Honoré de Balzac, Katharine Prescott Wormeley (translator)
César is a man of peasant origins from the Touraine region. At the start of the novel, in 1819, he owns a successful perfume shop, La Reine des Roses, he has been elected deputy mayor of his arrondissement in Paris, and he has been awarded the Legion of Honour. During the revolution he took part in the Royalist 13 Vendémiaire uprising against the Republic, at one stage confronting Napoleon Bonaparte himself, and he mentions this often in conversation. He is married to Constance and has a daughter Cesarine. He plans to throw a ball at his home, and make renovations to his home for the ball. He also becomes involved in property speculation with borrowed money, through his notary Roguin. He also plans to expand his business with a new hair oil product, with his assistant Anselme Popinot (who is in love with Cesarine) as his business partner. However all of these plans have caused him to run up large debts.