That’s a quotation from one of Nancy Mitford’s earliest novels, Christmas Pudding, which she wrote in 1932 at the age of 26. It’s an amusing comedy of errors and, while she had yet to fully come into her own as a writer, you can already spot the roots of Mitford’s signature captivating wit — a good decade-plus before the success of The Pursuit of Love. The bare-bones plot here: a protagonist writer, who, seeking to gain access to the home of the formidable Lady Bobbin — and to the family papers for an upcoming biography — slips in under the guise of her son’s tutor, with the help of a courtesan friend. Upper-crust hilarity ensues.

Like much of her other works, Mitford is eminently quotable in the novel — we’re especially partial to the lines above, used to describe Lady Bobbin and her love of la vie sportive. Next time we’re hitting the gym and/or running trail, sweat pouring into our eyes, about to hit the proverbial workout wall, we’ll just remind ourselves, “We’re building the body beautiful…”