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Rebecca Harding Davis

  • These great turning-days of life cast no shadow before, slip by unconsciously. Only a trifle, a little turn of the rudder, and the ship goes to heaven or hell.

    • Rebecca Harding Davis,
    • "Life in the Iron-Mills," Atlantic Monthly ()
  • A great hope fell, you heard no noise, the ruin was within.

    • Rebecca Harding Davis,
    • "Life in the Iron-Mills," Atlantic Monthly ()
  • Every child was taught from his cradle that money was Mammon, the chief agent of the flesh and the devil. As he grew up it was his duty as a Christian and a gentleman to appear to despise filthy lucre, whatever his secret opinion of it might be.

  • Nowhere in this country, from sea to sea, does nature comfort us with such assurance of plenty, such rich and tranquil beauty as in those unsung, unpainted hills of Pennsylvania.

  • ... the New Englander landed on a stony, barren tract, and a large share of his strength during two centuries has gone to force a living out of it. Hence he has come to regard economy — a necessary unpleasant quality at best — as the chief of virtues. He has cultivated habits which verge on closeness in dealing with food, and with the expression of feeling, and even — his enemies think — with feeling itself.

  • I have never seen an adequate description anywhere of the amazement, the uncomprehending horror of the bulk of the American people which preceded the firing of that gun at Sumter. Politicians or far-sighted leaders on both sides knew what was coming. And it is they who have written histories of the war. But to the easy-going millions, busied with their farms or shops, the onrushing disaster was as inexplicable as an earthquake. Their protest arose from sea to sea like the clamor of a gigantic hive of frightened bees.

  • North and South were equally confident that God was on their side, and appealed incessantly to him.

  • Men and women thought and did noble and mean things that would have been impossible to them before or after. A man cannot drink old Bourbon long and remain in his normal condition. We did not drink Bourbon, but blood.

  • ... I suppose that the party or sect which is to do any work in the world must breathe its own peculiar atmosphere, speak its own little patois, and see but one side of the question on which it fights.

  • ... while the light burning within may have been divine, the outer case of the lamp was assuredly cheap enough.

  • ... it is a mistake to talk of the twilight of age, or the blurred sight of old people. The long day grows clearer at its close, and the petty fogs of prejudice which rose between us and our fellows in youth melt away as the sun goes down. At last we see God's creatures as they are.

Rebecca Harding Davis, U.S. writer, social critic

(1831 - 1910)

Full name: Rebecca Blaine Harding Davis.