Going to Europe, someone had written, was about as final as going to heaven. A mystical passage to another life, from which no-one returned the same. Those returning in such ships were invincible, for they had managed it and could reflect ever after on Anne Hathaway's Cottage or the Tower of London with a confidence that did generate at Sydney. There was nothing mythic at Sydney; momentous objects, beings and events all occurred abroad or in the elsewhere of books.
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He was familiar enough with pleasure to know it might become jaded or reluctant; but joy was literally foreign to him, a word he would never easily pronounce, an exhilaration that had some other reckless nationality. For this reason, Caro's wholeness in love, her happiness in it, made her exotic.
The universal odour of bookshop, closed all night on the mildews of its ranked treasures, brought a past life before him - as is said to happen in drowning. But how, he wondered, entering and taking up a book, and even breathing it in to sustain remembrance, could one ever verify or explode the myth, except by drowning.
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One would always want to think of oneself as being on the side of love, ready to recognize it and wish it well /but, when confronted with it in others, one so often resented it, questioned its true nature, secretly dismissed the particular instance as folly or promiscuity. Was it merely jealousy, or a reluctance to admit so noble and enviable a sentiment in anyone but oneself?
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although the sufferings of children are the worst, being inextinguishable-children themselves seldom have a proper sense of their own tragedy, discounting and keeping hidden the true horrors of their short lives, humbly imagining real calamity to be some prestigious drama of the grown-up world. [p. 13]
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In the circle where I was raised, I knew of no one knowledgeable in the visual arts, no one who regularly attended musical performances, and only two adults other than my teachers who spoke without embarrassment of poetry and literature "" both of these being women. As far as I can recall, I never heard a man refer to a good or a great book. I knew no one who had mastered, or even studied, another language from choice. And our articulate, conscious life proceeded without acknowledgement of the preceding civilisations which had produced it.
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Since the moment of the United Nations' inception, untold energies have been expended by governments not only toward the exclusion of persons of principle and distinction from the organization's leading positions, but toward the installation of men whose character and affiliations would as far as possible preclude any serious challenge to governmental sovereignty.
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