The Duchesse de Langeais - Honore de Balzac - Страница 1 из 206


THE DUCHESSE OF LANGEAIS
By Honore De Balzac
Translated by Ellen Marriage
Preparer's Note:
The Duchesse of Langeais is the second part of a trilogy. Part
one is entitled Ferragus and part three is The Girl with the
Golden Eyes. The three stories are frequently combined under the
title The Thirteen.
To Franz Liszt
THE DUCHESSE OF LANGEAIS
In a Spanish city on an island in the Mediterranean, there stands a
convent of the Order of Barefoot Carmelites, where the rule instituted
by St. Theresa is still preserved with all the first rigor of the
reformation brought about by that illustrious woman. Extraordinary as
this may seem, it is none the less true. Almost every religious house
in the Peninsula, or in Europe for that matter, was either destroyed or
disorganized by the outbreak of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic
wars; but as this island was protected through those times by the
English fleet, its wealthy convent and peaceable inhabitants were secure
from the general trouble and spoliation. The storms of many kinds which
shook the first fifteen years of the nineteenth century spent their
force before they reached those cliffs at so short a distance from the
coast of Andalusia.
If the rumour of the Emperor's name so much as reached the shore of the
island, it is doubtful whether the holy women kneeling in the cloisters
grasped the reality of his dream-like progress of glory, or the majesty
that blazed in flame across kingdom after kingdom during his meteor


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