It’s wonderful to stumble upon an unknown aphorist. Doubly good when it turns out to be a woman. Because it seems there are fewer female aphorists. It was by chance I happened upon the writings of Elia Peattie (1862-1935). It happened because I saw a quote I liked by the man of letters Charles Eliot Norton regarding poetry. The quote appeared in the introduction written by Elia Peattie to a poetry anthology she edited called Poems You Ought to Know. This, of course, prompted me to Web-search Peattie’s name. I didn’t expect to find much, but there was an entire website devoted to this journalist, poet, playwright, anthologist, essayist, and author. Her writings are marked by many insightful statements. A large number of her assertions have been collected on the website under the heading “Quotables.” Here are some samples:
There is never any use in trying to conceal the truth. Truth is like water and flows through the tiniest cracks.
Carry no umbrellas. Umbrellas are an illusion and a distinct snare to the traveler. They torment the spirit more than a scolding husband, get lost oftener than a baby, and are always where they should not be and never where they should.
Love is, of course, an illusion—all the really important things are.
Really it is quite a distinction to be in the minority. Because the minority is the advance of progress. It forms the majority in the next generation.
All really interesting occasions of a social nature are more or less associated with good coffee.
The American Aristocracy is, in the very nature of things, ephemeral.
There is a mistake in supposing that women wish to acquire the independence of the other sex. It is merely independence they wish to acquire—and independence is not a matter of sex.
The time of men is not so important as they think it is.
If there is one offense greater than another in literature, it is a book which explains a book.