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Frances Hodgson Burnett Quotes

50 of the best book quotes from Frances Hodgson Burnett
  1. #1
    She had never known it to be so silent before. She heard neither voices nor footsteps, and wondered if everybody had got well of the cholera and all the trouble was over. She wondered also who would take care of her now her Ayah was dead. There would be a new Ayah, and perhaps she would know some new stories. Mary had been rather tired of the old ones. She did not cry because her nurse had died. She was not an affectionate child and had never cared much for any one. The noise and hurrying about and wailing over the cholera had frightened her, and she had been angry because no one seemed to remember that she was alive. Everyone was too panic-stricken to think of a little girl no one was fond of. When people had the cholera it seemed that they remembered nothing but themselves. But if everyone had got well again, surely some one would remember and come to look for her.
  2. #2
    “Adversity tries people, and mine has tried you and proved how nice you are.”
  3. #3
    When new beautiful thoughts began to push out the old hideous ones, life began to come back to him, his blood ran healthily through his veins and strength poured into him.
  4. #4
    She stopped and listened to him and somehow his cheerful, friendly little whistle gave her a pleased feeling—even a disagreeable little girl may be lonely, and the big closed house and big bare moor and big bare gardens had made this one feel as if there was no one left in the world but herself.
  5. #5
    Two things cannot be in one place. “Where, you tend a rose, my lad / A thistle cannot grow.”
  6. #6
    But of course he is doing now of his own free will what we could not make him do before.
  7. #7
    Do roses quite die when they are left to themselves?
  8. #8
    It’ll do thee good to wait on thysen a bit.
  1. #9
    She frowned because she remembered that her father and mother had never talked to her about anything in particular. Certainly they had never told her things.
  2. #10
    She did not know that this was the best thing she could have done, and she did not know that, when she began to walk quickly or even run along the paths and down the avenue, she was stirring her slow blood and making herself stronger by fighting with the wind which swept down from the moor. She ran only to make herself warm, and she hated the wind which rushed at her face and roared and held her back as if it were some giant she could not see. But the big breaths of rough fresh air blown over the heather filled her lungs with something which was good for her whole thin body and whipped some red color into her cheeks and brightened her dull eyes when she did not know anything about it.
  3. #11
    One of the new things people began to find out in the last century was that thoughts—just mere thoughts—are as powerful as electric batteries—as good for one as sunlight is, or as bad for one as poison. To let a sad thought or a bad one get into your mind is as dangerous as letting a scarlet fever germ get into your body. If you let it stay there after it has got in you may never get over it as long as you live.
  4. #12
    Even Mary had found out that one of Colin’s chief peculiarities was that he did not know in the least what a rude little brute he was with his way of ordering people about. He had lived on a sort of desert island all his life and as he had been the king of it he had made his own manners and had had no one to compare himself with.
  5. #13
    When the boy began to walk by himself and even to move more quickly it was an immense relief. But for a long time—or it seemed a long time to the robin—he was a source of some anxiety. He did not act as the other humans did. He seemed very fond of walking but he had a way of sitting or lying down for a while and then getting up in a disconcerting manner to begin again.
    One day the robin remembered that when he himself had been made to learn to fly by his parents he had done much the same sort of thing. He had taken short flights of a few yards and then had been obliged to rest. So it occurred to him that this boy was learning to fly—or rather to walk
  6. #14
    “I’ll never tell about it,” he answered. “But I says to mother, ‘Mother,’ I says, ‘I got a secret to keep. It’s not a bad ‘un, tha’ knows that. It’s no worse than hidin’ where a bird’s nest is. Tha’ doesn’t mind it, does tha’?‘”
    Mary always wanted to hear about mother.
    “What did she say?” she asked, not at all afraid to hear.
    Dickon grinned sweet-temperedly.
    “It was just like her, what she said,” he answered. “She give my head a bit of a rub an’ laughed an’ she says, ‘Eh, lad, tha’ can have all th’ secrets tha’ likes. I’ve knowed thee twelve year’.‘”
  7. #15
    Colin flushed triumphantly. He had made himself believe that he was going to get well, which was really more than half the battle, if he had been aware of it. And the thought which stimulated him more than any other was this imagining what his father would look like when he saw that he had a son who was as straight and strong as other fathers’ sons.
  8. #16
    When I was going to try to stand that first time Mary kept saying to herself as fast as she could, ‘You can do it! You can do it!’ and I did. I had to try myself at the same time, of course, but her Magic helped me—and so did Dickon’s. Every morning and evening and as often in the daytime as I can remember I am going to say, ‘Magic is in me! Magic is making me well! I am going to be as strong as Dickon, as strong as Dickon!’ And you must all do it, too. That is my experiment Will you help, Ben Weatherstaff?”
  1. #17
    Mary stood near the door with her candle in her hand, holding her breath. Then she crept across the room, and, as she drew nearer, the light attracted the boy’s attention and he turned his head on his pillow and stared at her, his gray eyes opening so wide that they seemed immense.
    “Who are you?” he said at last in a half-frightened whisper. “Are you a ghost?”
    “No, I am not,” Mary answered, her own whisper sounding half frightened. “Are you one?”
  2. #18
    The sun shone down for nearly a week on the secret garden. The Secret Garden was what Mary called it when she was thinking of it. She liked the name, and she liked still more the feeling that when its beautiful old walls shut her in no one knew where she was. It seemed almost like being shut out of the world in some fairy place.
  3. #19
    “If I go on talking and talking...and telling you things about pretending, I shall bear it better. You don’t forget, but you bear it better.”
  4. #20
    “It’s so easy that when you begin you can’t stop. You just go on and on doing it always.”
  5. #21
    “I don’t like it, papa,” she said. “But then I dare say soldiers - even brave ones - don’t really like going into battle.”
  6. #22
    “Whatever comes…cannot alter one thing. If I am a princess in rags and tatters, I can be a princess inside. It would be easy to be a princess if I were dressed in cloth of gold, but it is a great deal more of a triumph to be one all the time when no one knows it.”
  7. #23
    “Things happen to people by accident … A lot of nice accidents have happened to me. It just happened that I always liked lessons and books, and could remember things when I learned them. It just happened that I was born with a father who was beautiful and nice and clever, and could give me everything I liked.
    Perhaps I have not really a good temper at all, but if you have everything you want and everyone is kind to you, how can you help but be good-tempered? I don’t know … how I shall ever find out whether I am really a nice child or a horrid one. Perhaps I’m a hideous child, and no one will ever know, just because I never have any trials.”
  8. #24
    “Somehow, something always happens just before things get to the very worst. It is as if Magic did it. If I could only just remember that always. The worse thing never quite comes.”
  1. #25
    “’Why, we are just the same — I am only a little girl like you. It’s just an accident that I am not you, and you are not me!’”
  2. #26
    “How it is that animals understand things I do not know, but it is certain that they do understand. Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul.”
  3. #27
    “If nature has made you for a giver, your hands are born open, and so is your heart; and though there may be times when your hands are empty, your heart is always full, and you can give things out of that — warm things, kind things, sweet things–help and comfort and laughter — and sometimes gay, kind laughter is the best help of all.”
  4. #28
    “Perhaps to be able to learn things quickly isn’t everything. To be kind is worth a great deal to other people … Lots of clever people have done harm and have been wicked.”
  5. #29
    “When people are insulting you, there is nothing so good for them as not to say a word — just to look at them and think. When you will not fly into a passion people know you are stronger than they are, because you are strong enough to hold in your rage, and they are not, and they say stupid things they wished they hadn’t said afterward. There’s nothing so strong as rage, except what makes you hold it in — that’s stronger. It’s a good thing not to answer your enemies.”
  6. #30
    Sometimes since I’ve been in the garden I’ve looked up through the trees at the sky and I have had a strange feeling of being happy as if something were pushing and drawing in my chest and making me breathe fast. Magic is always pushing and drawing and making things out of nothing. Everything is made out of Magic, leaves and trees, flowers and birds, badgers and foxes and squirrels and people. So it must be all around us. In this garden—in all the places. The Magic in this garden has made me stand up and know I am going to live to be a man.
  7. #31
    And the secret garden bloomed and bloomed and every morning revealed new miracles.
  8. #32
    It made her think that it was curious how much nicer a person looked when he smiled.
  1. #33
    At first people refuse to believe that a strange new thing can be done, then they begin to hope it can be done, then they see it can be done—then it is done and all the world wonders why it was not done centuries ago.
  2. #34
    Perhaps there is a language which is not made of words and everything in the world understands it. Perhaps there is a soul hidden in everything and it can always speak, without even making a sound, to another soul.
  3. #35
    “Give her books, and she would devour them and end by knowing them by heart.”
  4. #36
    “’It’s true,’ she said. ‘Sometimes I do pretend I am a princess. I pretend I am a princess, so that I can try and behave like one.’”
  5. #37
    “Between the lines of every story there is another story, and that is one that is never heard and can only be guessed at by the people who are good at guessing.”
  6. #38
    “’I dare say it is rather hard to be a rat,’ she mused. ‘Nobody likes you. People jump and run away and scream out: ‘Oh, a horrid rat!’ I shouldn’t like people to scream and jump and say: ‘Oh, a horrid Sara!’ the moment they saw me, and set traps for me, and pretend they were dinner. It’s so different to be a sparrow. But nobody asked this rat if he wanted to be a rat when he was made. Nobody said: ‘Wouldn’t you rather be a sparrow?’”
  7. #39
    “I am a princess. All girls are. Even if they live in tiny old attics. Even if they dress in rags, even if they aren’t pretty, or smart, or young. They’re still princesses.”
  8. #40
    “’It IS a story,’ said Sara. ‘EVERYTHING’S a story. You are a story—I am a story. Miss Minchin is a story.’”
  1. #41
    “Never did she find anything so difficult as to keep herself from losing her temper when she was suddenly disturbed while absorbed in a book. People who are fond of books know the feeling of irritation which sweeps over them at such a moment. The temptation to be unreasonable and snappish is one not easy to manage.”
  2. #42
    “If you tell stories, you like nothing so much as to tell them to people who want to listen.”
  3. #43
    “Am I the same cold, ragged damp Sara? And to think I used to pretend and pretend and wish there were fairies! The one thing I always wanted was to see a fairy story come true. I am living in a fairy story. I feel as if I might be a fairy myself, and able to turn things into anything else.”
  4. #44
    “I know you by heart. You are inside my heart.”
  5. #45
    “She did not care very much for other little girls, but if she had plenty of books she could console herself.”
  6. #46
    “What you have to do with your mind, when your body is miserable, is to make it think of something else.”
  7. #47
    “‘If Sara had been a boy and lived a few centuries ago,’ her father used to say, ‘she would have gone about the country with her sword drawn, rescuing and defending everyone in distress. She always wants to fight when she sees people in trouble.‘”
  8. #48
    One of the strange things about living in the world is that it is only now and then one is quite sure one is going to live forever and ever and ever. One knows it sometimes when one gets up at the tender solemn dawn-time and goes out and stands alone and throws one’s head far back and looks up and up and watches the pale sky slowly changing and flushing and marvelous unknown things happening until the East almost makes one cry out and one’s heart stands still at the strange unchanging majesty of the rising of the sun—which has been happening every morning for thousands and thousands and thousands of years. One knows it then for a moment or so.
  1. #49
    “I never knowed it by that name but what does th’ name matter? I warrant they call it a different name i’ France an’ a different one i’ Germany. Th’ same thing as set th’ seeds swellin’ an’ th’ sun shinin’ made thee a well lad an’ it’s th’ Good Thing. It isn’t like us poor fools as think it matters if us is called out of our names. Th’ Big Good Thing doesn’t stop to worrit, bless thee. It goes on makin’ worlds by th’ million—worlds like us. Never thee stop believin’ in th’ Big Good Thing an’ knowin’ th’ world’s full of it—an’ call it what tha’ likes. Tha’ wert singin’ to it when I come into th’ garden.”
  2. #50
    “Mother says as th’ two worst things as can happen to a child is never to have his own way—or always to have it. She doesn’t know which is th’ worst.”
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