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Modeste Mignon

Modeste Mignon by Honoré de Balzac
By: (1799-1850)

Modeste Mignon, a young provincial woman of romantic temperament, imagines herself to be in love with the famous Parisian poet Melchior de Canalis. However, he is not moved by her attentions. He invites his secretary Ernest de la Brière to "deal with the matter". Ernest answers Modeste's letters in his name and acts as her lover, disguised as Canalis. The scene changes dramatically when Ernest discoveres that Modest is, in fact, a rich heiress. Would he be able to win her heart despite his lie?

First Page:


By Honore De Balzac

Translated by Katharine Prescott Wormeley


To a Polish Lady.

Daughter of an enslaved land, angel through love, witch through fancy, child by faith, aged by experience, man in brain, woman in heart, giant by hope, mother through sorrows, poet in thy dreams, to thee belongs this book, in which thy love, thy fancy, thy experience, thy sorrow, thy hope, thy dreams, are the warp through which is shot a woof less brilliant than the poesy of thy soul, whose expression, when it shines upon thy countenance, is, to those who love thee, what the characters of a lost language are to scholars.

De Balzac.



At the beginning of October, 1829, Monsieur Simon Babylas Latournelle, notary, was walking up from Havre to Ingouville, arm in arm with his son and accompanied by his wife, at whose side the head clerk of the lawyer's office, a little hunchback named Jean Butscha, trotted along like a page... Continue reading book >>

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