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Preview — Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
She's crying for her idea of what life should be like:
With every month that passes, the corners are knocked off the certainties of this world: and the next world too.
children take readily to novelty, and the idea of cleaning, it seems, is novel to them.
He would like her to shorten her account, but he understands her need to tell it over, moment by moment, to say it out loud. It is like a package of words she is making, to hand to him: this is yours now.
when he wakes he has to learn the lack of her all over again.
Prayers of thanksgiving are offered in the city churches; or prayers of appeasement,
The English will never be forgiven for the talent for destruction they have always displayed when they get off their own island.
There it is: if you are so lenient with yourself as to insist on living with a woman, then for the sake of your soul you should make it a woman you really don't like.
Any dangerous opinion must be so plumped out with laughing apologies that it is as fat and harmless as the cushions you lean on.
Obstruct and delay. Do anything, but avoid giving judgment.
‘you nobody from Hell, you whore-spawn, you cluster of evil, you lawyer.’
They embrace cautiously: Cambridge scholar, person from Putney.
Why are we so attached to the severities of the past? Why are we so proud of ourselves for having endured
‘I should think you write the best poems. You can comfort yourself there. His Majesty's verses can be a little repetitive, not to say self-centred.’
One fear creates a dereliction, the offence brings on a greater fear, and there comes a point where the fear is too great and the human spirit just gives up
It is the absence of facts that frightens people: the gap you open, into which they pour their fears, fantasies, desires.
‘Wolsey always said that the making of a treaty is the treaty. It doesn't matter what the terms are, just that there are terms. It's the goodwill that matters. When that runs out, the treaty is broken, whatever the terms say.’
‘I was always desired. But now I am valued. And that is a different thing, I find.’
sometimes it's quite difficult, sir, to distinguish being persuaded by you from being knocked down in the street and stamped on.’
‘I think the wolves all died when the great forests were cut down. That howling you hear is only the Londoners.
‘What's the use of talking to women?’ he asks earnestly. ‘Cromwell, you don't talk to women, do you? I mean, what would be the topic? What would you find to say?’
They'll fight you because of who you are. Even if they agree with you, they'll fight you.