Pearl S. Buck · 316 pages
Rating: (10.2K votes)
“You are right,” he had said. “Love is not the word. No one can love his neighbor. Say, rather, ‘Know thy neighbor as thyself.” That is, comprehend his hardships and understand his position, deal with his faults as gently as with your own. Do not judge him where you do not judge yourself. Madame, this is the meaning of the word love.”
“You are free when you gain back yourself,” Madame Wu said. “You can be as free within these walls as you could be in the whole world. And how could you be free if, however far you wander, you still carry inside yourself the constant thought of him? See where you belong in the stream of life. Let it flow through you, cool and strong. Do not dam it with your two hands, lest he break the dam and so escape you. Let him go free, and you will be free.”
“French is the most beautiful,” he said, “and Italian is the most poetic, and Russian the most powerful, German the most solid. But more business is done in English than in any other.”
“Yes, she now believed that when her body died, her soul would go on. Gods she did not worship, and faith she had none, but love she had and forever. Love alone had awakened her sleeping soul and had made it deathless.
She knew she was immortal.”
“Andre had been telling her an ancient legend of the fall of man into evil. It came about, he said, by the hand of a woman, Eve, who gave man forbidden fruit.
"And how was this woman to know that the fruit was forbidden?" Madame Wu had inquired.
"An evil spirit, in the shape of a serpent, whispered it to her," Andre had said.
"Why to her instead of to the man?" she had inquired.
"Because he knew that her mind and her heart were fixed not upon the man, but upon the pursuance of life," he had replied. "The man's mind and heart were fixed upon himself. He was happy enough, dreaming that he possessed the woman and the garden. Why should he be tempted further? He had all. But the woman could always be tempted by the thought of a better garden, a larger space, more to possess, because she knew that out of her body would come many more beings, and for them she plotted and planned. The woman thought not of herself, but of the many whom she would create. For their sake she was tempted. For their sake she will always be tempted.”
“Do not test the measure of his love for you by the way he expresses his body's heat. He is not thinking of you at those times. He is thinking of himself.”
“Yet there were times when he did love her with all the kindness she demanded, and how was she to know what were those times? Alone she raged against his cheerfulness and put herself at the mercy of her own love and longed to be free of it because it made her less than he and dependent on him. But how could she be free of chains she had put upon herself? Her soul was all tempest. The dreams she had once had of her life were dead. She was in prison in the house. And yet who was her jailer except herself?”
“If life were known one moment ahead, how could it be endured?”
“He had other fires and these flamed higher than Love.”
“I will spend the rest of my life assembling my own mind and my own soul. I will take care of my body carefully, not that it may any more please a man, but because it houses me and therefore I am dependent upon it.”
“Had she not created even him? Perhaps for that he never forgave her, but hated her and fought her secretly, and dominated her and oppressed her and kept her locked in houses and her feet bound and her waist tied, and forbade her wages and skills and learning, and widowed her when she was dead, and burned her sometimes to ashes, pretending that it was her faithfulness that did it.”
“Never reproach him with his own weakness, for then he will become wholly weak. Never let him feel that but for you he would be useless, for then he will indeed become useless. You must search for the few strong threads in him and weave your fabric with those, and where the threads are weak, never trust to them. Supply your own in secret.”
“Know thy neighbor as thyself. That is, comprehend his hardships and understand his position, deal with his faults as gently as with your own. Do not judge him where you do not judge yourself...this is the meaning of the word LOVE.”
“weak? You must learn to take from a person that which is his best and ignore all else.”
“It was the secret of her power in this house that she never allowed her will to be felt as absolute. She gave time and the promise of an end, and then she used the time to shape events to her own end.”
“Now, as they were all looking at the new moth, she, too, went to look at it. It was of a creamy yellow color, like the yellow of the lemon called Buddha's Hand, and it had long black antennae. These quivered as it felt itself impaled. The wide wings fluttered and dark spots upon them showed green and gold for a moment. Then the moth was still. "How quickly they die!" Ch'iuming said suddenly.”
“Had she not created even him? Perhaps for that he never forgave her, but hated her and fought her secretly, and dominated her and oppressed her and kept her locked in houses and her feet bound and her waist tied, and forbade her wages and skills and learning, and widowed her when he was dead, and burned her sometimes to ashes, pretending that it was her faithfulness that did it.”
“Body and soul are partners, and neither must desert the other.”
“What shall I do?" she asked in a small voice.
"Forget your own self," he said.
"But all these years," she urged, "I have so carefully fulfilled my duty."
"Always with the thought of your own freedom in your mind," he said.
She could not deny it. She sat motionless, her hands folded on the pearl-gray satin of her robe. "Direct me," she said at last.
"Instead of your own freedom, think how you can free others," he said gently.
She lifted her head.
"From yourself," he said still gently.”
“Times were chosen and appointed. If one forced them, they were wrong.”
“Long ago she had learned that to seem to yield is always stronger than to show resistance, and to acknowledge a fault quickly is always to show an invincible rectitude.”
“I am entirely happy except that I feel the need of more knowledge of some sort. What sort I do not know myself.” “Perhaps it is not so much knowledge as more understanding of that which you already know,”
“From the stars,” she thought, “doubtless all things are seen.”
“Gods she did not worship, and faith she had none, but love she had and forever.”
“IT WAS HER FORTIETH birthday. Madame Wu sat before the tilted mirror of her toilet case and looked at her own calm face. In her mind she was comparing it with the face she had seen in this same mirror when she was sixteen.”
“The very young are not ready for much knowledge. It must be given to them slowly, in proportion to their years of life. One must first live before he can safely know.”
“As life has proved, it is true that a woman's body is more important than her mind. She alone can create new human creatures. Were it not for her, the race of man would cease to exist. Into her body, as into a chalice, Heaven has put this gift. Her body therefore is inexpressibly precious to man. He is not fulfilled if she does not create. His is the seed, but she alone can bring it to flower and fruit in another being like himself.”
“Love rules through Law. Love is the Divine Givingness; Law is the Way. Love is spontaneous; Law is impersonal...Love points the way and Law makes the way possible.”
“because I couldn't go on a date with him and secretly I had been relieved. There was nowhere I would”
“If I have learned anything over this last year it’s that you have to live your own life too so that if something we hoped for doesn’t work out, you still have two legs to stand on, you still have your own path.”
“Ai, nunca mais seus lábios, sua língua, nunca mais sua ardida boca de cebola crua!”
“It is common with narrow-minded people to reflect upon every respect in which other people differ from themselves. The”
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