Madame Firmiani - Honore de Balzac - Страница 1 из 29

By Honore De Balzac
Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley
To my dear Alexandre de Berny.
His old friend,
De Balzac.
Many tales, either rich in situations or made dramatic by some of the
innumerable tricks of chance, carry with them their own particular
setting, which can be rendered artistically or simply by those who
narrate them, without their subjects losing any, even the least of their
charms. But there are some incidents in human experience to which the
heart alone is able to give life; there are certain details--shall we
call them anatomical?--the delicate touches of which cannot be made to
reappear unless by an equally delicate rendering of thought; there are
portraits which require the infusion of a soul, and mean nothing
unless the subtlest expression of the speaking countenance is given;
furthermore, there are things which we know not how to say or do
without the aid of secret harmonies which a day, an hour, a fortunate
conjunction of celestial signs, or an inward moral tendency may produce.
Such mysterious revelations are imperatively needed in order to tell
this simple history, in which we seek to interest those souls that
are naturally grave and reflective and find their sustenance in tender
emotions. If the writer, like the surgeon beside his dying friend,
is filled with a species of reverence for the subject he is handling,

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