122. “Quartering the topmost branches of one of the tall trees, an invisible bird was striving to make the day seem shorter, exploring with a long-drawn note the solitude that pressed it on every side, but it received at once so unanimous an answer, so powerful a repercussion of silence and of immobility, that one felt it had arrested for all eternity the moment which it had been trying to make pass more quickly.”
129. “The social leaders who refuse to allow politics into society are as foreseeing as the soldiers who refuse to allow politics to permeate the army. Society is like the sexual appetite; one does not know at what forms of perversion it may not arrive, once we have allowed our choice to be dictated by aesthetic considerations.”
131. “Perhaps she would not have thought of wickedness as a state so rare, so abnormal, so exotic, one which it was so refreshing to visit, had she been able to distinguish in herself, as in all her fellow-men and women, that indifference to the sufferings which they cause which, whatever names else be given it, is the one true, terrible and lasting form of cruelty.”
134. “He imagined himself lying there, unable to sleep, thinking of his mother, separated from her by the unresponsive blankets tucked too tightly round him, feeling the ceaseless thumping of his heart in the silence of the night, the irrevocability of absence, the rigid stillness of repose, the agony of solitude and sleeplessness. If the room was a prison, the bed was a tomb.”
135. “No doubt very few people understand the purely subjective nature of the phenomenon that we call love, or how it creates, so to speak, a supplementary person, distinct from the person whom the world knows by the same name, a person most of whose constituent elements are derived from ourselves.”
140. “There is, following an ample meal, a sort of pause in time, filled with a gentle slackening of thought and energy, when to sit doing nothing gives us a sense of life’s richness and a feeling that the least effort would be intolerable. The melancholy we took with us to table has disappeared and, if we think of it at all it is only to smile, as at some black mood now past, its cause having gone. And with the melancholy, all scruple, all remorse departs from us.”
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