French Short-Story Writer and Novelist
Guy de Maupassant, fully Henri Rene Albert Guy de Maupassant
French Short-Story Writer and Novelist
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.
War! When I but think of this word, I feel bewildered, as though they were speaking to me of sorcery, of the Inquisition, of a distant, finished, abominable, monstrous, unnatural thing. When they speak to us of cannibals, we smile proudly, as we proclaim our superiority to these savages. Who are the real savages? Those who struggle in order to eat those whom they vanquish, or those who struggle merely to kill?
The two nuns seemed to hear nothing, and to be lost in thought. Boule de Suif also was silent.
We are, on earth, two distinct races. Those who have need of others, whom others amuse, engage soothe, whom solitude harasses, pains, stupefies, like the movement of a terrible glacier or the traversing of the desert; and those, on the contrary, whom others weary, tire, bore, silently torture, whom isolation calms and bathes in the repose of independency, and plunges into the humors of their own thoughts. In fine, there is here a normal, physical phenomenon. Some are constituted to live a life outside of themselves, others, to live a life within themselves. As for me, my exterior associations are abruptly and painfully short-lived, and, as they reach their limits, I experience in my whole body and in my whole intelligence an intolerable uneasiness.
The vases river burying these dark vengeance, wild and legitimate unknown heroism, silent attacks, more dangerous than battles in broad daylight and without the impact of glory. For hatred of the foreigner ever arms a few Intrepid ready to die for an Idea.
We breathe, sleep, drink, eat, work and then die! The end of life is death. What do you long for? Love? A few kisses and you will be powerless. Money? What for? To gratify your desires. Glory? What comes after it all? Death! Death alone is certain.
There are in France some fifty thousand young men of good birth and fairly well off who are encouraged to live a life of complete idleness. They must either cease to exist or must come to see that there can be no happiness, no health even, without regular daily labor of some sort.
We live always under the weight of the old and odious customs... of our barbarous ancestors.
There are some delightful places in this world which have a sensual charm for the eyes. One loves them with a physical love. We people who are attracted by the countryside cherish fond memories of certain springs, certain woods, certain ponds, certain hills, which have become familiar sights and can touch our hearts like happy events. Sometimes indeed the memory goes back towards a forest glade, or a spot on a river bank or an orchard in blossom, glimpsed only once on a happy day, but preserved in our heart.