Ex Libris Kirkland

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Illustrator T. L. B. Huskinson
Editor Jacques Berthoud
First Written 1869
Genre Fiction
Origin UK
Publisher Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN-10 0192835335
ISBN-13 978-0192835338
My Copy Hardback
First Read September 14, 2008

Phineas Finn

I have the clearest memory of sitting in a square outside the main train station in Shenzen, reading this in 2006. But I'd forgotten the majority of the plot between then and 2020, and read it again as a part of my 'Trollope is comfort food' binge lately. Better than I remembered!

Noted on November 29, 2020

[I love this clear expression of how one can get backed into a corner by your words, which have real reflexive power on your own emotions]

Indeed, to speak my own mind, I think that you need hardly have alluded to it. I might go further, and say that such an allusion is in itself an insult,—an insult now repeated after hours of deliberation,—an insult which I will not endure to have repeated again. If you say another word in any way suggesting the possibility of improper relations between me and Mr. Finn, either as to deeds or thoughts, as God is above me, I will write to both my father and my brother, and desire them to take me from your house. If you wish me to remain here, you had better be careful!" As she was making this speech, her temper seemed to rise, and to become hot, and then hotter, till it glowed with a red heat. She had been cool till the word insult, used by herself, had conveyed back to her a strong impression of her own wrong,—or perhaps I should rather say a strong feeling of the necessity of becoming indignant.

Quoted on February 20, 2021

[again, so good at explaining how self-deception works!]
Upon that he got up and went away, but again in the evening he found himself near her. Perhaps there is no position more perilous to a man's honesty than that in which Phineas now found himself;—that, namely, of knowing himself to be quite loved by a girl whom he almost loves himself. Of course he loved Violet Effingham; and they who talk best of love protest that no man or woman can be in love with two persons at once. Phineas was not in love with Mary Flood Jones; but he would have liked to take her in his arms and kiss her;—he would have liked to gratify her by swearing that she was dearer to him than all the world; he would have liked to have an episode,—and did, at the moment, think that it might be possible to have one life in London and another life altogether different at Killaloe. "Dear Mary," he said as he pressed her hand that night, "things will get themselves settled at last, I suppose." He was behaving very ill to her, but he did not mean to behave ill.

Quoted on February 20, 2021

On returning to the sitting-room he went to a little desk from which he took out the letter from Mary which the reader has seen, and carefully perused every word of it. "She is the best of them all," he said to himself, as he refolded the letter and put it back into his desk. I am not sure that it is well that a man should have any large number from whom to select a best; as, in such circumstances, he is so very apt to change his judgment from hour to hour. The qualities which are the most attractive before dinner sometimes become the least so in the evening.

Quoted on November 30, 2020

I have said that she would sit there resolving, or trying to resolve. There is nothing in the world so difficult as that task of making up one's mind. Who is there that has not longed that the power and privilege of selection among alternatives should be taken away from him in some important crisis of his life, and that his conduct should be arranged for him, either this way or that, by some divine power if it were possible,—by some patriarchal power in the absence of divinity,—or by chance even, if nothing better than chance could be found to do it? But no one dares to cast the die, and to go honestly by the hazard. There must be the actual necessity of obeying the die, before even the die can be of any use.

Quoted on November 29, 2020

After a little time the photograph was brought forth from his Grace's pocket. That bringing out and giving of photographs, with the demand for counter photographs, is the most absurd practice of the day. "I don't think I look very nice, do I?" "Oh yes,—very nice, but a little too old; and certainly you haven't got those spots all over your forehead. These are the remarks which on such occasions are the most common. It may be said that to give a photograph or to take a photograph without the utterance of some words which would be felt by a bystander to be absurd, is almost an impossibility. At this moment there was no bystander, and therefore the Duke and the lady had no need for caution. Words were spoken that were very absurd.

Quoted on November 29, 2020

And now will the Muses assist me while I sing an altogether new song? On the Tuesday the Cabinet met at the First Lord's official residence in Downing Street, and I will attempt to describe what, according to the bewildered brain of a poor fictionist, was said or might have been said, what was done or might have been done, on so august an occasion.

Quoted on November 17, 2020

After all, a husband is very much like a house or a horse. You don't take your house because it's the best house in the world, but because just then you want a house. You go and see a house, and if it's very nasty you don't take it. But if you think it will suit pretty well, and if you are tired of looking about for houses, you do take it. That's the way one buys one's horses,--and one's husbands.

Quoted on October 4, 2011

But she was highly ambitious, and she played her game with great skill and great caution. Her doors were not open to all callers; - were shut even to some who find but few doors closed against them; - were shut occasionally to those whom she most specially wished to see within them. She knew how to allure by denying, and to make the gift rich by delaying it. We are told the Latin proverb that he who gives quickly gives twice; but I say that she who gives quickly seldom gives more than half.

Quoted on September 30, 2011

Ex Libris Kirkland is a super-self-absorbed reading journal made by Matt Kirkland. Copyright © 2001 - .
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