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HONORE DE BALZAC
French novelist
(1799 - 1850)
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Clothes are like a gloss that sets off everything; dresser were invented more to enhance physical advantages than to veil physical defects.
      - [Clothes]

Conscience is a cudgel which all men pick up in order to thwack their neighbors instead of applying it to their own shoulders.
      - [Conscience]

Constancy will always be the genius of love, the indication of that strength which constitutes the poet. A man should possess all women in his wife, like those squalid poetasters of the seventeenth century who made fair Irises and dazzling Chloes of their lowly Manons.
      - [Constancy]

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.
      - [Women]

Cruelty and fear shake hands together.
      - [Cruelty]

Danger arouses interest. Where death is involved, the vilest criminal invariably stirs a little compassion.
      - [Danger]

Does not any limit imposed upon one inspire a desire to go beyond it? Does not our keenest suffering arise when our free will is crossed?
      - [Free Will]

Doubt follows white-winged hope with trembling steps.
      - [Doubt]

During the great storms of our lives we imitate those captains who jettison their weightiest cargo.
      - [Simplicity]

Emulation admires and strives to imitate great actions; envy is only moved to malice.
      - [Emulation]

Emulation is not rivalry. Emulation is the child of ambition; rivalry is the unlovable daughter of envy.
      - [Rivalry]

Envy lurks at the bottom of the human heart, like a viper in its hole.
      - [Envy]

Evasion is unworthy of us, and is always the intimate of equivocation.
      - [Evasion]

Even beauty cannot always palliate eccentricity.
      - [Eccentricity]

Even when exercising their greatest duplicity, women are always sincere because they are yielding to some natural feeling.
      - [Sincerity]

Events are never absolute, their outcome depends entirely upon the individual. Misfortune is a stepping stone for a genius, a piscina for a Christian, a treasure for a man of parts, and an abyss for a weakling.
      - [Certainty]

Few men are raised in our estimation by being too closely examined.
      - [Inquisitiveness]

Fools gain greater advantages through their weakness than intelligent men through their strength. We watch a great man struggling against fate and we do not lift a finger to help him. But we patronize a grocer who is headed for bankruptcy.
      - [Fools]

Foppery, being the chronic condition of women, is not so much noticed as it is when it breaks out on the person of the male bird.
      - [Foppery]

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.
      - [World]

For certain people, misfortune is a beacon that lights up the dark and baser sides of social life.
      - [Misfortune]

For the journalist, anything probable is gospel truth.
      - [Journalists : Truth]

From the manner in which a woman draws her thread at every stitch of her needlework, any other woman can surprise her thoughts.
      - [Sewing]

Generally our confidences move downward rather than upward; in our secret affairs, we employ our inferiors much more than our bettors.
      - [Secrecy]

Genius is intensity.
      - [Genius]


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