Saturday, May 29, 2010


The Return of the Native

Excerpts from Thomas Hardy, The Return of the Native:

A person on a heath in raiment of modern cut and colours has more or less an anomalous look. We seem to want the oldest and simplest human clothing where the clothing of the earth is so primitive.
"Strange notions, has he?" said the old man. "Ah, there's too much of that sending to school in these days! It only does harm. Every gatepost and barn's door you come to is sure to have some bad word or other chalked upon it by the young rascals—a woman can hardly pass for shame sometimes. If they'd never been taught how to write they wouldn't have been able to scribble such villainy. Their fathers couldn't do it, and the country was all the better for it."
To dance with a man is to concentrate a twelvemonth's regulation fire upon him in the fragment of an hour.
When the instinctive question about a person is, What is he doing? it is felt that he will be found to be, like most of us, doing nothing in particular. There is an indefinite sense that he must be invading some region of singularity, good or bad. The devout hope is that he is doing well. The secret faith is that he is making a mess of it.
III.5 (Eustacia Vye):
"Pleasure not known beforehand is half wasted; to anticipate it is to double it."
III.6 (Mrs. Yeobright):
"And this is maternity—to give one's best years and best love to ensure the fate of being despised!"
Human beings, in their generous endeavour to construct a hypothesis that shall not degrade a First Cause, have always hesitated to conceive a dominant power of lower moral quality than their own; and, even while they sit down and weep by the waters of Babylon, invent excuses for the oppression which prompts their tears.
Resources do not depend upon gross amounts, but upon the proportion of spendings to takings.
VI.4 (Clym Yeobright):
"I wish I could be there without dashing your spirits," he said. "But I might be too much like the skull at the banquet."

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