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The Towers of Trebizond

Rose Macaulay

Top 10 Best Quotes

“Take my camel, dear,' said my aunt Dot, climbing down from that animal on her return from high Mass.”

“...when the years have all passed, there will gape the uncomfortable and unpredictable dark void of death, and into this I shall at last fall headlong, down and down and down, and the prospect of that fall, that uprooting, that rending apart of body and spirit, that taking off into so blank an unknown, drowns me in mortal fear and mortal grief. After all, life, for all its agonies of despair and loss and guilt, is exciting and beautiful, amusing and artful and endearing, full of liking and of love, at times a poem and a high adventure, at times noble and at times very gay; and whatever (if anything) is to come after it, we shall not have this life again.”

“One is, after all, very adaptable; one has to be. One finds diversions; these, indeed, confront one at every turn, the world being so full of natural beauties and enchanting artifacts, of adventures and jokes and excitements and romance and remedies for grief. It is simply that a dimension has been taken out of my life, leaving it flat, not rich and rounded and alive any more, but hollow and thin and unreal, like a ghost that roves whispering about its old haunts, looking always for something that is not there.”

“Father Chantry-Pigg thought it would be wrong to go to Russia, because of condoning the government, which was persecuting Christians. But aunt Dot said if one started not condoning governments, one would have to give up travel altogether, and even remaining in Britain would be pretty difficult.”

“We mused for a while over parents. Then I went on musing about why it was thought better and higher to love one's country than one's county, or town, or village, or house. Perhaps because it was larger. But then it would be still better to love one's continent, and best of all to love one's planet.”

“The girls thought the altar and the candles and the Mass very cute; one of them had been sometimes to that kind of service in Cambridge, Mass., at a place she called the Monastery, which Father Chantry-Pigg said was where the Cowley Fathers in America lived, but the other girl and her parents were not Episcopalian, they belonged to one of those sects that Americans have, and that are difficult for English people to grasp, though probably they got over from Britain in the Mayflower originally, and when sects arrive in America they multiply, like rabbits in Australia, so that America has about one hundred to each one in Britain, and this is said to be in on account of the encouraging climate, which is different in each of the states, and most encouraging of all in the Deep South and in California, where sects breed best.”

“The boats were filled mostly with steerage passengers who lived in Trebizond or were visiting relations there, and the women carried great bundles and sacks full of things, but the men carried suit-cases with sharp, square corners, which helped them very much in the struggle to get on and stay on the boats, for this was very violent and intense. More than one woman got shoved overboard into the sea during the struggle, and had to be dragged out by husbands and acquaintances, but one sank too deep and had to be left, for the boat-hooks could not reach her; all we saw were the apples out of her basket bobbing on the waves. I thought that women would not stand much chance in a shipwreck, and in the struggle for the boats many might fall in the sea and be forgotten, but the children would be saved all right, for Turks love their children, even the girls.”

“Still the towers of Trebizond, the fabled city, shimmer on a far horizon, gated and walled and held in a luminous enchantment. It seems that for me, and however much I must stand outside them, this must for ever be. But at the city's heart lie the pattern and the hard core, and these I can never make my own: they are too far outside my range. The pattern should perhaps be easier, the core less hard. This seems, indeed, the eternal dilemma.”

“One mustn’t lose sight of the hard core, which is, do this, do that, love your friends, like your neighbors, be just, be extravagantly generous, be honest, be tolerant, have courage, have compassion, use your wits and your imagination, understand the world you live in and be on terms with it, don’t dramatize and dream and escape. Anyhow that seems to be the pattern.”

“I thought how the Church was meant to be a shrine of the decenies, of friendship, integrity, love of the poetry of conduct, of the flickering, guttering candles of conscience.”

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Book Keywords:

government, church, love, russia, britain, loss, conscience, grief

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