Study of a Woman
Honoré de Balzac
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The Marquise de Listomere is one of those young women who have been brought up in the spirit of the Restoration. She has principles, she fasts, takes the sacrament, and goes to balls and operas very elegantly dressed; her confessor permits her to combine the mundane with sanctity. Always in conformity with the Church and with the world, she presents a living image of the present day, which seems to have taken the word "legality" for its motto. At the present moment she is strictly virtuous from policy, possibly from inclination. Some women are reserving their opinion of her until the moment when Monsieur de Listomere becomes a peer of France, when she herself will be thirty-six years of age, a period of life when most women discover that they are the dupes of social laws.