Passages from the American note-books

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Houghton, Mifflin, 1883
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Page 221 - Indeed, we are but shadows; we are not endowed with real life, and all that seems most real about us is but the thinnest substance of a dream — till the heart be touched. That touch creates us — then we begin to be — thereby we are beings of reality and inheritors of eternity.
Page 32 - A snake, taken into a man's stomach and nourished there from fifteen years to thirty-five, tormenting him most horribly. A type of envy or some other evil passion.
Page 105 - Insincerity in a man's own heart must make all his enjoyments, all that concerns him, unreal; so that his whole life must seem like a merely dramatic representation. And this would be the case, even though he were surrounded by true-hearted relatives and friends.
Page 221 - If ever I should have a biographer, he ought to make great mention of this chamber in my memoirs, because so much of my lonely youth was wasted here, and here my mind and character were formed; and here I have been glad and hopeful, and here I have been despondent; and here I sat a long, long time, waiting patiently for the world to know me, and sometimes wondering why it did not know me sooner, or whether it would ever know me at all — at least, till I were in my grave.
Page 34 - He must have been taken for a pedlar travelling with his pack. To think, as the sun goes down, what events have happened in the course of the day — events of ordinary occurrence: as, the clocks have struck, the dead have been buried. Curious to imagine what murmurings and discontent would be excited, if any of the great so-called calamities of human beings were to be abolished — as, for instance, death.
Page 209 - To represent a man as spending life and the in tensest labor in the accomplishment of some mechanical trifle, — as in making a miniature coach to be drawn by fleas, or a dinner-service to be put into a cherrystone. A bonfire to be made of the gallows and of all symbols of eviL The love of posterity is a consequence of the necessity of death.
Page 41 - There is evil in every human heart, which may remain latent, perhaps, through the whole of life; but circumstances may rouse it to activity.
Page 26 - A person to be writing a tale, and to find that it shapes itself against his intentions ; that the characters act otherwise than he thought ; that unforeseen events occur ; and a catastrophe comes which he strives in vain to avert.
Page 30 - Every individual has a place to fill in the world, and is important in some respects, whether he chooses to be so or not.
Page 147 - A steam-engine in a factory to be supposed to possess a malignant spirit. It catches one man's arm, and pulls it off; seizes another by the coat-tails, and almost grapples him bodily ; catches a girl by the hair, and scalps her ; and finally draws in a man, and crushes him to death.

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