''We can forgive a man for making a useful thing as long as he does not admire it. The only excuse for making a useless thing is that one admires it intensely.''
''The stage is not merely the meeting place of all the arts, but is also the return of art to life.''
''Really, if the lower orders don't set us a good example, what on earth is the use of them? They seem, as a class, to have absolutely no sense of moral responsibility.''
''A man can be happy with any woman, as long as he does not love her.''
''Murder is always a mistake. One should never do anything that one cannot talk about after dinner.''
''My experience is that as soon as people are old enough to know better, they don't know anything at all.''
''Children begin by loving their parents. After a time they judge them. Rarely, if ever, do they forgive them.''
''Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.''
''Discontent is the first step in the progress of a man or a nation.''
''Work is the curse of the drinking classes.''
''Fathers should be neither seen nor heard. That is the only proper basis for family life.''
''Laughter is not at all a bad beginning for a friendship, and it is far the best ending for one.''
''Whenever a man does a thoroughly stupid thing, it is always from the noblest motives.''
''To give an accurate description of what has never occurred is not merely the proper occupation of the historian, but the inalienable privilege of any man of parts and culture.''
''It is perfectly monstrous the way people go about nowadays saying things against one behind one's back that are absolutely and entirely true.''
''Mere colour, unspoiled by meaning, and unallied with definite form, can speak to the soul in a thousand different ways.''
''He thinks like a Tory, and talks like a Radical, and that's so important nowadays.''
''There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.''
''I love London society! I think it has immensely improved. It is entirely composed now of beautiful idiots and brilliant lunatics. Just what Society should be.''
''The world is a stage, but the play is badly cast.''
''I choose my friends for their good looks, my acquaintances for their good characters, and my enemies for their intellects. A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies.''
''The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Modern life would be very tedious if it were either, and modern literature a complete impossibility!''
''To make a good salad is to be a brilliant diplomatist—the problem is entirely the same in both cases. To know exactly how much oil one must put with one's vinegar.''
''To make men Socialists is nothing, but to make Socialism human is a great thing.''
''Personality must be accepted for what it is. You mustn't mind that a poet is a drunk, rather that drunks are not always poets.''
''Nobody of any real culture, for instance, ever talks nowadays about the beauty of sunset. Sunsets are quite old fashioned.... To admire them is a distinct sign of provincialism of temperament. Upon the other hand they go on.''
''As long as war is regarded as wicked, it will always have its fascination. When it is looked upon as vulgar, it will cease to be popular.''
''The youth of America is their oldest tradition. It has been going on now for three hundred years.''
''Twenty years of romance makes a woman look like a ruin; but twenty years of marriage makes her look like a public building.''
''We who live in prison, and in whose lives there is no event but sorrow, have to measure time by throbs of pain, and the record of bitter moments.''
''The basis of optimism is sheer terror.''
''The well-bred contradict other people. The wise contradict themselves.''
''In a very ugly and sensible age, the arts borrow, not from life, but from each other.''
''I have nothing to declare except my genius.''
''Pray don't talk to me about the weather, Mr. Worthing. Whenever people talk to me about the weather, I always feel quite certain that they mean something else.''
''As a wicked man I am a complete failure. Why, there are lots of people who say I have never really done anything wrong in the whole course of my life. Of course they only say it behind my back.''
''Education is an admirable thing, but it is well to remember from time to time that nothing that is worth knowing can be taught.''
''No work of art ever puts forward views. Views belong to people who are not artists.''
''Wordsworth went to the Lakes, but he was never a lake poet. He found in stones the sermons he had already hidden there.''
''The sick do not ask if the hand that smoothes their pillow is pure, nor the dying care if the lips that touch their brow have known the kiss of sin.''
''Frank Harris has been received in all the great houses—once!''
''Who is that man over there? I don't know him. What is he doing? Is he a conspirator? Have you searched him? Give him till tomorrow to confess, then hang him!—hang him!''
''I dislike modern memoirs. They are generally written by people who have either entirely lost their memories, or have never done anything worth remembering.''
''Conversation should touch everything, but should concentrate itself on nothing.''
''You should study the Peerage, Gerald. It is the one book a young man about town should know thoroughly, and it is the best thing in fiction the English have ever done.''
''A sentimentalist, my dear Darlington, is a man who sees an absurd value in everything, and doesn't know the market price of any single thing.''
''Between men and women there is no friendship possible. There is passion, enmity, worship, love, but no friendship.''
''The longer I live the more keenly I feel that whatever was good enough for our fathers is not good enough for us.''
''If they have not opened the eyes of the blind, they have at least given great encouragement to the short-sighted, and while their leaders may have all the inexperience of old age, their young men are far too wise to be ever sensible.''
''I delight in men over seventy. They always offer one the devotion of a lifetime.''
''There is always something infinitely mean about other people's tragedies.''
''It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes.''
''Man is made for something better than disturbing dirt.''
''I have found that all ugly things are made by those who strive to make something beautiful, and that all beautiful things are made by those who strive to make something useful.''
''The liar at any rate recognizes that recreation, not instruction, is the aim of conversation, and is a far more civilised being than the blockhead who loudly expresses his disbelief in a story which is told simply for the amusement of the company.''
''Crying is the refuge of plain women but the ruin of pretty ones.''
''To have friends, you know, one need only be good-natured; but when a man has no enemy left there must be something mean about him.''
''Wickedness is a myth invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others.''
''Thirty-five is a very attractive age. London society is full of women of the highest birth who have, of their own free choice, remained thirty-five for years.''
''Life has been your art. You have set yourself to music. Your days are your sonnets.''
''If property had simply pleasures, we could stand it; but its duties make it unbearable. In the interest of the rich we must get rid of it.''
''Genius lasts longer than Beauty. That accounts for the fact that we all take such pains to over-educate ourselves.''
''Temperament is the primary requisite for the critic—a temperament exquisitely susceptible to beauty, and to the various impressions that beauty gives us.''
''I seem to have heard that observation before.... It has all the vitality of error and all the tediousness of an old friend.''
''Men marry because they are tired; women, because they are curious; both are disappointed.''
''To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.''
''Sympathy with joy intensifies the sum of sympathy in the world, sympathy with pain does not really diminish the amount of pain.''
''It is very vulgar to talk about one's business. Only people like stockbrokers do that, and then merely at dinner parties.''
''She lacks the indefinable charm of weakness.''
''The amount of women in London who flirt with their own husbands is perfectly scandalous. It looks so bad. It is simply washing one's clean linen in public.''
''Dullness is the coming of age of seriousness.''
''The one duty we owe to history is to rewrite it.''
''No artist has ethical sympathies. An ethical sympathy in an artist is an unpardonable mannerism of style.''
''A man who moralises is usually a hypocrite, and a woman who moralises is invariably plain.''
''All trials are trials for one's life, just as all sentences are sentences of death.''
''Man can believe the impossible, but man can never believe the improbable.''
''Youth! There is nothing like youth. The middle-aged are mortgaged to Life. The old are in Life's lumber-room. But youth is the Lord of Life. Youth has a kingdom waiting for it. Every one is born a king, and most people die in exile.''
''The true critic is he who bears within himself the dreams and ideas and feelings of myriad generations, and to whom no form of thought is alien, no emotional impulse obscure.''
''Private information is practically the source of every large modern fortune.''
''Mr. Henry James writes fiction as if it were a painful duty.''
''Philanthropic people lose all sense of humanity. It is their distinguishing characteristic.''
''All costumes are caricatures. The basis of Art is not the Fancy Ball.''
''In going to America one learns that poverty is not a necessary accompaniment to civilisation.''
''Formerly we used to canonise our heroes. The modern method is to vulgarise them. Cheap editions of great books may be delightful, but cheap editions of great men are absolutely detestable.''
''I dislike arguments of any kind. They are always vulgar, and often convincing.''
''A cigarette is the perfect type of a perfect pleasure. It is exquisite, and it leaves one unsatisfied. What more can one want?''
''I can't help detesting my relations. I suppose it comes from the fact that none of us can stand other people having the same faults as ourselves.''
''Nothing is impossible in Russia but reform.''
''It is only the modern that ever becomes old-fashioned.''
''It is only the superficial qualities that last. Man's deeper nature is soon found out.''
''There's nothing in the world like the devotion of a married woman. It's a thing no married man knows anything about.''
''Pleasure is Nature's test, her sign of approval. When man is happy, he is in harmony with himself and his environment.''
''By persistently remaining single, a man converts himself into a permanent public temptation. Men should be more careful.''
''Do you really think, Arthur, that it is weakness that yields to temptation? I tell you that there are terrible temptations that it requires strength, strength and courage, to yield to.''
''Conscience makes egotists of us all.''
''The great events of life often leave one unmoved; they pass out of consciousness, and, when one thinks of them, become unreal. Even the scarlet flowers of passion seem to grow in the same meadow as the poppies of oblivion.''
''Nowadays people know the price of everything and the value of nothing.''
''The man who sees both sides of a question is a man who sees absolutely nothing at all.''
''Each of the professions means a prejudice. The necessity for a career forces every one to take sides. We live in the age of the overworked, and the under-educated; the age in which people are so industrious that they become absolutely stupid.''
''If a man needs an elaborate tombstone in order to remain in the memory of his country, it is clear that his living at all was an act of absolute superfluity.''
''A little sincerity is a dangerous thing, and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.''
''London is full of women who trust their husbands. One can always recognise them. They look so thoroughly unhappy.''
''Absolute catholicity of taste is not without its dangers. It is only an auctioneer who should admire all schools of art.''
''Whatever, in fact, is modern in our life we owe to the Greeks. Whatever is an anachronism is due to mediaevalism.''
''There is no necessity to separate the monarch from the mob; all authority is equally bad.''
''To many, no doubt, he will seem to be somewhat blatant and bumptious, but we prefer to regard him as being simply British.''
''In fact, the whole of Japan is a pure invention. There is no such country, there are no such people.... The Japanese people are ... simply a mode of style, an exquisite fancy of art.''
''The condition of perfection is idleness: the aim of perfection is youth.''
''Must we really see Chicago in order to be educated?''
''On the whole, the great success of marriage in the States is due partly to the fact that no American man is ever idle, and partly to the fact that no American wife is considered responsible for the quality of her husband's dinners.''
''Those whom the gods love grow young.''
''I can stand brute force, but brute reason is quite unbearable. There is something unfair about its use. It is hitting below the intellect.''
''Literature always anticipates life. It does not copy it, but moulds it to its purpose. The nineteenth century, as we know it, is largely an invention of Balzac.''
''I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself.''
''The strength of women comes from the fact that psychology cannot explain us. Men can be analysed, women ... merely adored.''
''It is only shallow people who do not judge by appearances. The true mystery of the world is the visible, not the invisible.''
''Bad art is a great deal worse than no art at all.''
''When a woman marries again it is because she detested her first husband. When a man marries again it is because he adored his first wife. Women try their luck; men risk theirs.''
''He would stab his best friend for the sake of writing an epigram on his tombstone.''
''We Irish are too poetical to be poets; we are a nation of brilliant failures, but we are the greatest talkers since the Greeks.''
''One knows so well the popular idea of health. The English country gentleman galloping after a fox—the unspeakable in full pursuit of the uneatable.''
''It is well for our vanity that we slay the criminal, for if we suffered him to live he might show us what we had gained by his crime.''
''I put all my genius into my life; I put only my talent into my works.''
''Those who are faithful know only the trivial side of love: it is the faithless who know love's tragedies.''
''In old days men had the rack. Now they have the Press.''
''How strange a thing this is! The Priest telleth me that the Soul is worth all the gold in the world, and the merchants say that it is not worth a clipped piece of silver.''
''He to whom the present is the only thing that is present, knows nothing of the age in which he lives.''
''Popularity is the only insult that has not yet been offered to Mr. Whistler.''
''Art, like Nature, has her monsters, things of bestial shape and with hideous voices.''
''His style is chaos illumined by flashes of lightning. As a writer he has mastered everything except language.''
''No man dies for what he knows to be true. Men die for what they want to be true, for what some terror in their hearts tells them is not true.''
''A kiss may ruin a human life.''
''Few parents nowadays pay any regard to what their children say to them. The old-fashioned respect for the young is fast dying out.''
''An excellent man; he has no enemies; and none of his friends like him.''
''There is only one real tragedy in a woman's life. The fact that her past is always her lover, and her future invariably her husband.''
''One's past is what one is. It is the only way by which people should be judged.''
''Public Opinion ... an attempt to organise the ignorance of the community, and to elevate it to the dignity of physical force.''
''The only thing that ever consoles man for the stupid things he does is the praise he always gives himself for doing them.''
''Memory ... is the diary that we all carry about with us.''
''One should either be a work of art, or wear a work of art.''
''There is no such thing as morality or immorality in thought. There is immoral emotion.''
''She is absolutely inadmissible into society. Many a woman has a past, but I am told that she has at least a dozen, and that they all fit.''
''The English public, as a mass, takes no interest in a work of art until it is told that the work in question is immoral.''
''Disobedience, in the eyes of any one who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.''
''The old believe everything; the middle-aged suspect everything; the young know everything.''
''When a man has once loved a woman, he will do anything for her, except continue to love her.''
''The mere existence of conscience, that faculty of which people prate so much nowadays, and are so ignorantly proud, is a sign of our imperfect development. It must be merged in instinct before we become fine.''
''One's real life is so often the life that one does not lead.''
''As for begging, it is safer to beg than to take, but it is finer to take than to beg.''
''Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast.''
''There is only one class in the community that thinks more about money than the rich, and that is the poor. The poor can think of nothing else.''
''The sign of a Philistine age is the cry of immorality against art.''
''Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.''
''All charming people, I fancy, are spoiled. It is the secret of their attraction.''
''They are horribly tedious when they are good husbands, and abominably conceited when they are not.''
''I'm sure I don't know half the people who come to my house. Indeed, from all I hear, I shouldn't like to.''
''She tried to found a salon, and only succeeded in opening a restaurant.''
''We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.''
''Nowadays to be intelligible is to be found out.''
''A poet can survive everything but a misprint.''
''While we look to the dramatist to give romance to realism, we ask of the actor to give realism to romance.''
''The intellect is not a serious thing, and never has been. It is an instrument on which one plays, that is all.''
''There is something tragic about the enormous number of young men there are in England at the present moment who start life with perfect profiles, and end by adopting some useful profession.''
''To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all.''
''There are only two kinds of people who are really fascinating—people who know absolutely everything, and people who know absolutely nothing.''
''Time is waste of money.''
''It is better to be beautiful than to be good. But ... it is better to be good than to be ugly.''
''On an occasion of this kind it becomes more than a moral duty to speak one's mind. It becomes a pleasure.''
''Cultivated leisure is the aim of man.''
''When one is in love, one always begins by deceiving one's self, and one always ends by deceiving others. That is what the world calls a romance.''
''Talk to every woman as if you loved her, and to every man as if he bored you, and at the end of your first season you will have the reputation of possessing the most perfect social tact.''
''We live in an age when unnecessary things are our only necessities.''
''Vulgarity is simply the conduct of other people.''
''I can resist everything except temptation.''
''The fact is, that civilisation requires slaves.... Human slavery is wrong, insecure, and demoralising. On mechanical slavery, on the slavery of the machine, the future of the world depends.''
''One can always be kind to people about whom one cares nothing.''
''Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.''
''After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations.''
''Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not of the sitter.''
''Only mediocrities progress. An artist revolves in a cycle of masterpieces, the first of which is no less perfect than the last.''
''All bad poetry springs from genuine feeling. To be natural is to be obvious, and to be obvious is to be inartistic.''
''Nothing can cure the soul but the senses, just as nothing can cure the senses but the soul.''
''Every woman is a rebel, and usually in wild revolt against herself.''
''A thing is not necessarily true because a man dies for it.''
''The fact is, you have fallen lately, Cecily, into a bad habit of thinking for yourself. You should give it up. It is not quite womanly.... Men don't like it.''
''The way of paradoxes is the way of truth. To test Reality we must see it on the tight-rope. When the Verities become acrobats we can judge them.''
''Gossip is charming! History is merely gossip. But scandal is gossip made tedious by morality.''
''One should never make one's debut with a scandal. One should reserve that to give an interest to one's old age.''
''Everybody who is incapable of learning has taken to teaching.''
''What is said of a man is nothing. The point is, who says it.''
''The Bostonians take their learning too sadly: culture with them is an accomplishment rather than an atmosphere; their "Hub," as they call it, is the paradise of prigs.''
''It is always the unreadable that occurs.''
''We have really everything in common with America nowadays, except, of course, language.''
''The critic has to educate the public; the artist has to educate the critic.''
''Never speak disrespectfully of Society, Algernon. Only people who can't get into it do that.''
''There is no sin except stupidity.''
''A map of the world that does not include Utopia is not worth even glancing at, for it leaves out the one country at which Humanity is always landing.''
''Yes, I am a thorough republican. No other form of government is so favorable to the growth of art.''
''In modern life nothing produces such an effect as a good platitude. It makes the whole world kin.''
''Life, Lady Stutfield, is simply a mauvais quart d'heure made up of exquisite moments.''
''Most of our modern portrait painters are doomed to absolute oblivion. They never paint what they see. They paint what the public sees, and the public never sees anything.''
''No woman should ever be quite accurate about her age. It looks so calculating.''
''If you are not too long, I will wait here for you all my life.''
''Morality is simply the attitude we adopt towards people we personally dislike.''
''It is grossly selfish to require of one's neighbour that he should think in the same way, and hold the same opinions. Why should he? If he can think, he will probably think differently. If he cannot think, it is monstrous to require thought of any kind from him.''
''Don't tell me that you have exhausted Life. When a man says that, one knows that life has exhausted him.''
''Relations are simply a tedious pack of people, who haven't got the remotest knowledge of how to live, nor the smallest instinct about when to die.''
''A man's face is his autobiography. A woman's face is her work of fiction.''
''The State is to make what is useful. The individual is to make what is beautiful.''
''The worst form of tyranny the world has ever known ... the tyranny of the weak over the strong. It is the only tyranny that lasts.''
''One should not be too severe on English novels; they are the only relaxation of the intellectually unemployed.''
''Nothing looks so like innocence as an indiscretion.''
''There is a luxury in self-reproach. When we blame ourselves we feel no one else has a right to blame us.''
''Either that wallpaper goes, or I do.''
''Death and vulgarity are the only two facts in the nineteenth century that one cannot explain away.''
''Nothing spoils a romance so much as a sense of humour in the woman.''
''Oh, duty is what one expects from others, it is not what one does oneself.''
''Anybody can make history. Only a great man can write it.''
''He must have a truly romantic nature, for he weeps when there is nothing at all to weep about.''
''There is no such thing as an omen. Destiny does not send us heralds. She is too wise or too cruel for that.''
''Women love us for our defects. If we have enough of them, they will forgive us everything, even our gigantic intellects.''
''When one pays a visit it is for the purpose of wasting other people's time, not one's own.''
''He had that curious love of green, which in individuals is always the sign of a subtle artistic temperament, and in nations is said to denote a laxity, if not a decadence of morals.''
''Women are never disarmed by compliments. Men always are. That is the difference between the two sexes.''
''What a fuss people make about fidelity! Why, even in love it is purely a question for physiology. It has nothing to do with our own will. Young men want to be faithful, and are not; old men want to be faithless, and cannot: that is all one can say.''
''Through our sunless lanes creeps Poverty with her hungry eyes, and Sin with his sodden face follows close behind her. Misery wakes us in the morning and Shame sits with us at night.''
''I never travel without my diary. One should always have something sensational to read in the train.''
''For an artist to marry his model is as fatal as for a gourmet to marry his cook: the one gets no sittings, and the other gets no dinners.''
''Popularity is the crown of laurel which the world puts on bad art. Whatever is popular is wrong.''
''Moderation is a fatal thing.... Nothing succeeds like excess.''
''We can have in life but one great experience at best, and the secret of life is to reproduce that experience as often as possible.''
''He was always late on principle, his principle being that punctuality is the thief of time.''
''It is because Humanity has never known where it was going that it has been able to find its way.''
''I hate vulgar realism in literature. The man who could call a spade a spade should be compelled to use one. It is the only thing he is fit for.''
''Art is not to be taught in Academies. It is what one looks at, not what one listens to, that makes the artist. The real schools should be the streets.''
''As long as a woman can look ten years younger than her own daughter, she is perfectly satisfied.''
''When we are happy we are always good, but when we are good we are not always happy.''
''Fashion, by which what is really fantastic becomes for a moment the universal.''
''Ambition is the last refuge of the failure.''
''I don't like Switzerland; it has produced nothing but theologians and waiters.''
''There is always something ridiculous about the emotions of people whom one has ceased to love.''
''Whatever harsh criticisms may be passed on the construction of her sentences, she at least possesses that one touch of vulgarity that makes the whole world kin.''
''No, Ernest, don't talk about action.... It is the last resource of those who know not how to dream.''
''There is something terribly morbid in the modern sympathy with pain. One should sympathise with the colour, the beauty, the joy of life. The less said about life's sores the better.''
''I never approve, or disapprove, of anything now. It is an absurd attitude to take towards life. We are not sent into the world to air our moral prejudices. I never take any notice of what common people say, and I never interfere with what charming people do.''
''Musical people are so absurdly unreasonable. They always want one to be perfectly dumb at the very moment when one is longing to be absolutely deaf.''
''What is mind but motion in the intellectual sphere?''
''Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth.''
''The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young.''
''I adore simple pleasures. They are the last refuge of the complex.''
''No publisher should ever express an opinion on the value of what he publishes. That is a matter entirely for the literary critic to decide.... I can quite understand how any ordinary critic would be strongly prejudiced against a work that was accompanied by a premature and unnecessary panegyric from the publisher. A publisher is simply a useful middle-man. It is not for him to anticipate the verdict of criticism.''
''The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what Fiction means.''
''I do not approve of anything that tampers with natural ignorance. Ignorance is like a delicate exotic fruit; touch it and the bloom is gone.''
''A truth ceases to be true when more than one person believes in it.''
''Charity creates a multitude of sins.''
''The more one analyses people, the more all reasons for analysis disappear. Sooner or later one comes to that dreadful universal thing called human nature.''
''Despotism is unjust to everybody, including the despot, who was probably made for better things.''
''To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune ... to lose both seems like carelessness.''
''Political life at Washington is like political life in a suburban vestry.''
''I like to do all the talking myself. It saves time, and prevents arguments.''
''As one knows the poet by his fine music, so one can recognise the liar by his rich rhythmic utterance, and in neither case will the casual inspiration of the moment suffice. Here, as elsewhere, practice must precede perfection.''
''Scepticism is the beginning of Faith.''
''The exquisite art of idleness, one of the most important things that any University can teach.''
''The husbands of very beautiful women belong to the criminal classes.''
''To be good, according to the vulgar standard of goodness, is obviously quite easy. It merely requires a certain amount of sordid terror, a certain lack of imaginative thought, and a certain low passion for middle-class respectability.''
''Examinations, sir, are pure humbug from beginning to end. If a man is a gentleman, he knows quite enough, and if he is not a gentleman, whatever he knows is bad for him.''
''The American father ... is never seen in London. He passes his life entirely in Wall Street and communicates with his family once a month by means of a telegram in cipher.''
''Democracy means simply the bludgeoning of the people by the people for the people.''
''One can survive anything these days, except death, and live down anything except a good reputation.''
''If you pretend to be good, the world takes you very seriously. If you pretend to be bad, it doesn't. Such is the astounding stupidity of optimism.''
''Every great man nowadays has his disciples, and it is usually Judas who writes the biography.''
''The only difference between a caprice and a life-long passion is that the caprice lasts a little longer.''
''It often happens that the real tragedies of life occur in such an inartistic manner that they hurt us by their crude violence, their absolute incoherence, their absurd want of meaning, their entire lack of style.''
''Civilisation is not by any means an easy thing to attain to. There are only two ways by which man can reach it. One is by being cultured, the other by being corrupt.''
''It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.''
''A person who, because he has corns himself, always treads on other people's toes.''
''Thinking is the most unhealthy thing in the world, and people die of it just as they die of any other disease. Fortunately, in England at any rate, thought is not catching. Our splendid physique as a people is entirely due to our national stupidity.''
''When liberty comes with hands dabbled in blood it is hard to shake hands with her.''
''I was disappointed in Niagara—most people must be disappointed in Niagara. Every American bride is taken there, and the sight of the stupendous waterfall must be one of the earliest, if not the keenest, disappointments in American married life.''
''There is nothing so difficult to marry as a large nose.''
''Religions die when they are proved to be true. Science is the record of dead religions.''
''Bad artists always admire each other's work. They call it being large-minded and free from prejudice. But a truly great artist cannot conceive of life being shown, or beauty fashioned, under any conditions other than those he has selected.''
''The body sins once, and has done with its sin, for action is a mode of purification. Nothing remains then but the recollection of a pleasure, or the luxury of a regret.''
''It is only by not paying one's bills that one can hope to live in the memory of the commercial classes.''
''It is only the unimaginative who ever invents. The true artist is known by the use he makes of what he annexes.''
''Though one can dine in New York, one could not dwell there.''
''Society often forgives the criminal; it never forgives the dreamer.''
''In this world there are two tragedies. One is not getting what one wants, and the other is getting it. The last is much the worst.''
''A man who can dominate a London dinner table can dominate the world. The future belongs to the dandy. It is the exquisites who are going to rule.''
''The mind of the thoroughly well-informed man is a dreadful thing. It is like a bric-à-brac shop, all monsters and dust, with everything priced above its proper value.''
''Romance should never begin with sentiment. It should begin with science and end with a settlement.''
''His work was that curious mixture of bad painting and good intentions that always entitles a man to be called a representative British artist.''
''The fact is, the public make use of the classics of a country as a means of checking the progress of Art. They degrade the classics into authorities. They use them as bludgeons for preventing the free expression of Beauty in new forms.''
''There are many things that we would throw away if we were not afraid that others might pick them up.''
''It is an odd thing, but every one who disappears is said to be seen at San Francisco. It must be a delightful city, and possess all the attractions of the next world.''
''The poet is the supreme artist, for he is the master of colour and of form, and the real musician besides, and is lord over all life and all arts.''
''All women become like their mothers. That is their tragedy. No man does. That's his.''
''How clever you are, my dear! You never mean a single word you say.''
''Anybody can write a three-volume novel. It merely requires a complete ignorance of both life and literature.''
''Nothing makes one so vain as being told that one is a sinner.''
''In America the President reigns for four years, and Journalism governs for ever and ever.''
''The advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray.''
''Anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there.''
''I adore political parties. They are the only place left to us where people don't talk politics.''
''They flaunt their conjugal felicity in one's face, as if it were the most fascinating of sins.''
''Questions are never indiscreet. Answers sometimes are.''
''Nowadays, all the married men live like bachelors, and all the bachelors like married men.''
''Mr. Whistler always spelt art, and we believe still spells it, with a capital "I."''
''I like persons better than principles, and I like persons with no principles better than anything else in the world.''
''The only difference between the saint and the sinner is that every saint has a past, and every sinner has a future.''
''People sometimes inquire what form of government is most suitable for an artist to live under. To this question there is only one answer. The form of government that is most suitable to the artist is no government at all.''
''In America the young are always ready to give to those who are older than themselves the full benefits of their inexperience.''
''As for the virtuous poor, one can pity them, of course, but one cannot possibly admire them. They have made private terms with the enemy, and sold their birthright for very bad pottage. They must also be extraordinarily stupid.''
''Yes; the public is wonderfully tolerant. It forgives everything except genius.''
''A man's very highest moment is, I have no doubt at all, when he kneels in the dust, and beats his breast, and tells all the sins of his life.''
''The Americans are certainly hero-worshippers, and always take their heroes from the criminal classes.''
''The ugly and the stupid have the best of it in this world. They can sit at their ease and gape at the play. If they know nothing of victory, they are at least spared the knowledge of defeat.''
''I know, of course, how important it is not to keep a business engagement, if one wants to retain any sense of the beauty of life.''