There is one friend in the life of each of us who seems not a separate person, however dear and beloved, but an expansion, an interpretation, of one's self, the very meaning of one's soul.
Do you remember what you said to me once? That you could help me only by loving me? Well-you did love me for a moment and it helped me. It has always helped me.
There are lots of ways of being miserable, but there’s only one way of being comfortable, and that is to stop running round after happiness. If you make up your mind not to be happy there’s no reason why you shouldn’t have a fairly good time.
They seemed to come suddenly upon happiness as if they had surprised a butterfly in the winter woods.
Yes - it was happiness she still wanted, and the glimpse she had caught of it made everything else of no account. One by one she had detached herself from the baser possibilities , and she saw that nothing now remained to her but the emptiness of renunciation. The House of Mirth
Another unsettling element in modern art is that common symptom of immaturity, the dread of doing what has been done before.
Dialogue in fiction should be reserved for the culminating moments and regarded as the spray into which the great wave of narrative breaks in curving toward the watcher on the shore.
High PastureCome up--come up: in the dim vale belowThe autumn mist muffles the fading trees,But on this keen hill-pasture, though the breezeHas stretched the thwart boughs bare to meet the snow,Night is not, autumn is not--but the flowOf vast, ethereal and irradiate seas,Poured from the far world's flaming boundariesIn waxing tides of unimagined glow.And to that height illumined of the mindhe calls us still by the familiar way,Leaving the sodden tracks of life behind,Befogged in failure, chilled with love's decay--Showing us, as the night-mists upward wind,How on the heights is day and still more day.
One of the surprises of her unoccupied state was the discovery that time, when it is left to itself and no definite demands are made on it, cannot be trusted to move at any recognized pace. Usually it loiters; but just when one has come to count upon its slowness, it may suddenly break into a wild irrational gallop.
You mustn't tell your dreams. Miss Testvalley says nothing bores people so much as being told other people's dreams. Nan said nothing, but an iron gate seemed to clang shut in her - the gate that was so often slammed by careless hands. As if anyone could be bored by such dreams as hers!
I don't want them to think that we dress like savages,' she replied, with a scorn that Pocahontas might have resented; and he was struck again by the religious reverence of even the most unworldly American women for the social advantages of dress.'It's their armour,' he thought, 'their defence against the unknown, and their defiance of it.' And he understood for the first time the earnestness with which May, who was incapable of tying a ribbon in her hair to charm him, had gone through the solemn rite of selecting and ordering her extensive wardrobe.
The whole truth? Miss Bart laughed. What is the truth? Where a woman is concerned, it's the story that's easiest to believe. In this case it's a great deal easier to believe Bertha Dorset's story than mine, because she has a big house and an opera box, and it's convenient to be on good terms with her
If the ability to read carries the average man no higher than the gossip of his neighbours, if he asks nothing more nourishing out of books and the theatre than he gets hanging about the store, the bar and the street-corner, then culture is bound to be dragged down to him instead of his being lifted up by culture.
With a shiver of foreboding he saw his marriage becoming what most of the other marriages about him were: a dull association of material and social interests held together by ignorance on the one side and hypocrisy on the other.
..but it seemed to him that the tie between husband and wife, if breakable in prosperity, should be indissoluble in misfortune.
As he paid the hansom and followed his wife's long train into the house he took refuge in the comforting platitude that the first six months were always the most difficult in marriage. 'After that I suppose we shall have pretty nearly finished rubbing off each other’s angles,' he reflected; but the worst of it was that May's pressure was already bearing on the very angles whose sharpness he most wanted to keep
If you're as detached as that, why does the obsolete institution of marriage survive with you?Oh, it still has its uses. One couldn't be divorced without it.
He could not imagine being bored by Susy -- or trying to escape from her if he were. He could not think of her as an enemy, or even as an accomplice, since accomplices are potential enemies: she was some one with whom, by some unheard-of miracle, joys above the joys of friendship were to be tasted, but who, even through these fleeting ecstasies, remained simply and securely his friend.
An unalterable and unquestioned law of the musical world required that the German text of French operas sung by Swedish artists should be translated into Italian for the clearer understanding of English-speaking audiences.
Little as she was addicted to solitude, there had come to be moments when it seemed a welcome escape from the empty noises of her life.
There were certain things that had to be done, and if done at all, done handsomely and thoroughly; and one of these, in the old New York code, was the tribal rally around a kinswoman about to be eliminated from the tribe.
The people who take society as an escape from work are putting it to its proper use, but when it becomes the thing worked for it distorts all the relations of life.
The taste of the usual was like cinders in his mouth, and there were moments when he felt as if he were being buried alive under his future.
As he lay there, fragments of past states of emotion, fugitive felicities of thought and sensation, rose and floated on the surface of his thoughts. It was one of those moments when the accumulated impressions of life converge on heart and brain, elucidating, enlacing each other, in a mysterious confusion of beauty. He had had glimpses of such a state before, of such mergings of the personal with the general life that one felt one's self a mere wave on the wild stream of being, yet thrilled with a sharper sense of individuality than can be known within the mere bounds of the actual. But now he knew the sensation in its fulness, and with it came the releasing power of language. Words were flashing like brilliant birds through the boughs overhead; he had but to wave his magic wand to have them flutter down to him. Only they were so beautiful up there, weaving their fantastic flights against the blue, that it was pleasanter, for the moment, to watch them and let the wand lie.
I have tried hard - but life is difficult, and I am a very useless person. I can hardly be said to have an independent existence. I was just a screw or a cog in the great machine called life, and when I dropped out of it I found I was no use anywhere else. What can one do when one finds out that one only fits into one hole? One must go back to it or be thrown out into the rubbish heap - and you don't know what it's like in the rubbish heap!
Conservatives cherished it for being small and inconvenient, and thus keeping out the new people whom New York was beginning to dread and yet be drawn to
They had never been at peace together, they two; and now he felt himself drawn downward into the strange mysterious depths of her tranquillity.
In the rosy glow it diffused her companions seemed full of amiable qualities. She liked their elegance; their lightness, their lack of emphasis: even the self-assurance which at times was so like obtuseness now seemed the natural sign of social ascendency. They were lords of the only world she cared for, and they were ready to admit her to their ranks and let her lord it with them. Already she felt within her a stealing allegiance to their standards, an acceptance of their limitations, a disbelief in the things they did not believe in, a contemptuous pity for the people who were not able to live as they lived.
As the pain that can be told is but half a pain, so the pity that questions has little healing in its touch. What Lily craved was the darkness made by enfolding arms, the silence which is not solitude, but compassion holding its breath.
They had paused before the table on which the bride’s jewel were displayed, and Lily’s heart gave an envious throb as she caught the refraction of light from their surfaces – the milky gleam of perfectly matched pearls, the flash of rubies relieved against contrasting velvet, the intense blue rays of sapphires kindled into light by surrounding diamonds: all these precious tints enhanced and deepened by the varied art of their setting. The glow of the stones warmed Lily’s veins like wine. More completely than any other expression of wealth they symbolized the life she longed to lead, the life of fastidious aloofness and refinement in which every detail should have the finish of a jewel, and the whole form a harmonious setting to her own jewel-like rareness.