Mother Quotes in My Family and Other Animals
"Didn't you notice?" she asked. "None of them had a bathroom."
Mr. Beeler stared at Mother with bulging eyes.
"But Madame," he wailed in genuine anguish, "what for you want a bathroom? Have you not got the sea?"
"He appears to have only one interest," said Larry bitterly, "and that's this awful urge to fill things with animal life. I don't think he ought to be encouraged in that. Life is fraught with danger as it is. I went to light a cigarette only this morning and a damn great bumblebee flew out of the box."
"Don't be ridiculous. Whoever heard of moving into a larger house because you've invited some friends to stay?"
"What's the matter with the idea? It seems a perfectly sensible solution to me; after all, if you say there's no room here, the obvious thing to do is to move."
"A most insanitary procedure," said Mother, "more likely to spread disease than cure it. I dread to think what would have caught if we'd really kissed his feet."
"But I kissed his feet," said Margo, surprised.
A pot of black paint was produced and laboriously, in rather trickly capitals, I traced her name along the side: THE BOOTLE-BUMTRINKET. There it was; not only an unusual name, but an aristocratically hyphenated one as well. In order to ease Mother's mind I had to promise that I would refer to the boat only as the Bootle in conversation with strangers.
I was not, however, the least impressed by this last bit of information; I had met a number of people who professed to be interested in birds, and who had turned out (after careful questioning) to be charlatans who did not know what a hoopoe looked like...
Mother had, after considerable mental effort, managed to commit to memory two or three Greek words. This lack of vocabulary had a restrictive effect on her conversation at the best of times, but when she was faced with the ordeal of exchanging small talk with a murderer she promptly forgot all the Greek she knew.