The Works of Honoré de Balzac A Woman of Thirty; Madame Firmiani; Gobseck; La Grande Bretecache; A Study of Woman; Another Study of Woman - Vol. 2

By Honoré de Balzac | Go to book overview

us old stagers; but Lord Grenville was a youngster and -- an Englishman. Englishmen never can do anything like anybody else.

Pooh! returned d'Aiglemont, these heroic exploits all depend upon the woman in the case, and it certainly was not for one that I know, that poor Arthur came by his death.


II
A HIDDEN GRIEF

BETWEEN the Seine and the little river Loing lies a wide flat country, skirted on the one side by the Forest of Fontainebleau, and marked out as to its southern limits by the towns of Moret, Montereau, and Nemours. It is a dreary country; little knolls of hills appear only at rare intervals, and a coppice here and there among the fields affords cover for game; and beyond, upon every side, stretches the endless grey or yellowish horizon peculiar to Beauce, Sologne, and Berri.

In the very center of the plain, at equal distances from Moret and Montereau, the traveler passes the old château of Saint-Lange, standing amid surroundings which lack neither dignity nor stateliness. There are magnificent avenues of elm trees, great gardens encircled by the moat, and a circumference of walls about a huge manorial pile which represents the profits of the maltôte, the gains of farmers- general, legalized malversation, or the vast fortunes of great houses now brought low beneath the hammer of the Civil Code.

Should any artist or dreamer of dreams chance to stray along the roads full of deep ruts, or over the heavy land which secures the place against intrusion, he will wonder how it happened that this romantic old place was set down in a savannah of corn-land, a desert of chalk, and sand, and marl, where gayety dies away, and melancholy is a natural product of the soil. The voiceless solitude, the monotonous horizon line which weigh upon the spirits, are negative beau-

-69-

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The Works of Honoré de Balzac A Woman of Thirty; Madame Firmiani; Gobseck; La Grande Bretecache; A Study of Woman; Another Study of Woman - Vol. 2
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page i
  • Preface iii
  • A Woman of Thirty *
  • I - Early Mistakes 1
  • II - A Hidden Grief 69
  • III - At Thirty Years 89
  • IV - The Finger of God 112
  • V - Two Meetings 125
  • VI - The Old Age of A Guilty Mother 174
  • Madame Firmiani *
  • Gobseck *
  • La Grande Bretêche *
  • A Study of Woman *
  • Another Study of Woman *
  • Another Study of Woman 1
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