The Purse by Honoré de Balzac


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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Purse, by Honore de Balzac

This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at

Title: The Purse

Author: Honore de Balzac

Release Date: July 12, 2005 [EBook #1196]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by Dagny




Translated by

Clara Bell

To Sofka

"Have you observed, mademoiselle, that the painters and
sculptors of the Middle Ages, when they placed two figures in
adoration, one on each side of a fair Saint, never failed to
give them a family likeness? When you here see your name among
those that are dear to me, and under whose auspices I place my
works, remember that touching harmony, and you will see in
this not so much an act of homage as an expression of the
brotherly affection of your devoted servant,


For souls to whom effusiveness is easy there is a delicious hour
that falls when it is not yet night, but is no longer day; the
twilight gleam throws softened lights or tricksy reflections on
every object, and favors a dreamy mood which vaguely weds itself
to the play of light and shade. The silence which generally
prevails at that time makes it particularly dear to artists, who
grow contemplative, stand a few paces back from the pictures on
which they can no longer work, and pass judgement on them, rapt
by the subject whose most recondite meaning then flashes on the
inner eye of genius. He who has never stood pensive by a friend's
side in such an hour of poetic dreaming can hardly understand its
inexpressible soothingness. Favored by the clear-obscure, the
material skill employed by art to produce illusion entirely
disappears. If the work is a picture, the figures represented
seem to speak and walk; the shade is shadow, the light is day;
the flesh lives, eyes move, blood flows in their veins, and
stuffs have a changing sheen. Imagination helps the realism of
every detail, and only sees the beauties of the work. At that
hour illusion reigns despotically; perhaps it wakes at nightfall!
Is not illusion a sort of night to the mind, which we people with
dreams? Illusion then unfolds its wings, it bears the soul aloft
to the world of fancies, a world full of voluptuous imaginings,
where the artist forgets the real world, yesterday and the
morrow, the future--everything down to its miseries, the good and
the evil alike.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Mon 1st Jun 2020, 20:42