A Little Tour In France, By Henry James



























































































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It was not, all the same, for the sake of this check-
ered story that I mentioned the Palais de - Page 7
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It Was Not, All The Same, For The Sake Of This Check- Ered Story That I Mentioned The Palais De Justice And The Rue Royale.

The most interesting fact, to my mind, about the high-street of Tours was that as you walked toward the bridge on the right-hand _trottoir_ you can look up at the house, on the other side of the way, in which Honore de Balzac first saw the light.

That violent and complicated genius was a child of the good-humored and succulent Touraine. There is something anomalous in the fact, though, if one thinks about it a little, one may discover certain correspondences between his character and that of his native province. Strenuous, laborious, constantly in felicitous in spite of his great successes, he suggests at times a very different set of influences. But he had his jovial, full-feeding side, - the side that comes out in the "Contes Drolatiques," which are the romantic and epicurean chronicle of the old manors and abbeys of this region. And he was, moreover, the product of a soil into which a great deal of history had been trodden. Balzac was genuinely as well as affectedly monarchical, and he was saturated with, a sense of the past. Number 39 Rue Royale - of which the base ment, like all the basements in the Rue Royale, is occupied by a shop - is not shown to the public; and I know not whether tradition designates the chamber in which the author of "Le Lys dans la Vallee" opened his eyes into a world in which he was to see and to imagine such extraordinary things.

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