1. When she urged everyone not to overthink anything.
“No life appears rewarding if you think about it too much.”
2. When she refused to deny that relationships and money are intertwined.
“If she won’t say yes when he might be poor, he won’t want her when he will be rich.”
3. When she called out her own son for being a sugar baby.
“Twenty four years ago you married Cora against my wishes for her money. Give it away now and what was the point of your peculiar marriage in the first place?”
4. When she emphasized the importance of fibbing to your significant other.
“There can be too much truth in any relationship.”
5. Then reiterated her point in conversation with her daughter-in-law.
Cora: “I hate to go behind Robert’s back.”
Countess: “That is a scruple no successful wife can afford.”
6. When she called us all out for lying by omission to keep up appearances.
“Everyone goes down the aisle with half the story hidden.”
7. When she reduced the differences between men and women down to one key point.
“Men notice nothing.”
8. When she drafted one of her very own rules of attraction.
“Give him a date for when Mary’s out of mourning. No one wants to kiss a girl in black.”
9. When she reminded us that we’re all walking contradictions.
“I’m a woman, Mary. I can be as contrary as I choose.”
10. When she inadvertently invoked Nike’s just do it mantra.
“Stop whining and find something to do.”
11. When she expressed how annoying virtuous people can be.
“She is a good woman. And while the phrase is enough to set my teeth on edge, there are moments when her virtue demands admiration.”
12. When she noted how annoying nice people are, too.
“Why do you always have to pretend to be nicer than the rest of us?”
13. When she made zero attempt to conceal how selfish she is.
“I was right about my maid. She’s leaving—to get married! How could she be so selfish?”
14. When she embraced patriotism in the oddest way possible.
“Last night! He looked so well. Of course it would happen to a foreigner. No Englishman would dream of dying in someone else’s house.”
15. When she owned her class rank without apology.
“Don’t be defeatist, dear, it’s very middle class.”
16. When she found a way to deride principled living.
“Principles are like prayers. Noble of course. But awkward at a party.”
17. When she acknowledged her mischievous intentions outright.
“I do hope I’m interrupting something.”
18. When she put potty humor in its place.
“Vulgarity is no substitute for wit.”
19. When she summed up grand-motherhood perfectly.
“It’s the job of grandmothers to interfere.”
20. When she hit on the absurdity of life just right.
“Sir Richard, life is a game, where the player must appear ridiculous.”
21. When she told us all exactly what aging is like.
“At my age, one must ration one’s excitement.”
22. When she stressed the strength of old women.
“A woman of my age can face reality far better than most men.”
23. When she articulated the truth about idle chitchat.
“Switzerland has everything to offer, except perhaps conversation. And one can learn to live without that.”
24. When she zeroed in on the introvert’s plight.
“There’s nothing simpler than avoiding people you don’t like. Avoiding one’s friends, that’s the real test.”
25. When she expressed suspicion of new technology.
[considering a telephone] “Is this an instrument of communication or torture?”