This title comprises three of the titles that are part of the Private Life (Scènes de la Vie de Privée) subseries of La Comédie Humaine. They are published in the years 1832-1833. The titles are:
- La Bourse (The Purse)
- Le Message (The Message)
- La Grenadière (La Grenadière)
La Bourse (The Purse) is a subtle story in which an artist must try and make sense of the conflicting signs he observes in Madame de Rouville's apartment, as though he is trying to decipher a work of art, a theme Balzac will come back to in subsequent works.
For Le Message (The Message), Balzac says "I have always longed to tell a simple and true story, which should strike terror into two young lovers, and drive them to take refuge each in the other's heart, as two children cling together at the sight of a snake by a woodside."
La Grenadière (La Grenadière) is the countryside where a mother retreats with her two sons, for undisclosed reasons. Originally called Les Orphelins (The Orphans) in the manuscript, the title has been changed by Balzac afterwards for publication.