403. “That is the substance of remembering – sense, sight, smell: the muscles with which we see and hear and feel not mind, not thought: there is no such thing as memory: the brain recalls just what the muscles grope for: no more, no less; and its resultant sum is usually incorrect and false and worthy only of the name of dream.”
409. “So you see how much effort a man will make and trouble he will invent to guard and defend himself from the boredom of peace of mind. Or rather perhaps the pervert who deliberately infests himself with lice, not just for the simple pleasure of being rid of them again, since even in the folly of youth we know that nothing lasts; but because even in that folly we are afraid that maybe Nothing will last, that maybe Nothing will last forever, and anything is better than Nothing, even lice.”
411. “Ellen was in her late thirties, plump, her face unblemished still. It was as though whatever marks being in the world had left upon it up to the time the aunt vanished had been removed from between the skeleton and the skin, between the sum of experience and the envelope in which it resides, by intervening years of annealing and untroubled flesh.”
417. “Then alone, of all church gatherings, is there something of that peace which is the promise and the end of the Church. The mind and the heart purged then, if it is ever to be; the week and its whatever disasters finished and summed and expiated by the stern and formal fury of the morning service; the next week and its whatever disasters not yet born, the heart quiet now for a little while beneath the cool soft blowing of faith and hope.”
428. “The orchestra had ceased and were now climbing onto their chairs, with their instruments. The floral offerings flew; the coffin teetered. “Catch it!” a voice shouted. They sprang forward, but the coffin crashed heavily to the floor, coming open. The corpse tumbled slowly and sedately out and came to rest with its face in the center of a wreath. “Play something!” the proprietor bawled, waving his arms; “play! Play!”
430. “Above the counter where the ranks of crisp shapes behind the glass her neat gray face her hair tight and sparse from her neat gray skull, spectacles in neat gray rims riding approaching like something on a wire, like a cash box in a store. She looked like a librarian. Something among dusty shelves of ordered certitudes long divorced from reality, desiccating peacefully, as if a breath of that air which sees injustice done.”
431. “But this time as soon as he moved she began to fade. He stopped at once, not breathing again, motionless, willing his eyes to see that she had stopped too. But she had not stopped. She was fading, going. “Wait,” he said, talking as sweet as he had ever heard his voice speak to a woman: “Den lemme go wid you, honey.” But she was going.”
446. “He began to breathe deep. He could feel himself breathing deep, as if each time his insides were afraid that next breath they would not be able to give far enough and that something terrible would happen, and that all the time he could look down at himself breathing, at his chest, and see no movement at all, like when dynamite first begins, gathers itself for the now Now NOW, the shape of the outside of the stick does not change.”
448. “I found out some time back that it’s idleness breeds all our virtues, our most bearable qualities – contemplation, equableness, laziness, letting other people alone, good digestion mental and physical: the wisdom to concentrate on fleshly pleasures – eating and evacuating and fornication and sitting in the sun – than which there is nothing better, nothing to match, nothing else in all this world but to live for the short time you are loaned breath, to be alive and know it.”
450. “I’m fifty; all I know is that people nineteen years old will do anything, and that the only thing which makes the adult world at all safe from them is the fact that they are so preconceived of success that the simple desire and will are the finished accomplishment, that they pay no attention to mere dull mechanical details.”
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