The Illustrious Gaudissart

The Illustrious Gaudissart

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The Illustrious Gaudissart by Honoré de Balzac

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The Illustrious Gaudissart

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Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley.

Book Excerpt

woman who lends both ears, are soon lost. Eve and her serpent are the everlasting myth of an hourly fact which began, and may end, with the world itself.

"A conversation of two hours ought to capture your man," said a retired lawyer.

Let us walk round the commercial traveller, and look at him well. Don't forget his overcoat, olive green, nor his cloak with its morocco collar, nor the striped blue cotton shirt. In this queer figure--so original that we cannot rub it out--how many divers personalities we come across! In the first place, what an acrobat, what a circus, what a battery, all in one, is the man himself, his vocation, and his tongue! Intrepid mariner, he plunges in, armed with a few phrases, to catch five or six thousand francs in the frozen seas, in the domain of the red Indians who inhabit the interior of France. The provincial fish will not rise to harpoons and torches; it can only be taken with seines and nets and gentlest persuasions. The traveller's business is to extract the gold in cou

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