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Ouida

  • It is the north wind that lashes men into vikings; it is the soft, luscious south wind which lulls them into lotus dreams.

  • For Pastrasche was their alpha and omega; their treasury and granary; their store of gold and wand of wealth; their bread-winner and minister; their only friend and comforter. ... Pastrasche was their dog.

  • Indifference is the invincible giant of the world.

  • There is a chord in every heart that has a sigh in it if touched aright.

  • Music is not a science any more than poetry is. It is a sublime instinct, like genius of all kinds.

  • ... there is no applause that so flatters a man as that which he wrings from unwilling throats ...

    • Ouida,
    • title story, Pipistrello ()
  • Why is youth so short and age so long?

    • Ouida,
    • "Fame," Pipistrello ()
  • Petty laws breed great crimes.

    • Ouida,
    • "The Marriage Plate," Pipistrello ()
  • Belief of some sort is the lifeblood of Art.

  • A great love is an absolute isolation and an absolute absorption.

  • Truth is a rough, honest, helter-skelter terrier, that none like to see brought into their drawing-rooms ...

  • There is no more terrible woe upon earth than the woe of the stricken brain, which remembers the days of its strength, the living light of its reason, the sunrise of its proud intelligence, and knows that these have passed away like a tale that is told ...

  • Death! It is rest to the aged, it is oblivion to the atheist, it is immortality to the poet!

  • Power is sweet, and when you are a little clerk you love its sweetness quite as much as if you were an emperor, and maybe you love it a good deal more.

  • Take hope from the heart of man, and you make him a beast of prey.

  • Humiliation is a guest that only comes to those who have made ready his resting-place, and will give him a fair welcome. ... no one can disgrace you save yourself.

  • I have met a thousand scamps; but I never met one who considered himself so. Self-knowledge isn't so common.

  • Men are always optimists when they look inwards, and pessimists when they look round them.

  • ... nothing is so pleasant ... as to display your worldly wisdom in epigram and dissertation, but it is a trifle tedious to hear another person display theirs.

  • When you talk yourself, you think how witty, how original, how acute you are; but when another does so, you are very apt to think only — What a crib from Rochefoucauld!

  • To vice, innocence must always seem only a superior kind of chicanery.

  • To him all that was indefinite was evil; all that was unfamiliar was horrible. It is the error of ignorance at all times.

  • Love is cruel as the grave.

  • Count art by gold, and it fetters the feet it once winged.

  • It needs a great nature to bear the weight of a great gratitude.

  • ... you have not a boat of your own, that is just it; that is what women always suffer from; they have to steer, but the craft is some one else's, and the haul too.

  • A cruel story runs on wheels, and every hand oils the wheels as they run.

  • ... age is nothing but death that is conscious.

  • Fame nowadays is little else but notoriety ...

  • When passion and habit long lie in company it is only slowly and with incredulity that habit awakens to finds its companion fled, itself alone.

  • An easy-going husband is the one indispensable comfort of life.

  • The art of pleasing is more based on the art of seeming pleased than people think of, and she disarmed the prejudices of her enemies by the unaffected delight she appeared to take in themselves.

  • We do not want to think. We do not want to hear. We do not care about anything. Only give us a good dinner and plenty of money, and let us outshine our neighbors. There is the Nineteenth Century Gospel.

  • They had lived in London and Paris all their lives, and had, before this, heard patriotism used as a reason for a variety of things, from a minister's keeping in office against the will of the country, to a newspaper's writing a country into bloodshed and bankrupty; they were quite aware of the word's elasticity.

  • The longest absence is less perilous to love than the terrible trials of incessant proximity.

  • What is it that love does to a woman? Without it, she only sleeps; with it, alone, she lives.

  • There is nothing that you may not get people to believe in if you will only tell it them loud enough and often enough, till the welkin rings with it.

  • Familiarity is a magician that is cruel to beauty but kind to ugliness.

  • A man may be a great statesman, and yet dislike his wife, and like somebody else's. A man may be a great hero, and yet he may have an unseemly passion, or an unpaid tailor. But the British public does not understand this. ... It thinks, unhappily or happily as you may choose to consider, that genius should keep the whole ten commandments. Now, genius is conspicuous for breaking them.

  • Even of death Christianity has made a terror which was unknown to the gay calmness of the Pagan ...

    • Ouida,
    • "The Failure of Christianity," Views and Opinions ()
  • Christianity ... has produced the iniquities of the Inquisition, the egotism and celibacy of the monasteries, the fury of religious wars, the ferocity of the Hussite, of the Catholic, of the Puritan, of the Spaniard, of the Irish Orangeman and of the Irish Papist; it has divided families, alienated friends, lighted the torch of civil war, and borne the virgin and the greybeard to the burning pile, broken delicate limbs upon the wheel and wrung the souls and bodies of innocent creatures on the rack; all this it has done, and done in the name of God.

    • Ouida,
    • "The Failure of Christianity," Views and Opinions ()
  • Christianity has been cruel in much to the human race. It has quenched much of the sweet joy and gladness of life; it has caused the natural passions and affections of it to be held as sins ...

    • Ouida,
    • "The Failure of Christianity," Views and Opinions ()
  • In its permission to man to render subject to him all other living creatures of the earth, it continued the cruelty of the barbarian and the pagan, and endowed these with what appeared a divine authority ...

    • Ouida,
    • "The Failure of Christianity," Views and Opinions ()
  • Christianity has ever been the enemy of human love; it has forever cursed and expelled and crucified the one passion which sweetens and smiles on human life, which makes the desert blossom as the rose, and which glorifies the common things and common ways of earth. It made of this, the angel of life, a shape of sin and darkness ... Even in the unions which it reluctantly permitted, it degraded and dwarfed the passion which it could not entirely exclude, and permitted it coarsely to exist for the mere necessity of procreation.

    • Ouida,
    • "The Failure of Christianity," Views and Opinions ()
  • Love, the one supreme, unceasing source of human felicity, the one sole joy which lifts the whole mortal existence into the empyrean, was by it [Christianity] degraded into the mere mechanical action of reproduction.

    • Ouida,
    • "The Failure of Christianity," Views and Opinions ()
  • [On Christianity:] Its lip-service and its empty rites have made it the easiest of all tasks for the usurer to cloak his cruelties, the miser to hide his avarice, the lawyer to condone his lies, the sinner of all social sins to purchase the social immunity from them by outward deference to churches.

    • Ouida,
    • "The Failure of Christianity," Views and Opinions ()
  • The Christian religion, outwardly and even in intention humble, does, without meaning it, teach man to regard himself as the most important of all created things. Man surveys the starry heavens and hears with his ears of the plurality of worlds; yet his religion bids him believe that his alone out of these innumerable spheres is the object of his master's love and sacrifice.

    • Ouida,
    • "The Failure of Christianity," Views and Opinions ()
  • He was by this time in that state of exaltation in which the impossible looks quite natural and commonplace.

    • Ouida,
    • "The Nürnberg Stove," A Dog of Flanders, the Nürnberg Stove, and Other Stories ()
  • ... for what is the gift of the poet and the artist except to see the sights which others cannot see and to hear the sounds that others cannot hear?

    • Ouida,
    • "The Nürnberg Stove," A Dog of Flanders, the Nürnberg Stove, and Other Stories ()
  • But an old proverb has settled long ago that pride feels no pain, and perhaps the more foolish the pride the less is the pain that is felt — for the moment.

    • Ouida,
    • "The Ambitious Rose Tree," A Dog of Flanders, the Nürnberg Stove, and Other Stories ()
  • ... the State only aims at instilling those qualities in its public by which its demands are obeyed, and its exchequer is filled. Its highest attainment is the reduction of mankind to clockwork. In its atmosphere all those finer and more delicate liberties, which require treatment and spacious expansion, inevitably dry up and perish. The State requires a taxpaying machine in which there is no hitch, an exchequer in which there is never a deficit, and a public, monotonous, obedient, colorless, spiritless, moving humbly like a flock of sheep along a straight high road between two walls.

    • Ouida,
    • in Emma Goldman, title essay, Anarchism ()
  • Intensely selfish people are always very decided as to what they wish. They do not waste their energies in considering the good of others.

    • Ouida

Ouida, English writer, social critic

(1839 - 1908)

Real name: Louise de la Ramée.