It includes two stories, The Illustrious Gaudissart and The Muse of the Department. The commercial traveller, a personage unknown to antiquity, is one of the striking figures created by the manners and customs of our present epoch. He is their vehicle; he sets them going, carries them along, rubs them up with one another. He takes from the luminous centre a handful of light, and scatters it broadcast among the drowsy populations of the duller regions. This human pyrotechnic is a scholar without learning, a juggler hoaxed by himself, an unbelieving priest of mysteries and dogmas, which he expounds all the better for his want of faith.