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The Remains of the Day

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

"'He was my enemy.' he was saying, 'but he always behaved like a gentleman. We treated each other decently over six months of shelling each other. He was a gentleman doing his job and I bore him no malice. I said to him: "Look here, we're enemies now and I'll fight you with all I've got. But when this wretched business is over, we shan't have to be enemies any more and we'll have a drink together." Wretched thing is, this treaty is making a liar out of me. I mean to say, I told him we wouldn't be enemies once it was all over. But how can I look him in the face and tell him that's turned out to be true?'"

This passage, from one of Stevens's reminiscences about the past, is presented in the "Day Two—Morning / Salisbury" section. Lord Darlington speaks these words to Stevens in the early 1920s, just after the end of World War I. Darlington is speaking of Herr Bremann, his German friend who was a soldier in World War I. Herr Bremann shoots himself shortly after the evening on which Lord Darlington speaks those words to Stevens. This quotation reveals the nobility of character at the heart of Lord Darlington, and highlights one reason why he is especially vulnerable toward Nazi propaganda: because he feels England has been unfair to Germany in the aftermath of World War I, he continues to give Germany the benefit of the doubt, even when it becomes clear to most others that the Nazi agenda is not one that can be condoned.