Study of a Woman - Honore de Balzac - Страница 1 из 14

By Honore De Balzac
Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley
To the Marquis Jean-Charles di Negro.
The Marquise de Listomere is one of those young women who have been
brought up in the spirit of the Restoration. She has principles, she
fasts, takes the sacrament, and goes to balls and operas very elegantly
dressed; her confessor permits her to combine the mundane with sanctity.
Always in conformity with the Church and with the world, she presents
a living image of the present day, which seems to have taken the word
"legality" for its motto. The conduct of the marquise shows precisely
enough religious devotion to attain under a new Maintenon to the gloomy
piety of the last days of Louis XIV., and enough worldliness to adopt
the habits of gallantry of the first years of that reign, should it ever
be revived. At the present moment she is strictly virtuous from policy,
possibly from inclination. Married for the last seven years to the
Marquis de Listomere, one of those deputies who expect a peerage, she
may also consider that such conduct will promote the ambitions of her
family. Some women are reserving their opinion of her until the moment
when Monsieur de Listomere becomes a peer of France, when she herself
will be thirty-six years of age,--a period of life when most women
discover that they are the dupes of social laws.
The marquis is a rather insignificant man. He stands well at court; his

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