Corset Quotes (displaying: 1 - 29 of 29 quotes )
His trees were now hung all over with scrawled pieces of paper and bits of cardboard with maxims from Seneca and Shaftesbury, and with various objects; clusters of feathers, church candles, crowns of leaves, women's corsets, pistols, scales, tied to each other in certain order. The Ombrosians used to spend hours trying to guess what those symbols meant: nobles, Pope, virtue, war? I think some of them had no meaning at all but just served to jog his memory and make him realize that even the most uncommon ideas could be right.
He got up, wishing to go around, but the aunt handed him the snuffbox right over Helene, behind her back. Helene moved forward so as to make room and, smiling, glanced around. As always at soirees, she was wearing a gown in the fashion of the time, quite open in front and back. Her bust, which had always looked like marble to Pierre, was now such a short distance from him that he could involuntarily make out with his nearsighted eyes the living loveliness of her shoulders and neck, and so close to his lips that he had only to lean forward a little to touch her. He sensed the warmth of her body, the smell of her perfume, and the creaking of her corset as she breathed. He saw not her marble beauty, which made one with her gown, he saw and sensed all the loveliness of her body, which was merely covered by clothes. And once he had seen it, he could not see otherwise, as we cannot return to a once-exposed deception.
Here comes Mamma Vauquerr, fair as a starrr; and strung up like a bunch of carrots. Aren't we suffocating ourselves a wee bit?' he asked, placing a hand on the top of her corset. 'A bit of a crush in the vestibule, here, Mamma! If we start crying, there'll be an explosion. Never mind, I'll be there to collect the bits--just like an antiquary.' 'Now, there's the language of true French gallantry,' murmured Madame Vauquer in an aside to Madame Couture.
Those children are right," he would have said. "They stole nothing from you, my dear. These things don't belong to you here, you now. They belonged to her, that other you, so long ago." Oh, thought Mrs. Bentley. And then, as though an ancient phonograph record had been set hissing under a steel needle, she remembered a conversation she had once had with Mr. Bentley--Mr. Bentley, so prim, a pink carnation in his whisk-broomed lapel, saying, "My dear, you never will understand time, will you? You've always trying to be the things you were, instead of the person you are tonight. Why do you save those ticket stubs and theater programs? They'll only hurt you later. Throw them away, my dear." But Mrs. Bentley had stubbornly kept them. "It won't work," Mr. Bentley continued, sipping his tea. "No matter how hard you try to be what you once were, you can only be what you are here and now. Time hypnotizes. When you're nine, you think you've always been nine years old and will always be. When you're thirty, it seems you've always been balanced there on that bright rim of middle life. And then when you turn seventy, you are always and forever seventy. You're in the present, you're trapped in a young now or an old now, but there is no other now to be seen." It had been one of the few, but gentle, disputes of their quiet marriage. He had never approved of her bric-a-brackery. "Be what you are, bury what you are not," he had said. "Ticket stubs are trickery. Saving things is a magic trick, with mirrors." If he were alive tonight, what would he say? "You're saving cocoons." That's what he'd say. "Corsets, in a way, you can never fit again. So why save them? You can't really prove you were ever young. Pictures? No, they lie. You're not the picture." "Affidavits?" No, my dear, you are not the dates, or the ink, or the paper. You're not these trunks of junk and dust. You're only you, here, now--the present you." Mrs. Bentley nodded at the memory, breathing easier. "Yes, I see. I see." The gold-feruled cane lay silently on the moonlit rug. "In the morning," she said to it, "I will do something final about this, and settle down to being only me, and nobody else from any other year. Yes, that's what I'll do." She slept . . .
Thanks to our cinctures and corsets we have succeeded in making an artificial being out of woman. She is an anomaly, and Nature herself, obedient to the laws of heredity, aids us in complicating and enervating her. We carefully keep her in a state of nervous weakness and muscular inferiority, and in guarding her from fatigue, we take away from her possibilities of development. Thus modeled on a bizarre ideal of slenderness to which, strangely enough, we continue to adhere, our women have nothing in common with us, and this, perhaps, may not be without grave moral and social disadvantages.