“The point is, life has to be endured, and lived. But how to live it is the problem.”
“He was like someone sleeping who woke suddenly and found the world...all the beauty of it, and the sadness too. The hunger and the thirst. Everything he had never thought about or known was there before him, and magnified into one person who by chance, or fate--call it what you will--happened to be me.”
“There is no going back in life, no return, no second chance. I cannot call back the spoken word or the accomplished deed.”
“We were dreamers, both of us, unpractical, reserved, full of great theories never put to test, and like all dreamers, asleep to the waking world. Disliking our fellow men, we craved affection; but shyness kept impulse dormant until the heart was touched. When that happened the heavens opened, and we felt, the pair of us, that we have the whole wealth of the universe to give. We would have both survived, had we been other men.”
“I wondered how it could be that two people who had loved could yet have such a misconception of each other and, with a common grief, grow far apart. There must be something in the nature of love between a man and a woman that drove them to torment and suspicion.”
“I would not be young again, if you offered me the world. But then I'm prejudiced.'
'You talk,' I said, 'as if you were ninety-nine.'
'For a woman I very nearly am,' she said. 'I'm thirty five.”
“People who mattered could not take the humdrum world. But this was not the world, it was enchantment; and all of it was mine.”
“She had contemplated life so long it had become indifferent to her.”
“She has done for me at last, Rachel my torment.”
“But a lonely man is an unnatural man, and soon comes to perplexity. From perplexity to fantasy. From fantasy to madness.”
“There are some women, Philip, good women very possibly, who through no fault of their own impel disaster. Whatever they touch, somehow turns to tragedy.”
“A man’s jealousy is like a child’s, fitful and foolish, without depth. A woman’s jealousy is adult, which is very different.”
“Because I believe there is nothing so self-destroying, and no emotion quite so despicable, as jealousy.”
“They used to hang men at Four Turnings in the old days.
Not anymore, though.”
“I am no traveller, you are my world.”
“A woman of feeling does not easily give way. You may call it pride, or tenacity, call it what you will. In spite of all the evidence to the contrary, their emotions are more primitive than ours. They hold to the thing they want, and never surrender. We have our wars and battles, Mr. Ashey. But women can fight too.”
“..If we killed women for their tongues all men would be murderers.”
“How soft and gentle her name sounds when I whisper it. It lingers on the tongue, insidious and slow, almost like poison, which is apt indeed. It passes from the tongue to the parched lips, and from the lips back to the heart. And the heart controls the body, and the mind also. Shall I be free of it one day?”
“Truth was something intangible, unseen, which sometimes we stumbled upon and did not recognize, but was found, and held, and understood only by old people near their death, or sometimes by the very pure, the very young.”
“How soft and gentle her name sounds when I whisper it. It lingers on the tongue, insidious and slow, almost like poison, which is apt indeed. It passes from the tongue to the parched lips, and from the lips back to the heart. And the heart controls the body, and the mind also. Shall I be free of it one day? In forty, in fifty years? Or will some lingering trace of matter in the brain stay pallid and diseased? Some minuscule cell in the bloodstream fail to race with its fellows to the fountain heart? Perhaps, when all is said and done, I shall have no wish to be free. As yet, I cannot tell.”
“...Women are not so, Philip. Their moods vary with the days and nights, sometimes even with the hours, just as a man’s can do. We are human, that is our failing.”
“At twenty-three it takes very little to make the spirits soar.”
“Here is Tom Jenkyns, honest and dull, except when he drank too much. It's true that his wife was a scold, but that was no excuse to kill her. If we killed women for their tongues all men would be murderers.”
“Ambrose used to say to me in Florence that it was worth the tedium of visitors to experience the pleasure of their going.”
“We went back into the drawing room. The evening had passes pleasantly enough, heaven knows, but I was glad that they had gone and the house was silent once again. She must have had the same thought, for she stood a moment, looking around her in the drawing room, she said, 'I love the stillness of a room, after a party. The chairs are moved, the cushions disarranged, everything is there to show that people enjoyed themselves; and one comes back to the empty room happy that it's over, happy to relax and say, "Now we are alone again." Ambrose used to say to me in Florence that it was worth the tedium of visitors to experience the pleasure of their going, He was so right.”
“It is strange how in moments of great crisis the mind whips back to childhood.”
“The visitors sat down, languid, and content to rest. Seecombe brought cake and wine.”
“The point is, live has to be endured, and lived. But how to live it is the problem.”
“Someday, somehow, I would repay my cousin Rachel.”
“Il vento si era spostato all'interno e aveva portato via con sé la pioggia; a mezzogiorno il sole aveva fatto capolino, il cielo si era fatto terso. L'aria era luminosa e frizzante di sale e questo conferiva alla passeggiata un gusto particolare; si riusciva a sentire il rumore del mare che si frangeva sugli scogli davanti alla baia. Capitava spesso, in autunno, di avere giornate così, che non appartenevano a giornate precise e avevano una freschezza tutta loro: nell'aria c'era già il brivido delle ore d'inverno, ma il profumo era ancora quello dell'estate.”
“What are you thinking in that beautiful head of yours?”
“Soon the happiness will be enough to weaken the control the past has on you, and it won’t hurt as badly as it does right now.” “But”
“We don’t know a tenth of what there is to know,” Mr. Pendergast said. “Why we don’t even know a sixth.”
“Life on earth is a whole, yet it expresses itself in unique time-bound bodies, microscopic or visible, plant or animal, extinct or living. So there can be no one place to be. There can be no one way to be, no one way to practice, no one way to learn, no one way to love, no one way to grow or to heal, no one way to live, no one way to feel, no one thing to know or be known. The particulars count.”
“One strain could call up the quivering expectancy of Christmas Eve, childhood, joy and sadness, the lonely wonder of a star”
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