J. M. Barrie
Quotations


A safe but sometimes chilly way of recalling the past is to force open a crammed drawer. If you are searching for anything in particular you don't find it, but something falls out at the back that is often more interesting.

Ambition--it is the last infirmity of noble minds.

Charm: It's a sort of bloom on a woman. If you have it, you don't need to have anything else; and if you don't have it, it doesn't much matter what else you have.

Do you believe in fairies?...If you believe, clap your hands!

Every living thing was shunning him. Poor little Peter Pan, he sat down and cried, and even then he did not know that, for a bird, he was sitting on his wrong part. It is a blessing that he did not know, for otherwise he would have lost faith in his power to fly, and the moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to be able to do it. The reason birds can fly and we can't is simply that they have perfect faith, for to have faith is to have wings.

Every time a child says, "I don't believe in fairies," there is a fairy somewhere that falls down dead.

God gave us memory so that we might have roses in December.

His lordship may compel us to be equal upstairs, but there will never be equality in the servants' hall.

I am not young enough to know everything.

In dinner talk it is perhaps allowable to fling any faggot rather than let the fire go out.

"In twenty years," I said, smiling at her tears, "a man grows humble, Mary. I have stored within me a great fund of affection, with nobody to give it to, and I swear to you, on the word of a soldier, that if there is one of those ladies who can be got to care for me I shall be very proud." Despite her semblance of delight I knew that she was wondering at me, and I wondered at myself, but it was true.

It is frightfully difficult to know much about the fairies, and almost the only thing known for certain is that there are fairies wherever there are children.

It is not real work unless you would rather be doing something else.

I've sometimes thought . . . that the difference between us and the English is that the Scotch are hard in all other respects but soft with women, and the English are hard with women but soft in all other respects.

Never ascribe to an opponent motives meaner than your own.

Oh, it's it's a sort of bloom on a woman. If you have it, you don't need to have anything else; and if you don't have it, it doesn't much matter what else you have. Some women, the few, have charm for all; and most have charm for one. But some have charm for none.

One's religion is whatever he is most interested in, and yours is Success.

Shall we make a new rule of life from tonight: always to try to be a little kinder than is necessary?

The best of our fiction is by novelists who allow that it is as good as they can give, and the worst by novelists who maintain that they could do much better if only the public would let them.

The life of every man is a diary in which he means to write one story, and writes another; and his humblest hour is when he compares the volume as it is with what he vowed to make it.

The tragedy of a man who has found himself out.

There are few more impressive sights in the world than a Scotsman on the make.

Those who bring sunshine into the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.

To die will be an awfully big adventure.

We are all failures--at least, all the best of us are.

We never understand how little we need in this world until we know the loss of it.

When the first baby laughed for the first time, the laugh broke into a thousand pieces and they all went skipping about, and that was the beginning of fairies. And now when every new baby is born its first laugh becomes a fairy. So there ought to be one fairy for every boy or girl.

When you were a bird you knew the fairies pretty well, and you remember a good deal about them in your babyhood, which it is a great pity you can't write down, for gradually you forget, and I have heard of children who declared that they had never once seen a fairy. Very likely if they said this in the Kensington Gardens, they were standing looking at a fairy all the time. The reason they were cheated was that she pretended to be something else. This is one of their best tricks.

Wise children always choose a mother who was a shocking flirt in her maiden days, and so had several offers before she accepted their fortunate papa.

You must have been warned against letting the golden hours slip by. Yes, but some of them are golden only because we let them slip.

Your heart is as fresh as your face; and that is well. The useless men are those who never change with the years. Many views that I held to in my youth and long afterwards are a pain to me now, and I am carrying away from Thrums memories of errors into which I fell at every stage of my ministry. When you are older you will know that life is a long lesson in humility.



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