Human Masquerades (Medium Mrs. Costel)
I will speak about the singular need of the best spirits to always meddle into things that are not of their concern. For example: an excellent business man will have no doubt about his political skills and the greatest diplomats will place self-esteem before making any decision about the most frivolous issues. Such a fault, which is common to everyone, has no other cause but vanity and vanity has only artificial needs. Vanity seeks falsehood, before anything else, for ablution, for spirit or for the heart itself; it destroys the instinct of beauty and truth; it leads women to misrepresent their beauty; it persuades people to seek precisely what is more harmful. If French men and women did not have that defect, the men would be one of the most intelligent of the world and the ladies the most charming of Eves known; thus, let us not feed on such absurd weakness; let us have the courage of being ourselves; of wearing the color of our spirits, like that of our hair.
However, thrones shall ruin and republics shall be established before a frivolous French man renounces his pretensions to seriousness and a French lady to her airs of solidity. It is a continual hypocrisy where each one wears the clothes of other times or dresses like their neighbor. Political hypocrisy, religious masks, through which everybody seeks one another, dragged by the vertigo and not finding the starting point or their objective in all that turmoil.
Delphine de Girardin