The excerpt represents the core issue or deciding factor on which you must meditate, and is drawn from Madame Firmiani by Honore de Balzac:|
they were in Paris at the time of Mallet's conspiracy, forgetting that
half an hour earlier they had described how they had crossed the
Beresina. Nearly all Contradictors are "chevaliers" of the Legion of
honor; they talk loudly, have retreating foreheads, and play high.
"Madame Firmiani a hundred thousand francs a year? nonsense, you are
crazy! Some people will persist in giving millions with the liberality
of authors, to whom it doesn't cost a penny to dower their heroines.
Madame Firmiani is simply a coquette, who has lately ruined a young
man, and now prevents him from making a fine marriage. If she were not
so handsome she wouldn't have a penny."
Ah, THAT ONE--of course you recognize him--belongs to the species