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Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley (1830-1908).


To Mademoiselle Sophie Surville,

It is a true pleasure, my dear niece, to dedicate to you this
book, the subject and details of which have won the
approbation, so difficult to win, of a young girl to whom the
world is still unknown, and who has compromised with none of
the lofty principles of a saintly education. Young girls are
indeed a formidable public, for they ought not to be allowed
to read books less pure than the purity of their souls; they
are forbidden certain reading, just as they are carefully
prevented from seeing social life as it is. Must it not
therefore be a source of pride to a writer to find that he has
pleased you?

God grant that your affection for me has not misled you. Who can tell?
—the future; which you, I hope, will see, though not, perhaps.

Your uncle,
De Balzac.

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