It made me sad to think of the decay and shabbiness all around, and the streamlined blocks of new flats, springing up on the bombed sites, although I supposed it was a good thing that children should now be running about and playing in the square gardens, their shouts and laughter drowned by the noise of the machinery that was building hideous new homes for them. — A Glass of Blessings, chapter...
Pym everywhere →
“They couldn’t have been spies…Look what she did with the hydrangeas.” There’s an undeniably Pymish quality to this quote, no?
‘Thank you, but I think I will have Hawaiian Fire,’ I said obstinately, savouring the ludicrous words and the full depths of my shame. I hurried away and found myself on an escalator. Hawaiian Fire, indeed! Nothing more unsuitable could possibly be imagined. — Excellent Women, chapter fourteen
Neither she nor Harriet had ever married, but Harriet was making her usual fuss over the new curate and was obviously prepared to be quite as silly over him as she had been over his predecessors. She was especially given to cherishing young clergymen, and her frequent excursions to the curates’ lodgings had often given rise to talk, for people like a bit of gossip, especially about a...
‘But after all, he is married, isn’t he? — I mean there is a wife somewhere even if you’ve never met her. You shouldn’t really consider him as a possibility, you know. Unless she were to die, of course, that would be quite all right.’ A widower, that was what was needed if such a one could be found. A widower would do splendidly for Prudence. — Jane and Prudence,...
Looking up from reading an offprint of an article entitled ‘Steatopygia of the Human Female in the Kalahari’, Rupert was surprised to see Sophia coming up to the door. It was a far cry from the protruding posteriors of the Hottentot women to the spare elegance of an English vicar’s wife. — An Unsuitable Attachment, chapter twenty-two (submitted by Pym Society member Phillis M....
Yet if Avice’s mother were not so well looked after and preserved, if she were not allowed all the white bread, sugar, butter, cakes and puddings that her naturally depraved taste craved, if — not to mince matters or to put too fine a point on it — she were to drop down dead, the Shrubsoles would have enough money to buy a larger house. This thought, instantly stifled, had more than once...
I suddenly remembered some of the ‘Answers to Correspondents’ in the Church Times, which were so obscure that they might very well have dealt with a problem like this. ‘I saw our vicar holding the hand of a widow in the park — what should I do?’ The question sounded almost frivolous put like that; what kind of an answer could I expect? ‘Consult your Bishop...
So often at tea parties you had to wait ages before anyone noticed your empty plate, and when your tea had been finished in nervous little sips there was nothing to do but hope and gaze bravely into space. — Crampton Hodnet, “Sunday Tea Party”
Marcia’s short, stiff, lifeless hair was uncompromisingly dyed a harsh dark brown from a bottle in the bathroom cupboard, which she had used ever since she had noticed the first white hairs some thirty years earlier. If there were now softer and more becoming ways of colouring one’s hair, Marcia was unaware of them. — Quartet in Autumn, chapter one (submitted by Pym Society member...
“Nettles? Yes, I’m sure you can,” said Emma, turning politely to her. She had not yet spoken to Miss Lee, only heard her singing in church, her voice hooting and swooping like an owl or some other nocturnal bird. “Would they be something like spinach when cooked? I must try them some time,” she added doubtfully, wondering how far living in the country need go. — A...
One could hardly blame people for classing all university women as frumps, thought Prudence, looking down the table at the odd garments and odder wearers of them, the eager, unpainted faces, the wispy hair, the dowdy clothes; and yet most of them had married—that was the strange and disconcerting thing. — Jane and Prudence, chapter one
Mary Beamish was the kind of person who always made me feel particularly useless — she was so very much immersed in good works, so splendid, everyone said. She was about my own age, but small and rather dowdily dressed, presumably because she had neither the wish nor the ability to make the most of herself. — A Glass of Blessings, chapter two
A spectacled youth in a raincoat reached across me for a book with a faintly pornographic title and began to turn the pages expectantly. I turned away with what I suppose was a kind of womanly delicacy. — A Glass of Blessings, chapter two
Letty had an old-fashioned respect for the clergy which seemed outmoded in the seventies, when it was being continually brought home to her that in many ways they were just like other men, or even more so.The emphasis on humanity, in which we all share, had been the burden of a sermon she had recently heard at Mrs. Pope’s church, as if the preacher were preparing his congregation for some...
‘I think I should certainly need no comfort if I could know that I should be at rest in my marble vault.’ ‘I think it is extremely unlikely that you will be buried in a marble vault, Miss Morrow,’ observed Miss Doggett in a dry tone. — Crampton Hodnet, “Sunday Tea Party”
Apologies for the formatting inconsistencies from post to post. Quotes on Tumblr are slightly buggy in how they are presented; it should all stabilize within about a week.
I sometimes liked to imagine myself in a small cosy office where a little group of women might gather in a room, drinking tea and eating biscuits, discussing the iniquities of the Boss. I could picture the boss himself coming bursting into the room, perhaps with an ill-typed letter in his hand, and the cool stares of the women as they stood with their teacups in their hands, letting him have his...
“One has to be tough with old people,” Leonora went on, “it’s the only way — otherwise they encroach.” — The Sweet Dove Died, chapter six (Thanks to Pym Society member Jeannette Molzer)
“You would think they’d come out of curiosity, if for no nobler...– Jane and Prudence, chapter two
We drained our glasses and went into the dining-room. I was touched to see that...– A Glass of Blessings, chapter one
‘It ought to be quite warm now, but in any case young people don’t...– Miss Doggett, Crampton Hodnet, “Sunday Tea Party”
Margaret Cleveland, who had at one time helped and encouraged her husband with...– Crampton Hodnet, “The Clevelands”
He managed to make his escape while Father Thames was being buttonholed by an...– A Glass of Blessings, chapter one
But there were two priests at the clergy house. Were the invitations always for...– A Glass of Blessings, chapter one
‘Of course I’m a Socialist!’ he ought to have said...– Mr. Cherry, Crampton Hodnet, “Sunday Tea Party”
15 bonus Pym quotes at goodreads →
It sounded shrill and particularly urgent against the music of the organ, and it...– A Glass of Blessings, chapter one
Leonora had little use for the ‘cosiness’ of women friends, but regarded them...– The Sweet Dove Died, chapter seven
I sat down at the table without any very high hopes, for both Julian and...– Excellent Women, chapter two
‘I’m sure you’d have have no difficulty in getting a nice...– Excellent Women, chapter two
‘Oh, God, yes! You’d hate sharing a kitchen with me. I’m such...– Mrs. Napier, Excellent Women, chapter one