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THE LIFE AND ADVENTURES OF NICHOLAS NICKLEBY

by: Charles Dickens


Gold conjures up a mist about a man, more destructive of all his old senses and lulling to his feelings than the fumes of charcoal.

The sun does not shine upon this fair earth to meet frowning eyes, depend upon it.

The pain of parting is nothing to the joy of meeting again.

Dreams are the bright creatures of poem and legend, who sport on earth in the night season, and melt away in the first beam of the sun, which lights grim care and stern reality on their daily pilgrimage through the world.

He had but one eye, and the popular prejudice runs in favor of two.

Subdue your appetites, my dears, and you've conquered human nature.

Although a man may lose a sense of his own importance when he is a mere unit among a busy throng, all utterly regardless of him, it by no means follows that he can dispossess himself, with equal facility, of a very strong sense of the importance and magnitude of his cares.

There are only two styles of portrait painting; the serious and the smirk.

A man in public life expects to be sneered at—it is the fault of his elevated sitiwation, and not of himself.

Quadruped lions are said to be savage, only when they are hungry; biped lions are rarely sulky longer than when their appetite for distinction remains unappeased.

Miss Knag still aimed at youth, although she had shot beyond it, years ago.

Thus, cases of injustice, and oppression, and tyranny, and the most extravagant bigotry, are in constant occurrence among us every day. It is the custom to trumpet forth much wonder and astonishment at the chief actors therein setting at defiance so completely the opinion of the world; but there is no greater fallacy; it is precisely because they do consult the opinion of their own little world that such things take place at all, and strike the great world dumb with amazement.

May not the complaint, that common people are above their station, often take its rise in the fact of uncommon people being below theirs?

There are not a few among the disciples of charity who require, in their vocation, scarcely less excitement than the votaries of pleasure in theirs.

When I speak of home, I speak of the place where -- in default of a better -- those I love are gathered together; and if that place were a gypsy's tent, or a barn, I should call it by the same good name notwithstanding.

That sort of half sigh, which, accompanied by two or three slight nods of the head, is pity’s small change in general society.

How can you capture the sympathies of the audience unless you have a small man, fighting against a bigger one?

Love ... is very materially assisted by a warm and active imagination: which has a long memory, and will thrive, for a considerable time, on very slight and sparing food.

For nature gives to every time and season some beauties of its own; and from morning to night, as from the cradle to the grave, is but a succession of changes so gentle and easy, that we can scarcely mark their progress.

Although a skillful flatterer is a most delightful companion if you can keep him all to yourself, his taste becomes very doubtful when he takes to complimenting other people.

Some of the craftiest scoundrels that ever walked this earth . . . will gravely jot down in diaries the events of every day, and keep a regular debtor and creditor account with heaven, which shall always show a floating balance in their own favour.

Natural affections and instincts, my dear sir, are the most beautiful of the Almighty's works, but like other beautiful works of His, they must be reared and fostered, or it is as natural that they should be wholly obscured, and that new feelings should usurp their place, as it is that the sweetest productions of the earth, left untended, should be choked with weeds and briers. I wish we could be brought to consider this, and remembering natural obligations a little more at the right time, talk about them a little less at the wrong one.

It is a hopeless endeavour to attract people to a theatre unless they can be first brought to believe that they will never get in.

Memory, however sad, is the best and purest link between this world and a better.

It is a pleasant thing to reflect upon, and furnishes a complete answer to those who contend for the gradual degeneration of the human species, that every baby born into the world is a finer one than the last.

Young men not being as a class remarkable for modesty or self-denial, especially when there is a lady in the case, when, if they colour at all, it is rather their practise to colour the story, and not themselves.

Mystery and disappointment are not absolutely indispensable to the growth of love, but they are, very often, its powerful auxiliaries.

Pride is one of the seven deadly sins; but it cannot be the pride of a mother in her children, for that is a compound of two cardinal virtues — faith and hope.

There are many pleasant fictions of the law in constant operation, but there is not one so pleasant or practically humorous as that which supposes every man to be of equal value in its impartial eye, and the benefits of all laws to be equally attainable by all men, without the smallest reference to the furniture of their pockets.

When men are about to commit, or sanction the commission of some injustice, it is not uncommon for them to express pity for the object either of that or some parallel proceeding, and to feel themselves, at the time, quite virtuous and moral, and immensely superior to those who express no pity at all. This is a kind of upholding of faith above works, and is very comfortable.

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