The habit of reading is the only enjoyment in which there is no alloy; it lasts when all other pleasures fade.
Romance is very pretty in novels, but the romance of a life is always a melancholy matter. They are most happy who have no story to tell.
I sometimes think you despise poetry,' said Phineas. 'When it is false I do. The difficulty is to know when it is false and when it is true.
There is no happiness in love, except at the end of an English novel.
As for me, I will believe in no belief that does not make itself manifest by outward signs. I will think no preaching sincere that is not recommended by the practice of the preacher.
A small daily task, if it be really daily, will beat the labours of a spasmodic Hercules.
I have from the first felt sure that the writer, when he sits down to commence his novel, should do so, not because he has to tell a story, but because he has a story to tell. The novelist's first novel will generally have sprung from the right cause.
(On Charles Dickens) It has been the peculiarity and the marvel of this man’s power, that he has invested his puppets with a charm that has enabled him to dispense with human nature.
The Church of England is the only church in the world that interferes neither with your politics nor your religion
The true picture of life as it is, if it could be adequately painted, would show men what they are, and how they might rise, not, indeed to perfection, but one step first, and then another on the ladder.
No man thinks there is much ado about nothing when the ado is about himself.
It has become a certainty now that if you will only advertise sufficiently you may make a fortune by selling anything.
Neither money nor position can atone to me for low birth.
Dance with a girl three times, and if you like the light of her eye and the tone of voice with which she, breathless, answers your little questions about horseflesh and music about affairs masculine and feminine, then take the leap in the dark.
I have no ambition to surprise my reader. Castles with unknown passages are not compatible with my homely muse.
The satirist who writes nothing but satire should write but little - or it will seem that his satire springs rather from his own caustic nature than from the sins of the world in which he lives.
It has now become the doctrine of a large clan of politicians that political honesty is unnecessary, slow, subversive of a man's interests, and incompatible with quick onward movement.
They who do not understand that a man may be brought to hope that which of all things is the most grievous to him, have not observed with sufficient closeness the perversity of the human mind.
It is necessary to get a lot of men together, for the show of the thing, otherwise the world will not believe. That is the meaning of committees. But the real work must always be done by one or two men.
As to happiness in this life it is hardly compatible with that diminished respect which ever attends the relinquishing of labour.