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Quotes: The Mysterious Benedict Society
"The sneak! You're lying to us, you dirty—" the man shouted, and then, strangely, all was silent, as if someone had clapped a hand over his mouth. After a while I said, "Dirty what? Please tell me — the suspense is killing me." The voice returned, much calmer now. "It won't be suspense that does it," he said. "If you don't crack tomorrow, we'll toss you into the harbor." "Well, I'm sure I would infinitely prefer that fate to the smell of your breath," I replied, upon which he struck me hard upon the face and ordered me taken from the room.
Milligan describes his capture on Nomansen Island to the children— The Mysterious Benedict Society

When half an hour had passed with no sign of Jillson, Constance suddenly sang out: "Now we have waited for thirty consecutive / Minutes to see some old dirty Executive. / Thirty long minutes I could have been sleeping. / But she doesn't find her appointments worth keeping." Kate was startled. "What are you, a cuckoo-clock poet? Cut it out, she might be right outside the door!" Jillson was, in fact, right outside the door, but to Kate's relief she entered with no more than her previous bossiness—no hint of indignation. The walls and doors must very solid, Kate reflected; it would be difficult to eavesdrop through them.
The Mysterious Benedict Society

Constance turned to Kate. "What about you, Miss Taurus? Can you prove that you're for us?" Kate hesitated, trying to think of an indignant response that rhymed.
The Mysterious Benedict Society

Constance sat in the back row, where none of the other students would notice her watching him. The strategy worked, but not without problems. In the corridor between classes Constance complained under her breath "Every time you have a real itch, I get the wrong answer." "Sorry," said Sticky sheepishly. "I get itchy when I'm nervous. I'll try to do better." "Don't just try," Constance said. "Actually do better." "Hey, my fidgeting isn't the only problem, you know!" Sticky hissed. "It would help if you had practiced your Morse Code at all!" Constance's face turned so red, her pale blue eyes glistened so brightly behind angry tears, and her wispy blond hair was in such a state of dishevelment that she looked more like a small child's painting of a person than an actual person herself. A fierce display of vivid colors in odd proportions, she seemed to have stepped right out of a canvas for the sole purpose of throwing a fit. "Now, children," said Kate in motherly tone, stepping between them. "Let's not quibble about who's to blame. Blaming is wrong. The important thing is to get along with one another, so we may have better success cheating."
The Mysterious Benedict Society

Sticky read... "No one seems to realize how much we are driven by FEAR, the essential component of human personality. Everything else— from ambition to love to despair— derives in some way from this single powerful emotion. Must find the best way to make use of this." "Well, that's cheery," said Kate. "I bet Mr. Curtain's just a big scaredy cat," Constance said. "So he thinks everyone else is, too." Sticky, who happened to consider himself a prime specimen of scaredy cat, moved on without comment.
The Mysterious Benedict Society

Constance, too, was looking down at the little crowd of students milling outside the locked doors. "The gym's always open, except when it isn't," she said, mimicking Jackson. She mopped her damp face with her damp sleeve. "What do the Executives do in there anyway?" Constance had only meant to express her annoyance (in fact she was composing an insulting poem in which Executives licked the gym floor clean), but Reynie looked at her as if she'd turned to gold. "That's a good question! I always assumed they were exercising—-just keeping the gym to themselves. But what if they're up to something else?"
The Mysterious Benedict Society

"We're still in a very tight spot," Reynie said. "Mr. Curtain will be watching everybody very... and, oh, don't you find these danishes splendid, Sticky? They go down wonderfully well with cold milk, especially the raspberry ones." Sticky wasn't puzzled by the change of subject. He, too, had seen Jackson and Martina approaching the table. He was responding earnestly that he preferred the cinnamon rolls when Jackson drew up and said with a sneer, "George, forgive me for interrupting your very interesting conversation about breakfast foods, but Martina and I are making an inspection. No doubt you've all heard about the spy."
The Mysterious Benedict Society

Kate: "What would be good... What would be good would be if Mr. Curtain won the Nobel Peace Prize!"
Sticky: "Have you gone off your... oh, hi there, S.Q.! What brings you by our table?"
The Mysterious Benedict Society

"The chute hasn't been sealed off or anything, has it, Constance?" "How should I know? I didn't even know about it," said Constance. She gestured at the laundry piles around them. "Normally this just builds up until Number Two hauls it away in a basket. She says she hates to spoil me, but she can't stand the mess. I call it her laundry quandary." "That must annoy her to no end," Sticky said. "Oh, it does!" said Constance, and she smiled a little, cheered by the memory. Kate was taken aback. "You mean you live in this house and don't even—?" She shook her head. "You amaze me, Constance."
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey

“No change?” Reynie asked Constance. They were standing back to back. “She opened her eyes once and begged me to do my own laundry,” Constance said. “I told her I prefer that she do it, which is what I always say. I didn’t want to make her more confused than she already is. She sighed and went right back to sleep."
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey

"I've been giving the matter some thought, you see, and the fact is that once I have a proper distillation of the duskwort, it should be simple enough to keep you asleep— helplessly, quietly asleep — except on such occasions as I deem appropriate. Say, whenever I require more information. Benedict has already proven himself quite weak where you children are concerned." "Well, I suppose that isn't the dumbest idea you've ever had," said Kate, just to show pluck, for Mr. Curtain's suggestion had made her feel sick with dread. "There are rather a lot of us to keep hidden, though. Do you have some kind of shrinking machine, too?" "Properly stacked, Miss Wetherall, I should think you would all fit nicely into a single locked closet." Mr. Curtain pursed his lips, pretending to consider. "But you're right, it may prove too much of an inconvenience. I'll need to reflect upon it. What do you say, Benedict? Do you prefer to be gotten rid of entirely, or to sleep your life away in a closet?" "I am partial to long naps," Mr. Benedict said. "But I've never been gotten rid of before, so it's difficult for me to say." Mr. Benedict's implacable calm seemed to ruffle Mr. Curtain, whose smirk faded, replaced by an icy stare. "Then it's lucky you will not be the one who chooses. Now do be quiet, all of you. I've had enough of your distractions."
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey

"So what's your team called?" asked Kate, twisting her legs into a pretzel-like configuration. "Sticky and I are the Winmates!" When this declaration was met with baffled stares, she frowned. "Don't you get it? It's a play on words—a portly man's toe, or... What did you say we call that, Sticky, when two words are kind of bundled together?" "A portmanteau," said Sticky. "Right! A portmanteau! See, we're called the Winmates because we're inmates—like prison inmates, get it?—who win." Kate looked back and forth at Reynie and Constance, searching their expressions for signs of delight. "You gave yourselves a name?" asked Constance. Now it was Kate's turn to be baffled. "You didn't. How can you have a team without a name?" Reynie sneaked an amused glance at Sticky, who only shrugged. No need to point out whose idea this naming business had been.
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma

"What are you doing?" said a woman's voice. Myrtle. Her name was Myrtle. "I was about to pat the dear on the head." "Oh! I wouldn't do that! She's prone to bite strangers who reach for her." The man straightened and turned to the woman. "A reasonable practice." "And she won't do anything you ask," said Myrtle." "I mean she can do it, but she won't if you ask her to."
McCracken and the orphanage matron Myrtle in Constance's flashback, The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma

Constance, who had slept almost the entire time in the van, was still groggy and exceedingly cross, and now—in response to Kate's apology—she said, "You're sorry? We get packed in a van like sardines in a can / I have to sit by a stinky Ten Man / Thirsty and terrified hour after hour / Certain that Curtain has us in his power... And you say you're sorry? You think sorry covers it?" "Constance!" Reynie scolded, and Sticky shot her a disapproving look. Kate bit her tongue. In recent months she had finally come up with a rhyming response for the next time Constance attacked her in verse (at long last she had hit upon "remonstrance" as a suitable rhyme for "Constance") and she'd been most eager to use it. But the timing was all wrong, and so she said lightly, "Sorry will have to do for now, Connie girl."
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma

They proceeded down a long corridor and into an elevator. "Mr. Curtain put you as far away from him as possible," Crawlings explained as the elevator descended. He has so much work to do, and children can be so noisy, you know. Though I suppose you don't notice this yourselves." "We're more bothered by smells," Constance said, holding her nose, for in the close confines of the elevator Crawling's cologne was almost overpowering. Crawlings grunted and muttered something about inferior sensibilities.
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma

"You okay?" Sticky whispered. "It sounded like he hit you with a lead pipe." "Felt like it, too," Kate whispered back, and though her head was throbbing she added, "I'm fine. A little pain never hurt anybody, did it?" Sticky looked at her askance. "Um, actually—" he began, but Kate quieted him with a wink.
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma

Mr Gaines: "What of the other Ten Men? Your report said that Milligan's agents rounded up a 'baker's half-dozen', which we took to mean seven, since that number corresponds to our own information. I must admonish you, Benedict—it's highly irregular and inappropriate language for an official report."
Mr. Benedict: "So then you did receive my report! Why, then, have you asked all these questions?"
The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Prisoner's Dilemma

"Do you mean to say you remember the whole diary word for word?" "Sure!" John was growing excited. "Like that morning at breakfast? You know, on your first day, when you repeated everything I'd told you?" Nicholas nodded. "Exactly like that. Here, I'll show you." And without hesitating, he launched into another word-for-word repetition of the things John had said the first morning. He didn't get far before John leaped to his feet in amazement. "I can't believe this. You still remember all that? I mean, I knew you could—but I didn't know you could—" He began to pace excitedly back and forth. "Do you mean to tell me, Nick, that you remember absolutely everything?"
The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict

"I believe that's all for now, Mr. Collum," he said. "Though I hope you'll allow me to consult with you in the future about other possible improvements. I'm sure more will occur to me as we move forward with these changes." By this time the director had retaken his seat and was listening attentively to every word. When at last Nicholas lapsed into a waiting silence, Mr. Collum was clearly baffled. Cocking his head to the side, he said "But I repeat, Nicholas, what about you? Don't you wish to be released from your punishments? Or to be moved into a different room? Or to receive some reward? What is it that you want for yourself?" "Oh, as for that," Nicholas said, waving off the question, "all of this is for me — for me as much as anyone else. As you've said yourself, the Manor is going to be my home for a while. Why wouldn't I want it to be as pleasant a home as possible?" His face to took on a sly expression, and with a subtle shrug, he added, "Naturally, I also wish to partake of the treasure." Mr. Collum suddenly looked extremely serious. "Ah," he said, narrowing his eyes. "So now we come to the truth at last." "No," Nicholas said, and he looked Mr. Collum directly in the eye. "We arrived at the truth the moment I walked into this room. You've already admitted that with the changes I'm suggesting, we can probably save the orphanage. There is no reason for you to keep all the treasure for yourself, Mr. Collum. None whatsoever." Mr. Collum pursed his lips, obviously weighing his response. "However," said Nicholas in a much lighter tone, "we can negotiate those details later." He jumped up. "If you'll just agree to these conditions, I'll take you to the treasure right away." Mr. Collum likewise jumped up — in surprise. "You can't be serious!" Nicholas frowned in mock confusion. "I can't?" He knew Mr. Collum had no idea how to handle him. Mr. Collum could not understand why Nicholas would take him to the treasure without arriving at some agreement first. Why would the boy throw away his only bargaining chip?
The Extraordinary Education of Nicholas Benedict

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