Honore de Balzac: Cousin Betty

0. Dedication (continued)

The two sketches I dedicate to you are the two eternal aspects of one and the same fact. Homo duplex, said the great Buffon: why not add Res duplex? Everything has two sides, even virtue. Hence Moliere always shows us both sides of every human problem; and Diderot, imitating him, once wrote, "This is not a mere tale"--in what is perhaps Diderot's masterpiece, where he shows us the beautiful picture of Mademoiselle de Lachaux sacrificed by Gardanne, side by side with that of a perfect lover dying for his mistress.

In the same way, these two romances form a pair, like twins of opposite sexes. This is a literary vagary to which a writer may for once give way, especially as part of a work in which I am endeavoring to depict every form that can serve as a garb to mind.

Most human quarrels arise from the fact that both wise men and dunces exist who are so constituted as to be incapable of seeing more than one side of any fact or idea, while each asserts that the side he sees is the only true and right one. Thus it is written in the Holy Book, "God will deliver the world over to divisions." I must confess that this passage of Scripture alone should persuade the Papal See to give you the control of the two Chambers to carry out the text which found its commentary in 1814, in the decree of Louis XVIII.

May your wit and the poetry that is in you extend a protecting hand over these two histories of "The Poor Relations"

Of your affectionate humble servant,

PARIS, August-September, 1846.

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