Quotes from I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

I capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Dodie Smith (1896 – 1990), the British novelist playwright, was best known for The Hundred and One Dalmatians (1956) and her young adult novel I Capture the Castle. 

I Capture the Castle (1948) features sisters Rose and Cassandra Mortmain, who are members of an eccentric family living in genteel poverty in a crumbling castle in the 1930s. This coming-of-age story has been beloved by readers of all ages ever since it was published in 1948. Critics were kind as well, as in the words of this original 1948 review:

“Finding out what happens makes rewarding reading. This is a captivating — an enchanting story, bit it is also shrewd commentary on life and art and the complexity of the human heart.”
Here are some colorful quotes from I Capture the Castle

. . . . . . . . . . .

 “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“I wonder if there isn’t a catch about having plenty of money? Does it eventually take the pleasure out of things?”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“How I wish I lived in a Jane Austen novel!”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“But some characters in books are really real — Jane Austen’s are; and I know those five Bennets at the opening of Pride and Prejudice, simply waiting to raven the young men at Netherfield Park, are not giving one thought to the real facts of marriage.” 

. . . . . . . . . . .

“The key to all knowledge comes in words of just one syllable, apparently …There is only one page left to write on. I will fill it with words of only one syllable. I love. I have loved. I will love.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“Contemplation seems to be about the only luxury that costs nothing.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“It’s odd how different a house feels when one is alone in it. It makes it easier to think rather private thoughts…”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“Perhaps watching someone you love suffer can teach you even more than suffering yourself can.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

I Capture the Castle on Amazon

. . . . . . . . . . .

“My imagination longs to dash ahead and plan developments; but I have noticed that when things happen in one’s imaginings, they never happen in one’s life, so I am curbing myself.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“Even a broken heart doesn’t warrant a waste of good paper.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“Noble deeds and hot baths are the best cures for depression.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“Writing paper is scarce in this house, and I had no intention of tearing sheets out of this exercise book, which is a superb sixpenny one the Vicar gave me. In the end, Miss Marcy took the middle pages out of her library record, which gave us a pleasant feeling that we were stealing from the government, and then we sat round the table and elected her chairman.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“Perhaps watching someone you love suffer can teach you more than suffering yourself can.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“Cruel blows of fate call for extreme kindness in the family circle.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“I have found that sitting in a place where you have never sat before can be inspiring. I wrote my very best poem while sitting on the hen-house.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“It is rather exciting to write by moonlight.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“What I’d really hate would be the settled feeling, with nothing but happiness to look forward to. Of course no life is perfectly happy — Rose’s children will probably get ill, the servants may be difficult …

There are hundreds of worries and even sorrows that may come along, but- I think what I really mean is that Rose won’t be wanting things to happen. She will want things to stay just as they are. She will never have the fun of hoping something wonderful and exciting may be just round the corner.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“A mist is rolling over the fields. Why is a summer mist romantic and autumn mist just sad?” 

. . . . . . . . . . .

The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith

See also: The Hundred and One Dalmatians (1956)

. . . . . . . . . . .

“Perhaps if I make myself write I shall find out what is wrong with me.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“Certain unique books seem to be without forerunners or successors as far as their authors are concerned. Even though they may profoundly influence the work of other writers, for their creator they’re complete, not leading anywhere.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“Truthfulness so often goes with ruthlessness.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“… there is something revolting about the way girls’ minds so often jump to marriage long before they jump to love. And most of those minds are shut to what marriage really means.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“She is a famous artists’ model who claims to have been christened Topaz – even if this is true there is no law to make a woman stick to a name like that.” 

. . . . . . . . . . .

Scene from the 2003 film I Capture the Castle

Scene from the 2003 film version of I Capture the Castle

. . . . . . . . . . .

“When I read a book, I put in all the imagination I can, so that it is almost like writing the book as well as reading it — or rather, it is like living it. It makes reading so much more exciting, but I don’t suppose many people try to do it.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“I only want to write. And there’s no college for that except life.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“There’s nothing more, except that I usually sit down until the flames die down and try to think myself back into the past.” 

. . . . . . . . . . .

“… looking through the old volumes was soothing, because thinking of the past made the present seem a little less real.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“Things you let yourself imagine happening, never do happen.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“Once I really looked at the sky, I wanted to go on looking; it seemed to draw me towards it and make me listen hard, though there was nothing to listen to, not so much as a twig was stirring.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“I am surprised to see how much I have written; with stories even a page can take me hours, but the truth seems to flow out as fast as I can get it down.”

. . . . . . . . . . .

“Just to be in love seemed the most blissful luxury I had ever known. The thought came to me that perhaps it is the loving that counts, not the being loved in return — that perhaps true loving can never know anything but happiness. For a moment I felt that I had discovered a great truth.”


*This post contains affiliate links. If the product is purchased by linking through, Literary Ladies Guide receives a modest commission, which helps maintain our site and helps it to continue growing!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to The Literary Ladies Guide weekly newsletter

Celebrating women’s voices
with inspiration for readers and writers

  • Find your next great read
  • Get writing advice from authors you love
  • Enjoy fascinating facts and quotes
  • Discover women’s literary history

... and lots more (look for a bonus in your welcome letter!)
Email address
Secure and Spam free...