Saturday, June 8, 2013

Mansfield Park By Jane Austen

But there certainly are not so many men of large fortune in the world, as there are pretty women to deserve them.

Oh! yes, I am not at all ashamed of it. I would have everybody marry if they can do it properly; I do not like to have people throw themselves away; but everybody should marry as soon as they can do it to advantage.

Selfishness must always be forgiven you know, because there is no hope of a cure.

At any rate, it is safer to leave people to their own devices on such subjects. Everybody likes to go their own way-- to choose their own time and manner of devotion. The obligation of attendance, the formality, the restraint, the length of time-- altogether it is a formidable thing, and what nobody likes; and if the good people who used to kneel and gape in that gallery could have foreseen that the time would ever come when men and women might lie another ten minutes in bed, when they woke with a headache without danger of reprobation, because chapel was missed, they would have jumped with joy and envy.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

"No young lady can be justified in falling in love before the gentleman's love is declared, it must be very improper that a young lady should dream of a gentleman before the gentleman is first known to have dreamt of her."

"I have no notion of loving people by halves; it is not my nature. My attachments are always excessively strong."

"Where the heart is really attached, I know very well how little one can be pleased with the attention of anybody else."

"The progress of Catherine's unhappiness from the events of the evening was as follows. It appeared first in a general dissatisfaction with everybody about her, while she remained in the rooms, which speedily brought on considerable weariness and a violent desire to go home. This, on arriving in Pulteney Street, took the direction of extraordinary hunger, and when that was appeased, changed into an earnest longing to be in bed; such was the extreme point of her distress; for when there she immediately feel into a sound sleep which lasted nine hours, and from which she awoke perfectly revived, in excellent spirits, with fresh hopes and fresh schemes."

"All have been, or at least all have believed themselves to be, in danger from the pursuit of someone whom they wished to avoid; and all have been anxious for the attentions of someone whom they wished to please."

"No man is offended by another man's admiration of the woman he loves; it is the woman only who can make it a torment."

Monday, December 24, 2012

The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Women, as everybody knows, constantly act on impulses which they cannot explain even to themselves.

Women can resist a man's love, a man's fame, a man's personal appearance, and man's money; but they cannot resist a man's tongue, when he knows how to talk to them.

"Men little know, when they say hard things to us, how well we remember them, and how much harm they do us."

"They are all in love with some other man. Who gets the first of a woman's heart? In all my experience I have never yet met with the man who was Number One. Number Two, sometimes. Number Three, Four, Five, often. Number One, never!"

The Beautiful and Damned by F. Scott Fitzgerald

It was as a concession to his hypochondriacal imagination that he formed the habit of reading in bed-- it soothed him. He read until he was tired and often fell asleep with the lights still on.

A sense of responsibility would spoil her. She's too pretty.

"You don't want to do anything?"
"I want to sleep."
For a second he was startled, almost as though she had meant this literally.
"Sort of. I want to just be lazy and I want some of the people around me to be doing things, because that makes me feel comfortable and safe-- and I want some of them to be doing nothing at all, because they can be graceful and companionable for me. But I never want to change people or get excited over them."

The stark and unexpected miracle of a night fades out with the lingering death of the last starts and the premature birth of the first newsboys.

The growth of intimacy is like that. First one gives off his best picture, the bright and finished product mended with bluff and falsehood and humor. Then more details are required and one paints a second portrait, and a third-- before long the best lines cancel out-- and the secret is exposed at last; the planes of the pictures have intermingled and given us away, and though we paint and paint we can no longer sell a picture. We must be satisfied with hoping that such fatuous accounts of ourselves as we make to our wives and children and business associates are accepted as true.

A woman should be able to kiss a man beautifully and romantically without any desire to be either his wife or his mistress.

"Don't!" she said quietly. "I don't want that."
She sat down on the far side of the lounge and gazed straight before her. A frown had gathered between her eyes. Anthony sank down beside her and closed his hand over hers. It was lifeless and unresponsive.
"Why, Gloria!" He made a motion as if to put his arm about her but she drew away.
"I don't want that," she repeated.
"I'm very sorry," he said, a little impatiently. "I-- I didn't know you made such fine distinctions."
She did not answer.
"Won't you kiss me, Gloria?"
"I don't want to." It seemed to him she had not moved for hours.
"A sudden change, isn't it?" Annoyance was growing in his voice.
"Is it?" She appeared uninterested. It was almost as though she were looking at some one else.
"Perhaps I'd better go."
No reply. He rose and regarded her angrily, uncertainly. Again he sat down.
"Gloria, Gloria, won't you kiss me?"
"No." Her lips, parting for the word, had just faintly stirred.
Again he got to his feet, this time with less decision, less confidence.
"Then I'll go."
"All right-- I'll go"
He was aware of a certain irremediable lack of originality in his remarks. Indeed he felt that the whole atmosphere had grown oppressive. He wished she would speak, rail at him, cry out upon him, anything but his pervasive and chilling silence. He cursed himself for a weak fool; his clearest desire was to move her, to hurt her, to see her wince. Helplessly, involuntarily, he erred again.
"If you're tired of kissing me I'd better go"
He saw her lips curl slightly and his last dignity left him. She spoke, at length:
"I believe you've made that remark several times before."
He looked about him immediately, saw his hat and coat on a chair-- blundered into them, during an intolerable moment. Looking again at the couch he perceived that she had not turned, not even moved. With a shaken, immediately regretted "good-by" he went quickly but without dignity from the room.
For over a moment Gloria made no sound. Her lips were still curled; her glance was straight, proud, remote. Then her eyes blurred a little, and she murmured three words half aloud to the death-bound fire:
"Good-by, you ass!" she said.

...when she changed her mind and opening a table-drawer brought out a little black book-- a "Line-a-day" diary. This she had kept for seven years. Many of the pencil entries were almost illegible and there were notes and references to nights and afternoons long since forgotten, for it was not an intimate diary, even though it began with the immemorial "I am going to keep a diary for my children." Yet as she thumbed over the pages the eyes of many men seemed to look out at her from their half-obliterated names.

... And, after all, an obsolete list. She was in love now, set for the eternal romance that was to be the synthesis of all romance, yet sad for these men and these moonlights and for the "thrills" she had had-- and the kisses. The past-- her past, oh, what a joy! She had been exuberantly happy.

... After a moment she found a pencil and holding it unsteadily drew three parallel lines beneath the last entry. Then she printed FINIS in large capitals, put the book back in the drawer, and crept into bed.

Love lingered-- by way of long conversations at night into those stark hours when the mind thins and sharpens and the borrowings from dreams become the stuff of all life, by way of deep and intimate kindnesses they developed toward each other, by way of their laughing at the same absurdities and thinking the same things noble and the same things sad.

"I can sleep so well, so well with you in my arms."
Coming into Gloria's arms had a quite different meaning. It required that he should slide one arm under her shoulder, lock both arms about her, and arrange himself as nearly as possible as a sort of three-sided crib, for her luxurious ease. Anthony, who tossed, whose arms went tinglingly to sleep after half an hour of that position, would wait until she was asleep and roll her gently over to her side of the bed-- then, left to his own devices, he would curl himself into his usual knots.

Beautiful things grow to a certain height and then they fail and fade off, breathing out memories as they decay.

It seems that we he kissed me he began to think that perhaps he could get away with a little more, that I needn't be "respected".

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde

There is no such thing as a moral or immoral book. Books are well written, or badly written. That is all.

I have grown to love secrecy. It seems to be the one thing that can make modern life mysterious or marvelous to us. The commonest thing is delightful if one only hides it.

Yes; she is a peacock in everything but beauty.

That accounts for the fact that we all take such pains to over-educate ourselves. In the wild struggle for existence, we want to have something that endures, and so we fill our minds with rubbish and facts, in the silly hope of keeping our place.

It is in the brain, and the brain only, that the great sins of the world take place also.

Always! That is a dreadful word. It makes me shudder when I hear it. Women are so fond of using it. They spoil every romance by trying to make it last forever.

Behind every exquisite thing that existed, there was something tragic.

The post on her left was occupied by Mr. Erskine of Treadley, and old gentleman of considerable charm and culture, who had fallen, however, into bad habits of silence, having, as he explained once to Lady Agatha, said everything that he had to say before he was thirty.

"I love him," she said simply

To know him is to trust him.

"Women are wonderfully practical," murmured Lord Henry, "much more practical than we are. In situations of that kind we often forget to say anything about marriage, and they always remind us."

Her trust makes me faithful, her belief makes me good.

There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves, we feel that no one else has a right to blame us.

Life has always poppies in her hands.

The one charm of the past is that it is the past.

There seemed to him to be something tragic in a friendship so coloured by romance.

...scandals about myself don't interest me. They have not got the charm of novelty.

He was determined that he would not think about what had happened until it became absolutely necessary that he should do so.

Life is a great disappointment.

There are moments, psychologists tell us, when the passion for sin, or for what the world calls sin, so dominates a nature that every fibre of the body, as every cell of the brain, seems to be instinct with fearful impulses. Men and women at such moments lose the freedom of their will. They move to their terrible end as automatons move. Choice is taken from them, and conscience is either killed, or, if it lives at all, lives but to give rebellion its fascination and disobedience its charm. For all sins, as theologians weary not of reminding us, are sins of disobedience. When that high spirit, that morning star of evil, fell from heaven, it was as a rebel that he fell.

Knowledge would be fatal. It is the uncertainty that charms one. A mist makes things wonderful.

I suppose she will be married some day to a rough carter or a grinning ploughman. Well, the fact of having met you, and loved you, will teach her to despise her husband, and she will be wretched.

Oh! anything becomes a pleasure if one does it too often.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

"Yes, that's the bore of comfort...we only know when we're comfortable"

"In matters of opinion she had had her own way, and it had led her into a thousand ridiculous zigzags."

"She had an unquenchable desire to think well of herself. She had a theory that it was only under this provision life was worth living; that one should be one of the best."

"She had an infinite hope that she should never do anything wrong."

"Of course the danger of a high spirit was the danger of inconsistency"

"Her way of taking compliments seemed sometimes rather dry; she got rid of them as rapidly as possible. But as regards this she was sometimes misjudged; she was thought insensible to them, whereas in fact she was simply unwilling to show how infinitely they pleased her."

"It seemed to her at last that she would do well to take a book; formerly, when heavy-hearted, she had been able, with the help of some well-chosen volume, to transfer the seat of consciousness to the organ of pure reason."

"Of course I've seen you very little, but my impression dates from the very first hour we met. I lost no time, I fell in love with you then. It was at first sight, as the novels say; I know now that's not a fancy-phrase, and I shall think better of novels for everemore."

"If I can gain by waiting I'll gladly wait a long time. Only remember that in the end my dearest happiness depends on your answer."

"I'd much rather have a good answer six months hence than a bad one to-day."

"...and that you'll remember how absolutely my happiness is in your hands."

"I won't say that if you refuse me you'll kill me; I shall not die of it. But I shall do worse; I shall live to no purpose."

"She was already liable to the incursions of one suitor at this place, and though it might be pleasant to be appreciated in opposite quarters there was a kind of grossness in entertaining two such passionate pleaders at once, even in a case where the entertainment should consist of dismissing them."

"There was something in these delays and postponements that touched the girl and renewed her sense of his desire to be considerate and patient, not to appear to urge her too grossly; a consideration the more studied that she was so sure he 'really liked' her."

"We cant believe by willing it."

"There's no more usual basis of union than a mutual misunderstanding."

"She had moreover a great fondness for intervals of solitude."

"I'm capable of nothing with regard to you, but just of being infernally in love with you. If one's strong one loves only the more strongly."

"It's no kindness to a woman to press her so hard, to urge her against her will."

"The great thing is to love something."

"'Well,' said Henrietta, 'you think you can lead a romantic life, that you can live by pleasing yourself and pleasing others. You'll find you're mistaken. Whatever life you lead you must put your soul in it--to make any sort of success of it; and from the moment you do that it ceases to be romance, I assure you: it becomes grim reality! And you can't always please yourself; you must sometimes please other people. That, I admit, you're very ready to do; but there's another thing that's still more important--you must often displease others. You must always be ready for that--you must never shrink from it. That doesn't suit you at all--you're too fond of admiration, you like to be thought well of. You think we can escape disagreeable duties by taking romantic views--that's your great illusion, my dear. But we can't. You must be prepared on many occasions in life to please no one at all--not even yourself'"

"Besides, she had little skill in producing an impression which she knew to be expected: nothing could be happier, in general, than to seem dazzling, but she had a perverse unwillingness to glitter by arrangement."

"As soon as you like them they're off again! I've been deceived too often; I've ceased to form attachments, to permit myself to feel attractions."

"'A woman's natural mission is to be where she's most appreciated.'
'The point's to find out where that is.'
'Very true--she often wastes a great deal of time in the enquiry. People ought to make it very plain to her.'"

"What he has done? He has done nothing that has had to be undone. And he has known how to wait."

"I felt very strongly what I expressed to you last year; I couldnt think of anything else. I tried to forget--energetically, systematically. I tried to take an interest in somebody else. I tell you this because I want you to know I did my duty. I didnt succeed. I was for the same purpose I went abroad--as far away as possible. They say travelling distracts the mind, but it didnt distract mine. I've thought of you perpetually, ever since I last saw you. I'm exactly the same. I love you just as much, and every I said to you then is just as true. This instant at which I speak to you shows me again exactly how, to my great misfortune, you just insuperably charm me."

"No, dont do that. Dont put us in a parenthesis--give us a chapter to ourselves."

"It was more romantic to say nothing, and, drinking deep, in secret, of romance, she was as little disposed to ask poor Lily's advice as she would have been to close that rare volume forever."

"I'd rather think of you as dead than as married to another man."

"I dont mind anything you can say now--I dont feel it. The cruellest things you could think of would be mere pin-prinks. After what you've done I shall never feel anything--I mean anyting but that. That I shall feel all my life."

"There's nothing higher for a girl than to marry."

"I should have said that the man for you would have been a more active, larger, freer sort of nature."

"Money's a horrid thing to follow, but a charming thing to meet."

"The reader may therefore be given the key to the mystery."

"Still, who could say what men ever were looking for?"

"A lover outside's always a lover. He's sometimes even more of one."

"She had too many ideas for herself; but that was just what one married for, to share them with someone else."

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Villette by Charlotte Bronte

"Mama, I believe that creature is a changeling : she is a perfect cabinet of oddities; but I should be dull without her: she amuses me a great deal more than you or Lucy Snowe."

"Picture me then idle, basking, plump, and happy, stretched on a cushioned deck, warmed with constant sunshine, rocked by breezes indolently soft."

"My little morsel of human affection, which I prized as if it were a solid pearl, must melt in my fingers and slip thence like a dissolving hailstone."

"I wait, with some impatience in my pulse, but no doubt in my breast."

"I still think of Frank more than of God; and unless it be counted that in thus loving the creature so much, so long, and so exclusively, I have not at least blasphemed the Creator..."

"Who but a coward would pass his whole life in hamlets, and forever abandon his faculties to the eating rust of obscurity?"

"A moon was in the sky, not a full moon but a young crescent. I saw her through a space in the boughs overhead. She and the stars, visible beside her, were no strangers where all else was strange: my childhood knew them. I had seen that golden sign with the dark globe in its curve leaning back on azure, beside an old thorn at the top of an old field, in Old England, in long past days, just as it now leaned back beside a stately spire in this continental capital."

"She had indeed, the art of pleasing, for a given time, whom she would; but the feeling would not last: in an hour it was dried like dew, vanished like gossamer."

"No; for in my heart you have not the outline of a place: I only occasionally turn you over in my brain."

"How it was that what charmed so much, could at the same time so keenly pain?"

"Still repeating this word, I turned to my pillow; and, still repeating it, I seeped that pillow with tears."

"As to what lies below, leave that with God. Man, your equal, weak as you, and not fit to be your judge, may be shut out thence: take it to your Maker- show Him the secrets of the spirit He gave- ask Him how you are to bear the pains He has appointed- kneel in His presence, and pray with faith for light in darkness, for strength in piteous weakness, for patience in extreme need. Certainly, at some hour, though perhaps not your hour, the waiting waters will stir; in some shape, though perhaps not the shape you dreamed, which your heart loved, and for which it bled, the healing herald will descend."

"Where, indeed, does the moon not look well?"

"My art halts at the threshold of Hypochondria: she just looks in and sees a chamber of torture, but can neither say nor do much."

"That night- instead of crying myself to sleep- I went down to dreamland by a pathway bordered with pleasant thoughts."

"As to Ginevra, she might take the silver wings of a dove, or any other fowl that flies, and mount straight up to the highest place, among the highest stars, where her lover's highest flight of fancy chose to fix the constellation of her charms."

"It seemed to me that an original and good Picture was just as scarce as an original and good book."

"For the love of heaven to shield well his heart. You need not fall in love with that lady," I said, "because, I tell you before-hand, you might die at her feet, and she would not love you again."

"She has made me feel that nine parts in ten of my heart have always been sound as a bell, and the tenth bled from a mere puncture: a lancet-prick that will heal in trice."

"Indeed, I never liked bitters; nor do I believe them wholesome. And to whatever is sweet, be it poison or food, you cannot, at least, deny its own delicious quality-- sweetness. Better, perhaps, to die quickly a pleasant death, then drag on long a charmless life."

"The sight of the gentlemen did me good and gave me courage: it seemed as if there was some help and hope, with men at hand."

"Good-night, Dr. John; you are good, you are beautiful; but you are not mine."

"Life is said to be all disappointment. I was not disappointed."

"His heart will weep her always: the essence of Emanuel's nature is--constancy."

"Life is so constructed, that the event does not, cannot, will not, match the expectation."

"Yes; it is sadness. Life, however, has worse than that. Deeper than melancholy, lies heartbreak."