Quotes By Burmese Days

“To talk, simply to talk! It sounds so little, and how much it is! When you have existed to the brink of middle age in bitter loneliness, among people to whom your true opinion on every subject on earth is blasphemy, the need to talk is the greatest of all needs.”

“A dull, decent people, cherishing and fortifying their dullness behind a quarter of a million bayonets.”

“Envy is a horrible thing. It is unlike all other kinds of suffering in that there is no disguising it, no elevating it into tragedy. It is more than merely painful, it is disgusting.”

“An earthquake is such fun when it is over.”

“...it is perhaps one's own fault, to see oneself drifting, rotting, in dishonour and horrible futility, and all the while knowing that somewhere within one there is the possibility of a decent human being.”

“Much better hang wrong fellow than no fellow.”

“It is devilish to suffer from a pain that is all but nameless. Blessed are they who are stricken only with classifiable diseases! Blessed are the poor, the sick, the crossed in love, for at least other people know what is the matter with them and will listen to their belly-achings with sympathy. But who that has not suffered it understands the pains of exile?”

“We walk about under a load of memories which we long to share and
somehow never can.”

“Like the crocodile, he strikes always at the weakest spot.”

“When a man has a black face, suspicion is proof.”

“In the end the secrecy of your revolt poisons you like a secret disease. Your whole life is a life of lies. Year after year you sit in Kipling-haunted little Clubs, whisky to right of you, Pink’un to left of you, listening and eagerly agreeing while Colonel Bodger develops his theory that these bloody Nationalists should be boiled in oil. You hear your Oriental friends called ‘greasy Little babus’, and you admit, dutifully, that they are greasy little babus. You see louts fresh from school kicking grey-haired servants. The time comes when you burn with hatred of your own countrymen, when you long for a native rising to drown their Empire in blood. And in this there is nothing honourable, hardly even any sincerity. For, au fond, what do you care if the Indian Empire is a despotism, if Indians are bullied and exploited? You only care because the right of free speech is denied you. You are a creature of the despotism, a pukka sahib, tied tighter than a monk or a savage by an unbreakable system of taboos.”

“Could the Burmese trade for themselves? Can they make machinery, ships, railways, roads? They are helpless without you. What would happen to the Burmese forests if the English were not here? They would be sold immediately to the Japanese, who would gut them and ruin them. Instead of which, in your hands, actually they are improved. And while your business men develop the resources of our country, your officials are civilising us, elevating us to their level, from pure public spirit. It is a magnificent record of self-sacrifice.”

“There is nothing like an earthquake for drawing people together. One more tremor, or perhaps two, and they would have asked the butler to sit down at table with them.”

“Prestige, the breath of life, is itself nebulous.”

“Viņš bija aizmirsis, ka vairums ļaužu svešā zemÄ“ jÅ«tas labi tikai tad, ja var noniecināt tās iedzÄ«votājus.”

“How could the Rice Ring go on skinning the unfortunate peasant if it hadn’t the Government behind it? The British Empire is simply a device for giving trade monopolies to the English—or rather to gangs of Jews and Scotchmen.”

“When you have existed to the brink of middle age in bitter loneliness, among people your true opinion on every subject on earth is blasfemy, the need to talk is the greatest of all needs.”

“Is there anything in the world more graceless, more dishonouring, than to desire a woman whom you will never have? Throughout”

“So often like this, in lonely places in the forest, he would come upon something--bird, flower, tree--beautiful beyond all words, if there had been a soul with whom to share it. Beauty is meaningless until it is shared.”

“In these happy times, when we poor blacks are being uplifted by the mighty western civilization, with its manifold blessings such as the cinematograph, machine-guns, syphilis, etc., what subject could be more inspiring than the private lives of our European benefactors? We think therefore that it may interest our readers to hear something of events in the up-country district of Kyauktada. And especially of Mr Macgregor, honoured Deputy Commissioner of said district. Mr Macgregor is of the type of the Fine Old English Gentleman, such as, in these happy days, we have so many examples before our eyes. He is ‘a family man’ as our dear English cousins say. Very much a family man is Mr Macgregor. So much so that he has already three children in the district of Kyauktada, where he has been a year, and in his last district of Shwemyo he left six young progenies behind him. Perhaps it is an oversight on Mr Macgregor’s part that he has left these young infants quite unprovided for, and that some of their mothers are in danger of starvation, etc., etc., etc. There”

“She was italicising every other word, with that deadly, glittering brightness that a woman puts on when she is dodging a moral obligation. He”

“Yanlış adamı asmak, hiç adam asmamaktan iyidir.”

“As a magistrate his methods were simple. Even for the vastest bribe he would never sell the decision of a case, because he knew that a magistrate who gives wrong judgments is caught sooner or later. His practice, a much safer one, was to take bribes from both sides and then decide the case on strictly legal grounds. This won him a useful reputation for impartiality.”

“God, if they’d only break out and rebel properly for once!’ he said to Ellis before starting. ‘But it’ll be a bloody washout as usual. Always the same story with these rebellions—peter out almost before they’ve begun. Would you believe it, I’ve never fired my gun at a fellow yet, not even a dacoit. Eleven years of it, not counting the War, and never killed a man. Depressing.’ ‘Oh,”

“They plunged into an enormous and eager conversation, first about books, then about shooting, in which the girl seemed to have an interest and about which she persuaded Flory to talk. She was quite thrilled when he described the murder of an elephant which he had perpetrated some years earlier.”

“five chief beatitudes of the pukka sahib, namely: Keeping up our prestige, The firm hand (without the velvet glove), We white men must hang together, Give them an inch and they’ll take an ell, and Esprit de corps.”

“Earthquake, sir, BIG earthquake!’ he repeated enthusiastically. He was bursting with eagerness to talk; so, for that matter, was everyone else. An extraordinary joie de vivre had come over them all as soon as the shaky feeling departed from their legs. An earthquake is such fun when it is over. It is so exhilarating to reflect that you are not, as you well might be, lying dead under a heap of”