“Even idiots ocasionally speak the truth accidentally.”
“You're thinking that people don't keep up old jealousies for twenty years or so. Perhaps not. Not just primitive, brute jealousy. That means a word and a blow. But the thing that rankles is hurt vanity. That sticks. Humiliation. And we've all got a sore spot we don't like to have touched.”
“Well, it's no good jumping at conclusions."
"Jump? You don't even crawl distantly within sight of a conclusion. I believe if you caught the cat with her head in the cream-jug you'd say it was conceivable that the jug was empty when she got there.”
“Lord Peter's library was one of the most delightful bachelor rooms in London. Its scheme was black and primrose; its walls were lined with rare editions, and its chairs and Chesterfield sofa suggested the embraces of the houris. In one corner stood a black baby grand, a wood fire leaped on a wide old-fashioned hearth, and the Sèvres vases on the chimneypiece were filled with ruddy and gold chrysanthemums. To the eyes of the young man who was ushered in from the raw November fog it seemed not only rare and unattainable, but friendly and familiar, like a colourful and gilded paradise in a mediæval painting”
“. . . the fellow's got a bee in his bonnet. Thinks God's a secretion of the liver--all right once in a way, but there's no need to keep on about it. There's nothing you can't prove if your outlook is only sufficiently limited.”
“Here am I, sweating my brains out to introduce a really sensational incident into your dull and disreputable little police investigation, and you refuse to show a single spark of enthusiasm.”
“I give you full credit for the discovery, I crawl, I grovel, my name is Watson, and you need not say what you were just going to say, because I admit it all.”
“The really essential factors of success in any undertaking are money and opportunity, and as a rule, the man who can make the first can make the second.”
“The two men sat silent for a little, and then Lord Peter said:
"D'you like your job?"
The detective considered the question, and replied:
"Yes—yes, I do. I know it to be useful, and I am fitted to it. I do it quite well—not with inspiration, perhaps, but sufficiently well to take a pride in it. It is full of variety and it forces one to keep up to the mark and not get slack. And there's a future to it. Yes, I like it. Why?"
"Oh, nothing," said Peter. "It's a hobby to me, you see. I took it up when the bottom of things was rather knocked out for me, because it was so damned exciting, and the worst of it is, I enjoy it—up to a point. If it was all on paper I'd enjoy every bit of it. I love the beginning of a job—when one doesn't know any of the people and it's just exciting and amusing. But if it comes to really running down a live person and getting him hanged, or even quodded, poor devil, there don't seem as if there was any excuse for me buttin' in, since I don't have to make my livin' by it. And I feel as if I oughtn't ever to find it amusin'. But I do.”
“I looked for any footmarks of course, but naturally, with all this rain, there wasn't a sign. Of course, if this were a detective story, there'd have been a convenient shower exactly an hour before the crime and a beautiful set of marks which could only have come there between two and three in the morning, but this being real life in a London November, you might as well expect footprints in Niagara. I searched the roofs right along—and came to the jolly conclusion that any person in any blessed flat in the blessed row might have done it.”
“One demands a little originality in these days, even from murderers," said Lady Swaffham. "Like dramatists, you know--so much easier in Shakespeare's time, wasn't it? Always the same girl dressed up as a man, and even that borrowed from Boccaccio or Dante or somebody. I'm sure if I'd been a Shakespeare hero, the very minute I saw a slim-legged young page-boy I'd have said: 'Ods bodikins! There's that girl again!”
“Yes, my lord.”
“Her Grace tells me that a respectable Battersea architect has discovered a dead man in his bath.”
“Indeed, my lord? That's very gratifying.”
“Very, Bunter. Your choice of words is unerring. I wish Eton and Balliol had done as much for me...”
“You needn't try to bully me, young man," said that octogenarian with spirit, "settin' there spoilin' your stomach with them nasty jujubes.”
“Lord Peter was hampered in his career as a private detective by a public school education. Despite Parker's admonitions, he was not always able to discount it. His mind had been warped in its young growth by "Raffles" and "Sherlock Holmes," or the sentiments for which they stand. He belonged to a family which had never shot a fox.
'I am an amateur,' said Lord Peter”
“I always think that the franker you are with people, the more you’re likely to deceive ’em; so unused is the modern world to the open hand and the guileless heart,”
“There's nothing you can't prove if your outlook is only sufficiently limited.”
“... can I have the heart to fluster the flustered Thipps further—that's very difficult to say quickly—by appearing in a top-hat and frock-coat? I think not. Ten to one he will overlook my trousers and mistake me for the undertaker. A grey suit, I fancy, neat but not gaudy, with a hat to tone, suits my other self better. Exit the amateur of first editions; new motive introduced by solo bassoon; enter Sherlock Holmes, disguised as a walking gentleman.”
“Something was jigging and worrying in his brain; it felt like a hive of bees, stirred up by a stick.”
“there's nothin' like Christian feelin's for upsettin' a man's domestic comfort.”
“if ever you want to commit a murder, the thing you’ve got to do is to prevent people from associatin’ their ideas. Most people don’t associate anythin’—their ideas just roll about like so many dry peas on a tray, makin’ a lot of noise and goin’ nowhere, but once you begin lettin’ ’em string their peas into a necklace, it’s goin’ to be strong enough to hang you, what?”
“But if you were investigating a crime,” said Lady Swaffham, “you’d have to begin by the usual things, I suppose — finding out what the person had been doing, and who’d been to call, and looking for a motive, wouldn’t you?”
“Oh, yes,” said Lord Peter, “but most of us have such dozens of motives for murderin’ all sorts of inoffensive people. There’s lots of people I’d like to murder, wouldn’t you?”
“Heaps,” said Lady Swaffham.”
“Very well. Now, if you stimulate those damaged places in your brain again, you run the risk of opening up the old wounds. I mean, that if you get nerve-sensations of any kind producing the reactions which we call horror, fear, and sense of responsibility, they may go on to make disturbance right along the old channel, and produce in their turn physical changes which you will call by the names you were accustomed to associate with them—dread of German mines, responsibility for the lives of your men, strained attention and the inability to distinguish small sounds through the overpowering noise of guns.” “I”
“This effect would be increased by extraneous circumstances producing other familiar physical sensations—night, cold or the rattling of heavy traffic, for instance.” “Yes.” “Yes. The old wounds are nearly healed, but not quite. The ordinary exercise of your mental faculties has no bad effect. It is only when you excite the injured part of your brain.” “Yes, I see.” “Yes. You must avoid these occasions. You must learn to be irresponsible, Lord Peter.” “My friends say I’m only too irresponsible already.” “Very likely. A sensitive nervous temperament often appears so, owing to its mental nimbleness.” “Oh!”
“I beg your pardon," said Lord Peter, "I was quoting poetry. Very silly of me. I got the habit at my mother's knee and I can't break myself of it.”
“One demands a little originality in these days, even from murderers,” said Lady Swaffham. “Like dramatists, you know—so much easier in Shakespeare’s time, wasn’t it? Always the same girl dressed up as a man, and even that borrowed from Boccaccio or Dante or somebody. I’m sure if I’d been a Shakespeare hero, the very minute I saw a slim-legged young page-boy I’d have said: ‘Ods-bodikins! There’s that girl again!”
“Most people don't associate anythin'--their ideas just roll about like so many dry peas on a tray, makin' a lot of noise and goin' nowhere, but once you begin lettin' 'em string their peas into a necklace, it's goin' to be strong enough to hang you, what?”
“After all, he thinks conscience is a sort of vermiform appendix. Chop it out and you’ll feel all the better.”
“though I always think that the franker you are with people, the more you’re likely to deceive ’em; so unused is the modern world to the open hand and the guileless heart, what?”
“There’s nothing you can’t prove if your outlook is only sufficiently limited.”
“His long, amiable face looked as if it had generated spontaneously from his top hat, as white maggots breed from Gorgonzola.”
“and he would have passed a pleasant life of it, in despite of the Devil and all his works, if his path had not been crossed by a being that causes more perplexity to mortal man than ghosts, goblins, and the whole race of witches put together, and that was—a woman.”
“But my agent has a theory. She says every marriage is jerry-rigged. Even the ones that look reasonable from the outside are held together inside with chewing gum and wire and string.”
“You know, how there are some people who have no time for small things? Pettiness, I mean. In the way they let things go - because whatever huge, life-changing thing happened to them gave them a perspective most of us can't ever have.”
“Yeah, oh. Trust me, if I wanted to go there, we would have already been there.” I’ve never rolled my eyes so fast in my life. “Please, you are not my type.” He moves closer. “But don’t you remember? I’m the man of your”
“The takeaway message here, as Jablonski points out, is that there is no such thing as different races of humans. Any differences we traditionally associate with race are a product of our need for vitamin D and our relationship to the Sun. Just a few clusters of genes control skin color; the changes in skin color are recent; they’ve gone back and forth with migrations; they are not the same even among two groups with similarly dark skin; and they are tiny compared to the total human genome. So skin color and “race” are neither significant nor consistent defining traits. We all descended from the same African ancestors, with little genetic separation from each other. The different colors or tones of skin are the result of an evolutionary response to ultraviolet light in local environments. Everybody has brown skin tinted by the pigment melanin. Some people have light brown skin. Some people have dark brown skin. But we all are brown, brown, brown.”
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