Pierre Choderlos de Laclos · 448 pages
Rating: (36.9K votes)
“When one woman strikes at the heart of another, she seldom misses, and the wound is invariably fatal.”
“Truth to tell, the longer I live, the more I'm tempted to think that the only moderately worthwhile people in the world are you and I.”
“Humanity is not perfect in any fashion; no more in the case of evil than in that of good. The criminal has his virtues, just as the honest man has his weaknesses.”
“A man enjoys the happiness he feels, a woman the happiness she gives.”
“How characteristic of your perverse heart that longs only for what happens to be out of reach.”
“Now, I'm not going to deny that I was aware of your beauty. But the point is, this has nothing to do with your beauty. As I got to know you, I began to realise that beauty was the least of your qualities. I became fascinated by your goodness. I was drawn in by it. I didn't understand what was happening to me. And it was only when I began to feel actual, physical pain every time you left the room that it finally dawned on me: I was in love, for the first time in my life. I knew it was hopeless, but that didn't matter to me. And it's not that I want to have you. All I want is to deserve you. Tell me what to do. Show me how to behave. I'll do anything you say.”
“I willingly allow that money does not guarantee happiness; but it must also be allowed that it makes happiness a great deal easier to achieve.”
“You may conquer her love of God: you will never overcome her fear of the devil.”
“...it is not for the illusion of a moment to govern the choice of a lifetime.”
“On s'ennuie de tout, mon ange, c'est une loi de la nature; ce n'est pas ma faute.
Si donc, je m'ennuie aujourd'hui d'une aventure qui m'a occupé entièrement depuis quatre mortels mois, ce n'est pas ma faute.
Si, par exemple, j'ai eu juste autant d'amour que toi de vertu, et c'est surement beaucoup dire, il n'est pas étonnant que l'un ait fini en même temps que l'autre. Ce n'est pas ma faute.
Il suit de là, que depuis quelque temps je t'ai trompée: mais aussi ton impitoyable tendresse m'y forçait en quelque sorte! Ce n'est pas ma faute.
Aujourd'hui, une femme que j'aime éperdument exige que je te sacrifie. Ce n'est pas ma faute.
Je sens bien que voilà une belle occasion de crier au parjure: mais si la Nature n'a accordé aux hommes que la constance, tandis qu'elle donnait aux femmes l'obstination, ce n'est pas ma faute.
Crois-moi, choisis un autre amant, comme j'ai fait une maîtresse. Ce conseil est bon, très bon; si tu le trouve mauvais, ce n'est pas ma faute.
Adieu, mon ange, je t'ai prise avec plaisir, je te quitte sans regrets: je te reviendrai peut-être. Ainsi va le monde. Ce n'est pas ma faute.”
“I can see that you're in love, but only in a very narrow sense. It's the love of someone that finds charms and qualities in a woman that she doesn't actually have, who puts her in a class apart with every one else in second place, and who stays attached to her even while he's abusing her.”
“Don't you remember that love, like medicine, is only the art of encouraging nature?”
“I shall possess this woman; I shall steal her from the husband who profanes her: I will even dare ravish her from the God whom she adores. What delight, to be in turns the object and the victor of her remorse! Far be it from me to destroy the prejudices which sway her mind! They will add to my happiness and my triumph. Let her believe in virtue, and sacrifice it to me; let the idea of falling terrify her, without preventing her fall; and may she, shaken by a thousand terrors, forget them, vanquish them only in my arms.”
“I see you are already as timid as a slave: you might as well be in love.”
“I am astonished at the pleasure one experiences in doing good; and I should be tempted to believe that what we call virtuous people have not so much merit as they lead us to suppose.”
“C'est de l'amour, ou il n'en exista jamais: vous le niez bien de cent façons: mais vous le prouvez de mille.”
“It has become necessary for me to have this woman, so as to save myself from the ridicule of being in love with her: for to what lengths will a man not be driven by thwarted desire?”
“One must not permit oneself excesses, except with persons whom one wishes soon to leave.”
“It was there, in particular, that I confirmed the truth that love, which we cry up as the source of our pleasures, is nothing more than an excuse for them.”
“He'd call me false and faithless and I've always had a weakness for those two words; next to cruel, they're the nicest words for a woman to hear, and not so hard to earn.”
“J'ai bien besoin d'avoir cette femme, pour me sauver du ridicule d'en être amoureux:”
“They have neither thought nor being, and merely repeat indifferently and uncomprehendingly everything they hear, retaining within themselves an absolute void.”
“Your orders are charming; your manner of giving them still more delightful; you would make tyranny itself adored.”
“Will you, then, never grow weary of being unjust?”
“...she refuses all amorous alms, and such a refusal, to my view, justifies a theft.”
“I perceive your lovers purely as the successors of Alexander the Great, incompetent joint rulers of an empire where I once ruled supreme.”
“Madame de Merteuil, though indeed a woman highly regarded, has perhaps only one fault: she overestimates her ability; she's a skilful driver who enjoys guiding her chariot between rocks and precipices and whose sole justification is that she remains unscathed. We can certainly praise but it would be unwise to follow her; she agrees with that view and condemns herself for it.”
“Haven't you realized that pleasure, which is indeed certainly the one and only reason for the two sexes to come together, is nevertheless not enough to establish a relationship between them? And that though this pleasure is preceded by desire which draws people together, it is however followed by aversion which pushes them apart? It's a law of nature which only love can change. Can we feel love whenever we want? Yet love is always needed, which would be a dreadfully tiresome thing if it hadn't fortunately been realized that it's enough for just one of the partners to feel it, thereby halving the problem, and without even incurring any great loss; in fact, one party is happy to love, the other to please, which is actually a bit less exciting but which can be combined with the pleasure of deceiving and that evens things out, so everyone's happy.”
“Oh, keep your warnings and your fears for those giddy women who call themselves women of feeling, whose heated imaginations persuade them that nature has placed their senses in their heads; who, having never thought about it, invariably confuse love with a lover; who, with their stupid delusions, imagine that the man with whom they have found pleasure is pleasure's only source; and, like all the superstitious, accord that faith and respect to the priest which is due to only the divinity.”
“If, for example, I had just as much love as you had virtue (and that is surely saying a lot) it is not astonishing that one should end at the same time as the other. It is not my fault.”
“Internet, automobiles, trains, planes, house, diets, clothes, gadgets and toys exceeded all our basic needs. Today, we tend to go beyond and above. ”
“No es que me atemorizara mirar cosas horribles, sino que me aterraba la idea de no ver nada.”
“It never ends, does it? Just when you think the hardest part is over, something else comes up to take its place.”
“I love you, Ellie. You came into my life and demanded that I paid attention. I’m not letting you go, I won’t. I’ve let a lot of things go in my life, things that needed to be set free, things that if I didn’t release I would have become bitter and empty. You are not one of those things; you are one of the rare, beautiful things that I am desperate to keep. I want you forever, Ellie.”
“Чтобы найти потерянную вещь, – сказала она однажды, – нужно просто обыскать все места, где её нет.”
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