It was full of jottings anent people, places, and things that he had come across in the preceding lustrum. The idea of taking up business was mooted to him first by a Monsieur d'Assonvillez, an acquaintance of Madame de Berny, whom he used to see and talk with when staying, as he occasionally did, at the small apartment rented by his father in Paris.
Matters now looked very black, as Balzac owed about 70,000 francs; but M. d'Assonvillez was evidently much impressed by his business capacity, and was naturally anxious to be repaid the money he had lent.
The money necessary for the partnership was lent to him by Monsieur d'Assonvillez, who, as a sharp business man, imposed conditions on the loan which secured him from loss in case of failure. The price was high, twenty francs for each work; and additional drawbacks were the smallness of the type and the poorness of the engravings.
But the senior partner, he who should have financed the concern with all the more wariness as d'Assonvillez, the principal supplier of capital, had a mortgage upon the whole estate, allowed himself to be paid for his printing, more often than not, in bills for which no provision was forthcoming and in securities that were rotten.
Monsieur d'Assonvillez being still an interested adviser, Balzac now submitted to him a project for retrieving his losses by adding a printing to his publishing business. The stock and goodwill of a printer were to be bought, and a working type-setter, named Barbier, was to be associated as a second principal in the affair, on account of his practical experience.
When he went up to Paris to make arrangements for publishing his novels, he stayed in the old lodgings of his family in the Rue du Roi Dore, and here he often met a friend, M. d'Assonvillez, to whom he confided his fear of being forced into an occupation distasteful to him.
M. d'Assonvillez was sympathetic, advised him to seek for a business which would make him independent, and, carried away by Honore's powers of persuasion and eloquence, actually promised to proved the necessary funds.