BALBI (CLORINDE), daughter of Comtesse Balbi, was a lady of great
beauty, but of eccentric habits. Her position in society being
precarious, she determined to establish it by a good marriage, and used
every endeavour to induce Eugene Rougon to make her his wife. Having
become fascinated by her beauty and charm, he made overtures which she
resisted in the belief that he would be the more certain to marry her.
He practically decided to do so, but reflection convinced him that
marriage with Clorinde Balbi would only injure his prospects of
political success. He suggested to her that she should marry his friend
Delestang, who was a man of wealth and position, and had expressed
admiration for her. Though naturally piqued at such a suggestion coming
from Rougon, she consented, and soon after was married. She remained on
outwardly friendly terms with Rougon, who was still infatuated by her,
but was determined to make him regret the slight he had put upon her.
After Rougon's return to office, Delestang, her husband, was, at her
request, appointed Minister of Commerce and Agriculture. She had not,
however, forgiven Rougon, and privately took a leading part in the
agitation against his administration. Having become on somewhat
equivocal terms with the Emperor, she was able to secure the acceptance
of Rougon's second resignation, and the office of Minister of the
Interior for her husband. Son Excellence Eugene Rougon.