Yes, I was thinking: we live without a future. That’s what’s queer: with our noses pressed to a closed door.
This soul, or life within us, by no means agrees with the life outside us. If one has the courage to ask her what she thinks, she is always saying the very opposite to what other people say.
The man who is aware of himself is henceforward independent; and he is never bored, and life is only too short, and he is steeped through and through with a profound yet temperate happiness.
One likes people much better when they’re battered down by a prodigious siege of misfortune than when they triumph.
O how blessed it would be never to marry, or grow old; but to spend one’s life innocently and indifferently among the trees and rivers which alone can keep one cool and childlike in the midst of the troubles of the world!
Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.
It is worth mentioning, for future reference, that the creative power which bubbles so pleasantly in beginning a new book quiets down after a time, and one goes on more steadily. Doubts creep in. Then one becomes resigned. Determination not to give in, and the sense of an impending shape keep one at it more than anything.
I can only note that the past is beautiful because one never realises an emotion at the time. It expands later, and thus we don’t have complete emotions about the present, only about the past.
A good essay must have this permanent quality about it; it must draw its curtain round us, but it must be a curtain that shuts us in, not out.