The Purse - Honore de Balzac - Страница 1 из 45


THE PURSE
By Honore De Balzac
Translated by Clara Bell
To Sofka
"Have you observed, mademoiselle, that the painters and
sculptors of the Middle Ages, when they placed two figures in
adoration, one on each side of a fair Saint, never failed to
give them a family likeness? When you here see your name among
those that are dear to me, and under whose auspices I place my
works, remember that touching harmony, and you will see in
this not so much an act of homage as an expression of the
brotherly affection of your devoted servant,
"DE BALZAC."
THE PURSE
For souls to whom effusiveness is easy there is a delicious hour that
falls when it is not yet night, but is no longer day; the twilight
gleam throws softened lights or tricksy reflections on every object, and
favors a dreamy mood which vaguely weds itself to the play of light
and shade. The silence which generally prevails at that time makes it
particularly dear to artists, who grow contemplative, stand a few
paces back from the pictures on which they can no longer work, and pass
judgement on them, rapt by the subject whose most recondite meaning then
flashes on the inner eye of genius. He who has never stood pensive by a
friend's side in such an hour of poetic dreaming can hardly understand
its inexpressible soothingness. Favored by the clear-obscure, the
material skill employed by art to produce illusion entirely disappears.
If the work is a picture, the figures represented seem to speak and


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