Wednesday, May 04, 2011


The Prime Minister

Excerpts from Anthony Trollope, The Prime Minister:

Chapter I:
He suffered, no doubt;—but with Spartan consistency he so hid his trouble from the world that no one knew that he suffered.
Chapter II:
'Somebody must make laws for the country.'

'I don't see the necessity. I think the country would do uncommonly well if it were to know that no old law would be altered or new law made for the next twenty years.'
He certainly was no fool. He had read much, and, though he generally forgot what he read, there were left with him from his readings certain nebulous lights, begotten by other men's thinking, which enabled him to talk on most subjects. It cannot be said of him that he did much thinking for himself;—but he thought that he thought.
Chapter IV:
'I believe him to be a thorough linguist, sir.'

'I dare say. I remember a waiter at an hotel in Holborn who could speak seven languages. It's an accomplishment very necessary for a Courier or a Queen's Messenger.'
Chapter VIII:
[A] man doesn't lie when he exaggerates an emphasis, or even when he gives by a tone a meaning to a man's words exactly opposite to that which another tone would convey. Or, if he does lie in doing so, he does not know that he lies.
Chapter XVI:
'I'm not much of a philosopher, but as far as I can see there are two philosophies in the world. The one is to make one's self happy, and the other is to make other people happy. The latter answers the best.'
Chapter XVII:
[H]e had resolved that however deep the wound might be, he would so live before the world, that the world should not see his wound.
Chapter XIX:
Indifference he knew he could bear. Harsh criticism he thought he could endure. But to ridicule he was aware that he was pervious.
Chapter XXV:
It is easy for a man to say that he will banish care, so that he may enjoy to the full the delights of the moment. But this is a power which none but a savage possesses,—or perhaps an Irishman. We have learned the lesson from the divines, the philosophers, and the poets. Post equitem sedet atra cura.
Chapter XXXVII:
'People seen by the mind are exactly different to things seen by the eye. They grow smaller and smaller as you come nearer down to them, whereas things become bigger.'
Chapter XLVII:
'But them men, when they get on at money-making,—or money-losing, which makes 'em worse,—are like tigers clawing one another. They don't care how many they kills, so that they has the least bit for themselves. There ain't no fear of God in it, nor yet no mercy, nor ere a morsel of heart. It ain't what I call manly,—not that longing after other folks' money.'
Chapter LI:
'The Duke is very sensitive.'

'I hate people to be sensitive. It makes them cowards. A man when he is afraid of being blamed, dares not at last even show himself, and has to be wrapped up in lamb's wool.'

'Of course men are differently organised.'

'Yes;—but the worst of it is, that when they suffer from this weakness, which you call sensitiveness, they think that they are made of finer material than other people. Men shouldn't be made of Sèvres china, but of good stone earthenware.'
Id. (said of the journalist Quintus Slide):
To his thinking, public virtue consisted in carping at men high placed, in abusing ministers and judges and bishops—and especially in finding out something for which they might be abused.
Chapter LIX:
'Tears are vain, foolish things. It has to be borne, and there is an end of it. When one makes up one's mind to that, one does not cry.'
Chapter LXVIII:
'A man seldom inquires very deeply at twenty-one.'

'And if he does it is ten to one but he comes to a wrong conclusion.'
'The idea that political virtue is all on one side is both mischievous and absurd. We allow ourselves to talk in that way because indignation, scorn, and sometimes, I fear, vituperation, are the fuel with which the necessary heat of debate is maintained.'
'How can you look at the bowed back and bent legs and abject face of that poor ploughman, who winter and summer has to drag his rheumatic limbs to his work, while you go a-hunting or sit in pride of place among the foremost few of your country, and say that it all is as it ought to be?'
Chapter LXX:
'No one has a right to go about the world as a Niobe, damping all joys with selfish tears.'
Chapter LXXII:
Who was he that he should class himself among the big ones of the world? A man may indeed measure small things by great, but the measurer should be careful to declare his own littleness when he illustrates his position by that of the topping ones of the earth.
Chapter LXXVII:
'I suppose it's wrong, but a state of pugnacity seems to me the greatest bliss which we can reach here on earth.'
Chapter LXXIX:
The fire and water of repentance, adequate as they may be for eternity, cannot burn out or wash away the remorse of this life.
Chapter LXXX:
'[M]en who have been brought up with opinions altogether different, even with different instincts as to politics, who from their mother's milk have been nourished on codes of thought altogether opposed to each other, cannot work together with confidence even though they may desire the same thing. The very ideas which are sweet as honey to the one are bitter as gall to the other.'

<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?