Droll Tales 10

The constant cold we are currently experiencing at home is becoming energy sapping enough for me to stay indoors and read more of Balzac’s Droll Tales.

The Folio Society have opted for the title Last Word for the tenth tale in the first Decade of Honoré de Balzac’s characteristically amusing stories.

This is a short account of unrequited lust, teasing temptation, crafty cuckolding, hopeless hatred and craving for vengeance, in what is presented as a warning lesson.

Here is Mervyn Peake’s sensitive illustration to the Folio Society edition.

Gustave Doré’s publishers have named the story “The Reproach”,

while the Bodley Head, for whom Jean de Bosschère provided the picture, prefer “The Rebuke”.

Further details of each of these publications is given in https://derrickjknight.com/2023/01/06/droll-tales-1/

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s flavoursome chicken and vegetable stewp with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Syrah.


  1. I know what it feels like to constantly feel the cold and it’s not funny. However, I’ve not been in your circumstances where it has lasted for months. I sympathise with you all.

  2. I do hope the weather turns warm for you and Jackie. To be so cold for so long is not good for either of you. A little more than a week to go, and hopefully they will fix it for good, or at least fix it enough to limp it along until it can be replaced.

    1. Thank you very much, Lavinia. Limping won’t be acceptable. The boiler and system (above ground, anyway) is not yet 5 years old.

  3. I’m always glad to see these illustrations that you share, Derrick. I was just talking with a co-worker about how adult books with drawings and sketches are lost to the past.

  4. It’s horrible that you all have been without heat for so long. 🙁

    I always enjoy seeing the illustrations you choose to share. I’ve always admired and appreciated book illustrations and their artists.
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

  5. For me, there’s quite a sharp contrast here between Jean de Bosschère as an artist, and Gustave Doré, the very famous artist. The latter had just so much talent!

  6. I was as fascinated by the different titles as the illustrations–rebuke and reproach so different.
    I’m sorry you’re still dealing with a cold house.

  7. I spend the coldest parts of the year, thanks to a poorly heated/ insulated apartment, under covers and over-dressed so I can appreciate your current status! Stay warm and enjoy the read.

    1. Not so, but condensation runs down the bedroom walls after a night’s breathing sleep. Thanks very much, Q

  8. Love this iteration of the Droll Tales. I’m appalled that you still don’t have heal, this has gone on much too long. Hope they can get it fixed this time. At least the oven works so you and Jackie can get regular warm meals.

    1. Yours seems worse than ours, which is normally comparatively mild, Byung. Thank you very much

  9. The illustrations are fascinating, Derrick. I can’t believe you still don’t have heat but at least you have Jackie’s delicious meals to look forward to.

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