Peter Gilbert Quotes in The Browning Version
FROBISHER: I’ve told you about him, I think. He is a very brilliant young man and won exceptionally high honours at Oxford.
ANDREW: So I understand, sir.
FROBISHER: Not, of course, as high as the honours you yourself won there. He didn't, for instance, win the Chancellor’s prize for Latin verse or the Gaisford.
ANDREW: He won the Hertford Latin, then?
FROBISHER: No. (Mildly surprised.) Did you win that, too?
FROBISHER: It’s sometimes rather hard to remember that you are perhaps the most brilliant classical scholar we have ever had at the school –
ANDREW: You are very kind.
FROBISHER: (Urbanely corrects his gaffe.) Hard to remember, I mean – because of your other activities – your brilliant work on the school timetable, for instance, and also for your heroic battle for so long and against such odds with the soul–destroying lower fifth.
ANDREW: They are mostly boys of about fifteen or sixteen. They are not very difficult to handle.
GILBERT: The headmaster said you ruled them with a rod of iron. He called you the Himmler of the lower fifth.
ANDREW: Did he? The Himmler of the lower fifth? I think he exaggerated. I hope he exaggerated. The Himmler of the lower fifth?
GILBERT: (Puzzled) He only meant that you kept the most wonderful discipline. I must say I do admire you for that. I couldn’t even manage that with eleven–year–olds, so what I’ll be like with fifteens and sixteens I shudder to think.
ANDREW. It is not so difficult. They aren’t bad boys. Sometimes – a little wild and unfeeling, perhaps – but not bad. The Himmler of the lower fifth? Dear me!
GILBERT: (After a pause.) I’m afraid I said something that hurt you very much. It’s myself you must forgive, sir. Believe me, I’m desperately sorry.
ANDREW: There's no need. You were merely telling me what I should have known for myself. Perhaps I did in my heart, and hadn’t the courage to acknowledge it. I knew, of course, that I was not only not liked, but now positively disliked. I had realized, too, that the boys – for many long years now – had ceased to laugh at me. I don’t know why they no longer found me a joke. Perhaps it was my illness. No, I don’t think it was that. Something deeper than that. Not a sickness of the body, but a sickness of the soul. At all events it didn’t take much discernment on my part to realize I had become an utter failure as a schoolmaster. Still, stupidly enough, I hadn’t realized that I was also feared. The Himmler of the lower fifth! I suppose that will become my epitaph.
GILBERT: (Brusquely.) Darling. The Crocker–Harrises, I'm sure, have far more important things to do than to listen to your detailed but inaccurate account of our very sordid little encounter. Why not just say I married you for your money and leave it at that? Come on, we must go.
MRS. GILBERT: (To MILLIE.) Isn’t he awful to me?
MILLIE: Men have no souls, my dear. My husband is just as bad.