Quintessential Quotations

Favorite Lines


Existentialism

What makes you think I want something? Maybe I just like. . . being here.

Unknown
Wild Cactus (movie)

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God is in the Details...

Unfortunately for you, it was Hercule Poirot who retrieved your shoebuckle that day.

Unknown
One, Two, Buckle My Shoe (Television adaptation)

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Languor

The languor of Youth — how unique and quintessential it is! How quickly, how irrecoverably, lost! The zest, the generous affections, the illusions, the despair, all the traditional attributes of Youth — all save this — come and go with us through life; again and again in riper years we experience, under a new stimulus, what we thought to have been finally left behind, the authentic impulse to action, the renewal of power and its concentration on a new object; again and again a new truth is revealed to us in whose light all our previous knowledge must be rearranged. These things are part of life itself; but languor — the relaxation of yet unwearied sinews, the mind sequestered and self-regarding, the sun standing still in the heavens and the earth throbbing to our own pulse — that belongs to Youth alone and dies with it.

Evelyn Waugh
Brideshead Revisited, Book I, Chapter Four

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Melancholy Beauty

Anselmo slowed the truck and turned west onto a dirt road. I knew immediately we were on the road to Torim, for there was something significantly different about how it made me feel—the dirt was like pink flour, so light and fine that the truck raised plumes of dust the same color as the sky, as if the road had been milled from countless sunsets.

Heather Valencia
Queen of Dreams, Chapter 8

I've always found wreaths hideously sad, like decorative lifesavers thrown out too late. "Very pretty," I say.

Amy Tan
The Kitchen God's Wife, Chapter 1

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Optimism

Mike's greatest expense was the installation of louvered jalousies on the sea side. These were, as the man said about his friend's third marriage, a triumph of hope over experience.

Donald McNutt Douglas
Rebecca's Pride, Chapter 6

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Past Its Prime

Bloomsbury in 1938 was rather like a cask of Napoleon brandy. It had been topped up so often that little remained but its reputation.

James Byrom
Or Be He Dead

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Personal Darkness

You don't mind the sun, said Ruth.

"How do you know?"

"They used to hide from it, at the house."

"They were more vulnerable, Ruth, than you or I."

"What do you mean?"

"We draw our personal darkness around us to keep us safe from the sun."

Tanith Lee
Personal Darkness, Chapter 34

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Propriety

Do you mean to say that you two ladies were alone in my Montmartre quarters with a cobra and a dying man?

"He was dead by the time we arrived, Quentin," I assured him. "It was perfectly proper."

Carole Nelson Douglas
Irene at Large, Chapter 24

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Suicide

Then, said D'Artagnan, letting his arm fall, as if overcome by discouragement, "it is useless to struggle any longer; I may as well blow my brains out, and put an end to the matter at once."

"That's the last folly to be committed," said Athos, "seeing that that is the only one for which there is no remedy."

Alexandre Dumas
The Three Musketeers, Ch. XLVII

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The Vices of Youth

I like this bad set and I like getting drunk at luncheon; that was enough then. Is more needed now?

Looking back, now, after twenty years, there is little I would have left undone or done otherwise. I could match my cousin Jasper's game-cock maturity with a sturdier fowl. I could tell him that all the wickedness of that time was like the spirit they mix with the pure grape of the Douro, heady stuff full of dark ingredients; it at once enriched and retarded the whole process of adolescence as the spirit checks the fermentation of the wine, renders it undrinkable, so that it must lie in the dark, year in, year out, until it is brought up at last fit for the table.

I could tell him, too, that to know and love one other human being is the root of all wisdom. But I felt no need for these sophistries as I sat before my cousin... I had my sure and secret defence, like a talisman worn in the bosom, felt for in the moment of danger, found and firmly grasped. So I told him what was not in fact the truth, that I usually had a glass of champagne about that time, and asked him to join me.

Evelyn Waugh
Brideshead Revisited, Book I, Chapter Two

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Trails in Darkness

Were I penning an elegant romance, I should tell how I vanquished Tope Braxton by a combination of higher intelligence, boxing skill and deft science that defeated his brute strength. But I must stick to facts in this chronicle.

Robert E. Howard
Black Hound of Death, in Trails in Darkness

Somehow I twisted aside and escaped those thunderous hoofs, that else had hammered me into a red pulp, and rolling aside, gained my feet, one thought uppermost in my mind—drawn from the shapeless void and materialized into concrete substance, the fiend was vulnerable to material weapons.

Robert E. Howard
The Hoofed Thing, in Trails in Darkness

So I'm writing you this letter to let you know about this business and I reckon I've been a fool but it looks like a man just kind of has to go it blind and there is not any blazed trail to follow.

Robert E. Howard
The Dead Remember, in Trails in Darkness

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Understatement

I did not know till now how irresolute a character was mine.

Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Uncle Silas, Chapter XXVIII

Suddenly his life had become intensely interesting.

Janice Harrell
Blood Curse, Chapter 5

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