Quotes from Gaudy Night

Dorothy L. Sayers ·  501 pages

Rating: (18.3K votes)


“Wherever you find a great man, you will find a great mother or a great wife standing behind him -- or so they used to say. It would be interesting to know how many great women have had great fathers and husbands behind them.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“Do you find it easy to get drunk on words?"

"So easy that, to tell you the truth, I am seldom perfectly sober.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“Some people's blameless lives are to blame for a good deal.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“A facility for quotation covers the absence of original thought.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“How fleeting are all human passions compared with the massive continuity of ducks.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“The rule seemed to be that a great woman must either die unwed ... or find a still greater man to marry her. ... The great man, on the other hand, could marry where he liked, not being restricted to great women; indeed, it was often found sweet and commendable in him to choose a woman of no sort of greatness at all.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“What are you to do with the people who are cursed with both hearts and brains?”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“If it ever occurs to people to value the honour of the mind equally with the honour of the body, we shall get a social revolution of a quite unparalleled sort.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“I imagine you come across a number of people who are disconcerted by the difference between what you do feel and what they fancy you ought to feel. It is fatal to pay the smallest attention to them.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“A marriage of two independent and equally irritable intelligences seems to me reckless to the point of insanity.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“The only ethical principle which has made science possible is that the truth shall be told all the time. If we do not penalize false statements made in error, we open up the way for false statements by intention. And a false statement of fact, made deliberately, is the most serious crime a scientist can commit.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“We shall know what things are of overmastering importance when they have overmastered us.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“I gather that he nearly knocked you down, damaged your property, and generally made a nuisance of himself, and that you instantly concluded he must be some relation to me.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“He was being about as protective as a can-opener.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“I know what you're thinking - that anybody with proper sensitive feelings would rather scrub floors for a living. But I should scrub floors very badly, and I write detective stories rather well. I don't see why proper feelings should prevent me from doing my proper job.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“All the children seem to be coming out quite intelligent, thank goodness. It would have been such a bore to be the mother of morons, and it’s an absolute toss-up, isn’t it? If one could only invent them, like characters in books, it would be much more satisfactory to a well-regulated mind.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“But suppose one doesn't quite know which one wants to put first. Suppose," said Harriet, falling back on words which were not her own, "suppose one is cursed with both a heart and a brain?"

"You can usually tell," said Miss de Vine, "by seeing what kind of mistakes you make. I'm quite sure that one never makes fundamental mistakes about the thing one really wants to do. Fundamental mistakes arise out of lack of genuine interest. In my opinion, that is.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“It is said that love and a cough cannot be hid.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“To subdue one's self to one's own ends might be dangerous, but to subdue one's self to other people's ends was dust and ashes. Yet there were those, still more unhappy, who envied even the ashy saltness of those dead sea apples.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“I entirely agree that a historian ought to be precise in detail; but unless you take all the characters and circumstances into account, you are reckoning without the facts. The proportions and relations of things are just as much facts as the things themselves.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“He had the appeal of a very young dog of a very large breed -- a kind of amiable absurdity.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“And then, at night, the lit lamp and the drawn curtain, with the flutter of the turned page and soft scrape of pen on paper the only sounds to break the silence between quarter- and quarter-chime.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“It's disquieting to reflect that one's dreams never symbolize one's real wishes, but always something Much Worse... If I really wanted to be passionately embraced by Peter, I should dream of dentists or gardening. I wonder what unspeakable depths of awfulness can only be expressed by the polite symbol of Peter's embraces?”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“I do know the worst sin--perhaps the only sin--passion can commit, is to be joyless.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“There's something hypnotic about the word tea.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“What'll Geoffrey do when you pull off your First, my child?" demanded Miss Haydock.

"Well, Eve -- it will be awkward if I do that. Poor lamb! I shall have to make him believe I only did it by looking fragile and pathetic at the viva.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“You'd think (losing his job and degree for having made false claims as a researcher) would be a lesson to him," said Miss Hillyard. "It didn't pay, did it? Say he sacrificed his professional honour for the women and children we hear so much about -- but in the end it left him worse of."

But that," said Peter, "was only because he committed the extra sin of being found out.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“They cultivated normality till it stood out of them all over in knobs, like the muscles upon professional strong men, and scarcely looked normal at all. And they talked interminably and loudly. From their bouncing mental health ordinary ill-balanced mortals shrank in alarm.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


“The young were always theoretical; only the middle-aged could realize the deadliness of principles. To subdue one’s self to one’s own ends might be dangerous, but to subdue one’s self to other people’s ends was dust and ashes. Yet there were those, still more unhappy, who envied even the ashy saltiness of those dead sea apples.”
― Dorothy L. Sayers, quote from Gaudy Night


About the author

Dorothy L. Sayers
Born place: in Oxford, England, The United Kingdom
Born date June 13, 1893
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