Wolfe's Schedule?

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Wolfe's Schedule?

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Fev 28, 2008, 12:09 am

Please remind me: when does Wolfe breakfast (in bed, wearing yellow pajamas), get up, come downstairs, go up to the plant rooms, come down from the plant rooms, open mail, drink beer, eat lunch, go up the plant rooms, come down from the plant rooms, and have dinner (at which no business may be discussed)?

Fev 28, 2008, 11:47 am

This is what I found from the wikipedia page:

...Wolfe maintains a rigid schedule in the brownstone. After breakfast in his bedroom while wearing yellow silk pajamas, he is with Horstmann in the plant rooms from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Lunch is usually at 1:15 p.m. He returns to the plant rooms from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Dinner is generally at 7:15 or 7:30 p.m. (although in one book, Wolfe tells a guest that lunch is served at 1 o'clock and dinner at 8). The remaining hours, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., and after dinner, are available for business, or for reading if there is no pressing business (by Archie's lights, even if there is). Sunday's schedule is more relaxed...

Here's the link.

Seems correct to me. :)

Fev 29, 2008, 5:28 am

My recollection is that Wolfe was served at a side table in his bedroom rather than in bed. Over My Dead Body (1940) provides a menu of "orange juice, eggs au beurre noir, two slices of boiled Georgia ham, hashed brown potatoes, hot blueberry muffins, and a pot of steaming cocoa.". Fritz served breakfast at 8:15, irrespective of when the previous nights activities finished.

I can also add that Sunday meals were "self-help", and taken in the kitchen.

Mar 22, 2008, 7:30 pm

I'd forgotten that Sunday meals were self-help. The rule about not discussing business at dinner seems almost iron-clad, but I don't remember if the same applies to lunch. When did poor Theodore in the plant rooms eat?

Mar 23, 2008, 11:11 pm

To lunch, yes. To anything eaten out of the dining room, technically, no. I.e., Sunday meals or a snack in the office. Then, still, Wolfe is likely to defer business; but it's no longer within the 'rules'.

(Correct, all?)

Editado: Mar 25, 2008, 7:10 am

Agreed, Eurydice. Though I can't conjure up an authority for it. The closest is the meal served up by Saul, wherein they talk for hours and Wolfe accounts for seven bottles of beer. You may recall it by Archie's (silent) jibe at Saul for serving up three kinds of cheese. The story is titled The Next Witness from Three Witnesses, and concerns a blackmailing scam through a message-taking service.

Is Archie's snide remark evidence of jealousy? It couldn't be, could it!

Edited to halt rampant italics.

Editado: Mar 25, 2008, 3:44 pm

Certainly it couldn't!


And I recall it well.

Next-to-last dinner I had with my boyfriend, he served up two kinds of cheese, and pate - preceding lobster - for us. Nor were they in small quantities! I'm not Wolfe. He's not Wolfe. Or Saul. (But there may be a slight reason for our appreciation of them...)

Mind, I was disappearing for six weeks, afterward. But, in like vein - it isn't every day one has Wolfe visiting!!!

Mar 26, 2008, 12:10 am

I know I'd bend over backwards trying to find/do something special if Wolfe came here! Or Archie or Saul, for that matter. ;)

Mar 26, 2008, 12:52 am


Mar 26, 2008, 10:42 am

It must by me that's jealous?

Mar 26, 2008, 3:07 pm

Oh no cogitno (just realized I spelled your name wrong again in another thread, I'll go fix it), I truly think that Archie harbored a bit of envy towards Saul, hence his unflattering descriptions of his appearance. I think he also really liked Saul, so most was in jest.

Mar 26, 2008, 9:56 pm

The Saul/Archie tension is a hidden gem of the novels. Archie praises Saul's expertise without qualms, and he dutifully reports when Wolfe confides in Saul but excludes him, but you can sense just a whiff of hurt feelings. But it was genius of Stout to think of such a small but telling triangulation. On another subject: If Wolfe were coming to dinner, I'd cater, no matter what the cost (probably a second mortgage).

Mar 27, 2008, 3:04 am

Yes. Very nicely brought out by you both.

I think Saul went very wisely: the best ingredients, no real preparation, no pretense. If you cannot beat Fritz... Could a caterer, even? Wolfe's vote as 'the best chef in New York', was he not?

Mar 27, 2008, 3:08 pm

Yes, I suppose one would have to see if Rusterman's (sp?) caters. :-)

Editado: Mar 27, 2008, 3:12 pm

:) Precisely!

Mar 27, 2008, 4:45 pm

I think that if Wolfe were coming to your house for dinner the trick would be not to try anything "gourmet" or fancy but to go for straightforward, familiar dishes that you know how to make well. I think someone referenced the chicken and dumplings in Some Buried Caesar in the other thread....

Mar 27, 2008, 8:20 pm

Wise; very wise. Or the hash.

Mar 27, 2008, 10:43 pm

On the other hand, if it were Archie coming over, a sandwich and a big glass of milk would be okay.

Mar 27, 2008, 11:55 pm

Yeah. :) And a slice of pie, or three!

Mar 28, 2008, 1:36 am

Rusterman's maybe: but only while Marko was alive. My immediate reaction to Wolfe coming to Dinner would be to run .... probably to an ice cream parlour. Wolfe however, would be an exemplary guest, I am sure. “A guest is a jewel on the cushion of hospitality” ranks amongst his most florid statements, but would govern his actions both as a host, and as a guest. I favour the fresh produce , simply prepared approach. Do I include corned beef for Archie? and what to do with the baker's bread prohibition?

A pre-LT conjecture posited Marko as Nero Wolfe's secret brother! I was never able to completely dismiss it.

Mrs Lee: regarding the spelling, don't even think about it.

Mar 28, 2008, 3:34 pm

cogitno - Not thinking twice about my spelling has gotten me into a lot of trouble! :)

“A guest is a jewel on the cushion of hospitality” - I quoted this to my son's the other day when they had friends over. I really enjoyed the look on their faces. Also on their friends faces. They all had to really think about it. Then decide if it was just a weird mom thing, or did they like it? In the end, their friends liked it a lot and quoted it the rest of the day.

I love The Rubber Band as well, though sometimes I confuse it with The Speckled Band and think it's about a snake. :)

Did they have Wonder bread in Wolfe's day? I would take bakery bread over any of the mass produced bread in cellophane we have now.

Mar 28, 2008, 7:06 pm

All: Am waiting for a chance to use it in conversation, even if only remotely applicable to the situation - "A guest is a jewel on the cushion of hospitality"! I'm sure I'll see faces similar to those observed by MrsLee!

Mar 28, 2008, 8:03 pm

Wonder bread in Wolfe's day: probably an equivalent. But it would have been classified as candy.

Mar 28, 2008, 8:35 pm

Wonder Bread seems to be going the way of the dinosaurs. It's no longer available in my state, for example, and the plant shut down. Even though we stopped eating it long ago, people from my generation felt a twinge of nostalgia. I think we liked seeing it on the shelves but not buying it, partly because of the goofy wrapping. By the way, isn't Wolfe's consumption of beer interesting? It doesn't *quite* fit with his gourmand and orchid behavior. I like that wrinkle in his character.

Mar 29, 2008, 4:22 am

>24 ostrom:

I always liked that he was a beer drinker, too. Did he also save the bottle caps? Or was that just to remind him how many he had drunk already on a particular day?

I guess the way I see it, being a gourmand or an orchid connoisseur requires talent and/or skill, but, for Wolfe, beer drinking is a weakness. It's one of the things that humanize him and balance his arrogance.

Mar 29, 2008, 5:50 am

I believe that he keeps the caps throughout the week and uses them to see if he is sticking to his desire of drinking (I think) 5 quarts a day only.

It is the beer drinking that Stout uses to convey Wolfe's weakness and humanizes him. But it is also part of his exceptional taste in the great things in life.

I, myself, never drink to excess or to get drunk, perhaps 3 beers or a glass of wine a month. But I do try new, exotic and imported beers. I always have since I turned 18 or so. I would venture a guess that I have sampled 200 brands of beer in my life. I have an affinity for dark beer, but only 1 at a time. I have 6 brands of beer in my fridge now that have been there at least 3 or 4 months.

Lord, the character is great, isn't it?

Mar 30, 2008, 2:55 am

It is, it is. What amazed me, reading the first time through the series, is the sense that there's always more, unknowable; that in both Wolfe and in Archie, we had characters so 'real' in their complexity that the interaction springs into unexpected and inexhaustible-seeming life.

One never knows what they'll do with each other.

But I do think it is on this interaction that all turns. Each is marvelous, but on his own, diminished. Nor, from what I have seen, did Stout write so well without that powerful antithesis.

Side note: would Dol Bonner have been more interesting if she had had a strong counter-character? I actually do think her interesting, and like Wolfe, full of depths we might plumb - if. If we were ever given the chance. Or they were ever surprised out. Perhaps we know too much about her past, compared to his, but she's strong and dark and on the surface, cool. Her friend, whose name escapes me, had none of Archie's presence. Would that she had. Though that might have been the Wolfe/Archie death knell - which God forbid!

Mar 30, 2008, 3:06 am

Oh, about beer: a great note of the humble and flawed. And many of the dishes he makes: they aren't rarefied in aura, so much as in preparation. There are elegant items, inherently expensive items, exotic ones: but also the homely hash, the simple corn fritter, the humble scrapple, or the rustic squirrel stew. I really appreciate this. They are made with skill, respect and attention, of ingredients both fresh and fine. But it takes sturdiness of character, and independent judgment, to choose to make them, and do so well.

Moovyz, I admit to inebriation, once or twice, but never as the end in view. Trying different, interesting beers, singly, now and again, is very much more in my line than 'going out drinking'. But I understand his love, and have as much trouble over cups of tea as Wolfe does over beer. And no caps to keep; or bags, usually, with loose tea - what a mess in a desk drawer that would make! ;)

Hurrah on the dark beer, by the way!

Mar 30, 2008, 6:53 pm

I'm not sure that beer drinking isn't a gourmand habit. Was it in Fer-de-lance that Wolfe tried all the different varieties of bottled beer at the time to see if any would do compared to beer on tap? I believe the refined palate would be able to enjoy and capture all the nuances of the varieties of beer that your casual couch potato might miss. I do not claim a refined palate, but even I can taste the difference between a cheap beer and one which has been made with care. I'm also in the dark beer group by the way. :) Though not very often.

As to Dol Bonner, I always thought a fiery relationship with Tecumsah Fox would be good for her. Something like Moonlighting.

Mar 31, 2008, 9:15 am

Heh, MrsLee, I didn't mean to disparage beer drinking in general. It can definitely be a gourmand habit. I remember the scene you describe, too, and that was clearly Wolfe the gourmand in action. :)

It just seemed to me that for Wolfe it is more of a weakness than a habit. He sets himself strict limits and counts bottle caps to check he has not overstepped the boundaries. It is my impression that he is more willing to drink lower quality beer than eat inferior food. But this is just my interpretation...

I agree you guys, Dol Bonner would have been more interesting with a different counter-character.

Mar 31, 2008, 10:47 am

I like MrsLee's idea - Dol Bonner and Tecumsah Fox in Moonlighting - quite creative! Mmmm, Wolfe and Fox - never really got the connection before. Wonder where that comes from?

Mar 31, 2008, 4:31 pm

LOL, I never got that connection before either, etrainer!

Rullakartiina - I think I consider his beer drinking a weakness too, but that's because I can't imagine anyone drinking that much and being able to stand up! No wonder he needed a bathroom in the office. :) Then there is Winston Churchill. He apparently drank like a fish, and whiskey at that, and from all appearances, functioned very well. Different constitutions I suppose. I drink one glass of wine or a beer and have to go take a nap.

A question. I am far from an expert on the history of beer and regional drinking preferences. Have there always been specialty beers? Wolfe was from Europe, was beer drinking more refined, or specialized in Europe in the 30's and 40's than in America? I think the times and the nationality had something to do with it, but I don't know enough to be sure.

Mar 31, 2008, 7:17 pm

My limited understanding is that most brewing has been what we call "micro-brewing" and that large commercial brewing is a 20th century phenomenon. I know just a bit about German beer, and even the commercial beer there is brewed more painstakingly (and of course, the Germans have national standards for their beer and wine) than here. I assume that in 30's and 40's U.S. there were more regional beers and even more national companies, whereas now two or three giants control the large commercial market. Would most of the beers have come from NYC itself or upstate New York or both (in Wolfe's world)?

Mar 31, 2008, 9:13 pm

My guess (and that's all it is) is that in the short period after prohibition and the writing of "Fer-De-Lance" that there would likely have been a large amount of small bottled beer companies vying for the marketplace. I believe that the novel mentioned something like 34 brands for Wolfe to sample. It seems likely that many micro-brewery operations were around at the time. The recent explosion of micro brewing is probably similar to what would have happened right after lifting of the bans on beer.

Editado: Abr 1, 2008, 12:27 am

Nikšicko bear has been produced in Monte Negro since the late 19th Century. I don't know anything of their wines. I'm sure they are produced - just about every country in Europe does - but doubt that any Monte Negroin (?) product would suit an oenophile. The beer, on the other hand, is very likely to be of high quality. I have tried to source it in the past, without any luck. As both my parents were from the former Yugoslavia (different parts of it) I have considerable familiarity with formers citizens from that region, and can report that their drinking habits are without prejudice.

I am sure (I think) that Wolfe was seen drinking wine with dinner in the A&E series. He certainly had a well stocked cellar: he cooked with it, insisted that at least one bottle of red and one of white wine were available for one of his denouements; and it was certainly served at his table for guests. I would be surprised if wine was not routinely served at his table for his personal pleasure.