Bureaucracy - Honore de Balzac - Страница 1 из 296

By Honore De Balzac
Translated By Katharine Prescott Wormeley
To the Comtesse Seraphina San Severino, with the respectful
homage of sincere and deep admiration
De Balzac
In Paris, where men of thought and study bear a certain likeness to one
another, living as they do in a common centre, you must have met with
several resembling Monsieur Rabourdin, whose acquaintance we are about
to make at a moment when he is head of a bureau in one of our most
important ministries. At this period he was forty years old, with gray
hair of so pleasing a shade that women might at a pinch fall in love
with it for it softened a somewhat melancholy countenance, blue eyes
full of fire, a skin that was still fair, though rather ruddy and
touched here and there with strong red marks; a forehead and nose a la
Louis XV., a serious mouth, a tall figure, thin, or perhaps wasted, like
that of a man just recovering from illness, and finally, a bearing that
was midway between the indolence of a mere idler and the thoughtfulness
of a busy man. If this portrait serves to depict his character, a sketch
of this man's dress will bring it still further into relief. Rabourdin
wore habitually a blue surcoat, a white cravat, a waistcoat crossed a la
Robespierre, black trousers without straps, gray silk stockings and low

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