Aliquid amplius invenies in silvis, quam in libris

From Bernard of Clairvaux’s Epistolae (106, sect. 2) – found from a partial quote in ch 9 of Huysman’s En Route:

Believe me from experience – you will find something more in forests than in books. Trees and stones will teach you what you cannot hear from your instructors.

Experto crede: aliquid amplius invenies in silvis, quam in libris. Ligna et lapides docebunt te, quod a magistris audire non possis.

Amplius is one of those Latin words that’s always dreadful to render – here’s the Lewis and Short entry for illustration.

Suppose I dine, after a fashion, in some not too unreliable place

From Ch.10 of Huysmans’ Là-bas. And I actually find the English – aside from missing the fish pun in pêcha – the funnier version.

“I must go home pretty soon,” [Durtal] said when he could collect himself a little, “for Père Rateau certainly has not cleaned house in the thorough fashion which I commanded, and of course I don’t want the furniture to be covered with dust. Six o’clock. Suppose I dine, after a fashion, in some not too unreliable place.”

He remembered a nearby restaurant where he had eaten before without a great deal of dread. He chewed his way laboriously through an extremely dead fish, then through a piece of meat, flabby and cold; then he found a very few lentils, stiff with insecticide, beneath a great deal of sauce; finally he savoured some ancient prunes, whose juice smelt of mould and was at the same time aquatic and sepulchral.

Il faut que je rentre chez moi de bonne heure, se dit-il, lorsqu’il parvint à se reprendre, – car le père Rateau n’aura certainement pas fait, ainsi que je l’en ai prié, mon ménage à fond, – et je ne veux pourtant pas qu’aujourd’hui la poussière traîne sur tous les meubles.

Il est six heures ; si je dînais vaguement dans un lieu à peu près sûr. Il se rappela un restaurant voisin où il avait autrefois mangé sans trop de craintes. Il y chipota un poisson de la dernière heure, une viande molle et froide, pêcha dans leur sauce des lentilles mortes, sans doute tuées par de l’insecticide ; il savoura enfin d’anciens pruneaux dont le jus sentait le moisi, était tout à la fois aquatique et tombal.

You are the drain pipe of my soul, you inattentive and indulgent confessor

From Joris-Karl Huysmans’ Là-bas, the main character addressing his cat:

“In spite of your kill-joy character and your single track mind you testy, old bachelor, you are a very nice cat,” said Durtal, in an insinuating, wheedling tone. “Then too, for many years now, I have told you what one tells no man. You are the drain pipe of my soul, you inattentive and indulgent confessor. Never shocked, you vaguely approve the mental misdeeds which I confess to you. You let me relieve myself and you don’t charge me anything for the service. Frankly, that is what you are here for. I spoil you with care and attentions because you are the spiritual vent of solitude and celibacy, but that doesn’t prevent you, with your spiteful way of looking at me, from being insufferable at times, as you are today, for instance!”

Malgré ton caractère de rabat-joie, de vieux garçon monomane et sans patience, tu es tout de même gentil, fit Durtal, d’un ton insinuant, pour l’amadouer ; puis, il y a assez longtemps que je te raconte ce que chacun se tait ; tu es l’évier de mon âme, toi, le confesseur inattentif et indulgent qui approuve, vaguement, sans surprise, les méfaits d’esprit qu’on lui avoue, afin de se soulager, sans qu’il en coûte ! Au fond, c’est là ta raison d’être, tu es l’exutoire spirituel de la solitude et du célibat ; aussi, je te gave d’attentions et de soins ; mais cela n’empêche qu’avec tes bouderies tu ne sois souvent, ainsi que ce matin, par exemple, insupportable