Get it here.
A can't really give a brief outline of the plot without giving it all away - and a great deal of the effect of the story derives from the surprise ending.
I have read some Balzac, but had forgotten how beautifully he writes - he can take a long time to get to the point, and you just don't care.
This solo is read by ChipDoc, a librivox stalwart, who has read many chapters in other works, and he has a wonderful reading voice. Do yourself a favour: download this book and listen to it. It is shocking, funny, thought provoking and read by a man with a voice that conjours up visions of a book lined study, late at night, after a few glasses of fine brandy. He puts down his cigar and tells you a fantastic story, that you only half believe. But I bet you don't forget it.
Next: Whose Body by Dorothy L Sayers, read by my near namesake Kristin Hughes, and the incomparable Kayray. Yay! I plan to finish this by Bloomsday, so that I start another assault on Mt. Ulysses, this time from the South Face.