Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Quotes: The Hour Before the Dawn (1942) by W. Somerset Maugham


It offended them a little that she was obviously quite indifferent to their opinion of her.

The obvious desire of that big-featured woman to look alluring would have been pathetic if its grotesqueness hadn't been disarming. She was a joke and you couldn't but believe that she knew it and saw the fun of it.

...he was brave and honest, but he had the narrowness of his caste and calling, and he had common sense rather than intelligence. He could more easily forgive an injury than a social solecism. You could rely on him to the death, but you couldn't always rely on him to do the wise thing.

His pacifism was like his communism, merely an expression of the natural idealism of youth.

The look in his eyes was anxious and did not accord with the sense of his words. Folly. She was reading into them something that was due only to her own imagination.

And because she knew that she had the strength never to yield to her desire she did not even attempt to curb it. She gloried in it. It made her feel more alive than ever before. She had a sense of triumph because she could feel something she had never thought to feel. She was ashamed of nothing now. [...] And she would laugh because everyone thought her cold. But it was not only from sexual desire that she loved Dick; she felt herself so much at home with himself, so confidentially at ease. It was balm to her soul merely to be in the same room with him. He was the only person in the world with whom she was not a little shy.

He was a good son and a good friend. He was the sort of man you could rely on, but he was the sort of man you couldn't love.

He would only despise himself if he followed their example. They would say he was a coward; it wasn't true. If they only knew how much more courage it needed to stand up alone and friendless against common opinion than to stand side by side with his comrades and let yourself be shot at! They would say he was soft and feared the hardship and discomfort, the cold, the wet, the intolerable boredom of trench life; that wasn't true either. It wasn't very pleasant to see the finger of scorn pointed at you but it was much worse to lose your soul alive.

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