Routine is the death to heroism.
It is a good rule in life never to apologize. The right sort of people do not want apologies, and the wrong sort take a mean advantage of them.
His was a life which lacked, perhaps, the sublimer emotions which raised Man to the level of the gods, but it was undeniably an extremely happy one. He never experienced the thrill of ambition fulfilled, but, on the other hand, he never knew the agony of ambition frustrated. His name, when he died, would not live for ever in England's annals; he was spared the pain of worrying about this by the fact that he had no desire to live for ever in England's annals. He was possibly as nearly contented a human being can be in this century of alarms and excursions.
He wore the unmistakable look of a man about to be present at a row between women, and only a wet cat in a strange backyard bears itself with less jauntiness than a man faced by such a prospect.
And she's got brains enough for two, which is the exact quantity the girl who marries you will need.
The fascination of shooting as a sport depends almost wholly on whether you are at the right or wrong end of the gun.
A man's subconscious self is not the ideal companion. It lurks for the greater part of his life in some dark den of its own, hidden away, and emerges only to taunt and deride and increase the misery of a miserable hour.
At the age of eleven or thereabouts women acquire a poise and an ability to handle difficult situations which a man, if he is lucky, manages to achieve somewhere in the later seventies.
Boyhood, like measles, is one of those complaints which a man should catch young and have done with, for when it comes in middle life it is apt to be serious.
Has anybody ever seen a drama critic in the daytime? Of course not. They come out after dark, up to no good.
He trusted neither of them as far as he could spit, and he was a poor spitter, lacking both distance and control.
It was one of those cold, clammy, accusing sort of eyes—the kind that makes you reach up to see if your tie is straight: and he looked at me as I were some sort of unnecessary product which Cuthbert the Cat had brought in after a ramble among the local ash-cans.
It was a cold, disapproving gaze, such as a fastidious luncher who was not fond of caterpillars might have directed at one which he had discovered in his portion of salad...
Love has had a lot of press-agenting from the oldest times; but there are higher, nobler things than love.
He was not a man who prattled readily, especially in a foreign tongue. He gave the impression that each word was excavated from his interior by some up-to-date process of mining.
He resembled a minor prophet who had been hit behind the ear with a stuffed eel-skin.
He committed mayhem upon his person. He did everything to him that a man can do who is hampered with boxing gloves.
You know how it is with some girls. They seem to take the stuffing right out of you. I mean to say, there is something about their personality that paralyses the vocal cords and reduces the contents of the brain to cauliflower.
It is never difficult to distinguish between a Scotsman with a grievance and a ray of sunshine.
A sort of gulpy, gurgly, plobby, squishy, wofflesome sound, like a thousand eager men drinking soup in a foreign restaurant.
I shuddered from stem to stern, as stout barks do when buffeted by the waves.
It was a harsh, rasping voice, in its timbre not unlike a sawmill.
I could see that, if not actually disgruntled, he was far from being gruntled.
It is no use telling me there are bad aunts and good aunts. At the core, they are all alike. Sooner or later, out pops the cloven hoof.
Like so many substantial citizens of America, he had married young and kept on marrying, springing from blonde to blonde like the chamois of the Alps leaping from crag to crag.
Whatever may be said in favour of the Victorians, it is pretty generally admitted that few of them were to be trusted within reach of a trowel and a pile of bricks.
The cosy glow which had been enveloping the Duke became shot through by a sudden chill. It was as if he had been luxuriating in a warm shower-bath, and some hidden hand had turned on the cold tap.
He felt like a man who, chasing rainbows, has had one of them suddenly turn and bite him in the leg.
His whole aspect was that of a man who has unexpectedly been struck by lightning.
Mere abuse is no criticism.
Aunt Agatha is like an elephant—not so much to look at, for in appearance she resembles more a well-bred vulture, but because she never forgets.
He vanished abruptly, like an eel going into mud.
However devoutly a girl may worship the man of her choice, there always comes a time when she feels an irresistible urge to haul off and let him have it in the neck.
There was a sound in the background like a distant sheep coughing gently on a mountainside.
We exchanged a meaning glance. Or, rather, two meaning glances, I giving him one and he giving me the other.
Breakfast had been prepared by the kitchen maid, an indifferent performer who had used the scorched earth policy on the bacon again.
The stationmaster’s whiskers are of a Victorian bushiness and give the impression of having been grown under glass.
Ice formed on the butler's upper slopes.
I agreed the situation was sticky. Indeed, offhand it was difficult to see how it could have been more glutinous.
Before my eyes he wilted like a wet sock.
And as he, too, seemed disinclined for chit-chat, we stood for some moments like a couple of Trappist monks who have run into each other at the dog races.
He had that self-reproachful feeling of having been remiss which comes to Generals who wake up one morning to discover that they have carelessly allowed themselves to be outflanked.
It has been well said that an author who expects results from a first novel is in a position similar to that of a man who drops a rose petal down the Grand Canyon of Arizona and listens for the echo.
She’s all for not letting the sun go down without having started something calculated to stagger humanity.
I started violently, as if some unseen hand had goosed me.
I’d always thought her half-baked, but now I think they didn’t even put her in the oven.
To say that his conscience was clear would be inaccurate, for he did not have a conscience, but he had what was much better, an alibi...
His aspect was that of one who has been looking for the leak in a gas pipe with a lighted candle.
You’re one of those guys who can make a party just by leaving it. It’s a great gift.
I had not failed to interpret the significance of that dark frown, that bitten lip and those flashing eyes, nor the way the willowy figure had quivered, indicating, unless she had caught a chill, that she was as sore as a sunburned neck.
She had a beaky nose, tight thin lips, and her eye could have been used for splitting logs in the teak forests of Borneo.
It just showed once again that half the world doesn’t know how the other three quarters live.
Many a man may look respectable, and yet be able to hide at will behind a spiral staircase.
A man, to use an old-fashioned phrase, of some twenty-eight summers, he gave the impression at the moment of having experienced at least that number of very hard winters.
As he reached the end of the carpet and was about to turn and pace back again, he stopped abruptly with one foot in the air, looking so like The Soul’s Awakening that a seasoned art critic would have been deceived.
He was either a man of about a hundred and fifty who was rather young for his years or a man of about a hundred and ten who had been aged by trouble.
She snorted with a sudden violence which twenty-four hours earlier would have unmanned me completely. Even in my present tolerably robust condition, it affected me like one of those gas explosions which slay six.
The Duke’s moustache was rising and falling like seaweed on an ebb-tide.
Too often, when you introduce a ringer into a gaggle of Pekes, there ensues a scrap like New Year’s Eve in Madrid; but tonight, after a certain amount of tentative sniffing, the home team issued their O.K., and he left them all curled up in their baskets like so many members of The Athenaeum.
Well, you know what the Fulham Road’s like. If your top-hat blows off into it, it has about as much chance as a rabbit at a dogshow.
I believe there are two ways of writing novels. One is mine, making a sort of musical comedy without music and ignoring real life altogether; the other is going right deep down into life and not caring a damn.
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