Wilkie Collins Quotes (48 Quotes)


    But, ah me! where is the faultless human creature who can persevere in a good resolution, without sometimes failing and falling back?

    The grandest mountain prospect that the eye can range over is appointed to annihilation. The smallest human interest that the pure heart can feel is appointed to immortality.

    Habits of literary composition are perfectly familiar to me. One of the rarest of all the intellectual accomplishments that a man can possess is the grand faculty of arranging his ideas. Immense privilege! I possess it. Do you?




    There are three things that none of the young men of the present generation can do.They can't sit over their wine;they can't play at wist;and they can't pay a lady a compliment.


    There is nothing serious in mortality! Solomon in all his glory was Solomon with the elements of the contemptible lurking in every fold of his robes and in every corner of his palace.

    I sadly want a reform in the construction of children. Nature's only idea seems to be to make them machines for the production of incessant noise.

    Where is the woman who has ever really torn from her heart the image that has been once fixed in it by a true love? Books tell us that such unearthly creatures have existed - but what does our own experiences say in answer to books?

    Is there any wilderness of sand in the deserts of Arabia, is there any prospect of desolation among the ruins of Palestine, which can rival the repelling effect on the eye, and the depressing influence on the mind, of an English country town in the first stage of its existence, and in the transition state of its prosperity?


    Marian and I avoided all further reference to that other subject, which by her consent and mine, was not to be mentioned between us yet. It was not the less present in our minds--it was rather kept alive in them by the restraint which we had imposed on ourselves



    Not the shadow of a doubt crossed my mind of the purpose for which the Count had left the theatre. His escape from us, that evening, was beyond all question the preliminary only to his escape from London. The mark of the Brotherhood was on his arm-I felt as certain of it as if he had shown me the brand; and the betrayal of the Brotherhood was on his conscience-I had seen it in his recognition of Pesca.



    Tears are scientifically described as a Secretion. I can understand that a secretion may be healthy or unhealthy, but I cannot see the interest of a secretion from a sentimental point of view.

    Ah! I am a bad man, Lady Glyde, am I not? I say what other people only think, and when all the rest of the world is in a conspiracy to accept the mask for the true face, mine is the rash hand that tears off the plump pasteboard and shows the bare bones beneath.

    Tell him next, that crimes cause their own detection. There's another bit of copy-book morality for you, Fosco. Crimes cause their own detection. What infernal humbug!



    Some of us rush through life, and some of us saunter through life. Mrs. Vesey SAT through life.

    Your tears come easy, when you're young, and beginning the world. Your tears come easy, when you're old, and leaving it.

    The evening advanced. The shadows lengthened. The waters of the lake grew pitchy black. The gliding of the ghostly swans became rare and more rare.

    The future of English fiction may rest with this Unknown Public -- a reading public of three millions which lies right out of the pale of true literary civilization -- which is now waiting to be taught the difference between a good book and a bad.

    It is the nature of truth to struggle to the light.

    The horrid mystery hanging over us in this house gets into my head like liquor, and makes me wild.

    The law will argue any thing, with any body who will pay the law for the use of its brains and its time.

    Every human institution (justice included) will stretch a little, if you only pull it the right way.

    I am not against hasty marriages where a mutual flame is fanned by an adequate income.

    Sir John had his share150perhaps rather a large share150of the more harmless and amiable of the weaknesses incidental to humanity. Among these, I may mention as applicable to the matter in hand, an invincible reluctance150so long as he enjoyed his usual good health150to face the responsibility of making his will.

    Over and over again in my past experience among my perishing fellow-creatures, the members of the notoriously infidel profession of Medicine had stepped between me and my mission of mercyon the miserable pretence that the patient wanted quiet, and that the disturbing influence of all others which they most dreaded, was the influence of Miss Clack and her Books.

    The best men are not consistent in good--why should the worst men be consistent in evil

    We had our breakfasts-whatever happens in a house, robbery or murder, it doesn't matter, you must have your breakfast.

    This is the story of what a Woman's patience can endure, and what a Man's resolution can achieve.

    I am (thank God) constitutionally superior to reason.

    It may not be amiss to add, for the benefit of incredulous readers, that all the 'improbable events' in the story are matters of fact, taken from the printed narrative.

    The woman who first gives life, light, and form to our shadowy conceptions of beauty, fills a void in our spiritual nature that has remained unknown to us till she appeared.

    If he was right, here was our quiet English house suddenly invaded by a devilish Indian Diamondbringing after it a conspiracy of living rogues, set loose on us by the vengeance of a dead man.

    It is one of my rules in life, never to notice what I don't understand.

    Women can resist a man's love, a man's fame, a man's personal appearance, and a man's money, but they cannot resist a man's tongue when he knows how to talk to them.

    I am an average good Christian, when you don't push my Christianity too far. And all the rest of you150which is a great comfort150are, in this respect, much the same as I am.

    But the Law is still, in certain inevitable cases, the pre-engaged servant of the long purse.

    Well may your heart believe the truths I tell; 'Tis virtue makes the bliss, where'er we dwell.


    I have always maintained that the one important phenomenon presented by modern society is - the enormous prosperity of Fools.


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