On the Holy Roman Empire:
'The conglomeration which was called and still calls itself the Holy Roman Empire was not Holy, nor Roman, nor was it any way an Empire.' — Voltaire
I've got a couple of minutes to kill. Why not tell me everything you know.
'I'm delighted with that medium, because it used to be that we in films were the lowest form of art. Now we have something to look down on.'
On the nineteenth-century art critic, John Ruskin:
'Ruskin. next time I meet you I shall knock you down, but I hope it will make no difference to our friendship.' (Ruskin' had previously made some very derogatory comments on the writer's work, though he expressed the hope that his remarks would not alter their friendship.)
Don't leave yet. I want to forget you exactly the way you are.
A stranger approached the Duke of Wellington and held out his hand saying:
'Mr. Smith, I believe.'
'If you believe that sir, you'll believe anything,' said the Duke.
Why don't we play horse? I'll be the head and you just be yourself.
Dr. Johnson was never a great music lover, but there were times when even he could not avoid listening to it. He was once forced to endure a recital given by a lady on the harpsicord. Realizing the Doctor's attention had wandered by the time she finished, she said to him:
'Do you know, Doctor that selection is very difficult.' 'Difficult, madam. Would to heaven it had been impossible,' he told her.
Aren't you ever tired of having yourself around?
On a friend's first short story:
'Frankly, Mary dear, I should bury it in a drawer and put a lily on it.' — Noel Coward
I didn't recognize you for a minute. It was one of the happiest minutes I've ever spent.
On a composition by a precocious composer in his early teens:
'This boy will go far, when he has had less experience. ' — Daniel Auber
I see you are starting to show your true colours. Isn't it time you had another rinse?
On an up and coming pop singer:
'You have Van Gogh's ear for music.' — Billy Wilder.
(The singer reportedly replied: 'Gee, thanks!').
Long after he had been awarded a second in his law degree at Oxford, Lord Birkenhead found himself in a position to get his own back on the examiner who had been responsible for not awarding him a first. Refusing silk to the man, he explained:
'Silk is only awarded to academic lawyers of distinction.'