Full Text Archive logoFull Text Archive — Books, poems, drama…

The Two Brothers by Honore de Balzac

Part 6 out of 7

Adobe PDF icon
Download this document as a .pdf
File size: 0.7 MB
What's this? light bulb idea Many people prefer to read off-line or to print out text and read from the real printed page. Others want to carry documents around with them on their mobile phones and read while they are on the move. We have created .pdf files of all out documents to accommodate all these groups of people. We recommend that you download .pdfs onto your mobile phone when it is connected to a WiFi connection for reading off-line.

school to the army, and there he was always fighting till 1815; then
he went to America, and I doubt if the brute ever set foot in a
fencing-alley; while I have no match with the sabre. The sabre is his
arm; I shall seem very generous in offering it to him,--for I mean, if
possible, to let him insult me,--and I can easily run him through.
Unquestionably, it is my wisest course. Don't be uneasy; we shall be
masters of the field in a couple of days."

That it was that a stupid point of honor had more influence over Max
than sound policy. When Flore got home she shut herself up to cry at
ease. During the whole of that day gossip ran wild in Issoudun, and
the duel between Philippe and Maxence was considered inevitable.

"Ah! Monsieur Hochon," said Mignonnet, who, accompanied by Carpentier,
met the old man on the boulevard Baron, "we are very uneasy; for Gilet
is clever with all weapons."

"Never mind," said the old provincial diplomatist; "Philippe has
managed this thing well from the beginning. I should never have
thought that big, easy-going fellow would have succeeded as he has.
The two have rolled together like a couple of thunder-clouds."

"Oh!" said Carpentier, "Philippe is a remarkable man. His conduct
before the Court of Peers was a masterpiece of diplomacy."

"Well, Captain Renard," said one of the townsfolk to Max's friend.
"They say wolves don't devour each other, but it seems that Max is
going to set his teeth in Colonel Bridau. That's pretty serious among
you gentlemen of the Old Guard."

"You make fun of it, do you? Because the poor fellow amused himself a
little at night, you are all against him," said Potel. "But Gilet is a
man who couldn't stay in a hole like Issoudun without finding
something to do."

"Well, gentlemen," remarked another, "Max and the colonel must play
out their game. Bridau had to avenge his brother. Don't you remember
Max's treachery to the poor lad?"

"Bah! nothing but an artist," said Renard.

"But the real question is about the old man's property," said a third.
"They say Monsieur Gilet was laying hands on fifty thousand francs a
year, when the colonel turned him out of his uncle's house."

"Gilet rob a man! Come, don't say that to any one but me, Monsieur
Canivet," cried Potel. "If you do, I'll make you swallow your tongue,
--and without any sauce."

Every household in town offered prayers for the honorable Colonel


Towards four o'clock the following day, the officers of the old army
who were at Issoudun or its environs, were sauntering about the place
du Marche, in front of an eating-house kept by a man named Lacroix,
and waiting the arrival of Colonel Philippe Bridau. The banquet in
honor of the coronation was to take place with military punctuality at
five o'clock. Various groups of persons were talking of Max's
discomfiture, and his dismissal from old Rouget's house; for not only
were the officers to dine at Lacroix's, but the common soldiers had
determined on a meeting at a neighboring wine-shop. Among the
officers, Potel and Renard were the only ones who attempted to defend

"Is it any of our business what takes place among the old man's
heirs?" said Renard.

"Max is weak with women," remarked the cynical Potel.

"There'll be sabres unsheathed before long," said an old sub-
lieutenant, who cultivated a kitchen-garden in the upper Baltan. "If
Monsieur Maxence Gilet committed the folly of going to live under old
Rouget's roof, he would he a coward if he allowed himself to be turned
off like a valet without asking why."

"Of course," said Mignonnet dryly. "A folly that doesn't succeed
becomes a crime."

At this moment Max joined the old soldiers of Napoleon, and was
received in significant silence. Potel and Renard each took an arm of
their friend, and walked about with him, conversing. Presently
Philippe was seen approaching in full dress; he trailed his cane after
him with an imperturbable air which contrasted with the forced
attention Max was paying to the remarks of his two supporters.
Bridau's hand was grasped by Mignonnet, Carpentier, and several
others. This welcome, so different from that accorded to Max,
dispelled the last feeling of cowardice, or, if you prefer it, wisdom,
which Flore's entreaties, and above all, her tendernesses, had
awakened in the latter's mind.

"We shall fight," he said to Renard, "and to the death. Therefore
don't talk to me any more; let me play my part well."

After these words, spoken in a feverish tone, the three Bonapartists
returned to the group of officers and mixed among them. Max bowed
first to Bridau, who returned his bow, and the two exchanged a frigid

"Come, gentlemen, let us take our seats," said Potel.

"And drink to the health of the Little Corporal, who is now in the
paradise of heroes," cried Renard.

The company poured into the long, low dining-hall of the restaurant
Lacroix, the windows of which opened on the market-place. Each guest
took his seat at the table, where, in compliance with Philippe's
request, the two adversaries were placed directly opposite to each
other. Some young men of the town, among them several Knights of
Idleness, anxious to know what might happen at the banquet, were
walking about the street and discussing the critical position into
which Philippe had contrived to force Max. They all deplored the
crisis, though each considered the duel to be inevitable.

Everything went off well until the dessert, though the two antagonists
displayed, in spite of the apparent joviality of the dinner, a certain
vigilance that resembled disquietude. While waiting for the quarrel
that both were planning, Philippe showed admirable coolness, and Max a
distracting gayety; but to an observer, each was playing a part.

When the desert was served Philippe rose and said: "Fill your glasses,
my friends! I ask permission to propose the first toast."

"He said MY FRIENDS, don't fill your glass," whispered Renard to Max.

Max poured out some wine.

"To the Grand Army!" cried Philippe, with genuine enthusiasm.

"To the Grand Army!" was repeated with acclamation by every voice.

At this moment eleven private soldiers, among whom were Benjamin and
Kouski, appeared at the door of the room and repeated the toast,--

"To the Grand Army!"

"Come in, my sons; we are going to drink His health."

The old soldiers came in and stood behind the officers.

"You see He is not dead!" said Kouski to an old sergeant, who had
perhaps been grieving that the Emperor's agony was over.

"I claim the second toast," said Mignonnet, as he rose. "Let us drink
to those who attempted to restore his son!"

Every one present, except Maxence Gilet, bowed to Philippe Bridau, and
stretched their glasses towards him.

"One word," said Max, rising.

"It is Max! it is Max!" cried voices outside; and then a deep silence
reigned in the room and in the street, for Gilet's known character
made every one expect a taunt.

"May we ALL meet again at this time next year," said Max, bowing
ironically to Philippe.

"It's coming!" whispered Kouski to his neighbor.

"The Paris police would never allow a banquet of this kind," said
Potel to Philippe.

"Why do the devil to you mention the police to Colonel Bridau?" said
Maxence insolently.

"Captain Potel--HE--meant no insult," said Philippe, smiling coldly.
The stillness was so profound that the buzzing of a fly could have
been heard if there had been one.

"The police were sufficiently afraid of me," resumed Philippe, "to
send me to Issoudun,--a place where I have had the pleasure of meeting
old comrades, but where, it must be owned, there is a dearth of
amusement. For a man who doesn't despise folly, I'm rather restricted.
However, it is certainly economical, for I am not one of those to whom
feather-beds give incomes; Mariette of the Grand Opera cost me
fabulous sums."

"Is that remark meant for me, my dear colonel?" asked Max, sending a
glance at Philippe which was like a current of electricity.

"Take it as you please," answered Bridau.

"Colonel, my two friends here, Renard and Potel, will call to-morrow

"--on Mignonnet and Carpentier," answered Philippe, cutting short
Max's sentence, and motioning towards his two neighbors.

"Now," said Max, "let us go on with the toasts."

The two adversaries had not raised their voices above the tone of
ordinary conversation; there was nothing solemn in the affair except
the dead silence in which it took place.

"Look here, you others!" cried Philippe, addressing the soldiers who
stood behind the officers; "remember that our affairs don't concern
the bourgeoisie--not a word, therefore, on what goes on here. It is
for the Old Guard only."

"They'll obey orders, colonel," said Renard. "I'll answer for them."

"Long live His little one! May he reign over France!" cried Potel.

"Death to Englishmen!" cried Carpentier.

That toast was received with prodigious applause.

"Shame on Hudson Lowe," said Captain Renard.

The dessert passed off well; the libations were plentiful. The
antagonists and their four seconds made it a point of honor that a
duel, involving so large a fortune, and the reputation of two men
noted for their courage, should not appear the result of an ordinary
squabble. No two gentlemen could have behaved better than Philippe and
Max; in this respect the anxious waiting of the young men and
townspeople grouped about the market-place was balked. All the guests,
like true soldiers, kept silence as to the episode which took place at
dessert. At ten o'clock that night the two adversaries were informed
that the sabre was the weapon agreed upon by the seconds; the place
chosen for the rendezvous was behind the chancel of the church of the
Capuchins at eight o'clock the next morning. Goddet, who was at the
banquet in his quality of former army surgeon, was requested to be
present at the meeting. The seconds agreed that, no matter what might
happen, the combat should last only ten minutes.

At eleven o'clock that night, to Colonel Bridau's amazement, Monsieur
Hochon appeared at his rooms just as he was going to bed, escorting
Madame Hochon.

"We know what has happened," said the old lady, with her eyes full of
tears, "and I have come to entreat you not to leave the house to-
morrow morning without saying your prayers. Lift your soul to God!"

"Yes, madame," said Philippe, to whom old Hochon made a sign from
behind his wife's back.

"That is not all," said Agathe's godmother. "I stand in the place of
your poor mother, and I divest myself, for you, of a thing which I
hold most precious,--here," she went on, holding towards Philippe a
tooth, fastened upon a piece of black velvet embroidered in gold, to
which she had sewn a pair of green strings. Having shown it to him,
she replaced it in a little bag. "It is a relic of Sainte Solange, the
patron saint of Berry," she said, "I saved it during the Revolution;
wear it on your breast to-morrow."

"Will it protect me from a sabre-thrust?" asked Philippe.

"Yes," replied the old lady.

"Then I have no right to wear that accoutrement any more than if it
were a cuirass," cried Agathe's son.

"What does he mean?" said Madame Hochon.

"He says it is not playing fair," answered Hochon.

"Then we will say no more about it," said the old lady, "I shall pray
for you."

"Well, madame, prayer--and a good point--can do no harm," said
Philippe, making a thrust as if to pierce Monsieur Hochon's heart.

The old lady kissed the colonel on his forehead. As she left the
house, she gave thirty francs--all the money she possessed--to
Benjamin, requesting him to sew the relic into the pocket of his
master's trousers. Benjamin did so,--not that he believed in the
virtue of the tooth, for he said his master had a much better talisman
than that against Gilet, but because his conscience constrained him to
fulfil a commission for which he had been so liberally paid. Madame
Hochon went home full of confidence in Saint Solange.

At eight o'clock the next morning, December third, the weather being
cloudy, Max, accompanied by his seconds and the Pole, arrived on the
little meadow which then surrounded the apse of the church of the
Capuchins. There he found Philippe and his seconds, with Benjamin,
waiting for him. Potel and Mignonnet paced off twenty-four feet; at
each extremity, the two attendants drew a line on the earth with a
spade: the combatants were not allowed to retreat beyond that line, on
pain of being thought cowardly. Each was to stand at his own line, and
advance as he pleased when the seconds gave the word.

"Do we take off our coats?" said Philippe to his adversary coldly.

"Of course," answered Maxence, with the assumption of a bully.

They did so; the rosy tints of their skin appearing through the
cambric of their shirts. Each, armed with a cavalry sabre selected of
equal weight, about three pounds, and equal length, three feet, placed
himself at his own line, the point of his weapon on the ground,
awaiting the signal. Both were so calm that, in spite of the cold,
their muscles quivered no more than if they had been made of iron.
Goddet, the four seconds, and the two soldiers felt an involuntary

"They are a proud pair!"

The exclamation came from Potel.

Just as the signal was given, Max caught sight of Fario's sinister
face looking at them through the hole which the Knights of Idleness
had made for the pigeons in the roof of the church. Those eyes, which
sent forth streams of fire, hatred, and revenge, dazzled Max for a
moment. The colonel went straight to his adversary, and put himself on
guard in a way that gained him an advantage. Experts in the art of
killing, know that, of two antagonists, the ablest takes the "inside
of the pavement,"--to use an expression which gives the reader a
tangible idea of the effect of a good guard. That pose, which is in
some degree observant, marks so plainly a duellist of the first rank
that a feeling of inferiority came into Max's soul, and produced the
same disarray of powers which demoralizes a gambler when, in presence
of a master or a lucky hand, he loses his self-possession and plays
less well than usual.

"Ah! the lascar!" thought Max, "he's an expert; I'm lost!"

He attempted a "moulinet," and twirled his sabre with the dexterity of
a single-stick. He wanted to bewilder Philippe, and strike his weapon
so as to disarm him; but at the first encounter he felt that the
colonel's wrist was iron, with the flexibility of a steel string.
Maxence was then forced, unfortunate fellow, to think of another move,
while Philippe, whose eyes were darting gleams that were sharper than
the flash of their blades, parried every attack with the coolness of a
fencing-master wearing his plastron in an armory.

Between two men of the calibre of these combatants, there occurs a
phenomenon very like that which takes place among the lower classes,
during the terrible tussle called "the savante," which is fought with
the feet, as the name implies. Victory depends on a false movement, on
some error of the calculation, rapid as lightning, which must be made
and followed almost instinctively. During a period of time as short to
the spectators as it seems long to the combatants, the contest lies in
observation, so keen as to absorb the powers of mind and body, and yet
concealed by preparatory feints whose slowness and apparent prudence
seem to show that the antagonists are not intending to fight. This
moment, which is followed by a rapid and decisive struggle, is
terrible to a connoisseur. At a bad parry from Max the colonel sent
the sabre spinning from his hand.

"Pick it up," he said, pausing; "I am not the man to kill a disarmed

There was something atrocious in the grandeur of these words; they
seemed to show such consciousness of superiority that the onlookers
took them for a shrewd calculation. In fact, when Max replaced himself
in position, he had lost his coolness, and was once more confronted
with his adversary's raised guard which defended the colonel's whole
person while it menaced his. He resolved to redeem his shameful defeat
by a bold stroke. He no longer guarded himself, but took his sabre in
both hands and rushed furiously on his antagonist, resolved to kill
him, if he had to lose his own life. Philippe received a sabre-cut
which slashed open his forehead and a part of his face, but he cleft
Max's head obliquely by the terrible sweep of a "moulinet," made to
break the force of the annihilating stroke Max aimed at him. These two
savage blows ended the combat, at the ninth minute. Fario came down to
gloat over the sight of his enemy in the convulsions of death; for the
muscles of a man of Maxence Gilet's vigor quiver horribly. Philippe
was carried back to his uncle's house.

Thus perished a man destined to do great deeds had he lived his life
amid environments which were suited to him; a man treated by Nature as
a favorite child, for she gave him courage, self-possession, and the
political sagacity of a Cesar Borgia. But education had not bestowed
upon him that nobility of conduct and ideas without which nothing
great is possible in any walk of life. He was not regretted, because
of the perfidy with which his adversary, who was a worse man than he,
had contrived to bring him into disrepute. His death put an end to the
exploits of the Order of Idleness, to the great satisfaction of the
town of Issoudun. Philippe therefore had nothing to fear in
consequence of the duel, which seemed almost the result of divine
vengeance: its circumstances were related throughout that whole region
of country, with unanimous praise for the bravery of the two

"But they had better both have been killed," remarked Monsieur
Mouilleron; "it would have been a good riddance for the Government."

The situation of Flore Brazier would have been very embarrassing were
it not for the condition into which she was thrown by Max's death. A
brain-fever set in, combined with a dangerous inflammation resulting
from her escapade to Vatan. If she had had her usual health, she might
have fled the house where, in the room above her, Max's room, and in
Max's bed, lay and suffered Max's murderer. She hovered between life
and death for three months, attended by Monsieur Goddet, who was also
attending Philippe.

As soon as Philippe was able to hold a pen, he wrote the following

To Monsieur Desroches:

I have already killed the most venomous of the two reptiles; not
however without getting my own head split open by a sabre; but the
rascal struck with a dying hand. The other viper is here, and I
must come to an understanding with her, for my uncle clings to her
like the apple of his eye. I have been half afraid the girl, who
is devilishly handsome, might run away, and then my uncle would
have followed her; but an illness which seized her suddenly has
kept her in bed. If God desired to protect me, he would call her
soul to himself, now, while she is repenting of her sins.
Meantime, on my side I have, thanks to that old trump, Hochon, the
doctor of Issoudun, one named Goddet, a worthy soul who conceives
that the property of uncles ought to go to nephews rather than to

Monsieur Hochon has some influence on a certain papa Fichet, who
is rich, and whose daughter Goddet wants as a wife for his son: so
the thousand francs they have promised him if he mends up my pate
is not the chief cause of his devotion. Moreover, this Goddet, who
was formerly head-surgeon to the 3rd regiment of the line, has
been privately advised by my staunch friends, Mignonnet and
Carpentier; so he is now playing the hypocrite with his other
patient. He says to Mademoiselle Brazier, as he feels her pulse,
"You see, my child, that there's a God after all. You have been
the cause of a great misfortune, and you must now repair it. The
finger of God is in all this [it is inconceivable what they don't
say the finger of God is in!]. Religion is religion: submit,
resign yourself, and that will quiet you better than my drugs.
Above all, resolve to stay here and take care of your master:
forget and forgive,--that's Christianity."

Goddet has promised to keep the Rabouilleuse three months in her
bed. By degrees the girl will get accustomed to living under the
same roof with me. I have bought over the cook. That abominable
old woman tells her mistress Max would have led her a hard life;
and declares she overheard him say that if, after the old man's
death, he was obliged to marry Flore, he didn't mean to have his
prospects ruined by it, and he should find a way to get rid of

Thus, all goes well, so far. My uncle, by old Hochon's advice, has
destroyed his will.

To Monsieur Giroudeau, care of Mademoiselle Florentine. Rue de
Vendome, Marais:

My dear old Fellow,--Find out if the little rat Cesarine has any
engagement, and if not, try to arrange that she can come to
Issoudun in case I send for her; if I do, she must come at once.
It is a matter this time of decent behavior; no theatre morals.
She must present herself as the daughter of a brave soldier,
killed on the battle-field. Therefore, mind,--sober manners,
schoolgirl's clothes, virtue of the best quality; that's the
watchword. If I need Cesarine, and if she answers my purpose, I
will give her fifty thousand francs on my uncle's death. If
Cesarine has other engagements, explain what I want to Florentine;
and between you, find me some ballet-girl capable of playing the

I have had my skull cracked in a duel with the fellow who was
filching my inheritance, and is now feeding the worms. I'll tell
you all about it some day. Ah! old fellow, the good times are
coming back for you and me; we'll amuse ourselves once more, or we
are not the pair we really are. If you can send me five hundred
more cartridges I'll bite them.

Adieu, my old fire-eater. Light your pipe with this letter. Mind,
the daughter of the officer is to come from Chateauroux, and must
seem to be in need of assistance. I hope however that I shall not
be driven to such dangerous expedients. Remember me to Mariette
and all our friends.

Agathe, informed by Madame Hochon of what had happened, rushed to
Issoudun, and was received by her brother, who gave her Philippe's
former room. The poor mother's tenderness for the worthless son
revived in all its maternal strength; a few happy days were hers at
last, as she listened to the praises which the whole town bestowed
upon her hero.

"After all, my child," said Madame Hochon on the day of her arrival,
"youth must have its fling. The dissipations of a soldier under the
Empire must, of course, be greater than those of young men who are
looked after by their fathers. Oh! if you only knew what went on here
at night under that wretched Max! Thanks to your son, Issoudun now
breathes and sleeps in peace. Philippe has come to his senses rather
late; he told us frankly that those three months in the Luxembourg
sobered him. Monsieur Hochon is delighted with his conduct here; every
one thinks highly of it. If he can be kept away from the temptations
of Paris, he will end by being a comfort to you."

Hearing these consolatory words Agathe's eyes filled with tears.

Philippe played the saint to his mother, for he had need of her. That
wily politician did not wish to have recourse to Cesarine unless he
continued to be an object of horror to Mademoiselle Brazier. He saw
that Flore had been thoroughly broken to harness by Max; he knew she
was an essential part of his uncle's life, and he greatly preferred to
use her rather than send for the ballet-girl, who might take it into
her head to marry the old man. Fouche advised Louis XVIII. to sleep in
Napoleon's sheets instead of granting the charter; and Philippe would
have liked to remain in Gilet's sheets; but he was reluctant to risk
the good reputation he had made for himself in Berry. To take Max's
place with the Rabouilleuse would be as odious on his part as on hers.
He could, without discredit and by the laws of nepotism, live in his
uncle's house and at his uncle's expense; but he could not have Flore
unless her character were whitewashed. Hampered by this difficulty,
and stimulated by the hope of finally getting hold of the property,
the idea came into his head of making his uncle marry the
Rabouilleuse. With this in view he requested his mother to go and see
the girl and treat her in a sisterly manner.

"I must confess, my dear mother," he said, in a canting tone, looking
at Monsieur and Madame Hochon who accompanied her, "that my uncle's
way of life is not becoming; he could, however, make Mademoiselle
Brazier respected by the community if he chose. Wouldn't it be far
better for her to be Madame Rouget than the servant-mistress of an old
bachelor? She had better obtain a definite right to his property by a
marriage contract then threaten a whole family with disinheritance. If
you, or Monsieur Hochon, or some good priest would speak of the matter
to both parties, you might put a stop to the scandal which offends
decent people. Mademoiselle Brazier would be only too happy if you
were to welcome her as a sister, and I as an aunt."

On the morrow Agathe and Madame Hochon appeared at Flore's bedside,
and repeated to the sick girl and to Rouget, the excellent sentiments
expressed by Philippe. Throughout Issoudun the colonel was talked of
as a man of noble character, especially because of his conduct towards
Flore. For a month, the Rabouilleuse heard Goddet, her doctor, the
individual who has paramount influence over a sick person, the
respectable Madame Hochon, moved by religious principle, and Agathe,
so gentle and pious, all representing to her the advantages of a
marriage with Rouget. And when, attracted by the idea of becoming
Madame Rouget, a dignified and virtuous bourgeoisie, she grew eager to
recover, so that the marriage might speedily be celebrated, it was not
difficult to make her understand that she would not be allowed to
enter the family of the Rougets if she intended to turn Philippe from
its doors.

"Besides," remarked the doctor, "you really owe him this good fortune.
Max would never have allowed you to marry old Rouget. And," he added
in her ear, "if you have children, you can revenge Max, for that will
disinherit the Bridaus."

Two months after the fatal duel in February, 1823, the sick woman,
urged by those about her, and implored by Rouget, consented to receive
Philippe, the sight of whose scars made her weep, but whose softened
and affectionate manner calmed her. By Philippe's wish they were left
alone together.

"My dear child," said the soldier. "It is I, who, from the start, have
advised your marriage with my uncle; if you consent, it will take
place as soon as you are quite recovered."

"So they tell me," she replied.

"Circumstances have compelled me to give you pain, it is natural
therefore that I should wish to do you all the good I can. Wealth,
respect, and a family position are worth more than what you have lost.
You wouldn't have been that fellow's wife long after my uncle's death,
for I happen to know, through friends of his, that he intended to get
rid of you. Come, my dear, let us understand each other, and live
happily. You shall be my aunt, and nothing more than my aunt. You will
take care that my uncle does not forget me in his will; on my side,
you shall see how well I will have you treated in the marriage
contract. Keep calm, think it over, and we will talk of it later. All
sensible people, indeed the whole town, urge you to put an end to your
illegal position; no one will blame you for receiving me. It is well
understood in the world that interests go before feelings. By the day
of your marriage you will be handsomer than ever. The pallor of
illness has given you an air of distinction, and on my honor, if my
uncle did not love you so madly, you should be the wife of Colonel

Philippe left the room, having dropped this hint into Flore's mind to
waken a vague idea of vengeance which might please the girl, who did,
in fact, feel a sort of happiness as she saw this dreadful being at
her feet. In this scene Philippe repeated, in miniature, that of
Richard III. with the queen he had widowed. The meaning of it is that
personal calculation, hidden under sentiment, has a powerful influence
on the heart, and is able to dissipate even genuine grief. This is
how, in individual life, Nature does that which in works of genius is
thought to be consummate art: she works by self-interest,--the genius
of money.

At the beginning of April, 1823, the hall of Jean-Jacques Rouget's
house was the scene of a splendid dinner, given to celebrate the
signing of the marriage contract between Mademoiselle Flore Brazier
and the old bachelor. The guests were Monsieur Heron, the four
witnesses, Messieurs Mignonnet, Carpentier, Hochon, and Goddet, the
mayor and the curate, Agathe Bridau, Madame Hochon, and her friend
Madame Borniche, the two old ladies who laid down the law to the
society of Issoudun. The bride was much impressed by this concession,
obtained by Philippe, and intended by the two ladies as a mark of
protection to a repentant woman. Flore was in dazzling beauty. The
curate, who for the last fortnight had been instructing the ignorant
crab-girl, was to allow her, on the following day, to make her first
communion. The marriage was the text of the following pious article in
the "Journal du Cher," published at Bourges, and in the "Journal de
l'Indre," published at Chateauroux:

Issoudun.--The revival of religion is progressing in Berry.
Friends of the Church and all respectable persons in this town
were yesterday witnesses of a marriage ceremony by which a leading
man of property put an end to a scandalous connection, which began
at the time when the authority of religion was overthrown in this
region. This event, due to the enlightened zeal of the clergy of
Issoudun will, we trust, have imitators, and put a stop to
marriages, so-called, which have never been solemnized, and were
only contracted during the disastrous epoch of revolutionary rule.

One remarkable feature of the event to which we allude, is the
fact that it was brought about at the entreaty of a colonel
belonging to the old army, sent to our town by a sentence of the
Court of Peers, who may, in consequence, lose the inheritance of
his uncle's property. Such disinterestedness is so rare in these
days that it deserves public mention.

By the marriage contract Rouget secured to Flore a dower of one
hundred thousand francs, and a life annuity of thirty thousand more.

After the wedding, which was sumptuous, Agathe returned to Paris the
happiest of mothers, and told Joseph and Desroches what she called the
good news.

"Your son Philippe is too wily a man not to keep his paw on that
inheritance," said the lawyer, when he had heard Madame Bridau to the
end. "You and your poor Joseph will never get one penny of your
brother's property."

"You, and Joseph too, will always be unjust to that poor boy," said
the mother. "His conduct before the Court of Peers was worthy of a
statesman; he succeeded in saving many heads. Philippe's errors came
from his great faculties being unemployed. He now sees how faults of
conduct injure the prospects of a man who has his way to make. He is
ambitious; that I am sure of; and I am not the only one to predict his
future. Monsieur Hochon firmly believes that Philippe has a noble
destiny before him."

"Oh! if he chooses to apply his perverted powers to making his
fortune, I have no doubt he will succeed: he is capable of everything;
and such fellows go fast and far," said Desroches.

"Why do you suppose that he will not succeed by honest means?"
demanded Madame Bridau.

"You will see!" exclaimed Desroches. "Fortunate or unfortunate,
Philippe will remain the man of the rue Mazarin, the murderer of
Madame Descoings, the domestic thief. But don't worry yourself; he
will manage to appear honest to the world."

After breakfast, on the morning succeeding the marriage, Philippe took
Madame Rouget by the arm when his uncle rose from table and went
upstairs to dress,--for the pair had come down, the one in her
morning-robe, and the other in his dressing-gown.

"My dear aunt," said the colonel, leading her into the recess of a
window, "you now belong to the family. Thanks to me, the law has tied
the knot. Now, no nonsense. I intend that you and I should play above
board. I know the tricks you will try against me; and I shall watch
you like a duenna. You will never go out of this house except on my
arm; and you will never leave me. As to what passes within the house,
damn it, you'll find me like a spider in the middle of his web. Here
is something," he continued, showing the bewildered woman a letter,
"which will prove to you that I could, while you were lying ill
upstairs, unable to move hand or foot, have turned you out of doors
without a penny. Read it."

He gave her the letter.

My dear Fellow,--Florentine, who has just made her debut at the
new Opera House in a "pas de trois" with Mariette and Tullia, is
thinking steadily about your affair, and so is Florine,--who has
finally given up Lousteau and taken Nathan. That shrewd pair have
found you a most delicious little creature,--only seventeen,
beautiful as an English woman, demure as a "lady," up to all
mischief, sly as Desroches, faithful as Godeschal. Mariette is
forming her, so as to give you a fair chance. No woman could hold
her own against this little angel, who is a devil under her skin;
she can play any part you please; get complete possession of your
uncle, or drive him crazy with love. She has that celestial look
poor Coralie used to have; she can weep,--the tones of her voice
will draw a thousand-franc note from a granite heart; and the
young mischief soaks up champagne better than any of us. It is a
precious discovery; she is under obligations to Mariette, and
wants to pay them off. After squandering the fortunes of two
Englishmen, a Russian, and an Italian prince, Mademoiselle Esther
is now in poverty; give her ten thousand francs, that will satisfy
her. She has just remarked, laughing, that she has never yet
fricasseed a bourgeois, and it will get her hand in. Esther is
well known to Finot, Bixiou, and des Lupeaulx, in fact to all our
set. Ah! if there were any real fortunes left in France, she would
be the greatest courtesan of modern times.

All the editorial staff, Nathan, Finot, Bixiou, etc., are now
joking the aforesaid Esther in a magnificent appartement just
arranged for Florine by old Lord Dudley (the real father of de
Marsay); the lively actress captured him by the dress of her new
role. Tullia is with the Duc de Rhetore, Mariette is still with
the Duc de Maufrigneuse; between them, they will get your sentence
remitted in time for the King's fete. Bury your uncle under the
roses before the Saint-Louis, bring away the property, and spend a
little of it with Esther and your old friends, who sign this
epistle in a body, to remind you of them.

Nathan, Florine, Bixiou, Finot, Mariette,

Florentine, Giroudeau, Tullia

The letter shook in the trembling hands of Madame Rouget, and betrayed
the terror of her mind and body. The aunt dared not look at the
nephew, who fixed his eyes upon her with terrible meaning.

"I trust you," he said, "as you see; but I expect some return. I have
made you my aunt intending to marry you some day. You are worth more
to me than Esther in managing my uncle. In a year from now, we must be
in Paris; the only place where beauty really lives. You will amuse
yourself much better there than here; it is a perpetual carnival. I
shall return to the army, and become a general, and you will be a
great lady. There's our future; now work for it. But I must have a
pledge to bind this agreement. You are to give me, within a month from
now, a power of attorney from my uncle, which you must obtain under
pretence of relieving him of the fatigues of business. Also, a month
later, I must have a special power of attorney to transfer the income
in the Funds. When that stands in my name, you and I have an equal
interest in marrying each other. There it all is, my beautiful aunt,
as plain as day. Between you and me there must be no ambiguity. I can
marry my aunt at the end of a year's widowhood; but I could not marry
a disgraced girl."

He left the room without waiting for an answer. When Vedie came in,
fifteen minutes later, to clear the table, she found her mistress pale
and moist with perspiration, in spite of the season. Flore felt like a
woman who had fallen to the bottom of a precipice; the future loomed
black before her; and on its blackness, in the far distance, were
shapes of monstrous things, indistinctly perceptible, and terrifying.
She felt the damp chill of vaults, instinctive fear of the man crushed
her; and yet a voice cried in her ear that she deserved to have him
for her master. She was helpless against her fate. Flore Brazier had
had a room of her own in Rouget's house; but Madame Rouget belonged to
her husband, and was now deprived of the free-will of a servant-
mistress. In the horrible situation in which she now found herself,
the hope of having a child came into her mind; but she soon recognized
its impossibility. The marriage was to Jean-Jacques what the second
marriage of Louis XII. was to that king. The incessant watchfulness of
a man like Philippe, who had nothing to do and never quitted his post
of observation, made any form of vengeance impossible. Benjamin was
his innocent and devoted spy. The Vedie trembled before him. Flore
felt herself deserted and utterly helpless. She began to fear death.
Without knowing how Philippe might manage to kill her, she felt
certain that whenever he suspected her of pregnancy her doom would be
sealed. The sound of that voice, the veiled glitter of that gambler's
eye, the slightest movement of the soldier, who treated her with a
brutality that was still polite, made her shudder. As to the power of
attorney demanded by the ferocious colonel, who in the eyes of all
Issoudun was a hero, he had it as soon as he wanted it; for Flore fell
under the man's dominion as France had fallen under that of Napoleon.

Like a butterfly whose feet are caught in the incandescent wax of a
taper, Rouget rapidly dissipated his remaining strength. In presence
of that decay, the nephew remained as cold and impassible as the
diplomatists of 1814 during the convulsions of imperial France.

Philippe, who did not believe in Napoleon II., now wrote the following
letter to the minister of war, which Mariette made the Duc de
Maufrigneuse convey to that functionary:--

Monseigneur,--Napoleon is no more. I desired to remain faithful to
him according to my oath; now I am free to offer my services to
His Majesty. If your Excellency deigns to explain my conduct to
His Majesty, the King will see that it is in keeping with the laws
of honor, if not with those of his government. The King, who
thought it proper that his aide-de-camp, General Rapp, should
mourn his former master, will no doubt feel indulgently for me.
Napoleon was my benefactor.

I therefore entreat your Excellency to take into consideration the
request I make for employment in my proper rank; and I beg to
assure you of my entire submission. The King will find in me a
faithful subject.

Deign to accept the assurance of respect with which I have the
honor to be,
Your Excellency's very submissive and

Very humble servant,

Philippe Bridau

Formerly chief of squadron in the dragoons of the Guard; officer
of the Legion of honor; now under police surveillance at Issoudun.

To this letter was joined a request for permission to go to Paris on
urgent family business; and Monsieur Mouilleron annexed letters from
the mayor, the sub-prefect, and the commissary of police at Issoudun,
all bestowing many praises on Philippe's conduct, and dwelling upon
the newspaper article relating to his uncle's marriage.

Two weeks later, Philippe received the desired permission, and a
letter, in which the minister of war informed him that, by order of
the King, he was, as a preliminary favor, reinstated lieutenant-
colonel in the royal army.


Lieutenant-Colonel Bridau returned to Paris, taking with him his aunt
and the helpless Rouget, whom he escorted, three days after their
arrival, to the Treasury, where Jean-Jacques signed the transfer of
the income, which henceforth became Philippe's. The exhausted old man
and the Rabouilleuse were now plunged by their nephew into the
excessive dissipations of the dangerous and restless society of
actresses, journalists, artists, and the equivocal women among whom
Philippe had already wasted his youth; where old Rouget found
excitements that soon after killed him. Instigated by Giroudeau,
Lolotte, one of the handsomest of the Opera ballet-girls, was the
amiable assassin of the old man. Rouget died after a splendid supper
at Florentine's, and Lolotte threw the blame of his death upon a slice
of pate de foie gras; as the Strasburg masterpiece could make no
defence, it was considered settled that the old man died of

Madame Rouget was in her element in the midst of this excessively
decollete society; but Philippe gave her in charge of Mariette, and
that monitress did not allow the widow--whose mourning was diversified
with a few amusements--to commit any actual follies.

In October, 1823, Philippe returned to Issoudun, furnished with a
power of attorney from his aunt, to liquidate the estate of his uncle;
a business that was soon over, for he returned to Paris in March,
1824, with sixteen hundred thousand francs,--the net proceeds of old
Rouget's property, not counting the precious pictures, which had never
left Monsieur Hochon's hands. Philippe put the whole property into the
hands of Mongenod and Sons, where young Baruch Borniche was employed,
and on whose solvency and business probity old Hochon had given him
satisfactory assurances. This house took his sixteen hundred thousand
francs at six per cent per annum, on condition of three months' notice
in case of the withdrawal of the money.

One fine day, Philippe went to see his mother, and invited her to be
present at his marriage, which was witnessed by Giroudeau, Finot,
Nathan, and Bixiou. By the terms of the marriage contract, the widow
Rouget, whose portion of her late husband's property amounted to a
million of francs, secured to her future husband her whole fortune in
case she died without children. No invitations to the wedding were
sent out, nor any "billets de faire part"; Philippe had his designs.
He lodged his wife in an appartement in the rue Saint-Georges, which
he bought ready-furnished from Lolotte. Madame Bridau the younger
thought it delightful, and her husband rarely set foot in it. Without
her knowledge, Philippe purchased in the rue de Clichy, at a time when
no one suspected the value which property in that quarter would one
day acquire, a magnificent hotel for two hundred and fifty thousand
francs; of which he paid one hundred and fifty thousand down, taking
two years to pay the remainder. He spent large sums in altering the
interior and furnishing it; in fact, he put his income for two years
into this outlay. The pictures, now restored, and estimated at three
hundred thousand francs, appeared in such surroundings in all their

The accession of Charles X. had brought into still greater court favor
the family of the Duc de Chaulieu, whose eldest son, the Duc de
Rhetore, was in the habit of seeing Philippe at Tullia's. Under
Charles X., the elder branch of the Bourbons, believing itself
permanently seated on the throne, followed the advice previously given
by Marshal Gouvion-Saint-Cyr to encourage the adherence of the
soldiers of the Empire. Philippe, who had no doubt made invaluable
revelations as to the conspiracies of 1820 and 1822, was appointed
lieutenant-colonel in the regiment of the Duc de Maufrigneuse. That
fascinating nobleman thought himself bound to protect the man from
whom he had taken Mariette. The corps-de-ballet went for something,
therefore, in the appointment. Moreover, it was decided in the private
councils of Charles X., to give a faint tinge of liberalism to the
surroundings of Monseigneur the Dauphin. Philippe, now a sort of
equerry to the Duc de Maufrigneuse, was presented not only to the
Dauphin, but also to the Dauphine, who was not averse to brusque and
soldierly characters who had become noted for a past fidelity.
Philippe thoroughly understood the part the Dauphin had to play; and
he turned the first exhibition of that spurious liberalism to his own
profit, by getting himself appointed aide-de-camp to a marshal who
stood well at court.

In January, 1827, Philippe, who was now promoted to the Royal Guard as
lieutenant-colonel in a regiment then commanded by the Duc de
Maufrigneuse, solicited the honor of being ennobled. Under the
Restoration, nobility became a sort of perquisite to the "roturiers"
who served in the Guard. Colonel Bridau had lately bought the estate
of Brambourg, and he now asked to be allowed to entail it under the
title of count. This favor was accorded through the influence of his
many intimacies in the highest rank of society, where he now appeared
in all the luxury of horses, carriages, and liveries; in short, with
the surroundings of a great lord. As soon as he saw himself gazetted
in the Almanack under the title of Comte de Brambourg, he began to
frequent the house of a lieutenant-general of artillery, the Comte de

Insatiable in his wants, and backed by the mistresses of influential
men, Philippe now solicited the honor of being one of the Dauphin's
aides-de-camp. He had the audacity to say to the Dauphin that "an old
soldier, wounded on many a battle-field and who knew real warfare,
might, on occasion, be serviceable to Monseigneur." Philippe, who
could take the tone of all varieties of sycophancy, became in the
regions of the highest social life exactly what the position required
him to be; just as at Issoudun, he had copied the respectability of
Mignonnet. He had, moreover, a fine establishment and gave fetes and
dinners; admitting none of his old friends to his house if he thought
their position in life likely to compromise his future. He was
pitiless to the companions of his former debauches, and curtly refused
Bixiou when that lively satirist asked him to say a word in favor of
Giroudeau, who wanted to re-enter the army after the desertion of

"The man has neither manners nor morals," said Philippe.

"Ha! did he say that of me?" cried Giroudeau, "of me, who helped him
to get rid of his uncle!"

"We'll pay him off yet," said Bixiou.

Philippe intended to marry Mademoiselle Amelie de Soulanges, and
become a general, in command of a regiment of the Royal Guard. He
asked so many favors that, to keep him quiet, they made him a
Commander of the Legion of honor, and also Commander of the order of
Saint Louis. One rainy evening, as Agathe and Joseph were returning
home along the muddy streets, they met Philippe in full uniform,
bedizened with orders, leaning back in a corner of a handsome coupe
lined with yellow silk, whose armorial bearings were surmounted with a
count's coronet. He was on his way to a fete at the Elysee-Bourbon;
the wheels splashed his mother and brother as he waved them a
patronizing greeting.

"He's going it, that fellow!" said Joseph to his mother.
"Nevertheless, he might send us something better than mud in our

"He has such a fine position, in such high society, that we ought not
to blame him for forgetting us," said Madame Bridau. "When a man rises
to so great a height, he has many obligations to repay, many
sacrifices to make; it is natural he should not come to see us, though
he may think of us all the same."

"My dear fellow," said the Duc de Maufrigneuse one evening, to the new
Comte de Brambourg, "I am sure that your addresses will be favorably
received; but in order to marry Amelie de Soulanges, you must be free
to do so. What have you done with your wife?"

"My wife?" said Philippe, with a gesture, look, and accent which
Frederick Lemaitre was inspired to use in one of his most terrible
parts. "Alas! I have the melancholy certainty of losing her. She has
not a week to live. My dear duke, you don't know what it is to marry
beneath you. A woman who was a cook, and has the tastes of a cook! who
dishonors me--ah! I am much to be pitied. I have had the honor to
explain my position to Madame la Dauphine. At the time of the
marriage, it was a question of saving to the family a million of
francs which my uncle had left by will to that person. Happily, my
wife took to drinking; at her death, I come into possession of that
million, which is now in the hands of Mongenod and Sons. I have thirty
thousand francs a year in the five per cents, and my landed property,
which is entailed, brings me in forty thousand more. If, as I am led
to suppose, Monsieur de Soulanges gets a marshal's baton, I am on the
high-road with my title of Comte de Brambourg, to becoming general and
peer of France. That will be the proper end of an aide-de-camp of the

After the Salon of 1823, one of the leading painters of the day, a
most excellent man, obtained the management of a lottery-office near
the Markets, for the mother of Joseph Bridau. Agathe was fortunately
able, soon after, to exchange it on equal terms with the incumbent of
another office, situated in the rue de Seine, in a house where Joseph
was able to have his atelier. The widow now hired an agent herself,
and was no longer an expense to her son. And yet, as late as 1828,
though she was the directress of an excellent office which she owed
entirely to Joseph's fame, Madame Bridau still had no belief in that
fame, which was hotly contested, as all true glory ever will be. The
great painter, struggling with his genius, had enormous wants; he did
not earn enough to pay for the luxuries which his relations to
society, and his distinguished position in the young School of Art
demanded. Though powerfully sustained by his friends of the Cenacle
and by Mademoiselle des Touches, he did not please the Bourgeois. That
being, from whom comes the money of these days, never unties its
purse-strings for genius that is called in question; unfortunately,
Joseph had the classics and the Institute, and the critics who cry up
those two powers, against him. The brave artist, though backed by Gros
and Gerard, by whose influence he was decorated after the Salon of
1827, obtained few orders. If the ministry of the interior and the
King's household were with difficulty induced to buy some of his
greatest pictures, the shopkeepers and the rich foreigners noticed
them still less. Moreover, Joseph gave way rather too much, as we must
all acknowledge, to imaginative fancies, and that produced a certain
inequality in his work which his enemies made use of to deny his

"High art is at a low ebb," said his friend Pierre Grassou, who made
daubs to suit the taste of the bourgeoisie, in whose appartements fine
paintings were at a discount.

"You ought to have a whole cathedral to decorate; that's what you
want," declared Schinner; "then you would silence criticism with a

Such speeches, which alarmed the good Agathe, only corroborated the
judgment she had long since formed upon Philippe and Joseph. Facts
sustained that judgment in the mind of a woman who had never ceased to
be a provincial. Philippe, her favorite child, was he not the great
man of the family at last? in his early errors she saw only the
ebullitions of youth. Joseph, to the merit of whose productions she
was insensible, for she saw them too long in process of gestation to
admire them when finished, seemed to her no more advanced in 1828 than
he was in 1816. Poor Joseph owed money, and was bowed down by the
burden of debt; he had chosen, she felt, a worthless career that made
him no return. She could not conceive why they had given him the cross
of the Legion of honor. Philippe, on the other hand, rich enough to
cease gambling, a guest at the fetes of MADAME, the brilliant colonel
who at all reviews and in all processions appeared before her eyes in
splendid uniforms, with his two crosses on his breast, realized all
her maternal dreams. One such day of public ceremony effaced from
Agathe's mind the horrible sight of Philippe's misery on the Quai de
l'Ecole; on that day he passed his mother at the self-same spot, in
attendance on the Dauphin, with plumes in his shako, and his pelisse
gorgeous with gold and fur. Agathe, who to her artist son was now a
sort of devoted gray sister, felt herself the mother of none but the
dashing aide-de-camp to his Royal Highness, the Dauphin of France.
Proud of Philippe, she felt he made the ease and happiness of her
life,--forgetting that the lottery-office, by which she was enabled to
live at all, came through Joseph.

One day Agathe noticed that her poor artist was more worried than
usual by the bill of his color-man, and she determined, though cursing
his profession in her heart, to free him from his debts. The poor
woman kept the house with the proceeds of her office, and took care
never to ask Joseph for a farthing. Consequently she had no money of
her own; but she relied on Philippe's good heart and well-filled
purse. For three years she had waited in expectation of his coming to
see her; she now imagined that if she made an appeal to him he would
bring some enormous sum; and her thoughts dwelt on the happiness she
should feel in giving it to Joseph, whose judgment of his brother,
like that of Madame Descoings, was so unfair.

Saying nothing to Joseph, she wrote the following letter to

To Monsieur le comte de Brambourg:

My dear Philippe,--You have not given the least little word of
remembrance to your mother for five years. That is not right. You
should remember the past, if only for the sake of your excellent
brother. Joseph is now in need of money, and you are floating in
wealth; he works, while you are flying from fete to fete. You now
possess, all to yourself, the property of my brother. Little
Borniche tells me you cannot have less than two hundred thousand
francs a year. Well, then, come and see Joseph. During your visit,
slip into the skull a few thousand-franc notes. Philippe, you owe
them to us; nevertheless, your brother will feel grateful to you,
not to speak of the happiness you will give

Your mother,

Agathe Bridau, nee Rouget

Two days later the concierge brought to the atelier, where poor Agathe
was breakfasting with Joseph, the following terrible letter:--

My dear Mother,--A man does not marry a Mademoiselle Amelie de
Soulanges without the purse of Fortunatus, if under the name of
Comte de Brambourg he hides that of

Your son,

Philippe Bridau

As Agathe fell half-fainting on the sofa, the letter dropped to the
floor. The slight noise made by the paper, and the smothered but
dreadful exclamation which escaped Agathe startled Joseph, who had
forgotten his mother for a moment and was vehemently rubbing in a
sketch; he leaned his head round the edge of his canvas to see what
had happened. The sight of his mother stretched out on the floor made
him drop palette and brushes, and rush to lift what seemed a lifeless
body. He took Agathe in his arms and carried her to her own bed, and
sent the servant for his friend Horace Bianchon. As soon as he could
question his mother she told him of her letter to Philippe, and of the
answer she had received from him. The artist went to his atelier and
picked up the letter, whose concise brutality had broken the tender
heart of the poor mother, and shattered the edifice of trust her
maternal preference had erected. When Joseph returned to her bedside
he had the good feeling to be silent. He did not speak of his brother
in the three weeks during which--we will not say the illness, but--the
death agony of the poor woman lasted. Bianchon, who came every day and
watched his patient with the devotion of a true friend, told Joseph
the truth on the first day of her seizure.

"At her age," he said, "and under the circumstances which have
happened to her, all we can hope to do is to make her death as little
painful as possible."

She herself felt so surely called of God that she asked the next day
for the religious help of old Abbe Loraux, who had been her confessor
for more than twenty-two years. As soon as she was alone with him, and
had poured her griefs into his heart, she said--as she had said to
Madame Hochon, and had repeated to herself again and again throughout
her life:--

"What have I done to displease God? Have I not loved Him with all my
soul? Have I wandered from the path of grace? What is my sin? Can I be
guilty of wrong when I know not what it is? Have I the time to repair

"No," said the old man, in a gentle voice. "Alas! your life seems to
have been pure and your soul spotless; but the eye of God, poor
afflicted creature, is keener than that of his ministers. I see the
truth too late; for you have misled even me."

Hearing these words from lips that had never spoken other than
peaceful and pleasant words to her, Agathe rose suddenly in her bed
and opened her eyes wide, with terror and distress.

"Tell me! tell me!" she cried.

"Be comforted," said the priest. "Your punishment is a proof that you
will receive pardon. God chastens his elect. Woe to those whose
misdeeds meet with fortunate success; they will be kneaded again in
humanity until they in their turn are sorely punished for simple
errors, and are brought to the maturity of celestial fruits. Your
life, my daughter, has been one long error. You have fallen into the
pit which you dug for yourself; we fail ever on the side we have
ourselves weakened. You gave your heart to an unnatural son, in whom
you made your glory, and you have misunderstood the child who is your
true glory. You have been so deeply unjust that you never even saw the
striking contrast between the brothers. You owe the comfort of your
life to Joseph, while your other son has pillaged you repeatedly. The
poor son, who loves you with no return of equal tenderness, gives you
all the comfort that your life has had; the rich son, who never thinks
of you, despises you and desires your death--"

"Oh! no," she cried.

"Yes," resumed the priest, "your humble position stands in the way of
his proud hopes. Mother, these are your sins! Woman, your sorrows and
your anguish foretell that you shall know the peace of God. Your son
Joseph is so noble that his tenderness has never been lessened by the
injustice your maternal preferences have done him. Love him now; give
him all your heart during your remaining days; pray for him, as I
shall pray for you."

The eyes of the mother, opened by so firm a hand, took in with one
retrospective glance the whole course of her life. Illumined by this
flash of light, she saw her involuntary wrong-doing and burst into
tears. The old priest was so deeply moved at the repentance of a being
who had sinned solely through ignorance, that he left the room hastily
lest she should see his pity.

Joseph returned to his mother's room about two hours after her
confessor had left her. He had been to a friend to borrow the
necessary money to pay his most pressing debts, and he came in on
tiptoe, thinking that his mother was asleep. He sat down in an
armchair without her seeing him; but he sprang up with a cold chill
running through him as he heard her say, in a voice broken with

"Will he forgive me?"

"What is it, mother?" he exclaimed, shocked at the stricken face of
the poor woman, and thinking the words must mean the delirium that
precedes death.

"Ah, Joseph! can you pardon me, my child?" she cried.

"For what?" he said.

"I have never loved you as you deserved to be loved."

"Oh, what an accusation!" he cried. "Not loved me? For seven years
have we not lived alone together? All these seven years have you not
taken care of me and done everything for me? Do I not see you every
day,--hear your voice? Are you not the gentle and indulgent companion
of my miserable life? You don't understand painting?--Ah! but that's a
gift not always given. I was saying to Grassou only yesterday: 'What
comforts me in the midst of my trials is that I have such a good
mother. She is all that an artist's wife should be; she sees to
everything; she takes care of my material wants without ever troubling
or worrying me.'"

"No, Joseph, no; you have loved me, but I have not returned you love
for love. Ah! would that I could live a little longer-- Give me your

Agathe took her son's hand, kissed it, held it on her heart, and
looked in his face a long time,--letting him see the azure of her eyes
resplendent with a tenderness she had hitherto bestowed on Philippe
only. The painter, well fitted to judge of expression, was so struck
by the change, and saw so plainly how the heart of his mother had
opened to him, that he took her in his arms, and held her for some
moments to his heart, crying out like one beside himself,--"My mother!
oh, my mother!"

"Ah! I feel that I am forgiven!" she said. "God will confirm the
child's pardon of its mother."

"You must be calm: don't torment yourself; hear me. I feel myself
loved enough in this one moment for all the past," he said, as he laid
her back upon the pillows.

During the two weeks' struggle between life and death, there glowed
such love in every look and gesture and impulse of the soul of the
pious creature, that each effusion of her feelings seemed like the
expression of a lifetime. The mother thought only of her son; she
herself counted for nothing; sustained by love, she was unaware of her
sufferings. D'Arthez, Michel Chrestien, Fulgence Ridal, Pierre
Grassou, and Bianchon often kept Joseph company, and she heard them
talking art in a low voice in a corner of her room.

"Oh, how I wish I knew what color is!" she exclaimed one evening as
she heard them discussing one of Joseph's pictures.

Joseph, on his side, was sublimely devoted to his mother. He never
left her chamber; answered tenderness by tenderness, cherishing her
upon his heart. The spectacle was never afterwards forgotten by his
friends; and they themselves, a band of brothers in talent and
nobility of nature, were to Joseph and his mother all that they should
have been,--friends who prayed, and truly wept; not saying prayers and
shedding tears, but one with their friend in thought and action.
Joseph, inspired as much by feeling as by genius, divined in the
occasional expression of his mother's face a desire that was deep
hidden in her heart, and he said one day to d'Arthez,--

"She has loved that brigand Philippe too well not to want to see him
before she dies."

Joseph begged Bixiou, who frequented the Bohemian regions where
Philippe was still occasionally to be found, to persuade that
shameless son to play, if only out of pity, a little comedy of
tenderness which might wrap the mother's heart in a winding-sheet of
illusive happiness. Bixiou, in his capacity as an observing and
misanthropical scoffer, desired nothing better than to undertake such
a mission. When he had made known Madame Bridau's condition to the
Comte de Brambourg, who received him in a bedroom hung with yellow
damask, the colonel laughed.

"What the devil do you want me to do there?" he cried. "The only
service the poor woman can render me is to die as soon as she can; she
would be rather a sorry figure at my marriage with Mademoiselle de
Soulanges. The less my family is seen, the better my position. You can
easily understand that I should like to bury the name of Bridau under
all the monuments in Pere-Lachaise. My brother irritates me by
bringing the name into publicity. You are too knowing not to see the
situation as I do. Look at it as if it were your own: if you were a
deputy, with a tongue like yours, you would be as much feared as
Chauvelin; you would be made Comte Bixiou, and director of the Beaux-
Arts. Once there, how should you like it if your grandmother Descoings
were to turn up? Would you want that worthy woman, who looked like a
Madame Saint-Leon, to be hanging on to you? Would you give her an arm
in the Tuileries, and present her to the noble family you were trying
to enter? Damn it, you'd wish her six feet under ground, in a leaden
night-gown. Come, breakfast with me, and let us talk of something
else. I am a parvenu, my dear fellow, and I know it. I don't choose
that my swaddling-clothes shall be seen. My son will be more fortunate
than I; he will be a great lord. The scamp will wish me dead; I expect
it,--or he won't be my son."

He rang the bell, and ordered the servant to serve breakfast.

"The fashionable world wouldn't see you in your mother's bedroom,"
said Bixiou. "What would it cost you to seem to love that poor woman
for a few hours?"

"Whew!" cried Philippe, winking. "So you come from them, do you? I'm
an old camel, who knows all about genuflections. My mother makes the
excuse of her last illness to get something out of me for Joseph. No,
thank you!"

When Bixiou related this scene to Joseph, the poor painter was chilled
to the very soul.

"Does Philippe know I am ill?" asked Agathe in a piteous tone, the day
after Bixiou had rendered an account of his fruitless errand.

Joseph left the room, suffocating with emotion. The Abbe Loraux, who
was sitting by the bedside of his penitent, took her hand and pressed
it, and then he answered, "Alas! my child, you have never had but one

The words, which Agathe understood but too well, conveyed a shock
which was the beginning of the end. She died twenty hours later.

In the delirium which preceded death, the words, "Whom does Philippe
take after?" escaped her.

Joseph followed his mother to the grave alone. Philippe had gone, on
business it was said, to Orleans; in reality, he was driven from Paris
by the following letter, which Joseph wrote to him a moment after
their mother had breathed her last sigh:--

Monster! my poor mother has died of the shock your letter caused
her. Wear mourning, but pretend illness; I will not suffer her
assassin to stand at my side before her coffin.

Joseph B.

The painter, who no longer had the heart to paint, though his bitter
grief sorely needed the mechanical distraction which labor is wont to
give, was surrounded by friends who agreed with one another never to
leave him entirely alone. Thus it happened that Bixiou, who loved
Joseph as much as a satirist can love any one, was sitting in the
atelier with a group of other friends about two weeks after Agathe's
funeral. The servant entered with a letter, brought by an old woman,
she said, who was waiting below for the answer.

Monsieur,--To you, whom I scarcely dare to call my brother, I am
forced to address myself, if only on account of the name I bear.--

Joseph turned the page and read the signature. The name "Comtesse
Flore de Brambourg" made him shudder. He foresaw some new atrocity on
the part of his brother.

"That brigand," he cried, "is the devil's own. And he calls himself a
man of honor! And he wears a lot of crosses on his breast! And he
struts about at court instead of being bastinadoed! And the scoundrel
is called Monsieur le Comte!"

"There are many like him," said Bixiou.

"After all," said Joseph, "the Rabouilleuse deserves her fate,
whatever it is. She is not worth pitying; she'd have had my neck wrung
like a chicken's without so much as saying, 'He's innocent.'"

Joseph flung away the letter, but Bixiou caught it in the air, and
read it aloud, as follows:--

Is it decent that the Comtesse Bridau de Brambourg should die in a
hospital, no matter what may have been her faults? If such is to
be my fate, if such is your determination and that of monsieur le
comte, so be it; but if so, will you, who are the friend of Doctor
Bianchon, ask him for a permit to let me enter a hospital?

The person who carries this letter has been eleven consecutive
days to the hotel de Brambourg, rue de Clichy, without getting any
help from my husband. The poverty in which I now am prevents my
employing a lawyer to make a legal demand for what is due to me,
that I may die with decency. Nothing can save me, I know that. In
case you are unwilling to see your unhappy sister-in-law, send me,
at least, the money to end my days. Your brother desires my death;
he has always desired it. He warned me that he knew three ways of
killing a woman, but I had not the sense to foresee the one he has

In case you will consent to relieve me, and judge for yourself the
misery in which I now am, I live in the rue du Houssay, at the
corner of the rue Chantereine, on the fifth floor. If I cannot pay
my rent to-morrow I shall be put out--and then, where can I go?
May I call myself,

Your sister-in-law,

Comtesse Flore de Brambourg.

"What a pit of infamy!" cried Joseph; "there is something under it

"Let us send for the woman who brought the letter; we may get the
preface of the story," said Bixiou.

The woman presently appeared, looking, as Bixiou observed, like
perambulating rags. She was, in fact, a mass of old gowns, one on top
of another, fringed with mud on account of the weather, the whole
mounted on two thick legs with heavy feet which were ill-covered by
ragged stockings and shoes from whose cracks the water oozed upon the
floor. Above the mound of rags rose a head like those that Charlet has
given to his scavenger-women, caparisoned with a filthy bandanna
handkerchief slit in the folds.

"What is your name?" said Joseph, while Bixiou sketched her, leaning
on an umbrella belonging to the year II. of the Republic.

"Madame Gruget, at your service. I've seen better days, my young
gentleman," she said to Bixiou, whose laugh affronted her. "If my poor
girl hadn't had the ill-luck to love some one too much, you wouldn't
see me what I am. She drowned herself in the river, my poor Ida,--
saving your presence! I've had the folly to nurse up a quaterne, and
that's why, at seventy-seven years of age, I'm obliged to take care of
sick folks for ten sous a day, and go--"

"--without clothes?" said Bixiou. "My grandmother nursed up a trey,
but she dressed herself properly."

"Out of my ten sous I have to pay for a lodging--"

"What's the matter with the lady you are nursing?"

"In the first place, she hasn't got any money; and then she has a
disease that scares the doctors. She owes me for sixty days' nursing;
that's why I keep on nursing her. The husband, who is a count,--she is
really a countess,--will no doubt pay me when she is dead; and so I've
lent her all I had. And now I haven't anything; all I did have has
gone to the pawn-brokers. She owes me forty-seven francs and twelve
sous, beside thirty francs for the nursing. She wants to kill herself
with charcoal. I tell her it ain't right; and, indeed, I've had to get
the concierge to look after her while I'm gone, or she's likely to
jump out of the window."

"But what's the matter with her?" said Joseph.

"Ah! monsieur, the doctor from the Sisters' hospital came; but as to
the disease," said Madame Gruget, assuming a modest air, "he told me
she must go to the hospital. The case is hopeless."

"Let us go and see her," said Bixiou.

"Here," said Joseph to the woman, "take these ten francs."

Plunging his hand into the skull and taking out all his remaining
money, the painter called a coach from the rue Mazarin and went to
find Bianchon, who was fortunately at home. Meantime Bixiou went off
at full speed to the rue de Bussy, after Desroches. The four friends
reached Flore's retreat in the rue du Houssay an hour later.

"That Mephistopheles on horseback, named Philippe Bridau," said
Bixiou, as they mounted the staircase, "has sailed his boat cleverly
to get rid of his wife. You know our old friend Lousteau? well,
Philippe paid him a thousand francs a month to keep Madame Bridau in
the society of Florine, Mariette, Tullia, and the Val-Noble. When
Philippe saw his crab-girl so used to pleasure and dress that she
couldn't do without them, he stopped paying the money, and left her to
get it as she could--it is easy to know how. By the end of eighteen
months, the brute had forced his wife, stage by stage, lower and
lower; till at last, by the help of a young officer, he gave her a
taste for drinking. As he went up in the world, his wife went down;
and the countess is now in the mud. The girl, bred in the country, has
a strong constitution. I don't know what means Philippe has lately
taken to get rid of her. I am anxious to study this precious little
drama, for I am determined to avenge Joseph here. Alas, friends," he
added, in a tone which left his three companions in doubt whether he
was jesting or speaking seriously, "give a man over to a vice and
you'll get rid of him. Didn't Hugo say: 'She loved a ball, and died of
it'? So it is. My grandmother loved the lottery. Old Rouget loved a
loose life, and Lolotte killed him. Madame Bridau, poor woman, loved
Philippe, and perished of it. Vice! vice! my dear friends, do you want
to know what vice is? It is the Bonneau of death."

"Then you'll die of a joke," said Desroches, laughing.

Above the fourth floor, the young men were forced to climb one of the
steep, straight stairways that are almost ladders, by which the attics
of Parisian houses are often reached. Though Joseph, who remembered
Flore in all her beauty, expected to see some frightful change, he was
not prepared for the hideous spectacle which now smote his artist's
eye. In a room with bare, unpapered walls, under the sharp pitch of an
attic roof, on a cot whose scanty mattress was filled, perhaps, with
refuse cotton, a woman lay, green as a body that has been drowned two
days, thin as a consumptive an hour before death. This putrid skeleton
had a miserable checked handkerchief bound about her head, which had
lost its hair. The circle round the hollow eyes was red, and the
eyelids were like the pellicle of an egg. Nothing remained of the
body, once so captivating, but an ignoble, bony structure. As Flore
caught sight of the visitors, she drew across her breast a bit of
muslin which might have been a fragment of a window-curtain, for it
was edged with rust as from a rod. The young men saw two chairs, a
broken bureau on which was a tallow-candle stuck into a potato, a few
dishes on the floor, and an earthen fire-pot in a corner of the
chimney, in which there was no fire; this was all the furniture of the
room. Bixiou noticed the remaining sheets of writing-paper, brought
from some neighboring grocery for the letter which the two women had
doubtless concocted together. The word "disgusting" is a positive to
which no superlative exists, and we must therefore use it to convey
the impression caused by this sight. When the dying woman saw Joseph
approaching her, two great tears rolled down her cheeks.

"She can still weep!" whispered Bixiou. "A strange sight,--tears from
dominos! It is like the miracle of Moses."

"How burnt up!" cried Joseph.

"In the fires of repentance," said Flore. "I cannot get a priest; I
have nothing, not even a crucifix, to help me see God. Ah, monsieur!"
she cried, raising her arms, that were like two pieces of carved wood,
"I am a guilty woman; but God never punished any one as he has
punished me! Philippe killed Max, who advised me to do dreadful
things, and now he has killed me. God uses him as a scourge!"

"Leave me alone with her," said Bianchon, "and let me find out if the
disease is curable."

"If you cure her, Philippe Bridau will die of rage," said Desroches.
"I am going to draw up a statement of the condition in which we have
found his wife. He has not brought her before the courts as an
adulteress, and therefore her rights as a wife are intact: he shall
have the shame of a suit. But first, we must remove the Comtesse de
Brambourg to the private hospital of Doctor Dubois, in the rue du
Faubourg-Saint-Denis. She will be well cared for there. Then I will
summon the count for the restoration of the conjugal home."

"Bravo, Desroches!" cried Bixiou. "What a pleasure to do so much good
that will make some people feel so badly!"

Ten minutes later, Bianchon came down and joined them.

"I am going straight to Despleins," he said. "He can save the woman by
an operation. Ah! he will take good care of the case, for her abuse of
liquor has developed a magnificent disease which was thought to be

"Wag of a mangler! Isn't there but one disease in life?" cried Bixiou.

But Bianchon was already out of sight, so great was his haste to tell
Despleins the wonderful news. Two hours later, Joseph's miserable
sister-in-law was removed to the decent hospital established by Doctor
Dubois, which was afterward bought of him by the city of Paris. Three
weeks later, the "Hospital Gazette" published an account of one of the
boldest operations of modern surgery, on a case designated by the
initials "F. B." The patient died,--more from the exhaustion produced
by misery and starvation than from the effects of the treatment.

No sooner did this occur, than the Comte de Brambourg went, in deep
mourning, to call on the Comte de Soulanges, and inform him of the sad
loss he had just sustained. Soon after, it was whispered about in the
fashionable world that the Comte de Soulanges would shortly marry his
daughter to a parvenu of great merit, who was about to be appointed
brigadier-general and receive command of a regiment of the Royal
Guard. De Marsay told this news to Eugene de Rastignac, as they were
supping together at the Rocher de Cancale, where Bixiou happened to

"It shall not take place!" said the witty artist to himself.

Among the many old friends whom Philippe now refused to recognize,
there were some, like Giroudeau, who were unable to revenge
themselves; but it happened that he had wounded Bixiou, who, thanks to
his brilliant qualities, was everywhere received, and who never
forgave an insult. One day at the Rocher de Cancale, before a number
of well-bred persons who were supping there, Philippe had replied to
Bixiou, who spoke of visiting him at the hotel de Brambourg: "You can
come and see me when you are made a minister."

"Am I to turn Protestant before I can visit you?" said Bixiou,
pretending to misunderstand the speech; but he said to himself, "You
may be Goliath, but I have got my sling, and plenty of stones."

The next day he went to an actor, who was one of his friends, and
metamorphosed himself, by the all-powerful aid of dress, into a
secularized priest with green spectacles; then he took a carriage and
drove to the hotel de Soulanges. Received by the count, on sending in
a message that he wanted to speak with him on a matter of serious
importance, he related in a feigned voice the whole story of the dead
countess, the secret particulars of whose horrible death had been
confided to him by Bianchon; the history of Agathe's death; the
history of old Rouget's death, of which the Comte de Brambourg had
openly boasted; the history of Madame Descoings's death; the history
of the theft from the newspaper; and the history of Philippe's private
morals during his early days.

"Monsieur le comte, don't give him your daughter until you have made
every inquiry; interrogate his former comrades,--Bixiou, Giroudeau,
and others."

Three months later, the Comte de Brambourg gave a supper to du Tillet,
Nucingen, Eugene de Rastignac, Maxime de Trailles, and Henri de
Marsay. The amphitryon accepted with much nonchalance the half-
consolatory condolences they made to him as to his rupture with the
house of Soulanges.

"You can do better," said Maxime de Trailles.

"How much money must a man have to marry a demoiselle de Grandlieu?"
asked Philippe of de Marsay.

"You? They wouldn't give you the ugliest of the six for less than ten
millions," answered de Marsay insolently.

"Bah!" said Rastignac. "With an income of two hundred thousand francs
you can have Mademoiselle de Langeais, the daughter of the marquis;
she is thirty years old, and ugly, and she hasn't a sou; that ought to
suit you."

"I shall have ten millions two years from now," said Philippe Bridau.

"It is now the 16th of January, 1829," cried du Tillet, laughing. "I
have been hard at work for ten years and I have not made as much as
that yet."

"We'll take counsel of each other," said Bridau; "you shall see how
well I understand finance."

"How much do you really own?" asked Nucingen.

"Three millions, excluding my house and my estate, which I shall not
sell; in fact, I cannot, for the property is now entailed and goes
with the title."

Nucingen and du Tillet looked at each other; after that sly glance du
Tillet said to Philippe, "My dear count, I shall be delighted to do
business with you."

De Marsay intercepted the look du Tillet had exchanged with Nucingen,
and which meant, "We will have those millions." The two bank magnates
were at the centre of political affairs, and could, at a given time,
manipulate matters at the Bourse, so as to play a sure game against
Philippe, when the probabilities might all seem for him and yet be
secretly against him.

The occasion came. In July, 1830, du Tillet and Nucingen had helped
the Comte de Brambourg to make fifteen hundred thousand francs; he
could therefore feel no distrust of those who had given him such good
advice. Philippe, who owed his rise to the Restoration, was misled by
his profound contempt for "civilians"; he believed in the triumph of
the Ordonnances, and was bent on playing for a rise; du Tillet and
Nucingen, who were sure of a revolution, played against him for a
fall. The crafty pair confirmed the judgment of the Comte de Brambourg
and seemed to share his convictions; they encouraged his hopes of
doubling his millions, and apparently took steps to help him. Philippe
fought like a man who had four millions depending on the issue of the
struggle. His devotion was so noticeable, that he received orders to
go to Saint-Cloud with the Duc de Maufrigneuse and attend a council.
This mark of favor probably saved Philippe's life; for when the order
came, on the 25th of July, he was intending to make a charge and sweep
the boulevards, when he would undoubtedly have been shot down by his
friend Giroudeau, who commanded a division of the assailants.

A month later, nothing was left of Colonel Bridau's immense fortune
but his house and furniture, his estates, and the pictures which had
come from Issoudun. He committed the still further folly, as he said
himself, of believing in the restoration of the elder branch, to which
he remained faithful until 1834. The not imcomprehensible jealousy
Philippe felt on seeing Giroudeau a colonel drove him to re-enter the
service. Unluckily for himself, he obtained, in 1835, the command of a
regiment in Algiers, where he remained three years in a post of
danger, always hoping for the epaulets of a general. But some
malignant influence--that, in fact, of General Giroudeau,--continually
balked him. Grown hard and brutal, Philippe exceeded the ordinary
severity of the service, and was hated, in spite of his bravery a la

At the beginning of the fatal year 1839, while making a sudden dash
upon the Arabs during a retreat before superior forces, he flung
himself against the enemy, followed by only a single company, and fell
in, unfortunately, with the main body of the enemy. The battle was
bloody and terrible, man to man, and only a few horsemen escaped
alive. Seeing that their colonel was surrounded, these men, who were
at some distance, were unwilling to perish uselessly in attempting to
rescue him. They heard his cry: "Your colonel! to me! a colonel of the
Empire!" but they rejoined the regiment. Philippe met with a horrible
death, for the Arabs, after hacking him to pieces with their
scimitars, cut off his head.

Joseph, who was married about this time, through the good offices of
the Comte de Serizy, to the daughter of a millionaire farmer,
inherited his brother's house in Paris and the estate of Brambourg, in
consequence of the entail, which Philippe, had he foreseen this
result, would certainly have broken. The chief pleasure the painter
derived from his inheritance was in the fine collection of paintings
from Issoudun. He now possesses an income of sixty thousand francs,
and his father-in-law, the farmer, continues to pile up the five-franc
pieces. Though Joseph Bridau paints magnificent pictures, and renders
important services to artists, he is not yet a member of the
Institute. As the result of a clause in the deed of entail, he is now
Comte de Brambourg, a fact which often makes him roar with laughter
among his friends in the atelier.


The following personages appear in other stories of the Human Comedy.

Note: The Two Brothers is also known as A Bachelor's Establishment and
The Black Sheep. In other Addendum appearances it is referred to as A
Bachelor's Establishment.

Bianchon, Horace
Father Goriot
The Atheist's Mass
Cesar Birotteau
The Commission in Lunacy
Lost Illusions
A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
The Secrets of a Princess
The Government Clerks
A Study of Woman
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life
The Seamy Side of History
The Magic Skin
A Second Home
A Prince of Bohemia
Letters of Two Brides
The Muse of the Department
The Imaginary Mistress
The Middle Classes
Cousin Betty
The Country Parson
In addition, M. Bianchon narrated the following:
Another Study of Woman
La Grande Breteche

Birotteau, Cesar
Cesar Birotteau
At the Sign of the Cat and Racket

Bixiou, Jean-Jacques
The Purse
The Government Clerks
Modeste Mignon
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life
The Firm of Nucingen
The Muse of the Department
Cousin Betty
The Member for Arcis
A Man of Business
Gaudissart II.
The Unconscious Humorists
Cousin Pons

Brambourg, Comte de (Title of Philippe Bridau, later Joseph)
The Unconscious Humorists

Bridau, Philippe
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life

Bridau, Joseph
The Purse
A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
A Start in Life
Modeste Mignon
Another Study of Woman
Pierre Grassou
Letters of Two Brides
Cousin Betty
The Member for Arcis

Bruel, Jean Francois du
The Government Clerks
A Start in Life
A Prince of Bohemia
The Middle Classes
A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
A Daughter of Eve

Bruel, Claudine Chaffaroux, Madame du
A Prince of Bohemia
A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
Letters of Two Brides
The Middle Classes

Cabirolle, Madame
A Start in Life

Cabirolle, Agathe-Florentine
A Start in Life
Lost Illusions
A Distinguished Provincial at Paris

A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
Cousin Pons
The Muse of the Department
Cesar Birotteau
At the Sign of the Cat and Racket

Cardot, Jean-Jerome-Severin
A Start in Life
Lost Illusions
A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
At the Sign of the Cat and Racket
Cesar Birotteau

Chaulieu, Henri, Duc de
Letters of Two Brides
Modest Mignon
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life
The Thirteen

Chrestien, Michel
A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
The Secrets of a Princess

Claparon, Charles
Cesar Birotteau
Melmoth Reconciled
The Firm of Nucingen
A Man of Business
The Middle Classes

A Distinguished Provincial at Paris

Coralie, Mademoiselle
A Start in Life
A Distinguished Provincial at Paris

The Atheist's Mass
Cousin Pons
Lost Illusions
The Thirteen
The Government Clerks
The Seamy Side of History
Modest Mignon
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life

Desroches (son)
Colonel Chabert
A Start in Life
A Woman of Thirty
The Commission in Lunacy
The Government Clerks
A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life
The Firm of Nucingen
A Man of Business
The Middle Classes

Finot, Andoche
Cesar Birotteau
A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life
The Government Clerks
A Start in Life
Gaudissart the Great
The Firm of Nucingen

Gaillard, Madame Theodore
Jealousies of a Country Town
A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life
The Unconscious Humorists

Gerard, Francois-Pascal-Simon, Baron

Giraud, Leon
A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
The Secrets of a Princess
The Unconscious Humorists

A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
A Start in Life

Gobseck, Esther Van
The Firm of Nucingen
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life

Godeschal, Francois-Claude-Marie
Colonel Chabert
A Start in Life
The Commission in Lunacy
The Middle Classes
Cousin Pons

Godeschal, Marie
A Start in Life
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life
Cousin Pons

Grandlieu, Duc Ferdinand de
The Gondreville Mystery
The Thirteen
Modeste Mignon
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life

Grandlieu, Mademoiselle de
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life

Grassou, Pierre
Pierre Grassou
Cousin Betty
The Middle Classes
Cousin Pons

Gruget, Madame Etienne
The Thirteen
The Government Clerks

Haudry (doctor)
Cesar Birotteau
The Thirteen
The Seamy Side of History
Cousin Pons

Lora, Leon de
The Unconscious Humorists
A Start in Life
Pierre Grassou
Cousin Betty

Loraux, Abbe
A Start in Life
Cesar Birotteau

Lousteau, Etienne
A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life
A Daughter of Eve
The Muse of the Department
Cousin Betty
A Prince of Bohemia
A Man of Business
The Middle Classes
The Unconscious Humorists

Lupeaulx, Clement Chardin des
The Muse of the Department
Eugenie Grandet
A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
The Government Clerks
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life
Ursule Mirouet

Magus, Elie
The Vendetta
A Marriage Settlement
Pierre Grassou
Cousin Pons

Matifat (wealthy druggist)
Cesar Birotteau
Lost Illusions
A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
The Firm of Nucingen
Cousin Pons

Maufrigneuse, Duc de
The Secrets of a Princess
A Start in Life
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life

Nathan, Madame Raoul
The Muse of the Department
Lost Illusions
A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life
The Government Clerks
Ursule Mirouet
Eugenie Grandet
The Imaginary Mistress
A Prince of Bohemia
A Daughter of Eve
The Unconscious Humorists

Navarreins, Duc de
Colonel Chabert
The Muse of the Department
The Thirteen
Jealousies of a Country Town
The Peasantry
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life
The Country Parson
The Magic Skin
The Gondreville Mystery
The Secrets of a Princess
Cousin Betty

Rhetore, Duc Alphonse de
A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life
Letters of Two Brides
Albert Savarus
The Member for Arcis

Ridal, Fulgence
A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
The Unconscious Humorists

Cesar Birotteau
Eugenie Grandet
The Vendetta

Rouget, Jean-Jacques
The Muse of the Department

Schinner, Hippolyte
The Purse
Pierre Grassou
A Start in Life
Albert Savarus
The Government Clerks
Modeste Mignon
The Imaginary Mistress
The Unconscious Humorists

Serizy, Comte Hugret de
A Start in Life
Modeste Mignon
Scenes from a Courtesan's Life

Tillet, Ferdinand du
Cesar Birotteau
The Firm of Nucingen
The Middle Classes
Melmoth Reconciled

Book of the day: