Agatha Said, pt. 4

Happy February! As this is the month in which we celebrate Valentine’s Day, I thought it would be especially appropriate if I shared an Agatha Christie quote about her husband. (Her second husband. The good one.)

Agatha Said:

“I thought then, and indeed have thought ever since, what a wonderful person Max is. He is so quiet, so sparing with words of commiseration. He does things. He does just the things you want done and that consoles you more than anything else could.”

Context: After her first marriage ended, Agatha seized the freedom to travel, leaving her daughter in the care of Agatha’s sister. She was visiting an archaeologist and his wife in Iraq when she first met Max Mallowan, the archaeologist’s assistant. He was promptly tasked with showing her around and escorting her from one city to another.

They were in Greece when Agatha received a set of telegrams informing her that her daughter, Rosalind, was ill with pneumonia. While arranging return travel, Agatha sprained her ankle rather badly. Max immediately changed his plans so he could accompany Agatha back to England and provide any assistance she might need along the way. This quote falls in the midst of that story, as Agatha is considering the kindness Max showed then and in later years.

Why I Chose It: Well, it’s about love, for one thing. I appreciate seeing people speak positively about their spouses, emphasizing their positive traits. And it shows what Agatha appreciated in a partner—specifically, the consideration Max demonstrated. Since they weren’t married during the story she’s recounting, it also reveals what might’ve first attracted Agatha to Max.

As someone who is married to a kind and considerate human, I can tell you, those traits are far too often overlooked in favor of the flashier ones. But in my view, kindness is the purest and most beautiful trait in a spouse. Pretty words and grand gestures are great, but when you’ve sprained your ankle and are worried about a loved one, you want someone who’s there, who’s looking out for you, choosing small, considerate actions over words. That’s the kind of love that stands the test of time.

Agatha Said, pt. 1

Agatha Christie: An Autobiography

Happy November! As I mentioned last month, I’ve been enjoying Agatha Christie’s autobiography. It’s everything I wanted it to be, and more. It feels like you’re sitting across from the lady herself, having a cup of tea as she tells you about her life. The prose is lyrical; the recollections are honest. It’s half autobiography, half memoir, and complete pleasure to read.

I’m so excited to amplify the voice of this incredible author by sharing select quotes from her life story. So let’s get right to our first quote, shall we?

Agatha Said:

“I like living. I have sometimes been wildly despairing, acutely miserable, racked with sorrow, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing.”

Context: This quote arrives early in the book, in a passage where Agatha is musing about what it is to know oneself, how we only know parts of ourselves and the significance of our own lives. She follows this quote with an assessment of how she plans to write the book: a little at a time, savoring the memories as they come.

Why I Chose It: It says a lot about Agatha Christie’s attitude toward life, and it’s a thought that resonates powerfully with me. Through all the ups and downs, joys and tragedies, I know that just being alive is an incredible gift.