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The Fifth Elephant

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The one positive thing you could say about the bread products around him was that they were probably as edible now as they were on the day they were baked. Forged was a better term. Dwarf bread was made as a meal of last resort and also as a weapon and a currency. Dwarfs were not, as far as Vimes knew, religious in any way, but the way they thought about bread came close.

-- (Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant)

You did something because it had always been done, and the explanation was "but we've always done it this way." A million dead people can't have been wrong, can they?

-- (Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant)

Sam Vimes could parallel process. Most husbands can. They learn to follow their own line of thought while at the same time listening to what their wives say. And the listening is important, because at any time they could be challenged and must be ready to quote the last sentence in full. A vital additional skill is being able to scan the dialogue for telltale phrases such as "and they can deliver it tomorrow" or "so I've invited them for dinner?" or "they can do it in blue, really quite cheaply."

-- (Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant)

There was no such thing as a dwarfish female pronoun or, once the children were on solids, any such thing as women's work.

-- (Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant)

He wasn't strictly aware of it, but he treated even geography as if he was investigating a crime (did you see who carved out the valley? Would you recognize that glacier if you saw it again?)

-- (Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant)

He was aware that a wise man should always respect the folkways of others, to use Carrot's happy phrase, but Vimes often had difficulty with this idea. For one thing, there were people in the world whose folkways consisted of gutting other people like clams and this was not a procedure that commanded, in Vimes, any kind of respect at all.

-- (Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant)

It was funny how people were people everywhere you went, even if the people concerned weren't the people the people who made up the phrase "people are people everywhere" had traditionally thought of as people. And even if you weren't virtuous, as you had been brought up to understand the term, you did like to see virtue in other people, provided it didn?t cost you anything.

-- (Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant)

A marriage is always made up of two people who are prepared to swear that only the other one snores.

-- (Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant)

As castles went, this one looked as though it could be taken by a small squad of not very efficient soldiers. For defence, putting a blanket over your head might be marginally safer.

-- (Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant)

She moved like someone who had grown used to her body and, in general, looked like what Vimes had heard described as "a woman of a certain age." He'd never been quite certain what age that was.

-- (Terry Pratchett, The Fifth Elephant)


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