Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Great chat up lines in literature (3)

It's coincidence that all three entries in this irregular series are by Dostoevsky...

Prince Myshkin is asked by Mrs Epanchin and her three daughters to tell them what he can read in their faces. He does so, in typically Dostoevskian fashion:

1. “You, Adelaida Ivanovna, have a very happy face; it is the most sympathetic of the three…. You are simple and merry…”

2. “You too, Alexandra Ivanovna, have a very lovely face; but I think you may have some secret sorrow. Your heart is undoubtedly a kind, good one, but you are not merry. There is a certain suspicion of 'shadow' in your face, like in that of Holbein's Madonna in Dresden.”

3. “As for your face, Lizabetha Prokofievna, I not only think, but am perfectly SURE, that you are an absolute child — in all, in all, mind, both good and bad - and in spite of your years.”

The best is reserved for Aglaya. He is coaxed: "But she's pretty, prince, isn't she?" He replies:

4. "Most wonderfully so," said the latter, warmly, gazing at Aglaya with admiration. "Almost as lovely as Nastasia Philipovna, but quite a different type."

What a line. Almost as lovely as somebody else, but not quite... Guaranteed success...

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