The House in Paris Study Guide

The House in Paris

The House in Paris by Elizabeth Bowen

  • Fate is not an eagle, it creeps like a rat.
  • This is the worst of love, this unmeant mystification— someone smiling and going out without saying where, or a letter arriving, being read in your presence, put away, not explained, or: "No, alas, I can't to-night" on the telephone — that, one person having set up without knowing, the other cannot undo without the where? who? why? that brings them both down a peg. Jealousy is no more than feeling alone against smiling enemies.
  • And yet in a way I would rather fail point blank. Things one can do have no value. I don't mind feeling small myself, but I dread finding the world is.
  • It is a wary business, walking about a strange house you are to know well. Only cats and dogs with their more expressive bodies enact the tension we share with them at such times. The you inside you gathers up defensively: something is stealing upon you every moment; you will never be quite the same again. These new unsmiling lights, reflections and objects are to become your memories, riveted to you closer than friends or lovers, going with you, even, into the grave: worse, they may become dear and fasten like so many leeches on your heart.

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