The Atheist's Mass - Honore de Balzac - Страница 1 из 25


THE ATHEIST'S MASS
By Honore De Balzac
Translated by Clara Bell
This is dedicated to Auguste Borget by his friend De Balzac
THE ATHEIST'S MASS
Bianchon, a physician to whom science owes a fine system of theoretical
physiology, and who, while still young, made himself a celebrity in the
medical school of Paris, that central luminary to which European doctors
do homage, practised surgery for a long time before he took up medicine.
His earliest studies were guided by one of the greatest of French
surgeons, the illustrious Desplein, who flashed across science like a
meteor. By the consensus even of his enemies, he took with him to the
tomb an incommunicable method. Like all men of genius, he had no heirs;
he carried everything in him, and carried it away with him. The glory of
a surgeon is like that of an actor: they live only so long as they are
alive, and their talent leaves no trace when they are gone. Actors
and surgeons, like great singers too, like the executants who by their
performance increase the power of music tenfold, are all the heroes of a
moment.
Desplein is a case in proof of this resemblance in the destinies of
such transient genius. His name, yesterday so famous, to-day almost
forgotten, will survive in his special department without crossing its
limits. For must there not be some extraordinary circumstances to exalt
the name of a professor from the history of Science to the general
history of the human race? Had Desplein that universal command of


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