George Eliot, pen name of Mary Ann or Marian Evans
We perhaps never detect how much of our social demeanor is made up of artificial airs, until we see a person who is at once beautiful and simple; without the beauty, we are apt to call simplicity awkwardness.
What is opportunity to the man who can't use it? An unfecundated egg, which the waves of time wash away into nonentity.
When gratitude has become a matter of reasoning there are many ways of escaping from its bonds.
We are on a perilous margin when we begin to look passively at our future selves, and see our own figures led with dull consent into insipid misdoing and shabby achievement.
We want people to feel with us more than to act for us.
What is that? said Will, rather jealous of the belief.
When one is five-and-twenty, one has not chalk-stones at one's finger-ends that the touch of a handsome girl should be entirely indifferent.
We are overhasty to speak as if God did not manifest himself by our silent feeling, and make his love felt through ours.
We women are always in danger of living too exclusively in the affections; and though our affections are perhaps the best gifts we have, we ought also to have our share of the more independent life -- some joy in things for their own sake. It is piteous to see the helplessness of some sweet women when their affections are disappointed -- because all their teaching has been, that they can only delight in study of any kind for the sake of a personal love. They have never contemplated an independent delight in ideas as an experience which they could confess without being laughed at. Yet surely women need this defense against passionate affliction even more than men.
What mortal is there of us, who would find his satisfaction enhanced by an opportunity of comparing the picture he presents to himself of his doings, with the picture they make on the mental retina of his neighbors? We are poor plants buoyed up by the air-vessels of our own conceit.
When one wanted one's interests looking after whatever the cost, it was not so well for a lawyer to be over honest, else he might not be up to other people's tricks.
We are poor plants buoyed up by the air-vessels of our own conceit: alas for us, if we get a few pinches that empty us of that windy self-subsistence.
Wear a smile and have friends; wear a scowl and have wrinkles.
What novelty is worth the sweet monotony where everything is known, and loved because it is known?
When our life is a continuous trial, the moments of respite seem only to substitute the heaviness of dread for the heaviness of actual suffering; the curtain of cloud seems parted an instant only that we may measure all its horror as it hangs low, black, and imminent, in contrast with the transient brightness; the water-drops that visit the parched lips in the desert bear with them only the keen imagination of thirst.
We cannot speak a loyal word and be meanly silent, we cannot kill and not kill in the same moment; but a moment is room wide enough for the loyal and mean desire, for the outlash of a murderous thought and the sharp backward stroke of repentance.
Well, well, my boy, if good luck knocks at your door, don't you put your head out at window and tell it to be gone about its business, that's all.
What quarrel, what harshness, what unbelief in each other can subsist in the presence of a great calamity, when all the artificial vesture of our life is gone, and we are all one with each other in primitive mortal needs?
When our two lives grew like two buds that kiss at lightest thrill from the bee's swinging chime, because the one so near the other is.
There's no disappointment in memory, and one's exaggerations are always on the good side.
This is life to come, — which martyred men have made more glorious for us who strive to follow. May I reach that purest heaven, — be to other souls the cup of strength in some great agony, enkindle generous ardor, feed pure love, beget the smiles that have no cruelty, be the sweet presence of a good diffused, and in diffusion ever more intense! So shall I join the choir invisible whose music is the gladness of the world.
'Tis God gives skill, but not without men's hand: He could not make Antonio Stradivarius's violins without Antonio.
Trouble comes to us all in this life: we set our hearts on things which it isn't God's will for us to have, and then we go sorrowing.
Was she beautiful or not beautiful? And what was the secret of form or expression which gave the dynamic quality to her glance? Was the good or the evil genius dominant in those beams? Probably the evil; else why was the effect that of unrest rather than of undisturbed charm? Why was the wish to look again felt as coercion, and not as a longing in which the whole being consents?
There's no pleasure i' living if you're to be corked up forever, and only dribble your mind out by the sly, like a leaky barrel.