Quotations:Champagne for One

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by Rex Stout (1958)
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Chapter 1, page 3 (Bantam: 1996)

If I hadn’t had my full share of ego I might also have been curious as to why he had picked on me, since we were not chums, but of course that was no problem. If your ego is in good shape you will pretend you’re surprised if a National Chairman calls to tell you his party wants to nominate you for President of the United States, but you’re not really surprised.

Chapter 1, page 9

He [Fritz] aimed a knife at me. “I know you so well, Archie. As well as you know me, maybe. This is just talk and I enjoy it. You need no suggestions. Programme?” He slashed at it with the knife. “Ha! You will go there and look at them and see, and act as you feel. You always do. If it is too painful you will leave. If one of the girls is enchanting and the men surround her, you will get her aside and tomorrow you will take her to lunch. If you are bored you will eat too much, no matter what the food is like. If you are offended – There’s the elevator!” He looked at the clock. “My God, it’s eleven!”

Wolfe thinks the worst, chapter 1, page 11

“I didn’t know she was cultivating you, or you her.”

Wolfe warns Archie, chapter 1, page 11

“Do I ever intrude in your personal affairs?”

“Yes, sir. Frequently. But you think you don’t, so go right ahead.”

“I am not intruding. If it is your whim to lend yourself to that outlandish performance, very well. I merely suggest that you demean yourself. Those creatures are summoned there for an obvious purpose. It is hoped that they, or at least one of them, will meet a man who will be moved to pursue the acquaintance and who will end by legitimating, if not the infant already in being, the future produce of the womb. Therefore your attendance there will be an imposture, and you know it. I begin to doubt if you will ever let a woman plant her foot on your neck, but if you do she will have qualities that would make it impossible for her to share the fate of those forlorn creatures. You will be perpetrating a fraud.”

The prodigal son, chapter 4, page 39

When I mounted the seven steps of the stoop of the old brownstone at twelve minutes after seven Wednesday morning and let myself in, I was so pooped that I was going to drop my topcoat and hat on the hall bench, but breeding told, and I put the coat on a hanger and the hat on a shelf and went to the kitchen.

Fritz, at the refrigerator, turned and actually left the refrigerator door open to stare at me.

“Behold!” he said. He had told me once that he had got that out of his French-English dictionary, many years ago, as a translation of voilà.

“I want,” I said, “a quart of orange juice, a pound of sausage, six eggs, twenty griddle cakes, and a gallon of coffee.”

“No donuts with honey?”

“Yes. I forgot to mention them.”

Archie meets his match, chapter 7, page 93

I was at a disadvantage. With her smooth hair, partly grey, her compact little figure, and her quick brown eyes wide apart, she reminded me of Miss Clark, my high-school geometry teacher out in Ohio, and Miss Clark had always had my number.

Running commentary, chapter 10, page 140

“I guess,” I told Cramer sympathetically, “your best bet would be to get a search warrant and send a gang to look for evidence, like cigarette ashes from the kind he smokes. I know where it hurts. You’ve never forgotten the day you did come with a warrant and a crew to look for a woman named Clara Fox and searched the whole house, including here, and didn’t find her, and later you learned she had been in this room in a packing case, covered with osmundine that Wolfe was spraying water on. So you thought if you rushed up before I gave the alarm you’d find Laidlaw here, and now that he isn’t you’re stuck. You can’t very well demand to know why Laidlaw rushed here to discuss something with Wolfe that he wouldn’t discuss downtown. You ought to take your coat off when you’re in the house or you’ll catch cold when you leave. I’m just talking to be sociable while you collect yourself. Of course Laidlaw was here this morning with the others, but apparently you know that. Whoever told you should –”

He turned and was going. I followed.

Archie and Wolfe, chapter 11, page 143

“Yes, sir. I didn’t say anything.”

“You looked something.”

Chapter 12, page 151

If, to pass the time, you tried to decide what was the most conceited statement you ever heard anybody make, or read or heard of anybody making, what would you pick? The other evening a friend of mine brought it up, and she settled for Louis XIV saying L’état, c’est moi'. I didn’t have to go so far back. Mine, I told her, was ‘They know me’.

Wolfe smoothes ruffled feathers, chapter 12, page 153

“This is natural. That is, it is in us, and we are alive, and whatever is in life is natural. You are headstrong and I am magisterial. Our tolerance of each other is a constantly recurring miracle.”

Chapter 12, page 157

A question had arisen on various occasions, which of us had better eyesight, was settled when we spoke simultaneously. He said, “Archie” and I said “Saul”.


He came, and said, “They’re together in a booth in a rear corner. No one is with them. He’s eating oysters.”

“He’ll soon be eating crow. What do you want for Christmas?”

“I have always wanted your autograph.”

“You’ll get it. I’ll tattoo it on you.”

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