The Red Inn by Honoré de Balzac


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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Red Inn, 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 Red Inn

Author: Honore de Balzac

Translator: Katharine Prescott Wormeley

Release Date: July 14, 2005 [EBook #1433]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by John Bickers, and Dagny




Translated by

Katharine Prescott Wormeley


To Monsieur le Marquis de Custine.


In I know not what year a Parisian banker, who had very extensive
commercial relations with Germany, was entertaining at dinner one of
those friends whom men of business often make in the markets of the
world through correspondence; a man hitherto personally unknown to
him. This friend, the head of a rather important house in Nuremburg,
was a stout worthy German, a man of taste and erudition, above all a
man of pipes, having a fine, broad, Nuremburgian face, with a square
open forehead adorned by a few sparse locks of yellowish hair. He was
the type of the sons of that pure and noble Germany, so fertile in
honorable natures, whose peaceful manners and morals have never been
lost, even after seven invasions.

This stranger laughed with simplicity, listened attentively, and drank
remarkably well, seeming to like champagne as much perhaps as he liked
his straw-colored Johannisburger. His name was Hermann, which is that
of most Germans whom authors bring upon their scene. Like a man who
does nothing frivolously, he was sitting squarely at the banker's
table and eating with that Teutonic appetite so celebrated throughout
Europe, saying, in fact, a conscientious farewell to the cookery of
the great Careme.

To do honor to his guest the master of the house had invited a few
intimate friends, capitalists or merchants, and several agreeable and
pretty women, whose pleasant chatter and frank manners were in harmony
with German cordiality. Really, if you could have seen, as I saw, this
joyous gathering of persons who had drawn in their commercial claws,
and were speculating only on the pleasures of life, you would have
found no cause to hate usurious discounts, or to curse bankruptcies.
Mankind can't always be doing evil. Even in the society of pirates one
might find a few sweet hours during which we could fancy their
sinister craft a pleasure-boat rocking on the deep.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Mon 1st Jun 2020, 20:39