BLACK TULIP Quotations

The Pink Quotation Compendium continues! This week, I’m collecting quotes from The Masque of the Black Tulip. What are your favorite Black Tulip lines?

As a thank you, one person will be chosen at random to receive a Black Tulip mug.


  1. Christine on March 7, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    One of my favorite quotes from the entire series: Amy, in response to Miles telling Richard that he would like to marry Hen: “That’s an excellent idea! That way, no one is compromised, no one shoots anyone at dawn, and everyone is happy.”

  2. Gina on March 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    I love the scene towards the end where Miles comes to the war office with his flowers and the besotted grin on his face. I don’t have the book with me to find the quote, but as I recall, the response of the man in the war office (gah, I forgot his name! Sorry!) is priceless.
    (Sorry this was so vague)

  3. Ashley on March 7, 2011 at 3:11 pm

    I love the scenes with Miles and Henrietta in the park.

    Penelope and Charlotte standing there behind the hedge like a leprechaun honor guard…”How” – splutter – “clever of you to disguise yourselves so that you don’t scare away the shrubbery.”
    “Touchy things, hedges,” agreed Henrietta.

  4. Trista on March 7, 2011 at 4:33 pm

    This one is my favorite book of the series so I could quote all day, but I’ll go with the scene at Almack’s close to the beginning when Henrietta is explaining to Miles how she likes to say the word “albatross”.
    “And Richard was so sure insanity didn’t run in the family,” Miles mused loudly.
    “Shhh! Or you’ll scare away my marital prospects.”
    “You don’t think you already did that by shouting albatross?”

  5. Angie on March 7, 2011 at 5:31 pm

    “He didn’t stop to ask Charlotte what robe a l’anglaise was. Some sort of dress, no doubt.”
    Heh…excellent deduction Miles!
    (One of many witty lines that I love 🙂

  6. Jessica on March 7, 2011 at 6:11 pm

    I don’t have the book to check the right wording, but I always got a kick out of the part where Miles is trying his best to not think of Henrietta in any romantic sense, especially after seeing her in her nightrail. The image of Hen having only a face and legs always made me chuckle.

  7. Valerie on March 7, 2011 at 6:43 pm

    “She’s taken,” gritted out Miles. “So you can just stop looking at her like that.”
    “Like what?” asked Vaughn
    “Like you want to take her home and add her to your harem!”
    “Last I looked, I wasn’t in possession of one, but you know, Dorrington, it really is an excellent idea. I shall have to see to it at once.”
    Got to love Vaughn!!

  8. Bailey on March 7, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    I have a few:
    “No one kept linen quite as fresh as Downey” page 91

    “It wasn’t the headache-being a big strong man, Miles never succumbed to such minor ills as the headache-and it wasn’t French artillery, and as far as he knew, there weren’t any giant-bearing beanstalks in the vicinity, so it could only be one thing. The Dowager Duchess of Dovedale” page 47

    “Sometimes a girl needed a bit of unconditional agreement” page 134

    “‘Can you ask?’ ‘Can you answer?’ ‘Can you save the Platonic dialogue for some other occasion?'” page 391

  9. Pam on March 7, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    I, too, have a few that come to mind. One is the bit, already mentioned, when Miles attempts to not think of Henrietta in any state of undress, or transparent dress, or form-fitting dress, etc.

    Another is “Miles resisted the urge to linger cravenly in the doorway. There were all those…mothers out there. Mothers of the deadliest kind. Matchmaking mothers. All of them determined to snare a viscount for their offspring. It was enough to send a man running to Delaroche, begging to be put in a nice, safe cell.”

    And then, continuing the Almack’s theme, “Oh, look! There’s an unmarried marquis looking for a bride!”

    Followed by “‘She had a husband already!’ one girl complained huffily to her mother. ‘And he was a marquis! It’s not fair!’ ‘There, there, dear,’ clucked her mother, glowering in the direction of Miles and the marquise. ‘Mummy will find you another viscount. There’s that nice Pinchingdale-Snipe boy…'”

    Let’s round it out with the Dowager Duchess, a voice of reason on all occasions: “Any boy fool enough to fight a duel deserves to die in it! We need more duels… Reduce the number of half-wits clogging the ballrooms.”

    I’m sure there are loads more from later in the book that I’ll think to add later, but right now the Almack’s scene is standing out.

  10. Beth G. on March 7, 2011 at 10:11 pm

    “She yanked down a copy of the Cosmopolitan Lady’s Book and began leafing through…

    “Huddled in a corner of Hatchards they went through ‘Use Your Eyes to Tell Him He’s the One’ (Henrietta went cross-eyed trying to gaze meaningfully into Penelope’s eyes); ‘Ten Tricks for a More Flirtatious Fan” (three books tumbled to the floor); and “Ravish HIm with Roses,” which wasn’t nearly as titillating as it sounded, having to do mostly with flower arrangements.

    ” ‘Brilliant,’ said Hen disgustedly. “I can stun him into immobility by going cross-eyed, knock him senseless with my fan, and stick a rose in his teeth while he’s unconscious.’ “

  11. Beth G. on March 7, 2011 at 10:13 pm

    ” ‘We’ll discuss it when you’re older.’

    ” ‘Juliet was married when she was thirteen, you know,’ protested Henrietta.

    ” ‘Yes, and look what happened to her,’ replied Lady Uppington.’ “

  12. Beth G. on March 7, 2011 at 10:17 pm

    The one about the legs was one of my favorites, too! Here it is:

    “As far as he was concerned, Henrietta wasn’t supposed to have a body. She was a head on legs. Hmm, those had been very nice legs he’d seen outlined through… No. There were rules about lusting after your best friend’s sister. Hell, forget rules, more like immutable laws of nature. If he broke them, there would be strange eclipses of the moon, and the sheeted dead would rise and gibber in the streets. It was unnatural, that was what it was. Unnatural and wrong.

    “But so well shaped, for something so wrong.”

  13. Amanda on March 7, 2011 at 11:42 pm

    The Masque of the Black Tulip is by far my favorite of all the books…with that said I have a hard time picking a favorite part let alone a favorite quote! However, the most memorable part, due to it’s “chuckle factor” has to be the scene where Hen and her girlfriends, dressed in all green, are hiding in the bushes as Miles drives through the park. I’m smiling just thinking about it.

    “They were dressed all in green – to blend in with the scenery Penelope had explained with relish – and resembled nothing so much as a troupe of lost leprechauns, or a bunch of frogs who had misplaced their lily pad.”

    I like this quote too…
    “Patience is only a virtue when there is something worth waiting for.”

  14. Rachel on March 8, 2011 at 1:10 am

    I’m not often a commenter here, but I felt I had to chip in with my favorite Black Tulip quote. My favorite quote is not terribly funny or romantic, but for some reason it is one of my favorite lines from anything I have read. I am not sure why but it has always stuck with me. It is from when Miles is remembering the first time he ever went to Uppington House at the age of 8 and meets Henrietta. My favorite line is “I say, Selwick? Does your sister have any toy soldiers?” It just seems to capture Miles in his good-natured, kind way. When I read that I get this fabulous picture in my mind of what Miles is like. I will provide the passage to put it in context in case anyone is not sure where the quote came from.

    “It’s all right,” said Miles matter-of-factly, just as a chubby toddler in a frilly dress waddled into the room. “They don’t want me returned.”
    Before Lady Uppington could react to that startling statement, the toddler thrust the grubby doll in her arms at Miles. The china head wobbled ominously and bits of stuffing escaped out the neck. “Play.”
    Miles decided that if he was going to spend the holidays here, they were going to have to get a few things straight. “Boys,” he informed the tot grandly, “do not play with dolls.”
    The toddler looked decidedly unimpressed. She shoved the doll at him again. “Play.”
    “I say, Selwick? Does your sister have any toy soldiers?”
    And that was that.

  15. Rebecca W. on March 8, 2011 at 1:54 am

    These have to be my two all-time favorite quotes from “Black Tulip”:

    1) “‘He did just as he should. Lord Vaughn,’ pronounced Lady Uppington, in her best ‘I-am-your-mama-and-therefore-know-everything’ voice, ‘is a rake.’

    ‘Isn’t Miles?” countered Henrietta, remembering several tales she wasn’t supposed to have heard.

    Lady Uppington smiled fondly at her daughter. ‘No, darling. Miles is a dear make-believe rake. Lord Vaughn,’ she added disapprovingly, ‘is the real thing.'”

    2) “Miles was still mourning the loss of his Romantic Plan. ‘There was going to be champagne, and oysters, and you’ — he held out both hands as though shifting a piece of furniture — ‘were going to be sitting there, and I was going to get down on one knee, and…and…”

  16. Diandra on March 8, 2011 at 4:47 am

    I LOVE The Masque of the Black Tulip, and Miles is definitely my favorite hero. It’s so hard to pick one line, but an exchange I like is between Miles and Theresa Ballinger at Almack’s. It’s pretty witty considering it’s both of their first meetings with the other, and it shows a little bit of Miles’ rogue-potential outside of his conversations with Hen and her friends. :

    “The woman smiled, a slow smile that began at the corners of her lips and worked its way up throug her cheekbones, but never quite to her eyes. ‘I’m not entirely displeased to be relieved of the stuff. I prefer my refreshments to be…stronger.’

    The glance she cast Mile’s shoulders suggested that she was referring to more than just beverages.

    ‘You’ve found yourself in the wrong place, then,’ replied Miles frankly. Almack’s, after all, was known for its weak beverages and even more lackluster company. Unless one was passionately fond of Lady Jersey, and Miles didn’t think this woman fell into the Lady Jersy idolizing faction.

    Lashes as dark as her hair swooped down to veil bottomless eyes. ‘Every now and again, one finds exceptions to any general rule.’

    ‘That depends,’ Miles drawled, ‘on just how far one is willing to bend the rules.’

    ‘Until they break.’ The last consonant hung delicately in the air.

    Miles favored her with his most rakish glance. ‘Like a maiden’s heart?’

    She drew a long-nailed finger delicately along the fringe of her fan. ‘Or a man’s resolve.’ “

  17. Georgia on March 8, 2011 at 1:38 pm

    “Downstairs in the servant’s hall, the word passed again that the master had been seen carrying his wife up the stairs — again…”

  18. Shannon on March 8, 2011 at 2:56 pm

    My favorite part has to be the maddened warrior ducks!

  19. Petra on March 8, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    I think the Black Tulip is my favorite too! There are just sooo many good quotes.
    For instance:
    Lady Uppington: “Not that I wouldn’t mind your marrying an earl, but the most important thing is that you find —” “I know,” Henrietta broke in, in her best wearisome-youngest child voice, “someone who loves me.” … “No, darling, what you want to look for is a good leg.” 🙂

    And so cute that Miles has given her her favorite stuffed animal: Bunny the bunny (Henrietta had not been the most creative of small children).

    Stwyth? she whispered to Miles. “He’s from Wales,” Miles whispered back. “They haven’t discovered vowels yet.” and a little further … You can go, Stwyth. Go…” What did butlers do when they weren’t opening doors? “Go buttle.”

  20. Céline on March 9, 2011 at 7:36 am

    I love all the scenes that have been mentionned above!
    I’d like to add an Eloise quotation though… and it would be the conversation she’s having with the Priest at the Abbey…
    “Nothing like that, I protested. I’m just using his archives.
    – Ah, commented the vicar, so that’s what they’re calling it now!”

    I could also add any conversation she has with Colin! They’re very funny and witty!

  21. Krysty on March 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    This is also my favorite Pink book! A few of the most memorable quotes in my opinion are:

    “Oh, that!” Miles beamed at her in a way entirely inappropriate for someone courting violent death. “That’s just the noise it makes when it’s going fast!” he explained happily.

    If Miles could have also stripped himself of his new white stockings and knee breeches, he would have, but somehow, he thought he’d arouse more attention striding in there buck naked than he would clad as though for a court audience.

    Richard would have been the logical choice for accomplice in this endeavor; the two of them even had their own code, developed during their schooldays and never cracked by even the most determined of French agents. But no, Richard had to go fall in love. Dashed inconsiderate of him.

    After Richard had been inconsiderate enough to go and get himself captured by the Ministry of Police, Lady Uppington had become positively unreasonable on the subject of spying. Henrietta’s requests were met with “No. Absolutely not. Out of the question, young lady,” and even one memorable “There are still nunneries in England.”

  22. Susan on March 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm

    I had forgotten about “Go Buttle.” That was a good one. There are so many in Black Tulip.
    I still like The Incompetent Duelist for Miles’ costume.

  23. Amy Shaw on March 12, 2011 at 12:00 pm

    “I’m a historian,” I explained helpfully.
    Joan looked at me as though I had just volunteered to introduce her to the Mad Hatter … “Oh, you study dead people.”
    Clearly, she was of the Pammy school of history, where Genghis Khan hobnobbed with Louis XIV on Bosworth Field – all wearing hoopskirts. After all, if they weren’t in the tabloids last week, it was all olden days, anyway. If it meant that she wasn’t going to come after me with her reading crop, I really didn’t care if she thought that Attila the Hun had been one of the signatories of the Treaty of Versailles.

  24. […] a fun idea, Beth!  Lauren has a post on her site devoted to favorite quotes from Pink I and Pink II, but she doesn’t have any for Pink III yet.  Let’s do […]

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    BLACK TULIP Quotations « Lauren Willig – News and Events

  26. […] Compare favorite Black Tulip quotes–and jot down your own to share later this month!– with the long ago Pink Carnation Quotation Compendium project. […]

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