The Marriage Contract by Honoré de Balzac


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The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Marriage Contract, 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 www.gutenberg.net


Title: The Marriage Contract

Author: Honore de Balzac

Release Date: March 12, 2005 [EBook #1556]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII

*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT ***




Produced by John Bickers, and Dagny





THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT

BY

HONORE DE BALZAC



Translated by
Katharine Prescott Wormeley



DEDICATION

To Rossini.





THE MARRIAGE CONTRACT



CHAPTER I

PRO AND CON

Monsieur de Manerville, the father, was a worthy Norman gentleman,
well known to the Marechael de Richelieu, who married him to one of
the richest heiresses of Bordeaux in the days when the old duke
reigned in Guienne as governor. The Norman then sold the estate he
owned in Bessin, and became a Gascon, allured by the beauty of the
chateau de Lanstrac, a delightful residence owned by his wife. During
the last days of the reign of Louis XV., he bought the post of major
of the Gate Guards, and lived till 1813, having by great good luck
escaped the dangers of the Revolution in the following manner.

Toward the close of the year, 1790, he went to Martinque, where his
wife had interests, leaving the management of his property in Gascogne
to an honest man, a notary's clerk, named Mathias, who was inclined to
--or at any rate did--give into the new ideas. On his return the Comte
de Manerville found his possessions intact and well-managed. This
sound result was the fruit produced by grafting the Gascon on the
Norman.

Madame de Manerville died in 1810. Having learned the importance of
worldly goods through the dissipations of his youth, and, giving them,
like many another old man, a higher place than they really hold in
life, Monsieur de Manerville became increasingly economical, miserly,
and sordid. Without reflecting that the avarice of parents prepares
the way for the prodigalities of children, he allowed almost nothing
to his son, although that son was an only child.

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