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LA GRANDE BRETECHE "Ah! madame," replied the doctor, "I have some appalling stories in my collection. But each one has its proper hour in a conversation—you know the pretty jest recorded by Chamfort, and said to the Duc de Fronsac: 'Between your sally and the present moment lie ten bottles of champagne.'" "But it is two in the morning, and the story of Rosina has... more...

LA GRENADIERE La Grenadiere is a little house on the right bank of the Loire as you go down stream, about a mile below the bridge of Tours. At this point the river, broad as a lake, and covered with scattered green islands, flows between two lines of cliff, where country houses built uniformly of white stone stand among their gardens and vineyards. The finest fruit in the world ripens there with a... more...

CHAPTER I—M. MYRIEL In 1815, M. Charles-Francois-Bienvenu Myriel was Bishop of D—— He was an old man of about seventy-five years of age; he had occupied the see of D—— since 1806. Although this detail has no connection whatever with the real substance of what we are about to relate, it will not be superfluous, if merely for the sake of exactness in all points, to mention here the various... more...

I. LOUISE DE CHAULIEU TO RENEE DE MAUCOMBE. PARIS, September. Sweetheart, I too am free! And I am the first too, unless you have written to Blois, at our sweet tryst of letter-writing. Raise those great black eyes of yours, fixed on my opening sentence, and keep this excitement for the letter which shall tell you of my first love. By the way, why always "first?" Is there, I wonder, a second... more...

LOUIS LAMBERT Louis Lambert was born at Montoire, a little town in the Vendomois, where his father owned a tannery of no great magnitude, and intended that his son should succeed him; but his precocious bent for study modified the paternal decision. For, indeed, the tanner and his wife adored Louis, their only child, and never contradicted him in anything. At the age of five Louis had begun by reading... more...

MADAME FIRMIANI Many tales, either rich in situations or made dramatic by some of the innumerable tricks of chance, carry with them their own particular setting, which can be rendered artistically or simply by those who narrate them, without their subjects losing any, even the least of their charms. But there are some incidents in human experience to which the heart alone is able to give life; there... more...

CHAPTER I. A CHURCH SCENE OF THE FIFTEENTH CENTURY In 1479, on All Saints' day, the moment at which this history begins, vespers were ending in the cathedral of Tours. The archbishop Helie de Bourdeilles was rising from his seat to give the benediction himself to the faithful. The sermon had been long; darkness had fallen during the service, and in certain parts of the noble church (the towers of... more...

INTRODUCTION The origins of this extraordinary book are sufficiently curious and sufficiently interesting to be stated in detail. They go back to some ten years ago, when the author, after the rustic adventures which she describes in the following pages, had definitely settled in Paris as a working sempstress. The existence of a working sempstress in Paris, as elsewhere, is very hard; it usually means... more...

MASSIMILLA DONI As all who are learned in such matters know, the Venetian aristocracy is the first in Europe. Its Libro d'Oro dates from before the Crusades, from a time when Venice, a survivor of Imperial and Christian Rome which had flung itself into the waters to escape the Barbarians, was already powerful and illustrious, and the head of the political and commercial world. With a few rare... more...

MELMOTH RECONCILED There is a special variety of human nature obtained in the Social Kingdom by a process analogous to that of the gardener's craft in the Vegetable Kingdom, to wit, by the forcing-house—a species of hybrid which can be raised neither from seed nor from slips. This product is known as the Cashier, an anthropomorphous growth, watered by religious doctrine, trained up in fear of... more...