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

passion, and confined the conversation more and more to generalities and commonplaces.

Spring came, and with the spring the Marquise found distraction from her deep melancholy. She busied herself for lack of other occupation with her estate, making improvements for amusement.

In October she left the old château. In the life of leisure at Saint-Lange she had recovered from her grief and grown fair and fresh. Her grief had been violent at first in its course, as the quoit hurled forth with all the player's strength, and like the quoit after many oscillations, each feebler than the last, it had slackened into melancholy. Melancholy is made up of a succession of such oscillations, the first touching upon despair, the last on the border between pain and pleasure; in youth, it is the twilight of dawn; in age, the dusk of night.

As the Marquise drove through the village in her traveling carriage, she met the curé on his way back from the church. She bowed in response to his farewell greeting, but it was with lowered eyes and averted face. She did not wish to see him again. The village curé had judged this poor Diana of Ephesus only too well.


III
AT THIRTY YEARS

MADAME FIRMIANI was giving a ball. M. Charles de Vandenesse, a young man of great promise, the bearer of one of those historic names which, in spite of the efforts of legislation, are always associated with the glory of France, had received letters of introduction to some of the great lady's friends in Naples, and had come to thank the hostess and to take his leave.

Vandenesse had already acquitted himself creditably on several diplomatic missions; and now that he had received an appointment as attache' to a plenipotentiary at the Congress of Laybach, he wished to take advantage of the oppor-

-89-

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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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