Quotes from Up in the Old Hotel

Joseph Mitchell ·  716 pages

Rating: (3K votes)


“Also, I had not yet found out about time; I was still under the illusion that I had plenty of time - time for this, time for that, time for everything, time to waste.”
― Joseph Mitchell, quote from Up in the Old Hotel


“it takes almost a lifetime to learn how to do a thing simply.”
― Joseph Mitchell, quote from Up in the Old Hotel


“Gould is a night wanderer, and he has put down descriptions of dreadful things he has seen on dark New York streets – descriptions, for example, of the herds of big gray rats that come out in the hours before dawn in some neighborhoods of the lower East Side and Harlem and unconcernedly walk the sidewalks. ‘I sometimes believe that these rats are not rats at all,’ he says, ‘but the damned and aching souls of tenement landlords.”
― Joseph Mitchell, quote from Up in the Old Hotel


“My grandfather used to like the word 'mitigate,'" Harry said. "He liked the sound of it, and he used it whenever he could. When he was a very old man, he often got on the subject of dying. 'You cant talk your way out,' he'd often say, 'and you can't buy your way out, and you can't shoot your way out, and the only thing that mitigates the matter in the slightest is the fact that nobody else is going to escape. Nobody-no, not one.'"
"I know, I know," said Mr. Hewitt, "but what's the purpose of it?"
"You supported your wife, didn't you?" asked Harry. "You raised a family, didn't you? That's the purpose of it."
'That's no purpose," said Mr. Hewitt. "The same thing that's going to happen to me is going to happen to them."
"The generations have to keep coming along," said Harry. "That's all I know."
"You're put here, " said Mr. Hewitt, "and you're allowed to eat and draw breath and go back and forth a few short years, and about the time you get things in shape where you can sit down and enjoy them you wind up in a box in a hole in the ground, and as far as I can see, there's no purpose to it whatsoever.”
― Joseph Mitchell, quote from Up in the Old Hotel


“When Gould arrives at a party, people who have never seen him before usually take one look at him and edge away. Before the evening is over, however, a few of them almost always develop a kind of puzzled respect for him; they get him in a corner, ask him questions, and try to determine what is wrong with him. Gould enjoys this. "When you came over and kissed my hand," a young woman told him one night, "I said to myself, 'what a nice old gentleman.' A minute later I looked around and you were bouncing up and down with your shirt off, imitating a wild Indian. I was shocked. Why do you have to be such an exhibitionist?" "Madam," Gould said, "it is the duty of the bohemian to make a spectacle of himself. If my informality leads you to believe that I'm a rum-dumb, or that I belong in Bellevue, hold fast to that belier, hold fast, hold fast, and show your ignorance.”
― Joseph Mitchell, quote from Up in the Old Hotel



“My grandfather used to like the word 'mitigate,'" Harry said. "He liked the sound of it, and he used it whenever he could. When he was a very old man, he often got on the subject of dying. 'You cant talk your way out,' he'd often say, 'and you can't buy your way out, and you can't shoot your way out, and the only thing that mitigates the matter in the slightest is the fact that nobody else is going to escape. Nobody-no, not one.'"
"I know, I know," said Mr. Hewitt, "but what's the purpose of it?"
"You supported your wife, didn't you?" asked Harry. "You raised a family, didn't you? That's the purpose of it."
'That's no purpose," said Mr. Hewitt. "The same thing that's going to happen to me is going to happen o them."
"The generations have to keep coming along," said Harry. "That's all I know."
"You're put here, " said Mr. Hewitt, "and you're allowed to eat and draw breath and go back and forth a few short years, and about the time you get things in shape where you can sit down and enjoy them you wind up in a box in a hole in the ground, and as far as I can see, there's no purpose to it whatsoever.”
― Joseph Mitchell, quote from Up in the Old Hotel


About the author

Joseph Mitchell
Born place: in Fairmont, North Carolina, The United States
Born date July 27, 1908
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