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Gambara - Honore de Balzac

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by Honore de Balzac

Translated by Clara Bell and James Waring


  To Monsieur le Marquis de Belloy

  It was sitting by the fire, in a mysterious and magnificent
  retreat,--now a thing of the past but surviving in our memory,--
  whence our eyes commanded a view of Paris from the heights of
  Belleville to those of Belleville, from Montmartre to the
  triumphal Arc de l'Etoile, that one morning, refreshed by tea,
  amid the myriad suggestions that shoot up and die like rockets
  from your sparkling flow of talk, lavish of ideas, you tossed to
  my pen a figure worthy of Hoffmann,--that casket of unrecognized
  gems, that pilgrim seated at the gate of Paradise with ears to
  hear the songs of the angels but no longer a tongue to repeat
  them, playing on the ivory keys with fingers crippled by the
  stress of divine inspiration, believing that he is expressing
  celestial music to his bewildered listeners.

  It was you who created GAMBARA; I have only clothed him. Let me
  render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, regretting only
  that you do not yourself take up the pen at a time when gentlemen
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