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MAUGHAM, Somerset

Of Human Bondage

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He had to be called two or three times before he would come to his dinner. Insensibly he formed the most delightful habit in the world, the habit of reading; he did not know that thus he was providing himself with a refuge from all the distress of life; he did not know either that he was creating for himself an unreal world which would make the real world of every day a source of bitter disappointment.

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Hayward sought his acquaintance; but Philip had an unfortunate trait; from shyness or from some atavistic inheritance of the cave-dweller, he always disliked people on first acquaintance, and it was not till he became used to them that he got over his first impression.

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He did not know how wide a country, arid and precipitous, must be crossed before the traveller through life comes to an acceptance of reality. It is an illusion that youth is happy, an illusion of those who have lost it; but the young know they are wretched, for they are full of the truthless ideals which have been instilled into them, and each time they come in contact with the real they are bruised and wounded.

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He did not know why Frenchman always kissed ladies on the nuque. He did not himself see anything so very attractive in the nape of the neck. Of course it was much easier for Frenchmen to do these things; the language was such an aid; Philip could never help feeling that to say passionate things in English sounded a little absurd.

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You will find as you grow older that the first thing needful to make the world a tolerable place to live in is to recognize the inevitable selfishness of humanity

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The only way to live is to forget that you’re going to die. Death is unimportant. The fear of it should never influence a single action of the wise man

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It was one of the queer things of life that you saw a person every day for months and were so intimate with him that you could not imagine existence without him; then separation came and everything went on in the same way; and the companion who had seemed essential proved unnecessary. Your life proceeded and you did not even miss him .

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