French Short-Story Writer and Novelist
Guy de Maupassant, fully Henri Rene Albert Guy de Maupassant
French Short-Story Writer and Novelist
There is only one good thing in life, and that is love.
Whatever we may do or attempt, despite the embrace and transports of love, the hunger of the lips, we are always alone. I have dragged you out into the night in the vain hope of a moment's escape from the horrible solitude which overpowers me. But what is the use! I speak and you answer me, and still each of us is alone; side by side but alone.
There is only one good thing in life, and that is love. And how you misunderstand it! how you spoil it! You treat it as something solemn like a sacrament, or something to be bought, like a dress.
Whatever you want to say, there is only one noun to express it, one verb to animate it and one adjective to qualify it.
There were round him some children playing in the dust on the paths. They had long fair hair, and with very earnest faces and solemn care were making little mountains of sand so as to stamp on 'em and squash' em underfoot. Peter was going through one of those gloomy days when one looks into every corner of one's soul and shakes out every crease. 'Our occupations are like the work of those kids,' he thought. Then he wondered whether after all the wisest course in life was not to beget two or three of these little useless beings and watch 'em grow complacent with curiosity. And he was touched by the desire to marry. You are not so lost when you're not alone any more. At any rate you can hear somebody moving near you in times of worry and uncertainty, and anyway it is something to be able to say words of love to a woman when you are feeling down. He began thinking about women. His knowledge of 'em was very limited, as all he had had in the affairs of Latin quarter was a fortnight or so, dropped when the month's money ran out and picked up again or mittal the following month. Yet kind, gentle, consoling creatures must exist. Had not his own mother brought sweet reasonableness and charm to his father's home? How he loved would have to meet a woman, a real woman! He leaped up, Determined to go and pay a little visit to Mrs. Rosemilly. Goal Quickly he sat down again. No, he did not like that one!
Why does one love? How queer it is to see only one being in the world, to have only one thought in one's mind, only one desire in the heart, and only one name on the lips--a name which comes up continually, rising, like the water in a spring, from the depths of the soul to the lips, a name which one repeats over and over again, which one whispers ceaselessly, everywhere, like a prayer.
These six people formed the bottom of the car, the side of the company rent‚e, serene and strong, honest people who have allowed religion and principles.
Why is it a shame for me to cause them to die and try to exterminate them, tell me? You did not talk that way when you used to come to my house in Jeanne-d'Arc street. Ah! it is a shame! You have not done as much, with your cross of honor! I deserve more merit than you, do you understand, more than you, for I have killed more Prussians than you!
They held up to admiration all those women who from time to time have arrested the victorious progress of conquerors, made of their bodies a field of battle, a means of ruling, a weapon; who have vanquished by their heroic caresses hideous or detested beings, and sacrificed their chastity to vengeance and devotion.
Why not other elements besides fire, air, earth and water? There are four of Them, just four, Those foster parents of Beings! What a pity! Why are not there forty elements INSTEAD, or four hundred, or four Thousand? How paltry everything is, how miserly, how wretched! Given stingily, aridly invented, heavily made! Why not other elements besides fire, air, earth and water? There are four of Them, just four, Those foster parents of Beings! What a pity! Why are not there forty elements INSTEAD, or four hundred, or four Thousand? How paltry everything is, how miserly, how wretched! Given stingily, aridly invented, heavily made ??
Think of that, young man. Think of it for days, and months and years, and life will seem different to you. Try to get away from all the things that shut you in. Make a superhuman effort to emerge alive from your own body, from your own interests, from your thoughts, from humanity in general, so your eyes that may be turned in the opposite direction. Then you understand how unimportant is the quarrel between romanticism and realism, or the budget debates.
With women there is neither caste nor rank, for beauty, grace and charm take the place of family and birth. Natural ingenuity, instinct for what is elegant, a supple mind are their sole hierarchy, and often make of women of the people the equals of the very greatest ladies.
This beast and still growing and inexplicable fear became terror. I stood motionless, eyes open, listening and waiting. What? I did not know, but it would be terrible.
Words dazzle and deceive because they are mimed by the face. But black words on a white page are the soul laid bare.
The only certainty is death.
This painful oppression, the malaise of the soul that leaves us grief on which we slept. It seems that misfortune, which shock us just hit the day before, or slides during our rest, in our flesh itself, it bruises and fatigue as a fever.
You have the army of mediocrities followed by the multitude of fools. As the mediocrities and the fools always form the immense majority, it is impossible for them to elect an intelligent government.
The past attracts me, the present frightens me, because the future is death.
This was the first living creature I Had ever loved passionately, Because He returned my affection. My love for the animal was, no doubt, exaggerated and ridiculous. I has that vague idea in some way we were brothers, both, lost in life, both, lonely and defenseless. He never left me, slept at foot of my bed, was fed in the dining-room in Spite of my relatives' protests and he came with me on my solitary walks.
You've never lived until you've almost died. For those who have fought for it, life has a flavor the protected shall never know.
The same thing happens whenever the established order of things is upset, when security no longer exists, when all those rights usually protected by the law of man or of Nature are at the mercy of unreasoning, savage force. The earthquake crushing a whole nation under falling roofs; the flood let loose, and engulfing in its swirling depths the corpses of drowned peasants, along with dead oxen and beams torn from shattered houses; or the army, covered with glory, murdering those who defend themselves, making prisoners of the rest, pillaging in the name of the Sword, and giving thanks to God to the thunder of cannon ? all these are appalling scourges, which destroy all belief in eternal justice, all that confidence we have been taught to feel in the protection of Heaven and the reason of man.
To avoid each other, their eyes had developed an amazing mobility with all the cunning of enemies fearful of meeting each other head on.
The secret is not to betray your ignorance. Just maneuver, avoid the quicksands and obstacles, and the rest can be found in a dictionary.
Truly, a man without a mustache is not a man.
The simplest of women are wonderful liars who can extricate themselves from the most difficult dilemmas with a skill bordering on genius.