Every man has three characters — that which he exhibits, that which he has, and that which he thinks he has.

Alphonse Karr (1808-1890) French journalist and novelist
A Tour Round My Garden [Voyage autour de mon jardin] (1851)
Added on 25-Apr-17 | Last updated 2-May-17
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2 Responses to A Tour Round My Garden [Voyage autour de mon jardin] (1851)

  1. Hugh Hyatt says:

    Two different forms of this appear in Karr’s /Voyage autour de mon jardin/ (A Tour Round My Garden, 1851) [http://bit.ly/2pm0Co2 (Français), http://bit.ly/2piMXMy (English, trans by John George Wood)]:

    Le seul soin sérieux qui paraisse occuper la vie des pucerons, est de changer de vêtement. Ils changent, en effet, de peau quatre fois avant d’être des pucerons parfaits; à peu près comme nous autres hommes nous essayons d’habitude deux ou trois caractères avant de nous fixer à un, quoique d’ordinaire on eu garde trois toute sa vie: un que l’on montre, un que l’on croit avoir, un que l’on a réellement. [Lettre V: “Sur un rosier”]

    The only serious care that seems to occupy the life of the aphids, is the changing of its clothes. It changes its skin, in fact, four times before it becomes a perfect aphid; something like us men who try on two or three characters before we fix upon one, although in general, we preserve three during our whole lives: — one which we exhibit; one which we fancy we have; and another which we really have.

    Chaque homme possède trois caractères: Celui qu’il montre, celui qu’il a, celui qu’il croit avoir. [Lettre LII]

    Every man possesses three characters: that which he exhibits, that which he really has, and that which he believes he has. (I prefer the translation, “Every man has three characters: the one he shows, the one he has, the one he thinks he has.”)

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