This novel opens in the old town of Guerande which still enclosed by mighty walls and possesses moats still full of water. The houses have not changed and the streets are as they were one hundred years in the past. It is the family seat of the de Guenics. The old society of the town gather here to play cards and gossip, often about the younger generations. The son of the house, Calyste, is going to visit one of the main objects of this gossip and we learn of this person’s past. While on this visit, Calyste hears of Beatrix de Rochefide who is coming to Guerande on a visit. „Béatrix” is an 1839 novel by French author Honoré de Balzac and included in the „Scenes de la vie privée” section of his novel sequence „La Comédie humaine”. Balzac based the characters in this novel on real figures: Félicité des Touches, a celebrated musician and writer, is based on George Sand. Béatrix de Rochefide is based on Marie d’Agoult (who wrote under the pen name of Daniel Stern); Gennaro Conti is based on Franz Liszt; Claude Vignon is based on Gustave Planche.