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Anthony Gilbert

  • Rolfe was one of those men who were, to all intents and purposes, slain in the war; but most unhappily the flesh had survived.

  • It's never been my experience that men part with life any more readily at eighty than they do at eighteen.

  • ... ignorance, if not bliss, often saves a good deal of time ...

  • Life was no more than a boarding-house where one stayed too short a time to bother much if the hot water system didn't work very well or the beds were lumpy.

  • ... second-hand impressions are no more to be trusted than second-hand clothes.

  • Caution and Conscience were the great twin brethren in his book of life, and the two warred perpetually the one against the other, so that there were premature lines round his eyes, and his mouth never dared smile for fear it gave birth to hopes that would not later be realized.

    • Anthony Gilbert,
    • A Spy for Mister Crook
    • ()
  • It wasn't so much that he'd smothered his conscience as that he couldn't spell the word.

    • Anthony Gilbert,
    • A Spy for Mister Crook
    • ()
  • People said they wanted the truth, but what they really wanted was the segment of truth that would frank them. The whole truth was too terrible for most people to contemplate.

    • Anthony Gilbert,
    • A Spy for Mister Crook
    • ()
  • Silence can be so much more eloquent than speech.

  • ... truth, in case you haven't recognized the fact, is what you can persuade the other chap to believe.

  • Too many facts are sometimes as dangerous as too few.

  • ... he didn't make light of superstition. He knew it's the first and most natural of religions.

  • No one's interested in virtue till it's been lost.

  • All the years have their harvest.

  • The man who never makes a mistake never makes anything.

  • ... there are three sorts of liars — liars, damned liars and house agents ...

  • Marriage is the most delightful of the impermanencies of life.

  • People ... believe what they wish to believe, and see what they are expecting to see.

  • There's some to whom you can and should turn your soul inside out. It ain't what you say that matters but who you tells it to.

  • ... children are unreliable, foreigners to discretion.

  • ... in came a large, handsome old woman with an eye about as friendly as a bull in a field ...

  • I like to be able to swim a hen in my cup.

  • The bridegroom ... was of less importance, in the public eye, than the bridal bouquet ...

  • ... that's the worst of the law. They never do the sensible, straightforward thing. They have to go around corners, like a cat that always takes the longest way home ...

  • Men. Always trying to think for somebody else, and generally doing it wrong.

  • ... I wonder if we shall ever make a lawyer of you. Don't you know that our first duty is to make things easy for our clients, who are always right, except when they come in conflict with ourselves?

  • I know coincidence has a long arm, but it's not an octopus.

  • Leisure's like a mirage. Lovely when it ain't there. When you are, it's a desert. Right?

    • Anthony Gilbert,
    • A Case for Mr. Crook
    • ()
  • When people tell you a coat or dress is cut on classic lines it means it's something that isn't smart now and won't be smart ten years hence.

    • Anthony Gilbert,
    • A Case for Mr. Crook
    • ()
  • And after all, they're God's creatures as much as we, and who's to say He doesn't like them a lot better?

  • Most of the trouble of the world comes from putting things into writing.

  • If you can't have what you like, you must like what you have.

  • Nobody's ever too old for anything, until they think they are.

  • Nobody ever notices the host at a party, until the drink runs out.

  • ... there are two things everybody thinks they can do—write a book and run a shop.

  • Miss Chisholm never went so far as the mailbox except in the car. She thought that if you were meant to walk you'd be given four feet.

  • Getting a hat is like getting a husband. It doesn't matter how decorative or smart they are if they don't suit you.

  • Husbands are like caterpillars, they improve with keeping.

  • ... it's the young who take chances, for whom Hope is a flag that never flies at half-mast.

  • Parents have a habit of underestimating their children.

  • You cannot keep a squirrel on the ground ...

  • 'When you try bein' cynical, Bill, it's like an elephant trying to do embroidery,' Crook informed him.

  • ... he'd got a thirst on him all wool and a yard wide.

  • ... hell is the place where nothing ever stops and nothing ever changes, a far more alarming conception than the old-fashioned fire and brimstone.

  • I can't think why women want to marry men at all, they're such fools. I suppose it's because there's nothing else for them to marry.

  • ... luck's like the weather, it can change any minute.

  • I feel about nature like people who don't like dogs feel about dogs—very nice for other people if they're kept in the right place.

  • 'You can't be expected to think of everything,' said George in soothing tones. That's the sort of remark that breaks up marriages.

  • It seems to me you need training for being idle just as much as for a profession. And being alive means more than just not being dead.

  • ... at our age there's nothing better than conversation with someone who remembers the world you knew when you were a child—and the people in it. It's as good as taking your hair down.

  • Gin is cheering and wine maketh glad the heart of man, but when you're in a real turmoil there's nothing like a good strong cup of tea.

  • It's odd, really, more women aren't used for private investigation work. They could go anywhere and no one would notice them.

  • '... you've got two alternatives — ride out the storm or go for a little holiday.' 'And have everyone say I couldn't face the music?' 'Why should you, if you ain't musically inclined?'

  • It's what I've always said, if we were meant to fly we'd be given wings, just like if we were meant to walk we'd have four legs.

Anthony Gilbert, English writer

(1899 - 1973)

Lucy Malleson was essentially known for writing under the name of Anthony Gilbert.  She also used as pseudonyms J. Kilmeny Keith and Anne Meredith.