"Johnson is wise, Boswell foolish; Johnson warns and abstains, Boswell plunges; Johnson is rather a great man writing than a greatwriter, Boswell is a great writer and an ordinary man; and they are two of a kind, abysmal melancholics and compulsive socializers, afraid of solitude and afraid of death and dissolution, victims of themselves, meant for each other, needing each other, needing evidence and arguments (Boswell is a lawyer, Johnson magisterially dictates to him some of his briefs), making beautiful models of rational discourse out of the useful substance of all they know..."
"Misanthropes have some admirable if paradoxical virtues. It is no exaggeration to say that we are among the nicest people you arelikely to meet. Because good manners build sturdy walls, our distaste for intimacy makes us exceedingly cordial "ships that pass in the night." As long as you remain a stranger we will be your friend forever."
"Self-love makes our friends appear more or less deserving in proportion to the delight we take in them, and the measures by whichwe judge of their worth depend upon the manner of their conversing with us."
"Marriage and deathless friendship, both should be inviolable and sacred: two great creative passions, separate, apart, but complementary: the one pivotal, the other adventurous: the one, marriage, the centre of human life; and the other, the leap ahead."
"You the rich are no whit more attractive or capable than you who were poor and struggling a few years back. But when before you plodded lonely and unappreciated, now the glamour of the motor and the smart apartment surrounds you with a tangible glory. It is amazing how many friends look you up, call you by name, and extol you, who were once a little timid, or indifferent, or utterly neglectful in your time of dire poverty. One has true friends when one is poor and no riches can be greater than that. They are not so obvious when one is rich."
"Talleyrand said that two things are essential in life: to give good dinners and to keep on fair terms with women. As the years pass and fires cool, it can become unimportant to stay always on fair terms either with women or one's fellows, but a wide and sensitive appreciation of fine flavours can still abide with us, to warm our hearts."
"I know only one person whom I could count on not to indulge herself in ... conventional falsehoods, and she has never been able, so far as I know, to keep a friend. The habit of literal truth-telling ... is self-indulgence of the worst."
"Friendship is by its very nature freer of deceit than any other relationship we can know because it is the bond least affected bystriving for power, physical pleasure, or material profit, most liberated from any oath of duty or of constancy. With Eros the body stands naked, in friendship our spirit is denuded."
"Then did they strive with emulation who should repeat most wise maxims importing the necessity of suspicion in the choice of our friends--such as "mistrust is the mother of security," with many more to the same effect.... But notwithstanding the esteem which they professed for suspicion, yet did they think proper to veil it under the name of caution."
"Fear, when your friends say to you what you have done well, and say it through; but when they stand with uncertain timid looks ofrespect and half-dislike, and must suspend their judgement for years to come, you may begin to hope."