The Two Brothers - Honore de Balzac - Страница 1 из 407

By Honore De Balzac
Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley
To Monsieur Charles Nodier, member of the French Academy, etc.
Here, my dear Nodier, is a book filled with deeds that are screened from
the action of the laws by the closed doors of domestic life; but as
to which the finger of God, often called chance, supplies the place
of human justice, and in which the moral is none the less striking and
instructive because it is pointed by a scoffer.
To my mind, such deeds contain great lessons for the Family and for
Maternity. We shall some day realize, perhaps too late, the effects
produced by the diminution of paternal authority. That authority, which
formerly ceased only at the death of the father, was the sole human
tribunal before which domestic crimes could be arraigned; kings
themselves, on special occasions, took part in executing its judgments.
However good and tender a mother may be, she cannot fulfil the function
of the patriarchal royalty any more than a woman can take the place of
a king upon the throne. Perhaps I have never drawn a picture that shows
more plainly how essential to European society is the indissoluble
marriage bond, how fatal the results of feminine weakness, how great the
dangers arising from selfish interests when indulged without restraint.
May a society which is based solely on the power of wealth shudder as it
sees the impotence of the law in dealing with the workings of a system

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