Quotations > J. De Finod, comp. > French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness
J. De Finod, comp.  A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness.  1886.
Nos. 800–1199
A BEAUTIFUL woman with the qualities of a noble man is the most perfect thing in nature: we find in her all the merits of both sexes.
La Bruyère.    
  Time sooner or later vanquishes love; friendship alone subdues time.
Mme. d’Arconville.    
  Poverty destroys pride. It is difficult for an empty bag to stand upright.
A. Dumas fils.    
  To know how to be silent is more difficult, and more profitable, than to know how to speak.
  Little minds are vexed with trifles.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  From a confidence to an indiscretion, there is only the distance between the ear and the tongue.
  Excess and violence are the greatest outrages against liberty.
  To drink without thirst, to make love without cessation: this is what distinguishes us from the lower animals.
Beaumarchais (“Mariage de Figaro”).    
  The absurd man is the man who never changes.
  Honor immortalizes more than glory.
  In love, one is cured of one illusion by another.  810
  The soul of the poet is the mirror of the world.  811
  The heart that had never loved was the first atheist.
L. S. Mercier.    
  We have not always sufficient strength to employ all our reason.
Mme. de Grignan.    
  We have not always enough reason to employ all our strength.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  The love of woman is a precious treasure. Tenderness has no deeper source than the heart of woman; devotion no purer shrine; sacrifice no more saint-like abnegation.
  Woman is the organ of the devil.
St. Bernard.    
  Creation lives, grows, and multiplies: man is but a witness.
Victor Hugo.    
  He who allows his happiness to depend too much on reason, who submits his pleasures to examination, and desires enjoyments only of the most refined nature, too often ends by not having any at all.
  The man who can govern a woman can govern a nation.
  A homely man of merit is never repulsive: as soon as he is named, his physique is forgotten; the mind passes through it to see the soul.
  The best victory is to vanquish one’s heart.
Mme. de Saint-Surin.    
  Good actions are the invisible hinges of the doors of heaven.
Victor Hugo.    
  A man without patience is a lamp without oil.
A. de Musset.    
  I confess I should be glad if my pleasures were as pleasing to God as they are to me: in that case, I should often find matter for rejoicing.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  Coquetry is a continual lie, which renders a woman more contemptible and more dangerous than a courtesan who never lies.
De Varennes.    
  Nature needs little; opinion exacts much.  826
  A woman should never accept a lover without the consent of her heart, nor a husband without the consent of her judgment.
Ninon de Lenclos.    
  At twenty, every one is republican.
  Marriage is often but ennui for two.
  Love without esteem can not reach far, nor rise very high: it is an angel with but one wing.
A. Dumas fils.    
  The mistakes of woman result almost always from her faith in the good, and her confidence in the truth.
  One does not reason with his heart: one either breaks it, or yields to it.
  It is only the coward who reproaches as a dishonor the love a woman has cherished for him, since she can not retaliate by making a dishonor of his love for her.
Mme. de Lambert.    
  Woman has a smile for every joy, a tear for every sorrow, a consolation for every grief, an excuse for every fault, a prayer for every misfortune, and encouragement for every hope.
  True love is rare; true friendship, still rarer.
La Fontaine.    
  Illusion is the first of all pleasures.
  Love is superior to genius.
A. de Musset.    
  A weapon is anything that can serve to wound; and sentiments are perhaps the most cruel weapons man can employ to wound his fellow man.
  To correct the faults of man, we address the head; to correct those of woman, we address the heart.
  All our days travel toward death: the last one reaches it.
  As soon as we have learned how to live, we must die.
Alfred Bougeart.    
  Animals feed, men eat; but only men of intelligence know how to eat.
  The science of Nature initiates the human mind into the secret thoughts of Divinity.
Mme. d’Agoult.    
  It is difficult to repent of what gives us pleasure.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  Life is a narrow road full of encumbrances.
  To know how to wait is the great secret of success.
De Maistre.    
  A woman who plays with the love of a loyal man is a curse; she may close his heart for ever against all confidence in her sex.  847
  Men are still children at sixty.
  Everything that totters does not fall.
  A woman is more influenced by what she divines than by what she is told.
Ninon de Lenclos.    
  Society is but the contest of a thousand little opposite interests—an eternal contest between all the vanities that clash with each other, wounded, humiliated the one by the other, and which expiate to-morrow in the disgust of a defeat the triumph of to-day. To live in solitude, to avoid being crushed in the surging throng, is what the world calls being a nonentity—to have no existence. Poor, miserable humanity!
  Love, that seldom gives us happiness, at least makes us dream of it.
  To hope is to enjoy.
  Weak souls are capable of only weak sentiments; strong souls of powerful sentiments.
  A coquette is more occupied with the homage we refuse her, than with that we bestow upon her.
A. Dupuy.    
  Woman is the most precious jewel taken from Nature’s casket, for the ornamentation and happiness of man.
  No one perfectly loves God who does not perfectly love some of his creatures.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  We seldom confide a secret: it escapes us.
Alfred Bougeart.    
  We should be above jealousy when there is real cause for it.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  Men are the cause of women’s dislike for each other.
La Bruyère.    
  There are strange coincidences in life: they occur so ô propos that the strongest minds are impressed, and ask if that mysterious and inexorable fatality in which the ancients believed, is not really the law that governs the world.
Alfred Mercier.    
  To educate a man is to form an individual who leaves nothing behind him; to educate a woman is to form future generations.
E. Laboulaye.    
  A husband is always a sensible man: he never thinks of marrying.
A. Dumas père.    
  One expresses well only the love he does not feel.
A. Karr.    
  Women are women but to become mothers: they go to duty through pleasure.
  To render a marriage happy, the husband should be deaf and the woman blind.
  In observing the world’s movements, the most melancholy man would become merry, and Heraclitus would die of laughter.
  Self-love was born before love.  868
  None are less eager to learn than they who know nothing.
  In courting women, many dry wood for a fire that will not burn for them.
  There is a power a hundred times more powerful than that of bayonets: it is the power of ideas.
  Those who feign love succeed better than those who truly love.  872
  Everybody gives advice: some listen to it; none apply it.
Alfred Bougeart.    
  Nothing has ever remained of any revolution, but what was ripe in the conscience of the masses.
  It is the opinion of men that makes the reputation of women.
Ninon de Lenclos.    
  All the countries of our globe have been discovered, all the seas have been furrowed: nothing remains to traverse but the heavens.
Baron Taylor.    
  We often console ourselves for being unhappy by a certain pleasure that we find in appearing so.
De Barthélemy.    
  He who has no character is not a man: he is a thing.
  Circumstances that render us frail, only show how frail we are.
Mme. de Choiseul.    
  The life of poets—love and tears.
Mme. Desbordes-Valmore.    
  Trust your dog to the end; a woman—till the first opportunity.
  All that is enviable is not bought: love, genius, beauty, are divine gifts that the richest can not acquire.
Mme. Louise Colet.    
  To love is a rare happiness; if it were common, it would be better to be a man than a god.
Mme. du Châtelet.    
  A girl of sixteen accepts love; a woman of thirty incites it
A. Ricard.    
  Too much effort to increase our happiness transforms it into misery.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  It is useless to have youth without beauty, or beauty without youth.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  Nature makes fools; women make coxcombs.  887
  In jealousy there is usually more self-love than love.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  A fan is indispensable to a woman who can no longer blush.  889
  There is a woman at the bottom of all great things.
  If love gives wit to fools, it undoubtedly takes it from wits.
A. Karr.    
  To give birth to a desire, to nourish it, to develop it, to increase it, to irritate it, to satisfy it: this is a whole poem.
  Society is composed of two great classes: those who have more dinners than appetite, and those who have more appetite than dinners.
  An old coquette has all the defects of a young one, and none of her charms.
A. Dupuy.    
  In love, as in everything else, experience is a physician who never comes until after the disorder is cured.
Mme. de la Tour.    
  The mistake of many women is to return sentiment for gallantry.
  Though vices repel, they do not always separate us from those we love.
Mme. de Rieux.    
  Sorrow is a torch that lights life.  898
  It is not love that ruins us; it is the way we make it.
  Sentiment is never lascivious.
  O youth! ephemeral song, eternal canticle! The world may end, the heavens fall, yet loving voices would still find an echo in the ruins of the universe!
Jules Janin.    
  If as much care were taken to perpetuate a race of fine men as is done to prevent the mixture of ignoble blood in horses and dogs, the genealogy of every one would be written on his face and displayed in his manners.
  Pleasure is the reward of moderation.  903
  We finish by excusing our faults, but we always blush at our blunders.  904
  Politeness is the curb that holds our worser selves in check.
Mme. de Bassanville.    
  What man seeks in love is woman; what woman seeks in man is love.
A. Houssaye.    
  Intellectual progress, separated from moral progress, gives a fearful result: a being possessing nothing but brains.
A. de Gasparin.    
  The present is withered by our wishes for the future; we ask for more air, more light, more space, more fields, a larger home. Ah! does one need so much room to love a day, and then to die?
E. Souvestre.    
  Success resembles a generous wine which begins by exciting the intellectual faculties, and ends by plunging us into a stupid intoxication.
Alfred Bougeart.    
  One is alone in a crowd when one suffers, or when one loves.
  The world is satisfied with words: few care to dive beneath the surface.
  All the passions die with the years; self-love alone never dies.
  Before wondering at the degradation of a soul, one should know what blows it has received, and what it has suffered from its own grandeur.
Mme. Louise Colet.    
  In love, as in war, a fortress that parleys is half taken.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  The life of a woman can be divided into three epochs: in the first she dreams of love, in the second she experiences it, in the third she regrets it.
  Friendship is the highest degree of perfection in society.
  Poetry is the music of the soul.
  The public! the public! How many fools does it take to make up a public?
  To know man, borrow the ear of the blind and the eye of the deaf.
  Marriage in our days?—I would almost say that it is a rape by contract.
  A woman’s friendship is, as a rule, the legacy of love or the alms of indifference.  921
  To be virtuous, it does not suffice to will it.
La Beaumelle.    
  Discouragement is of all ages: in youth it is a presentiment, in old age a remembrance.
  It is strange that all great men should have some little grain of madness mingled with whatever genius they possess.
  Society is the book of women.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  One of the greatest of human sufferings is to ask of one’s self: Does God exist?
  In a free country there is much clamor with little suffering; in a despotic state there is little complaint, but much grievance.
  There are some people whose morals are only in the piece: they never make a coat.
  Prospective happiness! it is perhaps the only real happiness in the world.
A. de Musset.    
  Woman is the nervous part of humanity; man, the muscular.
  A woman whose great beauty eclipses all others is seen with as many different eyes as there are people who look at her. Pretty women gaze with envy, homely women with spite, old men with regret, young men with transport.
D’ Argens.    
  The heart has reasons that reason does not understand.
  Our illusions fall one after the other like the parings of fruit: the fruit is experience; its savor may be bitter, still it contains something that strengthens.
G. de Nerval.    
  Discouragement is a passion, the most dangerous of all: it takes from us all our arms, all our forces, and abandons us without pity to the snares of voluptuousness.
Alfred Mercier.    
  Hope and fear are inseparable.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  O love! only a few rays of thy sacred fire radiate in this exhausted world!
  We are for the most part but the contemporaries of happiness. It is spoken of about us, but we die without having known it.
O. Firmez.    
  How much one must have suffered to be weary even of hope!
  Taste is the tact of the mind.
  We easily hate those whom we have given cause to hate us.
Mme. de Lussan.    
  Dishonesty is the root of discussion.
  By work of the mind one secures the repose of the heart.
  Silence is the wit of fools, and one of the virtues of the wise.
  Philosophy, well understood, is an excellent road to heaven.
  If you would make a pair of good shoes, take for the sole the tongue of a woman: it never wears out.
Alsatian Proverb.    
  Friendship is impossible between men of high social standing and men in the lower walks of life; very difficult between a young man and a young woman; between two beautiful women, it is but a poetic fiction.  946
  Our happiness in this world depends chiefly on the affections we are able to inspire.
Mme. de Praslin.    
  Hypocrisy is permanent treason.  948
  When women have passed thirty, the first thing they forget is their age; when they have attained forty, they have entirely lost the remembrance of it.
Ninon de Lenclos.    
  To love, or not to love, is not left to our will.
  Sow good services; sweet remembrances will grow from them.
Mme. de Staël.    
  A lover is a man who endeavors to be more amiable than it is possible for him to be: this is the reason why almost all lovers are ridiculous.
  Some women have in the course of their lives a double engagement to sustain, equally difficult to break or to dissimulate: in one case the contract is wanting, in the other the heart.
La Bruyère.    
  A marriageable girl is a kind of merchandise that can be negotiated at wholesale, only on condition that no one takes a part at retail.
A. Karr.    
  Libertines are hideous spiders, that often catch pretty butterflies.
  There may be as much courage displayed in enduring with resignation the sufferings of the soul, as in remaining firm under the showers of shot from a battery.
Napoleon I.    
  There are persons who do not know how to waste their time alone, and hence become the scourge of busy people.
De Bonald.    
  Man spends his life in reasoning on the past, in complaining of the present, and in trembling for the future.
  There is no sweeter repose than that which is bought with labor.
  All religions are more or less mixed with superstitions. Man is not reasonable enough to content himself with a pure and sensible religion, worthy of the Deity.
  If we think, we must act.
  Servitude debases man to a degree that leads him to love it.
  When one runs after wit, he is sure to catch nonsense.
  Politeness costs little and yields much.
Mme. de Lambert.    
  Whoever flatters betrays.
  Compliment is the high-road to the heart of woman.
  Love is a disorder that has three stages: desire, possession, satiety.
Sénac de Meilhan.    
  Life is a dream; death, an awakening.
La Beaumelle.    
  To marry is solemnly to submit one’s liberty to law, and one’s welfare to caprice.  969
  What is it that renders friendship between women so lukewarm and of so short duration? It is the interests of love and the jealousy of conquest.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  Love is like the moon: when it does not increase, it decreases.
  When we think of the tenderness, of the solicitude, of the protection, of the grace, of the charm, of the happiness, or at least of the consolation that woman brings to the life of man, one is tempted to speak to her only with uncovered head, and bowed knee.
L. Desnoyers.    
  There is in all of us an obstacle to perfect happiness, which is weariness of the things we possess, and the desire for the things we have not.
Mme. de Rieux.    
  There is nothing in love but what we imagine.
  Marriage is a romance until the book is open. True, the preface is sometimes amusing, but it never lasts long, and it is always deceptive.
  There are no unions that have not their dark days; but, when we have loved each other, we remember it always, and those sweet remembrances, that the heart accumulates, survive love like twilight.  976
  The discovery of truth by slow, progressive meditation is talent. Intuition of the truth, not preceded by perceptible meditation, is genius.
  In love, a woman is like a lyre that surrenders its secrets only to the hand that knows how to touch its strings.
  There are in the world circumstances which give us for masters men of whom we would not make our valets.
Mme. Roland.    
  The loves of some people are but the result of good suppers.
  Happiness may have but one night, as glory but one day.
A. de Musset.    
  Every woman carries in the depths of her soul a mysterious weapon, instinct—that virgin instinct, incorruptible, which requires her neither to learn, to reason, nor to know, which binds the strong will of man, dominates his sovereign reason, and pales our little scientific tapers.  982
  To speak of love is to make love.
  Women are rakes by nature and prudes from necessity.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  Love is the most terrible, and also the most generous, of the passions: it is the only one that includes in its dreams the happiness of some one else.
A. Karr.    
  To judge of the real importance of an individual, one should think of the effect his death would produce.
  Those who always speak well of women do not know them enough; those who always speak ill of them do not know them at all.
  I admire her who resists; I pity her who succumbs; I hate her who condemns.
Alfred Bougeart.    
  Woman is an overgrown child that one amuses with toys, intoxicates with flattery, and seduces with promises.
Mme. Sophie Arnould.    
  Pride is the consciousness of what one is, without contempt for others.
Sénac de Meilhan.    
  It is not so much for love of the world that we seek it, as to escape our own companionship.  991
  Mediocre people fear exaltation for the harm that may result from it; though it is something that can not be communicated to them.
Mme. de Krudener.    
  Distrust him who talks much of his honesty.
  It is rare that, after having given the key of her heart, a woman does not change the lock the day after.
  Conscience is a sacred sanctuary, where God alone has the right to enter as judge.
  The heart of youth is reached through the senses; the senses of age are reached through the heart.
Rétif de la Bretonne.    
  Women go further in love than most men, but men go further in friendship than women.
La Bruyère.    
  Indolence is the sleep of the mind.
  There are only two beautiful things in the world—women and roses; and only two sweet things—women and melons.
  Coquetry is a net laid by the vanity of woman to ensnare that of man.
  In love, one who ceases to be rich begins to be poor.
  Society depends upon women. The nations who confine them are unsociable.
  The human soul needs to be mated to develop all its value.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  Man can not live exclusively by intelligence and self-love.
Alfred Mercier.    
  To remember—to forget: alas! this is what makes us young or old.
A. de Musset.    
  One loves wholly but once—the first time: loves that follow are less involuntary.
La Bruyère.    
  What the devil can not, women do.
  Don Quixote is, after all, the defender of the oppressed, the champion of lost causes, and the man of noble aberrations. Woe to the centuries without Don Quixotes! Nothing remains to them but Sancho Panzas.
A. de Gasparin.    
  It is never the opinions of others that displease us, but the pertinacity they display in obtruding them upon us.
  Taste is the microscope of the judgment.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  Without woman the two extremities of life would be without succor, and the middle without pleasure.  1011
  “I am young; I have passed but the half of the road of life, and, already weary, I turn and look back!”
A. de Musset.    
  It is chance that makes brothers, but hearts that make friends.  1013
  Women are extremists: they are either better or worse than men.
La Bruyère.    
  There are more fools than sages; and among the sages, there is more folly than wisdom.
  There are no pleasures where women are not; and with the French, champagne itself has no flavor, unless served by the hand of beauty.
  Possession is the touchstone of love: true love finds new ardor, frivolous love extinguishes itself in it.
  A woman is never displeased if we please several other women, provided she is preferred: it is so many more triumphs for her.
Ninon de Lenclos.    
  However powerful one may be, whether one laughs or weeps, none can make thee speak, none can open thy hand before the time, O mute phantom, our shadow! specter always masked, ever at our side, called To-morrow!
Victor Hugo.    
  Why should we complain, since we are so little moved by the complaints of others?
Alfred Bougeart.    
  I esteem the world as much as I can, and still I esteem it but little.
  Temperance is the love of health—or the inability to eat or drink much.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  Vanity is the only intellectual enjoyment of many people.  1023
  Beauty is the first gift Nature gives to woman, and the first she takes from her.
  Since Cupid is represented with a torch in his hand, why did they place virtue on a barrel of gunpowder?
  A woman at middle age retains nothing of the pettiness of youth; she is a friend who gives you all the feminine delicacies, who displays all the graces, all the prepossessions which Nature has given to woman to please man, but who no longer sells these qualities. She is hateful or lovable, according to her pretensions to youth, whether they exist under the epidermis or whether they are dead.
  The only way to please God is to follow the good inclinations of our nature.
Alfred Mercier.    
  One of the most effectual ways of pleasing and of making one’s self loved is to be cheerful: joy softens more hearts than tears.
Mme. de Sartory.    
  All the evil that women have done to us comes from us, and all the good they have done to us comes from them.
  We always find what we do not seek.
  Love is a fever, of which the delirium is to believe itself eternal.
Mme. Cottin.    
  It is a common vanity of the aged to believe that they have always been more exemplary than those who have come after them.
A. de Musset.    
  The friendship of a man is often a support; that of a woman is always a consolation.
  There are more people who wish to be loved than there are who are willing to love.
  Of all ruins, the ruin of man is the saddest to contemplate.
T. Gautier.    
  A woman can be held by no stronger tie than the knowledge that she is loved.
Mme. de Motteville.    
  One should choose for a wife only such a woman as he would choose for a friend, were she a man.
  It is a terrible thing to be obliged to love by contract.
  The feeble howl with the wolves, bray with the asses, and bleat with the sheep.
Mme. Roland.    
  To a woman of delicate feeling, the most persuasive declaration of love is the embarrassment of an intellectual man.
  To abstain from pleasure for a time, in order the better to enjoy in the future, is the philosophy of the sage; it is the epicureanism of reason.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  To judge a country one does not know the language of, is like judging a book from the binding.  1042
  Man may go from aversion to love; but, when he has begun by loving, and has reached aversion, he never returns to love.
  The soul and the body are enemies.
A. de Musset.    
  God took his softest clay and his purest colors, and made a fragile jewel, mysterious and caressing—the finger of woman; then he fell asleep. The devil awoke, and at the end of that rosy finger put—a nail.
Victor Hugo.    
  Marriage has its unknown great men, as war has its Napoleons, poetry its Chéniers, and philosophy its Descartes.
  The art of praising caused the art of pleasing.
  Death is a passage: the more rapidly it is crossed, the better.  1048
  Love dies of satiety, and is buried in oblivion.
La Bruyère.    
  A prison is never narrow when the imagination can range in it at will.  1050
  The greatest art of an able man is to know how to conceal his ability.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  Philosophers and men of letters have done more for mankind than Orpheus, Hercules, or Theseus; for it is more meritorious and more difficult to wean men from their prejudices than to civilize the barbarian: It is harder to correct than to instruct.
  As long as the heart preserves desire, the mind preserves illusion.
  To be loved is to receive the greatest of all compliments.
Mme. Necker.    
  The physical plagues and the calamities of human nature have rendered society necessary. Society has added to the evils of nature; the imperfections of society have created the necessity for government, and government adds still further to the woes of society: this is the whole history of humanity.
  The unknown! it is the field in which are sown our dreams, where we see them germinate, grow, and bloom. Who would live without the benefit of the incertitude granted to our miseries!
E. Souvestre.    
  The woman we love most is often the one to whom we express it the least.
  In ill-matched marriages, the fault is less the woman’s than the man’s, as the choice depended on her the least.
Mme. de Rieux.    
  Every vice has a cloak, and creeps in under the name of virtue.  1059
  Possession makes tyrants of some men whom desire made slaves.
  A woman often thinks she regrets the lover, when she only regrets the love.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  Let us love! let us enjoy the fugitive hour! Man has no harbor, time has no shores: it runs, and we pass!
  When one seeks the cause of the successes of great generals, one is astonished to find that they did everything necessary to insure them.
Napoleon I.    
  War is the tribunal of nations: victories and defeats are its decrees.
  Would you know the qualities a man lacks, examine those of which he boasts.
  There is more poverty in the human heart than misery in life.
E. de Girardin.    
  Laws should never be in contradiction to usages; for, if the usages are good, the laws are valueless.
  Reading is useless to some people: ideas pass through their heads without remaining.
C. Jordan.    
  Repentance is a second innocence.
De Bonald.    
  Glory can be for a woman but the brilliant mourning of happiness.
Mme. de Staël.    
  Marriage is a tie that hope embellishes, that happiness preserves, and that adversity fortifies.
  In the beginning, passions obey; later, they command.
Mme. de Lambert.    
  A prude exhibits her virtue in word and manner; a virtuous woman shows hers in her conduct.
La Bruyère.    
  Our century leans neither toward evil nor toward good: it goes toward mediocrity.
A. de Gasparin.    
  Politeness has left our manners, to take refuge in our clothes.
Mme. de Bassanville.    
  It is because honesty will soon be scarce that we must use it to deceive the deceivers.  1076
  Pleasures are sins: we regret to offend God; but, then, pleasures please us.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  Infidelities rupture love; little faults wear it out.
  The offender never pardons.
  I have remarked that those who love women most, and are most tender in their intercourse with them, are most inclined to speak ill of them, as if they could not forgive them for not being as irreproachable as they wish them to be
T. Gautier.    
  To enjoy is not to corrupt.
  It is in the eyes that the language of love is written.
Mme. Cottin.    
  Reason! I have lost it; and, were it to be returned to me, I would fly from it!
A. de Musset.    
  Politeness is a wreath of flowers that adorns the world.
Mme. de Bassanville.    
  A brute always imposes silence on the delicate.
A. de Gasparin.    
  There are glances that have more wit than the most subtile speech.  1086
  Women are the happiest beings of the creation: in compensation for our services they reward us with a happiness of which they retain more than half.
De Varennes.    
  Repentance is not so much remorse for what we have done, as the fear of consequences.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  One sneers at curls when one has no more hair; one slanders apples when one has no more teeth.
A. Karr.    
  A man explodes with indignation when a woman ceases to love him, yet he soon finds consolation; a woman is less demonstrative when deserted, and remains longer inconsolable.  1090
  Wounds of the heart! your traces are bitter, slow to heal, and always ready to reopen.
A. de Musset.    
  When one has been tormented and fatigued by his sensitiveness, he learns that he must live from day to day, forget all that is possible, and efface his life from memory as it passes.
  Love is a duel with pins.  1093
  How few friendships would be lasting if we knew what our best friends say of us in our absence.
  Voltaire inscribed on a statue of Love: “Whoever thou art, behold thy master! He rules thee, or has ruled thee, or will rule thee!”  1095
  A woman forgives the audacity which her beauty has prompted us to be guilty of.
  All men are fools: to escape seeing one, one would be compelled to shut himself in his room, and break his mirror.
De Sade.    
  A coquette is a woman who places her honor in a lottery: ninety-nine chances to one that she will lose it.  1098
  The virtue of widows is a laborious virtue: they have to combat constantly with the remembrance of past bliss.
St. Jerome.    
  Women like audacity: when one astounds them he interests them; and when one interests them, he is very sure to please them.  1100
  This century boasts of progress! Have they invented a new mortal sin? Unfortunately there are but seven, as before—the number of the daily falls of a saint, which is very little.
T. Gautier.    
  The society of women endangers men’s morals and refines their manners.
  A bachelor seeks a wife to avoid solitude; a married man seeks society to avoid the tête-ô-tête.
De Varennes.    
  Wrinkles are the grave of love.
  We may wager that any idea of the public, or any general opinion, is a folly, since it has received the approbation of a majority of the people.
  The reason why so few women are touched by friendship is, that they find it dull when they have experienced love.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  Women sometimes deceive the lover—never the friend.
L. S. Mercier.    
  He who first invented raiment, perhaps invented love.
  It is often shorter and better to yield to others than to endeavor to compel others to adjust themselves to us.
La Bruyère.    
  Whoever blushes is already guilty: true innocence is ashamed of nothing.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  A woman laughs when she can, and weeps when she will.
  Conjugal Love should never put on or take off his bandage but at an opportune time.
  Love is like the rose: so sweet, that one always tries to gather it in spite of the thorns.  1113
  Which is the best religion? The most tolerant.
E. de Girardin.    
  One can stop when he ascends, but not when he descends.
Napoleon I.    
  He who thinks himself good for everything is often good for nothing.
  Idleness is the door to all vices.
  Why do we dream in our sleep if we have no soul? and, if we have one, how is it that dreams are so incoherent and extravagant?
  Generosity is but the pity of noble souls.
  Inclination and interest determine the will.
  Extremes in everything is a characteristic of woman.
De Goncourt.    
  I have tormented the present with the preoccupations of the future; I have put my judgment in the place of Providence, and the happy child has been transformed into a care-worn man!
E. Souvestre.    
  The greatest satisfaction a woman can feel is to know that a man whom many other women love loves her alone.  1123
  To speak of love begets love.
  True philosophy raises us above grandeur, but nothing can raise us above the ennui which it causes.
Mme. de Maintenon.    
  Love pleases more than marriage, for the reason that romance is more interesting than history.
  A coquette is to a man what a toy is to a child: as long as it pleases him, he keeps it; when it ceases to please him, he discards it.  1127
  One must be a woman to know how to revenge.
Mme. de Rieux.    
  Many wish to be pious, but none to be humble.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  Books follow manners; manners do not follow books.
T. Gautier.    
  As soon as women are ours, we are no longer theirs.
  Convictions that remain silent are neither sincere nor profound.  1132
  A woman who is guided by the head, and not by the heart, is a social pestilence: she has all the defects of the passionate and affectionate woman, with none of her compensations; she is without pity, without love, without virtue, without sex.
  The true and the false speak the same language.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  Thought is the lightning of the soul.
Mme. de Bassanville.    
  Old men are always jealous: they are like the greedy child who wants the cake it can not eat.
A. Ricard.    
  Who of us has not regretted that age when laughter was ever on the lips!
J. J. Rousseau.    
  In life, woman must wait until she is asked to love; as in a salon she waits for an invitation to dance.
A. Karr.    
  In the elevated order of ideas, the life of man is glory; the life of woman is love.
  Suitors of a wealthy girl seldom seek for proof of her past virtue.  1140
  However virtuous a woman may be, a compliment on her virtue is what gives her the least pleasure.
Prince de Ligne.    
  Love, pleasure, and inconstancy are but the consequences of a desire to know the truth.
  Life is a combat, of which the palm is in heaven.
  Vanity ruins more women than love.
Mme. du Deffand.    
  O oblivion! oblivion! what a pillow for the exhausted traveler!
  If a fox is cunning, a woman in love is a thousand times more so.
  Time is a great physician: he brings us death.  1147
  We are finite beings: there can be no infinite happiness for us. The soul that dreams it and pursues it will embrace but a shadow.
  When women can not be revenged, they do as children do: they cry.
  In condemning the vanity of women, men complain of the fire they themselves have kindled.
  It is with happiness as with watches: the less complicated, the less easily deranged.
  There are several ways to speak: to speak well, to speak easily, to speak justly, and to speak at the right moment.
La Bruyère.    
  We please oftener by our defects than by our virtues.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  Life has surprises at every age.
Alfred Mercier.    
  Young, one is rich in all the future that he dreams; old, one is poor in all the past he regrets.
  Women like balls and assemblies, as a hunter likes a place where game abounds.
  Life would be easy enough if we were not continually exerting ourselves to forge new chains, and invent absurd formalities which make it a burden.  1157
  A woman, when she has passed forty, becomes an illegible scrawl; only an old woman is capable of divining old women.
  Men would not live long in society if they were not the dupes of each other.
La Bruyère.    
  He who loves little dares little.
  To place wit above sense, is to place superfluity above utility.
Mme. de Maintenon.    
  Women speak easily of platonic love; but, while they appear to esteem it highly, there is not a single ribbon of their toilette that does not drive platonism from our hearts.
A. Ricard.    
  There is a greater distance between love and indifference than between hatred and love.
  Civilization has its cup of bitterness.
F. de Conches.    
  The more women have risked, the more they are ready to sacrifice.
  To make love only when signing the marriage certificate, is to take romance by the tail.
  Nature has given to women fortitude enough to resist a certain time, but not enough to resist completely the inclination which they cherish.
  When love increases, prudence decreases.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  An honorable name or a good reputation is an excellent protection against wrong-doing: we fear to compromise it more through vanity than virtue.      1169
  The difference between love and possession is, that one is an infinite desire, the other a satisfied desire.
  All passions are good when one masters them; all are bad when one is a slave to them.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  The destiny of women is to please, to be amiable, and to be loved. Those who do not love them are still more in the wrong than those who love them too much.
  In love, what we take has greater price than what is given.
J. Petit-Senn.    
  One looks at a lover; one does not examine him.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  Travel improves superior wine and spoils the poor: it is the same with the brain.  1175
  Glow-worms are the image of women: when they are in the dark, one is struck with their brilliancy; as soon as they appear in the broad light of the world, one sees them in their true colors, with all their defects.
Mme. Necker.    
  A woman of honor should never suspect another of things she would not do herself.
Marguerite de Valois.    
  History is only a record of crimes and misfortunes.
  At a ball, men are the timid sex, and also the feebler sex; for they are always the first to be fatigued.
A. Karr.    
  False modesty is the most reputable of all impostures.
  Among all animals, from man to the dog, the heart of a mother is always a sublime thing.
A. Dumas père.    
  We never forget what we learn with pleasure.
Alfred Mercier.    
  Simple nature, however defective, is better than the least objectionable affectation; and, defects for defects, those which are natural are more bearable than affected virtues.
  How many things have we esteemed that we despise, and how many joys have resulted in afflictions!  1184
  Man should place himself above prejudices, and woman should submit to them.
Mme. Necker.    
  Better is an error that makes us happy than a truth that plunges us into despair.  1186
  Women never weep more bitterly than when they weep with spite.
A. Ricard.    
  Love in marriage would be the realization of a beautiful dream, if marriage were not too often the end of it.
A. Karr.    
  Women have the same desires as men, but do not have the same right to express them.
J. J. Rousseau.    
  As yet, no navigator has traced lines of latitude and longitude on the conjugal sea.
  Contempt should be the best concealed of our sentiments.  1191
  Coquettes are like hunters who are fond of hunting, but do not eat the game.  1192
  Woman is more constant in hatred than in love.  1193
  In love, it is only the commencement that charms. I am not surprised that one finds pleasure in frequently recommencing.
Prince de Ligne.    
  To woman, mildness is the best means to be right.
Mme. de Fontaines.    
  The reason why lovers never weary of each other’s company is because they speak always of themselves.
La Rochefoucauld.    
  All the reasoning of man is not worth one sentiment of woman.
  The resistance of a woman is not always a proof of her virtue, but more frequently of her experience.
Ninon de Lenclos.    
  One can not imagine how much cleverness is necessary not to be ridiculous.

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