Saturday, January 22, 2011

"Petty Troubles of Married Life" by Honoré de Balzac

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  • "Then what? . . . . . Why, then come a crowd of petty unforeseen troubles, like the following: . . ."
  • "General Rule.--No man has ever yet discovered the way to give friendly advice to any woman, not even to his own wife."
  • "But as to knowing women as well as I know them, it will not be knowing them much; they don't know themselves!"
  • "Axiom.--A husband should always know what is the matter with his wife, for she always knows what is not."
  • "Axiom.--Inasmuch as women are always willing and able to explain their strong points, they leave us to guess at their weak ones."
  •  "You imagine you have married a creature endowed with reason: you are woefully mistaken, my friend."
  •  "Axiom.--Sensitive beings are not sensible beings. Sentiment is not argument, reason is not pleasure, and pleasure is certainly not a reason."
  •  "Axiom.--Moral tortures exceed physical sufferings by all the difference which exists between the soul and the body."
  • "Generally speaking, a young woman does not exhibit her true character till she has been married two or three years. She hides her faults, without intending it"
  • "You have broken the ice, though you have not even scratched its glossy surface: you have placed your hand upon the croup of the most ferocious and savage, the most wakeful and clear-sighted, the most restless, the swiftest, the most jealous, the most ardent and violent, the simplest and most elegant, the most unreasonable, the most watchful chimera of the moral world--THE VANITY OF A WOMAN!"
  • "These two flowers of the female species twitteringly talk of you"
  • "Nothing annoys you so much as to have your mother-in-law take your part. She is a hypocrite and is delighted to see you quarreling with her daughter. Gently and with infinite precaution she throws oil on the fire."
  • "All the furies of Orestes are rankling in your heart."
  • "As a neat English expression has it, "they fish for compliments"
  • "They have a whole catalogue of malicious remarks veneered with sympathy and electroplated with charity, enough to damn a saint, to make a monkey serious, and to give the devil the shudders."
  • "Order my carriage!" This my is the consummation of marriage. For two years she has said "my husband's carriage," "the carriage," "our carriage," and now she says "my carriage."
  • "this young lady who reawakens all your better feelings, who rekindles your slumbering desires"
  • "the Matrimonial Gadfly, the most provoking of all gnats, mosquitoes, blood-suckers, fleas and scorpions, for no net was ever yet invented that could keep it off"
  • "in Paris, nearly every woman feels a kind of enjoyment in seeing a man wistfully obedient to her heart, her desires, her caprices--three expressions for the same thing!"
  • "Axiom.--When a husband and a wife have got each other, the devil only knows which has got the other."
  • "What starts the quarrel? Do we ever know what electric current precipitates the avalanche or decides a revolution? It may result from anything or nothing."
  • "Oh, sacred private life, where art thou! Paris is a city ever ready to exhibit itself half naked, a city essentially libertine and devoid of modesty."

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