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Page 71

An alleged scientific discovery has no merit unless it can be explained to a barmaid. Sir Ernest Rutherford, Nuclear Physicist

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  Some men write their lives to save themselves from ennui , careless of the amount they inflict on others. Others write their personal history, lest some kind friend should survive them, and, in showing off his own talent, unwittingly show them up. Others, again, write their own life from a different motive - from fear that the vampires of literature might make it their prey. Charles Babbage, Passages From The Life Of A Philosopher, 1864

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'Must have facts,' said Lord Peter, 'facts. When I was a small boy I always hated facts. Thought of 'em as nasty, hard things, all knobs. Uncompromisin'.' 'Yes, my lord. My old mother---' 'Your mother, Bunter? I didn't know you had one. I always imagined you were turned out ready-made so to speak. 'Scuse me. Infernally rude of me. Beg your pardon, I'm sure.' 'Not at all, my lord. My mother lives in Kent, my lord, near Maidstone. Seventy-five, my lord, and an extremely active woman for her years, if you'll excuse my mentioning it. I was one of seven.' 'That is an invention, Bunter. I know better. You are unique. But I interrupted you. You were goin' to tell me about your mother.' 'She always says, my lord, that facts are like cows. If you look them in the face hard enough they generally run away. She is a very courageous woman, my lord.' Dorothy L Sayers, Clouds of Witness , 1926

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A patriot is necessarily and invariably a lover of the people. But even this mark may sometimes deceive us. The people is a very heterogeneous and confused mass of the wealthy and the poor, the wise and the foolish, the good and the bad. Before we confer on a man, who caresses the people, the title of patriot, we must examine to what part of the people he directs his notice. It is proverbially said, that he who dissembles his own character, may be known by that of his companions. If the candidate of patriotism endeavours to infuse right opinions into the higher ranks, and, by their influence, to regulate the lower; if he consorts chiefly with the wise, the temperate, the regular, and the virtuous, his love of the people may be rational and honest. But if his first or principal application be to the indigent, who are always inflammable; to the weak, who are naturally suspicious; to the ignorant, who are easily misled; and to the profligate, who have no hope but from mischief and confusi

Page 67

I have heard that jugglers visit you - beware what happens. A man turning to jugglers will soon have a wife whose name is poverty. When the jugglers speak to you, pretend not to hear and think of other things. St. Bernard of Clairvaux, C12th founder of the Cistercian Order

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Oh! the mocking diablery in strings, wisps of untidy hair, queer trimmings, and limp hats. Alas! that they should have such impish power to detract from the dignity of woman and render man absurd. Dorothy Quigley, What Dress Makes Of Us,   1897

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In Books lies the soul of the whole of Past Time; the articulate audible voice of the Past, when the body and material substance of it has altogether vanished like a dream. Thomas Carlyle, On Heroes, Hero-Worship and the Heroic in History , 1841 

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If a man is a good man, and an honest man, it is no matter where he was born, and if those who have lately made so much noise about country and party, had been scholars to Gaffer Gingerbread, he would have knocked their heads together for being such Boobies. The Renowned History of Giles Gingerbread , 1768 

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Angus thought for a moment. I need a guru, he said to himself. Would Antonia be his guru? He blushed at the unspoken thought. It would be wonderful to have a guru; it would be like having a social worker or a personal trainer, not that people who had either of these necessarily appreciated the advice they received.      Alexander McCall Smith, Love Over Scotland, 2006

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  INGREDIENTS LISTS: "D" Decorators' Paste Rye Meal                           4 parts Fine Whiting                     2 Casein                               1 Powdered Alum             0.5 Deodorant Pencil Zinc Phenolsulfonate       10 parts Zinc Oleate                      10 Aluminium Palmitate      7.5  Absorption Base              30 Ceresin                             30 Titanium Dioxide             15 Developer for Radiographic Film Metol                                    1.0 gm Sodium Sulfite                    71.7 Potassium Metabisulfite       4.0 Hydrochinon                         7.6 Sodium Carbonate              36.0 Potassium Bromide               4.0 Water to                          1,000.0 cc. Disinfectant for Telephones Oil of Wintergreen                 0.5 gm Oil of Eucalyptus                   0.25 gm Denatured Alcohol                 15 gm Formaldehyde                        25 cc. Water                                    225 cc. Dry Cleaning Fluid

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People actually desire whatever can facilitate communicating with each other; and this seems to be goodness, honour, and serenity, or something else quite similar. For this reason one must never say or do anything that gives the impression that one has little affection or appreciation of others. This is exhibited by the very impolite tendency of many people to fall asleep in the middle of a pleasant group sitting together in conversation. Giovanni Della Casa, Galateo, or, The Rules of Polite Behaviour , 1558

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The discretion and high sense of professional honour which have always distinguished my friend are still at work in the choice of these memoirs, and no confidence will be abused. I deprecate, however, in the strongest way the attempts which have been made lately to get and to destroy these papers. The source of these outrages is known, and if they are repeated I have Mr Holmes's authority for saying that the whole story concerning the politician, the lighthouse and the trained cormorant will be given to the public. There is at least one reader who will understand.  Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, 'The Adventure of the Veiled Lodger', The Case-Book of Sherlock Holmes , 1927

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'Ah! there lies our problem. There is one rather obvious line of investigation.' He took down the great book in which, day by day, he filed the agony columns of the various London journals. 'Dear me!' he said, turning over the pages, 'what a rag-bag of singular happenings! But surely the most valuable hunting-ground that ever was given to a student of the unusual! ... Here are the Daily Gazette extracts of the last fortnight. "Lady with a black boa at Prince's Skating Club" - that we may pass. "Surely Jimmy will not break his mother's heart" - that appears to be irrelevant. "If the lady who fainted in the Brixton bus" - she does not interest me. "Every day my heart longs --" Bleat, Watson - unmitigated bleat! Ah! this is a little more possible. Listen to this: "Be patient. Will find some sure means of communication. Meanwhile, this column. - G."' Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, ' The adventure of the Red Cir

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  Ships of steel for even keel Need tons and tons of corset steel. Army trucks if they're to hurdle Need the rubber of the girdle. The time has come, the gods have written, Women now must bulge for Britain. Anonymous World War II poem

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  Sir -    I believe the inhabitants of London are under the impression that Letters posted for delivery within the metropolitan district commonly reach their destination within, at the outside, three hours of the time of postage. I myself, however, have constantly suffered with irregularities in the delivery of letters, and have now got two instances of neglect which I should really like to have cleared up.    I posted a letter in the Gray's Inn post office on Saturday at half-past 1 o'clock, addressed to a person living close to Westminster Abbey, which was not delivered until 9 o'clock the same evening; and I posted another letter in the same post office, addressed to the same place, which was not delivered till past 4 o'clock in the afternoon. Now, Sir, why is this? If there is any good reason why letters should not be delivered in less than eight hours after their postage, let the state of the case be understood:  but the belief that one can communicate with anothe

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Let not Men think there is no Truth but in the Sciences that they study, or the Books that they read. To prejudge other Mens Notions before we have looked into them, is not to shew their Darkness, but to put out our own Eyes. John Locke, Of the Conduct of the Understanding, 1706

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I say, Parker, I think this co-operative scheme is an uncommonly good one. It's much easier to work on someone else's job than one's own - gives one that delightful feelin' of interferin' and bossin' about, combined with the glorious sensation that another fellow is takin' all one's work off one's hands. You scratch my back and I'll scratch yours, what?  Dorothy L. Sayer, Whose Body? , 1923

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Do we not every day meet with people who fancy they are ill because they are unshaven, or because someone has thought they have looked poorly, and told them so? Dress has such influence upon men's minds that there are valetudinarians who think themselves in better health than usual when they have on a new coat and well-powdered wig. They deceive the public and themselves by their nicety about dress, until one finds some fine morning they have died in full fig, and their death startles everybody. Xavier de Maistre, A Journey Round My Room , 1794

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The People of the next Age shall know many Things unknown to us: Many are reserv'd for Ages then to come, when we shall be quite forgotten, no Memory of us remaining. The World would be a pitiful small Thing indeed, if it did not contain enough for the Enquiries of the whole World. Seneca, Naturales Quaestiones , circa AD 62 - 64

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Like all weddings it had left the strange feeling of futility, the slight sense of depression that comes to English people who have tried, from their strong sense of tradition, to be festive and sentimental and in high spirits too early in the day. The frame of mind supposed to be appropriate to an afternoon wedding can only be genuinely experienced by an Englishman at two o'clock in the morning. Hence the dreary failure of these exhibitions. Ada Leverson, Love's Shadow, 1908

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Who can begin conventional amiability the first thing in the morning? It is the hour of the savage instincts and natural tendencies; it is the triumph of the Disagreeable and the Cross. I am convinced that the Muses and the Graces never thought of having breakfast anywhere but in bed. Elizabeth von Arnim, Elizabeth and her German Garden, 1898

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We, in the servants' hall, began this happy anniversary, as usual, by offering our little presents to Miss Rachel, with the regular speech delivered annually by me as the chief. I follow the plan adopted by the Queen in opening Parliament - namely, the plan of saying much the same thing regularly every year. Before it is delivered, my speech (like the Queen's) is looked for as eagerly as if nothing of the kind had ever been heard before. When it is delivered, and turns out not to be the novelty anticipated, though they grumble a little, they look forward hopefully to something newer next year. An easy people to govern, in the Parliament and in the Kitchen - that's the moral of it. Wilkie Collins. The Moonstone , 1868

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It was red and yellow and green and brown and scarlet and black and ochre and peach and ruby and olive and violet and faun and lilac and gold and chocolate and mauve  and cream and crimson and silver and rose  and azure and lemon and russet and grey and purple and white and pink and orange and blue. The colours of Joseph's Amazing Technicolour Dream-Coat still haunting since circa 1976

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"Why are you looking like that?" asked Kyril. "I was wondering why people put ferrets in their trousers," said Aunt Irene. " Thanatos, " said Kyril. "An illustration of the death wish." "What I wish," said Aunt Irene, "is that you'd never read Freud. It's had a very leaden effect on your conversation." Alice Thomas Ellis, The 27th Kingdom , 1999

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Diana's breast, the cheeks of Flora, Are charming, friends, I do agree, But somehow what enchant me more are The small feet of Terpsichore. Alexander Pushkin, Eugene Onegin , 1833