“LIONEL Maybe it would be stroke of luck to be like you. I have nothing but conflicts. For instance, one day I think I ought to give up the world and be a religious leader, and the next day I’ll turn right around and think I out to throw myself deep into politics. (VIVIAN, bored, starts untying her beach shoes) There have been ecclesiastics in my family before. I come from a gloomy family. A lot of the men seem to have married crazy wives. Five brothers out of six and a first cousin did. My uncle’s first cousin boiled a cat alive in the upstairs kitchen.
VIVIAN What do you mean, the upstairs kitchen?
LIONEL We had the top floor fitted out as an apartment and the kitchen upstairs was called the upstairs kitchen.
VIVIAN (Hopping to her feet) Oh, well, let’s stop talking dull heavy stuff. I’m going to swim.”
(Jane Bowles, In the Summer House, pp. 231–2 in My Sister’s Hand in Mine: The Collected Works of Jane Bowles.)
“ ‘The next time,’ said the conductor, who really was at a loss for what to say, ‘the next time you’re on this train, stay in your seat and don’t molest anybody. If you want to know the time you can ask them without any to-do about it or you can just make a little signal with your hand and I’ll be willing to answer all your questions.’ He straightened up and stood for a moment trying to think of something more to say. ‘Remember also,’ he added, ‘and tell this to your relatives and to your friends. Remember also that there are no dogs allowed on this train or people in masquerade costume unless they’re all covered up with a big heavy coat; and no more hubbubs,’ he added, shaking a finger at her. He tipped his hat to the woman and went on his way.”
(Jane Bowles, Two Serious Ladies, pp. 128–9 in My Sister’s Hand in Mine: The Collected Works of Jane Bowles.)
“ ‘Since you live so far out of town,’ said Arnold, ‘why don’t you spend the night at my house? We have an extra bedroom.’
‘I probably shall,’ said Miss Goering, ‘although it is against my entire code, but then, I have never even begun to use my code, although I judge everything by it.’ Miss Goering looked a little morose after having said this and they drove on in silence until they reached their destination.”
(Jane Bowles, Two Serious Ladies, p. 19 in My Sister’s Hand in Mine: The Collected Works of Jane Bowles.)
“In my ventures into Calvinism, one of the things that he says that I think is very interesting is that God’s interest in us might be aesthetic.”
(Marilynne Robinson, interviewed by Michael Silverblatt here.)
“Mr. Copperfield chuckled. ‘You’re so crazy,’ he said to her with indulgence. He was delighted to be in the tropics at last and he was more than pleased with himself that he had managed to dissuade his wife from stopping at a ridiculously expensive hotel where they would have been surrounded by tourists. He realized that this hotel was sinister, but that was what he loved.”
(Jane Bowles, Two Serious Ladies, p. 39.)
“Miss Goering invited Miss Gamelon to dine with her. She found her soothing and agreeable to be with. Miss Gamelon was very much impressed with the fact that Miss Goering was so nervous. Just as they were about to sit down, Miss Goering said that she couldn’t face eating in the dining-room and she asked the servant to lay the table in the parlor instead. She spent a great deal of time switching the lights off and on.
‘I know how you feel,’ Miss Gamelon said to her.
‘I don’t particularly enjoy it,’ said Miss Goering, ‘but I expect in the future to be under control.’ ”
(Jane Bowles, Two Serious Ladies, p. 11.)
(The People of the State of New York, Respondent, v. Barry Warren Kibbe and Roy A. Krall, Appellants, Court of Appeals of New York, Nov. 27, 1974.)