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  • ... my rebelliousness went so deep that, faced with a can of asparagus that instructed me to open at this end, I always, stubbornly, opened it at the other.

  • I hate the word proper. If you tell me a thing is not proper, I immediately feel the most rabid desire to go 'neck and heels' into it.

  • ... when anybody talks to me as if I hadn't good sense, I'm immediately tempted to act as if I hadn't. Like sticking beans up your nose. ... you know the story about the mother who said to her children the last thing before she went out, Now be sure not to stick beans up your nose? Naturally, they would never have thought of it if she hadn't put the idea into their heads.

  • ... I can see that the Lady has a genius for ruling, whilst I have a genius for — not being ruled!

    • Jane Welsh Carlyle,
    • letter (1845), in Alexander Carlyle, ed., New Letters and Memorials of Jane Welsh Carlyle, vol. 1 ()
  • There are some few instances in which it is virtuous to disobey.

  • Disobedience is my joy!

  • [When forbidden to sing 'She sits among the cabbages and peas':] She sits among the cabbages and leaks.

  • 'Being defiant can be a good thing sometimes,' Aunty Ifeoma said. 'Defiance is like marijuana — it is not a bad thing when it is used right.