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Page 134 Florence Nightengale is speaking to William MonkOf course. If you know the truth, it takes a gentler and perhaps a wiser woman than Purdence Barrymore not to speak it aloud. She did not understand the arts of diplomacy. I fear that perhaps I do not either. The sick cannot wait for flattery and coercion to do their work.
It must take a lot of self-discipline,' she said.'Oh, I don't know. I don't have much.' He felt himself about to say again, and unable to resist saying, that 'Dumas, I think it was Dumas, some terrifically prolific Frenchman, said that writing novels is a simple matter - if you write one page a day, you'll write one novel a year, two pages a day, two novels a year, three pages, three novels, and so on. And how long does it take to cover a page with writing? Twenty minutes? An hour? So you see. Very easy really.' ("Novelty")'I don't know,' she said, laughing. 'I can't even bring myself to write a letter.''Oh, now that's hard.
On the next page she came to a spell "for the refreshment of the spirit". The pictures were fewer here but very beautiful. And what Lucy found herself reading was more like a story than a spell. It went on for three pages and before she had read to the bottom of the page she had forgotten that she was reading at all. She was living in the story as if it were real, and all the pictures were real too. When she had got to the third page and come to the end, she said, "That is the loveliest story I've ever read or ever shall read in my whole life. Oh, I wish I could have gone on reading it for ten years. At least I'll read it over again.
It had that comfortably sprung, lived-in look that library books with a lively circulation always get; bent page corners, a dab of mustard on page 331, a whiff of some reader's spilled after-dinner whiskey on page 468. Only library books speak with such wordless eloquence of the power good stories hold over us, how good stories abide, unchanged and mutely wise, while we poor humans grow older and slower.
I am in my mother's room. It's I who live there now. I don't know how I got there. Perhaps in an ambulance, certainly a vehicle of some kind. I was helped. I'd never have got there alone. There's this man who comes every week. Perhaps I got there thanks to him. He says not. He gives me money and takes away the pages. So many pages, so much money. Yes, I work now, a little like I used to, except that I don't know how to work any more. That doesn't matter apparently. What I'd like now is to speak of the things that are left, say my good-byes, finish dying. They don't want that. Yes, there is more than one, apparently. But it's always the same one that comes. You'll do that later, he says. Good. The truth is I haven't much will left. When he comes for the fresh pages he brings back the previous week's. They are marked with signs I don't understand ... Here's my beginning. It must mean something, or they wouldn't keep it. Here it is.
The Affordable Health Care for Americans Act, passed by the House of Representatives on November 7, 2009, was 1,990 pages long. You could stand on it to paint the ceiling. The entire U.S. Constitution can be printed on eight pages. That's eight pages to run a whole country for 221 years versus four reams of government pig latin if you slam your thumb in a car door.
....one of those long, romantic novels, six hundred and fifty pages of small print, translated from French or German or Hungarian or something -- because few of the English ones have the exact feeling I mean. And you read one page of it or even one phrase of it, and then you gobble up all the rest and go about in a dream for weeks afterwards, for months afterwards -- perhaps all your life, who knows? -- surrounded by those six hundred and fifty pages, the houses, the streets, the snow, the river, the roses, the girls, the sun, the ladies' dresses and the gentlemen's voices, the old, wicked, hard-hearted women and the old, sad women, the waltz music -- everything. What is not there you put in afterwards, for it is alive, this book, and it grows in your head. 'The house I was living in when I read that book,' you think, or 'This colour reminds me of that book.
For me a page of good prose is where one hears the rain. A page of good prose is when one hears the noise of battle.... A page of good prose seems to me the most serious dialogue that well-informed and intelligent men and women carry on today in their endeavor to make sure that the fires of this planet burn peaceably.
I have before me, on the slanted surface of the old desk, the two large pages of the ledger, from which I lift my tired eyes and an even more tired soul. Beyond the nothing that this represents, there's the warehouse with its uniform rows of shelves, uniform employees, human order, and tranquil banality - all the way to the wall that fronts the Rua dos Douradores. Through the window the sound of another reality arrives, and the sound is banal, like the tranquillity around the shelves. I lower new eyes to the two white pages, on which my careful numbers have entered the firm's results. And smiling to myself I remember that life, which contains these pages with fabric types, prices and sales, blank spaces, letters and ruled lines, also includes the great navigators, the great saints, and the poets of every age, not one of whom enters the books - a vast progeny banished from those who determine the world's worth.
If now and then we encounter pages that explode, pages that wound and sear, that wring groans and tears and curses, know that they come from a man with his back up, a man whose only defenses left are his words and his words are always stronger than the lying, crushing weight of the world, stronger than all the racks and wheels which the cowardly invent to crush out the miracle of personality. If any man ever dared to translate all that is in his heart, to put down what is really his experience, what is truly his truth, I think then the world would go to smash, that it would be blown to smithereens and no god, no accident, no will could ever again assemble the pieces, the atoms, the indestructible elements that have gone to make up the world.
Time passes, as the novelist says. The single most useful trick of fiction for our repair and refreshment: the defeat of time. A century of family saga and a ride up an escalator can take the same number of pages. Fiction sets any conversion rate, then changes it in a syllable. The narrator’s mother carries her child up the stairs and the reader follows, for days. But World War I passes in a paragraph. I needed 125 pages to get from Labor Day to Christmas vacation. In six more words, here’s spring.
On page 603 it is stated that at first Blumenthal could not remember the lunch with me and my wife at which he had loudly impugned two female witnesses against Clinton. This makes it distinctly odd that he should have such have a vivid and detailed but mistaken recollection of the same lunch on page 607.
There was a boy down at the stables." She laughed suddenly with her back comfortably nestled against Grant's chest. "Oh, Lord, he was a bit like Will, all sharp, awkward edges.""You were crazy about him.""I'd spend hours mucking out stalls and grooming horses just to get a glimpse of him. I wrote pages and pages about him in my diary and one very mushy poem.""And kept it under your pillow.""Apparently you've had a nodding aquaintance with twelve-year-old girls."He thought of Shelby and grinned, resting his chin on the top of her head. Her hair smelled as though she'd washed it with rain-drenched wildflowers. "How long did it take you to get him to kiss you?"She laughed. "Ten days. I thought I'd discovered the answer to the mysteries of the universe. I was a woman.""No female's more sure of that than a twelve-year-old.
Clyde had a theory that women had a book, a homemade, photocopied three-ring binder called "Surprising Things to Do in a Relationship," which they passed around to one another, adding pages from time to time, hiding it under the bed. He figured that Desiree could run home tonight and add a new page.