Honore de Balzac, His Life and Writings/Chapter XV

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1848 - 1849
Description of interior of house in the Rue Fortunee—"La Maratre"—Projected plays—"Le Faiseur"—Balzac seeks admission for the last time to the Academie Francaise—He returns to Wierzchownia—Failing health—Letters to his family—Family relations are strained.

During his stay in Paris, which lasted from February till the end of September, Balzac was careful not to admit any strangers to the mysterious little house in the Rue Fortunee. Even his trusted friends were only shown the magnificence of his residence with strict injunctions about secrecy, so afraid was he that the news of his supposed riches should reach the ears of his creditors. He was only the humble custodian, he said, of all these treasures. Nothing belonged to him; he was poorer than ever, and was only taking charge of the house for a friend. This was difficult to believe, and his acquaintances, who had always been sceptical about his debts, laughed, and said to his delight, yet annoyance, that he was in reality a millionaire, and that he kept his fortune in old stockings.

Theophile Gautier, after remarking how difficult it was to gain an entrance to this carefully-guarded abode, describes it thus: "He received us, however, one day, and we were able to see a dining-room panelled in old oak, with a table, mantelpiece, buffets, sideboards, and chairs in carved wood, which would have made a Berruguete, a Cornejo Duque, or a Verbruggen envious; a drawing-room hung with gold-coloured damask, with doors, cornices, plinths, and embrasures of ebony; a library ranged in cupboards inlaid with tortoiseshell and copper in the style of Buhl; a bathroom in yellow breccia, with bas-reliefs in stucco; a domed boudoir, the ancient paintings of which had been restored by Edmond Hedouin; and a gallery lighted from the top, which we recognised later in the collection of 'Cousin Pons.' On the shelves were all sorts of curiosities—Saxony and Sevres porcelain, sea-green horns with cracked glazing; and on the staircase which was covered with carpet, were great china vases, and a magnificent lantern suspended by a cable of red silk."[1]

The gallery, the holy of holies of this temple of Art, where the treasures laboriously collected and long concealed, were at last assembled, is described exactly in "Le Cousin Pons." It was a large oblong room, lighted from the top, the walls painted in white and gold, but "the white yellowed, the gold reddened by time, gave harmonious tones which did not spoil the effect of the canvases."[2]

There were fourteen statues in this gallery mounted on Buhl pedestals, and all round the walls were richly decorated ebony buffets containing objets d'art, while in the centre stood carved wooden cases, which showed to great advantage some of the greatest rarities in human work—costly jewellery, and curiosities in ivory, bronze, wood, and enamel. Sixty-seven pictures adorned the walls of this magnificent apartment, among them the four masterpieces, the loss of which is the most tragic incident in the melancholy story of poor old Pons. There were a "Chevalier de Malte en Priere," by Sebastian del Piombo; a "Holy Family," by Fra Bartolommeo; a "Landscape," by Hobbema; and a "Portrait of a Woman," by Albert Durer. Apparently they were in reality mediocre as works of art, but they were a source of the utmost pride and delight to their owner, who said enthusiastically of one of them—the Sebastian del Piombo—that "human art can go no further." When we know that in the novel Balzac is speaking of his own cherished possessions, we think of his own words, "Ideas project themselves with the same force by which they are conceived,"[3] and can understand the reason of the positive pain we feel, when the poor old Cousin Pons is bereft of his treasures. The great voyant was transported by his powerful imagination into the personality of the old musician, and the heartrending situation he had evoked must have been torture to him; though with the courage and conscientiousness of the true artist he did not hesitate in the task he had set himself, but ever darkened and deepened the shadows of his tragedy towards the close.

It is not surprising to hear that this sumptuous house cost 400,000 francs, but it is astonishing, and it gives the inhabitant of steady-going England an idea of the inconvenience of revolutions, that its owner and occupant should in 1848 have been starving in the midst of magnificence, and that it should have been impossible for him to find a purchaser for some small curiosity, if he had wished to sell it to buy bread. Part of the cost of the house had been defrayed by Madame Hanska, but Balzac had evidently overstepped her limits, and had involved himself seriously in debt. One of the alleged reasons given by the lady for the further deferment of her promise to become Madame Honore de Balzac, was the state of embarrassment to which Balzac had reduced himself by his expenditure in decoration; and, in his despair and disgust, the home he had been so happily proud of, and which seemed destined never to be occupied, soon became to him "that rascally plum box."

At this time, however, he was still tasting the joys of ownership, and was, as usual, hopeful about the future. His dreams of theatrical success seemed at last destined to come true.[4] Hostein, who had rushed to the Rue Fortunee as soon as he heard of the arrival of the great man, to ask for the play promised him in place of "Pierre et Catherine," found Balzac as usual at his desk, and was presented with a copy-book on which was written in large characters, "Gertrude, tragedie bourgeoise." The play was read next day in Balzac's drawing-room to Hostein, Madame Dorval, and Melingue; and Hostein accepted it under the name of "La Maratre," Madame Dorval expressing much objection to its first title. Eventually, to Madame Dorval's and Balzac's disappointment, Madame Lacressoniere, who had much influence with Hostein, was entrusted with the heroine's part; and the tragedy was produced at the Theatre-Historique on May 25th, 1848. In spite of the disturbed state of the political atmosphere, which was ruinous to the theatres, the play met with considerable success; and the critics began to realise that when once Balzac had mastered the metier of the theatre, he might become a great dramatist. About this time, Cogniard, the director of the Porte-Saint-Martin, received a letter with fifty signatures, asking for a second performance of "Vautrin." He communicated this request to Balzac, who stipulated that if "Vautrin" were again put on the stage, all caricature of Louis Philippe should be avoided by the actor who played the principal part. He added that when he wrote the play he had never intended any political allusion. However, "Vautrin" was not acted till April, 1850, when, without Balzac's knowledge, it was produced at the Gaite. Balzac, who heard of this at Dresden, on his journey to Paris from Russia, wrote to complain of the violation of his dramatic rights, and in consequence the play was withdrawn from the boards of the Gaite.

During his stay in Paris in 1848, Balzac sketched out the plots of many dramas. The director of the Odeon, in despair at the emptiness of his theatre after the political crisis of June, offered Victor Hugo, Dumas, and Balzac[5] a premium of 6,000 francs, and a royalty on all receipts exceeding 4,000 francs, if they would produce a play for his theatre; and in response to this offer Balzac promised "Richard Sauvage," which he never wrote. The manager of the Theatre Francais, M. Lockroy, also made overtures to the hitherto despised dramatist; and Balzac thought of providing him with a comedy entitled "Les Petits Bourgeois," but abandoned the idea. "Is it," he wrote to Hippolyte Rolle, "the day after a battle when the bourgeoisie have so generously shed their blood for menaced civilisation; is it at the time when they are in mourning, that they should be represented on the stage?"[6]

At this time, however, Balzac had in his portfolio a play quite ready to be acted—one which had several times changed its title, being called by its author successively "Mercadet," "Le Speculateur," and "Le Faiseur." It was read and accepted by the Comedie Francaise on August 17th, 1848, under the name of "Le Faiseur"; and when Balzac returned to Russia at the end of September, he asked his friend Laurent-Jan to take charge of the comedy during his absence. Evidently he heard that matters were not going very smoothly, as in December he wrote to Laurent-Jan from Wierzchownia to say that if the Comedie Francaise refused "Mercadet"—which had been "recue a l'unanimite" on August 17th—it might be offered to Frederick Lemaitre; and a few days later, hearing that the piece was "recue seulement a corrections," by the Comedie Francaise, he withdrew it altogether. "Le Faiseur" or "Mercadet" was then offered to the Theatre Historique, and Balzac already saw in imagination his sister and his two nieces attending the first night's performance, decked out in their most elegant toilettes. As he was in Russia, and his mother did not go to the theatre, they would be the sole representatives of the family; and Hostein must therefore provide them with one of the best boxes in the theatre. If there were hissings and murmurings, as Balzac expected from past experiences, his younger niece Valentine would be indignant; but Sophie would still preserve her dignity, "and you, my dear sister. . . . But what can a box do against a theatre?"

Nevertheless, though Hostein accepted "Le Faiseur," he announced that his clients preferred melodrama to comedy, and that, in order to fit it for his "theatre de boulevard," the play would require modifications which would completely change its character. Balzac naturally objected to these proposed alterations, as they sounded infinitely more sweeping than the "corrections" of the Comedie Francaise, and the play was never acted during his life. On August 23rd, 1851, however, as we have already seen, "Mercadet le Faiseur," with certain modifications made by M. Dennery, and also with omissions—for the play as Balzac originally wrote it was too long for the theatre—was received with tremendous acclamations at the Gymnase; and on October 22nd, 1868, it was acted at the Comedie Francaise, and again in 1879 and in 1890.

Mercadet, first played by Geoffroy, who conceived Balzac's creation admirably, and at the Comedie Francaise less successfully by Got, is a second Figaro, with a strong likeness to Balzac himself. He is continually on the stage, and keeps the audience uninterruptedly amused by his wit, good-humour, hearty bursts of laughter, and ceaseless expedients for baffling his creditors. The action of the play is simple and natural, and the dialogue scintillates with bon mots, gaiety, and amusing sallies. The play had been conceived and even written in 1839 or 1840, and never did Balzac's imperishable youth shine out more brilliantly than in its execution. It is curious to notice that his innate sense of power as a dramatist, which never deserted him, even when he seemed to have found his line in quite a different direction, was in the end amply justified.

His vivacity and hopefulness never forsook him for long. Even in his terrible state of health in 1849, and in spite of his disappointment at the non-appearance of "Le Faiseur," he was in buoyant spirits, and informed his sister in one of his letters, that he was sending a comedy, "Le Roi des Mendiants," to Laurent-Jan, as soon as he could manage to transport it to St. Petersburg. There, the French Ambassador would be entrusted with the charge of despatching it to Paris, as manuscripts were not allowed to travel by post.[7] About three weeks later,[8] he wrote to ask his mother to tell Madame Dorval that he was preparing another play, with a great role in it designed specially for her. However, owing to Balzac's failing health the drama never took form, and Madame Dorval died on April 20th, 1849, about three weeks after his letter was despatched.

At the time of his stay in the Rue Fortunee in 1848, he was, however, satisfied about "Mercadet," which had, as we have seen, been accepted by the Comedie Francaise; and the production of which would help, he doubtless hoped, to relieve him from his monetary difficulties. Ready money was an ever-pressing necessity. Emile de Girardin, in his political activity during the Revolution of 1848, had not forgotten his personal resentments, and soon after Balzac's arrival in Paris he requested him to pay at once the 721 francs 85 centimes which he still owed La Presse.[9] This Balzac could not possibly do, and most probably he forgot all about the matter. Not so his antagonist, who on October 7th, 1848, after Balzac had returned to Russia, demanded immediate payment; and four days afterwards applied to the Tribunal of the Seine for an order that the debt should be paid from the future receipts of "Le Faiseur," which was at that time in rehearsal at the Theatre Francais. This demand was granted, but as after all the play was withdrawn, Emile de Girardin did not receive his money. However, he was paid in the end, as he wrote Balzac a receipt dated December 30th, 1848, for 757 francs 75 centimes, a sum which included legal expenses as well as the original debt.

There were to be two elections to the Academie Francaise in January, 1849, as M. Chateaubriand's and M. Vatout's armchairs were both vacant; and Balzac determined again to try his fortune. He wrote the required letter before his departure to Russia, and this was read at a meeting of the illustrious Forty on October 5th, 1848.[10] Apparently, Balzac's absence from France, which prevented him from paying the prescribed visits, militated against his chances of success, as his ardent supporter, M. Vacquerie, wrote in L'Evenement of January 9th, 1849: "Balzac is now in Russia. How can he be expected to pay visits? He will not become a member of the Academie because he has not been in Paris? And when posterity says, 'He wrote "Splendeurs et Miseres des Courtisanes," "Le Pere Goriot," "Les Parents Pauvres," and "Les Treize,"' the Academie will answer: 'Yes, but he went on a journey.'"

At the first election, which took place on January 11, 1849, the Duc de Noailles was at the head of the list, with twenty-five papers in his favour, and Balzac received two; at the second, on January 18th, when M. de Saint-Priest was the successful candidate, two members of the Academy again voted for Balzac at the first round of the ballot, but at the third and deciding round his name was not included at all. Balzac wrote to Laurent-Jan to ask for the names of his supporters, as he wished to thank them; and about the same time, in a letter to his brother-in-law, M. Surville, he let it be understood that he would never again present himself as a candidate for admission to the Academie Francaise, as he intended to put that body in the wrong.

This is anticipation; we must return to the end of September, 1848, when Balzac, after having arranged the necessary business matters, hurried back to Madame Hanska. For the better guardianship of his treasures, he left his mother with two servants installed in the Rue Fortunee, and he expected to return to Paris by the beginning of 1849. His family did not hear from him for more than a month after his arrival, when his mother received a letter full, as usual, of directions and commissions, but giving no news of his own doings. He was evidently ill at the time he wrote, and a few days afterwards was seized with acute bronchitis, and was obliged to put off his projected return to Paris.

Balzac's health all through the winter was deplorable, and under the direction of the doctor at Wierzchownia, he went through a course of treatment for his heart and lungs. This doctor was a pupil of the famous Franck, the original of Benassis in the "Medecin de Campagne," and Balzac appears to have had complete faith in him, and to have been much impressed by his dictum, that French physicians, though the first in the world for diagnosis, were quite ignorant of curative methods. Balzac's passion at this time for everything Russian, must have been peculiarly trying to his family. It surely seemed to them madness that he should separate himself from his country, should gradually see less and less of his friends, and should show an inclination to be ashamed of his relations, for the sake of a woman crippled with rheumatism, and no longer young, who, however passionately she may have loved him in the past, seemed now to have grown tired of him. Sophie and Valentine Surville were no doubt delighted to receive magnificent silk wraps from their uncle, trimmed with Russian fur; but the letter accompanying the gift must, we think, have rather spoiled their pleasure, or at any rate was likely to have hurt their mother's feelings. It was surely hardly necessary to inform "ma pauvre Sophie" that it was in vain for her to compete with the Countess Georges in proficiency on the piano, as the latter had "the genius of music, as of love"; and a long string of that wonderful young lady's perfections must have been rather wearying to those who had not the felicity of being acquainted with her. Apparently the young Countess possessed deep knowledge without pedantry, and was of delicious naivete, laughing like a little child; though this did not prevent her from showing religious enthusiasm about beautiful things. Further, she was of angelic goodness, intensely observant, yet extremely discreet, most respectful to her adored mother, very industrious, and she lived only for duty. "All these advantages are set off by a proud air, full of good breeding, an air of ease and grandeur which is not possessed by every queen, and which is quite lost in France, where every one wishes to be equal. This outward distinction, this look of being a great lady, is one of the most precious gifts which God, the God of women, can bestow on them."[11] To paint her character aright, Balzac says, it would be necessary to blend in one word virtues which a moralist would consider it impossible to find united in a single human being; and her "sublime education" was a crown to the whole edifice of her perfections.

The only consolation which an impartial though possibly unprincipled observer, might have offered at this point to the unfortunate Sophie and Valentine, would be the fact that the young Countess was evidently extremely plain, as even Balzac's partiality only allows him to say: "Physically she possesses grace, which is more beautiful even than beauty, and this triumphs over a complexion which is still brown (she is hardly sixteen years old), and over a nose which, though well cut, is only charming in the profile."

Let us hope, however, that our pity is after all wasted on the nieces, and that in their joy at the idea of receiving handsome presents, they either skipped the unwelcome portions of their distinguished uncle's letter, or that, knowing the cause of his raptures, if they did read, they laughed and understood.

His Polar Star is seldom mentioned by name in Balzac's letters; she is generally "the person with whom I am staying," and he says little about her, except that she is very much distressed at the amount of his debts, and that the great happiness of his life is constantly deferred. Two fires had taken place on the estate, and the Countess was in addition burdened with three lawsuits: one about some property which should have come to her from an uncle, and about which it would be necessary for her to go to St. Petersburg. Balzac's letters as usual abound in allusions to his monetary difficulties, while the Survilles had been almost ruined by the Revolution of 1848, so that the outlook for the family was black on all sides.

All this time Balzac's relations were becoming more and more discontented with his doings, as well as with the general aspect of his affairs. Honore was evidently pursuing a chimera, and because of his illusions, many burdens were imposed on them. Madame de Balzac the principal sufferer, was tired of acting as custodian at the Rue Fortunee, where she was expected to teach Francois how to clean the lamps, and received careful instructions about wrapping the gilt bronzes in cotton rags. It seemed as though her son were permanently swallowed up by that terrible Russia, about which, as he remarked impatiently, she would never understand anything; and she longed to retire to her little lodgings at Suresnes, and to do as she pleased. Laure, too, had her grievances, though possibly she kept them to herself and strove to act as peacemaker. She and her family were in terrible monetary straits, and the sight of the costly house, which seemed destined never to be occupied, must have been slightly exasperating. She was quite willing to be useful to Honore, and did not mind when troublesome commissions were entrusted to her; but it was no doubt galling to notice that—though her daughters were expected to write continually, and were supposed to be amply rewarded for their labours, by hearing of the delight with which the young Countess listened to their letters—a strong motive lurking behind Balzac's anxiety to hear often from his family, was the desire to impress Madame Hanska favourably with the idea of their affection for himself, and their unity. At the same time, a sad presentiment warned her, that if ever her brother were married to this great lady, his family and friends would see little more of him. The prospect cannot have been very cheerful to poor Laure, as either Honore would return to France brokenhearted and overwhelmed with debt, or he would gain his heart's desire, and would be lost to his family.

The tone of Balzac's letters to his relations at this time has been adversely criticised, and it is true that the reader is sometimes irritated by the frequency of his requests for service from them, and his continual insistence on the wonderful perfections of the Hanski family, and their grandeur and importance. Occasionally, too, his letters show an irritability which is a new feature in his character. We must remember, however, in judging Balzac, that he was nearly driven wild by the position in which he found himself. It was necessary that he should always be bright, good-natured, and agreeable to the party at Wierzchownia, and his letters to his family were therefore the only safety-valve for the impatience and despair, which, though he never utters a word of reproach against Madame Hanska, must sometimes have taken possession of him.

His was a terrible dilemma. Ill and suffering, so that he was not able to work to diminish his load of debt, desperately in love with a cold-hearted woman, who used these debts as a lever for postponing what on her side was certainly an undesirable marriage; and enormously proud, so that failure in his hopes would mean to him not only a broken heart, but also almost unbearable mortification; Balzac, crippled and handicapped, with his teeth set hard, his powers concentrated on one point, that of winning Madame Hanska, was at times hardly master of himself. There was indeed some excuse for his irritation, when his family wrote something tactless, or involved themselves in fresh misfortunes, just as matters perhaps seemed progressing a little less unfavourably than usual. Their letters were always read aloud at the lunch table at Wierzchownia, and often, alas! their perusal served to prove anew to Madame Hanska, the mistake she had made in contemplating an alliance with a member of a family so peculiarly unlucky and undesirable.

At last the smouldering indignation between Balzac and his relations burst into a flame. The immediate cause of ignition was a letter from Madame de Balzac, complaining that Honore had not written sufficiently often to her; and further, that he did not answer his nieces' epistles. These reproaches were received with much indignation, as Balzac remarked in his answer, which was dated February, 1849, that he had written seven times to his mother since his return to Wierzchownia in September, and that he did not like to send letters continually, because they were franked by his hosts. He goes on to say rather sadly, that it will not do for him to trespass on the hospitality offered him, because, though he has been royally and magnificently received, he has still no rights but those of a guest. On the subject of his neglect to write to his nieces, he is very angry, and cries in an outburst of irritability: "It seems strange to you that I do not write to my nieces. It is you, their grandmother, who have such ideas on family etiquette! You consider that your son, fifty years old, is obliged to write to his nieces! My nieces ought to feel very much honoured and very happy when I address a few words to them; certainly their letters are nice, and always give me pleasure."[12] A postscript to the letter contains the words: "Leave the house in the Rue Fortunee as little as possible, I beg you, because, though Francois is good and faithful, he is not very clever, and may easily do stupid things."

Balzac followed this with another letter, which apparently impressed on his mother that to please the Wierzchownia family she must behave very well to him; and this communication naturally annoyed Madame de Balzac even more than the preceding one.

In reply, she wrote a severe reprimand to her son, in which she addressed him as "vous," and remarked that her affection in future would depend on his conduct. In fact, as Balzac wrote hotly to Laure, it was the letter of a mother scolding a small boy, and he was fifty years old! Unfortunately, too, it arrived during the dejeuner, and Balzac cried impulsively, "My mother is angry with me!" and then was forced to read the letter to the party assembled. It made a very bad impression, as it showed that either he was a bad son, or his mother an extremely difficult person to get on with. Fate had chosen an unfavourable moment for the arrival of this missive, which, later on, when her wrath had abated, Madame de Balzac announced that she had written partly in jest. Balzac had at last been allowed to write to St. Petersburg, to beg the Czar's permission for his marriage with Madame Hanska, and this had been very decidedly refused. Madame Hanska was not at this time prepared to hand over her capital to her daughter, and thus to take the only step, which would have induced her Sovereign to authorise her to leave his dominions. She therefore talked of breaking off the engagement, and of sending Balzac to Paris, to sell everything in the Rue Fortunee. She was tired of struggling; and in Russia she was rich, honoured, and comfortable, whereas she trembled to think of the troublous life which awaited her as Madame Honore de Balzac. Madame de Balzac's letter further strengthened her resolve. Apparently, in addition to evidence about family dissensions, it contained disquieting revelations about the discreditable Henri, and the necessity for supporting the Montzaigle grandchildren; and the veil with which Balzac had striven to soften the aspect of the family skeletons was violently withdrawn. He was in despair. At this juncture his mother's communication was fatal! She had done irreparable mischief!

The long letter he wrote to Madame Surville,[13] imploring her to act as peacemaker, and insisting on the benefits which his marriage would bring to the whole family, would be comical were it not for the writer's real trouble and anxiety; and the reader's knowledge that, underlying the common-sense worldly arguments—which were brought forward in the hope of inducing his family to help him by all the means in their power—was real romantic love for the woman who had now been his ideal for sixteen years.

He put the case to Madame Surville as if it were her own, and asked what her course would be if she were rich, and Sophie an heiress with many suitors. Sophie, according to her uncle's hypothesis, was in love with a young sculptor; and her parents had permitted an engagement between the two. The sculptor, however, came to live in the same house with his fiancee, and his family wrote him letters which he showed to Madame Surville, containing damaging revelations about family matters. As a culminating indiscretion, his mother wrote to this sculptor, "who is David, or Pradier, or Ingres," a letter in which she treated him like a street boy. What would Laure do in these circumstances? Balzac asks. Would she not in disgust dismiss the sculptor, and choose a more eligible parti for Sophie? "Unsatisfactory marriages," he remarks sagely, "are easily made; but satisfactory ones require infinite precautions and scrupulous attention, or one does not get married; and I am at present most likely to remain a bachelor."[14]

He appeals to Madame Surville's self-interest. "Reflect on the fact, my dear Laure, that not one of us can be said to have arrived at our goal, and that if, instead of being obliged to work in order to live, I were to become the husband of a most intellectual, well born and highly connected woman, with a solid though small fortune—in spite of this woman's desire to remain in her own country and to make no new relations, even family ones—I should be in a much more favourable position to be useful to you all. I know that Madame Hanska would show kindness to and feel keen interest in your dear little ones."

Surely, he says, it will be an advantage to the whole family, when he has a salon presided over by a beautiful, clever woman, imposing as a queen, where he can assemble the elite of Parisian society. He does not wish to be tyrannical or overbearing with his family, but he informs them that it will be of no use to place themselves in opposition to such a woman. He warns them that she and her children will never forgive those who blame him to them. Further on in his lengthy epistle, he gives instructions in deportment, and tells his relations that in their intercourse with Madame Hanska they must not show servility, haughtiness, sensitiveness, or obsequiousness; but must be natural, simple, and affectionate. It was no wonder that the Balzac family disliked Madame Hanska! And the poor woman cannot be considered responsible for the feeling evoked!

Towards the end of his letter, however, the reader forgives Balzac, and realises that the cry of a desperate man, ill and suffering, yet still clinging with determined strength to the hope which means everything to him, must not be criticised minutely. "Once everything is lost, I shall live no longer; I shall content myself with a garret like that of the Rue Lesdiguieres, and shall only spend a hundred francs a month. My heart, soul, and ambition will be satisfied with nothing but the object I have pursued for sixteen years: if this immense happiness escapes me, I shall no longer want anything, and shall refuse everything!"


Footnotes[edit]

  1. "Portraits Contemporains: Honore de Balzac," by Theophile Gautier.
  2. "Le Cousin Pons," by Honore de Balzac.
  3. "Le Pere Goriot," by Honore de Balzac.
  4. "Honore de Balzac," by Edmond Bire.
  5. "Honore de Balzac," by Edmond Bire.
  6. "Correspondance," vol. ii. p. 332.
  7. "Correspondance," vol. ii. p. 393.
  8. "Correspondance," vol. ii, p. 397.
  9. "La Genese d'un Roman de Balzac," by the Vicomte de Spoelberch de Lovenjoul.
  10. "Honore de Balzac," by Edmond Bire.
  11. "Correspondance," vol. ii. p. 345.
  12. "Correspondance," vol. ii. p. 373.
  13. "Correspondance," vol. ii. p. 378.
  14. "Correspondance," vol. ii. p. 328.