The Magnificent Ambersons

The Magnificent Ambersons quotes

54 total quotes (ID: 1111)

Eugene
Fanny
George
Narrator
Others
Townsfolk
Uncle Jack


[in a letter to Isabel] Dearest One. Yesterday, I thought the time had come when I could ask you to marry me and you were dear enough to tell me, 'Sometime it might come to that.' Now, we are faced, not with slander, not with our own fear of it, because we haven't any, but someone else's fear of it, your son's. Oh dearest woman in the world, I know what your son is to you and it frightens me. Let me explain a little. I don't think he'll change. At twenty-one or twenty-two, so many things appear solid, permanent, and terrible, which forty sees as nothing but disappearing miasma. Forty can't tell twenty about this. Twenty can find out only by getting to be forty. And so we come to this, dear. Will you live your life your way, or George's way? Dear, it breaks my heart for you, but what you have to oppose now is your own selfless and perfect motherhood. Are you strong enough, Isabel? Can you make a fight? I promise you that if you will take heart for it, you will find so quickly that it's all amounted to nothing. You shall have happiness and only happiness. I'm saying too much for wisdom, I fear. And oh my dear, won't you be strong? Such a little short strength it would need. Don't strike my life down twice, dear. This time I've not deserved it.


[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]

[to Fanny, about George] You know what he said to me when we went in that room? He said, 'You must have known my mother wanted you to come here today, so that I could ask you to forgive me.' We shook hands.

[to George] I can just guess what that was about. He's telling her what you did to Eugene...You're not going in there!...You keep away from here...Go on to the top of the stairs. Go on! It's indecent, like squabbling outside the door of an operating room. The idea of you going in there now. Just telling Isabel the whole thing. Now you stay here and let him tell her. He's got some consideration for her...I thought you already knew everything I did. I was just suffering...Oh, I was a fool. Eugene never would have looked at me, even if he'd never seen Isabel. And they haven't done any harm! She made Wilbur happy. She was a true wife to him as long as he lived. Here I go, not doing myself a bit of good by him, I'm just ruining them. Leave her alone.

[to George] Once I stood where we're standing now to say goodbye to a pretty girl. Only it was in the old station before this was built. We called it the depot. We knew we wouldn't see each other again for almost a year. I thought I couldn't live through it. She stood there crying - don't even know where she lives now. Or if she is living. If she ever thinks of me she probably imagines I'm still dancing in the ballroom of the Amberson mansion. She probably thinks of the mansion as still beautiful. Still the finest house in town. Ah, life and money both behave like loose quicksilver in a nest of cracks. When they're gone, you can't tell where, or what the devil you did with them...I've always been fond of you, Georgie. I can't say I've always liked ya. But we all spoiled you terribly when you were a boy....There have been times when I thought you ought to be hanged. And just for a last word, there may be somebody else in this town (Lucy) who's always felt about you like that. Fond of you, I mean, no matter how much it seems you ought to be hanged.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

I guess she's still mad at him...Isabel. Major Amberson's daughter. Eugene Morgan's her best beau. Took a bit too much to drink the other night right out here and stepped clean through the bass fiddle serenadin' her.

I never noticed before how much like Isabel Georgie looks. You know something, Fanny? I wouldn't tell this to anybody but you. But it seemed to me as if someone else was in that room. And that through me, she brought her boy under shelter again, and that I'd been true at last to my true love.

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.

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.