William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace
Thackeray
1811
1863

English Novelist

Author Quotes

But oh, Mesdames, if you are not allowed to touch the heart sometimes in spite of syntax, and are not to be loved until you all know the difference between trimeter and tetrameter, may all Poetry go to the deuce, and every schoolmaster perish miserably!

Dinner was made for eating, not for talking

Forgotten tones of love recur to us, and kind glances shine out of the past--oh so bright and clear!--oh so longed after!--because they are out of reach; as holiday music from within a prison wall--or sunshine seen through the bars; more prized because unattainable--more bright because of the contrast of present darkness and solitude, whence there is no escape.

Here is a minute. It may be my love is dead, but here is a minute to kneel over the grave and pray by it.

I hope the artist who illustrates this work will take care to do justice to his portrait. Mr. Clive himself, let that painter be assured, will not be too well pleased if his countenance and figure do not receive proper attention.

If fun is good, truth is still better, and love best of all.

In effective womanly beauty form is more than face, and manner more than either.

It is to the middle class we must look for the safety of England.

Let the man who has to make his fortune in life remember this maxim: Attacking is the only secret. Dare and the world always yields; or if it beats you sometimes, dare it again and it will succumb.

Nature has written a letter of credit upon some men's faces that is honored wherever presented. You cannot help trusting such men. Their very presence gives confidence. There is promise to pay in their faces which gives confidence and you prefer it to another man's endorsement. Character is credit.

Of all the vices which degrade the human character, Selfishness is the most odious and contemptible. An undue love of Self leads to the most monªstrous crimes and occasions the greatest misfortunes both in States and Families. As a selfish man will impoverish his family and often bring them to ruin, so a selfish king brings ruin on his people and often plunges them into war.

People hate as they love, unreasonably.

She looks so haughty that I should have thought her a princess at the very least, with a pedigree reaching as far back as the Deluge. But this lady was no better born than many other ladies who give themselves airs; and all sensible people laughed at her absurd pretensions.

Sure, occasion is the father of most that is good in us.

The moral world has no particular objection to vice, but an insuperable repugnance to hearing vice called by its proper name. A polite public will no more bear to read an authentic description of vice than a truly-refined English or American female will permit the word 'breeches' to be pronounced in her chaste hearing. And yet, madam, both are walking the world before our faces every day without much shocking us. If you were to blush every time they went by, what complexions you would have!

Them's my sentiments.

This I set down as a positive truth. A woman with fair opportunities, and without a positive hump, may marry whom she likes.

To love and win is the best thing. To love and lose, the next best thing.

We should pay as much reverence to youth as we should to age; there are points in which you young folks are altogether our superiors: and I can't help constantly crying out to persons of my own years, when busied about their young people -- leave them alone; don't be always meddling with their affairs, which they can manage for themselves; don't be always insisting upon managing their boats, and putting your oars in the water with theirs.

When a mother, as fond mothers will; vows that she knows every thought in her daughter's heart, I think she pretends to know a great deal too much.

Who has not remarked the readiness with which the closest of friends and honestest of men suspect and accuse each other of cheating when they fall out on money matters? Everybody does it. Everybody is right, I suppose, and the world is a rogue.

You, who forget your own friends, meanly to follow after those of a higher degree, are a snob.

But, without preaching, the truth may surely be borne in mind, that the bustle, and triumph, and laughter, and gaiety which Vanity Fair exhibits in public, do not always pursue the performer into private life, and that the most dreary depression of spirits and dismal repentances sometimes overcome him. Recollection of the best ordained banquets will scarcely cheer sick epicures. Reminiscences of the most becoming dresses and brilliant ball triumphs will go very little way to console faded beauties. Perhaps statesmen, at a particular period of existence, are not much gratified at thinking over the most triumphant divisions; and the success or the pleasure of yesterday becomes of very small account when a certain (albeit uncertain) morrow is in view, about which all of us must some day or other be speculating. O brother wearers of motley! Are there not moments when one grows sick of grinning and tumbling, and the jingling of cap and bells? This, dear friends and companions, is my amiable object--to walk with you through the Fair, to examine the shops and the shows there; and that we should all come home after the flare, and the noise, and the gaiety, and be perfectly miserable in private.

Dinners are given mostly in the middle classes by way of revenge.

George meanwhile, with his hat on one side, his elbows squared, and his swaggering martial air, made for Bedford Row, and stalked into the attorney?s offices as if he was lord of every pale-faced clerk who was scribbling there. He ordered somebody to inform Mr. Higgs that Captain Osborne was waiting, in a fierce and patronizing way, as if the pekin of an attorney, who had thrice his brains, fifty times his money, and a thousand times his experience, was a wretched underling who should instantly leave all his business in life to attend on the Captain?s pleasure. He did not see the sneer of contempt which passed all round the room, from the first clerk to the articled gents, from the articled gents to the ragged writers and white-faced runners, in clothes too tight for them, as he sate there tapping his boot with his cane, and thinking what a parcel of miserable poor devils these were. The miserable poor devils knew all about his affairs. They talked about them over their pints of beer at their public-house clubs to other clerks of a night. Ye gods, what do not attorneys and attorneys? clerks know in London! Nothing is hidden from their inquisition, and their families mutely rule our city.

Author Picture
First Name
William Makepeace
Last Name
Thackeray
Birth Date
1811
Death Date
1863
Bio

English Novelist