William Makepeace Thackeray

William Makepeace

English Novelist

Author Quotes

Cheerfulness means a contented spirit, a pure heart, a kind and loving disposition; it means humility and charity, a generous appreciation of others, and a modest opinion of self.

Except for the young or very happy, I can't say I am sorry for anyone who dies.

He first selected the smallest one...and then bowed his head as though he were saying grace. Opening his mouth very wide, he struggled for a moment, after which all was over. I shall never forget the comic look of despair he cast upon the other five over-occupied shells. I asked him how he felt. 'Profoundly grateful,' he said, 'as if I had swallowed a small baby.'

How grateful are we ? how touched a frank and generous heart is for a kind word extended to us in our pain! The pressure of a tender hand nerves a man for an operation, and cheers him for the dreadful interview with the surgeon.

I wonder is it because men are cowards in heart that they admire bravery so much, and place military valor so far beyond every other quality for reward and worship.

if you are not allowed to touch the heart sometimes in spite of syntax, and are not to be loved until you all know the difference between trimeter and trameter, may all Poetry go to the deuce, and every schoolmaster perish miserably!

It is an old saying, that we forget nothing, as people in fever begin suddenly to talk the language of their infancy; we are stricken by memory sometimes, and old affections rush back on us as vivid as in the time when they were our daily talk; when their presence gladdened our eyes; when their accents thrilled in our ears; when, with passionate tears and grief, we flung ourselves upon their hopeless corpses. Parting is death,?at least as far as life is concerned. A passion comes to an end; it is carried off in a coffin, or weeping in a post-chaise; it drops out of life one way or the other, and the earth-clods close over it, and we see it no more. But it has been part of our souls, and it is eternal.

Jos growled from under the counterpane to know what the time was; but when he at last extorted from the blushing Major (who never told fibs, however they might be to his advantage) what was the real hour of the morning, he broke out into a volley of bad language, which we will not repeat here, but by which he gave Dobbin to understand that he would jeopardy his soul if he got up at that moment, that the Major might go and be hanged, that he would not travel with Dobbin, and that it was most unkind and ungentlemanlike to disturb a man out of his sleep in that way; on which the discomfited Major was obliged to retreat, leaving Jos to resume his interrupted slumbers.

Malice is of the boomerang character, and is apt to turn upon the projector.

Nobody does anything for nothing... it is the ordinary lot of people to have no friends if they themselves care for nobody.

One of the great conditions of anger and hatred is, that you must tell and believe lies against the hated object, in order, as we said, to be consistent.

Praise everybody, I say to such: never be squeamish, but speak out your compliment both point-blank in a man's face, and behind his back, when you know there is a reasonable chance of his hearing it again. Never lose a chance of saying a kind word. As Collingwood never saw a vacant place in his estate but he took an acorn out of his pocket and popped it in; so deal with your compliments through life. An acorn costs nothing; but it may sprout into a prodigious bit of timber.

Society having ordained certain customs, men are bound to obey the law of society, and conform to its harmless orders.

The dark walks, so favorable to the interviews of young lovers.

The two most engaging powers of a good author are to make new things familiar and familiar things new.

There is no good in living in a society where you are merely the equal of everybody else. The true pleasure of life is to live with your inferiors.

'Tis not the dying for a faith that's so hard, Master Harry ? every man of every nation has done that ? 'tis the living up to it that is difficult, as I know to my cost.

Very likely Miss Binny was right to a great extent. It is the pretty face which creates sympathy in the hearts of men, those wicked rogues. A woman may possess the wisdom and chastity of Minerva, and we give no heed to her, if she has a plain face. What folly will not a pair of bright eyes make pardonable? What dullness may not red lips and sweet accents render pleasant? And so, with their usual sense of justice, ladies argue that because a woman is handsome, therefore she is a fool. Oh, ladies, ladies! some there are of you who are neither handsome nor wise.

What money is better bestowed than that of a schoolboy's tip? How the kindness is recalled by the recipient in after days! It blesses him that gives and him that takes.

When you look at me, when you think of me, I am in paradise.

Women like not only to conquer, but to be conquered.

Choose a good disagreeable friend, if you be wise ? a surly, steady, economical, rigid fellow.

Fairy roses, fairy rings, turn out sometimes troublesome things.

He fought a thousand glorious wars, And more than half the world was his, And somewhere, now, in yonder stars, Can tell, mayhap, what greatness is.

How hard it is to make an Englishman acknowledge that he is happy!

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William Makepeace
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English Novelist