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The Deputy of Arcis
written by "Balzac, Honoré de, 1799-1850"
...your difficulty!" "Oh! between now and then, thank Heaven! there's time enough," replied Madame de l'Estorade, in a tone of incredulity. "Between now and then," said Madame de Camps, "Monsieur de Sallenauve may have reached a distinction which will put his name on every lip; and Nais, with her lively imagination, is more likely than other girls to be dazzled by it." "But, my dear love, look at the disproportion in their ages." "Monsieur de Sallenauve is thirty, and Nais will soon be fourteen; that is precisely the difference between you and Monsieur de l'Estorade." "Well, you may be right," said Madame de l'Estorade, "and the sort of marriage I made from reason Nais may want to make from folly. But you needn't be afraid; I will ruin that idol in her estimation." "But there again, as in the comedy of hatred you mean to play for Monsieur de l'Estorade's benefit, you need moderation. If you do not manage it by careful transitions, you may miss your end. Never allow the influence of circumstances to appear when it is desirable than an impulse or an action should seem spontaneous." "But," said Madame de l'Estorade, excitedly, "do you think that my hatred, as you call it, will be acted? I do hate him, that man; he is our evil genius!" "Come, come, my dear, be calm! I don't know you—you, you have always been Reason incarnate." At this moment Lucas entered the room and asked his mistress if she would receive a Monsieur Jacques Bricheteau. Madame de l'Estorade looked at her friend, as if to consult her. "He is that organist who was so useful to Monsieur de Sallenauve during the election. I don't know what he can want of me." "Never mind," said Madame de Camps, "receive him. Before beginning hostilities it is always well to know what is going on in the enemy's camp." "Show him in," said the countess. Jacques Bricheteau entered. Expecting to be received in a friendly country, he had not ...

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