The grain of gold dropped by his mother into his heart was beaten thin in the smithy of Parisian society; he had spread it superficially, and it was worn away by the friction of life. Charles was only twenty-one years old. At that age the freshness of youth seems inseparable from candor and sincerity of soul. The voice, the glance, the face itself, seem in harmony with the feelings; and thus it happens that the sternest judge, the most sceptical lawyer, the least complying of usurers, always hesitate to admit decrepitude of heart or the corruption of worldly calculation while the eyes are still bathed in purity and no wrinkles seam the brow.
That paragraph would just as well have fitted in The Picture of Dorian Gray.
I don't know where all these characters will drive the plot to end. I have this sense of doom, but I'm wondering how spread it'll be. I'm refraining from refreshing my knowledge on some history bits so as to not spoil myself.