Taken from Lillian Hellman's introduction to the 1964 collection of Dashiell Hammet's short stories and shorter novels, The Big Knockover:
"I know as little about the nature of romantic love as I did at eighteen, but I do know about the deep pleasure of continuing interest, the excitement of wanting to know what somebody else thinks, will do, will not do, the tricks played and unplayed, the short cord that the years make into rope and, in my case, is there, hanging loose, long after death." (xx-xxi)
God, that's so beautiful. I have had that kicking around for a while waiting for a wedding to make a speech using that, but I had to write it down in case I forget it or can't get a copy of the book.