A man's mind will very gradually refuse to make itself up until it is driven and compelled by emergency.
A man's own dinner is to himself so important that he cannot bring himself to believe that it is a matter utterly indifferent to anyone else.
[An attorney] can find it consistent with his dignity to turn wrong into right, and right into wrong, to abet a lie, nay to create, disseminate, and with all the play of his wit, give strength to the basest of lies, on behalf of the basest of scoundrels.
And above all things, never think that you're not good enough yourself. A man should never think that. My belief is that in life people will take you at your own reckoning.
[A]s will be the case so often when a men has a pen in his hand. It is like the a club or a sledge-hammer, -- in using which either for defence or attack a man can hardly measure the strength of the blows he gives.
But between me and you there should be no mention of law as a guide of conduct. Speak to me of honor, of duty, and of nobility; and tell me what they require of you.
But who ever yet was offered a secret and declined it?
Every man worships the dollar, and is down before his shrine from morning till night...Other men, the world over, worship regularly at the shrine with matins and vespers, nones and complines and whatever daily services may be known to the religious houses, but the New Yorker is always on his knees.
He could find no cure for his grief; be he did know that continued occupation would relieve him, and therefore he occupied himself continually. (Re: Cicero)
He was not so anxious to prove himself right, as to be so.
If you cross the Atlantic with an American lady, you invariably fall in love with her before the journey is over. Travel with the same woman in a railway car for twelve hours, and you will have written her down in your own mind in quite other language than that of love.
I have sometimes thought that there is no being so venomous, so bloodthirsty as a professed philanthropist.
I hold that gentleman to be the best-dressed whose dress no one observes.
I know no place at which an Englishman may drop down suddenly among a pleasanter circle of acquaintance, or find himself with a more clever set of men, than he can do at Boston.
It is a remarkable thing with reference to men who are distressed for money...they never seem at a loss for small sums, or deny themselves those luxuries which small sums purchase. Cabs, dinners, wine, theatres, and new gloves are always at the command of men who are drowned in pecuniary embarrassments, whereas those who don't owe a shilling are so frequently obliged to go without them!
It is easy to love one's enemy when one is making fine speeches; but so difficult to do so in the actual everyday work of life.
It would seem that the full meaning of the word marriage can never be known by those who, at their first outspring into life, are surrounded by all that money can give. It requires the single sitting room, the single fire, the necessary little efforts of self-devotion, the inward declaration that some struggle should be made for that one other...
I would recommend all men in choosing a profession to avoid any that may require an apology at every turn; either an apology or else a somewhat violent assertion of right.
Life is so unlike theory.
Love is like any other luxury. You have no right to it unless you can afford it.
Men who cannot believe in the mystery of our Saviour's redemption can believe that spirits from the dead have visited them in a stranger's parlour, because they see a table shake and do not know how it is shaken; because they hear a rapping on a board, and cannot see the instrument that raps it; because they are touched in the dark, and do not know the hand that touches them.
Men who can succeed in deceiving no one else, will succeed at last in deceiving themselves.
Nobody holds a good opinion of a man who has a low opinion of himself.
No man thinks there is much ado about nothing when the ado is about himself.
Satire, though it may exaggerate the vise it lashes, is not justified in creating it in order that it may be lashed.
She well knew the great architectural secret of decorating her constructions, and never descended to construct a decoration.
Sir Timothy was a fluent speaker, and when there was nothing to be said was possessed of great plenty of words. And he was gifted with that peculiar power which enables a man to have the last word in every encounter,-- a power which we are apt to call repartee, which is in truth the readiness which comes from continual practice. You shall meet two men of whom you shall know the one to be endowed with the brilliancy of true genius, and the other to be possessed of but moderate parts, and shall find the former never able to hold his own against the latter. In a debate, the man of moderate parts will seem to be greater than the man of genius. But this skill of tongue, this glibness of speech is hardly an affair of intellect at all. It is,-- as is style to the writer,-- not the wares which he has to take to market, but the vehicle in which they may be carried. Of what avail to you is it to have filled granaries with corn if you cannot get your corn to the consumer? Now Sir Timothy was a great vehicle, but he had not in truth much corn to send.
Speaking of New York as a traveller I have two faults to find with it. In the first place there is nothing to see; and in the second place there is no mode of getting about to see anything.
Speeches easy to young speakers are generally very difficult to old listeners.
Success is the necessary misfortune of life, but it is only to the very unfortunate that it comes early.
Taken altogether, Washington as a city is most unsatisfactory, and falls more grievously short of the thing attempted than any other of the great undertakings of which I have seen anything in the United States.
That girls should not marry for money we are all agreed. A lady who can sell herself for a title or an estate, for an income or a set of family diamonds, treats herself as a farmer teats his sheep and oxen -- makes hardly more of herself, of her own inner self, in which are comprised a mind and a soul, than the poor wretch of her sex who earns her bread in the lowest stage of degradation.
The affair simply amounted to this, that they were to eat their dinner uncomfortably in a field instead of comfortably in the dining room. (On picnics)
[T]he good and the bad mix themselves so thoroughly in our thoughts, even in our aspirations, that we must look for excellence rather in overcoming evil than in freeing ourselves from its influence.
The habit of reading is the only enjoyment in which there is no alloy; it lasts when all other pleasures fade.
There are words which a man cannot resist from a woman, even though he knows them to be false.
There is no road to wealth so easy and respectable as that of matrimony.
There is no such mischievous nonsense in all the world as equality. What men ought to want is liberty.
There is nothing perhaps so generally consoling to a man as a well-established grievance; a feeling of having been injured, on which his mind can brood from hour to hour, allowing him to plead his own cause in his own court, within his own heart, -- and always to plead it successfully.
The satirist who writes nothing but satire should write but little -- or it will seem that his satire springs rather from his own caustic nature than from the sins of the world in which he lives.
Three hours a day will produce as much as a man ought to write.
To be alone with the girl to whom he is not engaged is the man's delight; -- to be alone with the man to whom she is engaged is the woman's.
When any body of statesmen make public asservations by one or various voices, that there is no discord among them, not a dissentient voice on any subject, people are apt to suppose that they cannot hang together much longer.
Who can but love their personal generosity, their active and far-seeking philanthropy, their love of education, their hatred of ignorance, the general conviction on the minds of all of them that a man should be enabled to walk upright, fearing no one and conscious that he is responsible for his own actions? (describing Americans)
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