Quotations:Some Buried Caesar

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by Rex Stout (1939)
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  1. Page references follow the 1994 Bantam Books Crime Line edition (The Rex Stout Library); the novel is 274 pages long in that edition.
  2. The scene with the bull, the pasture and Nero Wolfe standing motionlessly in the middle of the pasture is one of the funniest and most memorable in the entire Nero Wolfe Corpus. [Faterson]
  3. potato = Archie Goodwin (see foregoing quotation)

chapter 1, page 8f [1]

The bull was slowly walking along, a hundred feet off, wiggling his head. In the middle of the pasture was an ornamental statue. It was Nero Wolfe, with his arms folded, his stick hanging from a wrist, standing motionless on the rounded peak of the boulder. It was the first time I had ever seen him in any such position as that, and I stood and stared because because I had never fully realized what a remarkable looking object he really was. He didn't actually look undignified, but there was something pathetic about it, he stood so still, not moving at all.

I called to him, "Okay, boss?"

He called back, "Tell that man with the gun I want to speak to him when I get out of here! Tell him to get someone to pen that bull!"    [2]


Archie Goodwin in chapter 3, page 47

"[...] No man was ever taken to hell by a woman unless he already had a ticket in his pocket, or at least had been fooling around with timetables. [...]"  


Lily Rowan & Archie Goodwin in chapter 4, page 55f

"[...] Are you going to have lunch with me tomorrow?"


"You are?" She sounded surprised.

"Sure. That is, you can have lunch with me. Why not? I think you're amusing. You'll do fine to pass away some time, just a pretty toy to be enjoyed for an idle moment and then tossed away. That's all any woman can ever mean to me, because all the serious side of me is concentrated on my career. I want to be a policeman."

"Goodness. I suppose we ought te be grateful that you're willing to bother with us at all. [...]"  


Archie Goodwin ib., page 64

  "Much obliged for nothing. Phooey. You’re accustomed to feeling pleased because you’re Nero Wolfe, aren’t you? All right, on my modest scale I permit myself a similar feeling about Archie Goodwin. When did you ever give me an errand that you seriously expected me to perform and I didn’t perform it? I’ve got a right to expect that when Archie Goodwin is told to watch a pasture and see that nothing happens to a bull, nothing will happen. And you tell me that nothing happened to the bull, the bull’s all right, he just killed a man... what do you call that kind of suds?"  

Lily Rowan & Archie Goodwin in chapter 6, page 79

"[...] you begin by telling me I have legs like an antelope."

I shrugged. "Go ahead and nag. [...]"  


ib., page 81 (Lily Rowan "peels" Archie Goodwin in a Methodist tent)

"He has no right to be talking about me. Anyway, not to you." Her eyes moved up me and over me, up from my chest over my face to the top of my head, and then slowly travelled down again. "Not to you, Escamillo," she said. I wanted to slap her, because her tone, and the look in her eyes going over me, made me feel like a potato she was peeling.

ib., page 83

  "Did you and Clyde get engaged?"

"No." She [Lily Rowan] looked at me, and the corner of her mouth turned up, and I saw her breasts gently putting the weave of the jersey to more strain as she breathed a deep one. "No, Escamillo." She peeled her potato[3] again. "I don't suppose I'll marry. Because marriage is really nothing but an economic arrangement, and I'm lucky because I don't have to let the economic part enter into it. The man would be lucky too – I mean if a man attracted me and I attracted him."

"He sure would." I was wondering which would be more satisfactory, to slap her and then kiss her, or to kiss her and then slap her.


ib., page 85

  Lily said in a tone of real disappointment without any petulance that I could detect, "I had supposed we would spend the afternoon together, watching the races and riding on the merry-go-round and throwing balls at things..."

"Not ever," I said firmly. "Not the afternoon. Whatever the future may have in store for us, whatever may betide, I work afternoons. Understand once and for all that I am a workingman and I only play with toys at odd moments. I am working when you would least expect it. Throughout this delightful lunch with you, I have been working and earning money."  


chapter 8, page 105

  "That's your guess."

[Nero Wolfe:] "It's my opinion. I am careful with my opinions, sir; they are my bread and butter and the main source of my self-esteem."  


chapter 10, page 127 (a lesson in lying from Archie Goodwin)

Wolfe has taught me that one of the most important requirements for successful lying is relaxed vocal cords and throat muscles; otherwise you are forced to put on extra pressure to push the lie through, and the result is that you talk faster and raise the pitch and the blood shows in your face.

chapter 11, page 149f

  "Go climb a tree," she [Lily Rowan] said, and got her arm through mine, and we went to the house that way, though it is a form of intimacy I don't care for, since I have a tendency to fight shy of bonds. Nor did I respond to the melting quality that seemed to be creeping into her tone, but kept strictly to persiflage.  


Nero Wolfe in chapter 12, page 158

"It's my one form of prowess. I do talk. [...]"  


Nero Wolfe in chapter 14, page 180

  "I rarely dislike women, and never like them, Miss Rowan. [...]"  


chapter 15, page 191

  "Preposterous." Wolfe shook his head at him. "In the midst of the most difficult and chaotic problems, I never missed a meal. A stomach too long empty thins the blood and disconcerts the brain. – Archie, order a portion of the fricassee. – For God's sake, sir, sit down."  


Nero Wolfe ib.

"[...] My only serious fault is lethargy, and I tolerate Mr. Goodwin, and even pay him, to help me circumvent it. [...]"  


Archie Goodwin in chapter 16, page 213

"Now you have got me where it hurts, because the only explanation I can offer, which is the true one, is loony. There are times when I feel kittenish, and that was one. [...]"


chapter 18, page 241

  "Will you give me your word of honor that you'll do just what you've agreed to do, with no reservations and no quibbling?"

[Nero Wolfe:] "Not a word of honor. I don't like the phrase. The word 'honor' has been employed too much by objectionable people and has been badly soiled. I give you my word. [...]"  


chapter 19, page 246

  Wolfe leaned back and surveyed him. "One test of intelligence," he said patiently, "is the ability to welcome a singularity when the need arises, without excessive strain. Strict rules are universal. We all have a rule not to go on the street before clothing ourselves, but if the house is on fire we violate it. [...]"  


Archie Goodwin talking to Lily Rowan on the phone in chapter 21, page 273

  "Stop! Stop and take a breath. Weddings are out. They're barbaric vestiges of... of barbarism. I doubt if I'd go to my own."  


I'll have to look it up: i copied this from my eBook

When Archie and Wolfe are walking across the pasture after leaving the disabled car and Dave is shouting in the distance and waving a shotgun: I said, "Hold on a minute. If that's a bughouse and that's one of the inmates, he may take us for woodchucks or wild turkeys - "

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