The Country Doctor - Honore de Balzac - Страница 1 из 367


THE COUNTRY DOCTOR
By Honore De Balzac
Translated by Ellen Marriage and Clara Bell
"For a wounded heart--shadow and silence."
To my Mother
INTRODUCTION
In hardly any of his books, with the possible exception of _Eugenie
Grandet_, does Balzac seem to have taken a greater interest than in _Le
Medecin de Campagne_; and the fact of this interest, together with the
merit and intensity of the book in each case, is, let it be repeated, a
valid argument against those who would have it that there was something
essentially sinister both in his genius and his character.
_Le Medecin de Campagne_ was an early book; it was published in 1833, a
date of which there is an interesting mark in the selection of the name
"Evelina," the name of Madame Hanska, whom Balzac had just met, for the
lost Jansenist love of Benassis; and it had been on the stocks for
a considerable time. It is also noteworthy, as lying almost entirely
outside the general scheme of the _Comedie Humaine_ as far as
personages go. Its chief characters in the remarkable, if not absolutely
impeccable, _repertoire_ of MM. Cerfberr and Christophe (they have,
a rare thing with them, missed Agathe the forsaken mistress) have no
references appended to their articles, except to the book itself; and
I cannot remember that any of the more generally pervading _dramatis
personae_ of the Comedy makes even an incidental appearance here. The
book is as isolated as its scene and subject--I might have added, as


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