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Rise and Fall of Cesar Birotteau
Balzac

Page 1 of 606


RISE AND FALL OF CESAR BIROTTEAU 

PART I 

CESAR AT HIS APOGEE 

During winter nights noise never ceases in the Rue Saint-Honore except
for a short interval.  Kitchen-gardeners carrying their produce to
market continue the stir of carriages returning from theatres and
balls.  Near the middle of this sustained pause in the grand symphony
of Parisian uproar, which occurs about one o'clock in the morning, the
wife of Monsieur Cesar Birotteau, a perfumer established near the
Place Vendome, was startled from her sleep by a frightful dream.  She
had seen her double.  She had appeared to herself clothed in rags,
turning with a shrivelled, withered hand the latch of her own shop-
door, seeming to be at the threshold, yet at the same time seated in
her armchair behind the counter.  She was asking alms of herself, and

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