"You must be respectful and assenting, but without being servile and abject. You must be frank, but without indiscretion, and close, without being costive. You must keep up dignity of character, without the least pride of birth, or rank. You must be gay, within all the bounds of decency and respect; and grave, without the affectation of wisdom, which does not become the age of twenty. You must be essentially secret, without being dark and mysterious. You must be firm, and even bold, but with great seeming modesty."
"No real "vital" character in fiction is altogether a conscious construction of the author. On the contrary, it may be a sort of parasitic growth upon the author's personality, developing by internal necessity as much as by external addition."
"For character too is a process and an unfolding ... among our valued friends is there not someone or other who is a little too self confident and disdainful; whose distinguished mind is a little spotted with commonness; who is a little pinched here and protruberent there with native prejudices; or whose better energies are liable to lapse down the wrong channel under the influence of transient solicitations?"
"The presence of a noble nature, generous in its wishes, ardent in its charity, changes the lights for us: we begin to see things again in their larger, quieter masses, and to believe that we too can be seen and judged in the wholeness of our character."