The Ball at Sceaux - Honore de Balzac - Страница 1 из 83

Translated By Clara Bell
To Henri de Balzac, his brother Honore.
The Comte de Fontaine, head of one of the oldest families in Poitou, had
served the Bourbon cause with intelligence and bravery during the war
in La Vendee against the Republic. After having escaped all the dangers
which threatened the royalist leaders during this stormy period of
modern history, he was wont to say in jest, "I am one of the men who
gave themselves to be killed on the steps of the throne." And the
pleasantry had some truth in it, as spoken by a man left for dead at the
bloody battle of Les Quatre Chemins. Though ruined by confiscation, the
staunch Vendeen steadily refused the lucrative posts offered to him
by the Emperor Napoleon. Immovable in his aristocratic faith, he had
blindly obeyed its precepts when he thought it fitting to choose
a companion for life. In spite of the blandishments of a rich but
revolutionary parvenu, who valued the alliance at a high figure, he
married Mademoiselle de Kergarouet, without a fortune, but belonging to
one of the oldest families in Brittany.
When the second revolution burst on Monsieur de Fontaine he was
encumbered with a large family. Though it was no part of the noble
gentlemen's views to solicit favors, he yielded to his wife's wish, left
his country estate, of which the income barely sufficed to maintain his
children, and came to Paris. Saddened by seeing the greediness of his

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