William Makepeace Thackeray
Certain corpuscles, denominated Christmas Books, with the ostensible intention of swelling the tide of exhilaration, or other expansive emotions, incident upon the exodus of the old and the inauguration of the New Year.
Every man ought to be in love a few times in his life, and to have a smart attack of the fever. You are better for it when it is over: the better for your misfortune, if you endure it with a manly heart; how much the better for success, if you win it and a good wife into the bargain!
Happiest time of youth and life, when love is first spoken and returned; when the dearest eyes are daily shining welcome, and the fondest lips never tire of whispering their sweet secrets; when the parting look that accompanies "Good night!" gives delightful warning of tomorrow.
Hint at the existence of wickedness in a light, easy, and agreeable manner, so that nobody's fine feelings may be offended.
I set it down as a maxim that it is good for a man to live where he can meet his betters, intellectual and social.
If people only made prudent marriages, what a stop to population there would be!
Indeed, for my own part, though I have been repeatedly told by persons for whom I have the greatest respect, that Miss Brown is an insignificant chit, and Mrs. White has nothing but her petit minois chiffonne, and Mrs. Black has not a word to say for herself; yet I know that I have had the most delightful conversations with Mrs. Black (of course, my dear Madam, they are inviolable): I see all the men in a cluster round Mrs. White's chair: all the young fellows battling to dance with Miss Brown; and so I am tempted to think that to be despised by her sex is a very great compliment to a woman.
It was in the reign of George II. that the above-named personages lived and quarreled ; good or bad, handsome or ugly, rich or poor, they are all equal now
Long brooding over those lost pleasures exaggerates their charm and sweetness.
'No business before breakfast, Glum!' says the King. 'Breakfast first, business next.'
Oh, those women! They nurse and cuddle their presentiments, and make darlings of their ugliest thoughts.
Perhaps as he was lying awake then, his life may have passed before him--his early hopeful struggles, his manly successes and prosperity, his downfall in his declining years, and his present helpless condition--no chance of revenge against Fortune, which had had the better of him--neither name nor money to bequeath--a spent-out, bootless life of defeat and disappointment, and the end here! Which, I wonder, brother reader, is the better lot, to die prosperous and famous, or poor and disappointed? To have, and to be forced to yield; or to sink out of life, having played and lost the game? That must be a strange feeling, when a day of our life comes and we say, To-morrow, success or failure won?t matter much, and the sun will rise, and all the myriads of mankind go to their work or their pleasure as usual, but I shall be out of the turmoil.
So he sighed and pined and ogled, and his passion boiled and bubbled, till he blew his silly brains out, and no more was by it troubled.
The affection of young ladies is of as rapid growth as Jack's beanstalk, and reaches up to the sky in a night.
The stiff-backed prig, with his dandified airs and West End swagger.
There are many sham diamonds in this life which pass for real, and vice versa.
Though small was your allowance,
To those great geniuses now in petticoats, who shall write novels for the beloved reader's children, these men and things will be as much legend and history as Nineveh, or Coeur de Lion, or Jack Sheppard.
What a deal of grief, care, and other harmful excitement does a healthy dullness and insensibility avoid!
When one fib becomes due as it were, you must forge another to take up the old acceptance; and so the stock of your lies in circulation inevitably multiplies, and the danger of detection increases every day.
Why do they always put mud into coffee on board steamers? Why does the tea generally taste of boiled boots?
Certain it is that scandal is good brisk talk, whereas praise of one's neighbor is by no means lively hearing. An acquaintance grilled, scored, devilled, and served with mustard and cayenne pepper excites the appetite; whereas a slice of cold friend with currant jelly is but a sickly, unrelishing meat.
Every man, however brief or inglorious may have been his academical career, must remember with kindness and tenderness the old university comrades and days. The young man's life is just beginning: the boy's leading-strings are cut, and he has all the novel delights and dignities of freedom. He has no idea of cares yet, or of bad health, or of roguery, or poverty, or to-morrow's disappointment.
Happy! Who is happy? Was there not a serpent in Paradise itself? And if Eve had been perfectly happy beforehand, would she have listened to the tempter?
His first and only love, whom he had adored ever since when? ? ever since yesterday, ever since forever.