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La Grande Breteche

Honoré de Balzac

Book Overview: 

La Grande Bretèche is an addendum to Balzac's Another Study of Woman, and is the final of a set of stories told around a dinner table. This one, given to the guests at about two in the morning, is tale of marital infidelity and revenge,and perhaps might have given some of the audience a sleepless night.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .He took a chair, placed himself in front of my fire, put his hat on my table, and answered while he rubbed his hands: 'Dear me, it is very cold.—Monsieur, I am Monsieur Regnault.'

"I was encouraging myself by saying to myself, 'Il bondo cani! Seek!'

"'I am,' he went on, 'notary at Vendome.'

"'I am delighted to hear it, monsieur,' I exclaimed. 'But I am not in a position to make a will for reasons best known to myself.'

"'One moment!' said he, holding up his hand as though to gain silence. 'Allow me, monsieur, allow me! I am informed that you sometimes go to walk in the garden of la Grande Breteche.'

"'Yes, monsieur.'

"'One moment!' said he, repeating his gesture. 'That constitutes a misdemeanor. Monsieur, as executor under the will of the late Comtesse de Merret, I come in her name to beg you to discontinue the practice. One moment! I am not a Turk, and do not wish to make a crime of it. And besides. . . Read More

Community Reviews

As the story is about 10 pages long it feels wrong to add this to my challenge but with the pipe-dream of reading the entire La Comédie humaine, I was surprised to find this story (installment 16 in the series) in one of my grandmother's giant old short story volumes. Honestly, this story is quite s

A classic haunted house story in the vein of Poe’s House of Usher regarding a dark family mystery.

This is one of the first and finest Gothic stories I have read. Balzac's description of the house is supreme and left such an impression on my younger senses, I immediately set about trying to mimic him by writing my own miserable failure of a rip-off named The House Beyond My Window.

Leave it to th

Very familiar-feeling... perhaps I've read this before, possibly a different translation? Similar to Edgar Allan Poe in feel - (view spoiler)[ and not just because it's got someone being bricked up and left to die (hide spoiler)].
I'm not at all sure the multiple 'layers' of the story are necessary: At a social gathering, a man t

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