Jude the Obscure

Always wanting another man than your own.

As Antigone said, I am neither a dweller among men nor ghosts.

At first I did not love you, Jude; that I own. When I first knew you I merely wanted you to love me. I did not exactly flirt with you; but that inborn craving which undermines some women's morals almost more than unbridled passion--the craving to attract and captivate, regardless of the injury it may do the man--was in me; and when I found I had caught you, I was frightened. And then--I don't know how it was-- I couldn't bear to let you go--possibly to Arabella again--and so I got to love you, Jude. But you see, however fondly it ended, it began in the selfish and cruel wish to make your heart ache for me without letting mine ache for you.

But his dreams were as gigantic as his surroundings were small.

But no one came. Because no one ever does.

He's charmed by her as if she were some fairy!" continued Arabella. "See how he looks round at her, and lets his eyes rest on her. I am inclined to think that she don't care for him quite so much as he does for her. She's not a particular warm-hearted creature to my thinking, though she cares for him pretty middling much-- as much as she's able to; and he could make her heart ache a bit if he liked to try--which he's too simple to do.

He waited day after day, saying that it was perfectly absurd to expect, yet expecting.

I had a neat stock of fixed opinions, but they dropped away one by one; and the further I get the less sure I am. I doubt if I have anything more for my present rule of life than following inclinations which do me and nobody else any harm, and actually give pleasure to those I love best. There, gentlemen, since you wanted to know how I was getting on, I have told you. Much good may it do you! I cannot explain further here. I perceive there is something wrong somewhere in our social formulas: what it is can only be discovered by men or women with greater insight than mine--if, indeed, they ever discover it-- at least in our time. 'For who knoweth what is good for man in this life?--and who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun?

I hate to be what is called a clever girl--there are too many of that sort now!

I have no fear of men, as such, nor of their books. I have mixed with them--one or two of them particularly-- almost as one of their own sex. I mean I have not felt about them as most women are taught to feel--to be on their guard against attacks on their virtue; for no average man-- no man short of a sensual savage--will molest a woman by day or night, at home or abroad, unless she invites him. Until she says by a look 'Come on' he is always afraid to, and if you never say it, or look it, he never comes.

I may do some good before I am dead--be a sort of success as a frightful example of what not to do; and so illustrate a moral story.

It is a difficult question, my friends, for any young man-- that question I had to grapple with, and which thousands are weighing at the present moment in these uprising times-- whether to follow uncritically the track he finds himself in, without considering his aptness for it, or to consider what his aptness or bent may be, and re-shape his course accordingly. I tried to do the latter, and I failed. But I don't admit that my failure proved my view to be a wrong one, or that my success would have made it a right one; though that's how we appraise such attempts nowadays--I mean, not by their essential soundness, but by their accidental outcomes. If I had ended by becoming like one of these gentlemen in red and black that we saw dropping in here by now, everybody would have said: 'See how wise that young man was, to follow the bent of his nature!' But having ended no better than I began they say: 'See what a fool that fellow was in following a freak of his fancy!

...it is foreign to a man's nature to go on loving a person when he is told that he must and shall be that person's lover. There would be a much likelier chance of his doing it if he were told not to love. If the marriage ceremony consisted in an oath and signed contract between the parties to cease loving from that day forward, in consideration of personal possession being given, and to avoid each other's society as much as possible in public, there would be more loving couples than there are now. Fancy the secret meetings between the perjuring husband and wife, the denials of having seen each other, the clambering in at bedroom windows, and the hiding in closets! There'd be little cooling then.

People go on marrying because they can't resist natural forces, although many of them may know perfectly well that they are possibly buying a month's pleasure with a life's discomfort.

Remember that the best and greatest among mankind are those who do themselves no worldly good. Every successful man is more or less a selfish man. The devoted fail...

Somebody might have come along that way who would have asked him his trouble, and might have cheered him by saying that his notions were further advanced than those of his grammarian. But nobody did come, because nobody does; and under the crushing recognition of his gigantic error Jude continued to wish himself out of the world.

Sometimes a woman's love of being loved gets the better of her conscience, and though she is agonized at the thought of treating a man cruelly, she encourages him to love her while she doesn't love him at all. Then, when she sees him suffering, her remorse sets in, and she does what she can to repair the wrong.

Teach me to live, that I may dread
The grave as little as my bed.
Teach me to dieĀ…

That mercy towards one set of creatures was cruelty towards another sickened his sense of harmony. As you got older, and felt yourself to be at the center of your time, and not at a point in its circumference, as you had felt when you were little, you were seized with a sort of shuddering, he perceived. All around you there seemed to be something glaring, garish, rattling, and the noises and glares hit upon the little cell called your life, and shook it, and warped it.

The beggarly question of parentage--what is it, after all? What does it matter, when you come to think of it, whether a child is yours by blood or not? All the little ones of our time are collectively the children of us adults of the time, and entitled to our general care. That excessive regard of parents for their own children, and their dislike of other people's, is, like class-feeling, patriotism, save-your-own-soul-ism, and other virtues, a mean exclusiveness at bottom.

--the ethereal, fine-nerved, sensitive girl, quite unfitted by temperament and instinct to fulfil the conditions of the matrimonial relation with Phillotson, possibly with scarce any man...

We ought to have lived in mental communion, and no more.

What at night had been perfect and ideal was by day the more or less defective real.

Women are so strange in their influence that they tempt you to misplaced kindness.

you are absolutely the most ethereal, least sensual woman I ever knew to exist without inhuman sexlessness.

You are Joseph the dreamer of dreams, dear Jude.
And a tragic Don Quixote. And sometimes you are St. Stephen, who, while they
were stoning him, could see Heaven opened. Oh, my poor friend and comrade,
you'll suffer yet!

You concede nothing to me and I have to concede everything to you.

you dear, sweet, tantalizing phantom--hardly flesh at all; so that when I put my arms round you I almost expect them to pass through you as through air!

You have never loved me as I love you--never--never! Yours is not a passionate heart--your heart does not burn in a flame! You are, upon the whole, a sort of fay, or sprite-- not a woman!

You simply mean that you flirted outrageously with him, poor old chap, and then repented, and to make reparation, married him, though you tortured yourself to death by doing it.