Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Collins' The Woman in White


This book is from my gothic reading list - take that as due warning. It was originally published in 1860. If you aren’t familiar with gothic romance, then read this at your own risk!

Wilkie Collins



The Woman in White

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

"Faces sometimes tell truth..."

"...Miss Fairlie and I [Marian Halcombe] shoulder our sketch-books and go out to misrepresent nature..."

Mr. Fairlie: "...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."

"Some of us rush through life; and some of us saunter through life. Mrs. Vesey sat through life."

Miss Halcombe: "This is a matter of curiosity; and you have got a woman for your ally. Under such conditions, success is certain..."

"Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service."

"No sensible man ever engages, unprepared, in a fencing match of words with a woman."

"Men! They are the enemies of our innocence and our peace - they drag us away from our parent’ love and our sisters’ friendship - they take us body and soul to themselves, and fasten our helpless lives to theirs as they chain up a dog to his kennel."

"But, patience, patience; this uncertainty, and many uncertainties more, cannot last much longer. Tomorrow will see all my doubts in a fair way of being cleared up, sooner or later."

"When the criminal is a brutal, ignorant fool, the police, in nine cases out of ten, win. When the criminal is a resolute, educated, highly-intelligent man, the police, in nine cases out of ten, lose. If the police win, you generally hear all about it. If the police lose, you generally hear nothing."

The Count, Fosco: "I am a citizen of the world, and I have met, in my time, with so many different sorts of virtue, that I am puzzled, in my old age, to say which is the right sort and which is the wrong."

The Count, Fosco: "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."

"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."

"Any woman who is sure of her own wits is a match, at any time, for a man who is not sure of his own temper."

Frederick Fairlie: "It is the grand misfortune of my life that nobody will let me alone."

"I am told to remember dates. Good Heavens! I never did such a thing in my life - how am I to begin now?"

"When you have once shown yourself too considerate and self-denying to add a family of your own to an already overcrowded population, you are vindictively marked out, by your married friends, who have no similar consideration and no similar self-denial, as the recipient of half their conjugal troubles, and the born friend of all their children. Husbands and wives talk of the cares of matrimony; and bachelors and spinsters bear them."

"Through all the ways of our unintelligible world, the trivial and the terrible walk hand in hand together. The irony of circumstances holds no mortal catastrophe in respect."

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