Many Spoilers Ahead: The Secret History

“There are such things as ghosts. People everywhere have always known that. And we believe in them every bit as much as Homer did. Only now, we call them by different names. Memory. The unconscious.”

“It is easy to see things in retrospect. But I was ignorant then of everything but my own happiness, and I don’t know what else to say except that life itself seemed very magical in those days: a web of symbol, coincidence, premonition, omen.”

“But how,” said Charles, who was close to tears, “how can you possibly justify cold-blooded murder?’’
Henry lit a cigarette. “I prefer to think of it,” he had said, “as redistribution of matter.”

“I suppose at one time in my life I might have had any number of stories, but now there is no other. This is the only story I will ever be able to tell.”

“Not quite what one expected, but once it happened one realized it couldn’t be any other way.”

One likes to think there’s something in it, that old platitude amor vincit omnia. But if I’ve learned one thing in my short sad life, it is that that particular platitude is a lie. Love doesn’t conquer everything. And whoever thinks it does is a fool.

“Even after all that had happened, the bitterness and disappointment in his voice cut me to the heart.

‘Henry’, I said. I wanted to say something profound, that Julian was only human, that he was old, that flesh and blood was frail and weak and that there comes a time when we have to transcend our teachers. But I found myself unable to say anything at all.
He turned his blind, unseeing eyes upon me.
‘I loved him more than my own father’, he said. ‘I loved him more than anyone in the world.’”

“Though, at the time, I found those dinners wearing and troublesome, now I find something very wonderful in my memory of them: that dark cavern of a room, with vaulted ceilings and a fire crackling in the fireplace, our faces luminous somehow, and ghostly pale. The firelight magnified our shadows, glinted off the silver, flickered high upon the walls; its reflection roared orange in the windowpanes as if a city were burning outside. The whoosh of the flames was like a flock of birds, trapped and beating in a whirlwind near the ceiling. And I wouldn’t have been at all surprised if the long mahogany banquet table, draped in linen, laden with china and candles and fruit and flowers, had simply vanished into thin air, like a magic casket in a fairy story.”

“It’s very difficult to keep the line between the past and the present. You know what I mean? Awfully difficult!” ~Edith Bouvier Beale

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