The love of their country is with them only a mode of flattering its master; as soon as they think that master can no longer hear, they speak of everything with a frankness which is the more startling because those who listen to it become responsible.
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- A multitude of little superfluous precautions engender here a population of deputies and sub-officials, each of whom acquits himself with an air of importance and a rigorous precision, which seemed to say, though everything is done with much silence, Make way, I am one of the members of the grand machine of state.
- The circumstances of human society are too complicated to be submitted to the rigor of mathematical calculation.
- Nations have always good reasons for being what they are, and the best of all is that they cannot be otherwise.
- Grace is always natural, though that does not prevent its being often used to hide a lie. The rude shocks and uncomfortably constraining influences of life disappear among graceful women and poetical men; they are the most deceptive beings in creation; distrust and doubt cannot stand before them; they create what they imagine; if they do not lie to others, they do to their own hearts; for illusion is their element, fiction their vocation, and pleasures in appearance their happiness. Beware of grace in woman, and poetry in man — weapons the more dangerous because the least dreaded!
- What annoyances are more painful than those of which we cannot complain?
- Whenever you hear a man speak of his love for his country, it is a sign that he expects to be paid for it.