common sense

This country just civic luncheoned itself into depression. If they will all go home and eat with their own families, they will not only get their first good lunch in years, but will be surprised how much more intelligently their own wife can talk than the “speaker of the day.”

You can’t say that civilization don’t advance... in every war they kill you in a new way.

The day, a compunctious Sunday after a week of blizzards, had been part jewel, part mud. In the midst of my usual afternoon stroll through the small hilly town attached to the girls' college where I taught French literature, I had stopped to watch a family of brilliant icicles drip-dripping from the eaves of a frame house. So clear-cut were their pointed shadows on the white boards behind them that I was sure the shadows of the falling drops should be visible too. But they were not. (The Vane Sisters)

Perfect is the enemy of good.

Teach the ignorant as much as you can; society is culpable in not providing a free education for all and it must answer for the night which it produces. If the soul is left in darkness sins will be committed. The guilty one is not he who commits the sin, but he who causes the darkness.

Come on, poor babe, some powerful spirit instruct the kites and ravens to be thy nurses. Wolves and bears, they say, casting their savageness aside, have done like offices of pity.

Just for today I will exercise my soul in three ways: I will do somebody a good turn and not get found out. I will do at least two things I don't want to do.

We must make automatic and habitual, as early as possible, as many useful actions as we can… in the acquisition of a new habit, we must take car to launch ourselves with as strong and decided initiative as possible. Never suffer an exception to occur till the new habit is securely rooted in your life… The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work.

Irony is an insult conveyed in the form of a compliment

Only they have to weep bitter tears who know what has come to them is the result of their foolish conduct, their ignorant way, their want of proper understanding of life and what love means.

Although Americans justify their self-interest in moral terms, their true interest is never itself moral.

Often, when they spoke of Paris, she would murmur: "Ah! How happy we'd be, living there!" "Aren't we happy here?" the young would softly ask, passing his hand over her hair.