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Richard Shattuck

  • ... a girl can have two beaus to her string, can't she?

  • That what he had just done involved him in any sort of danger never occurred to him. Not that he would have acted differently, but at least he would have been on guard, would not so soon have nearly fluttered into the presence of his Maker with his sins still on him, like feathers.

  • Her voice had a sort of muffled violence like a buzzsaw eating its way through a bale of cotton.

  • ... anyone extra good — we don't much like them and we don't trust them ... when we see someone who sets himself up as a model we know he must be hiding the bad part of his nature, suppressing it, and it's building up pressure. Most of us get rid of our bad impulses as we go along, but the model character can't, he just has to stand there on his pedestal until he blows up from internal combustion.

  • ... her voice was as huskily sweet as a cello played with a peppermint candy-stick bow.

  • ... they didn't believe their father had ever been young; surely even in the cradle he had been a very, very small man in a gray suit, with a little dark mustache and flat, incurious eyes.

  • It's hard to fool rich people, Fred, because they're behind the scenes and they can hire brains to think for them if they haven't got any, and it's hard to fool poor people because they know what the world's like from being exposed naked to it, but that class that reads newspapers, Fred, you can fool them ...

  • He told them the truth in a loud voice, and they thought he was a humorist.

  • I've always wondered why if people want to be happy they're escapists, but if they go around looking for trouble they're realists.

  • ... imagination is memory's chief instrument — the person who remembers only what has actually happened has little joy in reminiscence.

  • ... once you start you can't stop; you've got to go on doing things to keep famous because an ex-famous person is better off dead. ... My Dad told me that. He was a hurdler in his youth, and then someone jumped higher than he did and people acted funny toward him all his life. They couldn't forget and he couldn't jump any higher.

  • Drink seemed to intensify the expressions people wore: the sly face became crafty; the kindly, benign; the affectionate, amorous.

  • 'A man is as old as he feels, a woman is as old as she looks.' ... Mrs. McKay tossed her head. 'Some man made that one up, I'll bet. They're always dealing to themselves from the bottom of the deck.'

  • ... the quoted words of a husband were as sacred, as final and uncontradictable as a proverb or cliché. However she might regard him in private, in public each woman's husband became an absolute authority on everything.

  • It's sensible people who do the most foolish things.

  • Mrs. Carey looked as if she were mentally holding on to hanging straps that weren't there.

  • Time and disease and nature and God are against us, why do we have to hurt each other, too?

Richard Shattuck, U.S. writer

Real name: Dora Richards Shattuck.