"The repugnance to animal food is not the effect of experience, but is an instinct. It appeared more beautiful to live low and farehard in many respects; and though I never did so, I went far enough to please my imagination."
"It is remarkable how few events or crises there are in our histories, how little exercised we have been in our minds, how few experiences we have had. I would fain be assured that I am growing apace and rankly, though my very growth disturb this dull equanimity,--though it be with struggle through long, dark, muggy nights or seasons of gloom. It would be well if all our lives were a divine tragedy even, instead of this trivial comedy or farce. Dante, Bunyan, and others appear to have been exercised in their minds more than we: they were subjected to a kind of culture such as our district schools and colleges do not contemplate. Even Mahomet, though many may scream at his name, had a good deal more to live for, aye, and to die for, than they have commonly."
"When, at rare intervals, some thought visits one, as perchance he is walking on a railroad, then, indeed, the cars go by without his hearing them. But soon, by some inexorable law, our life goes by and the cars return."
"We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it--and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sitsdown on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again--and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore."
"It was only just words, words,--they meant nothing in the world to him, I might just as well have whistled. Words realize nothing,vivify nothing to you, unless you have suffered in your own person the thing which the words try to describe."
"As by the fires of experience, so by commission of crime, you learn real morals. Commit all the crimes, familiarize yourself withall sins, take them in rotation (there are only two or three thousand of them), stick to it, commit two or three every day, and by-and-by you will be proof against them. When you are through you will be proof against all sins and morally perfect. You will be vaccinated against every possible commission of them. This is the only way."