‘Passing thought’

To all humankind besides, Tess was only a passing thought. Even to friends she was no more than a frequently passing thought. Tess of the D’Urbervilles Ever wondered what other people think about you? Or who thinks about you? Or how often? It’s not really a profitable use of time, but it’s natural to wonder… Continue reading ‘Passing thought’

‘Imperturbably polite protest’

Mr. Grewgious in the meantime sat upright, with no expression in his face, and a hard kind of imperturbably polite protest all over him: as though he would have said, in reply to some invitation to discourse; ‘I couldn’t originate the faintest approach to an observation on any subject whatever, I thank you.’The Mystery of… Continue reading ‘Imperturbably polite protest’

“Like starting a stone”

“I feel very strongly about putting questions; it partakes too much of the style of the day of judgment. You start a question, and it’s like starting a stone. You sit quietly on the top of a hill; and away the stone goes, starting others; and presently some bland old bird (the last you would… Continue reading “Like starting a stone”

“The importance of his public ends”

“[T]he besetting sin of a philanthropist, it appears to me, is apt to be a moral obliquity. His sense of honor ceases to be the sense of other honorable men. At some point of his course...he is tempted to palter with the right, and can scarcely forbear persuading himself that the importance of his public… Continue reading “The importance of his public ends”

‘Blowing in the wind’

Dying was nothing and he had no picture of it nor fear of it in his mind. But living was a field of grain blowing in the wind on the side of a hill. Living was a hawk in the sky. Living was an earthen jar of water in the dust of the threshing with… Continue reading ‘Blowing in the wind’

‘Let us take to ourselves no shame’

Therefore, if we built splendid castles... and pictured beautiful scenes, among the fervid coals of the hearth round which we were clustering, and if all went to rack with the crumbling embers, and have never since arisen out of the ashes, let us take to ourselves no shame. In my own behalf, I rejoice that… Continue reading ‘Let us take to ourselves no shame’

‘And so backward and forward’

One official sent her to another, and the other sent her back again to the first, and so backward and forward; until it appeared to me as if both must have been appointed for their skill in evading their duties, instead of performing them. Bleak House by Charles Dickens Bleak House by Charles Dickens, Collector’s… Continue reading ‘And so backward and forward’

“To turn the world upside down”

“[W]e... care not what you set up, so you pull merrily down what stands in our way... for it is our profession to turn the world upside down, and we live ever the blithest life when the downer side is uppermost.”The Monastery by Sir Walter Scott The Monastery by Sir Walter Scott Some days the… Continue reading “To turn the world upside down”

‘The air we breathe’

Little is left to us but the air we breathe, and that appears to have been reserved with much hesitation. Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott I won’t pretend to equate current pandemic restrictions with the condition of serfs under feudalism, but the sentiment is surprisingly relevant nonetheless. Here’s to the (slow) lifting of the embargo… Continue reading ‘The air we breathe’