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

ANOTHER STUDY OF WOMAN

To Léon Gozlan as a Token of Literary Good-fellowship.

AT Paris there are almost always two separate parties going on at every ball and rout. First, an official party, composed of the persons invited, a fashionable and muchbored circle. Each one grimaces for his neighbor's eye; most of the younger women are there for one person only; when each woman has assured herself that for that one she is the handsomest woman in the room, and that the opinion is perhaps shared by a few others, a few insignificant phrases are exchanged, such as: "Do you think of going away soon to La Crampade?" "How well Mme. de Portenduère sang!" "Who is the little woman with such a load of diamonds?" Or, after firing off some smart epigrams, which give transient pleasure, and leave wounds that rankle long, the groups thin out, the mere lookers-on go away, and the wax-lights burn down to the sconces.

The mistress of the house then waylays a few artists, amusing people or intimate friends, saying, "Do not go yet; we will have a snug little supper." These collect in some small room. The second, the real party, now begins; a party where, as of old, everyone can bear what is said, conversation is general, each one is bound to be witty and to contribute to the amusement of all. Everything is made to tell, honest laughter takes the place of the gloom which in company saddens the prettiest faces. In short, where the rout ends pleasure begins.

The Rout, a cold display of luxury, a review of self- conceits in full dress, is one of those English inventions whic h tend to mechanizeother nations. England seems bent on seeing the whole world as dull as itself, and dull in the same way. So this second party is, in some French houses, a happy protest on the part of the old spirit of our lighthearted people. Only, unfortunately, so few houses pro

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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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