Quotes from The Painted Veil

W. Somerset Maugham ·  246 pages

Rating: (29.5K votes)


“How can I be reasonable? To me our love was everything and you were my whole life. It is not very pleasant to realize that to you it was only an episode.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“If a man hasn't what's necessary to make a woman love him, it's his fault, not hers.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“I had no illusions about you,' he said. 'I knew you were silly and frivolous and empty-headed. But I loved you. I knew that your aims and ideals were vulgar and commonplace. But I loved you. I knew that you were second-rate. But I loved you. It's comic when I think how hard I tried to be amused by the things that amused you and how anxious I was to hide from you that I wasn't ignorant and vulgar and scandal-mongering and stupid. I knew how frightened you were of intelligence and I did everything I could to make you think me as big a fool as the rest of the men you knew. I knew that you'd only married me for convenience. I loved you so much, I didn't care. Most people, as far as I can see, when they're in love with someone and the love isn't returned feel that they have a grievance. They grow angry and bitter. I wasn't like that. I never expected you to love me, I didn't see any reason that you should. I never thought myself very lovable. I was thankful to be allowed to love you and I was enraptured when now and then I thought you were pleased with me or when I noticed in your eyes a gleam of good-humored affection. I tried not to bore you with my love; I knew I couldn't afford to do that and I was always on the lookout for the first sign that you were impatient with my affection. What most husbands expect as a right I was prepared to receive as a favor.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“I always find it more difficult to say the things I mean than the things I don't.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“I have an idea that the only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty which now and then men create out of the chaos. The pictures they paint, the music they compose, the books they write, and the lives they lead. Of all these the richest in beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil



“I know that you're selfish, selfish beyond words, and I know that you haven't the nerve of a rabbit, I know you're a liar and a humbug, I know that you're utterly contemptible. And the tragic part is'--her face was on a sudden distraught with pain--'the tragic part is that notwithstanding I love you with all my heart.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“One can be very much in love with a woman without wishing to spend the rest of one's life with her.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“If it is necessary sometimes to lie to others, it is always despicable to lie to oneself.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“Was it necessary to tell me that you wanted nothing in the world but me?'

The corners of his mouth drooped peevishly.

Oh, my dear, it's rather hard to take quite literally the things a man says when he's in love with you.'

Didn't you mean them?'

At the moment.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“One cannot find peace in work or in pleasure, in the world or in a convent, but only in one's soul.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil



“If nobody spoke unless he had something to say, the human race would very soon lose the use of speech.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“Remember that it is nothing to do your duty, that is demanded of you and is no more meritorious than to wash your hands when they are dirty; the only thing that counts is the love of duty; when love and duty are one, then grace is in you and you will enjoy a happiness which passes all understanding.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“I have an idea that the only thing which makes it possible to regard this world we live in without disgust is the beauty which now and then men create out of the chaos.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“She was a fool and he knew it and because he loved her it had made no difference.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“I want a girl because I want to bring her up so that she shan't make the mistakes I've made. When I look back upon the girl I was I hate myself. But I never had a chance. I'm going to bring up my daughter so that she's free and can stand on her own feet. I´m not going to bring a child into the world, and love her, and bring her up, just so that some man may want to sleep with her so much that he's willing to provide her with board and lodging for the rest of her life.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil



“She alone had been blind to his merit. Why? Because he loved her and she did not love him. What was it in the human heart that made you despise a man because he loved you?”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“I'm afraid you've thought me a bigger fool than I am.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“Beauty is also a Gift of God, one of the most rare and precious, and we should be thankful if we are happy enough to possess it and thankful, if we are not, that others possess it for our pleasure.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“She says it's really not very flattering to her that the women who fall in love with her husband are so uncommonly second-rate.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“She could not admit but that he had remarkable qualities, sometimes she thought that there was even in him a strange and unattractive greatness; it was curious then that she could not love him, but loved still a man whose worthlessness was now so clear to her.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil



“Freedom! That was the thought that sung in her heart so that even though the future was so dim, it was iridescent like the mist over the river where the morning sun fell upon it. Freedom! Not only freedom from a bond that irked, and a companionship which depressed her; freedom, not only from the death which had threatened, but freedom from the love that had degraded her; freedom from all spiritual ties, the freedom of a disembodied spirit, and with freedom, courage , and a valiant unconcern for whatever was to come.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“Vaguely, as when you are studying a foreign language and read a page which at first you can make nothing of, till a word or a sentence gives you a clue; and on a sudden suspicion, as it were, of the sense flashes across your troubled wits, vaguely she gained an inkling into the workings of Walter's mind. It was like a dark and ominous landscape seen by a flash of lightning and in a moment hidden again by the night. She shuddered at what she saw.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“A bird in the hand was worth two in the bush, he told her, to which she retorted that a proverb was the last refuge of the mentally destitute.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“Women are often under the impression that men are much more madly in love with them than they really are.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“Of all these the richest in beauty is the beautiful life. That is the perfect work of art.
~Waddington”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil



“...the human race, like drops of water in that river and they flowed on, each so close to the other and yet so far apart, a nameless flood, to the sea. When all things lasted so short a time and nothing mattered very much, it seemed pitiful that men, attaching an absurd importance to trivial objects, should make themselves and one another so unhappy.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“She’s wonderful. Tell her I’ve never seen such beautiful hands. I wonder what she sees in you.”
Waddington, smiling, translated the question.
“She says I’m good.”
“As if a woman ever loved a man for his virtue,” Kitty mocked.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


“How strange was the relation between parents and children! When they were small the parents doted on them, passed through agonies of apprehension at each childish ailment, and the children clung to their parents with love and adoration; a few years passed, the children grew up, and persons not of their kin were more important to their happiness than father or mother. Indifference displaced the blind and instinctive love of the past. Their meetings were a source of boredom and irritation. Distracted once at the thought of a month's separation they were able now to look forward with equanimity to being parted for years.”
― W. Somerset Maugham, quote from The Painted Veil


About the author

W. Somerset Maugham
Born place: in Paris, France
Born date January 25, 1874
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