mountains of books

Literary Quotes

I came across many favourite passages in my readings for the final...

"But now really, do not you think Udolpho the nicest book in the world?"

"The nicest--by which I suppose you mean the neatest. That must depend upon the binding."

"Henry," said Miss Tilney, "you are very impertinent.
Miss Morland, he is treating you exactly as he does his sister.
He is forever finding fault with me, for some incorrectness
of language, and now he is taking the same liberty with you.
The word 'nicest,' as you used it, did not suit him;
and you had better change it as soon as you can, or we
shall be overpowered with Johnson and Blair all the rest
of the way."

     "I am sure," cried Catherine, "I did not mean
to say anything wrong; but it is a nice book, and why
should not I call it so?"

     "Very true," said Henry, "and this is a very nice day,
and we are taking a very nice walk, and you are two
very nice young ladies.  Oh! It is a very nice word
indeed! It does for everything.  Originally perhaps it
was applied only to express neatness, propriety, delicacy,
or refinement--people were nice in their dress,
in their sentiments, or their choice.  But now every
commendation on every subject is comprised in that one word."

-Northanger Abbey, Jane Austen

"When Farmer Oak smiled, the corners of his mouth spread till they were within an unimportant distance of his ears, his eyes were reduced to chinks, and diverging wrinkles appeared round them, extending upon his countenance like the rays in a rudimentary sketch of the rising sun." - Hardy, Far From The Madding Crowd, opening line

"They spoke very little of their mutual feeling; pretty phrases and warm expressions being probably unnecessary between such tried friends. Theirs was that substantial affection which arises (if any arises at all) when the two who are thrown together begin first by knowing the rougher sides of each other's character, and not the best till further on, the romance growing up in the interstices of a mass of hard prosaic reality. This good-fellowship -- camraderie -- usually occurring through similarity of pursuits, is unfortunately seldom superadded to love between the sexes, because men and women associate, not in their labours, but in their pleasures merely. Where, however, happy circumstance permits its development, the compounded feeling proves itself to be the only love which is strong as death -- that love which many waters cannot quench, nor the floods drown, beside which the passion usually called by the name is evanescent as steam." - Hardy, Far From The Madding Crowd (I actually got to right on this very passage in my exam today!)

"I was prepared for the hot rain of tears; only I wanted them to be shed on my breast:  now a senseless floor has received them, or your drenched handkerchief.  But I err:  you have not wept at all!  I see a white cheek and a faded eye, but no trace of tears.  I suppose, then, your heart has been weeping blood?" - JE

He recommenced his walk, but soon again stopped, and this time just before me. "Jane! will you hear reason?" (he stooped and approached his lips to my ear); "because, if you won't, I'll try violence."  His voice was hoarse; his look that of a man who is just about to burst an insufferable bond and plunge headlong into wild license.  I saw that in another moment, and with one impetus of frenzy more, I should be able to do nothing with him.  The present--the passing second of time--was all I had in which to control and restrain him--a movement of repulsion, flight, fear would have sealed my doom,--and his.  But I was not afraid:  not in the least.  I felt an inward power; a sense of influence, which supported me.  The crisis was perilous; but not without its charm:  such as the Indian, perhaps, feels when he slips over the rapid in his canoe."  - Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre

He leant his two elbows on his knees, and his chin on his hands and remained rapt in dumb meditation. On my inquiring the subject of his thoughts, he answered gravely - 'I'm trying to settle how I shall pay Hindley back. I don't care how long I wait, if I can only do it at last. I hope he will not die before I do!'

'For shame, Heathcliff!' said I. 'It is for God to punish wicked people; we should learn to forgive.'

'No, God won't have the satisfaction that I shall,' he returned. 'I only wish I knew the best way! Let me alone, and I'll plan it out: while I'm thinking of that I don't feel pain.'  - Emily Bronte, Wuthering Heights

More some other time, perhaps.

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