Repertory of the Comedie Humaine, by Honoré de Balzac

W

WADMANN, an Englishman who owned, near the Marville estate in Normandie, a cottage and pasture-lands, which Madame Camusot de Marville talked of buying in 1845, when he was about to leave for England after twenty years’ sojourn in France. [Cousin Pons.]

WAHLENFER or WALHENFER, wealthy German merchant who was murdered at the “Red Inn,” near Andenach, Rhenish Prussia, October, 1799. The deed was done by Jean-Frederic Taillefer, then a surgeon and under-assistant-major in the French army, who suffered his comrade, Prosper Magnan, to be executed for the crime. Wahlenfer was a short, heavy-set man of rotund appearance, with frank and cordial manners. He was proprietor of a large pin-manufactory on the outskirts of Neuwied. He was from Aix-la-Chapelle. Possibly Wahlenfer was an assumed name. [The Red Inn.]

WALLENROD-TUSTALL-BARTENSTILD (Baron de), born in 1742, banker at Frankfort-on-the-Main; married in 1804, his only daughter, Bettina, to Charles Mignon de la Bastie, then only a lieutenant in the French army; died in 1814, following some disastrous speculations in cotton. [Modeste Mignon.]

WATSCHILDINE, a London firm which did business with F. de Nucingen, the banker. On a dark autumn evening in 1821, the cashier, Rodolphe Castanier, was surprised by the satanic John Melmoth, while he was in the act of forging the name of his employer on some letters of credit drawn on the Watschildine establishment. [Melmoth Reconciled.]

WATTEBLED, grocer in Soulanges, Bourgogne, in 1823; father of the beautiful Madame Plissoud; was in middle class society; kept a store on the first floor of a house belonging to Soudry, the mayor. [The Peasantry.]

WATTEVILLE (Baron de), Besancon gentleman of Swiss descent; last descendant of the well known Dom Jean de Watteville, the renegade Abbe of Baumes (1613-1703); small and very thin, rather deficient mentally; spent his life in a cabinet-maker’s establishment “enjoying utter ignorance”; collected shells and geological specimens; usually in good humor. After living in the Comte, “like a bug in a rug,” in 1815 he married Clotilde-Louise de Rupt, who domineered over him completely. As soon as her parents died, about 1819, he lived with her in the beautiful Rupt house on rue de la Prefecture, a piece of property which included a large garden extending along the rue du Perron. By his wife, the Baron de Watteville had one daughter, whom he loved devotedly, so much, indeed, that he lost all authority over her. M. de Watteville died in 1836, as a result of his fall into the lake on his estate of Rouxey, near Besancon. He was buried on an islet in this same lake, and his wife, making great show of her sorrow, had erected thereon a Gothic monument of marble like the one to Heloise and Abelard in the Pere-Lachaise. [Albert Savarus.]

WATTEVILLE (Baronne de), wife of the preceding, and after his death of Amedee de Soulas. (See Soulas, Madame A. de.)

WATTEVILLE (Rosalie de), only daughter of the preceding couple; born in 1816; a blonde with colorless cheeks and pale-blue eyes; slender and frail of body; resembled one of Albert Durer’s saints. Reared under her mother’s stern oversight, accustomed to the most rigid religious observances, kept in ignorance of all worldly matters, she entirely concealed uner her modesty of manner and retiring disposition her iron character, and her romantic audacity, so like that of her great-uncle, the Abbe de Watteville; and which was increased by the resoluteness and pride of the Rupt blood; although destined to marry Amedee de Soulas, “la fleur de pois”* of Besancon, she became enamoured of the attorney, Albert Savaron de Savarus. By successfully carrying out her schemes she separated him from the Duchesse d’Argaiolo, although these two were mutually in love — a separation which caused Savarus great despair. He never knew of Rosalie’s affection for him, and withdrew to the Grande Chartreuse. Mademoiselle de Watteville then lived for some time in Paris with her mother, who was then the wife of Amedee de Soulas. She tried to see the Duchesse d’Argaiolo, who, believing Savarus faithless, had given her hand to the Duc de Rhetore. In February, 1838, on meeting her at a charity ball given for the benefit of the former civil pensioners, Rosalie made an appointment with her for the Opera ball, when she told her former rival the secret of her manoeuvres against Madame de Rhetore, and of her conduct as regards the attorney. Mademoiselle de Watteville retired finally to Rouxey — a place which she left, only to take a trip in 1841 on an unknown mission, from which she came back seriously crippled, having lost an arm and a leg in a boiler explosion on a steamboat. Henceforth she devoted her life to the exercises of religion, and left her retreat no more. [Albert Savarus.]

* Title of one of the first editions of “A Marriage Settlement.”

WERBRUST, associated with Palma, Parisian discounter on rue Saint-Denis and rue Saint-Martin, during the Restoration; knew the story of the glory and decay of Cesar Birotteau, the perfumer, who was mayor of the second district; was the friend of the banker, Jean-Baptiste d’Aldrigger, at whose burial he was present; carried on business with the Baron de Nucingen, making a shrewd speculation when the latter settled for the third time with his creditors in 1836. [Cesar Birotteau. The Firm of Nucingen.]

WERCHAUFFEN (Baron de), one of Schirmer’s aliases. (See Schirmer.)

WIERZCHOWNIA (Adam de), Polish gentleman, who, after the last division of Poland, found refuge in Sweden, where he sought consolation in the study of chemistry, a study for which he had always felt a strong liking. Poverty compelled him to give up his study, and he joined the French army. In 1809, while on the way to Douai, he was quartered for one night with M. Balthazar Claes. During a conversation with his host, he explained to him his ideas on the subject of “identity of matter” and the absolute, thus bringing misfortune on a whole family, for from that moment Balthazar Claes devoted time and money to this quest of the absolute. Adam de Wierzchownia, while dying at Dresden, in 1812, of a wound received during the last wars, wrote a final letter to Balthazar Claes, informing him of the different thoughts relative to the search in question, which had been in his mind since their first meeting. By this writing, he increased the misfortunes of the Claes family. Adam de Wierzchownia had an angular wasted countenance, large head which was bald, eyes like tongues of fire, a large mustache. His calmness of manner frightened Madame Balthazar Claes.* [The Quest of the Absolute.]

* Under the title of Gold, or the Dream of a Savant, there is a play by Bayard and Bieville, which presents the misfortunes of the Claes. This was given at the Gymnase, November 11, 1837, by M. Bouffe and Madame E. Sauvage, both of whom are still alive.

WILLEMSENS (Marie-Augusta). (See Brandon,* Comtesse de.)

* Lady Brandon was the mother of Louis Gaston and Marie Gaston.

WIMPHEN (De), married a friend of Madame d’Aiglemont’s childhood. [A Woman of Thirty.]

WIMPHEN (Madame Louisa de), childhood friend of Madame Julie d’Aiglemont in school at Ecouen. In 1814, Madame d’Aiglemont wrote to the companion, who was then on the point of marrying, of her own disillusionment, and confidentially advised her to remain single. This letter, however, was not sent, for the Comtesse de Listomere-Landon, aunt of Julie d’Aiglemont by marriage, having found out about it, discouraged such an impropriety on the part of her niece. Unlike her friend, Madame de Wimphen married happily. She retained the confidence of Madame d’Aiglemont, and was present, indeed, at the important interview between Julie and Lord Grenville. After M. de Wimphen’s arrival to accompany his wife home, these two lovers were left alone, until the unexpected arrival of M. d’Aiglemont made it necessary for Lord Grenville to conceal himself. The Englishman died shortly after this as a result of the night’s exposure, when he was obliged to stay in the cold on the outside of a window-sill. This happened also immediately after his fingers were bruised by a rapidly closed door. [A Woman of Thirty.]

WIRTH, valet of the banker, J.-B. d’Aldrigger; remained in the service of Mesdames d’Aldrigger, mother and daughters, after the death of the head of the family. He showed them the same devotion, of which he had often given proof. Wirth was a kind of Alsatian Caleb or Gaspard, aged and serious, but with much of the cunning mingled with his simple nature. Seeing in Godefroid de Beaudenord a good husband for Isaure d’Aldrigger, he was able to entrap him easily, and thus was partly responsible for their marriage. [The Firm of Nucingen.]

WISCH (Johann). Fictitious name given in a newspaper for Johann Fischer, when he had been accused of peculation. [Cousin Betty.]

WISSEMBOURG (Prince de), one of the titles of Marechal Cottin, the Duc d’Orfano. [Cousin Betty.]

WITSCHNAU. (See Gaudin.)

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