Whenever people say, “We mustn’t be sentimental,” you can take it they are about to do something cruel. And if they add, “We must be realistic,” they mean they are going to make money from it.
Manners are the happy way of doing things. . . . If they are superficial, so are the dewdrops which give such depth to the morning meadows.
A society based on cash and self-interest is not a society at all, but a state of war.
Civilization has taught us to eat with a fork, but even now if nobody is around we use our fingers.
One day she told me the story of her early life. Her first love affair took place when she was around eighteen. The young man was a year or two older and the procedure they adopted was to take off their clothes and, quite naked, climb two adjacent poplar trees. When they were as high as they could get, they would make them sway till their branches touched. They themselves never did.
The perfect hostess will see to it that the works of male and female authors be properly separated on her bookshelves. Their proximity, unless they happen to be married, should not be tolerated.
Civilization is the lamb’s skin in which barbarism masquerades.
The great secret, Eliza, is not having bad manners or good manners or any other particular sort of manners, but having the same manner for all human souls: in short, behaving as if you were in Heaven, where there are no third-class carriages, and one soul is as good as another.
The Bible tells us to love our neighbors and also to love our enemies — probably because generally they are the same people.
A society that presumes a norm of violence and celebrates aggression, whether in the subway, on the football field, or in the conduct of its business, cannot help making celebrities of the people who would destroy it.
The best thing about animals is that they don’t talk much.
Kindness is a virtue neither modern nor urban. One almost unlearns it in a city. Towns . . . are not unfriendly; they offer a vast and solacing anonymity or an equally vast and solacing gregariousness. But one needs a neighbor on whom to practice compassion.
Always live in the ugliest house on the street. Then you don’t have to look at it.
This is what you should do: love the Earth and the Sun and the animals, despise riches, give alms to everyone that asks, stand up for the stupid and crazy, devote your income and labor to others, hate tyrants, argue not concerning God, have patience and indulgence toward the people, take off your hat to nothing known or unknown nor to any man nor any number of men, reexamine what you’ve been told at school or in church or in any book, dismiss what insults your soul, and your very flesh shall be a great poem.
The first half of my life, I responded to arrogant people with anger and arrogance. Now I respond to their fragility with delicate care.
Former Postmaster General J. Edward Day revealed in his book an ingenious way to stop long-winded telephone callers. Day suggests you hang up while you are talking. The other party will think you were accidentally cut off, because no one would hang up on his own voice.