In America every woman has her set of girl-friends; some are cousins, the rest are gained at school. These form a permanent committee who sit on each other’s affairs, who come out together, marry and divorce together, and who end as those groups of bustling, heartless well-informed club-women who govern society. Against them the Couple of Ehepaar is helpless and Man in their eyes but a biological interlude.
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- There is immunity in reading, immunity in formal society, in office routine, in the company of old friends and in the giving of officious help to strangers, but there is no sanctuary in one bed from the memory of another. The past with its anguish will break through every defense-line of custom and habit; we must sleep and therefore we must dream.
- Imprisoned in every fat man, a thin one is wildly signaling to be let out.
- No city should be too large for a man to walk out of in a morning.
- Civilization is an active deposit which is formed by the combustion of the present with the past. Neither in countries without a Present nor in those without a Past is it to be encountered. Proust in Venice, Matisse’s birdcages overlooking the flower market at Nice, Gide on the seventeenth-century quais of Toulon, Lorca in Granada, Picasso by Saint-Germain-des-Pr?s: there lies civilization and for me it can exist only under those liberal regimes in which the Present is alive and therefore capable of assimilating the Past.
- Green leaves on a dead tree is our epitaph — green leaves, dear reader, on a dead tree.
- It is a mistake to expect good work from expatriates for it is not what they do that matters but what they are not doing.