I recently finished The Man Who was Thursday. It was my first real exposure to Chesterton, and while it wasn’t what I expected (though I’m not sure what that was), I loved it. Edwardian political anarchy and eternal divine creation combined into a funny detective novel. I’m looking forward to getting into The Everlasting Man and Orthodoxy in the near future.
Since I’ve been slacking on the Quick Takes lately, I’m just going to list my favorite quotes from the ending of The Man Who was Thursday. I can tell how much I love a book when I start writing down quotes as I read. I would just underline them in the book, but from a very early age I was taught that writing in books was a VERY BAD THING, so now I’m incapable of doing so even when it’s justified.
1. “So you talk about mobs and the working classes as if they were the question. You’ve got that eternal idiotic idea that if anarchy came it would come from the poor. Why should it? The poor have been rebels, but they have never been anarchists; they have more interest than anyone else in there being some decent government. The poor man really has a stake in the country. The rich man hasn’t; he can go away to New Guinea in a yacht. The poor have sometimes objected to being governed badly; the rich have always objected to being governed at all.”
2. “When duty and religion are really destroyed, it will be by the rich.”
3. “‘After all,’ he said to himself. ‘I am more than a devil; I am a man. I can do the one thing which Satan himself cannot do—I can die.’”
4. “No, I may be mad, but humanity isn’t.’”
5. “Vulgar people are never mad. I’m vulgar myself, and I know.”
6. “Do you see this lantern? Do you see the cross carved on it, and the flame inside? You did not make it. You did not light it. Better men than you, men who could believe and obey, twisted the entrails of iron and preserved the legend of fire…You can make nothing. You can only destroy. You will destroy mankind; you will destroy the world. Let that suffice you. Yet this one old Christian lantern you shall not destroy. It shall go where your empire of apes will never have the wit to find it.”
7. “‘Have you,’ he cried in a dreadful voice. ‘Have you ever suffered?’”