A Few Thoughts

   Passions are like voyages in countries that we know through books and from which we can bring back precious knowledge.
   We say to ourselves about a writer: how sad that he is dead or that he was unhappy, how pleasant it would have been to know him, and we will not know that he who was unhappy, who is dead, that we would have known is not so much that he does these things, suffer, die, know people, but that we read him. That is not death and we know this.
   Ideas are like souls to which perfect expression gives immortality.
   In a writer we look for the man and that man only dreams of elevating himself to the writer.
   A page is immortal even though nobody is ever going to read it and because it has been placed outside time in an eternal region. Because immortality is of itself and has no need of the consciousness that others may have of it.
   The most profound maxims are those in which thought seems to be most independent of words and of their arrangement.
   Passions are like libraries which the vulgar inhabit without understanding the treasures they contain.
   It is as if thought and life are conferred on us by God as antidotes one for the other. The pleasures of thought alleviate for us the difficulties of life, and the pleasures of life make up for that which is too empty in the difficulties of thought.
   In vanity as in love we like to forget the services that we have rendered to the great or to the one we love and say: she is so good for me, they are so good for me without noticing that it is we who have initiated it, because their favour seems to us to be more flattering if it appears spontaneous.
   The quarrels that strengthen a new love advance the end of a love that has lasted a long time, like those illnesses that leave young people stronger but which kill the old.
   Extreme cold burns and there is a sort of pleasure in extremely bitter sorrows.

From a manuscript of unknown date.

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