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The Lesser Bourgeoisie

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"Les Petits Bourgeois". First published in 1854.


Translated in 1896 by Katharine Prescott Wormeley (1830-1908).


DEDICATION

To Constance-Victoire.

Here, madame, is one of those books which come into the mind, whence no one knows, giving pleasure to the author before he can foresee what reception the public, our great present judge, will accord to it. Feeling almost certain of your sympathy in my pleasure, I dedicate the book to you. Ought it not to belong to you as the tithe formerly belonged to the Church in memory of God, who makes all things bud and fruit in the fields and in the intellect?

A few lumps of clay, left by Moliere at the feet of his colossal statue of Tartuffe, have here been kneaded by a hand more daring than able; but, at whatever distance I may be from the greatest of comic writers, I shall still be glad to have used these crumbs in showing the modern Hypocrite in action. The chief encouragement that I have had in this difficult undertaking was in finding it apart from all religious questions,—questions which ought to be kept out of it for the sake of one so pious as yourself; and also because of what a great writer has lately called our present "indifference in matters of religion."

May the double signification of your names be for my book a prophecy! Deign to find here the respectful gratitude of him who ventures to call himself the most devoted of your servants.

--De Balzac.


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