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Ursula

Ursula

Titel: Ursula
Autoren: Honoré de Balzac
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post master, with his white hair,—broken, emaciated, in whom the elders of the town can see no trace of the jovial dullard whom you first saw watching for his son at the beginning of this history; he does not even take his snuff as he once did; he carries something more now than the weight of his body. Beholding him, we feel that the hand of God was laid upon that figure to make it an awful warning. After hating so violently his uncle's godchild the old man now, like Doctor Minoret himself, has concentrated all his affections on her, and has made himself the manager of her property in Nemours.
    Monsieur and Madame de Portenduere pass five months of the year in Paris, where they have bought a handsome house in the Faubourg Saint-Germain. Madame de Portenduere the elder, after giving her house in Nemours to the Sisters of Charity for a free school, went to live at Rouvre, where La Bougival keeps the porter's lodge. Cabirolle, the former conductor of the "Ducler," a man sixty years of age, has married La Bougival and the twelve hundred francs a year which she possesses besides the ample emoluments of her place. Young Cabirolle is Monsieur de Portenduere's coachman.
    If you happen to see in the Champs-Elysees one of those charming little low carriages called 'escargots,' lined with gray silk and trimmed with blue, and containing a pretty young woman whom you admire because her face is wreathed in innumerable fair curls, her eyes luminous as forget-me-nots and filled with love; if you see her bending slightly towards a fine young man, and, if you are, for a moment, conscious of envy—pause and reflect that this handsome couple, beloved of God, have paid their quota to the sorrows of life in times now past. These married lovers are the Vicomte de Portenduere and his wife. There is not another such home in Paris as theirs.
    "It is the sweetest happiness I have ever seen," said the Comtesse de l'Estorade, speaking of them lately.
    Bless them, therefore, and be not envious; seek an Ursula for yourselves, a young girl brought up by three old men, and by the best of all mothers—adversity.
    Goupil, who does service to everybody and is justly considered the wittiest man in Nemours, has won the esteem of the little town, but he is punished in his children, who are rickety and hydrocephalous. Dionis, his predecessor, flourishes in the Chamber of Deputies, of which he is one of the finest ornaments, to the great satisfaction of the king of the French, who sees Madame Dionis at all his balls. Madame Dionis relates to the whole town of Nemours the particulars of her receptions at the Tuileries and the splendor of the court of the king of the French. She lords it over Nemours by means of the throne, which therefore must be popular in the little town.
    Bongrand is chief-justice of the court of appeals at Melun. His son is in the way of becoming an honest attorney-general.
    Madame Cremiere continues to make her delightful speeches. On the occasion of her daughter's marriage, she exhorted her to be the working caterpillar of the household, and to look into everything with the eyes of a sphinx. Goupil is making a collection of her "slapsus-linquies," which he calls a Cremiereana.
    "We have had the great sorrow of losing our good Abbe Chaperon," said the Vicomtesse de Portenduere this winter—having nursed him herself during his illness. "The whole canton came to his funeral. Nemours is very fortunate, however, for the successor of that dear saint is the venerable cure of Saint-Lange."

ADDENDUM
The following personages appear in other stories of the Human Comedy.
         Bouvard, Doctor
       Scenes from a Courtesan's Life

     Dionis
       The Member for Arcis

     Estorade, Madame de l'
       Letters of Two Brides
       The Member for Arcis

     Kergarouet, Comte de
       The Purse
       The Ball at Sceaux

     Lupeaulx, Clement Chardin des
       The Muse of the Department
       Eugenie Grandet
       A Bachelor's Establishment
       A Distinguished Provincial at Paris
       The Government Clerks
       Scenes from a Courtesan's Life

     Marsay, Henri de
       The Thirteen
       The Unconscious Humorists
       Another Study of Woman
       The Lily of the Valley
       Father Goriot
       Jealousies of a Country Twon
       A Marriage Settlement
       Lost

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