The Magnificent Ambersons

The Magnificent Ambersons quotes

54 total quotes (ID: 1111)

Uncle Jack

The magnificence of the Ambersons began in 1873. Their splendor lasted throughout all the years that saw their Midland town spread and darken into a city. In that town in those days, all the women who wore silk or velvet knew all the other women who wore silk or velvet and everybody knew everybody else's family horse and carriage. The only public conveyance was the streetcar. A lady could whistle to it from an upstairs window, and the car would halt at once, and wait for her, while she shut the window, ... put on her hat and coat, ... went downstairs, ... found an umbrella, ... told the 'girl' what to have for dinner...and came forth from the house. Too slow for us nowadays, because the faster we're carried, the less time we have to spare.

Trousers with a crease were considered plebian; the crease proved that the garment had lain upon a shelf, and hence was ready-made.

In those days, they had time for everything: Time for sleigh rides, and balls, and assemblies, and cotillions, and open house on New Years, and all-day picnics in the woods, and even that prettiest of all vanished customs: the serenade.

On a summer night, young men would bring an orchestra under a pretty girl's window, and flute, harp, fiddle, cello, cornet, bass viol would presently release their melodies to the dulcet stars.

Against so homespun a background, the magnificence of the Ambersons was as conspicuous as a brass band at a funeral.

Cards were out for a ball in his honor, and this pageant of the tenantry was the last of the great long-remembered dances that everybody talked about.

And now, Major Amberson was engaged in the profoundest thinking of his life. And he realized that everything which had worried him or delighted him during this lifetime, all his buying and building and trading and banking, that it was all trifling and waste beside what concerned him now. For the Major knew now that he had to plan how to enter an unknown country where he was not even sure of being recognized as an Amberson.

George Amberson Minafer walked homeward slowly through what seemed to be the strange streets of a strange city. The town was growing and changing. It was heaving up in the middle, incredibly. It was spreading, incredibly. And as it heaved and spread, it befouled itself, and darkened its sky. This was the last walk home he was ever to take up National Avenue to Amberson addition, and the big old house at the foot of Amberson Boulevard. Tomorrow, they were to move out. Tomorrow, everything would be gone.

Something had happened, a thing which years ago had been the eagerest hope of many, many good citizens of the town. And now it came at last: George Amberson Minafer had got his comeuppance. He'd got it three times filled and running over. But those who had longed for it were not there to see it. And they never knew it, those who were still living had forgotten all about it, and all about him.

Most girls are usually pretty fresh. They ought to go to a man's college for about a year. They'd get taught a few things about freshness.

Horseless Carriages! Automobiles!...People aren't gonna spend their lives lying on their backs in the road letting grease drip in their faces. No, I think your father better forget about 'em.

[to Eugene, as he struggles to start his car] Get a horse! Get a horse!

[to Eugene] My mother will have no interest in knowing that you came here today or any other day...You're not wanted in this house, Mr. Morgan, now or at any other time. Perhaps you'll understand this. [He slams the door]

This is our last walk together, Lucy...This is the last time I'll see you ever, ever in my life. Mother and I are starting on a trip around the world tomorrow. We've made no plans at all for coming back...Lucy. I can't stand this...It's quite a shock, find out just how deeply you care, to see how much difference this makes to you...Can't stand this any longer. I can't Lucy. Good-bye, Lucy. It's good-bye. I think it's good-bye for good, Lucy.

Your father wanted to prove that his horseless carriage would run even in the snow. It really does too...It's so interesting. He says he's going to have wheels all made of rubber and blown up with air. I should think they'd explode...Eugene seems very confident. Oh, it seems so like old times to hear him talk.