The Reptile Room

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A Series of Unfortunate Events
Book the Second: The Reptile Room
by Lemony Snicket


(in the dedication) For Beatrice--My love for you shall live forever. You, however, did not. Page 132

Lemony Snicket: (narrating) When someone is a little bit wrong — say, when a waiter puts nonfat milk in your espresso macchiato, instead of lowfat milk — it is often quite easy to explain to them how and why they are wrong. But if someone is surpassingly wrong — say, when a waiter bites your nose instead of taking your order--you can often be so surprised that you are unable to say anything at all. Paralyzed by how wrong the waiter is, your mouth would hang slightly open and your eyes would blink over and over, but you would be unable to say a word.

Lemony Snicket: (narrating) When you were very small, perhaps someone read to you the insipid story — the word insipid here means not worth reading to someone — of the Boy Who Cried Wolf. A very dull boy, you may remember, cried Wolf! when there was no wolf, and the gullible villagers ran to rescue him only to find the whole thing was a joke. Then he cried Wolf! when it wasn't a joke, and the villagers didn't come running, and the boy was eaten and the story, thank goodness, was over. The story's moral, of course, ought to be Never live somewhere where wolves are running around loose, but whoever read you the story probably told you that the moral was not to lie. This is an absurd moral, for you and I both know that sometimes not only is it good to lie, it is necessary to lie. For example, it was perfectly appropriate, after Violet left the Reptile Room, for Sunny to crawl over to the cage that held the Incredibly Deadly Viper, unlatch the cage, and begin screaming as loudly as she could even though nothing was really wrong. There is another story concerning wolves that somebody has probably read to you, which is just as absurd. I am talking about Little Red Riding Hood, an extremely unpleasant little girl who, like the Boy Who Cried Wolf, insisted on intruding on the territory of dangerous animals. You will recall that the wolf, after being treated very rudely by Little Red Riding Hood, ate the little girl's grandmother and put on her clothing as a disguise. It is this aspect of the story that is the most ridiculous, because one would think that even a girl as dim-witted as Little Red Riding hood could tell in an instant the difference between her grandmother and a wolf dressed in a nightgown and fuzzy slippers. If you know somebody very well, like your grandmother or your baby sister, you will know when they are real and when they are fake. This is why as Sunny began to scream, Violet and Klaus could tell immediately tell that her scream was absolutely fake.

Lemony Snicket: (narrating) We all know that our time in this world is limited, and that eventually all of us will end up underneath some sheet, never to wake up. And yet it is always a surprise when it happens to someone we know. It is like walking up the stairs to your bedroom in the dark, and thinking there is one more stair than there is. Your foot falls down, through the air, and there is a sickly moment of dark surprise as you try and readjust the way you thought of things.

Lemony Snicket: (narrating) It is very unnerving to be proven wrong, particularly when you are really right and the person who is really wrong is the one who is proving you wrong and proving himself, wrongly, right. Right?

Sunny Baudelaire: Aha!

Klaus Baudelaire: You know very well that I was not careless with that lamp.

Count Olaf (as Stephano): Is that clear enough for you? Now get in the damn jeep.

Mr Poe : No no no, that won't work! Uncle Monty can't drive, he's dead!

Count Olaf (as Stephano): BLASTED FURNACES OF HELL!

Mr Poe : Goodness! Golly! Good God! Blessed Allah! Zeus and Hera! Mary and Joseph! Nathaniel Hawthorne! Don't touch her! Grab her! Move closer! Run away! Don't move! Kill the snake! Leave it alone! Give it some food! Don't let it bite her! Lure the snake away! Here, snakey! Here, snakey snakey!

Mr Poe: It bit her! It bit her! It bited her! Calm down! Get moving! Call an ambulance! Call the police! Call a scientist! Call my wife! This is terrible! This is awful! This is ghastly! This is phantasmagorical!

Violet: If only Uncle Monty knew what we know, and Stephano knew that he knew what we know. But Uncle Monty doesn’t know what we know, and Stephano knows that he doesn’t know what we know.

Klaus: I know.

Violet: I know you know, but what we don’t know is what Count Olaf—I mean Stephano—is really up to.

See also[edit]

More Quotes from A Series of Unfortunate Events.


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