The Age of Innocence Quotes

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The Age of Innocence Quotes

Quote 1: "And he contemplated her own absorbed young face with a thrill of possessorship in which pride in his own masculine initiation was mingled with a tender reverence for her abysmal purity. 'We'll read italicsFaustitalics together . . . by the Italian lakes . . .' he thought, somewhat hazily confusing the scene of his projected honeymoon with the masterpieces of literature which it would be his manly privilege to reveal to his bride." Chapter 1, pg. 13

Quote 2: "'I didn't think the Mingott's would have tried it on.'" Chapter 1, pg. 16

Quote 3: "The persons of their world lived in an atmosphere of faint implications and pale delicacies, and the fact that he and she understood each other without a word seemed to the young man to bring them nearer than any explanation would have done." Chapter 2, pg. 14

Quote 4: "'I shall never let her see by the least sign that I am conscious of there being a shadow of a shade on poor Ellen Olenska's reputation." Chapter 3, pg. 27

Quote 5: "To the general relief the Countess Olenska was not present in her grandmother's drawing-room . . . it spared them the embarrassment of her presence, and the faint shadow that her unhappy past might seem to shed on their radiant future." Chapter 4, pg. 29

Quote 6: "'Women ought to be free - as free as we are,' he declared, making a discovery of which he was too irritated to measure the terrific consequences." Chapter 5, pg. 40

Quote 7: "That terrifying product of the social system he belonged to and believed in, the young girl who knew nothing and expected everything, looked back at him like a stranger through May Welland's familiar features; and once more it was borne in on him that marriage was not the safe anchorage he had been taught to think, but a voyage on uncharted seas." Chapter 6, pg. 41

Quote 8: "'It shows what Society has come to.'" Chapter 7, pg. 51

Quote 9: "But there was about her the mysterious authority of beauty, a sureness in the carriage of the head, the movement of the eyes, which, without being in the least theatrical, struck him as highly trainhed and full of a conscious power." Chapter 8, pg. 55-56

Quote 10: "The young man felt that his fate was sealed: for the rest of his life he would go up every evening between the cast-iron railings of that greenish-yellow doorstep, and pass through a Pompeian vestibule into a hall with a wainscoting of varnished yellow wood. But beyond that his imagination could not travel." Chapter 9, pg. 63

Quote 11: "He had never seen any as sun-golden before, and his first impulse was to send them to May instead of the lilies. But they did not look like her - there was something too rich, too strong, in their fiery beauty." Chapter 9, pg. 69

Quote 12: "What if, when he had bidden May Welland to open (her eyes,) they could only look out blankly at blankness?" Chapter 10, pg. 71

Quote 13: ". . . a haunting horror of doing the same thing every day at the same hour besieged his brain." Chapter 10, pg. 72

Quote 14: "A gentleman simply stayed at home and abstained. But you couldn't make a man like Winsett see that; and that was why the New York of literary clubs and exotic restaurants, though a first shake made it seem more of a kaleidoscope, turnedout, in the end, to be a smaller box, with a more monotonous pattern, than the assembled atoms of Fifth Avenue." Chapter 14, pg. 104

Quote 15: "He took it up, and found himself plunged in an atmosphere unlike any he had ever breathed in books; so warm, so rich, and yet so ineffably tender, that it gave a new and haunting beauty to the most elementary of human passions. All through the night he pursued through those enchanting pages the vision of a woman who had the face of Ellen Olenska . . . " Chapter 15, pg. 114

Quote 16: "But in another moment she seemed to have descended from her womanly eminence to helpless and timorous girlhood . . . at his first word of reassurance, she had dropped back into the usual, as a too adventurous child takes refuge in its mother's arms." Chapter 16, pg. 123

Quote 17: "Perhaps that faculty of unawareness was what gave her eyes their transparency, and her face the look of representing a type rather than a person; as if she might have been chosen to pose for a Civic Virtue or a Greek goddess." Chapter 19, pg. 154

Quote 18: "There was no use in trying to emancipate a wife who had not the dimmest notion that she was not free; and he had long since discovered that May's only use of the liberty she supposed herself to possess would be to lay it on the altar of her wifely adoration." Chapter 20, pg. 159

Quote 19: "The longing was with him day and night, an incessant undefinable craving, like the sudden whim of a sick man for food and drink once tasted and long since forgotten. . . He simply felt that if he could carry away the vision of the spot of earth she walked on, and the way the sky and sea enclosed it, the rest of the world might seem less empty." Chapter 22, pg. 180

Quote 20: "His whole future seemed suddenly to be unrolled before him; and passing down its endless emptiness he saw the dwindling figure of a man to whom nothing was ever to happen." Chapter 22, pg. 183

Quote 21: "'What's the use? You gave me my first glimpse of a real life, and at the same moment you asked me to go on with a sham one.'" Chapter 24, pg. 194

Quote 22: "'I want - I want somehow to get away with you into a world where words like that - categories like that - won't exist. Where we shall be simply two human beings who love each other, who are the whole of life to each other; and nothing else on earth will matter.'

"She drew a deep sigh that ended in another laugh. 'Oh, my dear - where is that country? Have you ever been there? . . . I know so many who've tried to find it; and, believe me, they all got out by mistake at wayside stations: at places like Boulogne, or Pisa, or Monte Carlo - and it wasn't at all different from the old world they'd left, but only rather smaller and dingier and more promiscuous.'" Chapter 29, pg. 230

Quote 23: "She had spent her poetry and romance on their short courting: the function was exhausted because the need was past. Now she was simply ripening into a copy of her mother, and mysteriously, by the very process, trying to turn him into a Mr. Welland." Chapter 30, pg. 234

Quote 24: "This was her answer to his final appeal of the other day: if she would not take the extreme step he had urged, she had at last yielded to half-measures. He sank back into the thought with the involuntary relief of a man who has been ready to risk everything, and suddenly tastes the dangerous sweetness of security." Chapter 30, pg. 238

Quote 25: "The silent organization which held his little world together was determined to put itself on record as never for a moment having questioned the propriety of Madame Olenska's conduct, or the completeness of Archer's domestic felicity." Chapter 33, pg. 267

Quote 26: "'No; I wasn't sure then - but I told her I was. And you see I was right!' she exclaimed, her blue eyes wet with victory. Chapter 33, pg. 270

Quote 27: "During that time he had been living with his youthful memory of her; but she had doubtless had other and more tangible companionship. Perhaps too had kept her memory of him as something apart; but if she had, it must have been like a relic in a small dim chapel, where there was not time to pray every day . . . " Chapter 34, pg. 282

Quote 28: "His father smiled again. 'Say I'm old-fashioned: that's enough.'" Chapter 34, pg. 283

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