Patricia Highsmith · 273 pages
Rating: (40.9K votes)
“Anticipation! It occurred to him that his anticipation was more pleasant to him than the experiencing.”
“He liked the fact that Venice had no cars. It made the city human. The streets were like veins, he thought, and the people were the blood, circulating everywhere.”
“They were not friends. They didn't know each other. It struck Tom like a horrible truth, true for all time, true for the people he had known in the past and for those he would know in the future: each had stood and would stand before him, and he would know time and time again that he would never know them, and the worst was that there would always be the illusion, for a time, that he did know them, and that he and they were completely in harmony and alike. For an instant the wordless shock of his realization seemed more than he could bear.”
“He loved possessions, not masses of them, but a select few that he did not part with. They gave a man self-respect. Not ostentation but quality, and the love that cherished the quality. Possessions reminded him that he existed, and made him enjoy his existence. It was as simple as that. And wasn't that worth something? He existed. Not many people in the world knew how to, even if they had the money. It really didn't take money, masses of money, it took a certain security.”
“This is what I like, sitting at a table and watching people go by. It does something to your outlook on life. The Anglo-Saxons make a great mistake not staring at people from a sidewalk table.”
“Tom laughed at the phrase "sexual deviation." Where was the sex? Where was the deviation? He looked at Freddie and said low and bitterly: "Freddie Miles, you're a victim of your own dirty mind.”
“If you wanted to be cheerful, or melancholic, or wistful , or thoughtful, or courteous, you simply had to act those things with every gesture.”
“He remembered that right after that, he had stolen a loaf of bread from a delicatessen counter and had taken it home and devoured it, feeling that the world owed a loaf of bread to him, and more.”
“Mr Greenleaf was such a decent fellow himself, he took it for granted that everybody else in the world was decent, too. Tom had almost forgotten such people existed.”
“I'm going to enjoy what I've got as long as it lasts.”
“Forever, Tom thought. Maybe he’d never go back to the States. It was not so much Europe itself as the evenings he had spent alone, here and in Rome, that made him feel that way. Evenings by himself simply looking at maps, or lying around on sofas thumbing through guidebooks. Evenings looking at his clothes - his clothes and Dickie’s - and feeling Dickie’s rings between his palms, and running his fingers over the antelope suitcase he had bought at Gucci’s. He had polished the
suitcase with a special English leather dressing, not that it needed polishing
because he took such good care of it, but for its protection. He loved possessions,
not masses of them, but a select few that he did not part with. They gave a man
self-respect. Not ostentation but quality, and the love that cherished the quality.
Possessions reminded him that he existed, and made him enjoy his existence. It was as simple as that. And wasn’t that worth something? He existed. Not many people in the world knew how to, even if they had the money. It really didn’t take
money, masses of money, it took a certain security. He had been on the road to it,
even with Marc Priminger. He had appreciated Marc’s possessions, and they were
what had attracted him to the house, but they were not his own, and it had been
impossible to make a beginning at acquiring anything of his own on forty dollars a week. It would have taken him the best years of his life, even if he had economised stringently, to buy the things he wanted. Dickie’s money had given
him only an added momentum on the road he had been travelling. The money
gave him the leisure to see Greece, to collect Etruscan pottery if he wanted (he had
recently read an interesting book on that subject by an American living in Rome),
to join art societies if he cared to and to donate to their work. It gave him the leisure, for instance, to read his Malraux tonight as late as he pleased, because he did not have to go to a job in the morning. He had just bought a two-volume edition of Malraux’s Psychologic de I’art which he was now reading, with great pleasure, in French with the aid of a dictionary.”
“Tom envied him with a heartbreaking surge of envy and self-pity.”
“Something always turned up. That was Tom's philosophy.”
“I won't ever set the world on fire as a painter,' Dickie said, 'but I get a great deal of pleasure out of it.”
“He remembered deciding then that the world was full of Simon Legrees, and that you had to be an animal, as tough as the gorillas who worked with him at the warehouse, or starve.”
“Why should Dickie want to come back to subways and taxis and starched collars and a nine-to- five job? Or even a chauffeured car and vacations in Florida and Maine? It wasn't as much fun as sailing a boat in old clothes and being answerable to nobody for the way”
“Did the world always mete out just deserts?”
“He could feel the belligerence growing in Freddie Miles as surely as if his huge body were generating a heat that he could feel across the room.”
“An Italian woman came out of the house, wiping her hands on her apron.
'Mr Greenleaf?' Tom asked hopefully.
The woman gave him a long, smiling answer in Italian and pointed downward toward the sea. 'Jew,' she seemed to keep saying. 'Jew.”
“trust your heart but use your head”
“I never left you; I never will leave you. While life lasts, and beyond, I am here.”
“But I want you,” he smiles at me. “Not just to make me a king. I’ve always wanted you. Despite it all, you are still the bride I would choose. I do choose you.”
“She's my friend, the boy said simply. That's who she is and that's enough for me. As Minli looked at the buffalo boy, aglow with happiness against his poor surroundings, she saw it was enough for him. More than enough, as the smile that kept curling up on his face told her.”
“Je ne veux pas gagner ma vie, je l'ai.”
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