“A baby was like a revolution, Grigori thought: you could start one, but you could not control how it would turn out.”
“President Wilson says a leader must treat public opinion the way a sailor deals with the wind, using it to blow the ship in one direction or another, but never trying to go directly against it.”
“I think more people should shoot newspaper editors...it might improve the press”
“You never get cheered for telling people the situation is not as simple as they think.”
“I could fall for you in a heartbeat”
“The ability to listen to smart people who disagree with you is a rare talent”
“Moderates always seem to deal in hopes rather than in facts.”
“There’s a saying: ‘If you owe a hundred dollars, the bank has you in its power; but if you owe a million dollars, you have the bank in your power.”
“In every country, those who were against war had been overruled. The Austrians had attacked Serbia when they might have held back; the Russians had mobilized instead of negotiating; the Germans had refused to attend an international conference to settle the issue; the French had been offered the chance to remain neutral and had spurned it; and now the British were about to join in when they might easily have remained on the sidelines.”
“His talent was to express his readers’ most stupid and ignorant prejudices as if they made sense, so that the shameful seemed respectable. That was why they bought the paper.”
“A waiter appeared, and Gus said: “Bring coffee for my guests, please, and a plate of ham sandwiches.” He deliberately did not ask them what they wanted. He had seen Woodrow Wilson act like this with people he wanted to intimidate.”
“Marvelous, isn’t it, how these Germans can shoot back at us even when they’re fucking dead.”
“Mam kissed Ethel and said: “I'm glad to see you settled at last, anyway,” That word ANYWAY carried a lot of baggage, Ethel thought. It meant: “Congratulations, even though you're a fallen woman, and you've got an illegitmate child whose father no one knows, and you're marrying a Jew, and living in London, which is the same as Sodom and Gomorrah.” But Ethel accepted Mam's qualified blessing and vowed never to say such things to her own child.”
“I went to the doctor," said the woman next to Ethel. "I said to him, 'I've got an itchy twat.'"
She went on: "The doctor says to me, he goes, 'You shouldn't say that, it's a rude word.'"
"I says to him, 'What should I say, then, doctor?' He says to me, 'Say you've got an itchy finger.'"
"He says to me, 'Do your finger itch you all the time, Mrs. Perkins, or just now and again?'"
Mildred paused, and the women were silent, waiting for the punch line.
"I says, 'No, doctor, only when I piss through it.”
“A German attack on Russia’s ally France would, in reality, be defensive—but the English talked as if Germany was trying to dominate Europe.”
“If it be a sin to covet honour, I am the most offending soul alive.”
“—Que Dios nos libre de los hombres con un destino dictado por la voluntad divina”
“But her angry feminism had set as hard as concrete during years of living alongside the tough, hardworking, dirt-poor women of London’s East End. Men often told a fairy tale in which there was a division of labor in families, the man going out to earn money, the woman looking after home and children. Reality was different. Most of the women Ethel knew worked twelve hours a day and looked after home and children as well. Underfed, overworked, living in hovels, and dressed in rags, they could still sing songs and laugh and love their children. In Ethel’s view one of those women had more right to vote than any ten men.”
“You're the one who doesn't understand," Lev said. "In America, I have my own car. There's more food than you can eat, all the booze I want, all the cigarettes I can smoke. I have five suits!"
"What's the point in having five suits?" Grigori said in frustration. "It's like having five beds. You can only use one at a time!”
“It was unladylike even to know the name of your lawyer, let alone to understand your rights under the law. No wonder women were mercilessly exploited.”
“Lenin’s idea of relaxation was to sit down with a foreign-language dictionary for an hour or two.”
“A wine cellar requires order, forethought and good taste,’ the old man used to say. ‘These are the virtues that made Britain great.”
“Monika answered for her father. Giving Walter a conspiratorial grin, she said: “Daddy used to say that if the tsar had been born to a different station in life, he might, with an effort, have become a competent postman.”
“Men were the only animals that slaughtered their own kind by the million, and turned the landscape into a waste of shell craters and barbed wire. Perhaps the human race would wipe itself out completely, and leave the world to the birds and trees, Walter thought apocalyptically. Perhaps that would be for the best.”
“Era un día soleado de principios de verano, y se oía el canto de los pájaros. En un huerto cercano que hasta entonces se había librado de los bombardeos, los manzanos florecían de forma espectacular. El hombre era el único animal que acababa con la vida de los de su propia especie por millones y que convertía el paisaje en un terreno yermo, plagado de cráteres provocados por las bombas y alambradas de espino. Walter tuvo el pensamiento apocalíptico de que, tal vez, la humanidad se borraría a sí misma de la faz de la tierra y dejaría el mundo a los pájaros y a los árboles. Tal vez eso fuera lo mejor.”
“In the struggle for female equality, Maud reflected, sometimes you had to fight women as well as men.”
“It was a sunny day in early summer, and he could hear birdsong. In a nearby orchard that had so far escaped shelling, apple trees were blossoming bravely. Men were the only animals that slaughtered their own kind by the million, and turned the landscape into a waste of shell craters and barbed wire. Perhaps the human race would wipe itself out completely, and leave the world to the birds and trees, Walter thought apocalyptically. Perhaps that would be for the best.”
“The world was changing so fast it was hard to keep up. Grigori had never been inside”
“If you want to change the world, then foreign relations is the field in which you can do the most good—or evil.”
“Putin coined a slogan for his vision of a new, rule-abiding Russia that was secure and prosperous. It embodied the internal contradictions of his ideology, of his background as a lawyer and intelligence officer, and of his temperament. He felt it so deeply he used it twice in one letter. Russia, he declared, would be “a dictatorship of the law.”
“You've taken everything from me..."
"No," she interrupted. "Me, I take nothing. I only take by the hand. So that no-one must be alone and lost in the fog... Goodbye, Gerald of Rivia. Some other day.”
“The time has come," the walrus said, "to talk of many things: Of shoes and ships - and sealing wax - of cabbages and kings”
“The flames sawed in the wind and the embers paled and deepened and paled and deepened like the bloodbeat of some living thing eviscerate upon the ground before them and they watched the fire which does contain within it something of men themselves inasmuch as they are less without it and are divided from their origins and are exiles. For each fire is all fires, and the first fire and the last ever to be.”
“But just understand the difference between a man like Reardon and a man like me. He is the old type of unpractical artist; I am the literary man of 1882. He won't make concessions, or rather, he can't make them; he can't supply the market. I--well, you may say that at present, I do nothing; but that's a great mistake, I am learning my business. Literature nowadays is a trade. Putting aside men of genius, who may succeed by mere cosmic force, your successful man of letters is your skilful tradesman. He thinks first and foremost of the markets; when one kind of goods begins to go off slackly, he is ready with something new and appetising. He knows perfectly all the possible sources of income. Whatever he has to sell, he'll get payment for it from all sorts of various quarters; none of your unpractical selling for a lump sum to a middleman who will make six distinct profits.”
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