Read An Episode Under The Terror by Honoré de Balzac Online


Dans une sombre ruelle, un homme suit une vieille femme qui se révèle être une religieuse allant chercher des hosties dans une pâtisserie. Hosties qu’elle doit apporter à l’abbé Marolles pour célébrer la messe....

Title : An Episode Under The Terror
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781605890838
Format Type : Other Book
Number of Pages : 20 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

An Episode Under The Terror Reviews

  • Connor
    2019-02-14 14:12

    A good story, with a bit of an O. Henry-esque twist.

  • Lisa
    2019-02-10 17:10

    This is a perfect little story, a superb illustration of human nature at its best and at its most base. This is not a review: it is a summary of the story from my 2006 reading journal and there are spoilers throughout.A nun, forced from her abbey when it was sacked under The Terror (see, makes her way to a pastrycook to buy wafers for the now forbidden mass. On the way she realises she is being followed - and her terror is palpable. The pastrycook and his wife are moved momentarily by compassion but they take her money despite her extreme poverty and despite knowing that if they are Catholics themselves, they ought to donate the wafers instead of charging her for them. When the pastrycook sees who it is that has been following the nun, he is terrified too, and reneges on his offer to escort her home and tries to take back the box of wafers. Balzac is such a profound observer of human nature! This man and his wife are drawn two ways, by pity and by self-interest, and next we see them try to salve their consciences with words justifying what they have done.The nun sets off again alone, her pursuer in tow. The reader, at this stage of the story doesn't know that she is a nun, only that the pastrycook feared to serve her. The reader also doesn't know that he has supplied the wafers for communion and the mystery is deepened but his curse: 'Don't come to me for material for your plots!'The old lady reaches her home, a hovel in a seedy part of Paris, and flits upstairs just in time to tell the priest to hide himself and the wafers. However he calms her, telling her that they are expecting someone who is to help them escape. Thinking it is he, they admit the stranger, though the priest still hides.The stranger wins their confidence, and begs a funeral mass for 'the repose of the soul of an august personage whose body will never rest in consecrated earth'. He means the recently executed King Louis XVI, but neither the priest nor the nun realise this. Thereafter, however, their lives are a little easier. They are sent clothes to help them blend in un-noticed, they receive 'civic cards' to legitimise their existence, and 'tidings for the priest's safety' come their way. The stranger's great grief during the funeral mass and his ardent intentions to repeat it every year intrigue the priest. He guesses that the stranger must be one of the conspirators under the Terror and urges confession and absolution. The stranger claims to be guiltless, yet his grief and repentance is profound. He asks the priest the question which has bedevilled moralists from Henry VIII to the Nuremburg Trials: should participation in evil acts be punished when one is only following orders? For him there are two competing dogmas: obedience as the first principle of military law versus respect for the king as a matter of religion.The stranger's mysterious gift of the king's handkerchief 'soiled with sweat' and blood, is revealed at the end. The Terror is over as Robespierre himself is guillotined, and the priest, free to go abroad at last, is at a perfumier's. A crowd goes by to witness another execution, and this time it is the stranger's. He was the executioner who had guillotined the king.'There was a heart in the steel blades when none was found in all France'I am not a monarchist, but this story made me think deeply about what a terrible thing it would be to have to live with, being responsible for the death of a king.

  • Phil
    2019-01-20 17:16

    A short story set in 1793 / 1794, suggested as #3 in the Human Comedy reading order I'm using. It was interesting (and surprisingly short and concise for Balzac) - a well-written, well-crafted story that sets up its atmosphere of suspense and fear very well at the start, putting across the hard life of panic, mistrust and loneliness that aristocrats and relgious had to contend with during the years following the revolution. It even has a pay-off at the end, with a turnaround that's a little over-wrought considering that most readers will have grasped the significance of the handkerchief already, without needing it spelt out for them. But, on the whole, an enjoyable interlude in the v long series of writings.

  • Nyna
    2019-01-22 14:55

    This is the first I have read by the prolific Honore de Balzac, and what a delight and surprise. It is a short story with every page built with excitement. It is clear why Balzac is considered a great author. Not only is the writing superb, but the story-line is tightly written.

  • Hildegart
    2019-01-19 12:51

    A year ago I had read Old Man Goriot for a French history class, so when I came across this story I decided to pick it up and read. I enjoyed this story quite a bit, especially since I had taken that history class. If you don't know about what was going on in France at that time, I would suggest pulling up a timeline.

  • Laura
    2019-02-06 14:18

    This book is part of volume 17 of "La Comedie Humaine" as part of "Scènes de la vie politique".Sanson par Eugène Lampsonius:

  • Dagny
    2019-02-10 19:20

    An Episode Under the Terror (Un Episode sous la Terreur) is considered one of Balzac's short masterpieces and has been favorably compared to the short stories of Guy de Maupassant. It is set in 1793 and is full of mystery and suspense. An excellent read.

  • Patrick
    2019-02-03 13:15

    Not one of my favorites of his stories, but Balzac is Balzac--I'm yet to read a part of the Comedy that I didn't, in some way, enjoy.

  • Steve Schoenbeck
    2019-02-09 16:15

    An excellent, if brief, description of what it must have been like to be living at the time of the French Revolution, when peoople were being persecuted for their religious beliefs.

  • Jill
    2019-01-19 18:21

    My first taste of Balzac. Enjoyed it very much! Another story read for my World Lit classes.

  • Nancy
    2019-01-29 20:06

    Oui, j'aime ça! A short story really, and Balzac manages to evoke so much with this short work. His endings always clinch it for me...always a twist.

  • Fábio Jorge
    2019-01-24 20:56

    Great short story!

  • Eadweard
    2019-01-28 20:21

    Tsk tsk... royalists.

  • Marts(Thinker)
    2019-01-23 18:00

    Short story by de Balzac encompassing elements of the French Revolution...