There are two species of timidity, — the timidity of the mind, and the timidity of the nerves; a physical timidity, and a moral timidity. The one is independent of the other. The body may fear and tremble, while the mind is calm and courageous, or vice versa. This is the key to many moral eccentricities. When the two are united in one man, that man will be a cipher all his life.

[Il y a deux timidités: la timidité d’esprit, la timidité de nerfs ; une timidité physique et une timidité morale. L’une est indépendante de l’autre. Le corps peut avoir peur et trembler pendant que l’esprit reste calme et courageux, et vice versa. Ceci donne la clef de bien des bizarreries morales. Quand les deux timidités se réunissent chez un homme, il sera nul pendant toute sa vie.]

Honoré de Balzac (1799-1850) French novelist, playwright
A Bachelor’s Establishment [Un ménage de garçon], ch. 9 (1842) [tr. Wormeley]
Added on 30-Nov-10 | Last updated 30-Nov-10
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