Sunday, 15 April 2012

Logan Pearsall Smith quotations

Thank goodness the sun has gone in and I don't have to go out and enjoy myself.

People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.

How can they say my life is not a success? Have I not eaten well for more than sixty years and escaped being eaten?

I might give my life for a friend, but he'd better not ask me to do up a parcel.

How awful to reflect that what people say of us is true.

It is the wretchedness of being rich that you have to live with rich people.

Eat with the rich, but go to the play with the poor, who are capable of joy.

There are people who are beautiful in dilapidation, like old houses that were hideous when new.

I like to walk down Bond Street, thinking of all the things I don't want

Those who set out to serve both God and Mammon soon discover that there is no God.

The indefatigable pursuit of an unattainable perfection, even though it consists in nothing more than the pounding of an old piano, is what alone gives meaning to our life on this unavailing star.

When people talk of Ghosts I don't mention the Apparition by which I am haunted, the Phantom that shadows me about the streets, the image or spectre, so familiar, so like myself, which lurks in the plate glass of shop-windows, or leaps out of mirrors.

The lusts and greeds of the body scandalize the Soul; but it has to come to heel.

 Charming people live up to the very edge of their charm, and behave as outrageously as the world lets them

Style is a magic wand, and turns everything to gold that it touches.

Hearts that are delicate and kind and tongues that are neither - these make the finest company in the world.

We grow with years more fragile in body, but morally stouter, and can throw off the chill of a bad conscience almost at once.

To suppose, as we all suppose, that we could be rich and not behave as the rich behave, is like supposing that we could drink all day and keep absolutely sober.

There are few sorrows, however poignant, in which a good income is of no avail.

There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.

All Reformers, however strict their social conscience, live in houses just as big as they can pay for.

Most people sell their souls, and live with a good conscience on the proceeds.

The Vicar, whom I met once or twice in my walks about the fields, told me that he was glad that I was taking an interest in farming. Only my feeling about wheat, he said, puzzled him.
Now the feeling in regard to wheat which I had not been able to make clear to the Vicar was simply one of amazement. Walking one day into a field that I had watched yellowing beyond the trees, I found myself dazzled by the glow and great expanse of gold. I bathed myself in the intense yellow under the intense blue sky; how dim it made the oak trees and copses and all the rest of the English landscape seem! I had not remembered the glory of the Wheat; nor imagined in my reading that in a country so far from the Sun there could be anything so rich, so prodigal, so reckless, as this opulence of ruddy gold, bursting out from the cracked earth as from some fiery vein below. I remembered how for thousands of years Wheat had been the staple of wealth, the hoarded wealth of famous cities and empires; I thought of the processes of corn-growing, the white oxen ploughing, the great barns, the winnowing fans, the mills with the splash of their wheels, or arms slow-turning in the wind; of cornfields at harvest-time, with shocks and sheaves in the glow of sunset, or under the sickle moon; what beauty it brought into the northern landscape, the antique, passionate, Biblical beauty of the South!
The Coming of Fate
When I seek out the sources of my thoughts, I find they had their beginning in fragile Chance; were born of little moments that shine for me curiously in the past. Slight the impulse that made me take this turning at the crossroads, trivial and fortuitous the meeting, and light as gossamer the thread that first knit me to my friend. These are full of wonder; more mysterious are the moments that must have brushed me with their wings and passed me by: when Fate beckoned and I did not see it, when new Life trembled for a second on the threshold; but the word was not spoken, the hand was not held out, and the Might-have-been shivered and vanished, dim as a into the waste realms of non-existence.
So I never lose a sense of the whimsical and perilous charm of daily life, with its meetings and words and accidents. Why, to-day, perhaps, or next week, I may hear a voice, and, packing up my Gladstone bag, follow it to the ends of the world.
They sit there forever on the dim horizon of my mind, that Stonehenge circle of elderly disapproving Faces—Faces of the Uncles and Schoolmasters and Tutors who frowned on my youth. In the bright centre and sunlight I leap, I caper, I dance my dance; but when I look up, I see they are not deceived. For nothing ever placates them, nothing ever moves to a look of approval that ring of bleak and contemptuous Faces.

All the same I like Parsons; they think nobly of the Universe, and believe in Souls and Eternal Happiness. And some of them, I am told, believe in Angels—that there are Angels who guide our footsteps, and flit to and fro unseen on errands in the air about us.

As the thoughtful Baronet talked, as his voice went on sounding in my ears, all the light of desire, and of the sun, faded from the Earth; I saw the vast landscape of the world dim, as in an eclipse; its populations eating their bread with tears, its rich men sitting listless in their palaces, and aged Kings crying "Vanity, Vanity, all is Vanity!" lugubriously from their thrones.


  1. I love rainy, cloudy days. They inspire me. Katherine Rosen


  3. Thank you!

    "How awful to reflect that what people say of us is true."