Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Quotes: Mrs Craddock (1902) by W. Somerset Maugham

She wondered whether absence had increased his affection, or whether it was she who had changed. Was he not unchanging as a rock? She knew that she was as unstable as water and as variable as the summer winds. Had he always been kind and considerate; and had she, demanding passion that it was not in him to feel, been blind to his deep tenderness? Expecting nothing from him now, she was astonished to find he had so much to offer. But she felt sorry if he loved her, for she could give him nothing in return but complete indifference; she was even surprised to find herself so utterly callous.

“My dear Gerald, Edward is a model: he is the typical Englishman, as he flourishes in the country, upright and honest, healthy, dogmatic, moral and rather stupid. I esteem him enormously, and I ought to like him much better than you, who are a disgraceful scamp.”
“I wonder why you don't.”
“Because I'm a wicked old woman; and I've learnt by long experience that people generally keep their vices to themselves, but insist on throwing their virtues in your face. And if you don't happen to have any of your own, you get the worst of the encounter.”

“I don’t approve of the match, Miss Glover, but I’m not such a fool as to oppose it. Marriage is always a hopeless idiocy for a woman who has enough money of her own to live upon.”
“It’s an institution of the Church, Miss Ley,” replied Miss Glover, rather severely.
“Is it?” retorted Miss Ley. “I always thought it was an arrangement to provide work for the judges in the Divorce Court.”
To this Miss Glover very properly made no answer.

[Miss Ley:]
"...and one's greatest duty in this world is to leave people alone."

[Miss Ley:]
“The fact is that few women can be happy with only one husband. I believe that the only solution of the marriage question is legalised polyandry.”

[Mr Bacot:]
“As far as I can make out, when a man has shown himself incapable of doing anything else they make him a general, just to encourage the others. I understand the reason. It's a great thing, of course, for parents sending their sons into the army to be able to say: "Well, he may be a fool, but there's no reason why he shouldn't become a general.

...there is always a certain difficulty in conducting oneself with a person who ostentatiously believes that everyone should mind her own business, and who, whatever her thoughts, takes more pleasure in the concealment than in the expression of them.

But if the human soul, or the heart, or the mind - call it what you will - is an instrument upon which countless melodies may be played, it is capable of responding to none for very long. Time dulls the most exquisite emotions and softens the most heart-rendering grief;

Happily men don't realise how stupid they are, or half the world would commit suicide. Knowledge is a will-of-the-wisp, fluttering ever out of the traveller's reach; and a weary journey must be endured before it is even seen. It is only when a man knows a good deal that he discovers how unfathomable is his ignorance. The man who knows nothing is satisfied that there is nothing to know, consequently that he knows everything; and you may more easily persuade him that the moon is made of green cheese than that he is not omniscient.

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