Scenes from a Courtesan's Life byHonoré de Balzac
Lucien de Rubempré and "Abbé Herrera" (Vautrin) have made a pact, in which Lucien will arrive at success in Paris if he agrees to follow Vautrin's instructions on how to do so. Esther van Gobseck throws a wrench into Vautrin's best-laid plans, however, because Lucien falls in love with her and she with him. Instead of forcing Lucien to abandon her, he allows Lucien this secret affair, but also makes good use of it. For four years, Esther remains locked away in a house in Paris, taking walks only at night. One night, however, the Baron de Nucingen spots her and falls deeply in love with her. When Vautrin realizes that Nucingen's obsession is with Esther, he decides to use her powers to help advance Lucien.
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