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Sarrasine
Honore de Balzac

Page 1 of 73


SARRASINE 

I was buried in one of those profound reveries to which everybody,
even a frivolous man, is subject in the midst of the most uproarious
festivities.  The clock on the Elysee-Bourbon had just struck midnight.
Seated in a window recess and concealed behind the undulating folds of
a curtain of watered silk, I was able to contemplate at my leisure the
garden of the mansion at which I was passing the evening.  The trees,
being partly covered with snow, were outlined indistinctly against the
grayish background formed by a cloudy sky, barely whitened by the
moon.  Seen through the medium of that strange atmosphere, they bore a
vague resemblance to spectres carelessly enveloped in their shrouds, a
gigantic image of the famous /Dance of Death/.  Then, turning in the
other direction, I could gaze admiringly upon the dance of the living!
a magnificent salon, with walls of silver and gold, with gleaming
chandeliers, and bright with the light of many candles.  There the
loveliest, the wealthiest women in Paris, bearers of the proudest
titles, moved hither and thither, fluttered from room to room in
swarms, stately and gorgeous, dazzling with diamonds; flowers on their

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