A Natural History of Dragons Quotes

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A Natural History of Dragons (The Memoirs of Lady Trent, #1) A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
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“I believed myself to be ready then; now, with the hindsight brought by greater age, I see myself for the naive and inexperienced young woman I was. We all begin in such a manner, though. There is no quick route to experience.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“But coming to terms with one’s sorrow is one thing; sharing it with strangers is quite another.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“Be warned, then: the collected volumes of this series will contain frozen mountains, foetid swamps, hostile foreigners, hostile fellow countrymen, the occasional hostile family member, bad decisions, misadventures in orienteering, diseases of an unromantic sort, and a plenitude of mud.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“If you wish, gentle reader, you may augment your mental tableau with dramatic orchestral accompaniment.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“The dragon within my heart stirred, shifting her wings, as if remembering they could be used to fly.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“You may think you see plenty of stars, friend reader, but you are wrong. Night is both blacker and more brilliant than you can imagine, and the sky a glory that puts to shame the most splendid jewels at Renwick's.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“There are proverbs about frying pans and fires that I might have quoted to myself, but I preferred to adapt a different one to my purposes: better the devil that would attack everyone impartially than the devil specifically looking to kill us.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“It’s—it’s as if there is a dragon inside me. I don’t know how big she is; she may still be growing. But she has wings, and strength, and—and I can’t keep her in a cage. She’ll die. I’ll die. I know it isn’t modest to say these things, but I know I’m capable of more than life in Scirland will allow. It’s all right for women to study theology, or literature, but nothing so rough and ready as this. And yet this is what I want. Even if it’s hard, even if it’s dangerous. I don’t care. I need to see where my wings can carry me.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“A husband willing to fund a library for his bookish wife is not so easy to obtain; most would see it as a pointless expense. You might, however, find one willing to share his library.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“More shouts, and then my father was there, staring down at me in horror: the minor pagan god, appalled at what his worshiper had done.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“You may think you see plenty of stars, friend reader, but you are wrong. Night is both blacker and more brilliant than you can imagine, and the sky a glory that puts to shame the most splendid jewels at Renwick’s. Up in the mountains, where the air is crisper than the humid atmosphere of Scirland, I beheld a beauty I had never before seen.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“diseases of an unromantic sort,”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“But I know, at least, that you would keep a library on the subject, and I hoped that I might be allowed to read from it.” He regarded me with a bemused expression. “You want me for my library.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“Just as Manda Lewis's impressions of the world had been informed by her reading-- leading her to expect balls, duels, and conveniently timed thunderstorms out of life-- so, too, had mine; but what I expected was intellectual commerce between equals.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“Sheep eat the grass, wolves eat the deer, and dragons eat everything that doesn’t run away fast enough.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“Why do chickens have wishbones?" I asked her one day.
One of the kitchen maids answered me in the fatuous tones of an adult adressing a child. "To make wishes on them!" (...) "You take one side of it -"
"I know what we do with them (...) That's not what chickens have them for, though, or surely the chicken would have wished not to end up in the pot for out supper.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“Entomologists trap insects in their killing jars and then pin their corpses to cards, and no one utters a single squeak of protest. For that matter, let a gentleman hunt a tiger for its skin, and everyone applauds his courage. But to shoot a dragon for science? That, for some reason, is cruel.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“The hunt for spouses is an activity on a par with fox-hunting or hawking, though the weapons and dramatis personae differ. Just as grizzled old men know the habits of hares and quail, so do elegant society gossips know every titbit about the year’s eligible men and women.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“Night is both blacker and more brilliant than you can imagine, and the sky a glory that puts to shame the most splendid jewels at Renwick’s.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“One benefit of being an old woman now, and moreover one who has been called a "national treasure," is that there are very few who can tell me what I may and may not write.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“We stared at each other for a moment, then burst into laughter that must have scared off every nonhuman animal for half a mile around.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“But my desire for knowledge was stronger than my religious sensibilities, which after all were more a matter of unthinking habit than real conviction.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“I have often found this to be true since, that matters which seem terribly important in the early days of such a journey (what will people back home say?) fade into triviality with the passage of time.”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons
“We must, of course, begin at the beginning, before the series of discoveries and innovations that transformed the world into the one you, dear reader, know so well. In this ancient and nearly forgotten age lie the modest origins of my immodest career: my childhood and my first foreign expedition, to the mountains of Vystrana. The basic facts of this expedition have long since become common knowledge, but there is much more to the tale than you have heard.

Isabella, Lady Trent
Casselthwaite, Linshire
11 Floris, 5658”
Marie Brennan, A Natural History of Dragons