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THE UNKINDEST CUT OF ALL. Is it a petty or a profound trouble? I knew not; it is profound for your sons-in-law or daughters-in-law, but exceedingly petty for you. "Petty! You must be joking; why, a child costs terribly dear!" exclaims a ten-times-too-happy husband, at the baptism of his eleventh, called the little last newcomer,—a phrase with which women beguile their families. "What trouble is this?" you ask me. Well! this is, like many... more...

If, reader, you have grasped the intent of this book,—and infinite honor is done you by the supposition: the profoundest author does not always comprehend, I may say never comprehends, the different meanings of his book, nor its bearing, nor the good nor the harm it may do—if, then, you have bestowed some attention upon these little scenes of married life, you have perhaps noticed their color— "What color?" some grocer will... more...

THE UNKINDEST CUT OF ALL. Is it a petty or a profound trouble? I knew not; it is profound for your sons-in-law or daughters-in-law, but exceedingly petty for you. "Petty! You must be joking; why, a child costs terribly dear!" exclaims a ten-times-too-happy husband, at the baptism of his eleventh, called the little last newcomer,—a phrase with which women beguile their families. "What trouble is this?" you ask me. Well! this is, like many... more...

INTRODUCTION "Marriage is not an institution of nature. The family in the east is entirely different from the family in the west. Man is the servant of nature, and the institutions of society are grafts, not spontaneous growths of nature. Laws are made to suit manners, and manners vary. "Marriage must therefore undergo the gradual development towards perfection to which all human affairs submit." These words, pronounced in the presence of the... more...

FAREWELL "Come, Deputy of the Centre, come along! We shall have to mend our pace if we mean to sit down to dinner when every one else does, and that's a fact! Hurry up! Jump, Marquis! That's it! Well done! You are bounding over the furrows just like a stag!" These words were uttered by a sportsman seated much at his ease on the outskirts of the Foret de l'Isle-Adam; he had just finished a Havana cigar, which he had smoked while he waited for... more...


PROLOGUE Certain persons have reproached the Author for knowing no more about the language of the olden times than hares do of telling stories. Formerly these people would have been vilified, called cannibals, churls, and sycophants, and Gomorrah would have been hinted at as their natal place. But the Author consents to spare them the flowery epithets of ancient criticism; he contents himself with wishing not to be in their skin, for he would be... more...

THE FAIR IMPERIA The Archbishop of Bordeaux had added to his suite when going to the Council at Constance quite a good-looking little priest of Touraine whose ways and manner of speech was so charming that he passed for a son of La Soldee and the Governor. The Archbishop of Tours had willingly given him to his confrere for his journey to that town, because it was usual for archbishops to make each other presents, they well knowing how sharp are... more...

Z. MARCAS I never saw anybody, not even among the most remarkable men of the day, whose appearance was so striking as this man's; the study of his countenance at first gave me a feeling of great melancholy, and at last produced an almost painful impression. There was a certain harmony between the man and his name. The Z. preceding Marcas, which was seen on the addresses of his letters, and which he never omitted from his signature, as the... more...

EL VERDUGO The clock of the little town of Menda had just struck midnight. At that moment a young French officer, leaning on the parapet of a long terrace which bordered the gardens of the chateau de Menda, seemed buried in thoughts that were deeper than comported with the light-hearted carelessness of military life; though it must be said that never were hour, scene, or night more propitious for meditation. The beautiful sky of Spain spread its... more...

CHAPTER I. PROLOGUE In the year 1800, toward the close of October, a foreigner, accompanied by a woman and a little girl, was standing for a long time in front of the palace of the Tuileries, near the ruins of a house recently pulled down, at the point where in our day the wing begins which was intended to unite the chateau of Catherine de Medici with the Louvre of the Valois. The man stood there with folded arms and a bowed head, which he... more...