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Henry James Quotes

44 of the best book quotes from Henry James
  1. #1
    “The little girl who accompanied Mrs. Grose appeared to me on the spot a creature so charming as to make it a great fortune to have to do with her. She was the most beautiful child I had ever seen…”
  2. #2
    “No; it was a big, ugly, antique, but convenient house, embodying a few features of a building still older, half replaced and half utilized, in which I had the fancy of our being almost as lost as a handful of passengers in a great drifting ship. Well, I was, strangely, at the helm!”
  3. #3
    “If a child gives the effect another turn of the screw, what do you say to two children—?”
  4. #4
    “I don’t know what I don’t see, what I don’t fear!”
  5. #5
    “There were shrubberies and big trees, but I remember the clear assurance I felt that none of them concealed him. He was there or was not there: not there if I didn’t see him.”
  6. #6
    ″‘He was looking for someone else, you say—someone who was not you?’
    ‘He was looking for little Miles.’ A portentous clearness now possessed me. ‘That’s whom he was looking for.’
    ‘But how do you know?’
    ‘I know, I know, I know!’ My exaltation grew.‘“And you know, my dear!’
  7. #7
    “Miles and Flora saw more — things terrible and unguessable.”
  8. #8
    “It would have been impossible to carry a bad name with a greater sweetness of innocence, and by the time I had got back to Bly with him I remained merely bewildered—so far, that is, as I was not outraged—by the sense of the horrible letter locked up in my room, in a drawer. As soon as I could compass a private word with Mrs. Grose I declared to her that it was grotesque.
    She promptly understood me. ‘You mean the cruel charge—?’
    ‘It doesn’t live an instant. My dear woman, LOOK at him!‘”
  9. #9
    “She rose ... with an indescribable grand melancholy of indifference and detachment ... Dishonoured and tragic, she was all before me.”
  10. #10
    ″‘Oh, it wasn’t him!’ Mrs. Grose with emphasis declared. ‘It was Quint’s own fancy. To play with him, I mean—to spoil him.’ She paused a moment; then she added: ‘Quint was much too free.’
    This gave me, straight from my vision of his face—such a face!—a sudden sickness of disgust. ‘Too free with my boy?’
    ‘Too free with everyone!‘”
  11. #11
    “Suddenly, in these circumstances, I became aware that, on the other side of the Sea of Azof, we had an interested spectator... My heart had stood still for an instant with the wonder and terror of the question whether she too would see; and I held my breath while I waited for what a cry from her, what some sudden innocent sign either of interest or of alarm, would tell me. I waited, but nothing came...”
  1. #12
    “That was exactly present to me—by which I mean the face was—when, on the first of these occasions, at the end of a long June day, I stopped short on emerging from one of the plantations and coming into view of the house. What arrested me on the spot—and with a shock much greater than any vision had allowed for—was the sense that my imagination had, in a flash, turned real. He did stand there!”
  2. #13
    “To gaze into the depths of blue of the child’s eyes and pronounce their loveliness a trick of premature cunning was to be guilty of a cynicism in preference to which I naturally preferred to abjure my judgment and, so far as might be, my agitation. I couldn’t abjure for merely wanting to, but I could repeat to Mrs. Grose—as I did there, over and over, in the small hours—that with their voices in the air, their pressure on one’s heart, and their fragrant faces against one’s cheek, everything fell to the ground but their incapacity and their beauty.”
  3. #14
    ″‘Think me — for a change — bad!’ I shall never forget the sweetness and gaiety with which he brought out the word, nor how, on top of it, he bent forward and kissed me. It was practically the end of everything.”
  4. #15
    “For there again, against the glass ... was the hideous author of our woe — the white face of damnation.”
  5. #16
    ″‘I don’t know what you mean. I see nobody. I see nothing. I never have. I think you’re cruel. I don’t like you!’ Then, after this deliverance, which might have been that of a vulgarly pert little girl in the street, she hugged Mrs. Grose more closely and buried in her skirts the dreadful little face. In this position she produced an almost furious wail. ‘Take me away, take me away—oh, take me away from her!’
  6. #17
    “I want my own sort!”
  7. #18
    “Peter Quint — you devil!”
  8. #19
    “Miss Jessel stood before us on the opposite bank exactly as she had stood the other time, and I remember, strangely, as the first feeling now produced in me, my thrill of joy at having brought on a proof. She was there, and I was justified; she was there, and I was neither cruel nor mad. She was there for poor scared Mrs. Grose, but she was there most for Flora ...”
  9. #20
    “Here at present I felt afresh—for I had felt it again and again—how my equilibrium depended on the success of my rigid will, the will to shut my eyes as tight as possible to the truth that what I had to deal with was, revoltingly, against nature. I could only get on at all by taking “nature” into my confidence and my account, by treating my monstrous ordeal as a push in a direction unusual, of course, and unpleasant, but demanding, after all, for a fair front, only another turn of the screw of ordinary human virtue.”
  10. #21
    “You wanted to look at life for yourself - but you were not allowed; you were punished for your wish. You were ground in the very mill of the conventional.”
  11. #22
    “I call people rich when they are able to gratify their imagination.”

Books about love

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More Than Balloons book
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The Rag Coat book
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Three Little Words book
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All the Places to Love book
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Penguin and Pinecone book
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The Trumpet of the Swan book
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Spot Loves His Daddy book
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Charlotte and the Rock book
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  1. #23
    “I’m yours for ever -- for ever and ever. Here I stand; I’m as firm as a rock. If you’ll only trust me, how little you’ll be disappointed. Be mine as I am yours.”
  2. #24
    “You must save what you can of your life; you musn’t lose it all simply because you have lost a part.”
  3. #25
    “Meanwhile my business is not to bother, but simply to be thankful for life and love.”
  4. #26
    “There are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea.”
  5. #27
    “She’s as bright as the morning. She corresponds to your description;it is for that I wish you to know her. She fills all your requirements.”
    “More or less, of course.”
    “No; quite literally. She is beautiful, accomplished, generous, and for an American, well-born. She is also very clever and very amiable, and she has a handsome fortune.”
  6. #28
    “And the great advantage of being a literary woman was that you could go everywhere and do everything.”
  7. #29
    “Her imagination was by habit ridiculously active; when the door was not open it jumped out the window.”
  8. #30
    “I used to want a great many things before, and to be angry that I did not have them. Theoretically, I was satisfied. I flattered myself that I had limited my wants. But I was subject to irritation; I used to have morbid sterile hateful fits of hunger, of desire. Now I really am satisfied, because I can’t think of anything better. It’s just as when one has been trying to spell out a book in the twilight, and suddenly the lamp comes in. I had been putting out my eyes over the book of life, and finding nothing to reward me for my pains; but now that I can read it properly I see that it’s a delightful story.”
  9. #31
    “Isabel was a young person of many theories; her imagination was remarkably active. It had been her fortune to possess a finer mind than most of the persons among whom her lot was cast . . .”
  10. #32
    “If one is strong, one loves only the more strongly.”
  11. #33
    “And you can’t always please yourself; you must sometimes please other people. That, I admit, you’re very ready to do; but there’s another thing that’s still more important--you must often displease others. You must always be ready for that--you must never shrink from it. That doesn’t suit you at all--you’re too fond of admiration, you like to be thought well of. You think we can escape disagreeable duties by taking romantic views--that’s your great illusion, my dear. But we can’t. You must be prepared on many occasions in life to please no one at all--not even yourself.”
  1. #34
    “She carried within herself a great fund of life, and her deepest enjoyment was to feel the continuity between the movements of her own heart and the agitations of the world.”
  2. #35
    “Isabel is written in a foreign tongue. I can’t make her out.”
  3. #36
    “Whatever life you lead, you must put your soul into it--to make any sort of success of it; and from the moment you do that it ceases to be romance, I assure you; it becomes reality!”
  4. #37
    “‘It has made me better loving you,’ he said on another occasion; ‘it has made me wiser, and easier, and brighter.‘”
  5. #38
    “She had a theory that it was only on this condition that life was worth living; that one should be one of the best, should be conscious of a fine organization, should move in the realm of light, of natural wisdom, of happy impulse, of inspiration gracefully chronic.”
  6. #39
    “Her reputation for reading a great deal hung about her like the cloudy envelope of a goddess in an epic.”
  7. #40
    “If you have been hated, you have also been loved.”
  8. #41
    “One can’t judge till one’s forty; before that we’re too eager, too hard, too cruel, and in addition much too ignorant.”
  9. #42
    “She had an immense curiosity about life, and was constantly staring and wondering.”
  10. #43
    “She was fond of seeing great crowds and large stretches of country.”
  11. #44
    “‘Things are always different than what they might be,’ said the old man. ‘If you wait for them to change, you will never do anything.‘”

Books about happiness

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Wonder book
Chapter book
6.3
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You Are My Happy book
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6.0
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Emma book
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6.0
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Be Happy! book
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5.9
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The Best Bear in All the World book
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5.8
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Augustus and His Smile book
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5.8
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If I Had a Little Dream book
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Pom Pom Panda Gets the Grumps book
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Book Topics › imagination
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