For the commonplace book, from Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises:
I mistrust all frank and simple people, especially when their stories hold together….
“Listen, Jake,” he leaned forward on the bar. “Don’t you ever get the feeling that all your life is going by and you’re not taking advantage of it? Do you realize you’ve lived nearly half the time you have to live already?”
It is awfully easy to be hard-boiled about everything in the daytime, but at night it is another thing.
“Good. Coffee is good for you. It’s the caffeine in it. Caffeine, we are here. Caffeine puts a man on her horse and a woman in his grave. You know what’s the trouble with you? You’re an expatriate. One of the worst type. Haven’t you heard that? Nobody that ever left their own country ever wrote anything worth printing. Not even in the newspapers.”
It was like certain dinners I remember from the war. There was such wine, an ignored tension, and a feeling of things coming that you could not prevent from happening. Under the wine I lost the disgusted feeling and was happy. It seemed they were all such nice people.
Perhaps that wasn’t true, though. Perhaps as you went along you did learn something. I did not care what it was all about. All I wanted to know was how to live in it. Maybe if you found out how to live in it you learned from that what it was all about.
“Everybody behaves badly,” I said. “Give them the proper chance.”
He was not sure that there were any great moments. Things were not the same and now life only came in flashes.
“Yes,” I said. “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”