Anthony Trollope

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No man thinks there is much ado about nothing when the ado is about himself.

Anthony Trollope (April 24 1815December 6 1882) was one of the most successful, prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era.

Quotes[edit]

Men who can succeed in deceiving no one else will succeed at last in deceiving themselves.
The full meaning of the word marriage can never be known by those who, at their first outspring into life, are surrounded by all that money can give.
The good and the bad mix themselves so thoroughly in our thoughts, even in our aspirations, that we must look for excellence rather in overcoming evil than in freeing ourselves from its influence.
  • [An attorney] can find it consistent with his dignity to turn wrong into right, and right into wrong, to abet a lie, nay to create, disseminate, and with all the play of his wit, give strength to the basest of lies, on behalf of the basest of scoundrels.
    • The New Zealander (Oxford, 1965), p. 63. Written 1855-6, published posthumously 1965.
  • Men who cannot believe in the mystery of our Saviour's redemption can believe that spirits from the dead have visited them in a stranger's parlour, because they see a table shake and do not know how it is shaken; because they hear a rapping on a board, and cannot see the instrument that raps it; because they are touched in the dark, and do not know the hand that touches them.
    • The New Zealander (Oxford, 1965), p. 73.
  • Those who have courage to love should have courage to suffer.
    • The Bertrams (1859), ch. 5
  • No man thinks there is much ado about nothing when the ado is about himself.
    • The Bertrams (1859), ch. 27
  • It would seem that the full meaning of the word marriage can never be known by those who, at their first outspring into life, are surrounded by all that money can give. It requires the single sitting-room, the single fire, the necessary little efforts of self-devotion, the inward declaration that some struggle shall be made for that other one.
    • The Bertrams, ch. 30
  • Marvellous is the power which can be exercised, almost unconsciously, over a company, or an individual, or even upon a crowd by one person gifted with good temper, good digestion, good intellects, and good looks.
    • Rachel Ray, ch. 11. (1863)
  • The affair simply amounted to this, that they were to eat their dinner uncomfortably in a field instead of comfortably in the dining room.
  • Men who can succeed in deceiving no one else will succeed at last in deceiving themselves.
    • Miss Mackenzie, ch. 13. (1865)
  • Is it not remarkable that the common repute which we all give to attorneys in the general is exactly opposite to that which every man gives to his own attorney in particular? Whom does anybody trust so implicitly as he trusts his own attorney? And yet is it not the case that the body of attorneys is supposed to be the most roguish body in existence?
  • Book love, my friends, is your pass to the greatest, the purest, and the most perfect pleasure that God has prepared for His creatures.
    • Speech at the opening of an art exhibition at Bolton Mechanics' Institution (7 December 1868)
  • The good and the bad mix themselves so thoroughly in our thoughts, even in our aspirations, that we must look for excellence rather in overcoming evil than in freeing ourselves from its influence.
  • It was admitted by all her friends, and also by her enemies — who were in truth the more numerous and active body of the two — that Lizzie Greystock had done very well with herself.
  • To be alone with the girl to whom he is not engaged, is a man's delight; — to be alone with the man to whom she is engaged is the woman's.
    • The Eustace Diamonds, ch. 18
  • Love is like any other luxury. You have no right to it unless you can afford it.
  • As to that leisure evening of life, I must say that I do not want it. I can conceive of no contentment of which toil is not to be the immediate parent.
    • Letter to G W Rusden dated June 8, 1876, published in The Letters of Anthony Trollope (1983), p. 691.
  • I judge a man by his actions with men, much more than by his declarations Godwards — When I find him to be envious, carping, spiteful, hating the successes of others, and complaining that the world has never done enough for him, I am apt to doubt whether his humility before God will atone for his want of manliness.
    • Letter to G W Rusden dated June 8, 1876.
  • There are words which a man cannot resist from a woman, even though he knows them to be false.
    • Is He Popenjoy?, ch. 18 (1878)
  • The man who worships mere wealth is a snob.
    • Thackeray, ch. 2. (1879)
  • I hold that gentleman to be the best dressed whose dress no one observes. I am not sure but that the same may be said of an author's written language.
    • Thackeray, ch. 9.
  • Needless to deny that the normal London plumber is a dishonest man. We do not even allow ourselves to think so. That question, as to the dishonesty of mankind generally, is one that disturbs us greatly; — whether a man in all grades of life will by degrees train his honesty to suit his own book, so that the course of life which he shall bring himself to regard as soundly honest shall, if known to his neighbours, subject him to their reproof. We own to a doubt whether the honesty of a bishop would shine bright as the morning star to the submissive ladies who now worship him, if the theory of life upon which he lives were understood by them in all its bearings.
    • The Plumber (1880)
  • He could find no cure for his grief; but he did know that continued occupation would relieve him, and therefore he occupied himself continually.
    • The Life of Cicero (1880)
  • A man's mind will very generally refuse to make itself up until it be driven and compelled by emergency.
  • There are worse things than a lie... I have found... that it may be well to choose one sin in order that another may be shunned.
    • Doctor Wortle's School (1881) Ch. 6
  • The habit of reading is the only one I know in which there is no alloy. It lasts when all other pleasures fade. It will be there to support you when all other resources are gone. It will be present to you when the energies of your body have fallen away from you. It will make your hours pleasant to you as long as you live.
    • As quoted in Forbes (April 1948), p. 42

The Warden (1855)[edit]

He was not so anxious to prove himself right, as to be so.
  • The Rev. Septimus Harding was, a few years since, a beneficed clergyman residing in the cathedral town of _____; let us call it Barchester. Were we to name Wells or Salisbury, Exeter, Hereford, or Gloucester, it might be presumed that something personal was intended; and as this tale will refer mainly to the cathedral dignitaries of the of the town in question, we are anxious that no personality may be suspected.
    • Ch. 1, first lines
  • He was not so anxious to prove himself right, as to be so.
    • Ch. 3
  • The tenth Muse who now governs the periodical press.
    • Ch. 14

Barchester Towers (1857)[edit]

There is, perhaps, no greater hardship at present inflicted on mankind in civilised and free countries, than the neccessity of listening to sermons.
  • In the latter days of July in the year 185-, a most important question was for ten days hourly asked in the cathedral city of Barchester, and answered every hour in various ways — Who was to be the new Bishop?
    • First lines
  • There is, perhaps, no greater hardship at present inflicted on mankind in civilised and free countries, than the neccessity of listening to sermons.
    • Ch. 6
  • She well knew the great architectural secret of decorating her constructions, and never descended to construct a decoration.
    • Ch. 9
  • There is no royal road to learning; no short cut to the acquirement of any art.
    • Ch. 20; this derives from an expression attributed to Euclid.
  • There is no way of writing well and also of writing easily.
    • Ch. 20
  • There is no happiness in love, except at the end of an English novel.
    • Ch. 27
  • Don't let love interfere with your appetite. It never does with mine.
    • Ch. 38
  • The end of a novel, like the end of a children's dinner-party, must be made up of sweetmeats and sugar-plums.
    • Ch. 53

Doctor Thorne (1858)[edit]

  • Before the reader is introduced to the modest country medical practitioner who is to be the chief personage of the following tale, it will be well that he should be made acquainted with some particulars as to the locality in which, and the neighbours among whom, our doctor followed his profession.
    • First lines
  • One of her instructors in fashion had given her to understand that curls were not the thing. "They'll always pass muster," Miss Dunstable had replied, "when they are done up with bank notes."
    • Ch. 16
  • There is no road to wealth so easy and respectable as that of matrimony.
    • Ch. 18
  • In these days a man is nobody unless his biography is kept so far posted up that it may be ready for the national breakfast-table on the morning after his demise.
    • Ch. 25

Framley Parsonage (1861)[edit]

I cannot hold with those who wish to put down the insignificant chatter of the world.
  • When young Mark Robarts was leaving college, his father might well declare that all men began to say all good things to him, and to extol his fortune in that he had a son blessed with so excellent a disposition.
    • Ch. 1, first lines
  • It is a remarkable thing with reference to men who are distressed for money... they never seem at a loss for small sums, or deny themselves those luxuries which small sums purchase. Cabs, dinners, wine, theatres, and new gloves are always at the command of men who are drowned in pecuniary embarrassments, whereas those who don't owe a shilling are so frequently obliged to go without them!
  • A man's own dinner is to himself so important that he cannot bring himself to believe that it is a matter utterly indifferent to every one else.
    • Ch. 10
  • I cannot hold with those who wish to put down the insignificant chatter of the world.
    • Ch. 10
  • I would recommend all men in choosing a profession to avoid any that may require an apology at every turn; either an apology or else a somewhat violent assertion of right.
    • Ch. 15
  • Heroes in books should be so much better than heroes got up for the world's common wear and tear
    • Ch. 21
  • That girls should not marry for money we are all agreed. A lady who can sell herself for a title or an estate, for an income or a set of family diamonds, treats herself as a farmer teats his sheep and oxen — makes hardly more of herself, of her own inner self, in which are comprised a mind and a soul, than the poor wretch of her own sex who earns her bread in the lowest state of degradation.
    • Ch. 21
  • It is easy to love one's enemy when one is making fine speeches; but so difficult to do so in the actual everyday work of life.
    • Ch. 23
  • But who ever yet was offered a secret and declined it?
    • Ch. 26

Orley Farm (1862)[edit]

Success is the necessary misfortune of life, but it is only to the very unfortunate that is comes early.
  • It is not true that a rose by any other name will smell as sweet. Were it true, I should call this story "The Great Orley Farm Case." But who would ask for the ninth number of a serial work burthened with so very uncouth an appellation? Thence, and therefore, — Orley Farm.
    • Ch. 1, first lines.
  • There is nothing perhaps so generally consoling to a man as a well-established grievance; a feeling of having been injured, on which his mind can brood from hour to hour, allowing him to plead his own cause in his own court, within his own heart, — and always to plead it successfully.
    • Ch. 8
  • Success is the necessary misfortune of life, but it is only to the very unfortunate that is comes early.
    • Ch. 49

North America (1862)[edit]

  • I know no place at which an Englishman may drop down suddenly among a pleasanter circle of acquaintance, or find himself with a more clever set of men, than he can do at Boston.
    • Ch. 2
  • If you cross the Atlantic with an American lady you invariably fall in love with her before the journey is over. Travel with the same woman in a railway car for twelve hours, and you will have written her down in your own mind in quite other language than that of love.
    • Ch. 11
  • Speaking of New York as a traveller I have two faults to find with it. In the first place there is nothing to see; and in the second place there is no mode of getting about to see anything.
    • Ch. 14
  • Every man worships the dollar, and is down before his shrine from morning to night... Other men, the world over, worship regularly at the shrine with matins and vespers, nones and complines, and whatever other daily services may be known to the religious houses; but the New Yorker is always on his knees.
    • Ch. 14
  • I have sometimes thought that there is no being so venomous, so bloodthirsty as a professed philanthropist.
    • Ch. 16
  • Taken altogether, Washington as a city is most unsatisfactory, and falls more grievously short of the thing attempted than any other of the great undertakings of which I have seen anything in the United States.
    • Ch. 21

The Small House at Allington (1864)[edit]

  • Of course there was a Great House at Allington. How otherwise should there have been a Small House?
    • Ch. 1, first lines
  • Let her who is forty call herself forty; but if she can be young in spirit at forty, let her show that she is so.
    • Ch. 3
  • I doubt whether any girl would be satisfied with her lover's mind if she knew the whole of it.
    • Ch. 4
  • It may almost be a question whether such wisdom as many of us have in our mature years has not come from the dying out of the power of temptation, rather than as the results of thought and resolution.
    • Ch. 14
  • Above all things, never think that you're not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you very much at your own reckoning.
    • Ch. 32

The Last Chronicle of Barset (1867)[edit]

Nothing reopens the springs of love so fully as absence, and no absence so thoroughly as that which must needs be endless.
  • "I can never bring myself to believe it, John," said Mary Walker, the pretty daughter of Mr. George Walker, attorney, of Silverbridge.
    • First lines
  • She understood how much louder a cock can crow in his own farmyard than elsewhere.
    • Vol. I, ch. 17
  • Always remember, Mr. Robarts, that when you go into an attorney's office door, you will have to pay for it, first or last.
    • Vol. I, ch. 20
  • The best way to be thankful is to use the goods the gods provide you.
    • Vol. I, ch. 32
  • It is a comfortable feeling to know that you stand on your own ground. Land is about the only thing that can't fly away.
    • Vol. II, ch. 58
  • It's dogged as does it. It's not thinking about it.
    • Vol. II, ch. 61
  • Nothing reopens the springs of love so fully as absence, and no absence so thoroughly as that which must needs be endless.
    • Vol. II, ch. 67

Phineas Finn (1869)[edit]

  • It has been the great fault of our politicians that they have all wanted to do something.
    • Ch. 13
  • There is such a difference between life and theory.
    • Ch. 40
  • She knew how to allure by denying, and to make the gift rich by delaying it.
    • Ch. 57
  • Money is neither god nor devil, that it should make one noble and another vile. It is an accident, and if honestly possessed, may pass from you to me, or from me to you, without a stain.

Phineas Redux (1874)[edit]

He possessed the rare merit of making a property of his time and not a burden.
Men and not measures are, no doubt, the very life of politics. But then it is not the fashion to say so in public places.
  • Let a man be of what side he may in politics, — unless he be much more of a partisan than a patriot, — he will think it well that there should be some equity of division in the bestowal of crumbs of comfort.
    • Ch. 1
  • Then he would be penniless, with the world before him as a closed oyster to be again opened, and he knew, — no one better, — that this oyster becomes harder and harder in the opening as the man who has to open it becomes older.
    • Ch. 1
  • Of all hatreds that the world produces, a wife’s hatred for her husband, when she does hate him, is the strongest.
    • Ch. 2
  • I show Baby, and Oswald shows the hounds. We’ve nothing else to interest anybody.
    • Ch. 2
  • She rides to hounds, and talks Italian, and writes for the Times.
    • Ch. 2
  • I fancy that he will be a great statesman. After all, Mr. Finn, that is the best thing a man can be, unless it is given him to be a saint and a martyr and all that kind of thing, — which is not just what a mother looks for.
    • Ch. 2
  • We all profess to believe when we’re told that this world should be used merely as a preparation for the next; and yet there is something so cold and comfortless in the theory that we do not relish the prospect even for our children.
    • Ch. 2
  • “But what made Miss Boreham turn nun?”
    “I fancy she found the penances lighter than they were at home,” said the lord. “They couldn’t well be heavier.”
    • Ch. 3
  • Men are so seldom really good. They are so little sympathetic. What man thinks of changing himself so as to suit his wife? And yet men expect that women shall put on altogether new characters when they are married, and girls think that they can do so.
    • Ch. 3
  • It is the necessary nature of a political party in this country to avoid, as long as it can be avoided, the consideration of any question which involves a great change.
    • Ch. 4
  • Mr. Browborough, whose life had not been passed in any strict obedience to the Ten Commandments, and whose religious observances had not hitherto interfered with either the pleasures or the duties of his life, repeated at every meeting which he attended, and almost to every elector whom he canvassed, the great Shibboleth which he had now adopted — “The prosperity of England depends on the Church of her people.”
    • Ch. 4
  • But he could stand up with unabashed brow and repeat with enduring audacity the same words a dozen times over — “The prosperity of England depends on the Church of her people.” Had he been asked whether the prosperity which he promised was temporal or spiritual in its nature, not only would he not have answered, but he would not in the least have understood the question.
    • Ch. 4
  • “They’re giving £2 10s. a vote at the Fallgate this minute” said Ruddles to him at a quarter past three.
    “We shall have to prove it.”
    “We can do that, I think,” said Ruddles.
    • Ch. 4
  • He too, liked his party, and was fond of loyal men; but he had learned at last that all loyalty must be built on a basis of self-advantage. Patriotism may exist without it, but that which Erie called loyalty in politics was simply devotion to the side which a man conceives to be his side, and which he cannot leave without danger to himself.
    • Ch. 5
  • The bucolic mind of East Barsetshire took warm delight in the eloquence of the eminent personage who represented them, but was wont to extract more actual enjoyment from the music of his periods than from the strength of his arguments.
    • Ch. 5
  • It seemed, indeed, to Phineas that as Mrs. Low was buckled up in such triple armour that she feared nothing, she might have been less loud in expression her abhorrence of the enemies of the Church. If she feared nothing, why should she scream so loudly?
    • Ch. 6
  • He is one of those men who, on marrying, assume that they have at last got a person to do a duty which has always hitherto been neglected.
    • Ch. 6
  • When once a woman is married she should be regarded as having thrown off her allegiance to her own sex. She is sure to be treacherous at any rate in one direction.
    • Ch. 7
  • “I am sorry for that, — very sorry.”
    “Why so, Lord Chiltern?”
    “Because if you were engaged to him I thought that perhaps you might have introduced him to ride a little less forward.”
    • Ch. 7
  • As for offending him, you might as well swear at a tree, and think to offend it.
    • Ch. 7
  • Flirting I take to be the excitement of love, without its reality, and without its ordinary result in marriage.
    • Ch. 7
  • A bull in a china shop is not a useful animal, nor is he ornamental, but there can be no doubt of his energy. The hare was full of energy, but he didn't win the race. The man who stands still is the man who keeps his ground.
    • Ch. 7
  • It may, indeed, be assumed that a man who loses his temper while he is speaking is endeavouring to speak the truth such as he believes it to be, and again it may be assumed that a man who speaks constantly without losing his temper is not always entitled to the same implicit faith.
    • Ch. 9
  • In former days the Earl had been a man quite capable of making himself disagreeable, and probably had not yet lost the power of doing so. Of all our capabilities this is the one which clings longest to us.
    • Ch. 11
  • You men find so many angels in your travels. You have been honester than some. You have generally been off with the old angel before you were with the new, — as far at least as I knew.
    • Ch. 11
  • Men when they are true are simple. They are often false has hell, and then they are crafty as Lucifer. But the man who is true judges others by himself, — almost without reflection. A woman can be true as steel and cunning at the same time.
    • Ch. 11
  • When you have done the rashest thing in the world it is very pleasant to be told that no man of spirit could have acted otherwise.
    • Ch. 12
  • Would it not be better to go home and live at the family park all the year round, and hunt, and attend Quarter Sessions, and be able to declare morning and evening with a clear conscience that the country was going to the dogs? Such was the mental working of many a Conservative who supported Mr. Daubeny on this occasion.
    • Ch. 13
  • In former days, when there were Whigs instead of Liberals, it was almost a rule of political life that all leading Whigs sould be uncles, brothers-in-law, or cousins to each other. This was pleasant and gave great consistency to the party; but the system has now gone out of vogue.
    • Ch. 13
  • “Why should he do it at all?” asked Phineas.
    “That’s what everybody asks, but the answer seems to be so plain! Because he can do it, and we can’t.”
    • Ch. 13
  • A drunkard or a gambler may be weaned from his ways, but not a politician.
    • Ch. 13
  • What binds him, Oswald? A man can’t be bound without a penalty.
    • Ch. 14
  • Why not? His wife is dead, and he hasn’t got a child, not yet an acre of property. I don’t know who is entitled to break his neck if he is not.
    • Ch. 14
  • When one wants to be natural, of necessity one becomes the reverse of natural.
    • Ch. 15
  • Lord Chiltern recognizes the great happiness of having a grievance. It would be a pity that so great a blessing should be thrown away upon him.
    • Ch. 15
  • “They have been saying ever so long that the old Duke of Omnium means to marry her on his deathbed, but I don’t suppose there can be anything in it.”
    “Why should he put it off for so very inopportune an occasion?” asked Phineas.
    • Ch. 15
  • Why is it that when men and women congregate, though the men may beat the women in numbers by ten to one, and through they certainly speak the louder, the concrete sound that meets the ears of any outside listener is always a sound of women’s voices?
    • Ch. 16
  • To get away well is so very much! And to get away well is often so very difficult!
    • Ch. 16
  • “I haven’t the slightest direction of anything.”
    “Nor have I; but as we clearly can’t get out this way we might as well try the other.”
    • Ch. 16
  • He has the power of making the world believe him simply because he has been rich and a duke.
    • Ch. 17
  • Perhaps there is nothing so generally remarkable in the conduct of young ladies in the phase of life of which we are now speaking as the facility, — it may almost be said audacity, — with which they do make up their minds.
    • Ch. 18
  • She’s a screw, of course, but there isn’t anything carries Chiltern so well. There’s nothing like a good screw. A man’ll often go with two hundred and fifty guineas between his legs, supposed to be all there because the animal’s sound, and yet he don’t know his work. If you like schooling a young ’un, that’s all very well. I used to be fond of it myself.
    • Ch. 19
  • Ride at any fence hard enough, and the chances are you’ll get over. The harder you ride the heavier the fall, if you get a fall; but the greater the chance of your getting over.
    • Ch. 19
  • But the school in which good training is most practiced will, as a rule, turn out the best scholars.
    • Ch. 20
  • A Minister can always give a reason; and, if he be clever, he can generally when doing so punish the man who asks for it. The punishing of an influential enemy is an indiscretion; but an obscure questioner may often be crushed with good effect.
    • Ch. 20
  • He had married, let us say for love; — probably very much by chance.
    • Ch. 21
  • Late hours, nocturnal cigars, and midnight drinkings, pleasurable through they may be, consume too quickly the free-flowing lamps of youth, and are fatal at once to the husbanded candle-ends of age.
    • Ch. 21
  • He possessed the rare merit of making a property of his time and not a burden.
    • Ch. 21
  • He had never done any good, but he had always carried himself like a duke, and like a duke he carried himself to the end.
    • Ch. 25
  • Some people fall to their feet like cats; but you are one of those who never fall at all. Others tumble about in the most unfortunate way, without any great fault of their own.
    • Ch. 25
  • They were always together, but I dare say it was Platonic. I believe these kind of things generally are Platonic.
    • Ch. 25
  • With her broad face, and her double chin, and her heavy jowl, and the beard that was growing around he lips, she did not look like a romantic woman; but, in spite of appearances, romance and a duck-like waddle may go together.
    • Ch. 25
  • Men will love to the last, but they love what is fresh and new. A woman’s love can live on the recollection of the past, and cling to what is old and ugly.
    • Ch. 25
  • And, after a fashion, she herself believed what she was saying. Nevertheless, her nature was much nobler than his; and she know that no man should dare to live idly as the Duke had lived.
    • Ch. 25
  • Fame is a skittish jade, more fickle even than Fortune, and apt to shy, and bolt, and plunge away on very trifling causes.
    • Ch. 26
  • An editor is bound to avoid the meshes of the law, which are always infinitely more costly to companies, or things, or institutions, than they are to individuals.
    • Ch. 27
  • No doubt he had acted in direct opposition to the spirit of the injunction, but legal orders are read by the letter, and not by the spirit.
    • Ch. 28
  • But Mr. Slide did not know that he was lying, and did not know that he was malicious. The weapon which he used was one to which his hand was accustomed, and he had been lead by practice to believe that the use of such weapons by one in his position was not only fair, but also beneficial to the public.
    • Ch. 28
  • Then Lady Chiltern argued the matter on views directly opposite to those which she had put forward when discussing the matter with her husband.
    • Ch. 29
  • I don’t know about that. — A poet doesn't want to marry a poetess, nor a philosopher a philosopheress.
    • Ch. 29
  • Audacity in wooing is a great virtue, but a man must measure even his virtues.
    • Ch. 30
  • The grace and beauty of life will be clean gone when we all become useful men.
    • Ch. 30
  • The double pleasure of pulling down an opponent, and of raising oneself, is the charm of a politician’s life.
    • Ch. 31
  • Men and not measures are, no doubt, the very life of politics. But then it is not the fashion to say so in public places.
    • Ch. 31
  • A man who is supposed to have caused a disturbance between two married people, in a certain rank of life, does generally receive a certain meed of admiration.
    • Ch. 32
  • We can generally read a man’s purpose towards us in his manner, if his purposes are of much moment to us.
    • Ch. 32
  • “Do you mean to say that the morals of your party will be offended?” said Madame Goesler, almost laughing.
    • Ch. 32
  • Upon the present occasion London was full of clergymen. The specially clerical clubs, — the Oxford and Cambridge, the Old University, and the Athenaeum, — were black with them.
    • Ch. 33
  • It is out of nature that any man should think it good that his own order should be repressed, curtailed, and deprived of its power. If we go among cab-drivers or letter-carriers, among butlers or gamekeepers, among tailors or butchers, among farmers or grazers, among doctors or attorneys, we shall find in each set of men a conviction that the welfare of the community depends upon the firmness with which they, — especially they, — hold their own.
    • Ch. 33
  • But as the clerical pretensions are more exacting than all others, being put forward with an assertion that no answer is possible without breach of duty and sin, so are they more galling.
    • Ch. 33
  • We do believe, — the majority among us does so, — that if we live and die in sin we shall after some fashion come to great punishment, and we believe also that by having pastors among us who shall be men of God, we may best aid ourselves and our children in avoiding this bitter end. But then the pastors and men of God can only be human, — cannot be altogether men of God; and so they have oppressed us, and burned us, and tortured us, and hence come to love palaces, and fine linen, and purple, and alas, sometimes, mere luxury and idleness. The torturing and the burning, as also to speak truth the luxury and the idleness, have, among us, been already conquered, but the idea of ascendancy remains.
    • Ch. 33
  • Gentlemen lacking substantial sympathy with their leader found it to be comfortable to deceive themselves, and raise their hearts at the same time by the easy enthusiasm of noise.
    • Ch. 33
  • He made his point well; but he made it too often. And an attack of that kind, personal and savage in its nature, loses its effect when it is evident that the words have been prepared. A good deal may be done in dispute by calling a man an ass or a knave, — but the resolve to use the words should have been made only at the moment, and they should come hot from the heart.
    • Ch. 33
  • A man destined to sit conspicuously on our Treasury Bench, or on the seat opposite to it, should ask the gods for a thick skin as a first gift. The need of this in our national assembly is greater than elsewhere, because the differences between men opposed to each other are smaller.
    • Ch. 33
  • When two foes meet together in the same Chamber, one of whom advocates the personal government of an individual ruler, and the other that from of State, which has come to be called a Red Republic, they deal, no doubt, weighty blows of oratory at each other, but blows which never hurt at the moment. They may cut each other’s throats if they can find an opportunity; but they do not bite each other like dogs over a bone. But when opponents are almost in accord, as is always the case with our parliamentary gladiators, they are ever striving to give maddening little wounds through the joints of the harness.
    • Ch. 33
  • The apostle of Christianity and the infidel can meet without a chance of a quarrel; but it is never safe to bring together two men who differ about a saint or a surplice.
    • Ch. 33
  • “See what we Conservatives can do. In fact we will conserve nothing when we find that you do not desire to have it conserved any longer. ‘Quod minime reris Graiâ pandetur ab urbe.’”
    • Ch. 33
  • There would be a blaze and a confusion, in which timid men would doubt whether the constitution would be burned to tinder or only illuminated; but that blaze and that confusion would be dear to Mr. Daubney if he could stand as the centre figure, — the great pyrotechnist who did it all, red from head to foot with the glare of the squibs with which his own hands were filling all the spaces.
    • Ch. 34
  • Rights and rules, which are bonds of iron to a little man, are packthread to a giant.
    • Ch. 35
  • But the prospect of an explanation, — or otherwise of a flight, — between two leading politicians will fill the House; and any allusion to our Eastern Empire will certainly empty it.
    • Ch. 36
  • The vehemence with which his insolence was abused by one after another of those who spoke later from the other side was ample evidence of its success.
    • Ch. 36
  • Some few sublime and hot-headed gentleman muttered the word “impeachment.” Others, who were more practical and less dignified, suggested that the Prime Minister “ought to have his head punched.”
    • Ch. 37
  • But mad people never die. That’s a well-known fact. They’ve nothing to trouble them, and they live for ever.
    • Ch. 38
  • Most of the young men rise now by making themselves thoroughly disagreeable. Abuse a Minister every night for half a session, and you may be sure to be in office the other half, — if you care about it.
    • Ch. 38
  • He had a prophecy to make, and prophets have ever been energetic men.
    • Ch. 39
  • Now a conjuror is I think a very pleasant fellow to have among us, if we know that he is a conjuror; — but a conjuror who is believed to do his tricks without sleight of hand is a dangerous man.
    • Ch. 39
  • The secrets of the world are very marvellous, but they are not themselves half so wonderful as the way in which they become known to the world.
    • Ch. 40
  • To oblige a friend by inflicting an injury on his enemy is often more easy than to confer a benefit on the friend himself.
    • Ch. 43
  • When the little dog snarls, the big dog does not connect the snarl with himself, simply fancying that the little dog must be uncomfortable.
    • Ch. 43
  • It had been known to all the world, — that at every election Mr. Browborough had bought his seat. How should a Browborough get a seat without buying it, — a man who could not say ten words, of no family, with no natural following in any constituency, distinguished by no zeal in politics, entertaining no special convictions of his own? How should such a one recommend himself to any borough unless he went there with money in his hand? Of course, he had gone to Tankerville with money in his hand, with plenty of money, and had spent it like a gentleman.
    • Ch. 44
  • The idea of putting old Browborough into prison for conduct which habit had made second nature to a large proportion of the House was distressing to Members of Parliament generally.
    • Ch. 44
  • Any one prominent in affairs can always see when a man may steal a horse and when a man may not look over a hedge.
    • Ch. 44
  • In political matters it is very hard for a man in office to be purer than his neighbours, — and, when he is so, he becomes troublesome.
    • Ch. 44
  • “I know that you have indented to serve your country, and have wished to work for it. But you cannot expect that it should all be roses.”
    “Roses! The nosegays which are worn down at Westminister are made of garlick and dandelions!”
    • Ch. 44
  • The sober devil can hide his cloven hoof; but when the devil drinks he loses his cunning and grows honest.
    • Ch. 46
  • In these days, — when no palpable and immediate punishment is at hand for personal insolence from man to man, — personal insolence to one man in a company seems almost to constitute an insult to every one present.
    • Ch. 46
  • But facts always convince, and another man‘s opinion rarely convinces.
    • Ch. 47
  • All history, all romance, all poetry and all prose, taught him that perseverance in love was generally crowned with success, — that true love rarely was crowned with success except by perseverance.
    • Ch. 53
  • Making love to a sweet, soft, blushing, willing, though silent girl is a pleasant employment; but the task of declaring love to a stony-hearted, obdurate, ill-conditions Diana is very disagreeable for any gentleman. And it is the more so when the gentleman really loves, — or thinks that he loves, — his Diana.
    • Ch. 53
  • I know very well that if you get men who are really, — really swells, for that is what it is, Mr. Low, — and pay them well enough, and so make it really an important thing, they can browbeat any judge and hoodwink any jury.
    • Ch. 54
  • “Would that be justice, ladies?” asked the just man.
    “It would be success, Mr. Low, — which is a great deal the better thing of the two.”
    • Ch. 54
  • The circumstances seemed to be simple; but they who understood such matters declared that the duration of a trial depended a great deal more on the public interest felt in the matter than upon its own nature.
    • Ch. 57
  • Many people talk much, and then very many people talk very much more.
    • Ch. 57
  • “Not in the least. I have but one ambition.”
    “And that is — ?”
    “To be the serviceable slave of my country.”
    “A master is more serviceable than a slave,” said the old man.
    “No; no; I deny it. I can admit much from you, but I cannot admit that. The politician who becomes the master of his country sinks from the statesman to the tyrant.”
    • Ch. 58
  • Your nature is decimals. I run after units.
    • Ch. 58
  • Caveat emptor is the only motto going, and the worst proverb that ever came from the dishonest stony-hearted Rome.
    • Ch. 60
  • “I should have thought any dealer would have taken him back for the sake of his character.”
    “Any dealer would; but — I bought him from a gentleman.”
    • Ch. 60
  • I never believe anything that a lawyer says when he has a wig on his head and a fee in his hand. I prepare myself beforehand to regard it all as mere words, supplied at so much the thousand. I know he‘ll say whatever he thinks most likely to forward his own views.
    • Ch. 61
  • He was essentially a truth-speaking man, if only he know how to speak the truth.
    • Ch. 62
  • The property of manliness in a man is a great possession, but perhaps there is none that is less understood, — which is more generally accorded where it does not exist, nor more frequently disallowed where it prevails.
    • Ch. 68
  • The natural man will probably be manly. The affected man cannot be so.
    • Ch. 68
  • “Isn‘t there some trouble about money?”
    “They wouldn‘t be very rich, Duchess.”
    “What a blessing for them! But then, perhaps, they‘d be very poor.”
    “They would be rather poor.”
    “Which is not a blessing.”
    • Ch. 69
  • No doubt there were other first cousins as badly off, or perhaps worse, as to whom the Duchess would care nothing whether they were rich or poor, — married or single; but then they were first cousins who had not had the advantage of interesting the Duchess.
    • Ch. 69
  • I don't much admire your taste, my dear, because he‘s a hundred and fifty years old; — and what there is of him comes chiefly from the tailor.
    • Ch. 69
  • I doubt whether patriotism can stand the ware and tear and temptation of the front benches in the House of Commons.
    • Ch. 70
  • An enemy might at any time become a friend, but while an enemy was an enemy he should be trodden on and persecuted.
    • Ch. 71
  • “He is such a gentleman; — and, at the same time, the most abstract and the most concrete man that I know.”
    “Abstract and concrete!”
    “You are bound to use adjectives of that sort now, Miss Palliser, if you mean to be anybody in conversation.”
    • Ch. 74
  • He becomes strenuous, energetic, and perhaps eager for what must after all be regarded as success, and at last he fights for a verdict rather than for the truth.
    • Ch. 74
  • People go on quarrelling and fancying this and that, and thinking that the world is full of romance and poetry. When they get married they know better.
    • Ch. 76
  • “Perhaps I had better tell you the truth, Mr. Gresham.”
    “Oh, certainly,” said the Prime Minister, who knew very well that on such occasions nothing could be worse than the telling of disagreeable truths.
    • Ch. 77

The Prime Minister (1876)[edit]

  • She had married a vulgar man; and, though she had not become like the man, she had become vulgar.
    • Ch. 5
  • But as we do not light up our houses with our brightest lamps for all comers, so neither did she emit from her eyes their brightest sparks till special occasions for such shining had arisen.
    • Ch. 5
  • The girl can look forward to little else than the chance of having a good man for her husband; — a good man, or if her tastes lie in that direction, a rich man.
    • Ch. 5
  • Power is so pleasant that men quickly learn to be greedy in the enjoyment of it, and to flatter themselves that patriotism requires them to be imperious.
    • Ch. 6
  • "Aid from heaven you may have," he said, "by saying your prayers; and I don't doubt you ask for this and all other things generally. But an angel won't come to tell you who ought to be Chancellor of the Exchequer."
    • Ch. 7
  • The town horse, used to gaudy trappings, no doubt despises the work of his country brother; but yet, now and again, there comes upon him a sudden desire to plough.
    • Ch. 8
  • "I am ready to obey as a child; — but, not being a child, I think I ought to have a reason."
    • Ch. 9
  • One doesn't have an agreement to that effect written down on parchment and sealed; but it is as well understood and ought to be as faithfully kept as any legal contract.
    • Ch. 10
  • I always thought there was very little wit wanted to make a fortune in the City.
    • Ch. 10
  • Had some inscrutable decree of fate ordained and made it certain, with a certainty not to be disturbed, that no candidate could be returned to Parliament who would not assert the earth to be triangular, there would rise immediately a clamorous assertion of triangularity among political aspirants. The test would be innocent. Candidates have swallowed, and daily do swallow, many a worse one. As might be this doctrine of a great triangle, so is the doctrine of Home Rule. Why is a gentleman of property to be kept out in the cold by some O'Mullins because he will not mutter an unmeaning shibboleth? "Triangular? Yes, or lozenge-shaped, if you please; but, gentleman, I am the man for Tipperary."
    • Ch. 11
  • It is easy for most of us to keep our hands from picking and stealing when picking and stealing plainly lead to prison diet and prison garments. But when silks and satins come of it, and with the silks and satins general respect, the net result of honesty does not seem to be so secure.
    • Ch. 11
  • This was Barrington Erle, a politician of long standing, who was still looked upon by many as a young man, because he had always been known as a young man, and because he had never done anything to compromise his position in that respect. He had not married, or settled himself down in a house of his own, or become subject to the gout, or given up being careful about the fitting of his clothes.
    • Ch. 11
  • Your man with a thin skin, a vehement ambition, a scrupulous conscience, and a sanguine desire for rapid improvement is never a happy, and seldom a fortunate politician.
    • Ch. 11
  • Their support was not needed, therefore they were not courted.
    • Ch. 12
  • He had so accustomed himself to wield the constitutional cat-of-nine-tails, that heaven will hardly be happy to him unless he be allowed to flog the cherubim.
    • Ch. 12
  • You can never teach them, except by the slow lesson of habit.
    • Ch. 12
  • Because we have been removing restraints on Papal aggression, while other nations have been imposing restraints. There are those at Rome who believe all England to be Romish at heart, because here in England a Roman Catholic can say what he will, and print what he will.
    • Ch. 12
  • Each thought himself, especially since this last promotion, to be indispensably necessary to the formation of London society, and was comfortable in the conviction that he had thoroughly succeeded in life by acquiring the privilege of sitting down to dinner three times a week with peers and peeresses.
    • Ch. 20
  • He never went very far astray in his official business, because he always obeyed the clerks and followed precedents.
    • Ch. 20
  • He don't look the sort of fellow I like; but he's got money and he comes here, and he's good looking, — and therefore he'll be a success.
    • Ch. 20
  • Does not all the world know that when in autumn the Bismarcks of the world, or they who are bigger than Bismarcks, meet at this or that delicious haunt of salubrity, the affairs of the world are then settled in little conclaves, with grater ease, rapidity, and certainty than in large parliaments or the dull chambers of public offices?
    • Ch. 20
  • The Duke, always right in his purpose but generally wrong in his practice, had stayed at home working all the morning, thereby scandalising the strict, and had gone to church alone in the afternoon, thereby offending the social.
    • Ch. 20
  • Things to be done offer themselves, I suppose, because they are in themselves desirable; not because it is desirable to have something to do.
    • Ch. 20
  • You Ministers go on shuffling the old cards till they are so worn out and dirty that one can hardly tell the pips on them.
    • Ch. 21
  • She certainly had a little syllogism in her head as to the Duke ruling the borough, the Duke's wife ruling the Duke, and therefore the Duke's wife ruling the borough; but she did not think it prudent to utter this on the present occasion.
    • Ch. 21
  • People seen by the mind are exactly different to things seen by the eye. They grow smaller and smaller as you come nearer down to them, whereas things become bigger.
    • Ch. 37
  • But how shall I excuse it? There are things done which are as holy as the heavens, — which are clear before God as the light of the sun, which leave no stain on the conscience, and which yet the malignity of man can invest with the very blackness of hell!
    • Ch. 42

The Duke's Children (1879)[edit]

No one can depute authority. It comes too much from personal accidents, and too little from reason or law to be handed over to others.
  • Sir Timothy was a fluent speaker, and when there was nothing to be said was possessed of a great plenty of words. And he was gifted with that peculiar power which enables a man to have the last word in every encounter, — a power which we are apt to call repartee, which is in truth the readiness which comes from continual practice. You shall meet two men of whom you shall know the one to be endowed with the brilliancy of true genius, and the other to be possessed of but moderate parts, and shall find the former never able to hold his own against the latter. In a debate, the man of moderate parts will seem to be greater than the man of genius. But this skill of tongue, this glibness of speech is hardly an affair of intellect at all. It is, — as is style to the writer, — not the wares which he has to take to market, but the vehicle in which they may be carried. Of what avail to you is it to have filled granaries with corn if you cannot get your corn to the consumer? Now Sir Timothy was a great vehicle, but he had not in truth much corn to send.
    • Ch. 26
  • "I think it is so glorious," said the American. "There is no such mischievous nonsense in all the world as equality. That is what father says. What men ought to want is liberty."
    • Ch. 48
  • Speeches easy to young speakers are generally very difficult to old listeners.
    • Ch. 56
  • But between you and me there should be no mention of law as the guide of conduct. Speak to me of honour, of duty, and of nobility; and tell me what they require of you.
    • Ch. 61.
  • No one can depute authority. It comes too much from personal accidents, and too little from reason or law to be handed over to others.
    • Ch. 66.
  • When any body of statesmen make public asservations by one or various voices, that there is no discord among them, not a dissentient voice on any subject, people are apt to suppose that they cannot hang together much longer.
    • Ch. 71

An Autobiography (1883)[edit]

  • He must have known me had he seen me as he was wont to see me, for he was in the habit of flogging me constantly. Perhaps he did not recognise me by my face.
    • Ch. 1
  • Satire, though it may exaggerate the vice it lashes, is not justified in creating it in order that it may be lashed.
    • Ch. 5
  • Take away from English authors their copyrights, and you would very soon take away from England her authors.
    • Ch. 6
  • Barchester Towers has become one of those novels which do not die quite at once, which live and are read for perhaps a quarter of a century.
    • Ch. 6
  • A small task, if it be really daily, will beat the labors of a spasmodic Hercules.
    • Ch. 7
  • The satirist who writes nothing but satire should write but little — or it will seem that his satire springs rather from his own caustic nature than from the sins of the world in which he lives.
    • Ch. 10
  • As will so often be the case when a men has a pen in his hand. It is like a club or sledge-hammer, — in using which, either for defence or attack, a man can hardly measure the strength of the blows he gives.
    • Ch. 11
  • Three hours a day will produce as much as a man ought to write.
    • Ch. 15
  • Of all the needs a book has, the chief need is that it be readable.
    • Ch. 19

Quotes about Trollope[edit]

  • Of all novelists in any country, Trollope best understands the role of money. Compared with him even Balzac is a romantic.
    • W. H. Auden, in Forewords and Afterwords (1973), p. 266

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