A Committee Should Consist of Three People, One of Whom Is Always Sick and the Other Is Always Absent

Herbert Beerbohm Tree? Hendrik Willem van Loon? E. V. Lucas? Charles Haddon Spurgeon? Robert Oliver Jones? Lord Palmerston? Cedric Hardwicke? Robert Copeland? Question for Quote Investigator: Committees are common tools for decision making, but detractors have highlighted their inefficiency, unimaginativeness, and inflexibility. Here are four examples from a pertinent family of humorous remarks: (1) The …

Die, My Dear Doctor! That’s the Last Thing I Shall Do

Groucho Marx? Lord Palmerston? Old Bishop? John Cordy Jeaffreson? Söndags-Nisse? Robert Lee Bullard? Anonymous? Dear Quote Investigator: A famous person lying on their deathbed overheard distraught visitors discussing mortality. The stricken but still lively individual sat bolt upright and declared: Die? That’s the last thing I’ll do. This humorously redundant statement has been attributed to …

A Hero Is No Braver Than an Ordinary Person, But the Hero Is Brave Five Minutes Longer

Marcel Proust? Ralph Waldo Emerson? Lord Palmerston? Duke of Wellington? Japanese Proverb? Anonymous? Dear Quote Investigator: The difference between demonstrating bravery and cowardice can be surprisingly small. Perseverance under extreme duress can lead to success. Here are three instances from a family of sayings about heroism and tenacity: A hero is no braver than an …

What Might Have Happened, If That Which Did Happen, Had Not Happened, I Cannot Undertake To Say

Lord Palmerston? George Ward Nichols? John Moncure? Apocryphal? Dear Quote Investigator: Describing a counterfactual world typically requires a comically twisted statement: What would have happened if what did happen had not happened? These words have been attributed to British statesman Lord Palmerston, but I have been unable to find a citation. Would you please help? …

Only Three People Understood It: The Prince Consort Who is Dead, a German Professor Who Has Gone Mad, and I Who Have Forgotten All About It

Lord Palmerston? George Peacocke? Apocryphal? Dear Quote Investigator: There is an anecdote about a fiendishly complex diplomatic agreement. Negotiating, signing, and comprehending the pact had sent one person to the grave, sent a second to a lunatic asylum, and left a third with memory loss. Are you familiar with this tale? Quote Investigator: This story …