Feet of clay

Read it today – good stuff. Some quotes from the book:

i.”‘A dwarf who can’t get the hang of metal? That must be unique.’
‘Pretty rare, sir. But I was quite good at alchemy.’
‘Guild member?’
‘Not any more, sir.’
‘Oh? How did you leave the guild?’
‘Through the roof, sir. But I’m pretty certain I know what I did wrong.’
Vimes leaned back. ‘The alchemists are always blowing things up. I never heard of them getting sacked for it.’
‘That’s because no one’s ever blown up the Guild Council, sir.’
‘What, all of it?’
‘Most of it, sir. All the easily detachable bits, at least.'”

ii. “‘It beats me why Ankh-Morpork wants to celebrate the fact it had a civil war three hundred years ago,’ said Angua, coming back to the here-and-now.
‘Why not? We won,’ said Carrot.
‘Yes, but you lost, too.'”

iii. “‘I think I’ll write it in my notebook, if you don’t mind,’ said Vimes.
‘Oh, well, if you prefer, I can recognize handwriting,’ said the imp proudly. ‘I’m quite advanced.’
Vimes pulled out his notebook and held it up. ‘Like this, he said?’
The imp squinted for a moment. ‘Yep,’ it said. ‘That’s handwriting, sure enough. Curly bits, spiky bits, all joined together. Yep. Handwriting. I’d recognize it anywhere.’
‘Aren’t you supposed to tell me what it says?’
The imp looked wary. ‘Says?’ it said. ‘It’s supposed to make noises?'”

iv. “It’s a pervasive and beguiling myth that the people who design instruments of death end up being killed by them. There is almost no foundation in fact. Colonel Shrapnel wasn’t blown up, M. Guillotin died with his head on, Colonel Gatling wasn’t shot. If it hadn’t been for the murder of cosh and blackjack maker Sir William Blunt-Instrument in an alleyway, the rumour would never have got started.”

v. “‘I reckon he’s been poisoned, Fred, and that’s the truth of it.’
Colon looked horrified. ‘Ye gods! Do you want me to get a doctor?’
‘Are you mad? We want him to live!'”

vi. “‘I want you to go back to the Watch House and take care of things.’
‘What things?’
‘Everything! Rise to the occasion. Move paper around. There’s that new shift rota to draw up. Shout at people! Read reports!’
Carrot saluted. ‘Yes, Commander Vimes.'”

vii. “Cheery looked around again. By now, if it had been a dwarf bar, the floor would be sticky with beer, the air would be full of flying quaff, and people would be singing. They’d probably be singing the latest dwarf tune, Gold, Gold, Gold, or one of the old favourites, like Gold, Gold, Gold, or the all-time biggie, Gold, Gold, Gold. In a few minutes, the first axe would have been thrown.”

viii. “Vimes opened the door to see what all the shouting was about down in the office. The corporal manning – or in this case dwarfing – the desk was having trouble.
‘Again? How many times have you been killed this week?’
‘I was minding my own business!’ said the unseen complainer.
‘Stacking garlic? You’re a vampire, aren’t you? I mean, let’s see what jobs you have been doing … Post sharpener for a fencing firm, sunglasses tester for Argus opticians … Is it me, or is there some underlying trend here?'”

ix. “‘Who was that little man with the incredibly bandy legs?’
‘That was Doughnut Jimmy, sir. He used to be a jockey on a very fat horse.’
‘A racehorse?’
‘Apparently, sir.’
‘A fat racehorse? Surely that could never win a race?’
‘I don’t believe it ever did, sir. But Jimmy made a lot of money by not winning races.'”

x. “This was police work, was it? He wondered if Mr Vimes was trying to tell him something. There were other letters. The Community Co-ordinator of Equal Heights for Dwarfs was demanding that dwarfs in the Watch be allowed to carry an axe rather than the traditional sword, and should be sent to investigate only those crimes committed by tall people. The Thieves’ Guild was complaining that Commander Vimes had said publicly that most thefts were committed by thieves.”

xi. “At the end of Nonesuch Street was a gibbet, where wrongdoers – or, at least, people found guilty of wrongdoing – had been hung to twist gently in the wind as examples of just retribution and, as the elements took their toll, basic anatomy as well.
Once, parties of children were brought there by their parents to learn by dreadful example of the snares and perils what await the criminal, the outlaw and those who happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, and they would see the terrible wreckage creaking on its chain and listen to the stern imprecations and then usually (this being Ankh-Morpork) would say ‘Wow! Brilliant!‘ and use the corpse as a swing. These days the city had more private and efficient ways of dealing with those it found surplus to requirements”

xii. “Colon in particular had great difficulty with the idea that you went on investigating after someone had confessed. You got a confession and there it ended. You didn’t go around disbelieving people. You disbelieved people only when they said they were innocent. Only guilty people were trustworthy. Anything else struck at the whole basis of policing.”

xiii. “he distrusted the kind of person who’d take one look at another man and say in a lordly voice to his companion, ‘Ah, my dear sir, I can tell you nothing except that he is a left-handed stonemason who has spent some years in the merchant navy and has recently fallen on hard times,’ and then unroll a lot of supercilious commentary about calluses and stance and the state of a man’s boots, when exactly the same comments could apply to a man who was wearing his old clothes because he’d been doing a spot of home bricklaying for a new barbecue pit, and had been tattooed once when he was drunk and seventeen* and in fact got seasick on a wet pavement. What arrogance! What an insult to the rich and chaotic variety of the human experience!'” [hmm… I’m wondering if Pratchett had anyone particular in mind when he wrote that]

xiv. “‘Life has certainly been more reliable under Vetinary,’ said Mr Potts of the Bakers’ Guild.
‘He does have all street-theatre players and mime artists thrown into the scorpion pit,’ said Mr Boggis of the Thieves’ Guild.
‘True. But let’s not forget that he has his bad points too.'”

xv. “I run a wholesome restaurant! My tables are so clean you could eat your dinner off them!’ […]
‘I told them, I use only the very best rats!’ shouted Gimlet. ‘Good plump rats from the best locations! None of your latrine rubbish! And they’re hard to come by, let me tell you!’
‘And when you can’t get them, Mr Gimlet?’ said Carrot.
Gimlet paused. Carrot was hard to lie to. ‘All right, he mumbled. ‘Maybe when there’s not enough I might sort of plump out the stock with some chicken, maybe just a bit of beef —‘
‘Hah! A bit?’ More voices were raised.
‘That’s right, you should see his cold room, Mr Carrot!’
‘Yeah, he uses steak and cuts little legs in it and covers it with rat sauce!’ […]

There were no public health laws in Ankh-Morpork. It would be like installing smoke detectors in Hell.”

xvi. “Every real copper knew you didn’t go around looking for Clues so that you could find out Who Done It. No, you started out with a pretty good idea of Who Done It. That way, you knew what Clues to look for.”


June 19, 2012 - Posted by | Books, Terry Pratchett

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