Honore de Balzac: The Country Doctor


"Pray, come in, sir!" cried Jacquotte. "A pretty time the gentlemen have been waiting for you! It is always the way! You always manage to spoil the dinner for me whenever it ought to be particularly good. Everything is cooked to death by this time----"

"Oh! well, here we are," answered Benassis with a smile.

The two horsemen dismounted, and went off to the salon, where the guests invited by the doctor were assembled.

"Gentlemen," he said taking Genestas by the hand, "I have the honor of introducing you to M. Bluteau, captain of a regiment of cavalry stationed at Grenoble--an old soldier, who has promised me that he will stay among us for a little while."

Then, turning to Genestas, he presented to him a tall, thin, gray- haired man, dressed in black.

"This gentleman," said Benassis, "is M. Dufau, the justice of the peace of whom I have already spoken to you, and who has so largely contributed to the prosperity of the Commune." Then he led his guest up to a pale, slight young man of middle height, who wore spectacles, and was also dressed in black. "And this is M. Tonnelet," he went on, "M. Gravier's son-in-law, and the first notary who came to the village."

The doctor next turned to a stout man, who seemed to belong half to the peasant, half to the middle class, the owner of a rough-pimpled but good-humored countenance.

"This is my worthy colleague M. Cambon," he went on, the timber- merchant, to whom I owe the confidence and good-will of the people here. He was one of the promoters of the road which you have admired. I have no need to tell you the profession of this gentleman," Benassis added, turning to the curate. "Here is a man whom no one can help loving."

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