Pity is woman's sweetest charm.
We flew back home like swallows. 'Is it happiness that makes us so light?' Agathe asked.
Do you know what is the hardest thing in life? To make a choice.
Events are never absolute, their outcome depends entirely upon the individual.
Grief ennobles the commonest people because it has its own essential grandeur. To shine with the luster of grief, a person need only be sincere.
Love passes quickly, and passes like a street Arab, anxious to mark his way with mischief.
Society proceeds like the ocean. After a disaster, it resume its wonted level and rhythms; its devouring interests efface all traces of damage.
Bankers are lynxes. To expect any gratitude from them is equivalent to attempting to move the wolves of the Ukraine to pity in the middle of winter.
Children, dear and loving children, can alone console a woman for the loss of her beauty.
You may imitate, but never counterfeit.
Thought is the only treasure that God sets outside all power and keeps to serve as a secret link among the unhappy.
Gratitude is a fool's word; we find it in the dictionary, but it is not in the heart of man.
Poverty is a divine stepmother who does for youths what their own mothers were unable to do. It introduces them to frugality, to the world and to life.
Gentleness in the gait is what simplicity is in the dress. Violent gestures or quick movements inspire involuntary disrespect.
Materialism and spirituality are two pretty racquets with which charlatans in cap and gown make the same ball fly.
Those who spend too fast never grow rich.
God reveals Himself, unfailingly, to the solitary, thoughtful seeker.
When she lives at his palace, the maiden niece of a bishop can pass for a respectable woman because, if she has a love affair, she is obliged to hoodwink her uncle.
First love is a kind of vaccination which saves a man from catching the complaint the second time.
I should like one of these days to be so well known, so popular, so celebrated, so famous, that it would permit me ... to break wind in society, and society would think it a most natural thing.
If the human heart sometimes finds moments of pause as it ascends the slopes of affection, it rarely halts on the way down.
The first thing necessary to win the heart of a woman is opportunity.
To lese-majeste and contempt of court, we must add the crime of lese-million, that fearful indignity we visit on the rich when we expose the impotence of gold.
Though your vulgarian does not readily admit that feelings can change overnight, certainly two lovers often part far more abruptly than they came together.
Economized love is never real love.
Imagination helps the realism of every detail, and only sees the beauties of the work.
The smallest flower is a thought, a life answering to some feature of the Great Whole, of whom they have a persistent intuition.
True love is eternal, infinite, and always like itself. It is equal and pure.
When an intelligent man reaches the point of inviting self-explanation and offers surrendering the key to his heart, he is assuredly riding a drunken horse.
Sometimes, one gesture comprises an entire drama, the accent of one word ruins an entire existence, and the indifference of one glance kills the happiest passion.
We must certainly acknowledge that solitude is a fine thing; but it is a pleasure to have some one who can answer, and to whom we can say, from time to time, that solitude is a fine thing.
A girl fresh from a boarding school may perhaps be a virgin but no! she is never chaste.
Kindness steers no easy course. Attributing it to character, we seldom recognize the secret efforts of a noble heart, whereas we reward really wicked people for the evil they refrain from committing.
Beauty is the greatest of human powers. Any power without counterbalance or control becomes autocratic and leads to abuse and to folly. Despotism in a government is insanity; in woman, fantasy.
Man judges of nature in relation to itself; the angelic spirit judges of it in relation to heaven. In short, to the spirits everything speaks.
Nature makes only dumb animals. We owe the fools to society.
A husband can commit no greater blunder than to discuss his wife, if she is virtuous, with his mistress; unless it be to mention his mistress, if she is beautiful, to his wife.
When there is an old maid in the house, a watchdog is unnecessary.
Modern reformers offer nebulous theories or write philanthropic novels. But your thief acts! He is as clear as a fact and as logical as a punch on the nose! And what a style he has!
All human beings go through a previous life... Who knows how many fleshly forms the heir of heaven occupies before he can be brought to understand the value of that silence and solitude of spiritual worlds?
As a rule, only the poor are generous.
As a rule, only the poor are generous. Rich people can always find excellent reasons for not handing over twenty thousand francs to a relative.
A married woman is a slave you must know how to seat upon a throne.
When chaste people need body or mind to resort to action or thought, they find steel in their muscles or knowledge in their intelligence. Theirs the diabolic vigor or the black magic of will power.
Old men are prone to invest the futures of young men with their own past sorrows.
To get a traveling salesman drunk is the height of impossibility.
Death unites as well as separates; it silences all paltry feeling.
Virtually all men of action incline to Fatality just as most thinkers incline to Providence.
Envy is the most stupid of vices, for there is no single advantage to be gained from it.
Art's greatest efforts are invariably a timid counterfeit of Nature.
Our happiness often depends upon social hypocrisies to which we will never stoop.
What makes friendship indissolute and what doubles its charms is a feeling we find lacking in love: I mean certitude.
Vocations which we wanted to pursue, but didn't, bleed, like colors, on the whole of our existence.
In the medical profession a horse and carriage are more necessary than any scientific knowledge.
Authentic love always assumes the mystery of modesty, even in its expression, because actions speak louder than words. Unlike a feigned love, it feels no need to set a conflagration.
Small natures require despotism to exercise their sinews, as great souls thirst for equality to give play to their heart.
The greater a man's talents, the more marked his idiosyncracies. Yet in the provinces originality is considered perilously close to lunacy.
A mother's life, you see, is one long succession of dramas, now soft and tender, now terrible. Not an hour but has its joys and fears.
It's not enough to be a good person. You also have to show it.
Carelessness in dressing is moral suicide.
The secret of great fortunes without apparent cause is a crime forgotten, for it was properly done.
By dint of making sacrifices, a man grows interested in the person who exacts them. Great ladies, like courtesans, know this truth by instinct.
There is no such thing as a great talent without great will power.
Men who pay their tailors never amount to anything, they never even become Cabinet ministers.
Little minds find satisfaction for their feelings, good or bad, in little things.
Journalism is a giant catapult set in motion by pigmy hatreds.
The causes that govern the heart appear to be wholly alien to the results achieved. Are the forces that moved a desperate criminal the same that fill a martyr with pride, as both mount the scaffold?
Religious ecstasy is a madness of thought freed of its bodily bonds, whereas in the ecstasy of love, the forces of twin natures unite, blend and embrace one another.
No navigator has yet traced lines of latitude and longitude on the conjugal sea.
Several sorts of memory exist in us; body and mind each possesses one peculiar to itself. Nostalgia, for instance, is a malady of the physical memory.
Prostitution and robbery are two living protests, respectively female and male, made by the natural state against the social state.
Even beauty cannot always palliate eccentricity.
Give to a wounded heart seclusion; consolation nor reason ever effected anything in such a case.
All genuinely noble women prefer truth to falsehood. As the Russians with their Czar, they are unwilling to see their idol degraded; they want to be proud of the domination they accept.
Study lends a kind of enchantment to all our surroundings.
Some troubles, like a protested note of a solvent debtor, bear interest.
As soon as coffee is in your stomach, there is a general commotion. Ideas begin to move…similes arise, the paper is covered. Coffee is your ally and writing ceases to be a struggle.
The national budget is not a safe-deposit box. It is a spray can.
Evasion is unworthy of us, and is always the intimate of equivocation.
With monuments as with men, position means everything.
Squeeze marriage as much as you like, you will never extract anything from it but fun for bachelors and boredom for husbands.
Woman is a delightful instrument of pleasure, but it is necessary to know its trembling strings, to study the position of them, the timid keyboard, the fingering so changeful and capricious which befits it.
It would be curious to know what leads a man to become a stationer rather than a baker, when he is no longer compelled, as among the Egyptians, to succeed to his father's craft.
What is motherhood save Nature in her most gladsome mood?
The human heart may find here and there a resting-place short of the highest height of affection, but we seldom stop in the steep, downward slope of hatred.
We exaggerate misfortune and happiness alike. We are never as bad off or as happy as we say we are.
All human power is a compound of time and patience.
Genuine sorrows are very tranquil in appearance in the deep bed they have dug for themselves. But, seeming to slumber, they corrode the soul like that frightful acid which penetrates crystal.
When women love us, they forgive us everything, even our crimes; when they do not love us, they give us credit for nothing, not even our virtues.
Believe everything you hear said of the world; nothing is too impossibly bad.
She who is really a wife, one in heart, flesh, and bone, must follow wherever he leads, in whom her life, her strength, her pride, and happiness are centered.
Who shall ever tell how much an unmerited disfavor crushes a shy person? Who can ever depict the misfortunes of timidity?
The endless legacy of the past to the present is the secret source of human genius.
My further advice on your relations to women is based upon that other motto of chivalry, "Serve all, love one."
To have one's mother-in-law in the country when one lives in Paris, and vice versa, is one of those strokes of luck that one encounters only too rarely.
Novelty is both delightful and deceptive.
Rich women need not fear old age; their gold can always create about them any feelings necessary to their happiness.
Self-love is as protective as the Deity; Disenchantment is as perspicacious as a surgeon; Experience is as provident as a mother. Such are the theologic virtues of marriage.
True love is mixed up with birdlike squabbles, in which the disputants wound each other to the quick; but a quarrel without animus is, on the contrary, apiece of flattery to the dupe's conceit.
When Religion and Royalty are swept away, the people will attack the great, and after the great, they will fall upon the rich.
When one has no particular talent for anything, one takes to the pen.
Virtue in women is perhaps a question of temperament.
Cruelty and fear shake hands together.
The prodigality of millionaires is comparable only to their greed of gain. Let some whim or passion seize them and money is of no account. In fact these Croesuses find whims and passions harder to come by than gold.
Only when one has learned to acknowledge that wiser minds have made better words to come out of our mouths may we truly, then, begin to speak them.
Unintelligent persons are like weeds that thrive in good ground; they love to be amused in proportion to the degree in which they weary themselves.
A knowledge of mankind and of things that surround us gives us that second education which proves far move valuable than our first because it alone turns out a truly accomplished man.
Doubt follows white-winged hope with trembling steps.
As soon as man seeks to penetrate the secrets of Nature -- in which nothing is secret and it is but a question of seeing -- he realizes that the simple produces the supernatural.
Power does not consist in striking with force or with frequency, but in striking true.
I do not regard a broker as a member of the human race.
Clouds signify the veil of the Most High.
I'm a great poet. I don't put my poems on paper: they consist of actions and feelings.
Perhaps it is only human nature to inflict suffering on anything that will endure suffering, whether by reason of its genuine humility, or indifference, or sheer helplessness.
Rare is the man who suffers no remorse as he passes from the state of confidant to that of rival.
Conscience is a cudgel which all men pick up in order to thwack their neighbors instead of applying it to their own shoulders.
Equality may be a right, but no power on earth can convert it into fact.
The world will avenge itself upon all happiness in which it has no share.
The most virtuous women have something within them, something that is never chaste.
Love may be the fairest gem which Society has filched from Nature; but what is motherhood save Nature in her most gladsome mood? A smile has dried my tears.
Few men are raised in our estimation by being too closely examined.
Innocence alone dares commit certain acts of audacity. Virtue, when tutored, is as calculating as vice.
A rent in your clothes is a mishap, a stain on them is a vice.
Temperament is the thermometer of character.
It is a singular fact that most men of action incline to the theory of fatalism, while the greater part of men of thought believe in providence.
Misfortune makes of certain souls a vast desert through which rings the voice of God.
The innocence of virgins is like milk which turns when exposed to a clap of thunder, to a tart smell, to a hot day, to the merest nothing.
To promote laughter without joining in it greatly heightens the effect.
Our greatest fears lie in anticipation.
Loyalty in time of need is possibly one of the noblest of victories a courtier can win over himself.
The duration of a couple's passion is in proportion to the woman's original resistance or to the obstacles that social hazards have placed in the way of her happiness.
Thought is a key to all treasures; the miser's gains are ours without his cares. Thus I have soared above this world, where my enjoyment have been intellectual joys.
A naked woman is less dangerous than one who spreads her skirt skillfully to cover and exhibit everything at once.
It is easy to sit up and take notice, What is difficult is getting up and taking action.
Danger arouses interest. Where death is involved, the vilest criminal invariably stirs a little compassion.
In a husband, there is only a man; in a married woman, there is a man, a father, a mother and a woman.
Society bristles with enigmas which look hard to solve. It is a perfect maze of intrigue.
The majority of husbands remind me of an orangutan trying to play the violin.
The man as he converses is the lover; silent, he is the husband.
Great love affairs start with Champagne and end with tisane.
Lovers have a way of using this word, nothing, which implies exactly the opposite.
A jealous husband doesnt doubt his wife, but himself.
Chance, my dear, is the sovereign deity in child-bearing.
And he, like many jaded people, had few pleasures left in life save good food and drink.
Virtue, perhaps, is nothing more than politeness of soul.
When law becomes despotic, morals are relaxed, and vice versa.
No frozen-hearted woman ever I laid eyes on but has made duty her religion.
In diving to the bottom of pleasure we bring up more gravel than pearls.
Love is a religion, and its rituals cost more than those of other religions. It goes by quickly and, like a street urchin, it likes to mark its passage by a trail of devastation.
One should believe in marriage as in the immortality of the soul.
The more illegal a profit, the more tenaciously a man clings to it.
If those who are the enemies of innocent amusements had the direction of the world, they would take away the spring, and youth, the former from the year, the latter from human life.
If you are to judge a man, you must know his secret thoughts, sorrows, and feelings; to know merely the outward events of a man's life would only serve to make a chronological table-a fool's notion of history.
The best painters, as they progress in reputation and towards perfection, are found to dispense more and more with the technique of the art, for simpler methods. Simplicity never fails to charm.
Death is as unexpected in his caprice as a courtesan in her disdain; but death is truer -- Death has never forsaken any man.
The winter's frost must rend the burr of the nut before the fruit is seen. So adversity tempers the human heart, to discover its real worth.
Who is to decide which is the grimmer sight: withered hearts, or empty skulls?
Some day you will find out that there is far more happiness in another's happiness than in your own.
If we study Nature attentively in its great evolutions as in its minutest works, we cannot fail to recognize the possibility of enchantment -- giving to that word its exact significance.
The country is provincial; it becomes ridiculous when it tries to ape Paris.
Everything is bilateral in the domain of thought. Ideas are binary. Janus is the myth of criticism and the symbol of genius. Only God is triangular!
Whoever does not visit Paris regularly will never really be elegant.
Solitude is fine, but you need someone to tell you that solitude is fine.
If we could but paint with the hand what we see with the eye.
Men die in despair, while spirits die in ecstasy.
Possibly the words materialism and spirituality express two sides of one and the same fact.
One hour of love has a whole life in it.
Nobody loves a woman because she is handsome or ugly, stupid or intelligent. We love because we love.
In a world of hunchbacks, a fine figure becomes a monstrosity.
Forgetting is the great secret of strong and creative lives.
Vice is perhaps a desire to learn everything.
Nature knows nothing but solid bodies; your science deals only with combinations of surfaces. And so nature constantly gives the lie to all your laws; can you name one to which no fact makes an exception?
A young bride is like a plucked flower; but a guilty wife is like a flower that had been walked over.
Every moment of happiness requires a great amount of Ignorance.
Clouds symbolize the veils that shroud God.
Many people claim coffee inspires them, but, as everybody knows, coffee only makes boring people even more boring.
Reproach is usually honest, which is more than can be said of praise.
Tradesmen regard an author with a mixed feeling of terror, compassion and curiosity.
All humanity is passion; without passion, religion, history, novels, art would be ineffectual.
It is very difficult to pass from pleasure to work. Accordingly more poems have been swallowed up by sorrow than ever happiness caused to blaze forth in unparalleled radiance.
How sternly we reproach virtue for its failings, how indulgent we are to the better qualities of vice!
Marriage must fight constantly against a monster which devours everything: routine.
Friendships last when each friend thinks he has a slight superiority over the other.
Remorse is impotence, impotence which sins again. Repentance alone is powerful; it ends all.
Discouragement is of all ages: In youth it is a presentiment, in old age a remembrance.
But reason always cuts a poor figure beside sentiment; the one being essentially restricted, like everything that is positive, while the other is infinite.
Power is not revealed by striking hard or often, but by striking true.
A woman filled with faith in the one she loves is the creation of a novelist's imagination.
How natural it is to destroy what we cannot possess, to deny what we do not understand, and to insult what we envy!
The habits of life form the soul, and the soul forms the countenance.
Your modest savant smiles as he says to his admirers: What have I done? Nothing. Man does not invent a force, he directs it.
The more you judge, the less you love.
Resignation is a daily suicide.
There is nothing original; all is reflected light.
There are moments in life when all we can bear is the sense that our friend is near us; our wounds would wince at the touch of consoling words, that would reveal the depths of our pain.
There are some women whose pregnancy would make some sly bachelor smile.
Love may be or it may not, but where it is, it ought to reveal itself in its immensity.
He has great tranquility of heart who cares neither for the praises nor the fault-finding of men.
Like evil, sublimity is also contagious.
For businessmen, the world is a bale of banknotes in circulation; for most young men, it is a woman; for some women, it is a man; and for others it may be a salon, a coterie, a part of town or a whole city.
Suicide, moreover, was at the time in vogue in Paris: what more suitable key to the mystery of life for a skeptical society?
When a woman starts talking about her duty, her regard for appearances, and her respect for religion, she raises so many bulwarks which she delights to see captured by storm.
A woman in love has full intelligence of her power; the more virtuous she is, the more effective her coquetry.
Women themselves are so happy, and so beautiful, when they're strong, that they naturally choose powerful men, even if that power's so enermous there's a real risk it could shatter them.
A man who stops at nothing short of the law is very clever indeed!
Where poverty ceases, avarice begins.
Pure herring oil is the port wine of English cats.
With a woman, always make good use of a secret. She will be proportionally grateful to you, like a scoundrel who grants his respect to an honest man he has been unable to swindle.
Wisdom is that apprehension of heavenly things to which the spirit rises through love.
A woman, even a prude, is not long at a loss, however dire her plight. She would seen always to have in hand the fig leaf our Mother Eve bequeathed to her.
It is no sin to be tempted; the wickedness lies in being overcome.
Let nothing dupe you! Such is the horrible maxim that acts as a solvent upon every noble feeling man experiences.
A man wastes his time going to hear some of our eloquent modern preachers; they may change his opinions, but never his conduct.
The most real of all splendors are not in outward things, they are within us.
It is easier to be a lover than a husband for the simple reason that it is more difficult to be witty every day than to say pretty things from time to time.
Nothing is unimportant to a man plunged in despair. He is as credulous as a criminal sentenced to death who listens to a lunatic raving to him about how he can escape through the keyhole.
Among fifty percent of your married couples, the husband worries very little about what his wife is doing, provided she is doing all he wishes.
Thanks to the toleration preached by the encyclopedists of the eighteenth century, the sorcerer is exempt from torture.
A husband and wife who are in the habit of occupying separate rooms are either beings apart, or they have found happiness. Either they hate or they adore each other.
The sanctity of womanhood is incompatible with social liberty and social claims; and for a woman emancipation means corruption.
Memories beautify life, but the capacity to forget makes it bearable.
Virginity, like all monstrosities, possesses special riches and its own absorbing grandeur. Among the chaste, life forces are economized and thus gain in resistance and durability.
Creole women take after Europe in their intelligence, after the Tropics in the illogical violence of their passions, and after the Indies in the apathetic indolence with which they commit or suffer good and evil.
Nothing about me surprises me.
One can imagine the look the two lovers exchanged; it was like a flame, for virtuous lovers have not a shred of hypocrisy.
Most geometricians, chemists, mathematicians, and great scientists submit religion to reason only to discover a problem as unsolvable as that of squaring a circle.
The weakest being on earth can accomplish feats of strength. The frailest urchin will ring every doorbell on the street in arctic weather or hoist himself aloft to inscribe his name on a virgin monument.
Priests, magistrates and ladies never quite take off their gowns.
With every one, the expectation of a misfortune constitutes a dreadful, punishment. Suffering then assumes the proportions of the unknown, which is the soul's infinite.
Narrow minds can develop as well through persecution as through benevolence; they can assure themselves of their power by tyrannizing cruelly or beneficially over others.
It is only in the act of nursing that a woman realizes her motherhood in visible and tangible fashion; it is a joy of every moment.
The Police and the Society of Jesus posses in common the virtue of never forsaking their enemies as friends.
The fact is that love is of two kinds, one which commands, and one which obeys. The two are quite distinct, and the passion to which the one gives rise is not the passion of the other.
Passion is universal humanity. Without it religion, history, romance and art would be useless.
The more one judges, the less one loves.
Love is a game in which one always cheats.
Towns find it as hard as houses of business to rise again from ruin.
The union of a want and a sentiment.
In the first woman we love, we love everything. Growing older, we love the woman only.
It is the mark of a great man that he puts to flight all ordinary calculations. He is at once sublime and touching, childlike and of the race of giants.
Paris, like every pretty woman, is subject to inexplicable whims of beauty and ugliness.
When attempted self-destruction does not cure a man of life, it cures him of voluntary death.