"Cities force growth and make men talkative and entertaining, but they make them artificial. What possesses interest for us is thenatural of each, his constitutional excellence. This is forever a surprise, engaging and lovely; we cannot be satiated with knowing it, and about it; and it is this which the conversation with Nature cherishes and guards."
"And the glory of character is in affronting the horrors of depravity to draw thence new nobilities of power: as Art lives and thrills in new use and combining of contrasts, and mining into the dark evermore for blacker pits of night."
"Happy will that house be in which the relations are formed from character; after the highest, and not after the lowest order; thehouse in which character marries, and not confusion and a miscellany of unavowable motives."
"Nature never rhymes her children, nor makes two men alike. When we see a great man, we fancy a resemblance to some historical person, and predict the sequel of his character and fortune, a result which he is sure to disappoint. None will ever solve the problem of his character according to our prejudice, but only in his high unprecedented way."
"It always appeared to me that he estimated the compositions of Richardson too highly, and that he had an unreasonable prejudice against Fielding. In comparing these two writers, he used this expression: "that there was as great a difference between them as between a man who knew how a watch was made, and a man who could tell the hour by looking at the dial plate." This was a short and figurative state of his distinction between drawing characters of nature and characters only of manners. But I cannot help being of opinion , that the neat watches of Fielding are as well constructed as the large clocks of Richardson, and that his dial-plates are brighter."
"In progress of time, when my mind was, as it were, strongly impregnated with the Johnsonian æther, I could, with much more facility and exactness, carry in my memory and commit to paper the exuberant variety of his wit and wisdom."
"She [Evelina] is a little angel!... Her face and person answer my most refined ideas of complete beauty.... She has the same gentleness in her manners, the same natural graces in her motions, that I formerly so much admired in her mother. Her character seems truly ingenuous and simple; and at the same time that nature has blessed her with an excellent understanding and great quickness of parts, she has a certain air of inexperience and innocency that is extremely interesting."
"He had a gentleman-like frankness in his behaviour, and as a great point of honour as a minister can have, especially a minister at the head of the treasury, where numberless sturdy and insatiable beggars of condition apply, who cannot all be gratified, nor all with safety be refused."
"Anne of Austria (with great submission to a Crowned Head do I say it) was a B----. She had spirit and courage without parts, devotion without common morality, and lewdness without tenderness either to justify or to dignify it. Her two sons were no more Lewis the Thirteen's than they were mine."