"...I do see, still, a beautiful result of the old order that the new order does not tend to produce. The conventional avoidance as a general subject of conversation of sex in all its phases was a safeguard to sensibilities."
"It is not strange that some of our revoltes preach trial marriage: for the only safe way to marry them at all would be on trial. Until you had definitely experienced all the human situations with them, you would have no means of knowing how, in any given situation, they would behave. They might conform about evening-dress, and throw plates between courses; they might be charming to your friends, and ask the waiter to sit down and finish dinner with you. Or they might in all things, little and big, be irreproachable. The point is that you would never know."
"Every one knows about the young man who falls in love with the chorus-girl because she can kick his hat off, and his sister's friends can't or won't. But the youth who marries her, expecting that all her departures from convention will be as agile or as delightful to him as that, is still the classic example of folly."
"Science has done great things for us; it has also pushed us hopelessly back. For, not content with filling its own place, it has tried to supersede everything else. It has challenged the super-eminence of religion; it has turned all philosophy out of doors except that which clings to its skirts; it has thrown contempt on all learning that does not depend on it; and it has bribed the skeptics by giving us immense material comforts."
"The insidiousness of science lies in its claim to be not a subject, but a method. You could ignore a subject; no subject is all-inclusive. But a method can plausibly be applied to anything within the field of consciousness."
"... when you make it a moral necessity for the young to dabble in all the subjects that the books on the top shelf are written about, you kill two very large birds with one stone: you satisfy precious curiosities, and you make them believe that they know as much about life as people who really know something. If college boys are solemnly advised to listen to lectures on prostitution, they will listen; and who is to blame if some time, in a less moral moment, they profit by their information?"
"Each man's private conscience ought to be a nice little self-registering thermometer: he ought to carry his moral code incorruptibly and explicitly within himself, and not care what the world thinks. The mass of human beings, however, are not made that way; and many people have been saved from crime or sin by the simple dislike of doing things they would not like to confess ..."
"We have decided that manners shall consist entirely of morals. It is just possible that, in the days when morals consisted largelyof manners, fewer people were contaminated. You cannot shock a person practically whom you are totally unwilling to shock verbally; and if you are perfectly willing to shock an individual verbally, the next thing you will be doing is to shock him practically. Above all, when we become incapable of the shock verbal, there will be nothing left for the unconventional people but the shock practical."
"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."
"... the great mistake of the reformers is to believe that life begins and ends with health, and that happiness begins and ends with a full stomach and the power to enjoy physical pleasures, even of the finer kind."
"When ... did the word "temperament" come into fashion with us?... whatever it stands for, it long since became a great social asset for women, and a great social excuse for men. Perhaps it came in when we discovered that artists were human beings."