She was not going to say "I love my dear sister; I must be near her at this crisis in her life." The
affections are more reticent than the passions, and their expression more subtle.
"I believe in the last century men have developed the desire to work, and they must not starve it. It's a new
desire. It goes with a great deal that's bad, but in itself it's good, and I hope that for women, too, 'not to
work' will soon become as shocking as 'not to be married' was a hundred years ago." "I have no experience of this profound desire to which you allude," enunciated Tibby.
"Then we'll leave the subject till you do. I'm not going to rattle you round. Take your time."
on living history
She approached just as Helen's letter had described her, trailing noiselessly over the lawn, and there was
actually a wisp of hay in her hands. She seemed to belong not to the young people and their motor, but
to the house, and to the tree that overshadowed it. One knew that she worshipped the past, and that the
instinctive wisdom that the past can alone bestow had descended upont her--that wisdom to which we give
the clumsy name of aristocracy. High born she might not be. But assuredly she cared about her ancestors,
and let them help her. When she saw Charles angry, Paul frightened, and Mrs. Munt in tears, she heard
her ancestors say, "Separate those human beings who will hurt each other most. The rest can wait."
"The Germans," she said, "are too thorough. And this is all very well sometimes, but at other times it does
on public life
The truth is that there is a great outer life that you and I have never touched--a life in which telegrams
and anger count. Personal relations, that we think supreme, are not supreme there. There love means marriage
settlements, death, death duties. So far I'm clear. But here my difficulty. This outer life, though obviously
horrid, often seems the real one--there's grit in it. It does breed character.
"your pan-Germanism is no more imaginitive than is our Imperialism over here. It is the vice of a vulgar
mind to be thrilled by bigness, to think that a thousand square miles are a thousand times more wonderful
than one square mile, and that a million square miles are almost the same as heaven. That is not imagination.
No, it kills it."
on small privileges
To trust people is a luxury in which only the wealthy can indulge; the poor cannot afford it.
"Yes, I think the apostle spoons could have gone as rent," said Margaret. Seeing that her aunt did not
understand, she added: "You remember 'rent.' It was one of father's words--Rent to the ideal, to his own
faith in human nature. You remember how he would trust strangers, and if they fooled him he would say,
'It's better to be fooled than to be suspicious'"
For that little event had impressed the three women more than might be supposed. It remained as a goblin football,
as a hint that all is not for the best in the best of all possible worlds, and that beneath these superstructures
of wealth and art there wanders and ill-fed boy
You and I and the Wilcoxes stand upon money as upon islands. It is so firm beneath our feet that we forget
its very existence. It's only when we see someone near us tottering that we realize all that an independent
income means...I'm tired of these rich people who pretend to be poor, and think it shows a nice mind to
ignore the piles of money that keep their feet above the waves. I stand each year upon six hundred pounds,
and helen upon the same, and Tibby will stand upon eight, and as fast as our pounds can crumble away into
the sea, they are renewed--from the sea, yes, from the sea. And all our thoughts are the thoughts of
of six-hundred-pounders, and all our speeches; and because we don't want to steal umbrellas ourselves, we forget
that below the sea people do want to steal them, and do steal them sometimes, and that what's a joke up here is
down there reality--
Rudeness affected Margaret like a bitter taste in the mouth. It poisoned life. At times it is necessary, but
woe to those who employ it without due need.
on our duty in life
Life's very difficult and full of surprises. At all events, I've got as far as that. To be humble and kind, to
go straight ahead, to love people rather than pity them, to remember the submerged--well, one can't do all these
things at once, worse luck, because they're so contradictory.
There was no bitterness in Mrs Wilcox; there was not even criticism; she was lovable, and no ungrcious word had
passed her lips. Yet she and daily life were out of focus: or or the other must show blurred.
Ruth new no more of worldly wickedness and wisdom than did the flowers in her garden, or the grass in her
field. Her idea of business--"Henry, why do people who have enough money try to get more money?"
Looking back on the past six months, Margaret realized the chaotic nature of our daily life, and its difference from
the orderly sequence that has been fabricated by historians. Actual life is full of false clues and sign-posts that
lead nowhere. Whith infinite effort we nerve ourselves for a crisis that never comes.
Certainly London fascinates. One visualizes it as a tract of quivering grey, intelligent without purpose,
and excitable without love; as a spirit that has altered before it can be chronicled; as a heart that
certainly beats, but with no pulsation of humanity. It lies beyond everything: Nature, with all her cruelty,
comes nearer to us than do these crowds of men. A friend explains himself: the earth is explicable--from her
we came, and we must return to her. But who can explain Westminster Bridge Road or Liverpool Street in the
morning--the city inhaling--or the same thoroughfares in the evening--the city exhaling her exhausted air?
on choosing one's battles
Others had attacked the fabric of Society--Property, Interest, etc.; she only fixed her eyes on a few human
beings, to see how, under present conditions, they could be made happier.
on the suburbs
The neighbourhood's getting suburban. Either in London or out of it, I say; so we've taken a house in Ducie Street,
close to Sloane Street, and a place right down in Shropshire