The Stepmother, A Drama in Five Acts by Honoré de Balzac


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Page 2

Was it necessary to tell me that?

The General
I only told you, in order that he might have his favorite wines.

Felix (enters, announcing)
Monsieur de Rimonville!

The General
Ask him in.

Gertrude (making a sign to Felix to arrange the vase of flowers)
I will go to Pauline's room, while you are talking business. I should
like to superintend the arrangement of her toilet. Young people do not
always understand what is most becoming to them.

The General
She has no expense spared her! During the last eighteen months her
dress has cost twice as much as it previously did; after all, poor
girl, it is the only amusement she has.

How can you say it is her only amusement while she has the privilege
of living with us! If it were not my happy lot to be your wife, I
should like to be your daughter. I will never leave you, not I! Did
you say for the last eighteen months? That is singular! Well, when I
come to think of it, she has begun to care more about laces, jewels,
and other pretty things.

The General
She is quite rich enough to indulge her tastes.

And she is now of age. (Aside) Her fondness of dress is the smoke. Can
there be any fire? (Exit.)


The General (alone)
What a pearl among women! Thus I am made happy after twenty-six
campaigns, a dozen wounds, and the death of an angel, whose place she
has taken in my heart; truly a kind Providence owed me some such
recompense as this, if it were only to console me for the death of the


Godard and the General.

Godard (entering)
Well, General!

The General
Ah! good day, Godard! I hope you are come to spend the day with us?

I thought perhaps I might spend the week, General, if you should
regard favorably the request which I shall venture to make of you.

The General
Go in and win! I know what request you mean--My wife is on your side.
Ah, Godard, you have attacked the fortress at its weak point!

General, you are an old soldier, and have no taste for mere phrases.
In all your undertakings you go straight ahead, as you did when under

The General
Straight and facing the whole battery.

That suits me well, for I am rather timid.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Sat 15th Aug 2020, 13:16