Repertory of the Comedie Humaine, by Honoré de Balzac

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EMILE, a “lion of the most triumphant kind,” of the acquaintance of Mme. Komorn — Countess Godollo. One evening in 1840 or 1841 this woman, in order to avoid Theodose de la Peyrade, on the Boulevard des Italiens, took the dandy’s arm and requested him to take her to Mabille. [The Middle Classes.]

ESGRIGNON (Charles-Marie-Victor-Ange-Carol, Marquis d’), or, Des Grignons — following the earlier name — commander of the Order of Saint-Louis; born about 1750, died in 1830. Head of a very ancient family of the Francs, the Karawls who came from the North to conquer the Gauls, and who were entrusted with the defence of a French highway. The Esgrignons, quasi-princes under the house of Valois and all-powerful under Henry IV., were very little known at the court of Louis XVIII.; and the marquis, ruined by the Revolution, lived in rather reduced circumstances at Alencon in an old gable-roofed house formerly belonging to him, which had been sold as common property, and which the faithful notary Chesnel had repurchased, together with certain portions of his other estates. The Marquis d’Esgrignon, though not having to emigrate, was still obliged to conceal himself. He participated in the Vendean struggle against the Republic, and was one of the members of the Committee Royal of Alencon. In 1800, at the age of fifty, in the hope of perpetuating his race, he married Mlle. de Nouastre, who died in child-birth, leaving the marquis an only son. M. d’Esgrignon always overlooked the escapades of this child, whose reputation was preserved by Chesnel; and he passed away shortly after the downfall of Charles X., saying: “The Gauls triumph.” [The Chouans. Jealousies of a Country Town.]

ESGRIGNON (Madame d’) nee Nouastre; of blood the purest and noblest; married at twenty-two, in 1800, to Marquis Carol d’Esgrignon, a man of fifty. She soon died at the birth of an only son. She was “the prettiest of human beings; in her person were reawakened the charms — now fanciful — of the feminine figures of the sixteenth century.” [Jealousies of a Country Town.]

ESGRIGNON (Victurnien, Comte, then Marquis d’), only son of Marquis Carol d’Esgrignon; born about 1800 at Alencon. Handsome and intelligent, reared with extreme indulgence and kindness by his aunt, Mlle. Armande d’Esgrignon, he gave himself over without restraint to all the whims usual to the ingenuous egoism of his age. From eighteen to twenty-one he squandered eighty thousand francs without the knowledge of his father and his aunt; the devoted Chesnel footed all the bills. The youthful d’Esgrignon was systematically urged to wrong-doing by an ally of his own age, Fabien du Ronceret, a perfidious fellow of the town whom M. du Croisier employed. About 1823 Victurnien d’Esgrignon was sent to Paris. There he had the misfortune to fall into the society of the Parisian roues— Marsay, Ronquerolles, Trailles, Chardin des Lupeaulx, Vandenesse, Ajuda-Pinto, Beaudenord, Martial de la Roche-Hugon, Manerville, people met at the homes of Marquise d’Espard, the Duchesses de Grandlieu, de Carigliano, de Chaulieu, the Marquises d’Aiglemont and de Listomere, Mme. Firmiani and the Comtesse de Serizy; at the opera and at the embassies — being welcomed on account of his good name and seeming fortune. It was not long until he became the lover of the Duchesse de Maufrigneuse, ruined himself for her and ended by forging a note against M. du Croisier for one hundred thousand francs. His aunt took him back quickly to Alencon, and by a great effort he was rescued from legal proceedings. Following this he fought a duel with M. du Croisier, who wounded him dangerously. Nevertheless, shortly after the death of his father, Victurnien d’Esgrignon married Mlle. Duval, niece of the retired contractor. He did not give himself over to his wife, but instead betook himself to his former gay life of a bachelor. [Jealousies of a Country Town. Letters of Two Brides.] According to Marguerite Turquet “the little D’Esgrignon was well soaked” by Antonia. [A Man of Business.] In 1832 Victurnien d’Esgrignon declared before a numerous company at Mme. d’Espard’s that the Princesse de Cadignan — Mme. de Maufrigneuse — was a dangerous woman. “To her I owe the disgrace of my marriage,” he added. Daniel d’Arthez, who was then in love with this woman, was present at the conversation. [The Secrets of a Princess.] In 1838 Victurnien d’Esgrignon was present with some artists, lorettes and men about town, at the opening of the house on rue de la Ville-Eveque given to Josepha Mirah, by the Duc d’Herouville. The young marquis himself had been Josepha’s lover; Baron Hulot and he had been rivals for her on another occasion. [Cousin Betty.]

ESGRIGNON (Marie-Armande-Claire d’), born about 1775; sister of Marquis Carol d’Esgrignon and aunt of Victurnien d’Esgrignon to whom she had been as a mother, with an absolute tenderness. In his old age her father had married for a second time, and to the young daughter of a tax collector, ennobled by Louis XIV. She was born of this union which was looked upon as a horrible mesalliance, and although the marquis loved her dearly he regarded her as an alien. He made her weep for joy, one day, by saying solemnly: “You are an Esgrignon, my sister.” Emile Blondet, reared at Alencon, had known and loved her in his childhood, and often later he praised her beauty and good qualities. On account of her devotion to her nephew she refused M. de la Roche-Guyon and the Chevalier de Valois, also M. du Bousquier. She gave the fullest proof of her genuinely maternal affection for Victurnien, when the latter committed the crime at Paris, which would have placed him on the prisoner’s bench of the Court of Assizes, but for the clever work of Chesnel. She outlived her brother, given over “to her religion and her over-thrown beliefs.” About the middle of Louis Philippe’s reign Blondet, who had come to Alencon to obtain his marriage license, was again moved on the contemplation of that noble face. [Jealousies of a Country Town.]

ESPARD (Charles-Maurice-Marie-Andoche, Comte de Negrepelisse, Marquis d’), born about 1789; by name a Negrepelisse, of an old Southern family which acquired by a marriage, time of Henry IV., the lands and titles of the family of Espard, of Bearn, which was allied also with the Albret house. The device of the d’Espards was: “Des partem leonis.” The Negrepelisses were militant Catholics, ruined at the time of the Church wars, and afterwards considerably enriched by the despoiling of a family of Protestant merchants, the Jeanrenauds whose head had been hanged after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes. This property, so badly acquired, became wondrously profitable to the Negrepelisses-d’Espards. Thanks to his fortune, the grandfather of the marquis was enabled to wed a Navarreins-Lansac, an extremely wealthy heiress; her father was of the younger branch of the Grandlieus. In 1812 the Marquis d’Espard married Mlle. de Blamont-Chauvry, then sixteen years of age. He had two sons by her, but discord soon arose between the couple. Her silly extravagances forced the marquis to borrow. He left her in 1816, going with his two children to live on rue de la Montagne-Sainte-Genevieve. Here he devoted himself to the education of his boys and to the composition of a great work; “The Picturesque History of China,” the profits of which, combined with the savings resultant from an austere manner of living, allowed him to pay in twelve years’ time to the legatees of the suppliant Jeanrenauds eleven hundred thousand francs, representing the value — time of Louis XIV. — of the property confiscated from their ancestors. This book was written, so to speak, in collaboration with Abbe Crozier, and its financial results aided greatly in comforting the declining years of a ruined friend, M. de Nouvion. In 1828 Mme. d’Espard tried to have a guardian appointed for her husband by ridiculing the noble conduct of the marquis. But the defendant won his rights at court. [The Commission in Lunacy.] Lucien de Rubempre, who entertained Attorney-General Granville with an account of this suit, probably was instrumental in causing the judgment to favor M. d’Espard. Thus he drew upon himself the hatred of the marquise. [Scenes from a Courtesan’s Life.]

ESPARD (Camille, Vicomte d’), second son of Marquis d’Espard; born in 1815; pursued his studies at the college of Henri IV., in company with his elder brother, the Comte Clement de Negrepelisse. He studied rhetoric in 1828. [The Commission in Lunacy.]

ESPARD (Chevalier d’), brother of Marquis d’Espard, whom he wished to see interdicted, in order that he might be made curator. His face was thin as a knife-blade, and he was frigid and severe. Judge Popinot said he reminded him somewhat of Cain. He was one of the deepest personages to be found in the Marquise d’Espard’s drawing-room, and was the political half of that woman. [The Commission in Lunacy. Scenes from a Courtesan’s Life. The Secrets of a Princess.]

ESPARD (Jeanne-Clementine-Athenais de Blamont-Chauvry, Marquise d’), born in 1795; wife of Marquis d’Espard; of one of the most illustrious houses of Faubourg Saint-Germain. Deserted by her husband in 1816, she was at the age of twenty-two mistress of herself and of her fortune, an income of twenty-six thousand francs. At first she lived in seclusion; then in 1820 she appeared at court, gave some receptions at her own home, and did not long delay about becoming a society woman. Cold, vain and coquettish she knew neither love nor hatred; her indifference for all that did not directly concern her was profound. She never showed emotion. She had certain scientific formulas for preserving her beauty. She never wrote but spoke instead, believing that two words from a woman were sufficient to kill three men. More than once she made epigrams to peers or deputies which the courts of Europe treasured. In 1828 she still passed with the men for youthful. Mme. d’Espard lived at number 104 rue du Faubourg Saint-Honore. [The Commission in Lunacy.] She was a magnificent Celimene. She displayed such prudence and severity on her separation from her husband that society was at a loss to account for this disagreement. She was surrounded by her relatives, the Navarreins, the Blamont-Chauvrys and the Lenoncourts; ladies of the highest social position claimed her acquaintance. She was a cousin of Mme. de Bargeton, who was rehabilitated by her on her arrival from Angouleme in 1821, and whom she introduced into Paris, showing her all the secrets of elegant life and taking her away from Lucien de Rubempre. Later, when the “Distinguished Provincial” had won his way into high society, she, at the instance of Mme. de Montcornet, enlisted him on the Royalist side. [A Distinguished Provincial at Paris.] In 1824 she was at an Opera ball to which she had come through an anonymous note, and, leaning on the arm of Sixte du Chatelet, she met Lucien de Rubempre whose beauty struck her and whom she seemed, indeed, not to remember. The poet had his revenge for her former disdain, by means of some cutting phrases, and Jacques Collin — Vautrin — masked, caused her uneasiness by persuading her that Lucien was the author of the note and that he loved her. [Scenes from a Courtesan’s Life.] The Chaulieus were intimate with her at the time when their daughter Louise was courted by Baron de Macumer. [Letters of Two Brides.] Despite the silent opposition of the Faubourg Saint-Germain, after the Revolution of 1830, the Marquise d’Espard did not close her salon, since she did not wish to renounce her Parisian prestige. In this she was seconded by one or two women in her circle and by Mlle. des Touches. [Another Study of Woman.] She was at home Wednesdays. In 1833 she attended a soiree at the home of the Princesse de Cadignan, where Marsay disclosed the mystery surrounding the abduction of Senator Malin in 1806. [The Gondreville Mystery.] Notwithstanding an evil report circulated against her by Mme. d’Espard, the princesse told Daniel d’Arthez that the marquise was her best friend; she was related to her. [The Secrets of a Princess.] Actuated by jealousy for Mme. Felix de Vandenesse, Mme. d’Espard fostered the growing intimacy between the young woman and Nathan the poet; she wished to see an apparent rival compromised. In 1835 the marquise defended vaudeville entertainments against Lady Dudley, who said she could not endure them. [A Daughter of Eve.] In 1840, on leaving the Italiens, Mme. d’Espard humiliated Mme. de Rochefide by snubbing her; all the women followed her example, shunning the mistress of Calyste du Guenic. [Beatrix.] In short the Marquise d’Espard was one of the most snobbish people of her day. Her disposition was sour and malevolent, despite its elegant veneer.

ESTIVAL (Abbe d’), provincial priest and Lenten exhorter at the church of Saint-Jacques du Haut-Pas, Paris. According to Theodose de la Peyrade, who pointed him out to Mlle. Colleville, he was devoted to predication in the interest of the poor. By spirituality and unction he redeemed a scarcely agreeable exterior. [The Middle Classes.]

ESTORADE (Baron, afterwards Comte de l’), a little Provincial gentleman, father of Louis de l’Estorade. A very religious and very miserly man who hoarded for his son. He lost his wife about 1814, who died of grief through lack of hope of ever seeing her son again — having heard nothing of him after the battle of Leipsic. M. de l’Estorade was an excellent grandparent. He died at the end of 1826. [Letters of Two Brides.]

ESTORADE (Louis, Chevalier, then Vicomte and Comte de l’) son of the preceding; peer of France; president of the Chamber in the Court of Accounts; grand officer of the Legion of Honor; born in 1787. After having been excluded from the conscription under the Empire, for a long time, he was enlisted in 1813, serving on the Guard of Honor. At Leipsic he was captured by the Russians and did not reappear in France until the Restoration. He suffered severely in Siberia; at thirty-seven he appeared to be fifty. Pale, lean, taciturn and somewhat deaf, he bore much resemblance to the Knight of the Rueful Countenance. He succeeded, however, in making himself agreeable to Renee de Maucombe whom he married, dowerless, in 1824. Urged on by his wife who became ambitious after becoming a mother, he left Crampade, his country estate, and although a mediocre he rose to the highest offices. [Letters of Two Brides. The Member for Arcis.]

ESTORADE (Madame de l’), born Renee de Maucombe in 1807, of a very old Provencal family, located in the Gemenos Valley, twenty kilometres from Marseilles. She was educated at the Carmelite convent of Blois, where she was intimate with Louise de Chaulieu. The two friends always remained constant. For several years they corresponded, writing about life, love and marriage, when Renee the wise gave to the passionate Louise advice and prudent counsel not always followed. In 1836 Mme. de l’Estorade hastened to the country to be present at the death-bed of her friend, now become Mme. Marie Gaston. Renee de Maucombe was married at the age of seventeen, upon leaving the convent. She gave her husband three children, though she never loved him, devoting herself to the duties of motherhood. [Letters of Two Brides.] In 1838-39 the serenity of this sage person was disturbed by meeting Dorlange-Sallenauve. She believed he sought her, and she must needs fight an insidious liking for him. Mme. de Camps counseled and enlightened Mme. de l’Estorade, with considerable foresight, in this delicate crisis. Some time later, when a widow, Mme. de l’Estorade was on the point of giving her hand to Sallenauve, who became her son-in-law. [The Member for Arcis.] In 1841 Mme. de l’Estorade remarked of M. and Mme. Savinien de Portenduere: “Theirs is the most perfect happiness that I have ever seen!” [Ursule Mirouet.]

ESTORADE (Armand de l’), elder son of M. and Mme. de l’Estorade; godson of Louise de Chaulieu, who was Baronne de Macumer and afterwards Mme. Marie Gaston. Born in December, 1825; educated at the college of Henri IV. At first stupid and meditative, he awakened afterwards, was crowned at Sorbonnne, having obtained first prize for a translation of Latin, and in 1845 made a brilliant showing in his thesis for the degree of doctor of laws. [Letters of Two Brides. The Member for Arcis.]

ESTORADE (Rene de l’), second child of M. and Mme. de l’Estorade. Bold and adventurous as a child. He had a will of iron, and his mother was convinced that he would be “the cunningest sailor afloat.” [Letters of Two Brides.]

ESTORADE (Jeanne-Athenais de l’), daughter and third child of M. and Mme. de l’Estorade. Called “Nais” for short. Married in 1847 to Charles de Sallenauve. (See Sallenauve, Mme. Charles de.)

ESTOURNY (Charles d’), a young dandy of Paris who went to Havre during the Restoration to view the sea, obtained entrance into the Mignon household and eloped with Bettina-Caroline, the elder daughter. He afterwards deserted her and she died of shame. In 1827 Charles d’Estourny was sentenced by the police court for habitual fraud in gambling. [Modeste Mignon.] A Georges-Marie Destourny, who styled himself Georges d’Estourny, was the son of a bailiff, at Boulogne, near Paris, and was undoubtedly identical with Charles d’Estourny. For a time he was the protector of Esther van Gobseck, known as La Torpille. He was born about 1801, and, after having obtained a splendid education, had been left without resources by his father, who was forced to sell out under adverse circumstances. Georges d’Estourny speculated on the Bourse with money obtained from “kept” women who trusted in him. After his sentence he left Paris without squaring his accounts. He had aided Cerizet, who afterwards became his partner. He was a handsome fellow, open-hearted and generous as the chief of robbers. On account of the knaveries which brough him into court, Bixiou nicknamed him “Tricks at Cards.” [Scenes from a Courtesan’s Life. A Man of Business.]

ETIENNE & CO., traders at Paris under the Empire. In touch with Guillaume, clothier of rue Saint-Denis, who foresaw their failure and awaited “with anxiety as at a game of cards.” [At the Sign of the Cat and Racket.]

EUGENE, Corsican colonel of the Sixth regiment of the line, which was made up almost entirely of Italians — the first to enter Tarragone in 1808. Colonel Eugene, a second Murat, was extraordinarily brave. He knew how to make use of the species of bandits who composed his regiment. [The Maranas.]

EUGENIE, assumed name of Prudence Servien, which name see.

EUPHRASIE, Parisian courtesan, time of the Restoration and Louis Philippe. A pretty, winsome blonde with blue eyes and a melodious voice; she had an air of the utmost frankness, yet was profoundly depraved and expert in refined vice. In 1821 she transmitted a terrible and fatal disease to Crottat, the notary. At that time she lived on rue Feydeau. Euphrasie pretended that in her early youth she had passed entire days and nights trying to support a lover who had forsaken her for a heritage. With the brunette, Aquilina, Euphrasie took part in a famous orgy, at the home of Frederic Taillefer, on rue Joubert, where were also Emile Blondet, Rastignac, Bixiou and Raphael de Valentin. Later she is seen at the Theatre-Italien, in company with the aged antiquarian, who had sold Raphael the celebrated “magic skin”; she was running through with the old merchant’s treasures. [Melmoth Reconciled. The Magic Skin.]

EUROPE, assumed name of Prudence Servien, which name see.

EVANGELISTA (Madame), born Casa-Real in 1781, of a great Spanish family collaterally descended from the Duke of Alva and related to the Claes of Douai; a creole who came to Bordeaux in 1800 with her husband, a large Spanish financier. In 1813 she was left a widow, with her daughter. She paid no thought to the value of money, never knowing how to resist a whim. So one morning in 1821 she was forced to call on the broker and expert, Elie Magus, to get an estimate on the value of her magnificent diamonds. She became wearied of life in the country, and therefore favored the marriage of her daughter with Paul de Manerville, in order that she might follow the young couple to Paris where she dreamed of appearing in grand style and of a further exercise of her power. For that matter she displayed much astuteness in arranging the details of this marriage, at which time Maitre Solonet, her notary, was much taken with her, desiring to wed her, and defending her warmly against Maitre Mathias the lawyer for the Manervilles. Beneath the exterior of an excellent woman she knew, like Catherine de Medicis, how to hate and wait. [A Marriage Settlement.]

EVANGELISTA (Natalie), daughter of Mme. Evangelista; married to Paul de Manerville. (See that name.)

EVELINA, young girl of noble blood, wealthy and cultured, of a strict Jansenist family; sought in marriage by Benassis, in the beginning of the Restoration. Evelina reciprocated Benassis’ love, but her parents opposed the match. Evelina died soon after gaining her freedom and the doctor did not survive her long. [The Country Doctor.]

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Last updated Wednesday, March 12, 2014 at 13:31