She realized for the first time that two people can never reach each others deepest feelings and instincts, that they spend their lives side by side, linked it may be, but not mingled, and that each one's inmost being must go through life eternally alone.

She was a sweet girl but not really pretty, a rough sketch of a woman with a little of everything in her, one of those silhouettes which artists draw in three strokes on the tablecloth in a café after dinner, between a glass of brandy and a cigarette. Nature sometimes turns out creatures like that.

It is the lives we encounter that make life worth living.

Death need not be sad, it should be a matter of indifference.

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.

Then, one by one, they went away, for night was falling on the storm, wrapping in shadows the raging ocean and all the battling elements.

How strange life is, how fickle! How little is needed for one to be ruined or saved!

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.

One sometimes weeps over one's illusions with as much bitterness as over a death.

But she shook with rage, and got up one of those conjugal scenes which make a peaceable man dread the domestic hearth more than a battlefield where bullets are raining.

Ah! Those silly songs make us lose our heads; and, believe me, never marry a woman who sings in the country, especially if she sings the song of Musette!

I hope you realize that you really hit it off with the ladies? You must cultivate that. It could take you far.

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 great artists are those who impose their personal vision upon humanity.

But I no longer had a taste for anything, a wish for anything, a love for anybody, a desire for anything whatever, any ambition, or any hope.

Several sailors, sheltered behind the curved bottoms of their boats, were watching this battle of the sky and the sea.

The matter had to be settled immediately, without delaying another day, for at times he too felt an imperious need for instant solutions, which is all the weak are capable of, given their inability to sustain an effort of will.

But this pleasure was not unalloyed with pain, and it seemed as if the universal joy of the awakening world could now only impart a delight which was half sorrow to her grief-crushed soul and withered heart.

I had kissed her at odd times, in out of the way corners, in the manner of a mountain guide, nothing more.

His life had gone by without adventures, without passions, almost without hopes. The facility of dreaming, planted in every man, had never blossomed in the narrow bed of his ambitions.

Night was a very different matter. It was dense, thicker than the very walls, and it was empty, so black, so immense that within it you could brush against appalling things and feel roaming and prowling around a strange, mysterious horror.

We love our mother unknowingly, and only realize how deep-rooted that love is at the ultimate separation.

It is better to be unhappy in love than unhappy in marriage, but some people manage to be both.

Well, then I will go on, however painful it may be to me to recall those terrible memories. What temptations! What trials! The devil often makes use of the most innocent things to lead a man astray.

Charming, charming,' the lawyer said at intervals.

And involuntarily I compared the childish sarcasm, the religious sarcasm of Voltaire with the irresistible irony of the German philosopher whose influence is henceforth ineffaceable.

The day exhausts me, irritates me. It is brutal, noisy. I struggle to get out of bed, I dress wearily and, against my inclination, I go out. I find each step, each movement, each gesture, each word, each thought as tiring as if I were lifting a crushing weight.

I am lost! Someone has taken over my mind and is controlling it! Someone is in command of all my actions, movements, and thoughts. I am nothing inside, merely a spectator enslaved and terrified by everything I do.

Everything I see reminds me that in a few days I shall no longer see it... It's horrible... I shall see nothing more... nothing of what exists... the smallest objects that we use... glasses... plates... beds where people sleep so comfortably... carriages. It's so lovely, going out in a carriage, in the evening... How much I enjoyed all that!

Killing is decreed by law but nature loves eternal youth. Whatever she does, however unconscious and unfeeling the act, she seems to cry out: ‘Quick! Quick! Quick!' And the more she destroys, the more she is renewed.

Words dazzle and deceive because they are mimed by the face. But black words on a white page are the soul laid bare.

There can be no doubt that loneliness is dangerous to active minds.

What do you want?" he then asked her. And with clenched teeth, and trembling with anger, she replied: "I want--I want you to marry me, as you promised." But he only laughed and replied: "Oh! if a man were to marry all the girls with whom he has made a slip, he would have more than enough to do.

Our memory is a more perfect world than the universe: it gives back life to those who no longer exist.

Great minds that are healthy are never considered geniuses, while this sublime qualification is lavished on brains that are often inferior but are slightly touched by madness.

I have coveted everything and taken pleasure in nothing.

O sleep! ridiculous mystery which makes faces appear so grotesque, you are the revealer of human ugliness. You uncover all shortcomings, all deformities and all defects. You turn every face touched by you into a caricature.

Nevertheless man has found love, which is not a bad reply to that sly Deity, and he has adorned it with so much poetry that woman often forgets the sensual part of it. Those among us who are unable to deceive themselves have invented vice and refined debauchery, which is another way of laughing at God and paying homage, immodest homage, to beauty.

Some people are Freethinkers from sheer stupidity. My Uncle Sosthenes was one of these. Some people are often religious for the same reason.

I told myself 'Everything is a being! The shout that passes into the air is an entity like an animal, since it is born, produces a movement, and is again transformed, in order to die. So the fearful mind that believes in incorporeal beings is not wrong. What are they?

Love means the body, the soul, the life, the entire being. We feel love as we feel the warmth of our blood, we breathe love as we breathe air, we hold it in ourselves as we hold our thoughts. Nothing more exists for us.

They had moved closer to one another to watch the dying moments of the day, this beautiful bright May day.

She was at least seventy, tall, withered, and angular, with white hair arranged in old-fashioned sausage curls on her temples. She was dressed in the quaint and clumsy style of the wandering Englishwoman, like a person to whom clothes were a matter of complete indifference; she was eating an omelette and drinking water.

Everything is false, everything is possible, everything is doubtful.

But a vague jealousy, one of those dormant jealousies that develop between brothers or sisters almost unnoticed until maturity, only to burst out when one of them marries or has a stroke of good fortune, kept them constantly on the alert in a fraternal, unaggressive hostility. They did love each other, yet they kept an eye on each other.

She was the temptress who had ensnared the first man, and who still continued her work at damnation; she was the being who is feeble, dangerous, mysteriously troubling. And even more than her body of perdition, he hated her loving soul.

Institutionalised love always looks down on her more liberal sister.

And taking her friend's hand, she put it on her breast, on that firm round covering of a woman's heart which the male often finds so satisfying that he makes no attempt to find what lies beneath it.

Her husband was not malicious, but he did bully, though without anger or animosity, as do petty tyrants who think that giving orders means swearing. In front of any stranger he behaved himself, but in his family he let himself go and pretended to be terrible although he was really scared of everybody.