This, however, and some minor matters, may be left to the reader to find out and appreciate. The most interesting point, and the most debatable, is the character of the heroine with, in a lesser degree, that of the hero. Of M. Felix de Vandenesse it is not necessary to say very much, be cause that capital letter from Madame de Manerville (one of the very best things that Balzac ever wrote, and exhibiting a sharpness and precision of mere writing which he too fre quently lacked) does fair, though not complete, justice on the young man. The lady, who was not a model of excellence herself, perhaps did not perceive — for it does not seem to have been in her nature to conceal it through kindness — that he was not only as she tells him, wanting in tact, but also wanting, and that execrably, in taste. M. De Vandenesse, I think, ranks in Balzac's list of good heroes; at any rate he saves him later from a fate which he rather richly deserves, and introduces him honorably in other places. But he was not a nice young man. His pawing and timid advances on Madame de Mortsauf, and his effusive kissing and telling in reference to Lady Dudley, both smack of the worst sides of Rousseau they deserve not so much moral reprehension as physical kicking. It is no wonder that Madeleine de Mortsauf turned a cold shoulder on him; and it is an addition to his demerits that he seems to have thought her unjust in doing so.