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Marcel Proust -
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A woman is of greater service to our life if she is in it, instead of being an element of happiness, an instrument of sorrow, and there is not a woman in the world the possession of whom is as precious as that of the truths which she reveals to us by causing us to suffer.
The thirst for something other than what we have... to bring something new, even if it is worse, some emotion, some sorrow; when our sensibility, which happiness has silenced like an idle harp, wants to resonate under some hand, even a rough one, and even if it might be broken by it.
We have such numerous interests in our lives that it is not uncommon, on a single occasion, for the foundations of a happiness that does not yet exist to be laid down alongside the intensification of a grief from which we are still suffering.
It has been said that beauty is a promise of happiness. Conversely, the possibility of pleasure can be a beginning of beauty.
Happiness is beneficial for the body but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.
As for happiness, that is really useful to us in one way only, by making unhappiness possible.
For if unhappiness develops the forces of the mind, happiness alone is salutary to the body.
Our desires cut across one another, and in this confused existence it is rare for happiness to coincide with the desire that clamoured for it.
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When people say England, they sometimes mean Great Britain, sometimes the United Kingdom, sometimes the British Isles, - but never England.
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November 18, 1922
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