For the first story in the third Decade of his series of short works, Honoré de Balzac was to return to the theme of sublimation of love into art in the last of the second Decade, but with a different emphasis. “Desperate Love” had been about a young man who poured his desires into his excellent sculpting because he could not manage with a woman; in “Persistent Love” as entitled by the Folio Society, or the Bibliophilist Society’s “Despair in Love”, the goldsmith absorbed himself with world class intricate jewellery giving him no thought for sexual involvement until his own fourth decade.
He fell for a young woman who, as a serf, was owned by the Abbey, as would become any husband she chose. The two lovers remained steadfastly secular, especially as the Abbot tested them to limit, refusing to make any exception to the rules. A promise was made between him and the jeweller.
Did either keep his side of the bargain? As is my wont I won’t give any more details save to say that “great love triumphs over everything”.
Here is Mervyn Peak’s illustration for The Folio Society;
and Gustave Doré’s set for The Bibliophilist Society.
Further details of the publications are given in https://derrickjknight.com/2023/01/06/droll-tales-1/ except that there are no pictures here by Jean de Bosschère as I do not have any of the third Decade by him.