"They trod noiselessly upon a stair carpet that its own loom would have forsworn. It seemed to have become vegetable; to have degenerated in that rank, sunless air to lush lichen or spreading moss that grew in patches to the stair-case and was viscid under the foot like organic matter."
O. Henry in “The Furnished Room”
"Pessimism, you know, is often a form of vanity."
Sandy Arbuthnot in John Buchan The Three Hostages
"You can’t pick plums in a desert."
Detective Nero Wolfe in Rex Stout Plot it Yourself
"How gloomy would be these mansions of the dead [catacombs] to him who did not know that he shall never die..."
Imlac in Samuel Johnson The History of Rasselas, reflecting on how brief and futile even illustrious lives can seem
"a strange creature, hard to swallow and impossible to digest."
Detective Nero Wolfe re one of the people involved in a case, in Rex Stout The Golden Spiders
"I would not want to make you unhappy by detailing pain, but there is a crucial sort of difference between pain and the narration of pain. I am telling you what happened. If there is vicarious pain in knowing, there is actual peril in not knowing. In aversion lies a colossal risk."
Philip K. Dick, The Transmigration of Timothy Archer