The Deputy Of Arcis

Author: Honore de Balzac
Publisher: 谷月社
ISBN:
Size: 38.12 MB
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ALL ELECTIONS BEGIN WITH A BUSTLE Before beginning to describe an election in the provinces, it is proper to state that the town of Arcis-sur-Aube was not the theatre of the events here related. The arrondissement of Arcis votes at Bar-sur-Aube, which is forty miles from Arcis; consequently there is no deputy from Arcis in the Chamber. Discretion, required in a history of contemporaneous manners and morals, dictates this precautionary word. It is rather an ingenious contrivance to make the description of one town the frame for events which happened in another; and several times already in the course of the Comedy of Human Life, this means has been employed in spite of its disadvantages, which consist chiefly in making the frame of as much importance as the canvas. Toward the end of the month of April, 1839, about ten o'clock in the morning, the salon of Madame Marion, widow of a former receiver-general of the department of the Aube, presented a singular appearance. All the furniture had been removed except the curtains to the windows, the ornaments on the fireplace, the chandelier, and the tea-table. An Aubusson carpet, taken up two weeks before the usual time, obstructed the steps of the portico, and the floor had been violently rubbed and polished, though without increasing its usual brightness. All this was a species of domestic premonition concerning the result of the elections which were about to take place over the whole surface of France. Often things are as spiritually intelligent as men,—an argument in favor of the occult sciences. The old man-servant of Colonel Giguet, Madame Marion's older brother, had just finished dusting the room; the chamber-maid and the cook were carrying, with an alacrity that denoted an enthusiasm equal to their attachment, all the chairs of the house, and piling them up in the garden, where the trees were already unfolding their leaves, through which the cloudless blue of the sky was visible. The springlike atmosphere and sun of May allowed the glass door and the two windows of the oblong salon to be kept open.