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Stella Benson

  • Sometimes I pose, but sometimes I pose as posing.

  • Twenty-three is said to be the prime of life by those who have reached so far and no farther. It shares this distinction with every age, from ten to three-score and ten.

  • The dense and godly wear consistency as a flower, the imaginative fling it joyfully behind them.

  • Imagination seems to be a glory and a misery, a blessing and a curse. Adam, to his sorrow, lacked it. Eve, to her sorrow, possessed it. Had both been blessed — or cursed — with it, there would have been much keener competition for the apple.

  • Curiosity needs food as much as any of us, and dies soon if denied it.

  • Islands are gregarious animals, they decorate the ocean in conveys.

  • There are some people who can never see a little cloud of fantasy float across the horizon of their dreams without building a heavy castle in the air upon it, and bringing it to earth.

  • There are, broadly speaking, two kinds of workers in the world, the people who do all the work, and the people who think they do all the work. The latter class is generally the busiest, the former never has time to be busy.

  • ... he believed that he was a pillar supporting the world. It sometimes makes one nervous to reflect what very amateur pillars the world seems to employ.

  • The gardener was one of those who are never surprised without being thunderstruck. He was very thorough in habit, and drank every emotion to its dregs.

  • Unpopularity is a excellent salve to the conscience; it is delicious to be misunderstood.

  • He was always willing to be the text of his own oratory.

  • She specialized in feminism, and in her eyes to be a woman was in itself a good argument.

  • Man is potentially a son, and woman is potentially a mother; woman depends on the dependence of man. The spinster, if pathetic at all, is pathetic because she has no one to look after, not because there is no one to look after her. Bear in mind that the conventional spinster keeps a canaary as a substitute for a husband.

  • The moment of cocoa-drinking was always the moment of confidences.

  • 'You want the vote so badly that you think it worth while to become hysterical over it.' 'There is not much hysteria in the movement, only hysteria is the thing that strikes a hysterical press as most worthy of note.'

  • The Law likes to be argued with. Take away words and where is the Law? Silence always annoys it.

  • Call no man foe, but never love a stranger.

  • I hope that the feeling of making poetry is not confined to the people who write it down. There is no luxury like it, and I hope we all share it. ... I am sure that the great glory of poetry in one's heart does not wait on achievement.

  • The sun was like a word written between the sea and the sky, a word that was swallowed up by the sea before any man had time to read it.

  • The more committees you belong to, the less of ordinary life you will understand. When your daily round becomes nothing more than a daily round of committees you might as well be dead.

  • ... a committee, of course, exists for the purpose of damping enthusiasms.

  • What is this Charity, this clinking of money between strangers, and when did Charity cease to be a comforting and secret thing between one friend and another? Does Love make her voice heard through a committee, does Love employ an almoner to convey her message to her neighbor? ... The real Love knows her neighbor face to face, and laughs with him and weeps with him, and eats and drinks with him, so that at last, when his black day dawns, she may share with him, not what she can spare, but all that she has.

  • The music paled like a candle and went out ...

  • He hoped he would die before the party. As a solver of problems it is a fact that death has been over-rated.

  • Californians have brought suburb-making almost to an art. Their cities and their country-side are equally suburban. No-one has a country house in California; no-one has a city house. It is good to see trees always from city windows, but it is not so good always to see houses from country windows.

  • ... always there is a sort of dream of air between you and the hills of California, a veil of unreality in the intervening air. It gives the hills the bloom that peaches have, or grapes in the dew.

  • Nearly everybody in San Francisco writes poetry. Few San Franciscans would admit this, but most of them would rather like to have their productions accidentally discovered.

  • 'Well, Ipsie, all I can say is ... ' But she never said anything more, so perhaps that really was all she could say.

  • The train ran like a struggling fish on an almost taut line; it jerked helplessly yet strongly from side to side; twitching and tugging, it was drawn through the rippling land towards the ruthless mountains.

  • Sometimes I think there are two kinds of people — the autobiographists and the biographists.

  • ... Americans were people who wanted to leave every place better than they found it, to leave every man more of a man than they found him. ... Americans could open doors to almost all that was admirable — it was their misfortune, not their fault, that movies and victrolas and advertisements squeezed in when they opened the door.

  • Family jokes, of course, though rightly cursed by strangers, are the bond that keeps most families alive.

  • He had always been sartorially unlucky ... A conspiracy of tailors and outfitters, as it seemed to him, caused him always to be nipped at the armpits by waistcoats, irked across the back by coats, deserted by studs, tortured by shoes, blistered by socks, betrayed by sock-suspenders and braces ...

  • His temper was so short that there never was an inch of it to spare.

  • You can't discover one foot of clay on an idol without suspecting the other.

  • Rodd was one of the few persons who really profited by the discovery of Drake or Magellan or Columbus or whoever it was that established the globularity of the globe. Rodd actually was inarticulately conscious of himself as a little essential louse moving about an immense but quite conceivable round object.

  • 'My good sense isn't native,' she thought. 'What there is of it is just a naturalized alien.'

  • Cows in India occupy the same position in society as women did in England before they got the vote. Woman was revered but not encouraged. Her life was one long obstacle race owing to the anxiety of man to put pedestals at her feet. While she was falling over the pedestals she was soothingly told that she must occupy a Place Apart — and indeed, so far Apart did her place prove to be that it was practically out of earshot. The cow in India finds her position equally lofty and tiresome. You practically never see a happy cow in India.

  • Los Angeles is a sophisticated city; it has no eccentricities and no heart.

  • We travel because we do not know. We know that we do not know the best before we start. That is why we start. But we forget that we do not know the worst either. That is why we come back.

Stella Benson, English writer, poet

(1892 - 1933)