Quotes by Logan Pearsall Smith

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Logan Pearsall Smith (October 18, 1865-March 2, 1946) was an American essayist and critic who settled in London. He was known for his aphorisms and epigrams. His autobiography Unforgotten Years (1938) is probably now his best known work.

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A slight touch of friendly malice and amusement towards those we love keeps our affections for them from turning flat.

There are two things to aim at in life: first, to get what you want; and, after that, to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the second.
People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.
We need two kinds of acquaintances, one to complain to, while to the others we boast.
Thank Heaven, the sun has gone in, and I don't have to go out and enjoy it.
If you are losing your leisure, look out! You are losing your soul.
Whiskey has killed more men than bullets, but most men would rather be full of whiskey than bullets. What I like in a good author is not what he says, but what he whispers.
That we should practice what we preach is generally admitted; but anyone who preaches what he and his hearers practice must incur the gravest moral disapprobation.
If you want to be thought a liar, always tell the truth.
Happiness is a wine of the rarest vintage, and seems insipid to a vulgar taste.
The old know what they want; the young are sad and bewildered.
I can't forgive my friends for dying; I don't find these vanishing acts of theirs at all amusing.
There are people who, like houses, are beautiful in dilapidation.
Charming people live up to the very edge of their charm, and behave as outrageously as the world lets them.
A best-seller is the golden touch of mediocre talent.
The mere process of growing old together will make the slightest acquaintance seem a bosom friend.
There is one thing that matters -- to set a chime of words tinkling in the minds of a few fastidious people.
Those who talk on the razor-edge of double-meanings pluck the rarest blooms from the precipice on either side.
The indefatigable pursuit of an unattainable perfection --even though nothing more than the pounding of an old piano --is what alone gives a meaning to our life on this unavailing star.
The wretchedness of being rich is that you live with rich people. To suppose, as we all suppose, that we could be rich and not behave as the rich behave, is like supposing that we could drink all day and stay sober.
Most people sell their souls, and live with a good conscience on the proceeds.
What joy can the years bring half so sweet as the unhappiness they've taken away?
When they come downstairs from their Ivory Towers, idealists are very apt to walk straight into the gutter.
How awful to reflect that what people say of us is true!
Those who set out to serve both God and Mammon soon discover that there isn't a God.
He who goes against the fashion is himself its slave.
Only among people who think no evil can Evil monstrously flourish.
All my life, as down an abyss without a bottom. I have been pouring van loads of information into that vacancy of oblivion I call my mind.
How many of our daydreams would darken into nightmares, were there a danger of their coming true!
We grow with years more fragile in body, but morally stutter, and can throw off the chill of a bad conscience almost at once.
What's more enchanting than the voices of young people, when you can't hear what they say?
Then I though of reading -- the nice and subtle happiness of reading ... this joy not dulled by age, this polite and unpunishable vice, this selfish, serene, lifelong intoxication.
How it infuriates a bigot, when he is forced to drag out his dark convictions!
There is more felicity on the far side of baldness than young men can possibly imagine.
What pursuit is more elegant than that of collecting the ignominies of our nature and transfixing them for show, each on the bright pin of a polished phrase?
The vitality of a new movement in Art must be gauged by the fury it arouses.
The test of a vocation is the love of the drudgery it involves.
Oh, dear, this living and eating and growing old; these doubts and aches in the back, and want of interest in Nightingales and Roses . . . [and] Growing old is no gradual decline, but a series of tumbles, full of sorrow, from one ledge to another. Yet when we pick ourselves up we find that our bones are not broken; while not unpleasing is the new terrace which lies unexplored before us.
If they lost the incredible conviction that they can change their wives or their husbands, marriage would collapse at once.
What I like in a good author isn't what he says, but what he whispers.
The denunciation of the young is a necessary part of the hygiene of older people, and greatly assists the circulation of their blood.
Don't let young people tell you their aspirations; when they drop them they will drop you.
Don't laugh at youth for his affectations; he is only trying on one face after another to find his own.
Fine writers should split hairs together, and sit side by side, like friendly apes, to pick the fleas from each others fur.
I shouldn't mind . . . living to my hundredth year, like Fontenelle, who never wept nor laughed, never lost his temper; to whom all the science of his day was known, but who all his life adored three things--music, painting and women--about which he said he understood absolutely nothing.
Don't laugh at a youth for his affectations; he's only trying on one face after another till he finds his own.
Just when they sit down to enjoy in peace their evening meal of existence, the tables of most parents are pounced upon as by harpies, and pillaged by their children.
Some human roles are so fixed that it is too great a strain to act them in any but the accepted manner. Fathers ought to be tyrannical, and sons ungrateful; grandmothers must demoralize their children's children, and mothers-in-law make all the mischief they can.
I love money; just to be in the room with a millionaire makes me less forlorn. Wealthy people should be segregated like lepers to keep them from contaminating others.
When I think of Etiquette and Funerals; when I consider the euphemisms and conventions and various costumes with which we invest the acts of our animal existence; when I bear in mind how elegantly we eat our victuals, and remember all the ablutions and preparations and salutations and exclamations and manipulations I performed when I dined out last evening, I reflect what creatures we are of ceremony; how elaborately polite a simian Species.
More fascinating at a party, than any other music is the rushing sound of fashionable voices;--the vociferation of all those fairies, each faintly blowing its own trumpet.