from The Red and the Black

"The influence of my contemporaries is too strong for me," he said aloud and with a bitter laugh. "Talking alone to myself, within an inch of death, I am still a hypocrite.... Oh, nineteenth century!"
"A hunter fires his gun in a forest, his quarry falls, he runs forward to seize it. His boot strikes an anthill two feet high, destroys the habitation of the ants, scatters the ants and their eggs to the four winds.... The most philosophical among the ants will never understand that black, enormous, fearful body -- the hunter's boot which all of a sudden burst into their dwelling with incredible speed, preceded by a terrifying noise, accompanied by a flash of reddish flame....
"So it is with death, life, eternity, things that would be quite simple to anyone who had organs vast enough to conceive them....
"An ephemeral fly is born at nine o'clock in the morning, on one of the long days of summer, to die at five o'clock in the afternoon; how should understand the word night?
"Grant it five hours more of existence, it sees and understands what night is."


The drawback of the reign of opinion, which however procures liberty, is that it interferes in matters with which it has no concern; such as private life. Hence the gloom of America and England. To avoid touching upon private life, the author has invented a small town, Verrieres, and when he required a Bishop, a jury, an Assize Court, has placed them all in Besancon, where he has never been.