Death of a Dude – Quotations from _Death of a Dude_ – Dan Augustine

From: Dan Augustine
Date: July 13, 2000 12:06:34 AM CDT
To: WolfeNet
Subject: Quotations from _Death of a Dude_

Quotations from and notes on _Death of a Dude_, which was written
between September 20, 1968, and February 7, 1969, and was published on
August 20, 1969.

**– General –**:
The story begins on Saturday, August 3, 1968, with Archie mailing a
letter he had written the previous evening at Lily Rowan’s ranch near
‘Timberburg’, Montana. It ends on Tuesday, August 13th, 1968. I was very
nervous about posting these dates all on my own, since Baring-Gould’s book
was published too late to include them, and Schultheis says only “August
1968”. But thankfully Stout gave the starting date on the first page, and
i can only hope that my efforts here will not be overturned and ridiculed
by some future Wolfe-calendarist.

**– Wolfe –**
p. 41: Image of Wolfe: “He started to stand, but his hips caught
between the arms and lifted the chair.”
p. 72: Image of Wolfe in a bright red hooded-poncho.
p. 77: Mrs. Amory: “You know how a woman’s mind works.”
Wolfe: “I do not. No one does.”
p. 94: Image of Wolfe: “perched on a boulder surrounded by water
dancing along, his pants rolled up above his knees, his
feet in the water”
p. 101: “Man’s brain, enlarged fortuitously, invented words in an ambitious
effort to learn how to think, only to have them usurped by his emotions.
But we still try.” Where’s his or anyone’s evidence that this enlargement
was fortuitous? “Nothing happens for no reason.” (Philosophers may inveigh
here….)
p. 103: “Only a saint wants to do nothing.” (Oh gawd, more….)

**– Archie –**
p. 40: Archie tells Wolfe he named his horse ‘Pfui’ “because he’s a little
tricky”.

p. 41: Of the beer (from Mountain Brewery in Butte) he brings Wolfe,
Archie says, “‘It isn’t bad,’ I said. ‘There’s another brand that I think
they put copper in.'” This of course reminds one of Archie’s plaint in
_The Black Mountain_: “Why do they put gasoline in the sausage?”

p. 103: If this weren’t a family email-list, i’d suggest a contest to see
who could come up with the most likely or perhaps just most resonant
(perhaps ‘redolent’?) version of Archie’s reporting of what Emmett Lake
said:
“‘Dang [AG] Brodell,’ Emmett said.”
“‘It was me that said the atrocious [AG] scourge [AG]
might marry her, and that shows what a misguided [AG]
ignoramous [AG] I was.'”
“‘Balls. I said how I figured it. You know what I said.
You’re a lot younger than I am and you’re bigger and stronger,
but if I sit here and cross my legs good, let’s see you get
them opened up. Every breathing [AG] female [AG] alive is a
born siren [AG].
The reason I called him an atrocious [AG] scourge [AG] was
because he didn’t belong here and all the panting [AG] dudes
can thumping [AG] well leave their outstanding [AG] bats [AG]
at home when they….'”
Well, _Death of a Dude_ may not be one of Stout’s greatest Nero Wolfe
novels, but i’d put those paragraphs up with the best of what he’s written
anywhere.

p. 130: Archie’s note to Wolfe is dated “8/11/69” in my edition. Is this a
misprint or is it in other editions too?

**– Other(s) –**
p. 104: Pete Ingalls: “I think a lot of people are in that pinch: there’s
something they want _not_ to do so intensely that they can’t take time to
consider what they do want to do.”
Pete Ingalls, speaking of Brodell’s age: “There are eighteen
million, three hundred and ninety-six thousand minutes in thirty-five
years.” Well, that’s true if all the years have 365 days, but (depending
on which year one was born) the odds are that in 35 years there will be 8
and possibly 9 leap-years, so that the actual number of minutes might be
11,520 or 12,960 longer than 18,396,000. Just thought you ought to know.

Passim: Stout’s use of putative colorful Montana words and phrases:
pancakes are ‘torture disks’ and ‘gut plasters’ (p. 2);
“Ride me. I’m saddle-broke.” and “You chew the bit.” (p. 13);
“go and milk a mule” and “scared up any dust” (p. 15);
“You’re not my little heifer now, you’ve dropped a calf.” and
“To hell with it, that trail’s grown over.” (p. 16);
“it’s your rope” (p. 17);
“If Mr. Greve shot that man like a coward I am a bow-legged coyote.”
(p. 30);
song “Horsey, Keep Your Tail Up” (is this a real song? p. 31);
“when I was a yearling, they had to tie my mother up before she’d let
me suck” (p. 31);
“I heard a middle-aged woman with ample apples yell at a man about the
same age, ‘Like hell they’re milk-fake!'” (p. 31);
“A sheet-snapper is not a prostitute. It’s a girl or woman who makes
beds.” (pp. 31-32);
“everybody knows it is not a good idea to pull Harvey’s nose or loosen
his cinch” (p. 44);
“like the dude said to the bronc, you can’t always tell by appearances.
Do you want us one at a time or in a herd?” (p. 74);
“that made me turtle feathers” (p. 80);
“ulcer patches” (pancakes, apparently; p. 81);
“if you want to brand a calf that’s hid in the brush, first you’ve got
to find him and tie him” (p. 101);
“‘Come and get it,’ Alma said, ‘before the grease sets.'” (p. 105);
“I was as useless there as a bridle without a bit” (p. 111);

**– End of Quotations –**
**——— Responses to original (1998) quotations ——-**

Date: Sun, 07 Jun 1998 18:00:06 -0500
From: Michael McCarthy

p. 101: “Man’s brain, enlarged fortuitously, invented words in an
ambitious effort to learn how to think, only to have them usurped by his
emotions. But we still try.” Where’s his or anyone’s evidence that this
enlargement was fortuitous?

Fortuitous can mean 1. by chance or 2. fortunately. If Wolfe is using it in
the first sense he likely means an act of evolution that did not have to
occur but was one possible response to environmental stimuli. In the same
way birds developed wings and the great cats claws to deal in different
ways with the same global environment, man developed a more advanced brain.
Other adaptations could have been made (and were by other species). Do you
suggest there was no chance about it, that scientifically all evolution had
to occur in the way it did? Or that it is a matter of divine control?

If in the second sense, it would seem rather fortunate for Wolfe and the
rest of us that we have brains. After all, it lets us use large words,
develop new recipes for food and make large sums of money with little
physical effort.

The Hard and Fast Rule
—————————————————————-
Date: Mon, 08 Jun 1998 10:34:59 -0700
From: Tod Hunter
p. 101: “Man’s brain, enlarged fortuitously, invented words in an
ambitious effort to learn how to think, only to have them usurped by his
emotions. But we still try.” Where’s his or anyone’s evidence that this
enlargement was fortuitous?

Michael McCarthy wrote:
Fortuitous can mean 1. by chance or 2. fortunately.
As the Lancome Lady says on Mad TV, “Hmmmmmmmmmmmm… Uh-uh.”

According to my American Heritage College Dictionary (Third Edition, page
536-37 for those of you of little faith) Fortuitous ONLY means “by chance”
and I think from that we can infer that on Planet Wolfe – where “contact”
is never, ever a verb – fortuitous only means “by chance.”

I wholeheartedly recommend the American Heritage Dictionaries, primarily
because of their use of a Usage Panel of schooled knowledgeable
communicators who give their opinions on the proper usage of words. I find
this a preferable alternative to the Mrs. Grundys of the world who lay down
the law with no room for interpretation, and the anything-goes attitude of
those other guys who say that because the ignorant use “imply” and “infer”
interchangeably they are now interchangeable.

–Tod
—————————————————————-
And i hope i have the permission of Brownstone to quote the following.
(Incidentally, we haven’t heard from this worthy in some time; i hope he
hasn’t dropped off the list. Anybody know?)

Delivered-To: ds.augustine@mail.utexas.edu
From: YQCN92A@prodigy.com ( PATRICK C BAKER)
Date: Fri, 29 May 1998 17:27:07, -0500
On 05/25/98 Cody Hart asked:

Don’t you think the name Wade Worthy has a Batman
sound to it?

Yes. Another interesting name is the witness to the
statement in chap 7, Effie T. Duggers. The best name since
Pansy Bupp in OMDB. I immediately pictured her looking
like Marjorie Main (Ma Kettle) and being a mule skinner,
or maybe a chuckwagon cook.
Interesting, too, were the Vawters, Mort and Mabel
who run the General Store in Timberberg. We haven’t
heard from those folk since Minnie Vawter who lived up
near the airfield at Hawthorne, NY in Fer-de-Lance.
When I couple the fact that he brought Vawters back
for the first time since FDL, and the statement of
Wolfe on the “fortuitious” development of the brain
in DOAD vs. the “accident” of life in FDL, it leads me
to believe Rex Stout might have pulled FDL off the
shelf and reread it shortly prior to writing DOAD
and had these floating in his mind.
If that is the case it would be interesting if we
could hear Stout’s views on his writing from 35 years
previous. FDL had a different style, and Wolfe and
Archie were a little different in character. Neither
the style or characters are radically different, but
different enough that I’d have enjoyed Stout’s
reflections on the differences.
— Brownstone
—————————————————————-
Date: Sat, 6 Jun 1998 23:27:37 -0500 (CDT)
From: davescot@ix.netcom.com
Passim: song “Horsey, Keep Your Tail Up” (is this a real song? p. 31)
It is indeed. My mother, long after her days of sharing a vaudeville bill
with Sophie Tucker, Olsen & Johnson et al, would sing it to us kids:

Horsey, Keep Your Tail Up,
Horsey, Keep Your Tail Up,
Horsey, Keep Your Tail Up,
Keep The Sun Out Of My Eyes!
—————————————————————–
Date: Sun, 07 Jun 1998 18:48:07 +0000
From: Donna Goldthwaite
p. 130: Archie’s note to Wolfe is dated “8/11/69” in my edition. Is this a
misprint or is it in other editions too?
My copy (Viking, 1969, Book Club edition, p.154) also has “8/11/69” as the
date of Archie’s note. It caught my eye at the time I was reading it.
Perhaps later editions corrected it?
Donna Goldthwaite (nomless for now)
dgold@javanet.com
——————————————————————

Dan

**——————————————————————–**
** Dan Augustine Austin, Texas ds.augustine@mail.utexas.edu **
** “Dale Miller was forceful. There was a right and a wrong, and **
** she could tell them apart. Tuxie could not, and in fact, most **
** men could not, which is why it was important that they marry. **
** Single men, in her view, were just a nuisance to the community, **
** for even if they were sober, they usually could not tell right **
** from wrong, and single men were rarely sober anyway.” **
** — Larry McMurtry in _Zeke and Ned_ (1997) **
**——————————————————————–**

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