Tag Archives: Bronte

Literary Quotations

8 Aug

Wuthering Heights

The thing that irks me most is this shattered prison

I’ll try to break their hearts by breaking my own

Where is she? Not there – not in heaven – not perished – where? …Be with me always – take any form – drive me mad! only do not leave me in this abyss, where I cannot find you! Oh, God! it is inutterable! I cannot live without my life! I cannot live without my soul!

I’m tired, tired of being enclosed here. I’m wearying to escape into that glorious world, and to be always there

What were the use of my creation if I were entirely contained here?

Surely you and every body have a notion that there is, or should be, an existence of yours beyond you

Be off, or I’ll hurt you seriously! I’ll have you all modelled in wax and clay

Cathy was there, not under [him], but on the earth

Heaven would be a land of exile to her, unless, with her mortal body, she cast away her moral character also

Miss is dreadfully wayward, sir!…you’d better be riding home, or else she will be sick, only to grieve us

If I were only sure it would kill him…I’d kill myself directly!

Jane Eyre

Reader, I married him

All said I was wicked, and perhaps I might be so; what thought had I been but just conceiving of starving myself to death?

What a mouth! And what large prominent teeth!

It had opened the doors of the soul’s cell, and loosed its bands – it had wakened it out of its sleep, whence it sprang trembling, listening, aghast

Watch and pray that you enter not into temptation: the spirit, I trust, is willing, but the flesh, I see, is weak

My spirit…is willing to do what is right; and my flesh, I hope, is strong enough to accomplish the will of Heaven

You need not look in that way…if you do, I’ll wear nothing but my old Lowood frocks to the end of the chapter. I’ll be married in this lilac gingham

The strange little figure there gazing at me, with a white face and arms specking the gloom, and glittering eyes of fear moving where all else was still, had the effect of a real spirit

You strange – you almost unearthly thing! – I love as my own flesh

If I dared, I’d touch you, to see if you are substance or shadow, you elf!

I am not an angel…you must neither expect nor exact anything celestial of me – for you will not get it

I felt it a misfortune that I was so little, so pale, and had features so irregular and so marked

Why did they send me so far and so lonely, Up where the moors spread and grey rocks are piled?

Whatever I do with its cage, I cannot get at it – the savage , beautiful creature! If I tear, if I rent the slight prison, my outrage will only let the captive loose

Conqueror I might be of the house; but the inmate would escape to heaven before I could call myself possessor of its clay dwelling-place


They wrote HELL on her straight, haughty brow. They turned her voice to the note of torment. They writhed her regal face to a demoniac mask. Hate and Murder and Madness incarnate, she stood

A want of companionship maintained in my soul the cravings of a most deadly famine

Girls – such as me and Miss Snowe – don’t need treats, but he would like it

Better, perhaps, to die quickly a pleasant death, than drag on long a charmless life

I was commanded to eat…M. Paul superintended my repast, and almost forced upon me more than I could swallow


The mind, having no pleasant food to nourish it, no manna of hope, no hived-honey of joyous memories, tries to live on the meagre diet of wishes

Pride and Prejudice

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife

They have none of them much to recommend them…they are all silly and ignorant like other girls

Mary wished to say something sensible, but knew not how

Mr Darcy soon drew the attention of the room by his fine, tall person, handsome features, noble mien…and the report…of his having ten thousand a year

He was discovered to be proud, to be above his company and above being pleased

I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men

There is one great difference between us. Compliments always take you by surprise, and me never

Bingley was sure of being liked wherever he appeared; Darcy was continually giving offence

I could easily forgive his pride, if he had not mortified mine

Pride relates more to our opinion of ourselves, vanity to what we would have others think of us

In nine cases ouf of ten, a woman had better show more affection than she feels

When she is secure of him, there will be leisure for falling in love as much as she chooses

I have been meditating on the very great pleasure which a pair of fine eyes in the pretty face of a woman can bestow

You had better go on horseback, because it seems likely to rain; and then you must stay all night…

Follies and nonsense, whims and inconsistencies do divert me, I own, and I laugh at them whenever I can

Where there is a real superiority of mind, pride will be always under good regulation

My good opinion once lost is lost forever

The more I see of the world, the more am I dissatisfied with it

Snow White

There she lay, so beautiful that he could not turn his eyes away; and he stooped down and gave her a kiss little briar rose

Let me have it as a gift, for I cannot live without seeing Snow White. I will honour and prize her as my dearest possession

There she lay, so beautiful that he could not turn his eyes away; and he stooped down and gave her a kiss

She stretched out her hand and took the poisonous half. But hardly had she a bit of it in her mouth than she fell down dead

Fall of the House of Usher

We have put her living in the tomb!…I heard her first feeble movements in the hollow coffin. I heard them – many, many days ago – yet I dared not – I dared not speak!


The colour disappeared from both eyelid and cheek, leaving a wanness even more than that of marble; the lips became doubly shrivelled and pinched up in the ghastly expression of death

Jude the Obscure

So would she be to him a kindly star, an elevating power, a companion in Anglican worship, a tender friend

I think she ought to be smacked, and brought to her senses—that’s what I think!

I have been thinking…that the social moulds civilization fits us into have no more relation to our actual shapes than the conventional shapes of the constellations have to the real star-patterns


Her mind was theoretic, and yearned by its nature after some lofty conception of the world

She spoke with more energy than is expected of so young a lady

Mrs Lemon’s school, the chief school in the county, where the teaching included all that was demanded in the accomplished female – even to extras, such as the getting in and out of a carriage

An accomplished woman almost always knows more than we men, though her knowledge is of a different sort

I cannot let young ladies meddle with my documents, Young ladies are too flighty

A woman should be able to sit down and play you or sing you a good old English tune

Sane people did what their neighbours did, so that if any lunatics were at large, one might know and avoid them

Alice in Wonderland

“I know something interesting is sure to happen,” she said to herself, “whenever I eat or drink anything; so I’ll just see what this bottle does”

“If I eat one of these cakes,” she thought, “it’s sure to make some change in my size”

She took down a jar…as she passed: it was labelled “ORANGE MARMALADE”, but to her great disappointment it was empty

Little girls eat eggs quite as much as serpents do, you know

Cherry tart, custard, pineapple, roast turkey, toffee, and hot buttered toast

She had never forgotten that if you drink much from a bottle marked “poison”, it was almost certain to disagree with you

On Corsets

Many of my young lady customers say they really like the sensation produced, and two at least of our assistants have pulled in far smaller than the size we have to insist upon for business hours (1896)

Small by degrees and beautifully less (1868)

I’m dying to get mar—I mean, to please the gentlemen, why you see of course I must lace in my waist a bit, though it makes me feel quite faint at times (1863)

The waist is an infallible index to the moral worth of a woman; very little of the latter survives the pressure of a tightened corset (Sarah Grand)

Whenever you see a small waist, think how much health is wasted (1848)

Fashion without folly, and elegance without extravagance – Anti Corset League Motto

Bent spines and reddened noses…headache, giddiness and fainting fits’ themselves become ‘fashionable ailments – Illnesses that accompany tight-lacing

A narrowness of waist betrays a narrowness of mind. When the ribs are contracted, it is a sure sign that the intellect is also (Punch, 1847)

ELLA had a little waist,

She could eat no dinner,

For she was so tightly laced,

Space was not within her (1889)

My maid has the impertinence to follow the new fashion, and is getting quite unfit for work through her tight-lacing (1869)

Several of our tightest-lacing customers say that they can be laced in most easily when standing with their arms lifted up above their heads. As you know, such a position contracts the waist quite noticeable. Others lie either on the bed or floor whilst their maid tightens them in to the required extent (1896)

Many of my young lady customers say they really like the sensation produced, and two at least of our assistants have pulled in far smaller than the size we have to insist upon for business hours (1896)

And the sensation, when one is used to it…is not unpleasant. I find an 18-inch corset quite comfortable, though I am stouter than I used to be, and always wear 17-inch ones for bals, on fète days, and such occasions. I have slept in corsets for years, and many of my customers do also. To do so preserves the smallness of the figure (1896)

Florence Nightingale

Give us back our suffering, we cry to Heaven in our hearts — suffering rather than indifferentism; for out of nothing comes nothing. But out of suffering may come the cure

And what is it to be “read aloud to”? The most miserable exercise of the human intellect

We fast mentally, scourge ourselves morally, use the intellectual hair-shirt, in order to subdue that perpetual day-dreaming, which is so dangerous!