I had come to Yugoslavia to see what history meant in flesh and blood.
Yet it had been delicious to touch her grandfather’s robe. It was as different from ordinary material as something sung from something spoken. In a way she liked her grandfather. Once she had seen children crawling under a circus-tent so that they could see the elephant, and she would have done that to see her grandfather; and what she like in him was the upside-downness of him, as this inverted luxury which gave him an everyday possession–for she supposed this robe was just a dressing gown–which was uniquely exquisite…
There was a definite process by which one made people into friends, and it involved talking to them and listening to them for hours at a time.
One of the most curious features of the age of plenty that ended with the Fist World War was the terror which rich people felt about their continued possession of their wealth. SO when she came to see us it was very terrible. Most adults are rude to children, and many rich people are rude to the poor. We were children, we were poor so we were victims of a double assault; and though we were bigger than we were we were still small, and she was very big.
Everyone realizes that one can believe little of what people say about each other, but it is not so widely realized that even less can one trust what people say about themselves.
It is always one’s virtues and not one’s vices that precipitate one into disaster.
works of art feel towards human beings exactly as we do towards ghosts. The transparency of spectres, the diffuseness in space which lets them drift through doors and walls, and their smell of death, disgust us not more than we disgust works of art by our meaninglessness, our diffuseness in time which lets us drift through three score years and ten without a quarter as much significance as a picture establishes instantaneously.
Only part of us is sane: only part of us loves pleasure and the longer day of happiness, wants to live to our nineties and die in peace, in a house that we built, that shall shelter those who come after us. The other half of us is nearly mad. It prefers the disagreeable to the agreeable, loves pain and its darker night despair, and wants to die in a catastrophe that will set back life to its beginnings and leave nothing of our house save its blackened foundations.
Each of us has always hoped that a stranger would come who would scatter holy water on the image of the other and lay it for ever
Through this evening of sentences cut short because their completed meaning was always sorrow, of normal life dissolved to tears, the chords of Beethoven sounded serenely.