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I've always shrunk from usurping the functions of Providence, and when I have to exercise them I decidedly prefer that it shouldn't be on an errand of destruction.

EDITH WHARTON, "The Eyes," Tales of Men and Ghosts

Vanity prefers to assume that indifference is a latent form of unfriendliness.

EDITH WHARTON, The House of Mirth

It's not a bad thing for a man to have to live his life--and we nearly all manage to dodge it. Our first round with the Sphinx may strike something out of us--a book or a picture or a symphony; and we're amazed at our feat, and go on letting that first work breed others, as some animal forms reproduce each other without renewed fertilization. So there we are, committed to our first guess at the riddle; and our works look as like as successive impressions of the same plate, each with the lines a little fainter; whereas they ought to be--if we touch earth between times--as different from each other as those other creatures--jellyfish, aren't they, of a kind?--where successive generations produce new forms, and it takes a zoologist to see the hidden likeness.

EDITH WHARTON, "The Legend," Taled of Men and Ghosts

Why do we call all our generous ideas illusions, and the mean ones truths?

EDITH WHARTON, The House of Mirth

The real loneliness is living among all these kind people who only ask one to pretend!

EDITH WHARTON, The Age of Innocence

I wonder, among all the tangles of this mortal coil, which one contains tighter knots to undo, & consequently suggests more tugging, & pain, & diversified elements of misery, than the marriage tie.

EDITH WHARTON, letter, Feb. 12, 1909


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