Marquis de Custine
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."
What annoyances are more painful than those of which we cannot complain?
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!
Nations have always good reasons for being what they are, and the best of all is that they cannot be otherwise.
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.
I do not believe I am exaggerating in affirming that the empire of Russia is a country whose inhabitants are the most miserable on earth, because they suffer at one and the same time the evils of barbarism and of civilization.
The circumstances of human society are too complicated to be submitted to the rigour of mathematical calculation.
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