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. 2

Happy December and welcome to our second Agatha Day! This month’s quote is both lovely and deep.

Agatha Said:

“I was, I suppose, always over-burdened with imagination. That has served me well in my profession – it must, indeed, be the basis of the novelist’s craft – but it can give you some bad sessions in other respects.”

Context: Agatha’s father died when she was eleven, after slowly declining for some years. Following that loss, her mother began to suffer poor health and, as you can expect, young Agatha started to fear losing her mother.

This quote follows an honest account of her anxiety over her mother’s health, a fear that was particularly strong for a couple years. The anxiety faded once Agatha was able to sleep nearby (in her father’s dressing room) so she could hear her mother if she needed help during the night.

Why I Chose It: I love Agatha’s honesty in sharing her childhood struggles with anxiety. That she recognizes a link with her imagination is particularly insightful. Imagination has two sides. It doesn’t just allow a person to imagine positive things; it can lead someone to see all the negative possibilities as well. So often a trait that seems like a gift, from an external perspective, can be quite a burden as well. In this quote, Agatha acknowledges that reality, recognizing the double-edged sword of her own imagination.