It has made me better loving you... it has made me wiser, and easier, and brighter. I used to want a great many things before, and to be angry that I did not have them. Theoretically, I was satisfied. I flattered myself that I had limited my wants. But I was subject to irritation; I used to have morbid sterile hateful fits of hunger, of desire. Now I really am satisfied, because I can’t think of anything better. It’s just as when one has been trying to spell out a book in the twilight, and suddenly the lamp comes in. I had been putting out my eyes over the book of life, and finding nothing to reward me for my pains; but now that I can read it properly I see that it’s a delightful story.
I'm yours for ever--for ever and ever. Here I stand; I'm as firm as a rock. If you'll only trust me, how little you'll be disappointed. Be mine as I am yours.
Live all you can: it's a mistake not to. It doesn't matter what you do in particular, so long as you have had your life. If you haven't had that, what have you had?
True happiness, we are told, consists in getting out of one's self; but the point is not only to get out - you must stay out; and to stay out you must have some absorbing errand.
She took refuge on the firm ground of fiction, through which indeed there curled the blue river of truth.
Make (the reader) think the evil, make him think it for himself, and you are released from weak specifications. My values are positively all blanks, save so far as an excited horror, a promoted pity, a created expertness... proceed to read into them more or less fantastic figures.
Her reputation for reading a great deal hung about her like the cloudy envelope of a goddess in an epic.
Criticism talks a good deal of nonsense, but even its nonsense is a useful force. It keeps the question of art before the world, insists upon its importance.
When I read a novel my imagination starts off at a gallop and leaves the narrator hidden in a cloud of dust I have to come jogging twenty miles back to the denouement.
Summer afternoon—summer afternoon, to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.
We work in the dark - we do what we can - we give what we have. Our doubt is our passion, and our passion is our task. The rest is the madness of art.
..if I dont do something on the grand scale, it is that my genius is altogether imitative, and that I have nor recently encountered any very striking models of grandeur.
Art lives upon discussion, upon experiment, upon curiosity, upon variety of attempt, upon the exchange of views and the comparison of standpoints.
It’s very silly,” she said, “but I go on with it in spite of myself. I’m afraid I’m too easily pleased; no novel is so silly I can’t read it.
The historic atmosphere was there, certainly; but the historic atmosphere, scientifically considered, was no better than a villainous miasma
I take up my own pen again - the pen of all my old unforgettable efforts and sacred struggles. To myself - today - I need say no more. Large and full and high the future still opens. It is now indeed that I may do the work of my life. And I will.
I should think that to hear such lovely music as that would really make him feel better.The lady gave a discriminating smile. “I am afraid there are moments in life when even Beethoven has nothing to say to us. We must admit, however, that they are our worst moments.
Take the word for it of a man who has made his way inch by inch, and does not believe that we'll wake up to find our work done because we've lain all night a-dreaming of it; anything worth doing is devilish hard to do!
I don't know why we live—the gift of life comes to us from I don't know what source or for what purpose; but I believe we can go on living for the reason that (always of course up to a certain point) life is the most valuable thing we know anything about and it is therefore presumptively a great mistake to surrender it while there is any yet left in the cup. In other words consciousness is an illimitable power, and though at times it may seem to be all consciousness of misery, yet in the way it propagates itself from wave to wave, so that we never cease to feel, though at moments we appear to, try to, pray to, there is something that holds one in one's place, makes it a standpoint in the universe which it is probably good not to forsake. You are right in your consciousness that we are all echoes and reverberations of the same, and you are noble when your interest and pity as to everything that surrounds you, appears to have a sustaining and harmonizing power. Only don't, I beseech you, generalize too much in these sympathies and tendernesses—remember that every life is a special problem which is not yours but another's, and content yourself with the terrible algebra of your own. Don't melt too much into the universe, but be as solid and dense and fixed as you can. We all live together, and those of us who love and know, live so most. We help each other—even unconsciously, each in our own effort, we lighten the effort of others, we contribute to the sum of success, make it possible for others to live. Sorrow comes in great waves—no one can know that better than you—but it rolls over us, and though it may almost smother us it leaves us on the spot and we know that if it is strong we are stronger, inasmuch as it passes and we remain. It wears us, uses us, but we wear it and use it in return; and it is blind, whereas we after a manner see …
Our relation, all round, exists--it's a reality, and a very good one; we're mixed up, so to speak, and it's too late to change it. We must live IN it and with it
Before he went away, he had heard all about the self-made girl, and there was something in the picture that strongly impressed him. She was possible doutbless only in America; American life had smoothed the way for her. She was not fast, nor emancipated, nor crude, nor loud, and there wasn’t in her, of necessity at least, a grain of the stuff of which the adventuress is made.She was simply very successful, and her success was entirely personal. She hadn’t been born with the silver spoon of social opportunity, she had grasped it by honest exertion. You knew her by many different signs, but chiefly, infallibly, by the appearance of her parents. It was her parents who told her story; you always saw how little her parents could have made her. Her attitude with regard to them might vary in different ways. As the great fact on her own side was that she had lifted herself from a lower social plane, done it all herself, and done it by the simple lever of her personality, it was naturally to be expected that she would leave the authors of her mere material being in the shade.(…)But the general characteristic of the self-made girl was that, though it was frequently understood that she was privately devoted to her kindred, she never attempted to impose them on society, and it was striking that, though in some of her manifestations a bore, she was at her worst less of a bore than they. They were almost always solemn and portentous, and they were for the most part of a deathly respectability. She wasn’t necessarily snobbish, unless it was snobbish to want the best. She didn’t cringe, she didn’t make herself smaller than she was, she took on the contrary a stand of her own and attracted things to herself.Naturally she was possible only in America, only in a country where whole ranges of competition and comparison were absent.
She’s the latest freshest fruit of our great American evolution. She’s the self-made girl!(…)Well, to begin with, the self-made girl’s a new feature. That, however, you know. In the second place she isn’t self-made at all. We all help to make her, we take such an interest in her.
They had from an early hour made up their mind that society was, luckily, unintelligent, and the margin allowed them by this had fairly become one of their commonplaces.
It’s very true; there are many more iron pots certainly than porcelain. But you may depend on it that every one bears some mark; even the hardest iron pots have a little bruise, a little hole somewhere. I flatter myself that I’m rather stout, but if I must tell you the truth I’ve beenshockingly chipped and cracked. I do very well for service yet, because I’ve been cleverly mended; and I try to remain in the cupboard—the quiet, dusky cupboard where there’s an odour of stale spices—as much as I can. Butwhen I’ve to come out and into a strong light—then, my dear, I’m a horror!
There are two kinds of taste in the appreciation of imaginative literature: the taste for emotions of surprise and the taste for emotions of recognition.
The place suggested a convent with the modern improvements—an asylum in which privacy, though unbroken, might be not quite identical with privation, and meditation, though monotonous, might be of a cheerful cast.
He was a dim secondary social success -- and all with people who had truly not an idea of him. It was all mere surface sound, this murmur of their welcome, this popping of their corks -- just as his gestures of response were the extravagant shadows, emphatic in proportion as they meant little, of some game of 'ombres chinoises' [French: shadow play].