“It's no good choosing your first husband from a school for evil geniuses. Much too difficult to kill.”
“He ... boasted an unassuming mustache, which was perched atop his upper lip cautiously, as though it were slightly embarrassed to be there and would like to slide away and become a sideburn or something more fashionable.”
“What’s that?” she asked the girl, wrinkling her nose.
“Oh, that? That’s just Pillover.”
“And what’s a pillover, when it’s at home?”
“My little brother.”
“Ah, I commiserate. I have several of my own. Dashed inconvenient, brothers.”
“Isn't Bunson's training evil geniuses?"
"Well, is that wise? Having a mess of seedling evil geniuses falling in love with you willy-nilly? What if they feel spurned?"
"Ah, but in the interim, think of the lovely gifts they can make you. Monique bragged that one of her boys made her silver and wood hair sticks as anti-supernatural weapons. With amethyst inlay. And another made her an exploding wicker chicken."
"Goodness, what's that for?"
Dimity pursed her lips. "Who doesn't want an exploding wicker chicken?”
“She had to give her teachers credit: they were right to insist all pupils carry scissors, handkerchiefs, perfume and hair ribbons at all times. At some point she'd learn why they also required a red lace doily and a lemon.”
“If there is gossip to be garnered, garner it. If there are new dress styles to be imitated, imitate them. If there are hearts to be broken, break them.
That's my girls.”
“I do not giggle without purpose. Lady Linette says you should never misapply a giggle.”
“The bowl landed, in glorious perfection, atop the head of Mrs Barnaclegoose, who was not the kind of woman to appreciate the finer points of being crowned by trifle.”
“It'll all end in tears and oil.”
“But I don't want to be a vampire drone.' Sophronia winced. 'They'll suck my blood and make me wear only the very latest fashions.”
“Really, Sophronia, it makes me most uncomfortable how you manage to sort everything out every time I faint.”
“But we were talking about me and my problems."
Sophronia looked Monique up and down gravely.
"I don't think we're going to solve those in the space of one carriage ride.”
“How have I never noticed she only required praise to find me acceptable? wondered Sophronia, not quite realizing that this, too, was a mark of her new education. Many was the lady whose belief in another's sound judgment was based solely upon that other judging her favorably.”
“Quietly Sophronia added, "And the soot on my dress, sir?"
"I didn't see anything." Professor Braithwope smiled down at her, showing a small hint of fang.
Sophronia grinned back. "I'm glad we understand each other, sir."
The vampire looked out into the night. "This is the right finishing school for you, isn't it, whot?"
"Yes sir, I think it might very well be."
"A piece of advice, Miss Temminnick?"
"It is a great skill to have friends in low places. They, too, have things to teach you."
"Now, sir, I thought you didn't see any soot.”
“Her hair was wild, her eyes were flashing, and her tattered underskirts floated around her. She looked like a glorious avenging goddess from some ancient erotic myth.”
“No one said learning etiquette and espionage would be easy, my dear.”
“Captain Niall, having apparently resigned himself to losing his quarry, was savaging her horsehair petticoat into teeny, tiny shreds.
"Really, what did my poor petticoat do to offend?”
“What on earth could we girls possibly learn from a werewolf?" Sophronia wondered.
"How to keep a hat on no matter what the circumstances?" hazarded Dimity.”
“How often have I warned you against fraternizing with technology?”
“His eyes were jet-colored circles of perpetual disapproval.”
“The boy gestured with his chin at Dimity. “She was shot.” He sounded remarkably unconcerned for a brother with any degree of affection for his sibling.“Good lord!” Sophronia climbed in to see to her new friend’s health. The bullet had grazed Dimity’s shoulder. It had ripped her dress and left a partly burned gash behind, but didn’t look all that bad. Sophronia checked to make certain Dimity had no other injuries. Then she sat back on her heels.“Is that all? I’ve had worse scrapes from drinking tea. Why has she come over all crumpled?”Pillover rolled his eyes. “Faints at the sight of blood, our Dimity. Always has. Weak nerves,father says. It doesn’t even have to be her blood.”
“Who doesn’t want an exploding wicker chicken?”
“Coming to the ball, Mr. Plumleigh-Teignmott?”
“Ball? If you insist.” Pillover slid off his trunk, and Roger jumped down to help him load it into the cart.
“Ball?” said one of the Pistons with interest. “We like balls.”
Dimity gave them her best, most haughty look. “Yes, but are you certain they like you?”
“Mummy and Daddy want him to be an evil genius, but he has his heart set on Latin verse. Don’t you, Pill?” The boy gave his sister a nasty stare. “Pillover is terribly bad at being bad, if you take my meaning. Our daddy is a founding member of the Death Weasel Confederacy, and Mummy is a kitchen chemist with questionable intent, but poor Pillover can’t even bring himself to murder ants with his Depraved Lens of Crispy Magnification. Can you, Pill?”
“Dimity pursed her lips. “Who doesn’t want an exploding wicker chicken?”
“What Sophronia did not know, and had yet to learn to control, was that her smile was rather more powerful than most. The face she saw in the mirror each morning was passingly pretty, if not terribly thrilling, but when she smiled with the full force of her personality behind it, she came over vibrant and striking. It was one of the reasons Monique disliked her so.”
“Sophronia was minding her own business and running late to luncheon, as was her custom. She'd let to learn the advantage of punctuality. As she told Sister Mattie the third time she was late to household potions and poisons, nothing interesting happened until after an event commenced.”
“Petunia Temminnick’s coming-out ball was pronounced a resounding success by all in attendance. There had been highly intoxicating punch, a variety of dances, good music, and intermission entertainment. No one knew why the beautiful Miss Pelouse had stripped, rolled about in the garden, and then chucked a cheese pie at the youngest Temminnick girl before being taken away in floods of tears, but it was surely the highlight of a most enjoyable evening.”
“How often have I warned you against fraternizing with technology?” Sophronia wondered if that was a rhetorical question and began counting up the number of times just in case it wasn’t.”
“No, she thought, one could say nothing to nobody. The urgency of the moment always missed its mark. Words fluttered sideways and struck the object inches too low.”
“there are two different ways of writing history: one is to persuade men to virtue and the other is to compel men to truth.”
“Mistrust all enterprises that require new clothes.”
“She wants fire, and Dorne sent her mud.
You could make a poultice out of mud to cool a fever. You could plant seeds in mud and grow a crop to feed your children. Mud would nourish you, where fire would only consume you, but fools and children and young girls would choose fire every time.”
“If you're for the right thing, you do it without thinking.”
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