Month: February 2016


“The answer to all questions of life and death, ‘the absolute solution’ was written all over the world he had known: it was like a traveler realizing that the wild country he surveys is not an accidental assembly of natural phenomena but the page in a book where these mountains and forests, and fields, and rivers are disposed in such a way as to form a coherent sentence; the vowel of a lake fusing with the consonant of a sibilant slope; the windings of a road writing its message in a round hand, as dear as that of one’s father; trees conversing in dumb show, making sense to one who has learnt the gestures of their language.”

~ Vladimir Nabokov, The Real Life of Sebastian Knight



“The man who boasts that he habitually tells the truth is simply a man with no respect for it. It is not a thing to be thrown about loosely, like small change; it is something to be cherished and hoarded, and disbursed only when absolutely necessary.”

~ H.L. Mencken, Prejudices (‘Types of Men’)


“Hypocrisy is the most difficult and nerve-wracking vice that any man can pursue; it needs an unceasing vigilance and a rare detachment of spirit. It cannot, like adultery or gluttony, be practiced at spare moments; it is a whole-time job.”

~ W. Somerset Maugham, Cakes and Ale


“We had in this village more than twenty years ago an idiot-boy, whom I well remember, who, from a child, shewed a strong propensity to bees; they were his food, his amusement, his sole object. …[He] had no apprehension from their stings but would seize them nudis manibus, and at once disarm them of their weapons, and suck their bodies for the sake of their honey-bags. Sometimes he would fill his bosom between his shirt and his skin with a number of these captives; and sometimes would confine them in bottles… As he ran about he used to make a humming noise with his lips, resembling the buzzing of bees.”

~ Gilbert White, The Natural History of Selborne