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Sarah Orne Jewett

  • ... she wore a fixed smile that wa'n't a smile; there wa'n't no light behind it, same's a lamp can't shine if it ain't lit.

    • Sarah Orne Jewett,
    • "The Foreigner," in Atlantic Monthly ()
  • She's well featured, if it were not for her nose, and that looks as if it had been thrown at her, and she wasn't particular about having it on firm, in hopes of getting a better one.

  • She had no equal in sickness, and knew how to brew every old-fashioned dose and to make every variety of herb-tea, and when her nursing was put to an end by her patient's death, she was commander-in-chief at the funeral ...

  • She did not seem to mind talking about the troubles of her married life any more than a soldier minds telling the story of his campaigns, and dwells with pride on the worst battle of all.

  • It seemed as if all the clocks in Deephaven, and all the people with them, had stopped years ago, and the people had been doing over and over what they had been busy about during the last week of their unambitious progress.

  • ... we have these instincts which defy all our wisdom and for which we never can frame any laws. ... They are powers which are imperfectly developed in this life, but one cannot help the thought that the mystery of this world may be the commonplace of the next.

  • Satisfaction, even after one has dined well, is not so interesting and eager a feeling as hunger.

    • Sarah Orne Jewett,
    • "Tom's Husband," in The Atlantic ()
  • ... I've found that people who look at things as they are, and not as they wish them to be, are the ones who succeed.

    • Sarah Orne Jewett,
    • "Farmer Finch," A White Heron and Other Stories ()
  • I've got 's much feelin' as the next one, but when folks drives in their spiggits and wants to draw a bucketful o' compassion every day right straight along, there does come times when it seems as if the bar'l was getting low.

  • What's everybody's business is nobody's business ...

    • Sarah Orne Jewett,
    • "The Town Poor," in The Atlantic Monthly ()
  • ... it is only unimaginative persons who can be really astonished. The imagination can always outrun the possible and actual sights and sounds of the world ...

    • Sarah Orne Jewett,
    • "The Flight of Betsey Lane," A Native of Winby and Other Tales ()
  • ... a lean sorrow is hardest to bear.

    • Sarah Orne Jewett,
    • "All My Sad Captains," The Life of Nancy ()
  • The process of falling in love at first sight is as final as it is swift in such a case, but the growth of true friendship may be a lifelong affair.

  • ... Captain Littlepage had overset his mind with too much reading ...

  • ... wrecked on the lee shore of age ...

  • ... 'tis a good deal more tryin' to be tied to folks you don't like than 'tis to be alone.

  • ... you never get over bein' a child long's you have a mother to go to.

  • Tact is after all a kind of mind-reading ...

  • It is not often given in a noisy world to come to the places of great grief and silence.

  • There's some herb that's good for everybody, except for them that thinks they're sick when they ain't.

  • ... my friends plunged into a borderless sea of reminiscences and personal news.

  • Conversation's got to have some root in the past, or else you've got to explain every remark you make, an' it wears a person out.

  • Yes'm, old friends is always best, 'less you can catch a new one that's fit to make an old one out of ...

  • In these days the young folks is all copy-cats, 'fraid to death they won't be all just alike; as for the old folks, they pray for the advantage o' bein' a little different.

  • In the life of each of us, I said to myself, there is a place remote and islanded, and given to endless regret or secret happiness ...

  • ... 't ain't worth while to wear a day all out before it comes.

  • There was a patient look on the old man's face, as if the world were a great mistake and he had nobody with whom to speak his own language or find companionship.

  • The road was new to me, as roads always are, going back.

  • ... I couldn't help thinkin' if she was as far out o' town as she was out o' tune, she wouldn't get back in a day.

  • Life was resumed, and anxious living blew away as if it had not been. I could not breathe deep enough or long enough. It was a return to happiness.

    • Sarah Orne Jewett,
    • "William's Wedding," The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories ()
  • So we die before our own eyes; so we see some chapters of our lives comes to their natural end.

    • Sarah Orne Jewett,
    • "The Backward View," The Country of the Pointed Firs and Other Stories ()
  • ... the mysterious moment of death proves to be a moment of waking. How one longs to take it for one's self!

    • Sarah Orne Jewett,
    • letter to Annie Fields (1885), in Annie Fields, ed., Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett ()
  • Such a nice day — out all day up in the Carter Notch direction, trout-fishing, with the long drive there and the long drive home again in time for supper. It was a lovely brook and I caught seven good trout and one small one — which eight trout-persons you should have for your breakfast if only you were near enough. It was not alone the fishing, but the delightful loneliness and being out of doors.

    • Sarah Orne Jewett,
    • letter to Annie Fields (1896), in Annie Fields, ed., Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett ()
  • Who was it said that you never get to a place until a day after you come, nor leave it until a day after you go?

    • Sarah Orne Jewett,
    • 1899, in Annie Fields, ed., Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett ()
  • There is something out of gear about graded schools and all that. Memory is developed at the expense of what in general we are pleased to call thought and character.

    • Sarah Orne Jewett,
    • in Annie Fields, ed., Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett ()
  • Imagination is the only true thing in the world!

    • Sarah Orne Jewett,
    • in Annie Fields, ed., Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett ()
  • Do not hurry too fast in these early winter days, — a quiet hour is worth more to you than anything you can do in it.

    • Sarah Orne Jewett,
    • in Annie Fields, ed., Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett ()
  • ... if you don't keep and guard and mature your force, and above all, have time and quiet to perfect your work, you will be writing things not much better than you did five years ago. ... you must write to the human heart, the great consciousness that all humanity goes to make up. Otherwise what might be strength in a writer is only crudeness, and what might be insight is only observation; sentimemnt falls to sentimentality — you can write about life, but never write life itself.

    • Sarah Orne Jewett,
    • letter to Willa Cather, in Annie Fields, ed., Letters of Sarah Orne Jewett ()
  • Don't scatter your fire! You are a prose writer: stick to your own tool!

    • Sarah Orne Jewett,
    • advice to Laura E. Richards, in Laura E. Richards, Stepping Westward ()
  • You must find your own quiet center of life, and write from that to the world.

    • Sarah Orne Jewett,
    • letter to Willa Cather (1908), in Elizabeth Silverthorne, Sarah Orne Jewett ()
  • The thing that teases the mind over and over for years, and at last gets itself put down rightly on paper — whether little or great, it belongs to Literature.

    • Sarah Orne Jewett,
    • letter to Willa Cather (1908), in Elizabeth Silverthorne, Sarah Orne Jewett ()

Sarah Orne Jewett, U.S. writer

(1849 - 1909)

Real name: Alice Aliot.