An imitation of a Frenchman would not make me a Frenchman. I am a German and I would have to be "reborn" to be anything but what I am. And so in the Christian life. I must be born anew. That is why Christ took me with Himself down into the grave and brought me forth a "new creation." He terminated my old life when there upon the Cross as Representative He died; and He imparted to me a new life when He arose from the grave.
All the evils of France have been produced less by the perversity of the wicked and the violence of fools than by the hesitation of the weak, the compromises of conscience, and the tardiness of patriotism. Let every deputy, every Frenchman show what he feels, what he thinks, and we are saved!
Marquis de Lafayette
The nearest approach to the infallible in literary judgment is represented in the colossal work of the teacher of all these three [Edmund Gosse, Edward Dowden and George Saintsbury], the greatest critic that ever lived - not an Englishman, but a Frenchman, the wonderful Sainte-Beuve.
Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve
Needless to say, the business of living interferes with the solitude so needed for any work of the imagination. Here's what Virginia Woolf said in her diary about the sticky issue: "I've shirked two parties, and another Frenchman, and buying a hat, and tea with Hilda Trevelyan, for I really can't combine all this with keeping all my imaginary people going.
But if I were asked to pick one constant, one quality that seems dependable, immutable, endlessly available, I'd say that it was intensity. For nothing in Sicily seems withheld, done half way, restrained or suppressed. There's nothing to correspond to say, the ironic, the cerebral remove at which a Frenchman might consider an idea or a question, or the Scandinavian distrust of the sloppy, emotive response.
the average Frenchman would shrug, as if to say: "These notions of yours are all very fascinating, no doubt, but we make a decent living. Nobody has ulcers. I have time to work on my monograph about Balzac, and my foreman enjoys his espaliered pear trees. I think as a matter of fact, we do not wish to make the changes that you suggest.
This is the question I'm asking: Do Americans live twice as long because they consume twice as much energy as Europeans? Are you people twice as smart as the average Frenchman? Do you enjoy life twice as much as the average Danish guy? What have we gotten for consuming twice as much energy as Europe? What have we gotten in return?
His overriding life necessity was not love, it was his profession... He had come to medicine not by coincidence or calculation but by a deep inner desire. Insofar as it is possible to divide people into categories, the surest criterion is the deep-seated desires that orient them to one or another lifelong activity. Every Frenchman is different. But all the actors the world over are similar.
Brains and character rule the world. The most distinguished Frenchman of the last century said: Men succeed less by their talents than their character. There were scores of men a hundred years ago who had more intellect than Washington. He outlives and overrides them all by the influence of his character.
The day when a Frenchman switches from the formality of vous to the familiarity of tu is a day to be taken seriously. It is an unmistakable signal that he has decided - after weeks or months or sometimes years - that he likes you. It would be chulish and unfriendly of you not to return the compliment. And so, just when you are at last feeling comfortable with vous and all the plurals that go with it, you are thrust headlong in to the singular world of tu.
I received a letter just before I left office from a man. I don't know why he chose to write it, but I'm glad he did. He wrote that you can go to live in France, but you can't become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Italy, but you can't become a German, an Italian. He went through Turkey, Greece, Japan and other countries. But he said anyone, from any corner of the world, can come to live in the United States and become an American.
The Frenchman showed her a great deal of Paris that day, saying over lunch at a cafe that it was impossible to see everything of interest in so short a time. "And of course the sights are only one aspect; there's also the theatre, the markets, clubs, festivals, gardens and much more." Delta smiled dreamily; it sounded wonderful. Enjoying her smile, Valois gave her cheek a playful caress. "If I try hard enough, you may never want to leave.
Washington was a typical American. Napoleon was a typical Frenchman, but Lincoln was a humanitarian as broad as the world. He was bigger than his country - bigger than all the Presidents together. We are still too near to his greatness,' (Leo) Tolstoy (in 1908) concluded, 'but after a few centuries more our posterity will find him considerably bigger than we do. His genius is still too strong and powerful for the common understanding, just as the sun is too hot when its light beams directly on us.' (748)
Doris Kearns Goodwin
The enemies of living life; outdated little liberals, afraid of their own independence; lackeys of thought, enemies of the person and freedom, decrepit preachers of carrion and rot! What do they have: gray heads, the golden mean, the most abject and philistine giftlessness, envious equality, equality without personal dignity, equality as understood by a lackey or a Frenchman of the year ninety-three...And scoundrells, above all, scoundrels, scoundrels everywhere!
In a recent Gallup poll conducted in France while riding a horse, two out of three sweaty Frenchman (there were only three people surveyed) stated that my armpits are the greatest thing since Louis XVI. Personally, I don't think they are that great. And I'm not just attempting to be humble when I say that I think it's a more reasonable assertion to compare my armpits as equal or greater than anything in the historical timeline since Louis XVII. But, if the people deem my armpits that important, who am I to argue?
The most interesting acquaintanceship I have struck up here is that of Colonel Lapinski. He is without doubt the cleverest Pole -- besides being an homme d'action [man of action] -- that I have ever met. His sympathies are all on the German side, though in manners and speech he is also a Frenchman. He cares nothing for the struggle of nationalities and only knows the racial struggle. He hates all Orientals, among whom he numbers Russians Turks, Greeks, Armenians, etc., with equal impartiality.... His aim now is to raise a German legion in London...
It must take a lot of self-discipline, ' she said. 'Oh, I don't know. I don't have much.' He felt himself about to say again, and unable to resist saying, that 'Dumas, I think it was Dumas, some terrifically prolific Frenchman, said that writing novels is a simple matter - if you write one page a day, you'll write one novel a year, two pages a day, two novels a year, three pages, three novels, and so on. And how long does it take to cover a page with writing? Twenty minutes? An hour? So you see. Very easy really.' 'I don't know, ' she said, laughing. 'I can't even bring myself to write a letter.' 'Oh, now that's hard.' ("Novelty")
I'll find out who's inside. Wait here and keep alert!' Hallam rasped. He skirted the main path to skulk towards one of the shuttered windows on the building's eastern wall. There was a crack in the wood and he gently inched closer to peer inside. There was a hearth-fire with a pot bubbling away and a battered table made of a length of wood over two pieces of cut timber. A small ham hung from the rafters, away from the rats and mice. He couldn't see anyone but there was a murmur of voices. Hallam leaned in even closer and a young boy with hair the colour of straw saw the movement to stare. It was Little Jim. Thank God, the child was safe. Snot hung from his nose and he was pale. Hallam put a finger to his lips, but the boy, not even four, did not understand, and just gaped innocently back. Movement near the window. A man wearing a blue jacket took up a stone bottle and wiped his long flowing moustache afterwards. His hair was shoulder-length, falling unruly over the red collar of his jacket. Tied around his neck was a filthy red neckerchief. A woman moaned and the man grinned with tobacco stained teeth at the sound. Laughter and French voices. The woman whimpered and Little Jim turned to watch unseen figures. His eyes glistened and his bottom lip dropped. The woman began to plead and Hallam instinctively growled. The Frenchman, hearing the noise, pushed the shutter open and the pistol's cold muzzle pressed against his forehead. Hallam watched the man's eyes narrow and then widen, before his mouth opened. Whatever he intended to shout was never heard, because the ball smashed through his skull to erupt in a bloody spray as it exited the back of the Frenchman's head. There was a brief moment of silence. '28th!' Hallam shouted, as he stepped back against the wall. 'Make ready!
(...) Sir Boris had fought and killed the Paynim; Sir Gawain, the Turk; Sir Miles, the Pole; Sir Andrew, the Frank; Sir Richard, the Austrian; Sir Jordan, the Frenchman; and Sir Herbert, the Spaniard. But of all that killing and campaigning, that drinking and love-making, that spending and hunting and riding and eating, what remained? A skull; a finger. Whereas, he said, turning to the page of Sir Thomas Browne, which lay open upon the table - and again he paused. Like an incantation rising from all parts of the room, from the night wind and the moonlight, rolled the divine melody of those words which, lest they should outstare this page, we will leave where they lie entombed, not dead, embalmed rather, so fresh is their colour, so sound their breathing - and Orlando, comparing that achievement with those of his ancestors, cried out that they and their deeds were dust and ashes, but this man and his words were immortal.
Silence is the element in which great things fashion themselves together; that at length they may emerge, full-formed and majestic, into the daylight of Life, which they are thenceforth to rule. Not William the Silent only, but all the considerable men I have known, and the most undiplomatic and unstrategic of these, forbore to babble of what they were creating and projecting. Nay, in thy own mean perplexities, do thou thyself but hold thy tongue for one day: on the morrow, how much clearer are thy purposes and duties; what wreck and rubbish have those mute workmen within thee swept away, when intrusive noises were shut out! Speech is too often not, as the Frenchman defined it, the art of concealing Thought; but of quite stifling and suspending Thought, so that there is none to conceal. Speech too is great, but not the greatest. As the Swiss Inscription says: Sprecfien ist silbern, Schweigen ist golden (Speech is silvern, Silence is golden); or as I might rather express it: Speech is of Time, Silence is of Eternity.
The defenders retreated, but in good order. A musket flamed and a ball shattered a marine's collar bone, spinning him around. The soldiers screamed terrible battle-cries as they began their grim job of clearing the defenders off the parapet with quick professional close-quarter work. Gamble trod on a fallen ramrod and his boots crunched on burnt wadding. The French reached steps and began descending into the bastion. 'Bayonets!' Powell bellowed. 'I want bayonets!' 'Charge the bastards!' Gamble screamed, blinking another man's blood from his eyes. There was no drum to beat the order, but the marines and seamen surged forward. 'Tirez!' The French had been waiting, and their muskets jerked a handful of attackers backwards. Their officer, dressed in a patched brown coat, was horrified to see the savage looking men advance unperturbed by the musketry. His men were mostly conscripts and they had fired too high. Now they had only steel bayonets with which to defend themselves. 'Get in close, boys!' Powell ordered. 'A Shawnee Indian named Blue Jacket once told me that a naked woman stirs a man's blood, but a naked blade stirs his soul. So go in with the steel. Lunge! Recover! Stance!' 'Charge!' Gamble turned the order into a long, guttural yell of defiance. Those redcoats and seamen, with loaded weapons discharged them at the press of the defenders, and a man in the front rank went down with a dark hole in his forehead. Gamble saw the officer aim a pistol at him. A wounded Frenchman, half-crawling, tried to stab with his sabre-briquet, but Gamble kicked him in the head. He dashed forward, sword held low. The officer pulled the trigger, the weapon tugged the man's arm to his right, and the ball buzzed past Gamble's mangled ear as he jumped down into the gap made by the marines charge. A French corporal wearing a straw hat drove his bayonet at Gamble's belly, but he dodged to one side and rammed his bar-hilt into the man's dark eyes. 'Lunge! Recover! Stance!
What is the use of beauty in woman? Provided a woman is physically well made and capable of bearing children, she will always be good enough in the opinion of economists. What is the use of music? - of painting? Who would be fool enough nowadays to prefer Mozart to Carrel, Michael Angelo to the inventor of white mustard? There is nothing really beautiful save what is of no possible use. Everything useful is ugly, for it expresses a need, and man's needs are low and disgusting, like his own poor, wretched nature. The most useful place in a house is the water-closet. For my part, saving these gentry's presence, I am of those to whom superfluities are necessaries, and I am fond of things and people in inverse ratio to the service they render me. I prefer a Chinese vase with its mandarins and dragons, which is perfectly useless to me, to a utensil which I do use, and the particular talent of mine which I set most store by is that which enables me not to guess logogriphs and charades. I would very willingly renounce my rights as a Frenchman and a citizen for the sight of an undoubted painting by Raphael, or of a beautiful nude woman, - Princess Borghese, for instance, when she posed for Canova, or Julia Grisi when she is entering her bath. I would most willingly consent to the return of that cannibal, Charles X., if he brought me, from his residence in Bohemia, a case of Tokai or Johannisberg; and the electoral laws would be quite liberal enough, to my mind, were some of our streets broader and some other things less broad. Though I am not a dilettante, I prefer the sound of a poor fiddle and tambourines to that of the Speaker's bell. I would sell my breeches for a ring, and my bread for jam. The occupation which best befits civilized man seems to me to be idleness or analytically smoking a pipe or cigar. I think highly of those who play skittles, and also of those who write verse. You may perceive that my principles are not utilitarian, and that I shall never be the editor of a virtuous paper, unless I am converted, which would be very comical. Instead of founding a Monthyon prize for the reward of virtue, I would rather bestow - like Sardanapalus, that great, misunderstood philosopher - a large reward to him who should invent a new pleasure; for to me enjoyment seems to be the end of life and the only useful thing on this earth. God willed it to be so, for he created women, perfumes, light, lovely flowers, good wine, spirited horses, lapdogs, and Angora cats; for He did not say to his angels, 'Be virtuous, ' but, 'Love, ' and gave us lips more sensitive than the rest of the skin that we might kiss women, eyes looking upward that we might behold the light, a subtile sense of smell that we might breathe in the soul of the flowers, muscular limbs that we might press the flanks of stallions and fly swift as thought without railway or steam-kettle, delicate hands that we might stroke the long heads of greyhounds, the velvety fur of cats, and the polished shoulder of not very virtuous creatures, and, finally, granted to us alone the triple and glorious privilege of drinking without being thirsty, striking fire, and making love in all seasons, whereby we are very much more distinguished from brutes than by the custom of reading newspapers and framing constitutions.