1. We got to Holloway and it was winter and the dark streets round the theatre made me think of murders. (p.16)

2. Money ought to be everybody’s. It ought to be like water. You can tell that because you get accustomed to it so quickly. (p.24)

3. Being black is warm and gay, being white is cold and sad. (p.27)

4. That gave you a peaceful and melancholy feeling. The poor do this and the rich do that, the world is so-and-so and nothing can change it. For ever and for ever turning and nothing, nothing can change it. (p.37)

5. Looking out at the street was like looking at stagnant water. (p.40)

6. ‘You must be potty,’ Maudie said. ‘Whoever heard of anybody who didn’t like London?’ (p.40)

7. ‘Horse faces, faces like horses,

And grey streets, where old men wail unnoticed

Prayers to an ignorable God.

There the butcher’s shop stinks to the leaden sky;

There the fish shop stinks differently, but worse.

And so on, and so on.’ (p.41)

8. ‘Loathsome London, vile and stinking hole…’ (p.41)

9. That was when it was sad, when you lay awake at night and remembered things. That was when it was sad, when you stood by the bed and undressed, thinking, ‘When he kisses me, shivers run up my back. I am hopeless, resigned, utterly happy. Is that me? I am bad, not good any longer, bad. That has no meaning, absolutely none. Just words. But something about the darkness of the streets has a meaning.’ (p.49)

10. But in the daytime it was all right. And when you’d had a drink you knew it was the best way to live in the world, because anything might happen. I don’t know how people live when they know exactly what’s going to happen to them each day. It seems to me it’s better to be dead than to live like that. (p.64)

11. There was no sun, but the air was used-up and dead, dirty-warm, as if thousands of other people had breathed it before you. (p.65)

12. I got happier when it grew darker. A moth flew into my face and I hit it and killed it. (p.66)

13. She shut up a bit after that, but when we were having more drinks in the lounge she started off again about England. ‘It’s a very nice place,’ she said, ‘so long as you don’t suffer from claustrophobia.’ (p.70)

14. People say ‘young’ as though being young were a crime, and yet they are always so scared of getting old. I thought, ‘I wish I were old and the whole damned thing were finished; then I shouldn’t get this depressed feeling for nothing at all.’ (p.78)

15. I walked straight ahead. I thought, ‘Anywhere will do, so long as it’s somewhere that nobody knows.’ (p.86)

16. Her eyes were cleverer than the rest of her. When she half-shut them you saw that she knew she had her own cunning, which would always save her, which was sufficient to her. Feelers grow when feelers are needed and claws when claws are needed and cunning when cunning is needed…. (p.92)

17. ‘Not that there’s much difference between the day and the night here, anyway,’ I thought. The rain had stopped. The pavement looked as if it was covered with black grease. (p.93)

18. I was thinking, ‘I’m nineteen and I’ve got to go on living and living and living.’ (p.94)

19. I stretched, and watched my swollen shadow on the wall stretching too. (p.96)

20. It’s funny when you feel as if you don’t want anything more in your life except to sleep, or else to lie without moving. That’s when you can hear time sliding past you, like water running. (p.97)

21. I didn’t want to talk to anybody. I felt too much like a ghost. (p.98)

22. I felt emptied-out and peaceful – like when you’ve had toothache and it stops for a bit, and you know quite well it’s going to start again but just for a bit it’s stopped. (p.101)

23. ‘London’s not so bad. It has a certain gloomy charm when you get used to it, (…)’ (p.105)

24. She came over and helped me to undo it. She seemed very tall and her face enormous. I could see all the lines in it, and the powder, trying to fill up the lines, and she just where her lipstick stopped and her lips began. It looked like a clown’s face, so that I wanted to laugh at it. She was pretty, but her hands were short and fat with wide, flat, very red nails. (p.106)

25. ‘You’re a liar,’ I said. ‘You didn’t know my father. Because my real name isn’t Morgan and I’ll never tell you my real name and I was born in Manchester and I’ll never tell you anything real about myself. Everything that I tell you about myself is a lie, so now then.’ (p.107)

26. ‘Well, where’s my dress? I’m going home. I’m sick of your damned party.’ (p.107)

27. There was a spot on the ceiling. I looked at it and it became two spots. The two spots moved very rapidly, one away from the other. When they were about six inches apart they remained stationary and grew larger. Two black eyes were staring at me. I stared back at them. Then I had to blink and the whole business began all over again. (p.109)

28. ‘Well,’ I said, ‘why shouldn’t she be a tart? It’s just as good as anything else, as far as I can see.’ (p.109)

29. There was the smell of the bacon and the sound of the water running into the bath. And nothing else. My head felt empty. (p.111)

30. ‘If I could buy this, then of course I’d be quite different.’ Keep hope alive and you can do anything, and that’s the way the world goes round, that’s the way they keep the world rolling. So much hope for each person. (p.111)

31. (…) some words have a long, thin neck that you’d like to strangle. (p.120)

32. He took my hand in both of his and warmed it.

‘Cold,’ he said, ‘cold.’ (Cold – cold as truth, cold as life. No, nothing can be as cold as life.) (p.131)

33. The room still and dark and the lights from the cars passing across the ceiling in long rays, and saying, ‘Oh please, oh please, oh please…’ (p.132)

34. (He said, one day, ‘What’s the good of lying about it? We’re all crabs in a basket. Have you ever seen crabs in a basket? One trying to get on top of the other. You want to survive, don’t you?) (p.135)

35. ‘I’m damned nice. Don’t you know I’m damned nice really?’ (p.135)

36. (…) and the streets round it, the dead streets, and the blank faces of the houses. (p.145)

37. (…) but the look in her eyes was like a high, smooth, unclimbable wall. No communication possible. You have to be three-quarters mad even to attempt it. (p.147)


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