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Ngaio Marsh

  • ... Maurice ... seemed to have set himself some impossible standard of discourtesy.

  • Custom makes monsters of us all.

  • As usual she had a deceptive air of perspicacity.

  • ... if you go through life looking for insults, you may be comfortably assured of finding them.

  • ... she was ... never known to finish a sentence. She always got lost in the thickets of secondary thoughts that sprang up round her simple remarks ...

  • How deep are our layers of thought, Troy. So deep that the thought of thought is terrifying to most of us.

  • No art should be fashionable ...

  • If she doesn't love him, she'll let him down, and if she does love him she'll suck away his character like a leech. He'll develop anaemia of the personality.

  • Ricky had the newly made look peculiar to little boys in bed. His dark hair hung sweetly over his forehead, his eyes shone and his cheeks and lips were brilliant. One would have said he was so new that his colours had not yet dried.

  • He turned over in his mind all he had read of that curious expression of human credulity called magic.

  • One should have the courage of one's loneliness.

  • Expectation is the springboard of achievement.

  • ... the girl makes me feel young. ... But so, after all, does my wife. And that's what I call being happily married.

  • Miss Rickerby-Carrick flapped into the conversation like a wet sheet.

  • ... she was often overcome, in other people's houses, by an overpowering desire to escape, a tyrannical restlessness as inexplicable as it was embarrassing. Every nerve in her body would suddenly telegraph 'I must get out of this.'

  • 'Jolly good! Super!' He occasionally adopted the mannerisms of an effusive scout-master.

  • No coffee is ever quite as good as it smells ...

  • There are people to whom one need not show off. It’s a great comfort sometimes.

  • I believe no woman ever falls passionately in love with a man unless he has just the least touch of the bounder somewhere in his composition.

  • ... I'm afraid people only begin to compliment one on one's youth when it is gone.

  • Above all things — read. Read the great stylists who cannot be copied rather than the successful writers who must not be copied.

Ngaio Marsh, New Zealand writer

(1895 - 1982)

Full name: Dame Edith Ngaio Marsh, DBE.