Saturday, December 09, 2006

Excerpts from A Right to Die

Rex Stout, A Right to Die: A Nero Wolfe Novel, New York, The Viking Press, 1964:

“My dear sir. Instead of another speech I could quote for an hour. Benjamin Franklin: ‘A man in a passion rides a wild horse.’ Or, by courtesy, a woman. An ancient Latin proverb: ‘Ex visu amor.’ Loving comes by looking. Pfui. Nothing in nature is absurd, though much is deplorable.” (p. 5)

. . .

Wolfe regarded him. “The comment is about marriage. It’s possible that Miss Brooke is more realistic than you are. She may be intelligent enough to know that no matter whom she marries there will be the devil to pay. The difficulties, snags, embarrassments, and complications — I use your words, though I would prefer sharper ones — are in any case inevitable. If she marries a man of her own color and class, the grounds for them will be paltry, ignoble, degrading, and tiresome. If she marries a Negro the grounds will be weighty, worthy, consequential, and diverting. I have never met a women with so much sense, but there may be one. What if it is Miss Brooke?” (pp. 6–7)

. . .

“The mind or soul or psyche —take what term you prefer — of any man below the level of consciousness is a preposterous mishmash of cesspool and garden. Heaven knows what I have in mine as synonyms for ‘woman’; I’m glad I don’t know.” (p. 40)

. . .

I went to the office and told Wolfe, “Okay, Dolly Brooke killed her because she was going to marry a quote nigger unquote, and how do we prove it?”

He frowned. “I have told you not to use that word in my hearing.”

“I was merely quoting. It isn’t —”

“Shut up. I mean the word ‘unquote’ and you know it.”

(p. 70)

. . .

“No. If I had . . .” Wolfe let it go. No use trying to explain when she wanted only to talk, not listen. (p. 177)

. . .

“She called me Maud, you know, and I called her Susan. Of course my Richard had called her Susan, he told me all about her, but I had never met her. I have two pictures of her that he had, one with him. I’m not sure you understand how I felt about her. I’m not saying I loved her because my Richard had, that wasn’t it exactly, but I wanted to be close to her, I wanted to see her every day. Do you understand that?”

“I think I do. It’s sometwhat involved.” Wolfe’s eyes moved. “The kitchen extension, Archie.”

(p. 179)

See also Nero Wolfe.


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