reached the mountain tops.”
“you can’t have compassion unless you have a certain loyalty to the human race.”
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