Mirror and mire

“Ah, Sir, a novel is a mirror carried along a high road. At one moment it reflects to your vision the azure skies, at another the mire of the puddles at your feet. And the man who carries this mirror in his pack will be accused by you of being immoral! The mirror shows the mire, and you blame the mirror! Rather blame the high road upon which the puddle lies, still more the inspector of roads who allows the water to gather and the puddle to form.”

The Red and the Black
Stendhal

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