Great Throughts Treasury

This site is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Alan William Smolowe who gave birth to the creation of this database.

Saki, pen name for Hector Hugh Munro or H.H. Munro NULL

British Author and Playwright

"He is one of those people who would be enormously improved by death."

"A little inaccuracy sometimes saves a ton of explanation."

"The young have aspirations that never come to pass, the old have reminiscences of what never happened."

"There was something alike terrifying and piteous in the spectacle of these frail old morsels of humanity consecrating their last flickering energies to the task of making each other wretched. Hatred seemed to be the one faculty which had survived in undiminished vigor where all else was dropping into ordered and symmetrical decay."

"And the vagueness of his alarm added to its terrors; when once you have taken the Impossible into your calculations its possibilities become practically limitless"

"Addresses are given to us to conceal our whereabouts."

"All decent people live beyond their incomes nowadays, and those who aren't respectable live beyond other people's. A few gifted individuals manage to do both."

"Children with Hyacinth's temperament don't know better as they grow older; they merely know more."

"Confront a child, a puppy, and a kitten with a sudden danger; the child will turn instinctively for assistance, the puppy will grovel in abject submission, the kitten will brace its tiny body for a frantic resistance."

"Every reformation must have its victims. You can’t expect the fatted calf to share the enthusiasm of"

"Every reformation must have its victims. You can't expect the fatted calf to share the enthusiasm of the angels over the prodigal's return."

"Great Socialist statesmen aren't made, they're still-born."

"Hating anything in the way of ill-natured gossip ourselves, we are always grateful to those who do it for us and do it well."

"He spends his life explaining from his pulpit that the glory of Christianity consists in the fact that though it is not true it has been found necessary to invent it."

"He's simply got the instinct for being unhappy highly developed."

"I always say beauty is only sin deep."

"Hors d'oeuvres have always a pathetic interest for me; they remind me of one's childhood that one goes through wondering what the next course is going to be like - and during the rest of the menu one wishes one had eaten more of the hors d'oeuvres."

"I did it—I who should have known better. I persuaded Reginald to go to the McKillops’ garden-party against his will."

"I think oysters are more beautiful than any religion,' he resumed presently. 'They not only forgive our unkindness to them; they justify it, they incite us to go on being perfectly horrid to them. Once they arrive at the supper-table they seem to enter thoroughly into the spirit of the thing. There's nothing in Christianity or Buddhism that quite matches the sympathetic unselfishness of an oyster."

"I think she might at least have waited till the funeral was over,' said Amanda in a scandalized voice."

"I hate posterity - it's so fond of having the last word."

"In baiting a mousetrap with cheese, always leave room for the mouse."

"It's no use growing older if you only learn new ways of misbehaving yourself."

"Mother, may I go and maffick, tear around and hinder traffic?"

"Miles away, down through an opening in the hills, he could catch glimpses of a road where motor-cars sometimes passed, and yet here, so removed from the arteries of the latest civilization, was a bat-haunted old homestead, where something unmistakably like witchcraft seemed to hold a very practical sway."

"No one can be an unbeliever nowadays. The Christian Apologists have left one nothing to disbelieve."

"Never be a pioneer. It's the early Christian that gets the fattest lion."

"Out through that window, three years ago to a day, her husband and her two young brothers went off for their day's shooting. They never came back. In crossing the moor to their favourite snipe-shooting ground they were all three engulfed in a treacherous piece of bog. It had been that dreadful wet summer, you know, and places that were safe in other years gave way suddenly without warning. Their bodies were never recovered. That was the dreadful part of it. Here the child's voice lost its self-possessed note and became falteringly human. Poor aunt always thinks that they will come back some day, they and the little brown spaniel that was lost with them, and walk in at that window just as they used to do. That is why the window is kept open every evening till it is quite dusk. Poor dear aunt, she has often told me how they went out, her husband with his white waterproof coat over his arm, and Ronnie, her youngest brother, singing 'Bertie, why do you bound?' as he always did to tease her, because she said it got on her nerves. Do you know, sometimes on still, quiet evenings like this, I almost get a creepy feeling that they will all walk in through that window -"

"Oysters are more beautiful than any religion . . . there's nothing in Christianity or Buddhism that quite matches the sympathetic unselfishness of an oyster."

"Never, wrote Reginald to his most darling friend, be a pioneer. It's the Early Christian that gets the fattest lion."

"The censorious said she slept in a hammock and understood Yeats's poems, but her family denied both stories."

"People may say what they like about the decay of Christianity the religious system that produced green Chartreuse can never really die"

"Poverty keeps together more homes than it breaks up."

"The cat of the slums and alleys, starved, outcast, harried,... still displays the self- reliant watchfulness which man has never taught it to lay aside."

"Romance at short notice was her speciality."

"The sacrifices of friendship were beautiful in her eyes as long as she was not asked to make them."

"The clock struck eleven with the respectful unobtrusiveness of one whose mission in life is to be ignored."

"The people of Crete unfortunately make more history than they can consume locally."

"There is no easy in the world neither hard everything is the same in a way"

"The young man turned to him with a disarming candour, which instantly put him on his guard."

"The young have aspirations that never come to pass, the old have reminiscences of what never happened."

"To be clever in the afternoon argues that one is dining nowhere in the evening."

"They say there's nothing sadder than victory except defeat. The young have aspirations that never come to pass, the old have reminiscences of what never happened."

"We all make mistakes occasionally."

"Think how many blameless lives are brightened by the blazing indiscretions of other people."

"Well in those parts (upcountry India) they have were-tigers, or think they have, and I must say that in this case, so far as sworn and uncontested evidence went, they had every ground for thinking so. However, as we gave up witchcraft prosecutions about three hundred years ago, we don’t like to have other people keeping on our discarded practices; it doesn’t seem respectful to our mental and moral position."

"You needn't tell me that a man who doesn't love oysters and asparagus and good wines has got a soul, or a stomach either. He's simply got the instinct for being unhappy highly developed."

"A beautifully constructed borsch, such as you are going to experience presently, ought not only to banish conversation but almost to annihilate thought."

"A man must be a success by the time he?s thirty, or never. Answer: To have reached thirty is to have failed in life."

"A woman who takes her husband about with her everywhere is like a cat that goes on playing with a mouse long after she's killed it."