Romance and Reality

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Romance and Reality (1831) is a novel by Letitia Elizabeth Landon about attractive heiress, Emily Arundel, who meets handsome Edward Lorraine and hopes to win his heart. In her imagination, she is succeeding but he is a traveler and in Spain he encounters Beatrice de los Zeridos, a spirited young lady of action, who is fighting to save both her home and family. Broken-hearted, Emily enters a nunnery in Italy from whence she is rescued, but she returns to England so weakened that she dies. This novel was a new venture in Landon's output, in which she continues to question the Romantic ideal.

Quotes[edit]

Volume I[edit]

Chapter 1[edit]

  • The course of life is like the child's game – “here we go round by the rule of contrary” -- and youth, above all others, is the season of united opposites, with all its freshness and buoyancy. At no period of our existence is depression of the spirit more common or more painful. As we advance in life our duties become defined ; we act more from necessity and less from impulse ; custom takes the place of energy, and feelings, no longer powerfully excited, are proportionably quiet in re-action. But youth, balancing itself upon hope, is for ever in extremes; its expectations are continually aroused only to be baffled ; and disappointment, like a summer shower, is violent in proportion to its brevity.
  • Young she was―but nineteen, that pleasantest of ages, just past the blushing, bridling, bewildering coming out, when a courtesy and a compliment are equally embarrassing; when one half the evening is spent in thinking what to do and say, and the other half in repenting what has been said and done.
  • Her father had been the youngest brother, and, like many other younger brothers, both unnecessary and imprudent.
  • His lady was one of those thousand-and-one women who wore dark silk dresses and lace caps ― who, after a fashion of their own, have made most exemplary wives; that is to say, they took to duties instead of accomplishments, and gave up music when they married―who spent the mornings in the housekeeper's room, and the evenings at the tea-table, waiting for the guests who came not ― who rose after the first glass of wine―whose bills and calls were paid punctually, and whose dinners were a credit to them.

Chapter 2[edit]

  • The impetuosity of youth becomes energy in manhood.
  • That intuitive awe which all little people at least must have experienced ― the feeling which fixes the eye and chains the lip, on finding ourselves for the first time in the presence of some great man, hitherto to us an historical portrait, one whose thoughts are of the destinies of nations, whose part seems in the annals of England, and not in its society.
  • But sentiment, like salt, is so universal an ingredient in our composition, that even Mr. Delawarr, years and years ago, had looked at a rainbow to dream of a cheek, had gathered violets with the dew on them, and thought them less bright than the eyes to which they were offerings, had rhymed to one beloved name, and had felt one fair cousin to be the fairest of created things.
  • He need only not have been a politician (the very name was a stumbling-block to a young lady's romance), and he would have been erected into a hero fit for a modern novel.

Chapter 3[edit]

  • Snow-dropped, crocused, and violeted Spring, in the country, was beginning to consider about making her will, and leaving her legacies of full-blown flowers and green fruit to Summer, …
  • [Now this was a most disinterested act ; for] the member had recovered, and taken that step of all others which insures existence, purchased a life annuity; and it is a well-known fact in physiology, that annuitants and old women never die.
  • [This, however, the uncle would not admit ; and] youth, if not selfish, is at least thoughtless; …
  • A great change in life is like a cold bath in winter — we all hesitate at the first plunge.
  • Affection is more matter of habit than sentiment, more so than we like to admit [; and she was leaving both habits and affections behind.]
  • A white handkerchief is a signal of distress always answered: …
  • There is something very amusing in the misfortunes of others.
  • Adventures never happen now-a-days; there are neither knights nor highwaymen ; no lonely heaths, with gibbets, for finger-posts ; no hope of even a dangerous rut, or a steep hill ; romance and roads are alike macadamised; no young ladies are either run away with, or run over ; —

Chapter 4[edit]

  • — morning, that breaker of spells and sleep.
  • … and French and Italian were, it must be owned, somewhat unnecessary to one who considered her own language an unnecessary fatigue.
  • … [for after all,] vanity is like those chemical essences whose only existence is when called into being by the action of some opposite influence.
  • Lord Etheringhame’s opinions were as hereditary as his halls ; innovation was moral rebellion ; the change of a fashion, a symptom of degeneracy ; he would as soon have destroyed his pedigree as his pigtail ; and looked on every new patent, whether for a peerage or a pie-dish, as another step to ruin ; in short, he held just the reverse of the poet’s opinion — with him, not whatever is, but whatever had been, was right.
  • In the midst of a brilliant public career, he had little time to discover whether his household divinity was very like those of old — a statue.

Chapter 5[edit]

  • Shopping, true feminine felicity !
  • [… and] Emily, her head like a kaleidoscope, full of colours, with not a little disdain, put on the blue silk she had thought bleu céleste, at least in the country. What a march does a woman's intellect, i.e. taste, take in the streets of London !
  • How much we give to thoughts and things our tone-painting,
    And judge of others' feelings by our own!
  • [From Lady Alicia]: "[… ;] marriage is like money— seem to want it, and you never get it."
  • Now came one of those audible pauses, the tickings of the death-watch of English conversation.
  • The questions of curiosity are few to those of politeness.

Chapter 6[edit]

  • [A few moments saw] the little vessel [gallantly scudding through the waters,] dashing before her a shower of foam like sudden snow — and leaving behind a silver tracks like a shining serpent, called by some strange spell from its emerald palace, and yet bright with the mysterious light of its birthplace.
  • {Of a forest} [It was swept, but not bowed, by] a mighty wind, now loud as mountain thunder, and now low with that peculiar whisper which haunts the leaf of the pine — such as might have suited the oracles of old — an articulate though unknown language.
  • Successful daring makes its own way; …
  • [But,] Alas, for the vanity of human enjoyment ! we grow weary of even our own perfection.
  • In his mind the imagination was as yet the most prominent feature; it made him impetuous — for the unknown is ever coloured by the most attractive hues ; it made him versatile— for those very hues, from their falsehood, are fleeting, and pass easily from one object to another; it made him melancholy— for the imagination, which lives on excitement, most powerfully exaggerates the reaction; but, like a fairy gift, it threw its own nameless charm over all he did— and a touch, as it were, of poetry, spiritualised all the common-places of life.

Chapter 7[edit]

  • [By the bye,] what a barbarous, what an uncharitable act it is, of some people to furnish their rooms as they do, against all laws of humanity as well as taste ! We have actually seen rooms fitted up with sea-green, and an indigo-coloured paper: what complexion could stand it? The most proper of becoming blushes would be utterly wasted, and perhaps at the most critical moment.
  • But we are patriotic people, and write treatises for the Society of Useful Knowledge.
  • We have heard of the solitude of the wide ocean, of the sandy desert, of the pathless forest; but, for a real, thorough, and entire knowledge, far beyond Zimmerman’s, of the pleasures of solitude, commend us to a young damsel doomed to a sofa and female society, while quadrille after quadrille is formed in her sight, and the waltzes go round like stars with whose motions we have nothing to do.

Chapter 8[edit]

  • … : the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge does not depend more on its encyclopædia, Mr. Brougham — the new tragedy on Macready — the balance of Europe on the Duke — none of these are so utterly dependent as a young lady on her chaperone.
  • What a foundation mortified vanity is for philosophy !
  • [From Lord Etheringhame]: "Every other species of talent carries with it its eternity ; we enjoy the work of the poet, the painter, the sculptor, only as thousands will do after us ; but the actor — his memory is with his generation, and that passes away."
  • We would liken music to Aladdin’s lamp — worthless in itself, not so for the spirits which obey its call. We love it for the buried hopes, the garnered memories, the tender feelings, it can summon with a touch.

Chapter 9[edit]

  • How many gastronomes, with mouths never meant but for mutton and mashed potatoes, dilate learnedly on the merits of salmis and sautés — but far less as matter of taste than flavour!
  • Perhaps, had not Emily's judgment been a little blinded by the diamond-dust which vanity flings in the eyes, Mr. Boyne Sillery might not have appeared such a very nice young man.
  • During the quadrille they progressed as rapidly as an American settlement.
  • With a due proportion of the coldness of our insular atmosphere entering like a damp sea-breeze into our composition, we English are the worst people in the world to assume characters not our own —
  • [To Emily the scene was new — and] novelty is the best half of pleasure
  • Attention is always pleasant in [an acquaintance] acquaintances till we tire of them.
  • [… ; and] ill nature is to conversation what oil is to the lamp — the only thing that keeps it alive.
  • Mischief in a large family, like murder in the newspapers, is sure to come out.
  • [But] youth, even of the most provident species, rarely desponds.
  • … [; and] the ridiculous is memory's most adhesive plaster.
  • It is curious to observe how soon we perceive the impropriety of departed pleasures. Repentance is a one-faced Janus, ever looking to the past.
  • She went to sleep, lulled by that best of mental opiates — a good resolution.

Chapter 10[edit]

  • No woman looks well walking in the street : she either elbows her way in all the disagreeableness of independence, or else shuffles along as if ashamed of what she is doing [; her bonnet has always been met by some unlucky wind which has destroyed half its shape, and all its set: if fine weather, her shoes are covered with dust, and if dirty, the petticoat is defyingly dragged through the mud, or, still more defyingly lifted on one side to show the black leather boot, and draggled in deepest darkness on the other. No female, at least none with any female pretensions, should ever attempt to walk, except on a carpet, a turf, or a terrace.] [As for the men, one half look as if they were running on an errand or from an arrest, or else were creeping to commit suicide.]
  • Ah, human felicity ! to have at once so many wants suggested and supplied ! Wretched Grecian daughters! miserable Roman matrons ! to whom shopping was an unknown pleasure, what did, what could employ them ?
  • [From Mr Boyne Sillery]: "[… : moreover,] one should never let pleasure interfere with business."

Chapter 11[edit]

  • Considering how much the ears are cultivated with all the useless varieties of "lute, sackbut, and psaltery," it is wonderful their first great quality should be so neglected ; it shows how much common sense is overlooked in our present style of education. Now, considering that it is the first step to general popularity — (that general popularity, to be turned, like a patriot’s, to particular account) — considering that it is the great general principle of conciliation towards East Indian uncles and independent aunts, it shows how much real utility is forgotten, when the science of listening is not made a prominent branch of instruction. So many act on the mistaken principle, that mere hearing is listening — the eyes, believe me, listen even better than the ears — there ought to be a professor of listening. We recommend this to the attention of the London University, or the new King's College ; both professing to improve the system of education. Under the head of listening, is to be included the arts of opportune questionings and judicious negatives — those negatives which, like certain votes, become, after a time, affirmatives.
  • [From Lady Mandeville]: "Our said happiness is but the excuse of our exclusion. Whenever I hear a man talking of the advantages of our ill-used sex, I look upon it as the prelude to some new act of authority."
  • [From Mr Delawarr]: "[Ah !] You resemble those political economists who, if they see a paragraph in the paper one day rejoicing over the country's prosperity, examine its columns to see what new tax is to be suggested."
  • [From Lady Mandeville]: "What course of Eton and Oxford equals the mental fatigues of an accomplished young lady ?"
  • [From Lady Mandeville]: "A woman never thoroughly knows her dependence till she is married."

Chapter 12[edit]

  • [From the landlord of the Spread Eagle]: "[… ; and] if I had ten [pounds] in the Bank of England, there would be a national bankruptcy, on purpose that I might lose it ; and if I were to turn undertaker, nobody would die, that I mightn't have the burying of them : it's just my luck always."
  • It may sound like the after-dinner patriotism of the Freemasons' Tavern ; but surely the heart does beat somewhat high beneath the shadow of an old oak.
  • [After a due portion of time employed in exclamations, sympathies, and inquiries, how they came to meet was] explained as satisfactorily as the end of an old novel, when every thing is cleared up, and every body killed, after having first repented, or married.
  • They reached the house ; and what with Morton's return, Lorraine's wit, and Adelaide's gratified vanity, the supper passed with a degree of gaiety very rare in a house whose atmosphere might have vied with Leila's snow court in Thalaba for coldness and quiet.
  • In marriage, as in chemistry, opposites have often an attraction.

Chapter 13[edit]

  • It was curious that, while father and mother were cut out in the most common-place shapes of social automata, both sons possessed a romance of feeling which would greatly have alarmed their rational parents. But no moral perceptions are so blunt as those of the selfish ; theirs is the worst of near-sightedness — that of the heart.
  • Lord and Lady Etheringhame were blind to the faults, even as they were to the good qualities of their children, simply because to neither had they an answering key in themselves ; we cannot calculate on the motions of a world, of whose very existence we dream not.
  • [There] he dreamed of life — those dreams which so unfit the visionary for action, which make the real world so distasteful when measured by that within.
  • The old proverb, applied to fire and water, may, with equal truth, be applied to the imagination — it is a good servant, but a bad master.
  • To me statues never bear aught of human resemblance — I cannot think of them as the likeness of man or woman — colourless, shadowy, they seem the creation of a spell ; their spiritual beauty is of another world — and well did the Grecian of old, whose faith was one of power and necessity, not of affection, make his statues deities : the cold, the severely beautiful, we can offer them worship, but never love.
  • A veiled lady either is, or ought to be, enough to turn the head of any cavalier under five-and-twenty.
  • Truly does passion live but in the present.
  • … : The Janus of Love's year may have two faces, but they look only on each other.
  • [— and] expectations have that sort of ideal beauty no reality can equal : In the moral as in the physical world, the violent is never the lasting — the tree forced into unnatural luxuriance of blossom bears them and dies.
  • If there be one part of life on which the curse spoken at Eden rests in double darkness — if there be one part of life on which is heaped the gathered wretchedness of years, it is the time when guilty love has burnt itself out, and the heart sees crowd around those vain regrets, that deep remorse, whose voices are never heard but in the silence of indifference.
  • Grief, after all, is like smoking in a damp country — what was at first a necessity becomes afterwards an indulgence.

Chapter 14[edit]

  • What a charm there must be in praise, when it consoles for all the miseries and mortifications of literature !
  • It is amazing how oppressive is the cleverness of some people, as if it were quite a duty in you to be clever too —
  • Alas ! for the victim of friendship, whom sentiment or silliness seduces into passing a long day ! The upright sitting on the repulsive sofa — the mental exhaustion in searching after topics of conversation, which, like the breeze in Byron's description of a calm, "come not" — the gossip that, out of sheer desperation, darkens into scandal; if ever friends or feelings are sacrificed under temptation too strong to be resisted, it is in the conversational pauses of a long day ; and worst of all, a long day between people who have scarcely an idea or an acquaintance in common, for the one to be exchanged, or the other abused — communication or condemnation equally out of the question.
  • [; but] shun the establishment of a bachelor who has hung a pendulum between temptation and prudence till the age of forty-five —
  • [… and] in came [Master Adolphus and Master Alfred in full cry, having disputed by the way which was to go first — also] a baby, eloquent as infancy usual is, and, like most youthful orators, more easily heard than understood.
  • [… and] it was one of those wet, miserable evenings, gratis copies distributed by November through the year.
  • Suicide and antipathy to fires in a bed-room seem to be among the national characteristics. Perhaps the same moral cause may originate both.
  • [From Mrs Sullivan]: “Knowledge is much like dust — it sticks to one, one does not know how.”
  • [For some time] she listened to every word she could catch, till at length the disagreeable conviction was forced upon her, that clever people talked very much as others did.
  • [… ; it seemed, however,] like English sunshine, too precious to be long enjoyed.
  • All around laughed, as people always laugh at misfortunes, i.e. with all their heart.
  • [From a young traveller, summoned by Mrs Sullivan]: “… and if he did get out six words, seven were unintelligible.”
  • [From Miss Amesbury (who is possibly L. E. L. herself)]: “When I say your gratitude ought to be excited by my vanity, I divide the functions of vanity into two influences ; the one is, when it is passive, I only feed upon the memories it brings ; the other is, when it is active, and prompts me to exert myself for your entertainment ; and it is while thus acting for your amusement that it calls on you to be grateful, if not gratified.”
  • Miss Amesbury is especially happy in the use of quotations —an apt quotation is like a lamp which flings its light over the whole sentence.
  • [From Mrs Sullivan]: “One would think that an unsuccessful volume was like a degree in the school of reviewing. One unread work makes the judge bitter enough ; but a second failure, and he is quite desperate in his damnation. I do believe one half of the injustice — the severity of 'the ungentle craft ' originates in its own want of success ; they cannot forgive the popularity which has passed them over, …”
  • [From a Scotchman, author of a history of Mary Queen of Scots]: “That a prejudice still exists between the Scotch and the English is no credit to either. Were I to allot each their shares of illiberality, I should say, there are six of the one and half-a-dozen of the other ; and as I am one who utterly despairs of improving the human race, I have no doubt it will continue.”
  • [From Mrs Sullivan]: “Travelling is as much a passion as ambition or love.”
  • [From Mrs Sullivan]: “[I like to meet him sometimes:] it is good for one's moral constitution to know there are such things as kindliness and integrity to be found in the world.”
  • [From Mrs Sullivan]: “[Perhaps from the pleasures of memory ; for] She is now half of one of those happy couples which make one understand a phrase somewhat difficult to comprehend, from so seldom witnessing it — domestic felicity.”
  • [From Mrs Sullivan]: “[I nevertheless think that] the blessings of matrimony, like those of poverty, belong rather to philosophy than reality.”
  • [From Mrs Sullivan]: “[— and of course,] a married woman has no time for music or reading.”
  • [Divers introductions took place; and] Emily heard a great deal of conversation, of which conceit was the canvass, while flattery laid on the colours.
  • She had seen many who had long been the throned idols of her imagination, and her disappointment much resembled that of the princely lover of Cinderella, who, on questioning his porters if they had seen a robed and radiant beauty pass, learnt that their uncharmed eyes had only beheld a little dirty girl. She had fallen into the common error of supposing that the author must personify his works, and that his conversation must be copy and compeer of his writings.
  • There is nothing people are so much ashamed of as truth. It is a common observation, that those whose writings are most melancholy are often most lively in conversation. [They are ashamed of their real nature ; and] it is a curious fact, but one which all experience owns, that people do not desire so much to appear better, as to appear different from what they really are.
  • [… ; that he has despised the flatterer, but loved the flattery — at once ungrateful and exacting; that he has praised himself —] the worst of praise is that given in hopes of return; …
  • The anxious struggle — the loneliness of neglect — the consciousness of merit — the resources which open to a mind flung back upon itself — will do more to stimulate exertion than praise or even profit. The flattered and followed author sees too soon the worthlessness and hollowness of the prize for which he contends.

Chapter 15[edit]

  • We hope, plan, execute ; will it be vain ?
    Or will the future be the past again ?
  • Truly, a little love-making is a very pleasant thing, …
  • Ah ! love and youth are delightful things, before the one is chilled, and the other darkened by those after-days, each of which brings with it some dull or sad lesson ! — when we learn, that, though disappointment is misery, fruition is but weariness ; and that happiness is like the statue of Isis, whose veil no mortal ever raised.
  • [… :] I do believe that the power of making the future their present is one of the first gifts with which Providence endows a great man.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: — the evil with which we are familiar seems scarce an evil : …
  • [From Lord Etheringhame]: — I see thousands and thousands rushing to every goal to which human desires can tend — and what matters it if one individual loiter on the way? I see, too, thousands and thousands daily swept off, and their places filled up, leaving not a memory to say that they have been — and again I ask, of what import is an individual ?
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: Instead of asking of what import is an individual, let us rather ask, what is there an individual may not do ?
  • [From Lord Etheringhame]: We do not kill each other quite so much, but we cheat each other more : mortifications are more frequent than wants : and it does appear to me, that, in this change of rude into civilised life, we only exchange bodily evils for mental ones.
  • Truly the history of most lives may be soon comprehended under three heads — our follies, our faults, and our misfortunes.
  • There is nothing so easy as to be wise for others ; a species of prodigality, by the by — for such wisdom is wholly wasted.

Chapter 16[edit]

  • [From Lady Alicia]: Oh, I have heard all this a hundred times : one hears things till one forgets them.
  • [From Mr Delawarr]: ... plain truth is like a plain face — not very attractive. There is no moral Styx ; and in politics as in every thing else, censure is more bitter than praise is sweet.
  • [From Mr Delawarr]: ... indifference is as fabulous as invulnerability.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: There is an ingenuity, an originality, which makes one lament over so much unappreciated genius.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: A respectable man passes six days behind his counter, and the seventh in a one-horse chaise — imagines that his own and his country's constitution equally depend on roast-beef — pays his debts regularly, and gives away half-pence in charity.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: It is certainly in the destiny of some individuals to be the idols of the circulating library.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: ... a novelist will soon be as necessary a part of a modern establishment as the minstrel was in former times.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: ... I think hearts are very much like glasses — if they do not break with the first ring, they usually last a considerable time.
  • Some authors, in discussing love's divers places of vantage ground, are eloquent in praise of a dinner-table — others eulogise supper : for my part I lean to the breakfast, — the complexion and the feelings are alike fresh — the cares, business, and sorrows of the day, have not yet merged in prudence and fatigue — the imaginativeness of the morning dream is yet floating on the mind — the courtesies of coffee and chocolate are more familiar than those of soup and fish. As they say in education, nothing like an early commencement — our first impressions are always most vivid, and the simplicity of the morning gives an idea of nature piquant from probable contrast. Perhaps one's rule of three for action might run thus : be naive at breakfast, brilliant at dinner, but romantic at supper. The visions prepared for midnight should always be a little exalted : but if only one meal be at your choice, prefer the breakfast.

Chapter 17[edit]

  • It is quite wonderful what privileges are accorded to single gentlemen of a certain age and a certain fortune, — these are the people who may be rude with more than impunity, even reward. Whether the old ladies, either for themselves or their daughters, hope it is not quite too late for these said single gentlemen to marry, — whether the masculine part of the creation with that attention to business, their great moral duty, calculate on pecuniary futurities, either in the shape of legacy or loan, we know not ; but assuredly the magna charta of social life accords much to this privileged class.
  • [From Mr. Morland]: Mrs. Robinson, Mrs. Smith, and Mrs. Radcliffe ruled the Europe, Asia, and Africa of the novel-writing world — America was not then discovered.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: Like the veins of a mine, the materials of fiction are soon worked out.
  • [From Edward Lorraine}: When opinions have lost the support of the grounds on which they were originally formed, they become prejudices ; but in proportion as they lose their foundation, they tighten their hold : for though a man may give up his opinion he holds to his prejudice as a drowning wretch who has lost his boat grasps his oar.
  • A woman always, whether she shows it or not, takes a general assertion to herself, not from vanity, but from the intense individuality of her nature ; …
  • [From Mr Morland]: .... no one sees things exactly as they are, but as varied and modified by their own method of viewing. Bid a botanist and a poet describe a rose-tree — the one will dwell upon its roots, fibres, petals, &c., and his abstract view will be of its medicinal properties ; the poet will dwell upon its beauty, and associate it with the ideas of love and summer, or catch somewhat of melancholy from its futurity of fading — no fear of want of variety.
  • [From Mr Morland]: … : philosophy, like charity, begins at home ; but also, like charity, I should wish it to extend, and become the more beneficial the more it expands.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: There is always a certain capital of opinion to which men deem it proper to subscribe — our education from the first cultivates credulity — we are taught to agree, not to examine, and our judgment is formed long before our comprehension.
  • Always be as witty as you can with your parting bow — your last speech is the one remembered.

Chapter 18[edit]

  • ... there is no look so suspicious as a downcast one.
  • [On love] Like the maiden of the fairy tale, we destroy our spell when we open it to examine in what characters it is written. In its ignorance is its happiness; there is none of the anxiety that is the fever of hope — no fears, for there is no calculation — no selfishness, for it asks for nothing — no disappointment, for nothing is expected : it is like the deep quiet enjoyment of basking in the bright sun shine, without thinking of either how the glad warmth will ripen our fruits and flowers, or how the dark clouds in the distance forebode a storm.
  • To know that the love which once seemed eternal can have an end, destroys its immortality ; and, thus brought to a level with the beginnings and endings — the chances and changes of life's common-place employments and pleasures — and, alas! from the sublime to the ridiculous there is but a step — our divinity turns out an idol — we are grown too wise, too worldly, for our former faith — and we laugh at what we wept before : such laughter is more bitter — a thousand times more bitter — than tears.
  • It is a wise law of nature, that we only hear at second-hand what is said of us, when, at least, we can comfort ourselves with disbelief. [His Satanic majesty did not know how to tempt Job ; instead of making him hear his friends talk to him — though that was bad enough — he should have made him hear them talk of him ; and if that did not drive him out of all patience, I know not what would.]
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: Utility is fast annihilating the empire of the sigh or the sword : a hero is pronounced to be dangerous, or, worse, useless — and Alexanders and Richelieus are equally out of keeping with our time.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: … : a Frenchman throws his discontent into an epigram, and is happy — an Englishman vents his on the weather, and is satisfied.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: … ; for our English grumbling is equally distributed between the weather and politics, and the case would be desperate when confined to the last.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: Dress ought to be part of female education ; her eye for colouring, her taste for drapery, should be cultivated by intense study. [Let her approach the mirror as she would her harp or her grammar, aware that she has a task before her, whose fulfilment, not whose fulfilling, is matter of vanity. Above all, let her eschew the impertinence of invention ; let her leave genius to her milliner. In schools, there are the drawing, French, and dancing days ; there should also be dressing days. From sandal to ringlet should undergo strict investigation ; and a prize should be given to the best dressed. We should not then have our eyesight affronted by yellows and pinks, greens and blues, mingled together ; we should be spared the rigidity of form too often attendant on a new dress ; and no longer behold shawls hung on shoulders as if they were two pegs in a passage.]
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: A frivolous employment ! This comes of well-sounding morality shining in a sentence.
  • I own that life is very wearisome — that we are most miserable creatures — that we go on through disappointments, cares, and sorrows, enough for a dozen of poems ; still, it has pleasant passages — for example, when one is young, pretty, and a little in love. What a pity that we cannot remain at fifteen and five and twenty ! Or, second thoughts are best — I dare say then we should sink under the ennui of enjoyment, or be obliged to commit suicide in self-defence.
  • There are many odd things in society ; but its amusements are the oddest of all. Take any crowded party you will, and I doubt if there are ten persons in the room who are really pleased. To do as others do, is the mania of the day.
  • Once upon a time a lady died much regretted ; for she was as kind-hearted an individual as ever gave birth-day presents in her life, or left legacies at her death. When they heard the intelligence, the whole of a married daughter's family were in great distress, — the mother cried bitterly, so did her two eldest daughters, as fitting and proper to do. The youngest child of all, a little creature who could not in the least recollect its grandmother, nevertheless retired into a corner, and threw its pinafore over its face. "Poor dear feeling little creature ! " said the nurse, "don't you cry too." "I'm not crying," replied the child ; "I only pretend." Regret and enjoyment are much the same; people are like the child, — they only pretend.

Chapter 19[edit]

  • There are many gentlemen who never drink any but sample wines, and never go beyond their first order to a wine-merchant. This would be a very excellent plan to pursue in love affairs ; for the beginning is their best part — its only fault is, that it is impossible.
  • [From Mr Spenser]: .... I doubt the great advantage of the biographies of eminent men, who have arisen by their own efforts, being sedulously held up as examples to the lower classes. If great talents really exist, these very instances prove that example was not necessary to call them into action ; and if they do not, the apparent ease and the high success which attended those objects of their emulation, are calculated rather to cause delusive hopes than a beneficial effect.
  • [From Mr Spenser]: We see how they scaled the mountain, and immediately give ourselves credit for being able to go and do likewise. We forget that a great man does not leave behind him his genius, but its traces. Now, there is no disappointment so bitter as that whose cause is in ourselves.
  • [From Lord Mandeville]: In diffusing knowledge, there are two dangers against which we should endeavour to guard — that it be not turned to a wrong use, or made subservient to mere display. The last is the worst ; — discontent is the shadow of display, and display is the characteristic of our age. Take one of its humblest instances. Our young people go to their divers amusements, not for the purpose of enjoyment, but of display ; they require not entertainment, but compliment.
  • [From Lord Mandeville]: Satiety and mortification are the extremes of vanity, and both are equally attended by envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness. If the human mind were like a pond, and could be filled at once, knowledge, like the water, would be its own balance ; but as it must be done gradually, it ought to be done carefully — not one part filled to overflowing, while a second is left dry, or a third to stagnate.
  • [From Lord Mandeville]: Knowledge, when only the possession of a few, has almost always been turned to iniquitous purposes.
  • [From Lord Mandeville]: From religion, and that only, can they learn the inherent nature of good and evil. In the sorrows that have afflicted, in the judgments that have befallen, the highest and mightiest, they will learn the only true lesson of equality — the conviction that our destinies are not in our own hands ; they will see that no situation in life is without its share of suffering ; — and this perpetual reference to a higher power ought equally to teach the rich humility, and the poor devotion.
  • [From Lord Mandeville]: Secondly, I lean rather to giving practical than scientific knowledge. I would distribute books on farming, gardening, and a cheap, simple cookery would be a valuable present: for works of mere amusement, travels plainly written, especially such as, in the wants and miseries of other countries, teach us to value the comforts and advantages of our own ; —
  • [From Mr Spenser]: Great power is almost always a great evil.
  • A woman's love is essentially lonely and spiritual in its nature — feeding on fancy, rather than hope — or like that fairy flower of the East, which floats in, and lives upon, the air. Her attachment is the heathenism of the heart : she has herself created the glory and beauty with which the idol of her altar stands invested.

Chapter 20[edit]

  • [From Adelaide]: It is my misfortune, not my fault, that the felicity of the country is, to my mind, like the merriment of Christmas, more heard of than seen.
  • To hold our surprises in perfect subjection is one of the first lessons of society ;
  • Many failures only increase the satisfaction of final success.
  • He asked no better revenge than a reply — and arrayed in his own mind a whole battalion of arguments, and a light-armed troop of sneers. Nothing is more imaginative than anger.
  • ... no enmity is so bitter as a political one ...
  • Surprises are like misfortunes or herrings — they rarely come single.
  • [From Mr Delawarr]: A very small loss indeed, it being only what you ought never to have had.
  • [From Mr Delawarr]: He is a fool, therefore obstinate ; but vain, and therefore manageable.
  • [From Mr Delawarr]: … : enmities are like friendships — useless encumbrances ; individual feelings have nothing to do with general proceedings.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: Opinions may change with the circumstances on which they were founded, but principles never.
  • None are so disinterested as the thoughtless and absorbed.
  • Habits are the petrifactions of the feelings, and his habits were those of business. [A resolution is never shaken by a conviction.]
  • He saw the need of instant action, and took refuge in that common resource of the destitute, a well-sounding phrase.
  • Conscience always acts on the conciliatory system.
  • Nothing like a gallop on a beautiful Arabian in all desperate cases.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: And thus it is, with all the works of men : whether for beauty or usefulness, how soon they perish ! One generation builds, that another may neglect or destroy. We talk of the future — we look to it — we act for it. The future comes — ourselves are forgotten — our works are ruins.
  • It is hard, very hard, for the heart to part with, at one struggle, those it has most loved and reverenced.
  • A century or two ago, the best blood in the kingdom was spent in defence of the right divine of kings — and it was called heroic conduct ; now it is to be shed in defence of the rights of the people — and that is very heroic conduct too. I wonder what will be heroic conduct a century hence.
  • Ireland, last year, was to be paradise, if that Peri, emancipation, was but sent there ; now it is a wretched, degraded, oppressed country, unless the Union be dissolved !

Chapter 21[edit]

  • [From Emily]: Good taste is his religion, his morality, his standard, and his test. … … Consistency of action, attention to results, and also to present benefit on the one side, and harmony of colour and graceful effect on the other, he urges arise from the same principle under different circumstances — viz. good taste !
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: The monarch must be noble as his dwelling ; ...
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: By the by, I think it among the great honours to French literature, that one of its most original branches, fairy tales, is peculiarly its own.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: … a nation only wants words for the things it knows—
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: An exquisite distinction I once heard made between wit and humour, appears to me admirably to apply to that of the French and English — that humour differs from wit in being more nearly allied with pathos. Thus it is with us islanders — we can be merry, but not lively ; and mirth brings its own reaction.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: … : you know ladies never dress but for each other ; …
  • Or is there a prophetic spirit in the human mind, which makes those of the keenest feelings often appear cold ; an intuitive, though unowned fear, repressing sensations of such deep and intense power ? They can not feel only a little ; and they shrink, though with an unconscious dread, from feeling too much.
  • Shyness is too much a mere impulse in very early youth to be lasting ; …
  • It is true enough for a proverb, that the pleasantest parties are those of which the least can be told.
  • Childhood is not often a happy season — it is too much forced and controlled, …
  • Our nature has many mysteries — the moral and physical world are strangely allied ; the weight on the air presages the hurricane — the darkness on the heaven the tempest — why may not destiny have its signs, and the heart its portents, …
  • Do not tell me of the happiness of life, when every day begins with a struggle and a sacrifice. To get up in the morning, both in the enjoyment it resigns and the resolution it requires, is an act of heroism.

Chapter 22[edit]

  • Clubs are just a modification of monasteries — places of refuge from female attentions ; and, as in former days, the finest architecture, the best situation, the most elaborate cuisine, the most refined cellar, are devoted to their use. The principal modern improvements are the omission of fasting and penance, and the substitution of magazines for missals.
  • From childhood we hear some few great names to which mind has given an immortality : they are called the benefactors of their kind — their words are familiar to our lips — our early thoughts take their tone, our first mental pleasures are derived, from their pages — we admire, and then we imitate —we think how glorious it is to let the spirit thus go forth, winning a throne in men's hearts, sending our thoughts, like the ships of Tyre laden with rich merchandise, over the ocean of human opinion, and bringing back a still richer cargo of praise and goodwill. Thus was it with the great men of old, and so shall it be with us. We forget that Time, the Sanctifier, has been with them ; that no present interests jar against theirs ; and that around them is the calm and the solemnity of the grave; and we forget the ordeal through which they have passed to the temple.
  • Those who have no part in the conflict see with the imagination : they behold the crimson banner, hear the stately trumpet, and think not of the dust of the march, or the agony of the battle ; …
  • All sweeping assertions are erroneous.
  • [From Emily]: At all events, that gentleman's self-estimate is a pleasant one who believes that every man looks up to, and that every woman is in love with him.
  • [From Mr Edward Lorraine]: Nothing is more difficult than to paint from nature — nothing so pleasant when achieved.
  • [From Mr Morland]: … we like and require truth — always supposing and allowing that the said truth interferes neither with our interests nor our inclinations.
  • [From Mr Morland]: Ridicule may be the test of truth, but it is not its result.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: But, really, it is scarcely worth while to be witty, when we remember how stupid people are. One would often think that a joke was as hard to be taken as an affront.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: —news lasts longer in the country than it does in town—
  • [From a lady known as our English Corinne]: 'Now, do you not see what a wicked little girl you are? Why do you not pray to God every morning to make you a better child ? ' 'And so I do,' sobbed the poor little thing, 'but he only makes me worserer and worserer.’
  • [From Lady Mandeville]: Nay, nay — it is to shew us how well you can do without us. I daily expect, in these times of reform and retrenchment, that a bill will be brought into the House for the suppression of the female sex, as an expensive and useless superfluity.

Chapter 23[edit]

  • Not one in a thousand knows how to put on a bonnet : they set it on one side like a disagreeable recollection ; or bolt upright, as if they wanted to realise Shakespeare's worst of puns, — "and she, like France, was at war with her hair (heir)." No such very great degree of genius can be displayed in the rest of the toilet. The dress has been chosen — it fits you à ravir — it has simply to be put on with mathematical accuracy : but the bonnet is the triumph of taste, — you must exert your intellect, — your destiny is in your own hands.
  • People are often very generous in giving what is of no value : is it on this principle that one lady is usually so profuse in her admiration of the dress of another ?
  • The truth is, Lord Merton was, simply, naturally and intensely selfish ; he was himself "the ocean of his thoughts ;" he never considered the comfort of other people, because he never looked at it as distinct from his own ; and the most romantic devotion, the most self-denying love, would have seemed, if he were the object of it, as quite in the common course of things. This is a common character, which age alone developes into deformity. Youth, like charity, covers a multitude of sins ; but Heaven help the wife, children, servants, and all other pieces of domestic property, when such a man is fifty, and has the gout !
  • How mistaken is the phrase, "every delicacy of the season " — they mean out of season. Grapes are ripe at the same time as strawberries, and peaches come in with the crocuses.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: I think romance can never take a very high tone but in times of great civilisation. Romance is more matter of feeling than of passion ; and if violent passions belong to a barbarous, strong feelings belong to a civilised state. The refinement of our tastes, of course, is communicated to our sentiments ; and we exaggerate, subtilise, and spiritualise — the three chief ingredients of romance.
  • [From Lady Mandeville]: I believe, that we abuse the age we live in, on the same principle that we take liberties with our friends. The poor present time, how it is calumniated ! degenerate, immoral, irreligious, are its best epithets ; and we talk of the good old time till we really believe it existed.
  • [Reply from Mr Delawarr]: Even, as we eulogise the peace and innocence of a country life ; for the peace of the parish, apply to the rector on the tithe day — for its innocence, to the justice of the peace.
  • However, there is always one solace to misery, as there is one drawback to pleasure, — they must all have an end, …

Chapter 24[edit]

  • What an odd thing experience is ! — now turning over so rapidly the book of life, now writing so much on a single leaf.
  • — Love is the least calculating of all dreamers, —
  • Shame is the worst pang of unrequited affection.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: ... pretension is a sort of general election, depending on universal suffrage, and subject to canvassing and criticism.
  • [From Mr Delawarr]: The desire of notoriety, and the love of fame, differ but little ; yet one is the meanest, the other the noblest feeling in our nature : the one looks to the present, and is a mixture of the selfish and the common-place — the other dwells upon the future, and is the generous and the exalted.”
  • [From Emily]: It is curious, that when we feel in ourselves the most inclined to silence, we almost always fancy it is absolutely necessary we should talk.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: If this city system of colonisation goes on, our children will advertise a green tree, like an elephant, as 'this most wonderful production of nature ;' and the meaning of green grass will only be to be found in the dictionary.
  • [From Mr Delawarr]: As it is the great principle of political economy to tax luxuries, why are not reports taxed ? Are they not the chief luxuries of society ? Of all my senses, I thank Heaven that of hearing is limited ; the dative case is very well — hearing what is said to me ; but preserve me from the ablative case — hearing what is said about me !
  • [From Edward Lorriane]: We speak ill of our neighbours, not from ill-nature, but idleness ; satire is only the cayenne of conversation : people have so few subjects for talking about in common with their friends but their friends ; and it is utterly impossible to dress them as Fontenelle did his asparagus, toute en huile.
  • How untrue, to say youth is the happiest season of our life ! it is filled with vexations, for almost all its ideas are false ones ; they must be set right, and often how harshly ! Its hopes are actual beliefs: how often must they be taught doubt by disappointment ! And then its keen feelings, laying themselves so bare to the beak of the vulture experience ! Youth is a season that has no repose.
  • I have heard it said, that no man ever believes a woman can fall in love with his friend : I would add, she certainly falls marvellously in his opinion if she does —
  • With the concentrated anger of fourteen patriots at a list of sinecures in which they have no part, or a dozen professors who find they cannot get pupils — nor fees without, Lord Merton steadied his voice, almost inarticulate from rage, …
  • The human heart is like Pandora's box — only it is hatred, not hope, that lies curled up at the bottom. It is well we are little in the habit of analysing our common and passing sensations, — we should be horror-struck at our own quantity of hate.
  • No time passes so rapidly as that of painful expectancy, —No hour arrives so soon as the one we dread.
  • Physical miseries greatly add to the discomfort of mental ones.
  • … the science of human happiness — and all is science now-a-days — is greatly in arrear, or we should fix the middle of the day for farewells.

Volume 2[edit]

Chapter 1[edit]

  • Of all passions, love is the most engrossing and the most superstitious. How often has a leaf, a star, a breath of wind, been held as an omen ! It draws all things into somewhat of relation to itself: it is despotic, and jealous of all authority but its own : it bars the heart against the entrance of other feelings, and deems wandering thoughts its traitors.
  • It is curious how inseparable eating and kindness are with some people.
  • Affection exaggerates its own offences.
  • How youth makes its wishes hopes, and its hopes certainties !
  • Nothing is so ingenious in its thousand ways and means as affection.
  • The self-reproach of a sensitive and affectionate temper is of the most refined and exaggerating nature. Unmixed grief requires and seeks solitude — its unbroken indulgence is its enjoyment ; but that which is mingled with remorse, involuntarily shrinks from it self, — it wants consolation — it desires to hear some other voice extenuate its faults, — and even while disowning and denying the offered excuse, it is comforted.
  • Enough of murder, and mystery, which always seems to double the crime it hides, …
  • Hope is the prophet of youth — young eyes will always look forwards.
  • The narrative of the young carries its hearer along by its own buoyancy — by the gladness which is contagious ; …
  • Amid the many signs of that immortality of which our nature is so conscious, none has the certainty, the conviction, of affection : we feel that love, which is stronger and better than life, was made to outlast it. In the memory that survives the lost and the dear, we have mute evidence of a power over the grave :

Chapter 2[edit]

  • There is wisdom in even the exaggeration of grief — there is little cause to fear we should feel too much.
  • Deep as may be the regret, though the lost be the dearest, nay, the only tie that binds to earth, never did the most passionate grief give way to its emotion in the presence of the dead. Awe is stronger than sorrow : there is a calm, which, though we do not share, we dare not disturb : the chill of the grave is around them and us.

Chapter 3[edit]

  • A gallop always puts people in a good humour ; …
  • The surprise was something of a shock ; but people may be frightened into their wits as well as out of them ; and the necessity for exertion usually brings with it the power —
  • — Lady Lauriston was a woman with whom it would be as wearisome to talk as it would be to perambulate long a straight gravel walk and neatly arranged flowers ; …
  • A kindly intention is often the best eloquence ; …
  • Love is at once the best temptation for a hermit, and the best cure for a misanthrope.
  • Vanity is love's visier, and often more powerful than his master.
  • Oh, Life ! — the wearisome, the vexatious — whose pleasures are either placed beyond our reach, or within it when we no longer desire them — when youth toils for the riches, age may possess but not enjoy ; — where we trust to friendship, one light word may destroy ; or to love, that dies even of itself; — where we talk of glory, philosophical, literary, military, political — die, or, what is much more, live for it — and this coveted possession dwells in the consent of men of whom no two agree about it.
  • The politician — oh, Job ! the devil should have made you prime minister — set the Tories to impeach your religion, the Whigs your patriotism — placed a couple of Sunday newspapers before you — he certainly would have succeeded in making you curse and swear too ; and then posterity — it will just be a mooted point for future historians, whether you were the saviour, the betrayer, or the tyrant of your country, those being the three choice epitaphs kept for the especial use of patriots in power.
  • Or — to descend to the ordinary ranks and routine of life — we furnish a house, that our friends may cry out on our extravagance or bad taste; — we give dinners, that our guests may hereafter find fault with our cook or our cellar ; — we give parties, that three parts of the company may rail at their stupidity; — we dress, that our acquaintance may revenge themselves on our silks, by finding fault with our appearance ;— we marry ; if well, it was interest — if badly, it was insanity ; — we die, and even that is our own fault ; if we had but done so and so, or gone to Dr. such a one, the accident would not have happened.
  • No illusions are so perfect as those of love — none, therefore, so pleasant.
  • And also, like most indolent people, he easily yielded to any impression : his character may be summed up by saying, he would have made an exquisite woman.
  • Change of opinion is like waltzing — very much the fashion, and very proper ; but the English have so many ridiculous prejudices, that they really do both as if they were doing something very wrong.
  • It is very pleasant to follow one's inclinations ; but, unfortunately, we cannot follow them all. They are like the teeth sown by Cadmus ; they spring up, get in each other's way, and fight.
  • Well, an obstinate temper is very disagreeable, particularly in a wife ; a passionate one very shocking in a child ; but, for one's own particular comfort, Heaven help the possessor of an irresolute one ! Its day of hesitation — its night of repentance — the mischief it does — the miseries it feels ! — its proprietor may well exclaim, "Nobody can tell what I suffer but myself!”

Chapter 4[edit]

  • It is a wretched thing to pass one's life among those utterly incapable of appreciating us ; upon whom our sense or our sentiment, our wit or our affection, are equally thrown away : people who make some unreal and distorted picture of us — say it is our likeness, and act accordingly.
  • Your weak animals are almost always cunning ;
  • — obstinacy is the heroism of little minds —
  • Thoughts rarely wander without an object ; and that object once found, they fix there with all the intensity which any thing of sentiment acquires in solitude or idleness.
  • Absence is a trial whose result is often fatal to love ; but there are two sorts of absence. I would not advise a lover to stake his fortune or his feelings on the faith of the mistress whose absence is one of flattery, amusement, and that variety of objects so destructive to the predominance of one — at least not to trust an incipient attachment to such an ordeal ; but he may safely trust absence which is passed in loneliness, where the heart, thrown upon itself, finds its resource in that most imaginative faculty — memory.
  • Every girl has a natural fancy for enacting the heroine — and, generally speaking, a very harmless fancy it is, after all.
  • If there be two things in the world — to use a common domestic expression — enough to provoke a saint, it is, first to have your husband not enter into your feelings — (your feelings sound so much better than your temper) — and, in the second place, laughing at them.
  • Surprise is the only power that works miracles now-a-days ; …
  • Nothing circulates so rapidly as a secret.
  • General assertions, like general truths, are not always applicable to individual cases [; and]
  • [; and] though Fortune's wheel is generally on the turn, sometimes when it gets into the mud, it sticks there.

Chapter 5[edit]

  • Ah ! money is the true Aladdin's lamp ; and I have often thought the Bank of England is the mysterious roc's egg, whose movements are forbidden to mortal eye.
  • How irksome, how wearying, to be doomed always to the society of those who are like people speaking different languages! It resembles travelling through the East, with a few phrases of lingua franca — just enough for the ordinary purposes of life — enow of words to communicate a want, but not to communicate a thought !
  • … indifference is but another of the illusions of youth : …
  • … the country owes much of its merit to being unknown.
  • Spring and Morning are ladies that owe half their charms to their portrait-painters.

Chapter 6[edit]

  • [From Mr Morland]: … our present mode of education has too much of the forcing system in it. The forward child grows into the dogmatic youth, and it takes ten years of disappointment and mortification to undo the work of twenty. Nothing leads to such a false idea of self-importance as display. I dislike those railroads to information, because the labour of acquiring knowledge is even more valuable than the knowledge acquired. It is a great misfortune to children to be made of too much consequence.
  • [From Lady Mandeville]: … we over-educate the memory, while the temper and the feelings are neglected, forgetting that the future will be governed much more by the affections than by the understanding.
  • O for some German philosopher, with the perseverance of the African travellers, who seem to make a point of conscience to die on their travels, not, though, till the said travels are properly interred in quartos — with their perseverance, and the imagination of a poet to examine into the doctrine of sympathies ! And to begin with letters, in what consists the mysterious attraction no one will deny they possess ? Why, when we neither expect, hope, nor even wish for one, and yet when they are brought, who does not feel disappointed to find there are none for them? and why, when opening the epistle would set the question at rest, do we persevere in looking at the direction, the seal, the shape, as if from them alone we could guess the contents? What a love of mystery and of vague expectance there is in the human heart !
  • [From Lord Mandeville]: What will Lady Lauriston do without a daughter to marry ? She really must advertise for one.
  • [From Mr Morland]: You all universally like the qualities in which you yourselves are deficient : the more you indulge in that not exactly deceit, which, in its best sense, belongs to your sex, the more you appreciate and distinguish that which is true in the character of man.
  • What betraying things blushes are ! Like sealing wax in the juvenile riddle, a blush "burns to keep a secret."
  • We build our castles on the golden sand ; — the material is too rich to be durable.

Chapter 7[edit]

  • Women in black gowns, and drab-coloured shawls hung upon their shoulders as if they were pegs in a passage — men in coats something between a great-coat and a frock — strings of hackney-coaches which moved not — stages which drove along with an empty, rattling sound — and carts laden with huge stones, now filled Piccadilly.
  • — it makes good the observation that a bystander sees more of the game than those who are playing ; —
  • But pleasures are always most delightful when we look back upon, or forward to them : …
  • No thoroughly occupied man was ever yet very miserable.
  • … : people cannot be married without a clergyman — the milliner and the jeweller are equally indispensable.
  • Any great change is like cold water in winter — one shrinks from the first plunge; and a lover may be excused who shivers a little at the transmigration into a husband.

Chapter 8[edit]

  • A new acquaintance was like a new book — and, as in the case of the book, it must be confessed she often arrived very quickly at the end.
  • … imagination is as useful in keeping affection alive as the eastern monarch's fairy ring was in keeping alive his conscience.
  • [From Mr Morland]: {of Wordsworth} —he is the most poetical of philosophers. Strange, that a man can be so great a poet, and yet deficient in what are poetry's two grand requisites, — imagination and passion.
  • [From Mr Morland]: That a peculiar temperament is required for poetry, no one will deny; but what produces that temperament ? — scenery and circumstances certainly do not. I, for one, am content to leave the question with the longitude and the philosopher's stone.
  • [From Lady Mandeville]: I always think national costumes invented for the express advantage of travellers.
  • [From Mr Morland]: … the pleasures of travelling seem to me quite ideal. I dislike having the routine of my existence disarranged — I dislike early rising — I dislike had dinners — I dread damp beds — I like new books — I like society — I respect my cook, and love my arm-chair ; so I will travel through Italy in a chapter —
  • [From Lady Mandeville]: There are two readings of content — and mine would be, monotony.

Chapter 9[edit]

  • We differ from our ancestors in many things — in none more than in cases of sentiment. Formerly, it was your susceptible school-girl, "your novel-reading miss" — now, women only grow romantic after forty. Your young beauty calculates the chances of her Grecian nose, her fine eyes, and her exquisite complexion — your young heiress dwells on the claims of her rent-roll, or the probabilities of her funded property : it is their mothers who run away — their aunts who marry handsome young men without a shilling. Well, the prudence of youth is very like selfishness, and the romance of age very like folly.
  • Alas ! oblivion is our moral death, and forgetfulness is the second grave which closes over the dead.
  • Great misfortunes have at least their dignity to support them ; but the many and small miseries of life, how they do gall and wear away the spirit !
  • Strange, that one whose opinion we neither respect nor admit should yet have power to wound ! — not stranger, though, than that it should have power to please. One may live to be indifferent to everything but opinion. We may reject friendship which has often deceived us; renounce love, whose belief, once found false, leaves us atheists of the heart : we may turn from pleasures which have palled — from employments which have become wearisome ; but the opinion of our kind, whether for good or for evil, still retains its hold; that once broken, every social and moral tie is broken too — the prisoner then may go to his solitary cell — the anchorite to his hermitage — the last link with life and society is rent in twain.
  • Ill news travel fast ; and Mrs. Arundel's marriage was like the sun in the child's riddle, for it went "round each house, and round each house, and looked in at every window.”

Chapter 10[edit]

  • The first great principle of our religious, moral, civil, and literary institutions, is a dinner.
  • The more imaginative love is, the more superstitious it must be : the belief of omens being past — that desire of the unattainable so inherent in our nature, and which shows itself in so many shapes — now, as far as regards prophecy, it takes another form, and calls itself presentiment ; …
  • I do not think imagination an indulgence at all to be permitted in our present state of society : very well for poets and painters — it is their business, the thing of all others not to be neglected ; but in the common construction of characters and circumstances it is an illusion quite at variance with the realities on which we are to act, and among which we are to live.
  • Illusions are the magic of real life, and the forfeit of future pain is paid for present pleasure.

Chapter 11[edit]

  • I cannot agree with those romantic philosophers who hold ignorance to be bliss at any time ; but ignorance, when your listener laughs at what you say, without why or wherefore, is enough to enrage a saint. By the by, considering what an irascible race they were, the reputation of the saints for patience has been very easily acquired.
  • The merit we are the first to discover, almost seems as if it were our own, and that, like a newly found country, it was to bear the name of the first finder.
  • It is worth while to leave home, if it were only to enjoy being of so much consequence on your return.
  • [From Lady Mandeville]: His mind divided ! Verily that is making two bites of a cherry.
  • I cannot see why a taste for the country should be held so very indispensable a requisite for excellence; but really people talk of it as if it were a virtue, and as if an opposite opinion was, to say the least of it, very immoral.
  • Curious, that of the past our memory retains so little of what is peculiarly its own. The book we have read, the sight we have seen, the speech we have heard, — these are the things to which it recurs, and that rise up within it. We remember but what can be put to present use. It is very extraordinary how little we recollect of hopes, fears, motives, and all the shadowy tribe of feelings ; or indeed, how little we think over the past at all. Memory is that mirror wherein a man "beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. We are reproached with forgetting others : we forget ourselves a thousand times more. We remember what we hear, see, and read, often accurately : not so with what we felt — that is faint and uncertain in its record. Memory is the least egotistical of all our faculties.

Chapter 12[edit]

  • [From Edward Lorraine]: I think that either man's or woman's character stand in a relative position to each other, like the covered statue of Isis, whose veil mortal hand hath not raised. We never see each other but through the false mediums of passion, or affection, or indifference — all three equally bad for observation.
  • An invidious epithet is always remembered and reapplied : …
  • … : stupidity is the masculine of silliness.
  • He soon exhausted pleasure, and then reasoned upon it : he soon exhausted it, because he wanted that colouring enthusiasm which creates more than half of what it enjoys ; and he reasoned upon it, because his activity of mind, not having been employed on fancies, remained entire for realities.
  • … whatever people in general do not understand, they are always prepared to dislike ; the incomprehensible is always the obnoxious.
  • Books, works of art, the noble statue, the glorious picture, how rarely are any of these the subjects of conversation ? Few venture to speak on any topic that really interests them, for fear they should be led away by the warmth of speaking, and, by saying more than they intended, lay themselves open to the sarcasm which lies, like an Indian in ambush, ready to spring forth the moment the victim is off his guard. Take one instance among many. Beyond the general coarse and false compliment which it is held necessary to address with a popular author, and which is repaid by an affected and absurd indifference, what vein of conversation is afterwards started ? Assuredly something which interests neither : the mind of the one receives no impression — that of the other puts forth no powers. The natural face may be a thousand times more attractive, still a mask must be worn. No one has courage to be himself. We look upon others, and our eyes reflect back their images. It is the same with the mind. Even thus in society do we mirror the likeness of others. All originality being destroyed, our natural craving for variety asks some stimulant, and we are obliged to relieve the insipidity by bitters and acids. Who would dare to be eloquent in the face of a sneer ? or who express a sentiment which would instantly be turned to shame and laughter ? Ridicule is the dry-rot of society.
  • Sentiment, by the by, is one of those ill-used words which, from being often misemployed, require a definition when properly applied. Sentiment is the poetry of feeling. Feeling weeps over the grave of the beloved — sentiment weeps, and plants the early flower and the green tree, to weep too.
  • It may be questioned whether making pleasure a duty will add either to its flavour or its longevity.
  • Mr. Trevyllian affected la gastronomie : he studied it as a science ; thus vanity assisted luxury — for what professor of any science but has the pride of art ? Nothing could be more eloquent than his disdain — unless it were his pity for the uncultivated palates that rejoiced in tender beefsteaks — mouths that champed at raw celery like horses at a bit — people who simply boiled their pease, and ate apples and pears, or, as he sweepingly phrased it, "other crude vegetables."
  • [From Lady Mandeville]: What ! still retaining your Utopian visions of female felicity ? To talk of our happiness ! — ours, the ill-used and oppressed ! You remind me of the ancient tyrant, who, seeing his slaves sink under the weight of their chains, said 'Do look at the indolent repose of those people !'
  • [From Mr Trevyllian]: {Example of sexual prejudice} That preference of white sauce to brown is a singular proof of female inferiority.
  • [From Mr Trevyllian]: There are three things the wise man sedulously cultivates — his intellect, his affections, and his pleasures. Who will deny how much it brightens the intellect ? When does the mind put forth its powers ? when are the stores of memory unlocked ? when does wit 'flash from fluent lips ? ' — when but after a good dinner ? Half our friends are born of turbots and truffles.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: We are ourselves the stumbling-blocks in the way of our happiness. Place a common individual — by common, I mean with the common share of stupidity, custom, and discontent — place him in the garden of Eden, and he would not find it out unless he were told, and when told, he would not believe it.
  • [From Mr Morland]: It is very difficult to persuade people to be happy in any fashion but their own. We run after novelty in little things — we shrink from it in great. We make the yoke of circumstance a thousand times heavier, by so unwillingly accommodating ourselves to the inevitable.
  • [From Lady Mandeville]: This is truly a man's logic, 'making the worse appear the better reason.'
  • [From Mr Trevyllian]: Curiosity is its own suicide ; and what is love but curiosity ?
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: No sin in love is so great as inconstancy, because it unidealises it. The crime of sacrilege is not in the mere theft of the golden images from the high places — it is in afterwards applying them to base and common uses. Love and faith both require the ideal to make them holy.
  • [From Lady Mandeville]: We never understand the full heinousness of a crime unless we commit it.
  • [From Mr Trevyllian]: There is something absurd in vowing constancy in love. Love depends on impulses and impressions : now, over neither of these have we any control. The only security is, that we soon exhaust our impulses, and grow callous to impressions ; and the attachment has then become a habit, whose chains are, of all others, the most difficult to break.
  • [From Mr Morland]: In this exaltation of constancy there is something of that self-deception which attends all our imaginings of every species of virtue. We make them so beautifully perfect, to serve as an excuse for not attaining thereunto. 'Perfection was not made for man.’
  • [From Mr Trevyllian]: ... truth is like the philosopher's stone, a thing not to be discovered, …
  • [From Lady Mandeville]: I hold that vanity is to love what opium is to the constitution, — exciting, but destroying.
  • [From Mr Morland]: Look at the daily papers : to what eloquence do they attain when an affair of the heart becomes an affair of the police !

Chapter 13[edit]

  • [From Mr Morland]: Not so with Life : in at least seven cases out of nine, people are placed by fortune to fulfil a destiny for which they are eminently unfitted by nature.
  • [From Mr Morland]: We have no patriotism towards posterity ; and the selfish amusement of the present always has and always will outweigh the important interests of the future,— or else a law would long ago have passed, for every century to consign the production of its predecessor to the flames. Readers would benefit by the originality this would produce ; and writers would no longer have to complain that their predecessors had taken all their best ideas :
  • This is so like a man's scheme, — always expecting others to be more disinterested than himself !
  • —for, on an average, there is not one pleasant letter out of ten, and it is miserable to pass the night ruminating on the other nine. One really wants the spirits of the morning to support the coming in of the post.
  • Why, with all our deep and unutterable sympathies with love, are we inclined to laugh at half its disappointments ?

Chapter 14[edit]

  • Nothing exaggerates self-importance like solitude ; and perhaps because we have it not, then more than ever do we feel the want of sympathy : hopes, thoughts, these link themselves with external objects ; and it is the expression of that haunting desire of association, those vine-like emotions of the human heart which fasten on whatever is near, that give an interest like truth to the poet's fiction, who says that the mournful waters and the drooping trees murmur with his murmurs, and sorrow with his sorrows.
  • A ghost-story is an avalanche, increasing in horror as it goes ; and, like an avalanche, one often brings on another.
  • Our sympathy is never very deep unless founded on our own feelings; we pity, but do not enter into the grief we have never known :
  • Politeness, however, acts the lady's-maid to our thoughts ; and they are washed, dressed, curled, rouged, and perfumed, before they are presented to the public
  • It is amazing how much a thought expands and refines by being put into speech: I should think it could hardly know itself.

Chapter 15[edit]

  • Great part of his reputation rested on always choosing the subject his auditor was most likely to know nothing about. To young gentlemen he talked of love — to young ladies, of learning ; and we always think, what we do not comprehend must be something very fine : for example, he dilated to Emily on the music of Homer's versification, and the accuracy of Blackstone's deductions.
  • — and half the speeches that have a run in society, only require malice to think them, and courage to utter them.
  • Very young people soon get acquainted ; but then they must be very young. Few general subjects have much feminine attraction ; women are not easily carried, not exactly out of themselves (for selfishness is no part of the characteristic I would describe), but out of their circle of either interests, vanities, or affections. A woman's individuality is too strong to take much part in those abstract ideas which enter largely into masculine discussion. Ask a woman for an opinion of a book — her criticism will refer quite as much to the author as to his work. But, while on the subject of this "silent hour," what an unanswerable answer it is to those who calumniate the sex as possessing the preponderance of loquacity ! Men do talk much more than women. What woman ever stood and talked seven hours at or about a schoolmaster, as has been done ? What woman ever goes to charities, to vestries, &c. for the mere sake, it seems to me, of speaking ?
  • An able general is never without a resource,
  • — a Columbus of compliments, who held that your merits were new discoveries of his own, and you were to be surprised as well as pleased.
  • Three armies might have been brought to combat with half the encouragement it took to bring the timid Matilda to the harp.
  • We do now too much undervalue the influence of the imagination, which so much exalts the outward shew by which it is caught. We forget there is no sense so difficult to awaken as common sense.
  • The imaginative gods of the Grecians are dethroned — the war like deities of the Scandinavians feared no longer; but we have set up a new set of idols in their place, and we call them Appearances.

Chapter 16[edit]

  • It is not of much use making up your mind very positively, for it is a thousand chances whether you ever do exactly what you intended.
  • Sight-seeing gratifies us in different ways. First, there is the pleasure of novelty; secondly, either that of admiration or fault finding — the latter a very animated enjoyment.
  • … those who live amongst sights are those who go the least to see them. … That which is always within our reach is always the last thing we take ; and the chances are, that what we can do every day, we never do at all.
  • …. ; but young ladies are like the pieces of looking-glass let into chiffonniers and doorways — only meant to reflect the actions of others.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: What a pity that one forgets one's childish thoughts ; their originality would produce such an effect, properly managed ! It is curious to observe, that by far the most useful part of our knowledge is acquired unconsciously. We remember learning to read and write; but we do not remember how we learned to talk, to distinguish colours, &c The first thought that a child wilfully conceals is an epoch — one of life's most important — and yet who can recall it ?”
  • [From Mr Morland]: Of all false assertions that ever went into the world under the banner of a great name and the mail-armour of a well-turned phrase, Locke's comparison of the mind to a blank sheet of paper appears to me among the most untrue.
  • [Between Edward Lorraine and Mr Morland]: Memory is a much stranger faculty than hope. Hope I can understand ; I can divide its mixture of desire and fear ; I know when I wish for any thing — and hope is the expectation of wishing. But memory is unfathomable and indefinite. Why do we so often forget what we the most desire to remember ? and why, without any volition of our own, do we suddenly recall things, people, places, we know not why or wherefore ? Sometimes that very remembrance will haunt us like a ghost, and quite as causelessly, which at another time is a blank. Alas for love ! whose very existence depends on a faculty over which we have so little control.
    • It is a curious fact that those events which are of the greatest consequence are not the best remembered ; the stirring and important acts of our manhood do not rise on the mind half so vividly as the simple and comparatively uninteresting occurrences of childhood. And another observation is, that we never remember any thing accurately, I should rather say exactly, as it happened.
    • For my part I am often tempted to liken our mental world to a shadow flung on water from some other world— broken, wavering and of uncertain brightness.
  • You do not love if there is not some nameless fascination in the lightest act. What would be absurd, ridiculous, nay disagreeable, in another, has in the beloved a fairy spell. Love's is the true alchemy, turning what it touches to gold.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: Enthusiasm is the royal road to success. Now, call it fame, vanity — what you will — how strange and how strong is the feeling which urges on the painter or the author ! We, who are neither, ought to marvel less at the works produced than at the efforts made.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: Alas ! we talk of their vanity ; we forget that, in doling forth the careless commendation, or as careless sneer, we are bestowing but the passing thought of a moment to that which has been the work of an existence. Truly genius, like virtue, ought to be its own reward ; but it cannot. Bitter though the toil, and vain the hope, human exertion must still look to human approbation.
  • [From Mr Morland]: Artists are generally an enthusiastic, unworldly race ; jealous of praise, as the enthusiastic almost always are ; and exaggerating trifles, as the unworldly always do. But society is no school for the artist : the colours of his mind, like those of his pictures, lose their brilliancy by being exposed to the open air.
  • [From Mr Morland]: Genius is the Hannibal of the mind. The Alps, which to the common observer seemed insurmountable, served only to immortalise his passage. The imagination is to work with its own resources ; the more it is thrown on them, the better.

Chapter 17[edit]

  • It passed as weeks do when all is hurry, confusion, and packing — when there are a thousand things to do, and another thousand left undone. It is amazing how long such a week seems — events lengthen the time they number : it is the daily and quiet round of usual occupation that passes away so quickly ; it is the ordinary week which exclaims, "Good gracious ! it is Saturday again.”
  • The government of the mind is absolute, but nothing in its whole dominion does it modify as it does the face.
  • … : the ridiculous is the reality of the sublime, …

Chapter 18[edit]

  • We travel for many acquirements — health, information, amusement, notoriety, &c. &c. The advantages of each of these acquisitions have been eloquently set forth from the days of Ulysses, who travelled to seek his native land, to those of the members of the club who travel to seek anything else.
  • People and places are usually flattered in their portraits.
  • Rome, once the mistress, is now the caravanseray of the world.
  • How duly do we appreciate the merit we ourselves discover and direct !

Chapter 19[edit]

  • There are many gentlemen who never drink any but sample wines, and never go beyond their first order to a wine-merchant. This would be a very excellent plan to pursue in love affairs ; for the beginning is their best part — its only fault is, that it is impossible.
  • [From Mr Spenser]: ... I doubt the great advantage of the biographies of eminent men, who have arisen by their own efforts, being sedulously held up as examples to the lower classes. If great talents really exist, these very instances prove that example was not necessary to call them into action ; and if they do not, the apparent ease and the high success which attended those objects of their emulation, are calculated rather to cause delusive hopes than a beneficial effect.
  • [From Mr Spenser]: [We see how they scaled the mountain, and immediately give ourselves credit for being able to go and do likewise. We forget that] a great man does not leave behind him his genius, but its traces. Now, there is no disappointment so bitter as that whose cause is in ourselves.
  • [From Lord Mandeville]: In diffusing knowledge, there are two dangers against which we should endeavour to guard — that it be not turned to a wrong use, or made subservient to mere display. The last is the worst ; — discontent is the shadow of display, and display is the characteristic of our age. Take one of its humblest instances. Our young people go to their divers amusements, not for the purpose of enjoyment, but of display ; they require not entertainment, but compliment.
  • [From Lord Mandeville]: Satiety and mortification are the extremes of vanity, and both are equally attended by envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness. If the human mind were like a pond, and could be filled at once, knowledge, like the water, would be its own balance ; but as it must be done gradually, it ought to be done carefully — not one part filled to overflowing, while a second is left dry, or a third to stagnate.
  • [From Lord Mandeville]: Knowledge, when only the possession of a few, has almost always been turned to iniquitous purposes.
  • [From Lord Mandeville]: From religion, ..., they will learn the only true lesson of equality — the conviction that our destinies are not in our own hands ; they will see that no situation in life is without its share of suffering ; — and this perpetual reference to a higher power ought equally to teach the rich humility, and the poor devotion.
  • [From Lord Mandeville]: Secondly, I lean rather to giving practical than scientific knowledge. I would distribute books on farming, gardening, and a cheap, simple cookery would be a valuable present: for works of mere amusement, travels plainly written, especially such as, in the wants and miseries of other countries, teach us to value the comforts and advantages of our own ; —
  • [From Mr Spenser]: Great power is almost always a great evil.
  • A woman's love is essentially lonely and spiritual in its nature — feeding on fancy, rather than hope — or like that fairy flower of the East, which floats in, and lives upon, the air. Her attachment is the heathenism of the heart : she has herself created the glory and beauty with which the idol of her altar stands invested.

Chapter 20[edit]

  • [From Adelaide]: It is my misfortune, not my fault, that the felicity of the country is, to my mind, like the merriment of Christmas, more heard of than seen.
  • To hold our surprises in perfect subjection is one of the first lessons of society ;
  • Many failures only increase the satisfaction of final success.
  • He asked no better revenge than a reply — and arrayed in his own mind a whole battalion of arguments, and a light-armed troop of sneers. Nothing is more imaginative than anger.
  • ... no enmity is so bitter as a political one
  • Surprises are like misfortunes or herrings — they rarely come single.
  • [From Mr Delawarr]: A very small loss indeed, it being only what you ought never to have had.
  • [From Mr Delawarr]: He is a fool, therefore obstinate ; but vain, and therefore manageable.
  • [From Mr Delawarr]: … : enmities are like friendships — useless encumbrances ; individual feelings have nothing to do with general proceedings.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: Opinions may change with the circumstances on which they were founded, but principles never.
  • None are so disinterested as the thoughtless and absorbed.
  • Habits are the petrifactions of the feelings, and his habits were those of business. [A resolution is never shaken by a conviction.]
  • He saw the need of instant action, and took refuge in that common resource of the destitute, a well-sounding phrase.
  • Conscience always acts on the conciliatory system.
  • Nothing like a gallop on a beautiful Arabian in all desperate cases.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: And thus it is with all the works of men : whether for beauty or usefulness, how soon they perish ! One generation builds, that another may neglect or destroy. We talk of the future — we look to it — we act for it. The future comes — ourselves are forgotten — our works are ruins.
  • It is hard, very hard, for the heart to part with, at one struggle, those it has most loved and reverenced.
  • A century or two ago, the best blood in the kingdom was spent in defence of the right divine of kings — and it was called heroic conduct ; now it is to be shed in defence of the rights of the people — and that is very heroic conduct too. I wonder what will be heroic conduct a century hence.
  • Ireland, last year, was to be paradise, if that Peri, emancipation, was but sent there ; now it is a wretched, degraded, oppressed country, unless the Union be dissolved !

Chapter 21[edit]

  • [From Mr Morland]: I never knew any debatable point not maintained on both sides by unanswerable arguments ; …
  • [From Mr Morland]: ... the young man who acts in early life contrary to his feelings, will, in after years, act contrary to his principles of right.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: Nothing is so fortunate for mankind as its diversity of opinion: if we all thought alike — with you, for example — there would at once be an end to all mutual assistance and improvement.
  • [From Mr Morland]: The subject on which we centre our whole attention acquires an undue importance. Devotion to one single object necessarily narrows the mind. The indifference of others is matter of angry surprise ; and the benefactor of mankind would often fain become its tyrant. We are violent in proportion to our self-exaggeration.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: At present we avoid warfare — ‘the good swords rust ;' but we are not more peaceably disposed than our ancestors — look at the gauntlet to be run by a successful author. Ingenuity is racked for abuse, and language for its expression : every body takes his success as a personal affront. I think the late invention of steel pens quite characteristic of the age.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: But in literature people ought not to be allowed to follow a fashion. A new idea is no sooner started, now-a-days, than it is run even to death. I think the good old Elizabethan plan of monopolies should be revived in favour of literature. An eminent author, in our time, is a species of mental Alexander; he erects a vast empire, out of which fifty small powers parcel little kingdoms and minor principalities.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: Imagination is to love what gas is to the balloon — that which raises it from earth.
  • [From Mr Morland]: Love is followed by disappointment, admiration by mortification, and obligation by ingratitude.
  • [From Mr Morland]: … every man has his motive. One man wants money, the next power, the third title; a fourth desires place for its distinction, a fifth for its influence; a sixth desires popular applause ; a seventh piques himself upon his eloquence, and will display it; an eighth upon his judgment, to which he will have you defer ; a ninth is governed by his wife ; a tenth adopts the opinions of his club ; the eleventh those of a favourite author; the twelfth acts upon some old prejudice which he calls a principle. There are a round dozen of motives for you.
  • The first records of our young world were those of tears and blood ; its last records will be those of tears and blood also.
  • What is Genius but an altar richly wrought in fine gold, and placed in the most sacred and glorious part of the marble temple ? but there the living victim is offered in sacrifice, and the wreath of flowers left to wither.

Chapter 22[edit]

  • There is something sublime in being out of humour with the whole world.
  • It is a curious fact, how violent people get upon political questions, particularly if they are such as do not concern them.
  • We talk of vanity, discontent, patriotism ; but the real first cause of the passion for politics is the love of talking, inherent in masculine nature.
  • It is curious how much of its romantic character a country owes to strangers ; perhaps because they know least about it.
  • We do not seem sufficiently aware of the beauty of uniformity, or else it is interfered with by our personal vanity. The truth is, that general taste is always good ; because, before it becomes general, it has been compared and corrected : but as for individual taste, the less we have of it the better.
  • People take a traveller's understanding their language as a personal compliment.
  • Hospitality is the virtue of an uncivilised state, because it is then a useful one. It is a wise moral dispensation, that those virtues are most prevalent which are most wanted.
  • It is worth while to travel, if it be only to enjoy the excitement of some entirely new species of natural beauty.

Volume 3[edit]

Chapter 1[edit]

  • Courtesy and curiosity are very often at variance.
  • The destruction wrought by time never oppresses the spirits as does that wrought by man.
  • Inclination never wants an excuse — and, if one won't do, there are a dozen others soon found.

Chapter 2[edit]

  • Like the cards which form a child's plaything palace, our pleasures are nicely balanced one upon the other.
  • The pleasure of change is opposed by that of habit ; and if we love best that to which we are accustomed, we like best that which is new.
  • The time which passes pleasantly passes lightly ; days are remembered by their cares more than by their content; …
  • A little praise is good for a very shy temper — it teaches it to rely on the kindness of others.
  • Much of the trouble we give ourselves is quite unnecessary — it matters very little where a good appetite finds its dinner. However, trouble is, like virtue, its own reward.
  • I do not think childhood the happiest period of our life ; but its sense of happiness is peculiarly keen. Other days have more means and appliances of pleasure ; but then their relish is not so exquisite. It all, however, comes to the same in the long-run. The child has to learn the multiplication-table — the man has to practise it.
  • Decision is easy where there is no choice.
  • Small evils make the worst part of great ones : it is so much easier to endure misfortune than to bear an inconvenience.

Chapter 3[edit]

  • Genius has many misfortunes to encounter; but the worst that can befall it, is when it happens to be universal. When a whole world is before it from which to choose, it is rather difficult to decide.
  • It is curious how little we speculate on what may be the impression we produce on others — unless, indeed, vanity comes into play, and then there is no bound to the speculation. Still, the general feeling is utter indifference.
  • If not the most unreasonable — that would be saying too much — a girl in love is certainly the most unreasoning of human beings.
  • The difference between good and bad intentions is this : — that good intentions are so very satisfactory in themselves, that it really seems a work of supererogation to carry them into execution ; whereas evil ones have a restlessness that can only be satisfied by action — and, to the shame of fate be it said, very many facilities always offer for their being effected.
  • It is worth while to have an adventure, were it only for the sake of talking about it afterwards.

Chapter 4[edit]

  • He had been used to that greatest of mental pleasures — to have his thoughts often divined — always entered into.
  • The bitterest cup has its one drop of honey.
  • An old servant dearly loves a little authority — and as for the matter of that, who does not ?

Chapter 5[edit]

  • Believing, as I do, that falling in love goes by destiny, and that, of all affairs, those of the heart are those for which there is the least accounting, I have always thought, that to give reasons for its happening, is throwing the said reasons away — a waste much to be deprecated in an age where reasons are in such great request. It is not beauty that inspires love — still less is it mind. It is not situation — people who were indifferent in a moonlight walk, have taken a fit of sentiment in Piccadilly. It is not early association — indeed, the chances are rather against the Paul and Virginia style. It is not dress —conquests have been made in curl-papers. In short — to be mythological in my conclusion — the quiver of Cupid hangs at the girdle of Fate together with her spindle and scissors.
  • Not one person in a thousand is capable of a real passion — that intense and overwhelming feeling, before which all others sink into nothingness. It asks for head and heart — now many are deficient in both. Idleness and vanity cause, in nine cases out of ten, that state of excitement which is called being in love. I have heard some even talk of their disappointments, as if such a word could be used in the plural. To be crossed in love, forsooth — why, such a heart could bear as many crosses as a raspberry tart.
  • Love is the Columbus of our moral world, and opens, at some period or other, a new hemisphere to our view.
  • Yet there is a period in the lives of most, when the heart open its leaves, like a flower, to all the gentle influences ; — when one beloved step is sweet in its fall beyond all music, and the light of one beloved face is dear as that of heaven ; — when the thoughts are turned to poetry, and a fairy charm is thrown over life's most ordinary occurrences ; Hope, that gentlest astrologer, foretelling a future she herself has created; — when the present is coloured by glad yet softened spirits, buoyant, though too tender for mirth.
  • Every fable has its moral ; and that of love is disappointment, weariness, or disgust. Young people would avoid falling in love, if — as some story-book observes — young people would but consider.
  • What he said of heads may also be said of experience —there is a large stock on hand: but somehow or other, nobody's experience ever suits us except our own.
  • Like many orators, he did not take into consideration, that a good argument is not always a good reason ; and that, unfortunately for the peace of society, and fortunately for debaters, there never was yet a contested point without excellent arguments on both sides of the question.
  • The philosophy of atoms has some truth in it. What exceedingly small motives make the great whole of a fine action !
  • We always bear a dignified misfortune best.
  • It is so very hard to exchange certainty for hope — to renounce to-day, in expectation of to-morrow.
  • In partings those who go know not half the suffering of those who stay. In the one case, occupation strengthens, and novelty engages the mind.

Chapter 6[edit]

  • [From Lady Mandeville]: The ancients referred melancholy to the mind, the moderns make it matter of digestion—
  • How very unpleasant a few words can contrive to be !
  • Constancy is made up of a series of small inconstancies, which never come to any thing; and the heart takes credit for its loyalty, because in the long-run it ends where it began.
  • … when a mind is once made up, it is very tiresome to have to unmake it.
  • — one of those exquisite conceptions to which an artist has given the beauty of genius developed by the labour of a life — one of those forms, which the modeller may frame, and then die.
  • Sculpture never seems to me like the representation of human life: its forms — pale, pure, and cold — have the shape, not the likeness of our nature. I always personify a spirit as a statue. Paintings, however idealised as to beauty, still give the bright eye, the rosy cheek, the glossy hair, we see daily. Portraits are but the mirrors of lovely countenances. Sculpture is the incarnation of beings whose state seems higher, because calmer, than our own. The divinities of Greece owed half their divinity to the noble repose with which their sculptors invested them. The characteristic of the picture is passion — that of the statue power.
  • Strange it is that people (unless in the way of ostentation) never value the blessings they possess. But if life has a happiness over which the primeval curse has passed and harmed not, it is the early and long enduring affection of blood and habit.
  • Domestic dissension is the sacrilege of the heart.
  • [From Mrs Higgs {of Italy}]: Dear, dear, we shall have no dinners worth eating till we get to England. I quite long for our good Sunday smell of a piece of roast-beef and a Yorkshire pudding.

Chapter 7[edit]

  • Weak creatures that we are, for the body to overcome the mind as it does ! Beatrice slept that night long and soundly — the bitterness of sorrow, affection, and anxiety sank beneath fatigue. The awakening after such sleep is one of the most dreadful moments in life. A consciousness of something terrible is upon even the first sensation — a vague idea of the truth comes like the remembrance of a dream ; involuntarily the eyes close, as if to shut it out — the head sinks back on the pillow, as if to see whether another dream would not be a happier one. A gleam of light, a waving curtain, rouses the sleeper; the truth, the whole terrible truth, flashes out — and we start up as if we never could dream again.
  • We waste a great deal of thought.
  • Time, which we have no means of reckoning, is so dreadfully long.
  • Strange, the affection which clings to inanimate objects — objects which cannot even know our love ! But it is not return that constitutes the strength of an attachment.
  • Anticipation is a bad sleeping draught.
  • Even in the very worst of situations, no woman is quite insensible to her personal attractions, or would willingly look worse than she can help.
  • How odd it is, that any secret or anxiety of which we are ourselves aware, we immediately think every one else suspects !
  • If it were not for romance, reality would be unbearable : nevertheless, they are very different things.
  • Jealousy ought to be tragic, to save it from being ridiculous.

Chapter 8[edit]

  • [From Lord Mandeville]: Wisdom is only knowledge well applied.
  • There is a most characteristic difference in the way a man and a woman take to introduce a desired topic : the one, like a knight, claps spurs to his steed, and rides straight into the field ; the other, like an Indian, fights behind cover, and watches her opportunity ; the knight often misses the enemy, the Indian never.
  • How very satisfactory those discussions must be, where each party retains their own opinion !
  • There are a great many false things in this world, but none are so false as appearances.
  • [From Lord Mandeville]: Travelling is as much a passion as love, poetry, or ambition.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: The imagination makes the delight of the exertion which itself supports.
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: I thank you for reinforcing my favourite theory, which maintains that a love of talking is the great feature of the present time. Steam is not half so much its characteristic as speechifying."
  • [From Madame de Ligne]: Who but an Englishman would have thought of telling a woman she would not be listened to ?
  • [From Edward Lorraine]: I do not go quite the length of the modern philosopher, who asserts that our nature is not wholly sophisticated so long as we retain our juvenile predilection in favour of apple-dumpling; but I do think that the affection which clings to the home of our childhood — the early love which lingers round the flowers we have sown, the shrubs we have planted — is, though a simple, a sweet and purifying influence on the character. I cannot help thinking, that the drooping bough, the fairy-like rose, lend something of their own grace to one who has loved them and made them her companions.
  • [From Lady Mandeville]: In order to give an idea of beauty unspoiled by art, the heroine's hat falls off, and her hair falls down, while she looks lovely in dishevelled ringlets. Now, they quite forget two things : first, that though the hat may come off, it is by no means a necessary consequence that the hair should come down too ; and, secondly, if it did, the damsel would only look an untidy fright.

Chapter 9[edit]

  • The difference that there is between a woman's love and a man's ! His passion may lead him, in the first instance, to act in opposition to opinion — but its influence is only suspended ; and soon a sneer or a censure wounds his pride and weakens his love. A woman's heart, on the contrary, reposes more on itself ; and a fault found in the object of her attachment is resented as an injury : she is angered, not altered.
  • How little do even our most intimate friends know of us ! There is an excitement about intense misery which is its support : light sufferings spring to the lips in words, and to the eyes in tears; but there is a pride in deep passion which guards its feelings from even the shadow of a surmise.
  • The proof that keen feelings are incompatible with happiness is shown in the fact, that the young commit suicide, the old never.
  • The great happiness-secret, after all, is division. How dare we, in this vain, fleeting world, concentrate our whole freight of interest in one frail bark ?
  • Perhaps, from an innate desire of justification, sorrow always exaggerates itself. Memory is quite one of Job's friends; and the past is ever ready to throw its added darkness on the present.
  • But Life's great circumstances turn on its small ones. Could we see into the causes of all important events, we should often find that some small and insignificant trifle has been, as it were, their fate.
  • Experience teaches, it is true ; but she never teaches in time. Each event brings its lesson, and the lesson is remembered ; but the same event never occurs again.

Chapter 10[edit]

  • But she forgot that when the very gentle do nerve themselves for action, it is under some strong and sudden impulse, and they then act usually in opposition to the whole of their previous bearing. Opposition is too new not to be carried into obstinacy. It has cost them so much to form a resolution, that they adhere to it with all the pertinacity felt for an uncommon and valuable acquisition.

Chapter 11[edit]

  • There are two motives to every action, and two versions of every story.
  • [A gastronome ought to fast sometimes on principle]; We appreciate no pleasures unless we are occasionally debarred from them. Restraint is the golden rule of enjoyment.

Chapter 12[edit]

  • Our first love-letter — it is an epoch in our life — a task equally delightful and difficult. No lover ever yet addressed his mistress, and no mistress ever yet addressed her lover, without beginning the gentle epistle some dozen times at least. There is so much to be said, and which no words seem exactly to say — the dread of saying too much is so nicely balanced by the fear of saying too little. Hope borders on presumption, and fear on reproach. One epithet is too cold — another we are scarcely entitled to use. Timidity and tenderness get in each other's way. The letter is sent, and immediately a thousand things are recollected — those, too, we were most anxious to write — and every sentence that occurs is precisely the one we wish we had omitted. The epistle is opened and read — with a little wonder, most probably not a little vexation, at its constrained style. True it is that no first love-letter ever yet gave satisfaction to either writer or reader. Its delight is another question.
  • How easy it is to be generous about the inconstancy which in our secret self we hold to be impossible !
  • We have no right to expect more from others than we ourselves are inclined to give. If we were to love every one we meet, the very nature of love would be destroyed. Convenience, not affection, is the bond of society. The world is often taxed with falsehood, when, in reality, we should blame our own expectations. Courtesy from our acquaintance, kindness from our friends, attachment from those who make the small circle we love, is all we have a right to expect — and in nine cases out of ten it is what we really experience.
  • Only those who have lived weeks and months in, as it were, a moral desert, among beings with whom they had not a feeling or a thought in common, with only a cold and comfortless knowledge of superiority to console them for being utterly unappreciated — who have felt words rise to the lip, and then checked them from a conviction that they would not be comprehended — they, and they alone, can enter into the pleasure of speaking and being understood, and making conversation a medium not only to express wants, but ideas.
  • It is the unhappy love — the betrayed, or the unrequited — that shrouds itself in silence. But in the girl, young and affectionate, out of the fulness of the heart the mouth speaketh.
  • It is a common thing to jest at the rapid growth and exaggeration of girlish friendships. Strange, how soon we forget our youth ! True, they do not last. What very simple, serene, and sincere sentiment in this world ever did ? We have soon scarcely affection enough for even our nearest and dearest. Instead of laughing at such early attachment, we might rather grieve over the loss of the unsuspicious kindliness that gushed forth in feelings now gone from us for ever.
  • A patriot might take his best lesson of disinterestedness from feminine affection.

Chapter 13[edit]

  • True it is, that we judge of others' actions by our own — but then we do not make the same allowances.
  • We ask for miracles : is not our own blindness a perpetual miracle ? We live amid the blessings that Christianity has diffused through the smallest occurrences of our daily life ; — we feel hourly within us that pining for some higher state, whose promise is in the Gospel; — our weakness daily forces us to look around for support ; — we admit the perfection of the Saviour's moral code; — we see the mighty voice of prophecy, that spoke aloud of old upon the mountains, working year by year their wonderful fulfilment, — and yet we believe not, or, if we believe, we delay acting upon that belief.
  • The principal events in life are generally unexpected.
  • Advice generally does require some very powerful argument to be taken.

Chapter 14[edit]

  • Many were the disguises he assumed. At one time he even meditated cutting off his mustaches ; — that would have been "the unkindest cut of all.”
  • The truth is, the inhabitants of that languid and luxurious city wanted some little variety ; and the minister (your great men have each their weak point) supported a favourite actress in the range of first-rate characters in the Opera — supported her against the united musical opinion of Naples. One night she sang worse than ever ; and the next morning half the city rose up, demanding liberty and a new prima donna. A body of the lazzaroni also insisted on a lower price for lemonade, for the revolutionary movement was not serious enough for macaroni.
  • Confidence is its own security.
  • Essays are written on causes — they might be more pithily turned on consequences.

Chapter 15[edit]

  • … she could not but perceive the absurdity of the small vanities which wore a giant's armour till they fancied they had a giant's power.
  • By-the-by, what an ugly phrase "making love" is — as if love were a dress or a pudding.

Chapter 16[edit]

  • — for nothing is so electric as the kindness of sympathy —
  • Who dare look into the secret recesses of their soul, and number their crimes of thought ?
  • [… watching the hands move round the face of Beatrice's watch.]: God of heaven ! to think what every segment of that small space involves! — how much of human happiness and misery — of breath entering into our frail tenement of mortality, and making life — or departing from it, and making death — are in such brief portions of eternity! How much is there in one minute, when we reflect that that one minute extends over the world !

Chapter 17[edit]

  • Time destroys not half so ruthlessly as man.
  • Strange that people should use so many more words than their intelligence needs !
  • … no lady's constancy is the worse for being tried.

Chapter 18[edit]

  • We hold not now the belief of old : we know that in their mystic characters nought of our destiny is written. Philosophy has taught a lowly lesson to our pride ; and no longer do we single out some bright and lovely planet, and ask of it our fate ; till, from asking, we almost hope that Night will send on her winds some answer, whose words are from the mystic scroll of our destiny. Foolishness of mortality ! to deem that the glorious and the lofty star, which looked not on us who watch its beauty, should have been placed in that mighty firmament to shed its radiance on our birth, and chronicle in its bright page our sin, our suffering, and our sorrow ! — and when have not these three words told the story of our life ? And yet this linking that vain life to the lofty and the lovely, — what is it but one of the many signs of the spirit within us — that which day crushes, but kills not — that spirit which looks into space with the eyes of longing, which spurns the course it treads, and says to earth, "Thou art my dwelling, but not my home ? "
  • Night is beautiful in itself, but still more beautiful in its associations : it is not linked, as day is, with our cares and our toils, the business and the littleness of life. The sunshine brings with it its action : we rise in the morning, and our task is before us ; but night comes, and with it rest. If we leave sleep, and ask not of dreams forgetfulness, our waking is in solitude, and our employment is thought. Imagination has thrown her glory around the midnight — the orbs of heaven, the silence, the shadows, are steeped in poetry. Even in the heart of a crowded city, where the moonlight fell but upon pavement and roof, the heart would be softened, and the mind elevated, amid the loneliness of night's deepest and stillest hours ; — in the country the effect is still more impressive. We accustom ourselves to look upon the country as more pure, more free, more happy, than the town ; and it is from the wood and the field, the hill and the valley, that poetry takes that imagery which so imperceptibly mingles with all our excited moods.
  • There is something melancholy in most natural sounds — the murmur of the sea — the dropping of water — the many voices of the wind, from that which only scatters a rose, to that which levels mast and flag with the wave ; but Nature has no sound more melancholy than that rainy tone among the leaves : you listen, and then look, as if the shower were descending; but your extended hand catches not the drops, and the bough which is blown against your face leaves no trace of moisture behind. We live in an age of fact, not fiction ; — for every effect is assigned some simple and natural cause; — we dream no dreams of spiritual visitings ; and omens are fast sinking into the disbelief of oracles : else what a mystical language is that of the leaves!
  • The great reason why the pleasures of childhood are so much more felt in their satisfaction, is, that they suffice unto themselves.
  • Hope destroys pleasure; …
    • This remark having been questioned by one to whose judgment I exceedingly defer, may I be permitted not to retract, but to defend my assertion ? Hope is like constancy, the country, or solitude — all of which owe their reputation to the pretty things that have been said about them. Hope is but the poetical name for that feverish restlessness which hurries over to-day for the sake of to-morrow. Who among us pauses upon the actual moment, to own, "Now, even now, am I happy ?" The wisest of men has said, that hope deferred is sickness to the heart: yet what hope have we that is not deferred ? For my part, I believe that there are two spirits who preside over this feeling, and that hope, like love, has its Eros and Anteros. Its Eros, that reposes on fancy, and creates rather than calculates ; while its Anteros lives on expectation, and is dissatisfied with all that Is, in vague longings for what may be.
  • Affections are as passing as the worthless life they redeem ; and the attempt to give them memory, when their existence is no more, has often more of laughter in it than of tears.

Chapter 20[edit]

  • The winding-up of a novel is like winding up a skein of silk, or casting up a sum — all the ends must be made neat, all the numbers accounted for, at last. Luckily, in the closing chapter a little explanation goes a great way ; and a character, like a rule of morality, may be dismissed in a sentence.

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