Quotations:Too Many Women

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by Rex Stout (1947)
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Chapter 1, page 1 (Bantam: 1967)

It was the same old rigmarole. Sometimes I found it amusing; sometimes it only bored me; sometimes it gave me a pronounced pain, especially when I had had more of Wolfe than was good for either of us.


I told him I was Archie Goodwin, the heart, liver, lungs and gizzard of the private detective business of Nero Wolfe, Wolfe being merely the brains.

Chapter 3, page 5

“Nothing. Excuse me.” I stood up. The notion of Wolfe fighting his way down to William Street every morning or even with me driving him, and punching a time clock, and working all day in the stock department, had been too much for my facial control.

Chapter 4, page 5

A coolness had sprung up between Wolfe and me. These coolnesses averaged about four a week, say, a couple of hundred a year. This particular one had two separate aspects: first, my natural desire for him to buy a new car opposed to his pigheaded determination to wait another year; and second, his notion of buying a noiseless typewriter opposed to my liking for the one we had.

Wolfe's alias, chapter 5, page 8

"His suggestion that you get a job in the stock department under another name shows that he has given the problem a great deal of thought. You could call yourself Clarence Camembert, for instance, or Percy Pickerel. If they gave you too much to do, you could bring things home and I’d be glad to help. They could pay you by weight – say, a dollar a pound a week. As you stand now, or at least sit, close to three hundred and forty pounds, it would come to an annual salary –"

"Archie. Your notebook."

Chapter 5, page 9

"Archie," he murmured. His murmur is Wolfe at his worst. "I agree with someone, I forget who, that no man is indispensable."

Chapter 8, page 20

Where it branches out from, I thought, is the restroom. If I could borrow a skirt and blouse and spend thirty minutes in the restroom I would have all I needed for a final report.

Lon Cohen considers Archie as a pet, chapter 9, page 25

"Okay. The subject of your inquiry is a befriender of young men. Not promiscuous. Discriminating, but chronic. She has plenty of dough, is well preserved, and presumably not a fool or she would have lost her balance long ago. I would advise you to try for it – how old are you, thirty? Just about right for her! You have the looks, and you could brush up on manners –"

"Yeah. You’ll get ten percent."

Archie womanhandled, chapter 11, page 36

I stopped and looked down at her [Rosa Bendini]. She was at least nine inches below me. She kept the arm.

"You brute," I said. "You’re hurting me."

She looked good enough to eat.

Archie in action, chapter 12, page 45

Then I realised at the edge of my mind that it wasn’t him. The taxi drivers were leaning against the fender of the cab I had paid for, enjoying free show. I resented that, and, knowing I was in no position to resent anything, shoved it out of the way. The husband apparently had oversized lungs. With no gong to announce intermissions I was beginning to wish I had learned to breathe through my ears, but he didn’t even have his mouth open. He just kept coming.

Chapter 13, page 50

And three hours later, at half-past one in the morning, we were still there and I was still reporting. I have never known him to be more thorough, wanting every detail and every little word. My face felt stiff as a board, and I hurt further down, especially my left side, but I wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction and pleasure of hearing me groan again, and I didn’t. After I had given him everything he kept coming back for more, and when it was no longer possible to continue that without making it perfectly plain that he was merely trying to see how long it would take me to collapse on the floor there in front of him, he asked:

"What do you think?"

Chapter 16, page 68

Wolfe was reading three books at once. He had been doing that, off and on, all the years I had been with him, and it always annoyed me because it seemed ostentatious.

Chapter 19, page 80

"Archie. If I need to tell you, I do, that I have unqualified confidence in you and am completely satisfied with your performance in this case, as I have been in all past cases and expect to be in all future ones. Of course you tell lies and so do I, even to clients when it seems advisable, but you would never lie to me nor I to you in a matter where mutual trust and respect are involved. Your lack of brilliance may be regrettable but is really a triviality, and in any event two brilliant men under one roof would be intolerable. Your senseless peccadilloes, such as your refusal to use a noiseless typewriter, are a confounded nuisance, but this idiotic accusation that you lied in that report to Mr Pine has put me in a different frame of mind about it. Keep your typewriter, but for heaven’s sake oil it."

"Good God," I protested, "I oil it every –"

Cramer exploded with a word which the printer would not approve of. "Your goddam household squabbles will keep," he said rudely.

Chapter 22, page 94

"I admit I lied to him. I told him that you’re just a front here and the real brains of this business is a skinny old woman with asthma that we keep locked in the basement."

Chapter 23, pages 99-100

It is a simple thing to make a swivel-chair swivel a half-turn and to pick up a phone, but sometimes the simple things are the hardest. I did not perform that manoeuvre. Instead, I wet my upper lip with my tongue, then my lower lip, and then got the tip of the tongue between my teeth and experimented to see how hard I had to bite to produce pain. [...]

"Archie." Wolfe was glaring. "Has that girl enravished you? Has she cajoled you into frenzy?"

"Yes, sir."

That took the edge off him instantly. He leaned back, nodded to himself, made a circle with his lips, and exhaled with a sort of hiss that was the closest he ever got to a whistle.

Chapter 26, page 121

I didn’t resent it because I knew he wasn’t being critical. He regards going from one place to another place in New York City as being one of the most hazardous feats a man can undertake, and he was worried about me.

Archie's background, chapter 27, page 133

"You certainly don’t understand me!" she [Cecily Pine] declared, and laughed some more. "Your father’s name is James Arner Goodwin, and you were born in Canton, Ohio, in nineteen-fourteen. Your mother’s maiden name was Leslie. You have two brothers and two sisters. No, no gypsy. I’m a very cautious woman, Archie, cautious and dependable." She stood up, abruptly, and I must admit not clumsily.

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