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From the Scenes of Private Life section of Honore de Balzac's great masterwork The Human Comedy, this novella is set at a grand ball at the height of the Napoleonic era. The usual suspects from the city's aristocracy are joined by a newcomer—a mysterious, beautiful young woman whose eyes seem to bespeak an overwhelming sadness. Several of the men in attendance vie for her affections—and all of their lives are changed in the course of a single evening.