Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette Quotes

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, 1873 – 1954

Born: 28 January 1873, Saint-Sauveur-en Puisaye, Yonne, France
Died: 3 August 1954, Paris, France

At twenty Colette married a man fifteen years her senior who cheated on her and locked her in a room every day until she had written her required pages. He then published her books under his name and kept the money. She left him in 1906 and took to the music halls of Paris, the next year she was performing at the Moulin Rouge with one of her female lovers when an on-stage kiss caused a riot and their show was banned. She married a newspaper editor, during the World War I she wrote an opera with Maurice Ravel and turned her husband’s estate into a hospital, entering the Legion of Honour as a Chevalier in 1920. (She would be elevated to the rank of Grand Officer in 1953.) After having an affair with her step-son she divorced in 1924, marrying again in 1935. During the second war she hid her Jewish husband in an attic and managed to assist a number of other Jews. She continued to write, publishing over fifty novels, including Gigi in 1945. In her last years she was homebound due to arthritis but continued write. She was the first woman ever to receive a state funeral in France, but the Roman Catholic church refused a funeral mass because of her divorces.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette quotes:

A woman who thinks she is intelligent demands the same rights as man. An intelligent woman gives up.
    Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Be happy. It’s one way of being wise.
    Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Boredom helps one to make decisions.
    Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Bulldogs are adorable, with faces like toads that have been sat on.
    Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

By means of an image we are often able to hold on to our lost belongings. But it is the desperateness of losing which picks the flowers of memory, binds the bouquet.
    Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette – Mes Apprentissages (1936)

Can it be that chance has made me one of those women so immersed in one man that, whether they are barren or not, they carry with them to the grave the shriveled innocence of an old maid?
    Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Dogs believe they are human. Cats believe they are God.
    Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Don’t ever wear artistic jewellery; it wrecks a woman’s reputation.
    Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

For to dream and then to return to reality only means that our qualms suffer a change of place and significance.
    Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Her childhood, then her adolescence, had taught her patience, hope, silence and the easy manipulation of the weapons and virtues of all prisoners.
    Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Hope costs nothing.
    Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Humility has its origin in an awareness of unworthiness, and sometimes too in a dazzled awareness of saintliness.
    Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

I believe there are more urgent and honorable occupations than the incomparable waste of time we call suffering.
    Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

I did not look for her, because I was afraid of dispelling the mystery we attach to people whom we know only casually.
    Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette – The Pure and the Impure (1932)

I have found my voice again and the art of using it.
    Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette – The Vagabond (1910)

Books, books, books. It was not that I read so much. I read and re-read the same ones. But all of them were necessary to me. Their presence, their smell, the letters of their titles, and the texture of their leather bindings.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
Boredom helps one to make decisions.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Gigi (1945)
Both legally and familiarly, as well as in my books, I now have only one name, which is my own.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
Breathe in the pine and mint from the little salt marsh; its fragrance is scratching at the gate like a cat!

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

1928, in Break of Day, Enid McLeod, trans. (1961)
Bulldogs are adorable, with faces like toads that have been sat on.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
But just as delicate fare does not stop you from craving pig-brain sausage, so tried and exquisite friendship does not take away your taste for something new and dubious.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“The Rainy Moon” in Chambre d’Hôtel (1940)
But once I had set out, I was already far on my way.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“The Photographer’s Missus” (1944) in The Tender Shoot (1958)
By means of an image we are often able to hold on to our lost belongings. But it is the desperateness of losing which picks the flowers of memory, binds the bouquet.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Mes Apprentissages (1936)
Can it be that chance has made me one of those women so immersed in one man that, whether they are barren or not, they carry with them to the grave the shriveled innocence of an old maid?

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
Confronted with a film, the child hardly thinks at all … faced with some confused activity where human movement has pride of place. The beating of the heart, the to-and-fro of the eyes, supplant thought while the screen is showing the hero pursued by kidnappers or murderers and revolver shots explode in wads of cotton-wool.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“Cinema” in Journey for Myself (1972)
Death does not interest me — not even my own.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

1928, in Break of Day, Enid McLeod, trans. (1961)
Dogs believe they are human. Cats believe they are God.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
Don’t ever wear artistic jewellery; it wrecks a woman’s reputation.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
Explain yourself without gestures. The moment you gesticulate, you look common.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Gigi (1945)
Extreme beauty arouses no sympathy.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Last of Cheri (1926)

For me, being rich means to possess — apart from the tenderness of a loved one and my friends — a bit of ground, a car that runs, good health, and the freedom not to work when I don’t want to, or cannot.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

1927, in Belles Saisons: A Colette Scrapbook, Robert Phelps, ed. (1978)
For the dog is a creature that believes in order.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Earthly Paradise: An Autobiography of Colette Drawn From Her Lifetime Writings, Robert Phelps, ed. (1966)
For to dream and then to return to reality only means that our qualms suffer a change of place and significance.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
For words are wearisome and worn, while the arabesques of music are forever new.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

My Apprenticeships (1936)
For years now we’ve had no cause to mistrust the begonia. … This year we stand stunned before its megalomanic flower, which aspires to replace the hollyhock, the nasturtium, the peony, even the rose. A blaze of incomparable, presumptuous colours adorns it, it claims the most beautiful vibrant reds, a yellow that sheds light all round, a unique fleshy saffron. But smell it; it has less fragrance than a clod of earth and, if you touch it cautiously, it has been unable to lose its vegetable stiffness, its flesh as brittle as that of a young radish.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“Flowers” in Journey for Myself (1972)
Friendship, which is of its nature a delicate thing, fastidious, slow of growth, is easily checked, will hesitate, demur, recoil where love, good old blustering love, bowls ahead and blunders through every obstacle.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

My Apprenticeships (1936)
Give me a dozen such heart-breaks, if that would help me to lose a couple of pounds!

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Cheri (1920)
Happiness is a question of changing your troubles …

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

1937, in Belles Saisons: A Colette Scrapbook, Robert Phelps, ed. (1978)
Her childhood, then her adolescence, had taught her patience, hope, silence and the easy manipulation of the weapons and virtues of all prisoners.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
Hope costs nothing.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Claudine at School (1900)
How can one help shivering with delight when one’s hot fingers close around the stem of a live flower, cool from the shade and stiff with new-born vigor.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“On Tour” in Music Hall Sidelights (1913)
How pure are those who have never forced anything open!

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

1928, in Break of Day, Enid McLeod, trans. (1961)
Humility has its origin in an awareness of unworthiness, and sometimes too in a dazzled awareness of saintliness.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

remarks on her election to the Belgian Royal Academy (1935), in Belles Saisons: A Colette Scrapbook (1955)
I am a pear that has survived a hailstorm: when it does not rot, it becomes better and sweeter than the others, in spite of its little scars.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

1912, in Belles Saisons: A Colette Scrapbook, Robert Phelps, ed. (1978)
I am just over an attack of grippe-bronchitis, very unpleasant at my ages (I have two or three).

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

1929, in Belles Saisons: A Colette Scrapbook, Robert Phelps, ed. (1978)

I am never completely unhappy, because I ask so little of life … You can’t imagine how little it takes to satisfy me.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Belles Saisons: A Colette Scrapbook, Robert Phelps, ed. (1978)
I believe there are more urgent and honorable occupations than the incomparable waste of time we call suffering.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
I did not look for her, because I was afraid of dispelling the mystery we attach to people whom we know only casually.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Pure and the Impure (1932)
I hate guests who complain of the cooking and leave bits and pieces all over the place and cream-cheese sticking to the mirrors.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Cheri (1920)
I have found my voice again and the art of using it.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Vagabond (1910)
I have very often deprived myself of the necessities of life, but I have never consented to give up a luxury.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

1932, in Belles Saisons: A Colette Scrapbook, Robert Phelps, ed. (1978)
I instinctively like to acquire and store up what looks like outlasting me.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

1928, in Break of Day, Enid McLeod, trans. (1961)
I know you! Your motto is ‘Silk socks and dubious feet.’

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Other One (1929)
I look like a discouraged beetle battered by the rains of a spring night. I look like a moulting bird. I look like a governess in distress. I look — Good Lord, I look like an actress on tour, and that speaks for itself.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“On Tour” in Music Hall Sidelights (1913)
I love my past. I love my present. I’m not ashamed of what I’ve had, and I’m not sad because I have it no longer.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Last of Cheri (1926)
I want nothing from love, in short, but love.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Vagabond (1910)
I would like to leave a great reputation among those creatures who having kept, on their fur and in their souls, the trace of my passage, madly hoped for a single moment that I belonged to them.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

1928, in Break of Day, Enid McLeod, trans. (1961)
If he’s getting married, he’s no longer interesting.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Gigi (1945)
If I can’t have too many truffles, I’ll do without truffles.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
If one wished to be perfectly sincere, one would have to admit there are two kinds of love — well-fed and ill-fed. The rest is pure fiction.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Last of Cheri (1926)

If only her brain worked as well as her jaws.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Gigi (1945)
If we want to be sincere, we must admit that there is a well-nourished love and an ill-nourished love. And the rest is literature.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
In its early stages, insomnia is almost an oasis in which those who have to think or suffer darkly take refuge.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Other One (1929)
In the matter of furnishing, I find a certain absence of ugliness far worse than ugliness.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
In the region where I was born, we always say that during a good meal one is not thirsty but ‘hungry’ for wine.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Prisons et paradis (1932)
In their friendship they were like two of a litter that can never play together without leaving traces of tooth and claw, wounding each other in the most sensitive places.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Julie de Carneilhan (1941)
Instead of marrying ‘at once,’ it sometimes happens that we marry ‘at last.’

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Gigi (1945)
Is there such a thing as nonphysical jealousy?

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Pure and the Impure (1932)
It is man who has affixed the word ‘wild’ to the name animal.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“Animals” (1928) in Journey for Myself (1972)
It is not a bad thing that children should occasionally, and politely, put parents in their place.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“The Priest on the Wall” in My Mother’s House (1922)
It is prudent to pour the oil of delicate politeness upon the machinery of friendship.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Pure and the Impure (1932)
It is the image in the mind that binds us to our lost treasures, but it is the loss that shapes the image.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Earthly Paradise: An Autobiography of Colette Drawn From Her Lifetime Writings, Robert Phelps, ed. (1966)
It is wise to apply the oil of refined politeness to the mechanism of friendship.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Pure and the Impure (1932)
It is, alas, only the first forgiveness which is difficult.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Vagabond (1911)
It takes time for the absent to assume their true shape in our thoughts. After death they take on a firmer outline and then cease to change.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Sido (1930)

It was on that road and at that hour that I first became aware of my own self, experienced an inexpressible state of grace, and felt one with the first breath of air that stirred, the first bird, and the sun so newly born that it still looked not quite round.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Sido (1930)
It was towards the end of June that incompatibility became established between them like a new season of the year. Like a season, it had its surprises and even its pleasures.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Cat (1933)
It’s nothing to be born ugly. Sensibly, the ugly woman comes to terms with her ugliness and exploits it as a grace of nature. To become ugly means the beginning of a calamity, self-willed most of the time.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
It’s so curious: one can resist tears and ‘behave’ very well in the hardest hours of grief. But then someone makes you a friendly sign behind a window, or one notices that a flower that was in bud only yesterday has suddenly blossomed, or a letter slips from a drawer … and everything collapses.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
It’s terrible to think, as I do every time I begin a book, that I no longer have, and never have had, any talent.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Belles Saisons: A Colette Scrapbook, Robert Phelps, ed. (1978)
January, month of empty pockets!

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“Empty Pockets” (1928) in Journey for Myself (1972)
Jealousy is the only evil we endure without becoming accustomed to it.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
Jealousy leaves no time to be bored; does it even leave time to grow old?

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Pure and the Impure (1932)
La vrai disette, c’est l’absence de livres. (Real poverty is lack of books.)

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
Let’s buy a pack of cards, good wine, bridge scores, knitting needles, all the paraphernalia needed to fill an enormous void, everything needed to hide that horror — the old woman.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
Look for a long time at what pleases you, and for a longer time at what pains you.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Earthly Paradise: An Autobiography of Colette Drawn From Her Lifetime Writings, Robert Phelps, ed. (1966)
[Men] forgive us — oh! for many things, but not for the absence in us of their own failings.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Gigi (1945)
My cat does not talk as respectfully to me as I do to her.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Prisons et paradis (1932)
My true friends have always given me that supreme proof of devotion, a spontaneous aversion for the man I loved.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

1928, in Break of Day, Enid McLeod, trans. (1961)
My virtue’s still far too small, I don’t trot it out and about yet.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Claudine at School (1900)

Neither knowledge nor diligence can create a great chef. Of what use is conscientiousness as a substitute for inspiration?

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Prisons et paradis (1932)
Never touch a butterfly’s wing with your finger.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
Never wear second-rate jewels, wait till the really good ones come to you. … Rather than a wretched little diamond full of flaws, wear a simple, plainly inexpensive ring. In that case you can say, ‘It’s a memento. I never part with it, day or night.’

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Gigi (1945)
No one asked you to be happy. Get to work.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
No temptation can ever be measured by the value of its object.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Earthly Paradise: An Autobiography of Colette Drawn From Her Lifetime Writings, Robert Phelps, ed. (1966)
Nothing ages a woman like living in the country.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
On this narrow planet, we have only the choice between two unknown worlds.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“The Photographer’s Missus” (1944) in The Tender Shoot (1958)
One always writes for someone. Rarely for several people. Never for everyone.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Belles Saisons: A Colette Scrapbook, Robert Phelps, ed. (1978)
One keeps forgetting old age up to the very brink of the grave.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“My Mother and Illness” in My Mother’s House (1922)
One of the best things about love is just recognizing a man’s step when he climbs the stairs.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“Journal à rebours” (1941) in Looking Backwards (1975)
Only in the snow can both sexagenarian and child squat on the same small sledges and abandon themselves to the slopes. They feel alike and exchange smiles … O simple, precarious, eternal realm of snow!

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“Farewell to the Snow” in Journey for Myself (1972)
Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

quoted by Allan Massie in Colette (1986)
Perhaps the only misplaced curiosity is that which persists in trying to find out here, on this side of death, what lies beyond the grave.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
Poetry does not necessarily have to be beautiful to stick in the depths of our memory …

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Blue Lantern (1949)
Shall I ever marvel enough at animals? This one is exceptional, like a friend one will never replace, or a perfect lover.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

1928, in Break of Day, Enid McLeod, trans. (1961)

She could not forgive her sorrow for being bearable and for taking its place, between despair and indifference, in a spiritual region which allowed of diversions, pleasures, scruples, and compensations.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Other One (1929)
Sincerity is not a spontaneous flower, nor is modesty either.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Pure and the Impure (1932)
Sit down and put down everything that comes into your head and then you’re a writer. But an author is one who can judge his own stuff’s worth, without pity, and destroy most of it.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Casual Change (1964)
[Sleep is] … that provisional tomb where the living exile sighs, weeps, fights and succumbs, and is born again, remembering nothing, with the day.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Cat (1933)
Smokers, male and female, inject and excuse idleness in their lives every time they light a cigarette.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Pure and the Impure (1932)
So now, whenever I despair, I no longer expect my end, but some bit of luck, some commonplace little miracle which, like a glittering link, will mend again the necklace of my days.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Vagabond (1910)
The cat is the animal to whom the Creator gave the biggest eye, the softest fur, the most supremely delicate nostrils, a mobile ear, an unrivaled paw and a curved claw borrowed from the rose-tree.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
The divorce will be gayer than the wedding.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Cheri (1920)
The faults of husbands are often caused by the excess virtues of their wives.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
The fear of aging, a commonplace neurosis, does not usually wait for age and spares neither sex.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“Beauties” (1928) in Journey for Myself (1972)
The great hat principle is that when you meet a woman on the street and her hat allows you to see whether she’s a brunette, a blonde, or a redhead, the woman in question is not wearing a chic hat. There! … Notice I’m not saying anything, I’ll let you make up your own mind.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“The Saleswoman”
The longer you wear pearls, the realer they become.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Cheri (1920)
The more the wonders of the world become inaccessible, the more intensely do its curiosities affect us.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

For a Flower Album (1959)
The poet’s mission: to forget reality, to promise the world wonders, to celebrate victories and deny death.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“Journal à rebours” (1941) in Looking Backwards (1975)
The power of sonorous language is great, it goes to the gates of death.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“Journal à rebours” (1941) in Looking Backwards (1975)

The seduction emanating from a person of uncertain or dissimulated sex is powerful.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Pure and the Impure (1932)
The sudden desire to look beautiful made her straighten her back. ‘Beautiful! For whom? Why for myself, of course.’

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Cheri (1920)
The telephone shone as brightly as a weapon kept polished by daily use.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Last of Cheri (1926)
The tomcat is behaving consistently. On arrival, he struck his forehead and cried ‘But of course! This is where I climb up a mulberry tree and sing at the top of my voice and then do battle with a white cat!’

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

1927, in Belles Saisons: A Colette Scrapbook, Robert Phelps, ed. (1978)
The true traveler is he who goes on foot, and even then, he sits down a lot of the time.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Paris From My Window (1944)
The woman who thinks she is intelligent demands equal rights with men. A woman who is intelligent does not.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
The writer who loses his self-doubt, who gives way as he grows old to a sudden euphoria, to prolixity, should stop writing immediately: the time has come for him to lay aside his pen.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Earthly Paradise: An Autobiography of Colette Drawn From Her Lifetime Writings, Robert Phelps, ed. (1966)
Then, bidding farewell to The Knick-Knack, I went to collect the few personal belongings which, at that time, I held to be invaluable: my cat, my resolve to travel, and my solitude.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
There are days when solitude is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“Freedom” (1908)
There are no ordinary cats.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
There is a certain melancholy in having to tell oneself that one has said good-bye — unless of course one is a grandmother — to the age and the circumstances that enable one to observe young children closely and passionately.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Paris From My Window (1944)
There is a childish vanity in suffering, in suffering better and more than anyone else.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“The Cure” in It’s a Woman’s World, Mary Louise Aswell, ed. (1944)
There is no doubt that, if ever my heart were to call my master Chance by another name, I should make an excellent Catholic.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Vagabond (1910)
There is no need to waste pity on young girls who are having their moments of disillusionment, for in another moment they will recover their illusion.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
There is no pleasure without fatigue and that of the eye, if it is prolonged, is particularly dispiriting.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

“Silks” (1928) in Journey for Myself (1972)

This is the nth time I have started again on a certain page of my miserable novel. I work with ferocious patience, I who am usually so impatient! It’s a battle between my two halves. Oh, what a métier writing is! It seems to me that when you’ve practiced any other craft for over thirty years, you feel a little confidence, a little mastery. With writing, it’s the opposite.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Belles Saisons: A Colette Scrapbook, Robert Phelps, ed. (1978)
Time spent with cats is never wasted.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
To a poet, silence is an acceptable response, even a flattering one.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Paris From My Window (1944)
To be astonished is one of the surest ways of not growing old too quickly.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Earthly Paradise: An Autobiography of Colette Drawn From Her Lifetime Writings, Robert Phelps, ed. (1966)
To lift and penetrate and tear apart the soil is a labour — a pleasure — always accompanied by an exultation that no unprofitable exercise can ever provide.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

1928, in Break of Day, Enid McLeod, trans. (1961)
Total absence of humor renders life impossible.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Chance Acquaintances (1952)
Towards the end I looked like a rat dragging a stolen egg.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Evening Star (1946)
Truffles must come to the table in their own stock and as you break open this jewel sprung from a poverty-stricken soil, imagine — if you have never visited it — the desolate kingdom where it rules.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
We only do well the things we like doing.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Prisons and Paradise (1932)
What a delight it is to make friends with someone you have despised!

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Earthly Paradise: An Autobiography of Colette Drawn From Her Lifetime Writings, Robert Phelps, ed. (1966)
What an interesting life I had. And how I wish I had realized it sooner!

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

quoted by Helen Bevington in When Found, Make a Verse Of (1961)
When one can read, can penetrate the enchanted realm of books, why write?

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Earthly Paradise: An Autobiography of Colette Drawn From Her Lifetime Writings, Robert Phelps, ed. (1966)
When one loves in a certain way, even betrayals become unimportant.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Claudine and Annie (1903)
When she raises her eyelids it’s as if she were taking off her clothes.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Claudine and Annie (1903)
When, like me, one has nothing in oneself one hopes for everything from another.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Claudine and Annie (1903)

Whenever I feel myself inferior to everything about me, threatened by my own mediocrity, frightened by the discovery that a muscle is losing its strength, a desire its power, or a pain the keen edge of its bite, I can still hold up my head and say to myself: ‘I am the daughter of … a woman who, in a mean, close-fisted, confined little place, opened her village home to stray cats, tramps, and pregnant servant girls. I am the daughter of a woman who many a time, when she was in despair at not having enough money for others, ran through the wind-whipped snow to cry from door to door, at the houses of the rich, that a child had just been born in a poverty-stricken home to parents whose feeble, empty hands had no swaddling clothes for it. Let me not forget that I am the daughter of a woman who bent her head, trembling, between the blades of a cactus, her wrinkled face full of ecstasy over the promise of a flower, a woman who herself never ceased to flower, untiringly, during three quarters of a century.’

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

1928, in Break of Day, Enid McLeod, trans. (1961)
Wine, according to its quality and the soil where it was grown, is a necessary tonic, a luxury, and a fitting tribute to good food. And is it not also a source of nourishment in itself? Yes, those were the days, when a few true natives of my Burgundy village, gathered around a flagon swathed in dust and spiders’ webs, kissing the tips of their fingers from their lips, exclaimed — already — ‘a nectar!’

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Prisons et paradis (1932)
Writing is often wasteful. If I counted the pages I’ve torn up, of how many volumes am I the author?

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Evening Star (1946)
Writing only leads to more writing.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
You do flatter yourself, you know, always imagining that you’re the only one of your kind.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Last of Cheri (1926)
You do not notice changes in what is always before you.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

My Apprenticeships (1936)
You must not pity me because my sixtieth year finds me still astonished. To be astonished is one of the surest ways of not growing old too quickly.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette
You remind me of people who bring along a little box of cakes and leave it in the hall, saying to themselves: ‘There’ll be plenty of time to produce these later,’ and then pick them up again when they go.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

The Last of Cheri (1926)
You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

New York World-Telegram and Sun interview (1961)
Your truffles must come to the table in their own stock. … And as you break open this jewel sprung from a poverty-stricken soil, imagine — if you have never visited it — the desolate kingdom where it rules.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

Prisons et paradis (1932)
Youth often gets the friendships it deserves.

Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette

My Apprenticeships (1936)

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