There were certain things that had to be done, and if done at all, done handsomely and thoroughly; and one of these, in the old New York code, was the tribal rally around a kinswoman about to be eliminated from the tribe.
Archer had always been inclined to think that chance and circumstance played a small part in shaping people's lots compared with their innate tendency to have things happen to them.
It was before him again in its completeness--the choice in which she was content to rest: in the stupid costliness of the food and the showy dulness of the talk, in the freedom of speech which never arrived at wit and the freedom of act which never made for romance.
In reality they all lived in a kind of hieroglyphic world, where the real thing was never said or done or even thought, but only represented by a set of arbitrary signs.
She was so evidently the victim of the civilization which had produced her, that the links of her bracelet seemed like manacles chaining her to her fate.
We can't behave like people in novels, though, can we?
Archer reddened to the temples but dared not move or speak: it was as if her words had been some rare butterfly that the least motion might drive off on startled wings, but that might gather a flock if it were left undisturbed.
It was too late for happiness - but not too late to be helped by the thought of what I had missed. That is all I haved lived on - don't take it from me now
It's you who are telling me; opening my eyes to things I'd looked at so long that I'd ceased to see them.
She was very near hating him now; yet the sound of his voice, the way the light fell on his thin, dark hair, the way he sat and moved and wore his clothes-she was conscious that even these trivial things were inwoven with her deepest life.
With a shiver of foreboding he saw his marriage becoming what most of the other marriages about him were: a dull association of material and social interests held together by ignorance on the one side and hypocrisy on the other.
Archer was too intelligent to think that a young woman like Ellen Olenska would necessarily recoil from everything that reminded her of her past. She might believe herself wholly in revolt against it; but what had charmed her in it would still charm her even though it were against her will.
Lily had no real intimacy with nature but she had a passion for the appropriate and could be keenly sensitive to a scene which was the fitting background of her own sensations.
Poetry and art are the breath of life to her.
The real alchemy consists in being able to turn gold back again into something else; and that's the secret that most of your friends have lost.
But you'll get it back-you'll get it all back, with your face...
But after a moment a sense of waste and ruin overcame him. There they were, close together and safe and shut in; yet so chained to their separate destinies that they might as well been half the world apart.
Little as she was addicted to solitude, there had come to be moments when it seemed a welcome escape from the empty noises of her life.
She gave so many reasons that I've forgotten them all.
There is someone I must say goodbye to. Oh, not you - we are sure to see each other again - but the Lily Bart you knew. I have kept her with me all this time, but now we are going to part, and I have brought her back to you - I am going to leave her here. When I go out presently she will not go with me. I shall like to think that she has stayed with you.
Do you remember what you said to me once? That you could help me only by loving me? Well-you did love me for a moment; and it helped me. It has always helped me.
Each time you happen to me all over again.
Most timidities have such secret compensations and Miss Bart was discerning enough to know that the inner vanity is generally in proportion to the outer self depreciation.
Something he knew he had missed: the flower of life. But he thought of it now as a thing so unattainable and improbable that to have repined would have been like despairing because one had not drawn the first prize in a lottery.
They belonged to that vast group of human automata who go through life without neglecting to perform a single one of the gestures executed by the surrounding puppets.
Everything about her was warm and soft and scented; even the stains of her grief became her as raindrops do the beaten rose.
Everything may be labelled- but everybody is not.
One of the surprises of her unoccupied state was the discovery that time, when it is left to itself and no definite demands are made on it, cannot be trusted to move at any recognized pace
The boy was not insensitive, he knew; but he had the facility and self-confidence that came of looking at fate not as a master but as an equal.
Half the trouble in life is caused by pretending there isn't any.
More Edith Wharton Quotations (Based on Topics)
Life - Time - World - Mind - Light - Money & Wealth - Thought & Thinking - Sense & Perception - Winter - Sadness - Art - Marriage - Faces - Stupidity - Man - Curiosity - Fate & Destiny - Liberty & Freedom - Breathing - View All Edith Wharton Quotations
More Edith Wharton Quotations (By Book Titles)
- Ethan Frome
- The Age of Innocence
- The House of Mirth
Virginia Woolf - Og Mandino - Marcel Proust - Hans Christian Andersen - Brian Tracy - Upton Sinclair - Tertullian - Lu Yu - Jane Roberts - Ian Fleming