Quotations from the Works of John Galsworthy by David Widger

PASSAGES FROM THE TEXT: The Russian proverb: “The heart of another is a dark forest.” We’re used to it, you see; there’s no excitement in what you’re used to. If geological time be taken as twenty-four hours, man’s existence on earth so far equals just two seconds of it; after a few more seconds, when
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The Russian proverb: “The heart of another is a dark forest.”

We’re used to it, you see; there’s no excitement in what you’re used to.

If geological time be taken as twenty-four hours, man’s existence on earth so far equals just two seconds of it; after a few more seconds, when man has been frozen off the earth, geological time will stretch for as long again, before the earth bumps into something, and be comes nebula once more. God’s hands haven’t been particularly full, sir, have they– two seconds out of twenty-four hours–if man is His pet concern?

“People do not like you to be different. If ever in your life you act differently from others, you will find it so, mademoiselle.”

She never went to meet life, but when it came, made the best of it. This was her secret, and Pierson always felt rested in her presence.

He opened the gate, uttering one of those prayers which come so glibly from unbelievers when they want anything.


Aesthetic admiration for that old Church Agreed in the large, and differed in the narrow All life seemed suddenly a thing of forms and sham And I don’t want to be forgiven
At my age one expects no more than one gets! Avoided discussion on matters where he might hurt others Conquests leading to defeats, defeats to conquests Could not as yet disagree with suavity
Cunning, the astute, the adaptable, will ever rule in times of peace Daddy’s a darling; but I don’t always believe what he believes Depressing to think that I would go on living after death Difficult for a good man to see the evil round him Efforts to eliminate instinct
Events are the parents of the future Events were the children of the past
For we are mad–nothing to speak of, but just a little Forget all about oneself in what one is doing God is the helping of man by man
Happiness never comes when you are looking for it I don’t believe, and I can’t pray
I shall hate God for His cruelty
I think it’s cruel that we can’t take what we can while we can If he’d drop the habits of authority
If you’re not ashamed of yourself, no one will be ashamed of you In opening your hearts you feel that you lose authority It must be dreadful to grow old, and pass the time! Let the dead past bury its dead
Life’s a huge wide adaptable thing! Man is His pet concern?
Marvellous speeder-up of Love is War Men will be just as brutal afterwards–more brutal My mistress, mademoiselle, is not a thing of flesh. It is art Needs must when the devil drives–that’s all Oughtn’t to mind us taking what we can
People do not like you to be different Prayers which come so glibly from unbelievers Revolt against a world so murderous and uncharitable Seemed to know that in silence was her strength She never went to meet life
Sheer pride; and I can’t subdue it
Silence was her strength
So absorbed in his dismay and concern, that he was almost happy Speak, or keep silent; try to console; try to pretend? The heart of another is a dark forest
The talked-about is always the last to hear the talk The tongue and the pen will rule them
Their lovering had advanced by glance and touch alone There’s no excitement in what you’re used to There’s no room on earth for saints in authority Things are; and we have just to take them Too long immune from criticism
Too-consciousness that Time was after her Trust our reason and our senses for what they’re worth Unself-consciousness
Voices had a hard, half-jovial vulgarity Wake at night and hear the howling of all the packs of the world We can only find out for ourselves
We can only help ourselves; and I can only bear it if I rebel We can’t take things at second-hand any longer We do think we ought to have the run of them while we’re alive We love you, but you are not in our secrets We want to own our consciences
We want to think and decide things for ourselves What we do is not wrong till it’s proved wrong by the result World will go on the same
You really think God merciful, sir
You think I don’t know my own feelings, but I do



Their life seemed to accord them perfect satisfaction; they were supplied with their convictions by Society just as, when at home, they were supplied with all the other necessaries of life by some co-operative stores.

“Why should Oi give up me only pleasure to keep me wretched life in? If you’ve anything left worth the keeping shober for, keep shober by all means; if not, the sooner you are dhrunk the better–that stands to reason.”

These letters of his were the most amazing portion of that fortnight. They were remarkable for failing to express any single one of his real thoughts, but they were full of sentiments which were not what he was truly feeling; and when he set himself to analyse, he had such moments of delirium that he was scared, and shocked, and quite unable to write anything. He made the discovery that no two human beings ever tell each other what they really feel.

There was nothing in that book to startle him or make him think.

And yet they were kind–that is, fairly kind–and clean and quiet in the house, except when they laughed, which was often, and at things which made him want to howl as a dog howls at music.


A contemptuous tolerance for people who were not getting on Air of knowing everything, and really they knew nothing–nothing As if man’s honour suffered when he’s injured Autocratic manner of settling other people’s business Avoid falling between two stools
Bad business to be unable to take pride in anything one does Begging the question
Believe without the risk of too much thinking Casual charity
Christian and good Samaritan are not quite the same Complacency
Contrived to throw no light on anything whatever Cultured intolerance
Defying Life to make him look at her Denial of his right to have a separate point of view Discontent with the accepted
Don’t like unhealthy people
Easy coarseness which is a mark of caste Fresh journey through the fields of thought >From a position of security, to watch the sufferings of others Good form
Half a century of sympathy with weddings of all sorts Happy as a horse is happy who never leaves his stall Her splendid optimism, damped him
How fine a thing is virtue
Hypnotised and fascinated even by her failings I never managed to begin a hobby
If tongue be given to them, the flavour vanishes from ideas If you can’t find anything to make you laugh, pretend you do Kissed a strange, cold, frightened look, into her eyes Lacked-feelers
Like a scolded dog, he kept his troubled watch upon her face Man who never rebuked a servant
Misgivings which attend on casual charity Moral asthma
Moral Salesman
Moral steam-roller had passed over it Morality-everybody’s private instinct of self-preservation Morals made by men
Never felt as yet the want of any occupation No two human beings ever tell each other what they really feel Not his fault that half the world was dark Nothing in that book to startle him or make him think Of course! The words seemed very much or very little One from whom the half of life must be excluded Overwork personified
Potent law of hobbies controlled the upper classes Professional intolerance
Putting into words things that can’t be put in words Secret that her eyes were not his eyes
Settled down to complete the purchase of his wife. She had not resisted, but he had kissed the smile away Sign of private moral judgment was to have lost your soul Something new, and spiced with tragic sauce Supplied with their convictions by Society Sympathy that has no insight
To do nothing is unworthy of a man! Too “smart” to keep their heads for long above the water Truth ‘s the very devil
Unconscious that they themselves were funny to others Weighty dignity of attitude
Well, I don’t want to see the gloomy side What humbugs we all are
What they do not understand they dread and they despise What’s called virtue is nearly always only luck When we begin to be real, we only really begin to be false Words the Impostors