THE ENGLISH SCISSORS
A young girl of sixteen had a pink complexion,
and yet used red rouge.
Fouqué's offer had,
as a matter of fact,
taken away all Julien's happiness;
he could not make up his mind to any definite course.
perhaps I am lacking in character.
I should have been a bad soldier of Napoleon.
"my little intrigue with the mistress of the house will distract me a little."
Happily for him,
even in this little subordinate incident,
his inner emotions quite failed to correspond with his flippant words.
He was frightened of Madame de Rênal because of her pretty dress.
In his eyes,
that dress was a vanguard of Paris.
His pride refused to leave anything to chance and the inspiration of the moment.
He made himself a very minute plan of campaign,
moulded on the confidences of Fouqué,
and a little that he had read about love in the Bible.
As he was very nervous,
though he did not admit it to himself,
he wrote down this plan.
Madame de Rênal was alone with him for a moment in the drawing-room on the following morning.
"Have you no other name except Julien,"
Our hero was at a loss to answer so nattering a question.
This circumstance had not been anticipated in his plan.
If he had not been stupid enough to have made a plan,
Julien's quick wit would have served him well,
and the surprise would only have intensified the quickness of his perception.
He was clumsy,
and exaggerated his clumsiness,
Madame de Rênal quickly forgave him.
She attributed it to a charming frankness.
And an air of frankness was the very thing which in her view was just lacking in this man who was acknowledged to have so much genius.
"That little tutor of yours inspires me with a great deal of suspicion,"
said Madame Derville to her sometimes.
"I think he looks as if he were always thinking,
and he never acts without calculation.
He is a sly fox."
Julien remained profoundly humiliated by the misfortune of not having known what answer to make to Madame de Rênal.
"A man like I am ought to make up for this check!"
and seizing the moment when they were passing from one room to another,
he thought it was his duty to give Madame de Rênal a kiss.
Nothing could have been less tactful,
nothing less agreeable,
and nothing more imprudent both for him and for her.
They were within an inch of being noticed.
Madame de Rênal thought him mad.
She was frightened,
and above all,
This stupidity reminded her of M. Valenod.
"What would happen to me,"
she said to herself,
"if I were alone with him?"
All her virtue returned,
because her love was waning.
She so arranged it that one of her children always remained with her.
Julien found the day very tedious,
and passed it entirely in clumsily putting into operation his plan of seduction.
He did not look at Madame de Rênal on a single occasion without that look having a reason,
but nevertheless he was not sufficiently stupid to fail to see that he was not succeeding at all in being amiable,
and was succeeding even less in being fascinating.
Madame de Rênal did not recover from her astonishment at finding him so awkward and at the same time so bold.
"It is the timidity of love in men of intellect,"
she said to herself with an inexpressible joy.
"Could it be possible that he had never been loved by my rival?"
After breakfast Madame de Rênal went back to the drawing-room to receive the visit of M. Charcot de Maugiron,
the sub-prefect of Bray.
She was working at a little frame of fancy-work some distance from the ground.
Madame Derville was at her side;
that was how she was placed when our hero thought it suitable to advance his boot in the full light and press the pretty foot of Madame de Rênal,
whose open-work stockings,
and pretty Paris shoe were evidently attracting the looks of the gallant sub-prefect.
Madame de Rênal was very much afraid,
and let fall her scissors,
her ball of wool and her needles,
so that Julien's movement could be passed for a clumsy effort,
intended to prevent the fall of the scissors,
which presumably he had seen slide.
these little scissors of English steel were broken,
and Madame de Rênal did not spare her regrets that Julien had not succeeded in getting nearer to her.
"You noticed them falling before I did --you could have prevented it,
all your zealousness only succeeding in giving me a very big kick."
All this took in the sub-perfect,
but not Madame Derville.
"That pretty boy has very silly manners,"
The social code of a provincial capital never forgives this kind of lapse.
Madame de Rênal found an opportunity of saying to Julien,
I order you."
Julien appreciated his own clumsiness.
He was upset.
He deliberated with himself for a long time,
in order to ascertain whether or not he ought to be angry at the expression "I order you."
He was silly enough to think she might have said "I order you,"
if it were some question concerning the children's education,
but in answering my love she puts me on an equality.
It is impossible to love without equality ...
and all his mind ran riot in making common-places on equality.
He angrily repeated to himself that verse of Corneille which Madame Derville had taught him some days before.
"L'amour les égalités,
et ne les cherche pas."
Julien who had never had a mistress in his whole life,
but yet insisted on playing the rôle of a Don Juan,
made a shocking fool of himself all day.
He had only one sensible idea.
Bored with himself and Madame de Rênal,
he viewed with apprehension the advance of the evening when he would have to sit by her side in the darkness of the garden.
He told M. de Rênal that he was going to Verrières to see the curé.
He left after dinner,
and only came back in the night.
At Verrières Julien found M. Chélan occupied in moving.
He had just been deprived of his living;
the curate Maslon was replacing him.
Julien helped the good curé,
and it occurred to him to write to Fouqué that the irresistible mission which he felt for the holy ministry had previously prevented him from accepting his kind offer,
but that he had just seen an instance of injustice,
and that perhaps it would be safer not to enter into Holy Orders.
Julien congratulated himself on his subtlety in exploiting the dismissal of the curé of Verrières so as to leave himself a loop-hole for returning to commerce in the event of a gloomy prudence routing the spirit of heroism from his mind.
THE COCK'S SONG
Amour en latin faict amour;
Or done provient d'amour la mart,
souley qui moreq,
If Julien had possessed a little of that adroitness on which he so gratuitously plumed himself,
he could have congratulated himself the following day on the effect produced by his journey to Verrières.
His absence had caused his clumsiness to be forgotten.
But on that day also he was rather sulky.
He had a ludicrous idea in the evening,
and with singular courage he communicated it to Madame de Rênal.
They had scarcely sat down in the garden before Julien brought his mouth near Madame de Rênal's ear without waiting till it was sufficiently dark and at the risk of compromising her terribly,
said to her,
at two o'clock,
I shall go into your room,
I must tell you something."
Julien trembled lest his request should be granted.
His rakish pose weighed him down so terribly that if he could have followed his own inclination he would have returned to his room for several days and refrained from seeing the ladies any more.
He realised that he had spoiled by his clever conduct of last evening all the bright prospects of the day that had just passed,
and was at his wits' end what to do.
Madame de Rênal answered the impertinent declaration which Julien had dared to make to her with indignation which was real and in no way exaggerated.
He thought he could see contempt in her curt reply.
The expression "for shame,"
had certainly occurred in that whispered answer.
Julien went to the children's room under the pretext of having something to say to them,
and on his return he placed himself beside Madame Derville and very far from Madame de Rênal.
He thus deprived himself of all possibility of taking her hand.
The conversation was serious,
and Julien acquitted himself very well,
apart from a few moments of silence during which he was cudgelling his brains.
"Why can't I invent some pretty manœuvre,"
he said to himself which will force Madame de Rênal to vouchsafe to me those unambiguous signs of tenderness which a few days ago made me think that she was mine.
Julien was extremely disconcerted by the almost desperate plight to which he had brought his affairs.
would have embarrassed him more than success.
When they separated at midnight,
his pessimism made him think that he enjoyed Madame Derville's contempt,
and that probably he stood no better with Madame de Rênal.
Feeling in a very bad temper and very humiliated,
Julien did not sleep.
He was leagues away from the idea of giving up all intriguing and planning,
and of living from day to day with Madame de Rênal,
and of being contented like a child with the happiness brought by every day.
He racked his brains inventing clever manœuvres,
which an instant afterwards he found absurd,
to put it shortly,
was very unhappy when two o'clock rang from the castle clock.
The noise woke him up like the cock's crow woke up St. Peter.
The most painful episode was now timed to begin --he had not given a thought to his impertinent proposition,
since the moment when he had made it and it had been so badly received.
"I have told her that I will go to her at two o'clock,"
he said to himself as he got up,
"I may be inexperienced and coarse,
as the son of a peasant naturally would be.
Madame Derville has given me to understand as much,
but at any rate,
I will not be weak."
Julien had reason to congratulate himself on his courage,
for he had never put his self-control to so painful a test.
As he opened his door,
he was trembling to such an extent that his knees gave way under him,
and he was forced to lean against the wall.
He was without shoes;
he went and listened at M. de Rênal's door,
and could hear his snoring.
He was disconsolate,
he had no longer any excuse for not going to her room.
What was he to do there?
He had no plan,
and even if he had had one,
he felt himself so nervous that he would have been incapable of carrying it out.
suffering a thousand times more than if he had been walking to his death,
he entered the little corridor that led to Madame de Rênal's room.
He opened the door with a trembling hand and made a frightful noise.
There was light;
a night light was burning on the mantelpiece.
He had not expected this new misfortune.
As she saw him enter,
Madame de Rênal got quickly out of bed.
There was a little confusion.
Julien forgot his useless plans,
and turned to his natural role.
To fail to please so charming a woman appeared to him the greatest of misfortunes.
His only answer to her reproaches was to throw himself at her feet while he kissed her knees.
As she was speaking to him with extreme harshness,
he burst into tears.
When Julien came out of Madame de Rênal's room some hours afterwards,
one could have said,
adopting the conventional language of the novel,
that there was nothing left to be desired.
he owed to the love he had inspired,
and to the unexpected impression which her alluring charms had produced upon him,
a victory to which his own clumsy tactics would never have led him.
But victim that he was of a distorted pride,
he pretended even in the sweetest moments to play the role of a man accustomed to the subjugation of women: he made incredible but deliberate efforts to spoil his natural charm.
Instead of watching the transports which he was bringing into existence,
and those pangs of remorse which only set their keenness into fuller relief,
the idea of duty was continually before his eyes.
He feared a frightful remorse,
and eternal ridicule,
if he departed from the ideal model he proposed to follow.
In a word,
the very quality which made Julien into a superior being was precisely that which prevented him from savouring the happiness which was placed within his grasp.
It's like the case of a young girl of sixteen with a charming complexion who is mad enough to put on rouge before going to a ball.
Mortally terrified by the apparition of Julien,
Madame de Rênal was soon a prey to the most cruel alarm.
The prayers and despair of Julien troubled her keenly.
Even when there was nothing left for her to refuse him she pushed Julien away from her with a genuine indignation,
and straightway threw herself into his arms.
There was no plan apparent in all this conduct.
She thought herself eternally damned,
and tried to hide from herself the sight of hell by loading Julien with the wildest caresses.
In a word,
nothing would have been lacking in our hero's happiness,
not even an ardent sensibility in the woman whom he had just captured,
if he had only known how to enjoy it.
Julien's departure did not in any way bring to an end those ecstacies which thrilled her in spite of herself,
and those troubles of remorse which lacerated her.
being happy --being loved,
is that all it comes to?"
This was Julien's first thought as he entered his room.
He was a prey to the astonishment and nervous anxiety of the man who has just obtained what he has long desired.
He has been accustomed to desire,
and has no longer anything to desire,
and nevertheless has no memories.
Like a soldier coming back from parade.
Julien was absorbed in rehearsing the details of his conduct.
"Have I failed in nothing which I owe to myself?
Have I played my part well?"
And what a part!
the part of a man accustomed to be brilliant with women.
THE DAY AFTER
He turned his lips to hers and with his hand Called back the tangles of her wandering hair.
_Don Juan,_ c.
Happily for Julien's fame,
Madame de Rênal had been too agitated and too astonished to appreciate the stupidity of the man who had in a single moment become the whole to world her.
she said to herself,
as she pressed him to retire when she saw the dawn break,
"if my husband has heard the noise,
I am lost."
who had had the time to make up some phrases,
remembered this one,
"Would you regret your life?"
very much at a moment like this,
but I should not regret having known you."
Julien thought it incumbent on his dignity to go back to his room in broad daylight and with deliberate imprudence.
The continuous attention with which he kept on studying his slightest actions with the absurd idea of appearing a man of experience had only one advantage.
When he saw Madame de Rênal again at breakfast his conduct was a masterpiece of prudence.
As for her,
she could not look at him without blushing up to the eyes,
and could not live a moment without looking at him.
She realised her own nervousness,
and her efforts to hide it redoubled.
Julien only lifted his eyes towards her once.
At first Madame de Rênal admired his prudence: soon seeing that this single look was not repealed,
she became alarmed.
"Could it be that he does not love me?"
she said to herself.
I am quite old for him.
I am ten years older than he is."
As she passed from the dining-room to the garden,
she pressed Julien's hand.
In the surprise caused by so singular a mark of love,
he regarded her with passion,
for he had thought her very pretty over breakfast,
and while keeping his eyes downcast he had passed his time in thinking of the details of her charms.
This look consoled Madame de Rênal.
It did not take away all her anxiety,
but her anxiety tended to take away nearly completely all her remorse towards her husband.
The husband had noticed nothing at breakfast.
It was not so with Madame Derville.
She thought she saw Madame de Rênal on the point of succumbing.
During the whole day her bold and incisive friendship regaled her cousin with those innuendoes which were intended to paint in hideous colours the dangers she was running.
Madame de Rênal was burning to find herself alone with Julien.
She wished to ask him if he still loved her.
In spite of the unalterable sweetness of her character,
she was several times on the point of notifying her friend how officious she was.
Madame Derville arranged things so adroitly that evening in the garden,
that she found herself placed between Madame de Rênal and Julien.
Madame de Rênal,
who had thought in her imagination how delicious it would be to press Julien's hand and carry it to her lips,
was not able to address a single word to him.
This hitch increased her agitation.
She was devoured by one pang of remorse.
She had so scolded Julien for his imprudence in coming to her room on the preceding night,
that she trembled lest he should not come to-night.
She left the garden early and went and ensconced herself in her room,
but not being able to control her impatience,
she went and glued her ear to Julien's door.
In spite of the uncertainty and passion which devoured her,
she did not dare to enter.
This action seemed to her the greatest possible meanness,
for it forms the basis of a provincial proverb.
The servants had not yet all gone to bed.
Prudence at last compelled her to return to her room.
Two hours of waiting were two centuries of torture.
Julien was too faithful to what he called his duty to fail to accomplish stage by stage what he had mapped out for himself.
As one o'clock struck,
he escaped softly from his room,
assured himself that the master of the house was soundly asleep,
and appeared in Madame de Rênal's room.
To-night he experienced more happiness by the side of his love,
for he thought less constantly about the part he had to play.
He had eyes to see,
and ears to hear.
What Madame de Rênal said to him about his age contributed to give him some assurance.
I am ten years older than you.
How can you love me?"
she repeated vaguely,
because the idea oppressed her.
Julien could not realise her happiness,
but he saw that it was genuine and he forgot almost entirely his own fear of being ridiculous.
The foolish thought that he was regarded as an inferior,
by reason of his obscure birth,
As Julien's transports reassured his timid mistress,
she regained a little of her happiness,
and of her power to judge her lover.
he had not,
on this occasion,
that artificial air which had made the assignation of the previous night a triumph rather than a pleasure.
If she had realised his concentration on playing a part that melancholy discovery would have taken away all her happiness for ever.
She could only have seen in it the result of the difference in their ages.
Although Madame de Rênal had never thought of the theories of love,
difference in age is next to difference in fortune,
one of the great commonplaces of provincial witticisms,
whenever love is the topic of conversation.
In a few days Julien surrendered himself with all the ardour of his age,
and was desperately in love.
"One must own,"
he said to himself,
"that she has an angelic kindness of soul,
and no one in the world is prettier."
He had almost completely given up playing a part.
In a moment of abandon,
he even confessed to her all his nervousness.
This confidence raised the passion which he was inspiring to its zenith.
"And I have no lucky rival after all,"
said Madame de Rênal to herself with delight.
She ventured to question him on the portrait in which he used to be so interested.
Julien swore to her that it was that of a man.
When Madame de Rênal had enough presence of mind left to reflect,
she did not recover from her astonishment that so great a happiness could exist;
and that she had never had anything of.
she said to herself,
"if I had only known Julien ten years ago when I was still considered pretty."
Julien was far from having thoughts like these.
His love was still akin to ambition.
It was the joy of possessing,
unfortunate and despised as he was,
so beautiful a woman.
His acts of devotion,
and his ecstacies at the sight of his mistress's charms finished by reassuring her a little with regard to the difference of age.
If she had possessed a little of that knowledge of life which the woman of thirty has enjoyed in the more civilised of countries for quite a long time,
she would have trembled for the duration of a love,
which only seemed to thrive on novelty and the intoxication of a young man's vanity.
In those moments when he forgot his ambition,
Julien admired ecstatically even the hats and even the dresses of Madame de Rênal.
He could not sate himself with the pleasure of smelling their perfume.
He would open her mirrored cupboard,
and remain hours on end admiring the beauty and the order of everything that he found there.
His love leaned on him and looked at him.
He was looking at those jewels and those dresses which had had been her wedding presents.
"I might have married a man like that,"
thought Madame de Rênal sometimes.
"What a fiery soul!
What a delightful life one would have with him?"
As for Julien,
he had never been so near to those terrible instruments of feminine artillery.
"It is impossible,"
he said to himself "for there to be anything more beautiful in Paris."
He could find no flaw in his happiness.
The sincere admiration and ecstacies of his mistress would frequently make him forget that silly pose which had rendered him so stiff and almost ridiculous during the first moments of the intrigue.
There were moments where,
in spite of his habitual hypocrisy,
he found an extreme delight in confessing to this great lady who admired him,
his ignorance of a crowd of little usages.
His mistress's rank seemed to lift him above himself.
Madame de Rênal,
on her side,
would find the sweetest thrill of intellectual voluptuousness in thus instructing in a number of little things this young man who was so full of genius,
and who was looked upon by everyone as destined one day to go so far.
Even the sub-prefect and M. Valenod could not help admiring him.
She thought it made them less foolish.
As for Madame Derville,
she was very far from being in a position to express the same sentiments.
Rendered desperate by what she thought she divined,
and seeing that her good advice was becoming offensive to a woman who had literally lost her head,
she left Vergy without giving the explanation,
which her friend carefully refrained from asking.
Madame de Rênal shed a few tears for her,
and soon found her happiness greater than ever.
As a result of her departure,
she found herself alone with her lover nearly the whole day.
Julien abandoned himself all the more to the delightful society of his sweetheart,
whenever he was alone,
Fouqué's fatal proposition still continued to agitate him.
During the first days of his novel life there were moments when the man who had never loved,
who had never been loved by anyone,
would find so delicious a pleasure in being sincere,
that he was on the point of confessing to Madame de Rênal that ambition which up to then had been the very essence of his existence.
He would have liked to have been able to consult her on the strange temptation which Fouqué's offer held out to him,
but a little episode rendered any frankness impossible.
THE FIRST DEPUTY
how this spring of love resembleth The uncertain glory of an April day,
Which now shows all the beauty of the sun,
And by and by a cloud takes all away.
_Two Gentlemen of Verona._
One evening when the sun was setting,
and he was sitting near his love,
at the bottom of the orchard,
far from all intruders,
he meditated deeply.
"Will such sweet moments" he said to himself "last for ever?"
His soul was engrossed in the difficulty of deciding on a calling.
He lamented that great attack of unhappiness which comes at the end of childhood and spoils the first years of youth in those who are not rich.
"was not Napoleon the heaven-sent saviour for young Frenchmen?
Who is to replace him?
What will those unfortunate youths do without him,
even though they are richer than I am,
have only just the few crowns necessary to procure an education for themselves,
but have not at the age of twenty enough money to buy a man and advance themselves in their career."
"Whatever one does,"
with a deep sigh,
"this fatal memory will always prevent our being happy."
He suddenly saw Madame de Rênal frown.
She assumed a cold and disdainful air.
She thought his way of looking at things typical of a servant.
Brought up as she was with the idea that she was very rich,
she took it for granted that Julien was so also.
She loved him a thousand times more than life and set no store by money.
Julien was far from guessing these ideas,
but that frown brought him back to earth.
He had sufficient presence of mind to manipulate his phrases,
and to give the noble lady who was sitting so near him on the grass seat to understand that the words he had just repeated had been heard by him during his journey to his friend the wood merchant.
It was the logic of infidels.
have nothing to do with those people,"
said Madame de Rênal,
still keeping a little of that icy air which had suddenly succeeded an expression of the warmest tenderness.
or rather his remorse for his own imprudence,
was the first check to the illusion which was transporting Julien.
He said to himself,
"She is good and sweet,
she has a great fancy for me,
but she has been brought up in the enemy's camp.
They must be particularly afraid of that class of men of spirit who,
after a good education,
have not enough money to take up a career.
What would become of those nobles if we had an opportunity of fighting them with equal arms.
mayor of Verrières,
and as well meaning and honest as M. de Rênal is at bottom.
What short shrift I should make of the vicaire,
M. Valenod and all their jobberies!
How justice would triumph in Verrières.
It is not their talents which would stop me.
They are always fumbling about."
That day Julien's happiness almost became permanent.
Our hero lacked the power of daring to be sincere.
He ought to have had the courage to have given battle,
and on the spot;
Madame de Rênal had been astonished by Julien's phrase,
because the men in her circle kept on repeating that the return of Robespierre was essentially possible by reason of those over-educated young persons of the lower classes.
Madame de Rênal's coldness lasted a longish time,
and struck Julien as marked.
The reason was that the fear that she had said something in some way or other disagreeable to him,
succeeded her annoyance for his own breach of taste.
This unhappiness was vividly reflected in those features which looked so pure and so naïve when she was happy and away from intruders.
Julien no longer dared to surrender himself to his dreams.
Growing calmer and less infatuated,
he considered that it was imprudent to go and see Madame de Rênal in her room.
It was better for her to come to him.
If a servant noticed her going about the house,
a dozen different excuses could explain it.
But this arrangement had also its inconveniences.
Julien had received from Fouqué some books,
as a theology student would never have dared to ask for in a bookshop.
He only dared to open them at night.
He would often have found it much more convenient not to be interrupted by a visit,
the very waiting for which had even on the evening before the little scene in the orchard completely destroyed his mood for reading.
He had Madame de Rênal to thank for understanding books in quite a new way.
He had dared to question her on a number of little things,
the ignorance of which cuts quite short the intellectual progress of any young man born out of society,
however much natural genius one may choose to ascribe to him.
This education given through sheer love by a woman who was extremely ignorant,
was a piece of luck.
Julien managed to get a clear insight into society such as it is to-day.
His mind was not bewildered by the narration of what it had been once,
two thousand years ago,
or even sixty years ago,
in the time of Voltaire and Louis XV.
The scales fell from his eyes to his inexpressible joy,
and he understood at last what was going on in Verrières.
In the first place there were the very complicated intrigues which had been woven for the last two years around the prefect of Besançon.
They were backed up by letters from Paris,
written by the cream of the aristocracy.
The scheme was to make M. de Moirod (he was the most devout man in the district) the first and not the second deputy of the mayor of Verrières.
He had for a competitor a very rich manufacturer whom it was essential to push back into the place of second deputy.
Julien understood at last the innuendoes which he had surprised,
when the high society of the locality used to come and dine at M. de Rênal's.
This privileged society was deeply concerned with the choice of a first deputy,
while the rest of the town,
and above all,
did not even suspect its possibility.
The factor which made the matter important was that,
as everybody knows,
the east side of the main street of Verrières has to be put more than nine feet back since that street has become a royal route.
Now if M. de Moirod,
who had three houses liable to have their frontage put back,
succeeded in becoming first deputy and consequently mayor in the event of M. de Rênal being elected to the chamber,
he would shut his eyes,
and it would be possible to make little imperceptible repairs in the houses projecting on to the public road,
as the result of which they would last a hundred years.
In spite of the great piety and proved integrity of M. de Moirod,
everyone was certain that he would prove amenable,
because he had a great many children.
Among the houses liable to have their frontage put back nine belonged to the cream of Verrières society.
In Julien's eyes this intrigue was much more important than the history of the battle of Fontenoy,
whose name he now came across for the first time in one of the books which Fouqué had sent him.
There had been many things which had astonished Julien since the time five years ago when he had started going to the curé's in the evening.
But discretion and humility of spirit being the primary qualities of a theological student,
it had always been impossible for him to put questions.
One day Madame de Rênal was giving an order to her husband's valet who was Julien's enemy.
to-day is the last Friday in the month,"
the man answered in a rather strange manner.
said Madame de Rênal.
"I suppose he's going to go to that corn shop which was once a church,
and has recently been restored to religion,
but what is he going to do there?
That's one of the mysteries which I have never been able to fathom."
"It's a very literary institution,
but a very curious one,"
answered Madame de Rênal.
"Women are not admitted to it.
All I know is,
that everybody uses the second person singular.
will go and meet M. Valenod there,
and the haughty prig will not be a bit offended at hearing himself addressed by Saint-Jean in that familiar way,
and will answer him in the same way.
If you are keen on knowing what takes place,
I will ask M. de Maugiron and M. Valenod for details.
We pay twenty francs for each servant,
to prevent their cutting our throats one fine day."
The memory of his mistress's charms distracted Julien from his black ambition.
The necessity of refraining from mentioning gloomy or intellectual topics since they both belonged to opposing parties,
without his suspecting it,
to the happiness which he owed her,
and to the dominion which she acquired over him.
On the occasions when the presence of the precocious children reduced them to speaking the language of cold reason,
Julien looking at her with eyes sparkling with love,
would listen with complete docility to her explanations of the world as it is.
in the middle of an account of some cunning piece of jobbery,
with reference to a road or a contract,
Madame de Rênal's mind would suddenly wander to the very point of delirium.
Julien found it necessary to scold her.
She indulged when with him in the same intimate gestures which she used with her own children.
The fact was that there were days when she deceived herself that she loved him like her own child.
Had she not repeatedly to answer his naïve questions about a thousand simple things that a well-born child of fifteen knows quite well?
An instant afterwards she would admire him like her master.
His genius would even go so far as to frighten her.
She thought she should see more clearly every day the future great man in this young abbé.
She saw him Pope;
she saw him first minister like Richelieu.
"Shall I live long enough to see you in your glory?"
she said to Julien.
"There is room for a great man;
church and state have need of one."
A KING AT VERRIÈRES
Do you not deserve to be thrown aside like a plebeian corpse which has no soul and whose blood flows no longer in its veins.
_Sermon of the Bishop at the Chapel of Saint Clement_.
On the 3rd of September at ten o'clock in the evening,
a gendarme woke up the whole of Verrières by galloping up the main street.
He brought the news that His Majesty the King of -- -- would arrive the following Sunday,
and it was already Tuesday.
The prefect authorised,
that is to say,
demanded the forming of a guard of honour.
They were to exhibit all possible pomp.
An express messenger was sent to Vergy.
M. de Rênal arrived during the night and found the town in a commotion.
Each individual had his own pretensions;
those who were less busy hired balconies to see the King.
Who was to command the Guard of Honour?
M. de Rênal at once realised how essential it was in the interests of the houses liable to have their frontage put back that M. de Moirod should have the command.
That might entitle him to the post of first deputy-mayor.
There was nothing to say against the devoutness of M. de Moirod.
It brooked no comparison,
but he had never sat on a horse.
He was a man of thirty-six,
timid in every way,
and equally frightened of falling and of looking ridiculous.
The mayor had summoned him as early as five o'clock in the morning.
I ask your advice,
as though you already occupy that post to which all the people on the right side want to carry you.
In this unhappy town,
manufacturers are prospering,
the Liberal party is becoming possessed of millions,
it aspires to power;
it will manage to exploit everything to its own ends.
Let us consult the interests of the king,
the interest of the monarchy,
and above all,
the interest of our holy religion.
Who do you think,
could be entrusted with the command of the guard of honour?"
In spite of the terrible fear with which horses inspired him,
M. de Moirod finished by accepting this honour like a martyr.
"I shall know how to take the right tone,"
he said to the mayor.
There was scarcely time enough to get ready the uniforms which had served seven years ago on the occasion of the passage of a prince of the blood.
At seven o'clock,
Madame de Rênal arrived at Vergy with Julien and the children.
She found her drawing room filled with Liberal ladies who preached the union of all parties and had come to beg her to urge her husband to grant a place to theirs in the guard of honour.
One of them actually asserted that if her husband was not chosen he would go bankrupt out of chagrin.
Madame de Rênal quickly got rid of all these people.
She seemed very engrossed.
Julien was astonished,
and what was more,
angry that she should make a mystery of what was disturbing her,
"I had anticipated it,"
he said bitterly to himself.
"Her love is being over-shadowed by the happiness of receiving a King in her house.
All this hubbub overcomes her.
She will love me once more when the ideas of her caste no longer trouble her brain."
An astonishing fact,
he only loved her the more.
The decorators began to fill the house.
He watched a long time for the opportunity to exchange a few words.
He eventually found her as she was coming out of his own room,
carrying one of his suits.
They were alone.
He tried to speak to her.
She ran away,
refusing to listen to him.
"I am an absolute fool to love a woman like that,
whose ambition renders her as mad as her husband."
She was madder.
One of her great wishes which she had never confessed to Julien for fear of shocking him,
was to see him leave off,
if only for one day,
his gloomy black suit.
With an adroitness which was truly admirable in so ingenuous a woman,
she secured first from M. de Moirod,
from M. the sub-perfect de Maugiron,
an assurance that Julien should be nominated a guard of honour in preference to five or six young people,
the sons of very well-off manufacturers,
of whom two at least,
were models of piety.
M. de Valenod,
who reckoned on lending his carriage to the prettiest women in the town,
and on showing off his fine Norman steeds,
consented to let Julien (the being he hated most in the whole world) have one of his horses.
But all the guards of honour,
either possessed or had borrowed,
one of those pretty sky-blue uniforms,
with two silver colonel epaulettes,
which had shone seven years ago.
Madame de Rênal wanted a new uniform,
and she only had four days in which to send to Besançon and get from there the uniform,
everything necessary for a Guard of Honour.
The most delightful part of it was that she thought it imprudent to get Julien's uniform made at Verrières.
She wanted to surprise both him and the town.
Having settled the questions of the guards of honour,
and of the public welcome finished,
the mayor had now to organise a great religious ceremony.
The King of -- -- did not wish to pass through Verrières without visiting the famous relic of St. Clement,
which is kept at Bray-le-Haut barely a league from the town.
The authorities wanted to have a numerous attendance of the clergy,
but this matter was the most difficult to arrange.
the new curé,
wanted to avoid at any price the presence of M. Chélan.
It was in vain that M. de Rênal tried to represent to him that it would be imprudent to do so.
M. the Marquis de La Mole whose ancestors had been governors of the province for so many generations,
had been chosen to accompany the King of -- --.
He had known the abbé Chélan for thirty years.
He would certainly ask news of him when he arrived at Verrières,
and if he found him disgraced he was the very man to go and route him out in the little house to which he had retired,
accompanied by all the escort that he had at his disposition.
What a rebuff that would be?
"I shall be disgraced both here and at Besançon,"
answered the abbé Maslon,
"if he appears among my clergy.
by the Lord."
"Whatever you can say,
my dear abbé,"
replied M. de Rênal,
"I'll never expose the administration of Verrières to receiving such an affront from M. de la Mole.
You do not know him.
He is orthodox enough at Court,
but here in the provinces,
he is a satirical wit and cynic,
whose only object is to make people uncomfortable.
He is capable of covering us with ridicule in the eyes of the Liberals,
simply in order to amuse himself."
It was only on the night between the Saturday and the Sunday,
after three whole days of negotiations that the pride of the abbé Maslon bent before the fear of the mayor,
which was now changing into courage.
It was necessary to write a honeyed letter to the abbé Chélan,
begging him to be present at the ceremony in connection with the relic of Bray-le-Haut,
if of course,
his great age and his infirmity allowed him to do so.
M. Chélan asked for and obtained a letter of invitation for Julien,
who was to accompany him as his sub-deacon.
From the beginning of the Sunday morning,
thousands of peasants began to arrive from the neighbouring mountains,
and to inundate the streets of Verrières.
It was the finest sunshine.
about three o'clock,
a thrill swept through all this crowd.
A great fire had been perceived on a rock two leagues from Verrières.
This signal announced that the king had just entered the territory of the department.
At the same time,
the sound of all the bells and the repeated volleys from an old Spanish cannon which belonged to the town,
testified to its joy at this great event.
Half the population climbed on to the roofs.
All the women were on the balconies.
The guard of honour started to march,
The brilliant uniforms were universally admired;
everybody recognised a relative or a friend.
They made fun of the timidity of M. de Moirod,
whose prudent hand was ready every single minute to catch hold of his saddle-bow.
But one remark resulted in all the others being forgotten;
the first cavalier in the ninth line was a very pretty,
who was not recognised at first.
He soon created a general sensation,
as some uttered a cry of indignation,
and others were dumbfounded with astonishment.
They recognised in this young man,
who was sitting one of the Norman horses of M. Valenod,
the carpenter's son.
There was a unanimous out-cry against the mayor,
above all on the part of the Liberals.
because this little labourer,
who masqueraded as an abbé,
was tutor to his brats,
he had the audacity to nominate him guard of honour to the prejudice of rich manufacturers like so-and-so and so-and-so!
said a banker's wife,
"ought to put that insolent gutter-boy in his proper place."
"He is cunning and carries a sabre,"
answered her neighbour.
"He would be dastardly enough to slash them in the face."
The conversation of aristocratic society was more dangerous.
The ladies began to ask each other if the mayor alone was responsible for this grave impropriety.
they did justice to his contempt for lack of birth.
Julien was the happiest of men,
while he was the subject of so much conversation.
Bold by nature,
he sat a horse better than the majority of the young men of this mountain town.
He saw that,
in the eyes of the women,
he was the topic of interest.
His epaulettes were more brilliant than those of the others,
because they were new.
His horse pranced at every moment.
He reached the zenith of joy.
His happiness was unbounded when,
as they passed by the old rampart,
the noise of the little cannon made his horse prance outside the line.
By a great piece of luck he did not fall;
from that moment he felt himself a hero.
He was one of Napoleon's officers of artillery,
and was charging a battery.
One person was happier than he.
She had first seen him pass from one of the folding windows in the Hôtel de Ville.
Then taking her carriage and rapidly making a long detour,
she arrived in time to shudder when his horse took him outside the line.
Finally she put her carriage to the gallop,
left by another gate of the town,
succeeded in rejoining the route by which the King was to pass,
and was able to follow the Guard of Honour at twenty paces distance in the midst of a noble dust.
Six thousand peasants cried "Long live the King,"
when the mayor had the honour to harangue his Majesty.
An hour afterwards,
when all the speeches had been listened to,
and the King was going to enter the town,
the little cannon began again to discharge its spasmodic volleys.
But an accident ensued,
the victim being,
not one of the cannoneers who had proved their mettle at Leipsic and at Montreuil,
but the future deputy-mayor,
M. de Moirod.
His horse gently laid him in the one heap of mud on the high road,
a somewhat scandalous circumstance,
inasmuch as it was necessary to extricate him to allow the King to pass.
His Majesty alighted at the fine new church,
which was decked out to-day with all its crimson curtains.
The King was due to dine,
and then afterwards take his carriage again and go and pay his respects to the celebrated relic of Saint Clement.
Scarcely was the King in the church than Julien galloped towards the house of M. de Rênal.
Once there he doffed with a sigh his fine sky-blue uniform,
his sabre and his epaulettes,
to put on again his shabby little black suit.
He mounted his horse again,
and in a few moments was at Bray-le-Haut,
which was on the summit of a very pretty hill.
"Enthusiasm is responsible for these numbers of peasants,"
It was impossible to move a step at Verrières,
and here there were more than ten thousand round this ancient abbey.
Half ruined by the vandalism of the Revolution,
it had been magnificently restored since the Restoration,
and people were already beginning to talk of miracles.
Julien rejoined the abbé Chélan,
who scolded him roundly and gave him a cassock and a surplice.
He dressed quickly and followed M. Chélan,
who was going to pay a call on the young bishop of Agde.
He was a nephew of M. de la Mole,
who had been recently nominated,
and had been charged with the duty of showing the relic to the King.
But the bishop was not to be found.
The clergy began to get impatient.
It was awaiting its chief in the sombre Gothic cloister of the ancient abbey.
Twenty-four curés had been brought together so as to represent the ancient chapter of Bray-le-Haut,
which before 1789 consisted of twenty-four canons.
having deplored the bishop's youth for three-quarters of an hour,
thought it fitting for their senior to visit Monseigneur to apprise him that the King was on the point of arriving,
and that it was time to betake himself to the choir.
The great age of M. Chélan gave him the seniority.
In spite of the bad temper which he was manifesting to Julien,
he signed him to follow.
Julien was wearing his surplice with distinction.
By means of some trick or other of ecclesiastical dress,
he had made his fine curling hair very flat,
but by a forgetfulness,
which redoubled the anger of M. Chélan,
the spurs of the Guard of Honour could be seen below the long folds of his cassock.
When they arrived at the bishop's apartment,
the tall lackeys with their lace-frills scarcely deigned to answer the old curé to the effect that Monseigneur was not receiving.
They made fun of him when he tried to explain that in his capacity of senior member of the chapter of Bray-le-Haut,
he had the privilege of being admitted at any time to the officiating bishop.
Julien's haughty temper was shocked by the lackeys' insolence.
He started to traverse the corridors of the ancient abbey,
and to shake all the doors which he found.
A very small one yielded to his efforts,
and he found himself in a cell in the midst of Monseigneur's valets,
who were dressed in black suits with chains on their necks.
His hurried manner made these gentlemen think that he had been sent by the bishop,
and they let him pass.
He went some steps further on,
and found himself in an immense Gothic hall,
which was extremely dark,
and completely wainscotted in black oak.
The ogive windows had all been walled in with brick except one.
There was nothing to disguise the coarseness of this masonry,
which offered a melancholy contrast to the ancient magnificence of the woodwork.
The two great sides of this hall,
so celebrated among Burgundian antiquaries,
and built by the Duke,
Charles the Bold,
about 1470 in expiation of some sin,
were adorned with richly sculptured wooden stalls.
All the mysteries of the Apocalypse were to be seen portrayed in wood of different colours.
This melancholy magnificence,
debased as it was by the sight of the bare bricks and the plaster (which was still quite white) affected Julien.
He stopped in silence.
He saw at the other extremity of the hall,
near the one window which let in the daylight,
a movable mahogany mirror.
A young man in a violet robe and a lace surplice,
but with his head bare,
was standing still three paces from the glass.
This piece of furniture seemed strange in a place like this,
and had doubtless been only brought there on the previous day.
Julien thought that the young man had the appearance of being irritated.
He was solemnly giving benedictions with his right hand close to the mirror.
"What can this mean,"
"Is this young priest performing some preliminary ceremony?
Perhaps he is the bishop's secretary.
He will be as insolent as the lackeys.
Never mind though!
Let us try."
He advanced and traversed somewhat slowly the length of the hall,
with his gaze fixed all the time on the one window,
and looking at the young man who continued without any intermission bestowing slowly an infinite number of blessings.
The nearer he approached the better he could distinguish his angry manner.
The richness of the lace surplice stopped Julien in spite of himself some paces in front of the mirror.
"It is my duty to speak,"
he said to himself at last.
But the beauty of the hall had moved him,
and he was already upset by the harsh words he anticipated.
The young man saw him in the mirror,
and suddenly discarding his angry manner,
said to him in the gentlest tone,
has it been arranged at last?"
Julien was dumbfounded.
As the young man began to turn towards him,
Julien saw the pectoral cross on his breast.
It was the bishop of Agde.
"As young as that,"
"At most six or eight years older than I am!"
He was ashamed of his spurs.
he said at last,
"I am sent by M. Chélan,
the senior of the chapter."
he has been well recommended to me,"
said the bishop in a polished tone which doubled Julien's delight,
"But I beg your pardon,
I mistook you for the person who was to bring me my mitre.
It was badly packed at Paris.
The silver cloth towards the top has been terribly spoiled.
It will look awful,"
ended the young bishop sadly,
I am being kept waiting."
I will go and fetch the mitre if your grace will let me."
Julien's fine eyes did their work.
answered the bishop,
with charming politeness.
"I need it immediately.
I am grieved to keep the gentlemen of the chapter waiting."
When Julien reached the centre of the hall,
he turned round towards the bishop,
and saw that he had again commenced giving benedictions.
"What can it be?"
Julien asked himself.
"No doubt it is a necessary ecclesiastical preliminary for the ceremony which is to take place."
When he reached the cell in which the valets were congregated,
he saw the mitre in their hands.
These gentlemen succumbed in spite of themselves to his imperious look,
and gave him Monseigneur's mitre.
He felt proud to carry it.
As he crossed the hall he walked slowly.
He held it with reverence.
He found the bishop seated before the glass,
but from time to time,
his right hand,
still gave a blessing.
Julien helped him to adjust his mitre.
The bishop shook his head.
it will keep on,"
he said to Julien with an air of satisfaction.
"Do you mind going a little way off?"
Then the bishop went very quickly to the centre of the room,
then approached the mirror,
again resumed his angry manner,
and gravely began to give blessings.
Julien was motionless with astonishment.
He was tempted to understand,
but did not dare.
The bishop stopped,
and suddenly abandoning his grave manner looked at him and said:
"What do you think of my mitre,
is it on right?"
"It is not too far back?
That would look a little silly,
but I mustn't on the other hand wear it down over the eyes like an officer's shako."
"It seems to me to be on quite right."
"The King of -- -- is accustomed to a venerable clergy who are doubtless very solemn.
I should not like to appear lacking in dignity,
especially by reason of my youth."
And the bishop started again to walk about and give benedictions.
"It is quite clear,"
daring to understand at last,
"He is practising giving his benediction."
"I am ready,"
the bishop said after a few moments.
and advise the senior and the gentlemen of the chapter."
Soon M. Chélan,
followed by the two oldest curés,
entered by a big magnificently sculptured door,
which Julien had not previously noticed.
But this time he remained in his place quite at the back,
and was only able to see the bishop over the shoulders of ecclesiastics who were pressing at the door in crowds.
The bishop began slowly to traverse the hall.
When he reached the threshold,
the curés formed themselves into a procession.
After a short moment of confusion,
the procession began to march intoning the psalm.
who was between M. Chélan and a very old curé,
was the last to advance.
Julien being in attendance on the abbé Chélan managed to get quite near Monseigneur.
They followed the long corridors of the abbey of Bray-le-Haut.
In spite of the brilliant sun they were dark and damp.
They arrived finally at the portico of the cloister.
Julien was dumbfounded with admiration for so fine a ceremony.
His emotions were divided between thoughts of his own ambition which had been reawakened by the bishop's youth and thoughts of the latter's refinement and exquisite politeness.
This politeness was quite different to that of M. de Rênal,
even on his good days.
"The higher you lift yourself towards the first rank of society,"
said Julien to himself,
"the more charming manners you find."
They entered the church by a side door;
suddenly an awful noise made the ancient walls echo.
Julien thought they were going to crumble.
It was the little piece of artillery again.
It had been drawn at a gallop by eight horses and had just arrived.
Immediately on its arrival it had been run out by the Leipsic cannoneers and fired five shots a minute as though the Prussians had been the target.
But this admirable noise no longer produced any effect on Julien.
He no longer thought of Napoleon and military glory.
"To be bishop of Agde so young,"
"But where is Agde?
How much does it bring in?
Two or three hundred thousand francs,
Monseigneur's lackeys appeared with a magnificent canopy.
M. Chélan took one of the poles,
but as a matter of fact it was Julien who carried it.
The bishop took his place underneath.
He had really succeeded in looking old;
and our hero's admiration was now quite unbounded.
"What can't one accomplish with skill,"
The king entered.
Julien had the good fortune to see him at close quarters.
The bishop began to harangue him with unction,
without forgetting a little nuance of very polite anxiety for his Majesty.
We will not repeat a description of the ceremony of Bray-le-Haut.
They filled all the columns of the journals of the department for a fortnight on end.
Julien learnt from the bishop that the king was descended from Charles the Bold.
At a later date,
it was one of Julien's duties to check the accounts of the cost of this ceremony.
M. de la Mole,
who had succeeded in procuring a bishopric for his nephew,
had wished to do him the favour of being himself responsible for all the expenses.
The ceremony alone of Bray-le-Haute cost three thousand eight hundred francs.
After the speech of the bishop,
and the answer of the king,
his Majesty took up a position underneath the canopy,
and then knelt very devoutly on a cushion near the altar.
The choir was surrounded by stalls,
and the stalls were raised two steps from the pavement.
It was at the bottom of these steps that Julien sat at the feet of M. de Chélan almost like a train-bearer sitting next to his cardinal in the Sixtine chapel at Rome.
There was a _Te Deum_,
floods of incense,
innumerable volleys of musketry and artillery;
the peasants were drunk with happiness and piety.
A day like this undoes the work of a hundred numbers of the Jacobin papers.
Julien was six paces from the king,
who was really praying with devotion.
He noticed for the first time a little man with a witty expression,
who wore an almost plain suit.
But he had a sky-blue ribbon over this very simple suit.
He was nearer the king than many other lords,
whose clothes were embroidered with gold to such an extent that,
to use Julien's expression,
it was impossible to see the cloth.
He learnt some minutes later that it was Monsieur de la Mole.
He thought he looked haughty,
and even insolent.
"I'm sure this marquis is not so polite as my pretty bishop,"
the ecclesiastical calling makes men mild and good.
But the king has come to venerate the relic,
and I don't see a trace of the relic.
Where has Saint Clement got to?"
A little priest who sat next to him informed him that the venerable relic was at the top of the building in a _chapelle ardente_.
"What is a _chapelle ardente_,"
said Julien to himself.
But he was reluctant to ask the meaning of this word.
He redoubled his attention.
The etiquette on the occasion of a visit of a sovereign prince is that the canons do not accompany the bishop.
as he started on his march to the _chapelle ardente_,
my lord bishop of Agde called the abbé Chélan.
Julien dared to follow him.
Having climbed up a long staircase,
they reached an extremely small door whose Gothic frame was magnificently gilded.
This work looked as though it had been constructed the day before.
Twenty-four young girls belonging to the most distinguished families in Verrières were assembled in front of the door.
The bishop knelt down in the midst of these pretty maidens before he opened the door.
While he was praying aloud,
they seemed unable to exhaust their admiration for his fine lace,
his gracious mien,
and his young and gentle face.
This spectacle deprived our hero of his last remnants of reason.
At this moment he would have fought for the Inquisition,
and with a good conscience.
The door suddenly opened.
The little chapel was blazing with light.
More than a thousand candles could be seen before the altar,
divided into eight lines and separated from each other by bouquets of flowers.
The suave odour of the purest incense eddied out from the door of the sanctuary.
which had been newly gilded,
was extremely small but very high.
Julien noticed that there were candles more than fifteen feet high upon the altar.
The young girls could not restrain a cry of admiration.
Only the twenty-four young girls,
the two curés and Julien had been admitted into the little vestibule of the chapel.
Soon the king arrived,
followed by Monsieur de la Mole and his great Chamberlain.
The guards themselves remained outside kneeling and presenting arms.
His Majesty precipitated,
rather than threw himself,
on to the stool.
It was only then that Julien,
who was keeping close to the gilded door,
perceived over the bare arm of a young girl,
the charming statue of St. Clement.
It was hidden under the altar,
and bore the dress of a young Roman soldier.
It had a large wound on its neck,
from which the blood seemed to flow.
The artist had surpassed himself.
which though dying were full of grace,
were half closed.
A budding moustache adored that charming mouth which,
though half closed,
seemed notwithstanding to be praying.
The young girl next to Julien wept warm tears at the sight.
One of her tears fell on Julien's hand.
After a moment of prayer in the profoundest silence,
that was only broken by the distant sound of the bells of all the villages within a radius of ten leagues,
the bishop of Agde asked the king's permission to speak.
He finished a short but very touching speech with a passage,
the very simplicity of which assured its effectiveness:
young Christian women,
that you have seen one of the greatest kings of the world on his knees before the servants of this Almighty and terrible God.
assassinated as they were on earth,
as you can see by the still bleeding wounds of Saint Clement,
will triumph in Heaven.
You will remember them,
my young Christian women,
will you not,
this day for ever,
and will detest the infidel.
You will be for ever faithful to this God who is so great,
but so good?"
With these words the bishop rose authoritatively.
"You promise me?"
lifting up his arm with an inspired air.
said the young girls melting into tears.
"I accept your promise in the name of the terrible God,"
added the bishop in a thunderous voice,
and the ceremony was at an end.
The king himself was crying.
It was only a long time afterwards that Julien had sufficient self-possession to enquire "where were the bones of the Saint that had been sent from Rome to Philip the Good,
Duke of Burgundy?"
He was told that they were hidden in the charming waxen figure.
His Majesty deigned to allow the young ladies who had accompanied him into the chapel to wear a red ribbon on which were embroidered these words,
"HATE OF THE INFIDEL.
Monsieur de la Mole had ten thousand bottles of wine distributed among the peasants.
In the evening at Verrières,
the Liberals made a point of having illuminations which were a hundred times better than those of the Royalists.
the king paid a visit to M. de Moirod.
THINKING PRODUCES SUFFERING
The grotesqueness of every-day events conceals the real unhappiness of the passions.
As he was replacing the usual furniture in the room which M. de la Mole had occupied,
Julien found a piece of very strong paper folded in four.
He read at the bottom of the first page "To His Excellency M. le Marquis de la Mole,
peer of France,
Chevalier of the Orders of the King,
It was a petition in the rough hand-writing of a cook.
"Monsieur le Marquis,
I have had religious principles all my life.
I was in Lyons exposed to the bombs at the time of the siege,
'93 of execrable memory.
I go to Mass every Sunday in the parochial church.
I have never missed the paschal duty,
'93 of execrable memory.
My cook used to keep servants before the revolution,
my cook fasts on Fridays.
I am universally respected in Verrières,
and I venture to say I deserve to be so.
I walk under the canopy in the processions at the side of the curé and of the mayor.
On great occasions I carry a big candle,
bought at my own expense.
"I ask Monsieur the marquis for the lottery appointment of Verrières,
which in one way or another is bound to be vacant shortly as the beneficiary is very ill,
and moreover votes on the wrong side at elections,
In the margin of this petition was a recommendation signed "de Moirod" which began with this line,
"I have had the honour,
the worthy person who makes this request."
"So even that imbecile de Cholin shows me the way to go about things,"
said Julien to himself.
Eight days after the passage of the King of -- -- through Verrières,
the one question which predominated over the innumerable falsehoods,
and ridiculous discussions,
which had had successively for their object the king,
the Marquis de la Mole,
the ten thousand bottles of wine,
the fall of poor de Moirod,
hoping to win a cross,
only left his room a week after his fall,
was the absolute indecency of having _foisted_ Julien Sorel,
a carpenter's son,
into the Guard of Honour.
You should have heard on this point the rich manufacturers of printed calico,
the very persons who used to bawl themselves hoarse in preaching equality,
morning and evening in the café.
That haughty woman,
Madame de Rênal,
was of course responsible for this abomination.
The fine eyes and fresh complexion of the little abbé Sorel explained everything else.
A short time after their return to Vergy,
the youngest of the children,
caught the fever;
Madame de Rênal was suddenly attacked by an awful remorse.
For the first time she reproached herself for her love with some logic.
She seemed to understand as though by a miracle the enormity of the sin into which she had let herself be swept.
Up to that moment,
although deeply religious,
she had never thought of the greatness of her crime in the eyes of God.
In former times she had loved God passionately in the Convent of the Sacred Heart;
in the present circumstances,
she feared him with equal intensity.
The struggles which lacerated her soul were all the more awful in that her fear was quite irrational.
Julien found that the least argument irritated instead of soothing her.
She saw in the illness the language of hell.
Julien was himself very fond of the little Stanislas.
It soon assumed a serious character.
Then incessant remorse deprived Madame de Rênal of even her power of sleep.
She ensconced herself in a gloomy silence: if she had opened her mouth,
it would only have been to confess her crime to God and mankind.
"I urge you,"
said Julien to her,
as soon as they got alone,
"not to speak to anyone.
Let me be the sole confidant of your sufferings.
If you still love me,
do not speak.
Your words will not be able to take away our Stanislas' fever."
But his consolations produced no effect.
He did not know that Madame de Rênal had got it into her head that,
in order to appease the wrath of a jealous God,
it was necessary either to hate Julien,
or let her son die.
It was because she felt she could not hate her lover that she was so unhappy.
"Fly from me,"
she said one day to Julien.
"In the name of God leave this house.
It is your presence here which kills my son.
God punishes me,"
she added in a low voice.
"He is just.
I admire his fairness.
My crime is awful,
and I was living without remorse,"
"That was the first sign of my desertion of God: I ought to be doubly punished."
Julien was profoundly touched.
He could see in this neither hypocrisy nor exaggeration.
"She thinks that she is killing her son by loving me,
and all the same the unhappy woman loves me more than her son.
I cannot doubt it.
It is remorse for that which is killing her.
Those sentiments of hers have real greatness.
But how could I have inspired such a love,
I who am so poor,
and sometimes so coarse in my manners?"
One night the child was extremely ill.
At about two o'clock in the morning,
M. de Rênal came to see it.
The child consumed by fever,
and extremely flushed,
could not recognise its father.
Suddenly Madame de Rênal threw herself at her husband's feet;
Julien saw that she was going to confess everything and ruin herself for ever.
Fortunately this extraordinary proceeding annoyed M. de Rênal.
listen to me,"
cried his wife on her knees before him,
trying to hold him back.
"Hear the whole truth.
It is I who am killing my son.
I gave him life,
and I am taking it back.
Heaven is punishing me.
In the eyes of God I am guilty of murder.
It is necessary that I should ruin and humiliate myself.
Perhaps that sacrifice will appease the the Lord."
If M. de Rênal had been a man of any imagination,
he would then have realized everything.
moving his wife away as she tried to embrace his knees.
"All that is romantic nonsense!
go and fetch the doctor at daybreak,"
and he went back to bed.
Madame de Rênal fell on her knees half-fainting,
repelling Julien's help with a hysterical gesture.
Julien was astonished.
"So this is what adultery is,"
he said to himself.
"Is it possible that those scoundrels of priests should be right,
that they who commit so many sins themselves should have the privilege of knowing the true theory of sin?
For twenty minutes after M. de Rênal had gone back to bed,
Julien saw the woman he loved with her head resting on her son's little bed,
and almost unconscious.
he said to himself,
"is a woman of superior temperament brought to the depths of unhappiness simply because she has known me."
"Time moves quickly.
What can I do for her?
I must make up my mind.
I have not got simply myself to consider now.
What do I care for men and their buffooneries?
What can I do for her?
But I should be leaving her alone and a prey to the most awful grief.
That automaton of a husband is more harm to her than good.
He is so coarse that he is bound to speak harshly to her.
She may go mad and throw herself out of the window."
"If I leave her,
if I cease to watch over her,
she will confess everything,
and who knows,
in spite of the legacy which she is bound to bring him,
he will create a scandal.
She may confess everything (great God) to that scoundrel of an abbé who makes the illness of a child of six an excuse for not budging from this house,
and not without a purpose either.
In her grief and her fear of God,
she forgets all she knows of the man;
she only sees the priest."
said Madame de Rênal suddenly to him,
opening her eyes.
"I would give my life a thousand times to know what could be of most use to you,"
"I have never loved you so much,
my dear angel,
or rather it is only from this last moment that I begin to adore you as you deserve to be adored.
What would become of me far from you,
and with the consciousness that you are unhappy owing to what I have done?
But don't let my suffering come into the matter.
I will go --yes,
But if I leave you,
if I cease to watch over you,
to be incessantly between you and your husband,
you will tell him everything.
You will ruin yourself.
Remember that he will hound you out of his house in disgrace.
Besançon will talk of the scandal.
You will be said to be absolutely in the wrong.
You will never lift up your head again after that shame."
"That's what I ask,"
"I shall suffer,
so much the better."
"But you will also make him unhappy through that awful scandal."
"But I shall be humiliating myself,
throwing myself into the mire,
and by those means,
I shall save my son.
Such a humiliation in the eyes of all is perhaps to be regarded as a public penitence.
So far as my weak judgment goes,
is it not the greatest sacrifice that I can make to God?
--perhaps He will deign to accept my humiliation,
and to leave me my son.
Show me another sacrifice which is more painful and I will rush to it."
"Let me punish myself.
I too am guilty.
Do you wish me to retire to the Trappist Monastery?
The austerity of that life may appease your God.
why cannot I take Stanislas's illness upon myself?"
do you love him then,"
said Madame de Rênal,
getting up and throwing herself in his arms.
At the same time she repelled him with horror.
"I believe you!
I believe you!
my one friend,"
she cried falling on her knees again.
"Why are you not the father of Stanislas?
In that case it would not be a terrible sin to love you more than your son."
"Won't you allow me to stay and love you henceforth like a brother?
It is the only rational atonement.
It may appease the wrath of the Most High."
getting up and taking Julien's head between her two hands,
and holding it some distance from her.
"Am I to love you as if you were a brother?
Is it in my power to love you like that?"
Julien melted into tears.
"I will obey you,"
falling at her feet.
"I will obey you in whatever you order me.
That is all there is left for me to do.
My mind is struck with blindness.
I do not see any course to take.
If I leave you you will tell your husband everything.
You will ruin yourself and him as well.
He will never be nominated deputy after incurring such ridicule.
If I stay,
you will think I am the cause of your son's death,
and you will die of grief.
Do you wish to try the effect of my departure.
If you wish,
I will punish myself for our sin by leaving you for eight days.
I will pass them in any retreat you like.
In the abbey of Bray-le-Haut,
But swear that you will say nothing to your husband during my absence.
Remember that if you speak I shall never be able to come back."
She promised and he left,
but was called back at the end of two days.
"It is impossible for me to keep my oath without you.
I shall speak to my husband if you are not constantly there to enjoin me to silence by your looks.
Every hour of this abominable life seems to last a day."
Finally heaven had pity on this unfortunate mother.
Little by little Stanislas got out of danger.
But the ice was broken.
Her reason had realised the extent of her sin.
She could not recover her equilibrium again.
Her pangs of remorse remained,
and were what they ought to have been in so sincere a heart.
Her life was heaven and hell: hell when she did not see Julien;
heaven when she was at his feet.
"I do not deceive myself any more,"
she would say to him,
even during the moments when she dared to surrender herself to his full love.
"I am damned,
You are young,
heaven may forgive you,
I am damned.
I know it by a certain sign.
I am afraid,
who would not be afraid at the sight of hell?
but at the bottom of my heart I do not repent at all.
I would commit my sin over again if I had the opportunity.
If heaven will only forbear to punish me in this world and through my children,
I shall have more than I deserve.
at any rate,
she would cry at other moments,
"are you happy?
Do you think I love you enough?"
The suspiciousness and morbid pride of Julien,
a self-sacrificing love,
altogether vanished when he saw at every hour of the day so great and indisputable a sacrifice.
He adored Madame de Rênal.
"It makes no difference her being noble,
and my being a labourer's son.
She loves me ....
she does not regard me as a valet charged with the functions of a lover."
That fear once dismissed,
Julien fell into all the madness of love,
into all its deadly uncertainties.
"At any rate,"
she would cry,
seeing his doubts of her love,
"let me feel quite happy during the three days we still have together.
Let us make haste;
perhaps to-morrow will be too late.
If heaven strikes me through my children,
it will be in vain that I shall try only to live to love you,
and to be blind to the fact that it is my crime which has killed them.
I could not survive that blow.
Even if I wished I could not;
I should go mad."
if only I could take your sin on myself as you so generously offered to take Stanislas' burning fever!"
This great moral crisis changed the character of the sentiment which united Julien and his mistress.
His love was no longer simply admiration for her beauty,
and the pride of possessing her.
Henceforth their happiness was of a quite superior character.
The flame which consumed them was more intense.
They had transports filled with madness.
Judged by the worldly standard their happiness would have appeared intensified.
But they no longer found that delicious serenity,
that cloudless happiness,
that facile joy of the first period of their love,
when Madame de Rênal's only fear was that Julien did not love her enough.
Their happiness had at times the complexion of crime.
In their happiest and apparently their most tranquil moments,
Madame de Rênal would suddenly cry out,
I see hell,"
as she pressed Julien's hand with a convulsive grasp.
"What horrible tortures!
I have well deserved them."
She grasped him and hung on to him like ivy onto a wall.
Julien would try in vain to calm that agitated soul.
She would take his hand,
cover it with kisses.
relapsing into a gloomy reverie,
she would say,
"Hell itself would be a blessing for me.
I should still have some days to pass with him on this earth,
but hell on earth,
the death of my children.
perhaps my crime will be forgiven me at that price.
do not grant me my pardon at so great a price.
These poor children have in no way transgressed against You.
I am the only culprit.
I love a man who is not my husband."
Julien subsequently saw Madame de Rênal attain what were apparently moments of tranquillity.
She was endeavouring to control herself;
she did not wish to poison the life of the man she loved.
They found the days pass with the rapidity of lightning amid these alternating moods of love,
Julien lost the habit of reflecting.
Mademoiselle Elisa went to attend to a little lawsuit which she had at Verrières.
She found Valenod very piqued against Julien.
She hated the tutor and would often speak about him.
"You will ruin me,
if I tell the truth,"
she said one day to Valenod.
"All masters have an understanding amongst themselves with regard to matters of importance.
There are certain disclosures which poor servants are never forgiven."
After these stereotyped phrases,
which his curiosity managed to cut short,
Monsieur Valenod received some information extremely mortifying to his self-conceit.
who was the most distinguished in the district,
the woman on whom he had lavished so much attention in the last six years,
and made no secret of it,
more was the pity,
this woman who was so proud,
whose disdain had put him to the blush times without number,
had just taken for her lover a little workman masquerading as a tutor.
And to fill the cup of his jealousy,
Madame de Rênal adored that lover.
added the housemaid with a sigh,
"Julien did not put himself out at all to make his conquest,
his manner was as cold as ever,
even with Madame."
Elisa had only become certain in the country,
but she believed that this intrigue dated from much further back.
"That is no doubt the reason,"
she added spitefully,
"why he refused to marry me.
And to think what a fool I was when I went to consult Madame de Rênal and begged her to speak to the tutor."
The very same evening,
M. de Rênal received from the town,
together with his paper,
a long anonymous letter which apprised him in the greatest detail of what was taking place in his house.
Julien saw him pale as he read this letter written on blue paper,
and look at him with a malicious expression.
During all that evening the mayor failed to throw off his trouble.
It was in vain that Julien paid him court by asking for explanations about the genealogy of the best families in Burgundy.
Do not give dalliance Too much the rein;
the strongest oaths are straw To the fire i' the blood.
As they left the drawing-room about midnight,
Julien had time to say to his love,
"Don't let us see each other to-night.
Your husband has suspicions.
I would swear that that big letter he read with a sigh was an anonymous letter."
Julien locked himself into his room.
Madame de Rênal had the mad idea that this warning was only a pretext for not seeing her.
She absolutely lost her head,
and came to his door at the accustomed hour.
who had heard the noise in the corridor,
immediately blew out his lamp.
Someone was trying to open the door.
Was it Madame de Rênal?
Was it a jealous husband?
Very early next morning the cook,
who liked Julien,
brought him a book,
on the cover of which he read these words written in Italian: _Guardate alla pagina_ 130.
Julien shuddered at the imprudence,
looked for page 130,
and found pinned to it the following letter hastily written,
bathed with tears,
and full of spelling mistakes.
Madame de Rênal was usually very correct.
He was touched by this circumstance,
and somewhat forgot the awfulness of the indiscretion.
"So you did not want to receive me to-night?
There are moments when I think that I have never read down to the depths of your soul.
Your looks frighten me.
I am afraid of you.
perhaps you have never loved me?
In that case let my husband discover my love,
and shut me up in a prison in the country far away from my children.
Perhaps God wills it so.
I shall die soon,
but you will have proved yourself a monster.
"Do you not love me?
Are you tired of my fits of folly and of remorse,
you wicked man?
Do you wish to ruin me?
I will show you an easy way.
Go and show this letter to all Verrières,
or rather show it to M. Valenod.
Tell him that I love you,
do not utter such a blasphemy,
tell him I adore you,
that it was only on the day I saw you that my life commenced;
that even in the maddest moments of my youth I never even dreamt of the happiness that I owe to you,
that I have sacrificed my life to you and that I am sacrificing my soul.
You know that I am sacrificing much more.
But does that man know the meaning of sacrifice?
simply to irritate him,
that I will defy all evil tongues,
that the only misfortune for me in the whole world would be to witness any change in the only man who holds me to life.
What a happiness it would be to me to lose my life,
to offer it up as a sacrifice and to have no longer any fear for my children.
"Have no doubt about it,
if it is an anonymous letter,
it comes from that odious being who has persecuted me for the last six years with his loud voice,
his stories about his jumps on horseback,
and the never ending catalogue of all his advantages.
"Is there an anonymous letter?
I should like to discuss that question with you,
you wicked man;
you acted rightly.
Clasping you in my arms perhaps for the last time,
I should never have been able to argue as coldly as I do,
now that I am alone.
From this moment our happiness will no longer be so easy.
Will that be a vexation for you?
on those days when you haven't received some amusing book from M. Fouqué.
The sacrifice is made;
whether there is or whether there is not any anonymous letter,
I myself will tell my husband I have received an anonymous letter and that it is necessary to give you a golden bridge at once,
find some honourable excuse,
and send you back to your parents without delay.
we are going to be separated for a fortnight,
perhaps a month!
I will do you justice,
you will suffer as much as I,
this is the only means of disposing of this anonymous letter.
It is not the first that my husband has received,
and on my score too.
how I used to laugh over them!
"My one aim is to make my husband think that the letter comes from M. Valenod;
I have no doubt that he is its author.
If you leave the house,
make a point of establishing yourself at Verrières;
I will manage that my husband should think of passing a fortnight there in order to prove to the fools there was no coldness between him and me.
Once at Verrières,
establish ties of friendship with everyone,
even with the Liberals.
I am sure that all their ladies will seek you out.
"Do not quarrel with M. Valenod,
or cut off his ears,
as you said you would one day.
on the contrary,
to ingratiate yourself with him.
The essential point is that it should be notorious in Verrières that you are going to enter the household either of Valenod or of someone else to take charge of the children's education.
"That is what my husband will never put up with.
If he does feel bound to resign himself to it,
at any rate,
you will be living in Verrières and I shall be seeing you sometimes.
who love you so much,
will go and see you.
I feel that I love my children all the more because they love you.
How is all this going to end?
I am wandering ....
Anyway you understand your line of conduct.
but not in any way disdainful to those coarse persons.
I ask you on my knees;
they will be the arbiters of our fate.
Do not fear for a moment but that,
so far as you are concerned,
my husband will conform to what public opinion lays down for him.
"It is you who will supply me with the anonymous letter.
Equip yourself with patience and a pair of scissors,
cut out from a book the words which you will see,
then stick them with the mouth-glue on to the leaf of loose paper which I am sending you.
It comes to me from M. Valenod.
Be on your guard against a search in your room;
burn the pages of the book which you are going to mutilate.
If you do not find the words ready-made,
have the patience to form them letter by letter.
I have made the anonymous letter too short.
All your little goings-on are known,
but the persons interested in stopping have been warned.
I have still sufficient friendship left for you to urge you to cease all relations with the little peasant.
If you are sensible enough to do this,
your husband will believe that the notification he has received is misleading,
and he will be left in his illusion.
Remember that I have your secret;
you must now _walk straight_ before me.'
"As soon as you have finished glueing together the words that make up this letter (have you recognised the director's special style of speech) leave the house,
I will meet you.
"I will go into the village and come back with a troubled face.
As a matter of fact I shall be very much troubled.
What a risk I run,
and all because you thought you guessed an anonymous letter.
looking very much upset,
I shall give this letter to my husband and say that an unknown man handed it to me.
As for you,
go for a walk with the children,
on the road to the great woods,
and do not come back before dinner-time.
"You will be able to see the tower of the dovecot from the top of the rocks.
If things go well for us,
I will place a white handkerchief there,
in case of the contrary,
there will be nothing at all.
will not your heart find out some means of telling me that you love me before you leave for that walk.
be certain of one thing: I shall never survive our final separation by a single day.
you bad mother!
but what is the use of my writing those two words,
I do not feel them,
at this moment I can only think of you.
I have only written them so as not to be blamed by you,
but what is the good of deception now that I find myself face to face with losing you?
let my soul seem monstrous to you,
but do not let me lie to the man whom I adore.
I have already deceived only too much in this life of mine.
I forgive you if you love me no more.
I have not the time to read over my letter.
It is a small thing in my eyes to pay for the happy days that I have just passed in your arms with the price of my life.
You know that they will cost me more."
DIALOGUE WITH A MASTER
our frailty is the cause,
For such as we are made of,
such we be.
It was with a childish pleasure that for a whole hour Julien put the words together.
As he came out of his room,
he met his pupils with their mother.
She took the letter with a simplicity and a courage whose calmness terrified him.
"Is the mouth-glue dry enough yet?"
she asked him.
"And is this the woman who was so maddened by remorse?"
"What are her plans at this moment?"
He was too proud to ask her,
but she had never perhaps pleased him more.
"If this turns out badly,"
she added with the same coolness,
"I shall be deprived of everything.
Take charge of this,
and bury it in some place of the mountain.
It will perhaps one day be my only resource."
She gave him a glass case in red morocco filled with gold and some diamonds.
she said to him.
She kissed the children,
embracing the youngest twice.
Julien remained motionless.
She left him at a rapid pace without looking at him.
From the moment that M. de Rênal had opened the anonymous letter his life had been awful.
He had not been so agitated since a duel which he had just missed having in 1816,
and to do him justice,
the prospect of receiving a bullet would have made him less unhappy.
He scrutinised the letter from every standpoint.
"Is that not a woman's handwriting?"
he said to himself.
In that case,
what woman had written it?
He reviewed all those whom he knew at Verrières without being able to fix his suspicions on any one.
Could a man have dictated that letter?
Who was that man?
Equal uncertainty on this point.
The majority of his acquaintances were jealous of him,
"I must consult my wife,"
he said to himself through habit,
as he got up from the arm-chair in which he had collapsed.
he said aloud before he got up,
striking his head,
"it is she above all of whom I must be distrustful.
At the present moment she is my enemy,"
and tears came into his eyes through sheer anger.
By a poetic justice for that hardness of heart which constitutes the provincial idea of shrewdness,
the two men whom M. de Rênal feared the most at the present moment were his two most intimate friends.
"I have ten friends perhaps after those,"
and he passed them in review,
gauging the degree of consolation which he could get from each one.
"All of them,
all of them,"
he exclaimed in a rage,
"will derive the most supreme pleasure from my awful experience."
As luck would have it,
he thought himself envied,
and not without reason.
Apart from his superb town mansion in which the king of -- -- had recently spent the night,
and thus conferred on it an enduring honour,
he had decorated his chateau at Vergy extremely well.
The façade was painted white and the windows adorned with fine green shutters.
He was consoled for a moment by the thought of this magnificence.
The fact was that this château was seen from three or four leagues off,
to the great prejudice of all the country houses or so-called châteaux of the neighbourhood,
which had been left in the humble grey colour given them by time.
There was one of his friends on whose pity and whose tears M. de Rênal could count,
the churchwarden of the parish;
but he was an idiot who cried at everything.
was his only resource.
"What unhappiness is comparable to mine,"
he exclaimed with rage.
"Is it possible?"
said this truly pitiable man to himself.
"Is it possible that I have no friend in my misfortune of whom I can ask advice?
for my mind is wandering,
I feel it.
he exclaimed with bitterness.
Those were the names of two friends of his childhood whom he had dropped owing to his snobbery in 1814.
They were not noble,
and he had wished to change the footing of equality on which they had been living with him since their childhood.
One of them,
a paper-merchant of Verrières,
and a man of intellect and spirit,
had bought a printing press in the chief town of the department and undertaken the production of a journal.
The priestly congregation had resolved to ruin him;
his journal had been condemned,
and he had been deprived of his printer's diploma.
In these sad circumstances he ventured to write to M. de Rênal for the first time for ten years.
The mayor of Verrières thought it his duty to answer in the old Roman style:
"If the King's Minister were to do me the honour of consulting me,
I should say to him,
ruin ruthlessly all the provincial printers,
and make printing a monopoly like tobacco."
M. de Rênal was horrified to remember the terms of this letter to an intimate friend whom all Verrières had once admired,
"Who would have said that I,
with my rank,
would ever come to regret it?"
It was in these transports of rage,
directed now against himself,
now against all his surroundings,
that he passed an awful night;
it never occurred to him to spy on his wife.
"I am accustomed to Louise,"
he said to himself,
"she knows all my affairs.
If I were free to marry to-morrow,
I should not find anyone to take her place."
Then he began to plume himself on the idea that his wife was innocent.
This point of view did not require any manifestation of character,
and suited him much better.
"How many calumniated women has one not seen?"
he suddenly exclaimed,
as he walked about feverishly,
"shall I put up with her making a fool of me with her lover as though I were a man of no account,
some mere ragamuffin?
Is all Verrières to make merry over my complaisance?
What have they not said about Charmier (he was a husband in the district who was notoriously deceived)?
Was there not a smile on every lip at the mention of his name?
He is a good advocate,
but whoever said anything about his talent for speaking?
he is thus designated by the name of the man who disgraces him."
"I have no daughter,
M. de Rênal would say at other times,
"and the way in which I am going to punish the mother will consequently not be so harmful to my children's household.
I could surprise this little peasant with my wife and kill them both;
in that case the tragedy of the situation would perhaps do away with the grotesque element."
This idea appealed to him.
He followed it up in all its details.
"The penal code is on my side,
and whatever happens our congregation and my friends on the jury will save me."
He examined his hunting-knife which was quite sharp,
but the idea of blood frightened him.
"I could thrash this insolent tutor within an inch of his life and hound him out of the house;
but what a sensation that would make in Verrières and even over the whole department!
After Falcoz' journal had been condemned,
and when its chief editor left prison,
I had a hand in making him lose his place of six hundred francs a year.
They say that this scribbler has dared to show himself again in Besançon.
He may lampoon me adroitly and in such a way that it will be impossible to bring him up before the courts.
Bring him up before the courts!
The insolent wretch will insinuate in a thousand and one ways that he has spoken the truth.
A well-born man who keeps his place like I do,
is hated by all the plebeians.
I shall see my name in all those awful Paris papers.
To see the ancient name of Rênal plunged in the mire of ridicule.
If I ever travel I shall have to change my name.
abandon that name which is my glory and my strength.
Could anything be worse than that?
"If I do not kill my wife but turn her out in disgrace,
she has her aunt in Besançon who is going to hand all her fortune over to her.
My wife will go and live in Paris with Julien.
It will be known at Verrières,
and I shall be taken for a dupe."
The unhappy man then noticed from the paleness of the lamplight that the dawn was beginning to appear.
He went to get a little fresh air in the garden.
At this moment he had almost determined to make no scandal,
particularly in view of the fact that a scandal would overwhelm with joy all his good friends in Verrières.
The promenade in the garden calmed him a little.
"I shall not deprive myself of my wife,
she is too useful to me."
He imagined with horror what his house would be without his wife.
The only relative he had was the Marquise of R -- -- old,
A very sensible idea occurred to him,
but its execution required a strength of character considerably superior to the small amount of character which the poor man possessed.
"If I keep my wife,"
he said to himself,
"I know what I shall do one day;
on some occasion when she makes me lose patience,
I shall reproach her with her guilt.
She is proud,
we shall quarrel,
and all this will happen before she has inherited her aunt's fortune.
And how they will all make fun of me then!
My wife loves her children,
the result will be that everything will go to them.
But as for me,
I shall be the laughing-stock of Verrières.
they will say,
'he could not even manage to revenge himself on his wife!'
Would it not be better to leave it and verify nothing?
In that case I tie my hands,
and cannot afterwards reproach her with anything."
An instant afterwards M. de Rênal,
once more a prey to wounded vanity,
set himself laboriously to recollect all the methods of procedure mentioned in the billiard-room of the _Casino_ or the _Nobles' Club_ in Verrières,
when some fine talker interrupted the pool to divert himself at the expense of some deceived husband.
How cruel these pleasantries appeared to him at the present moment!
why is my wife not dead!
then I should be impregnable against ridicule.
Why am I not a widower?
I should go and pass six months in Paris in the best society.
After this moment of happiness occasioned by the idea of widowerhood,
his imagination reverted to the means of assuring himself of the truth.
Should he put a slight layer of bran before the door of Julien's room at midnight after everyone had gone to bed?
He would see the impression of the feet in the following morning.
"But that's no good,"
he suddenly exclaimed with rage.
"That inquisitive Elisa will notice it,
and they will soon know all over the house that I am jealous."
In another _Casino_ tale a husband had assured himself of his misfortune by tying a hair with a little wax so that it shut the door of the gallant as effectually as a seal.
After so many hours of uncertainty this means of clearing up his fate seemed to him emphatically the best,
and he was thinking of availing himself of it when,
in one of the turnings of the avenue he met the very woman whom he would like to have seen dead.
She was coming back from the village.
She had gone to hear mass in the church of Vergy.
extremely doubtful in the eyes of the cold philosopher,
but in which she believed,
alleges that the little church was once the chapel of the château of the Lord of Vergy.
This idea obsessed Madame de Rênal all the time in the church that she had counted on spending in prayer.
She kept on imagining to herself the spectacle of her husband killing Julien when out hunting as though by accident,
and then making her eat his heart in the evening.
she said to herself,
"depends on what he will think when he listens to me.
It may be I shall never get another opportunity of speaking to him after this fatal quarter of an hour.
He is not a reasonable person who is governed by his intellect.
In that case,
with the help of my weak intelligence,
I could anticipate what he will do or say.
He will decide our common fate.
He has the power.
But this fate depends on my adroitness,
on my skill in directing the ideas of this crank,
who is blinded by his rage and unable to see half of what takes place.
I need talent and coolness,
where shall I get it?"
She regained her calmness as though by magic,
and she entered the garden and saw her husband in the distance.
His dishevelled hair and disordered dress showed that he had not slept.
She gave him a letter with a broken seal but folded.
As for him,
without opening it,
he gazed at his wife with the eyes of a madman.
"Here's an abominable thing,"
she said to him,
"which an evil-looking man who makes out that he knows you and is under an obligation to you,
handed to me as I was passing behind the notary's garden.
I insist on one thing and that is that you send back this M. Julien to his parents and without delay."
Madame de Rênal hastened to say these words,
perhaps a little before the psychological moment,
in order to free herself from the awful prospect of having to say them.
She was seized with joy on seeing that which she was occasioning to her husband.
She realised from the fixed stare which he was rivetting on her that Julien had surmised rightly.
"What a genius he is to be so brilliantly diplomatic instead of succumbing to so real a misfortune,"
"He will go very far in the future!
his successes will only make him forget me."
This little act of admiration for the man whom she adored quite cured her of her trouble.
She congratulated herself on her tactics.
"I have not been unworthy of Julien,"
she said to herself with a sweet and secret pleasure.
M. de Rênal kept examining the second anonymous letter which the reader may remember was composed of printed words glued on to a paper verging on blue.
He did not say a word for fear of giving himself away.
"They still make fun of me in every possible way,"
said M. de Rênal to himself,
overwhelmed with exhaustion.
"Still more new insults to examine and all the time on account of my wife."
He was on the point of heaping on her the coarsest insults.
He was barely checked by the prospects of the Besançon legacy.
Consumed by the need of venting his feelings on something,
he crumpled up the paper of the second anonymous letter and began to walk about with huge strides.
He needed to get away from his wife.
A few moments afterwards he came back to her in a quieter frame of mind.
"The thing is to take some definite line and send Julien away,"
she said immediately,
"after all it is only a labourer's son.
You will compensate him by a few crowns and besides he is clever and will easily manage to find a place,
with M. Valenod for example,
or with the sub-prefect De Maugiron who both have children.
In that way you will not be doing him any wrong ...."
"There you go talking like the fool that you are,"
exclaimed M. de Rênal in a terrible voice.
"How can one hope that a woman will show any good sense?
You never bother yourself about common sense.
How can you ever get to know anything?
Your indifference and your idleness give you no energy except for hunting those miserable butterflies,
which we are unfortunate to have in our houses."
Madame de Rênal let him speak and he spoke for a long time.
_He was working off his anger_,
to use the local expression.
she answered him at last,
"I speak as a woman who has been outraged in her honour,
that is to say,
in what she holds most precious."
Madame de Rênal preserved an unalterable sang-froid during all this painful conversation on the result of which depended the possibility of still living under the same roof as Julien.
She sought for the ideas which she thought most adapted to guide her husband's blind anger into a safe channel.
She had been insensible to all the insulting imputations which he had addressed to her.
She was not listening to them,
she was then thinking about Julien.
"Will he be pleased with me?"
"This little peasant whom we have loaded with attentions,
and even with presents,
may be innocent,"
she said to him at last,
"but he is none the less the occasion of the first affront that I have ever received.
when I read this abominable paper,
I vowed to myself that either he or I should leave your house."
"Do you want to make a scandal so as to dishonour me and yourself as well?
You will make things hum in Verrières I can assure you."
"It is true,
the degree of prosperity in which your prudent management has succeeded in placing you yourself,
your family and the town is the subject of general envy ....
I will urge Julien to ask you for a holiday to go and spend the month with that wood-merchant of the mountains,
a fit friend to be sure for this little labourer."
"Mind you do nothing at all,"
resumed M. de Rênal with a fair amount of tranquillity.
"I particularly insist on your not speaking to him.
You will put him into a temper and make him quarrel with me.
You know to what extent this little gentleman is always spoiling for a quarrel."
"That young man has no tact,"
resumed Madame de Rênal.
"He may be learned,
you know all about that,
but at bottom he is only a peasant.
For my own part I never thought much of him since he refused to marry Elisa.
It was an assured fortune;
and that on the pretext that sometimes she had made secret visits to M. Valenod."
said M. de Rênal,
lifting up his eyebrows inordinately.
did Julien tell you that?"
he always talked of the vocation which calls him to the holy ministry,
but believe me,
the first vocation for those lower-class people is getting their bread and butter.
He gave me to understand that he was quite aware of her secret visits."
"And I --I was ignorant,"
exclaimed M. de Rênal,
growing as angry as before and accentuating his words.
"Things take place in my house which I know nothing about ....
has there been anything between Elisa and Valenod?"
that's old history,
said Madame de Rênal with a smile,
"and perhaps no harm has come of it.
It was at the time when your good friend Valenod would not have minded their thinking at Verrières that a perfectly platonic little affection was growing up between him and me."
"I had that idea once myself,"
exclaimed M. de Rênal,
furiously striking his head as he progressed from discovery to discovery,
"and you told me nothing about it."
"Should one set two friends by the ears on account of a little fit of vanity on the part of our dear director?
What society woman has not had addressed to her a few letters which were both extremely witty and even a little gallant?"
"He has written to you?"
"He writes a great deal."
"Show me those letters at once,
I order you,"
and M. de Rênal pulled himself up to his six feet.
"I will do nothing of the kind,"
he was answered with a sweetness verging on indifference.
"I will show you them one day when you are in a better frame of mind."
"This very instant,
exclaimed M. de Rênal,
transported with rage and yet happier than he had been for twelve hours.
"Will you swear to me,"
said Madame de Rênal quite gravely,
"never to quarrel with the director of the workhouse about these letters?"
"Quarrel or no quarrel,
I can take those foundlings away from him,
he continued furiously,
"I want those letters at once.
Where are they?"
"In a drawer in my secretary,
but I shall certainly not give you the key."
"I'll manage to break it,"
running towards his wife's room.
He did break in fact with a bar of iron a costly secretary of veined mahogany which came from Paris and which he had often been accustomed to wipe with the nap of his coat,
when he thought he had detected a spot.
Madame de Rênal had climbed up at a run the hundred and twenty steps of the dovecot.
She tied the corner of a white handkerchief to one of the bars of iron of the little window.
She was the happiest of women.
With tears in her eyes she looked towards the great mountain forest.
she said to herself,
"Julien is watching for this happy signal."
She listened attentively for a long time and then she cursed the monotonous noise of the grasshopper and the song of the birds.
"Had it not been for that importunate noise,
a cry of joy starting from the big rocks could have arrived here."
Her greedy eye devoured that immense slope of dark verdure which was as level as a meadow.
"Why isn't he clever enough,"
she said to herself,
"to invent some signal to tell me that his happiness is equal to mine?"
She only came down from the dovecot when she was frightened of her husband coming there to look for her.
She found him furious.
He was perusing the soothing phrases of M. de Valenod and reading them with an emotion to which they were but little used.
"I always come back to the same idea,"
said Madame de Rênal seizing a moment when a pause in her husband's ejaculations gave her the possibility of getting heard.
"It is necessary for Julien to travel.
Whatever talent he may have for Latin,
he is only a peasant after all,
often coarse and lacking in tact.
Thinking to be polite,
he addresses inflated compliments to me every day,
which are in bad taste.
He learns them by heart out of some novel or other."
"He never reads one,"
exclaimed M. de Rênal.
"I am assured of it.
Do you think that I am the master of a house who is so blind as to be ignorant of what takes place in his own home."
if he doesn't read these droll compliments anywhere,
he invents them,
and that's all the worse so far as he is concerned.
He must have talked about me in this tone in Verrières and perhaps without going so far,"
said Madame Rênal with the idea of making a discovery,
"he may have talked in the same strain to Elisa,
which is almost the same as if he had said it to M. Valenod."
exclaimed M. de Rênal,
shaking the table and the room with one of the most violent raps ever made by a human fist.
"The anonymous printed letter and Valenod's letters are written on the same paper."
thought Madame de Rênal.
She pretended to be overwhelmed at this discovery,
and without having the courage to add a single word,
went and sat down some way off on the divan at the bottom of the drawing-room.
From this point the battle was won.
She had a great deal of trouble in preventing M. de Rênal from going to speak to the supposed author of the anonymous letter.
can't you see that making a scene with M. Valenod without sufficient proof would be the most signal mistake?
You are envied,
and who is responsible?
Your talents: your wise management,
your tasteful buildings,
the dowry which I have brought you,
and above all,
the substantial legacy which we are entitled to hope for from my good aunt,
the importance of which is inordinately exaggerated,
have made you into the first person in Verrières."
"You are forgetting my birth,"
said M. de Rênal,
smiling a little.
"You are one of the most distinguished gentlemen in the province,"
replied Madame de Rênal emphatically.
"If the king were free and could give birth its proper due,
you would no doubt figure in the Chamber of Peers,
And being in this magnificent position,
you yet wish to give the envious a fact to take hold of."
"To speak about this anonymous letter to M. Valenod is equivalent to proclaiming over the whole of Verrières,
over the whole of Besançon,
over the whole province that this little bourgeois who has been admitted perhaps imprudently to intimacy _with a Rênal_,
has managed to offend him.
At the time when those letters which you have just taken prove that I have reciprocated M. Valenod's love,
you ought to kill me.
I should have deserved it a hundred times over,
but not to show him your anger.
Remember that all our neighbours are only waiting for an excuse to revenge themselves for your superiority.
Remember that in 1816 you had a hand in certain arrests.
"I think that you show neither consideration nor love for me,"
exclaimed M. de Rênal with all the bitterness evoked by such a memory,
"and I was not made a peer."
"I am thinking,
resumed Madame de Rênal with a smile,
"that I shall be richer than you are,
that I have been your companion for twelve years,
and that by virtue of those qualifications I am entitled to have a voice in the council and,
in to-day's business.
If you prefer M. Julien to me,"
with a touch of temper which was but thinly disguised,
"I am ready to go and pass a winter with my aunt."
These words proved a lucky shot.
They possessed a firmness which endeavoured to clothe itself with courtesy.
It decided M. de Rênal,
but following the provincial custom,
he still thought for a long time,
and went again over all his arguments;
his wife let him speak.
There was still a touch of anger in his intonation.
Finally two hours of futile rant exhausted the strength of a man who had been subject during the whole night to a continuous fit of anger.
He determined on the line of conduct he was going to follow with regard to M. Valenod,
Julien and even Elisa.
Madame de Rênal was on the point once or twice during this great scene of feeling some sympathy for the very real unhappiness of the man who had been so dear to her for twelve years.
But true passions are selfish.
Besides she was expecting him every instant to mention the anonymous letter which he had received the day before and he did not mention it.
In order to feel quite safe,
Madame de Rênal wanted to know the ideas which the letter had succeeding in suggesting to the man on whom her fate depended,
in the provinces the husbands are the masters of public opinion.
A husband who complains covers himself with ridicule,
an inconvenience which becomes no less dangerous in France with each succeeding year;
but if he refuses to provide his wife with money,
she falls to the status of a labouring woman at fifteen sous a day,
while the virtuous souls have scruples about employing her.
An odalisque in the seraglio can love the Sultan with all her might.
He is all-powerful and she has no hope of stealing his authority by a series of little subtleties.
The master's vengeance is terrible and bloody but martial and generous;
a dagger thrust finishes everything.
But it is by stabbing her with public contempt that a nineteenth-century husband kills his wife.
It is by shutting against her the doors of all the drawing-rooms.
When Madame de Rênal returned to her room,
her feeling of danger was vividly awakened.
She was shocked by the disorder in which she found it.
The locks of all the pretty little boxes had been broken.
Many planks in the floor had been lifted up.
"He would have no pity on me,"
she said to herself.
"To think of his spoiling like this,
this coloured wood floor which he likes so much;
he gets red with rage whenever one of his children comes into it with wet shoes,
and now it is spoilt for ever."
The spectacle of this violence immediately banished the last scruples which she was entertaining with respect to that victory which she had won only too rapidly.
Julien came back with the children a little before the dinner-bell.
Madame de Rênal said to him very drily at dessert when the servant had left the room:
"You have told me about your wish to go and spend a fortnight at Verrières.
M. de Rênal is kind enough to give you a holiday.
You can leave as soon as you like,
but the childrens' exercises will be sent to you every day so that they do not waste their time."
"I shall certainly not allow you more than a week,"
said M. de Rênal in a very bitter tone.
Julien thought his visage betrayed the anxiety of a man who was seriously harassed.
"He has not yet decided what line to take,"
he said to his love during a moment when they were alone together in the drawing-room.
Madame de Rênal rapidly recounted to him all she had done since the morning.
"The details are for to-night,"
she added with a smile.
"What can be the pleasure,
what can be the instinct which induces them to deceive us."
"I think you are both enlightened and at the same time blinded by your love,"
he said to her with some coldness.
"Your conduct to-day has been admirable,
but is it prudent for us to try and see each other to-night?
This house is paved with enemies.
Just think of Elisa's passionate hatred for me."
"That hate is very like the passionate indifference which you no doubt have for me."
"Even if I were indifferent I ought to save you from the peril in which I have plunged you.
If chance so wills it that M. de Rênal should speak to Elisa,
she can acquaint him with everything in a single word.
What is to prevent him from hiding near my room fully armed?"
not even courage?"
said Madame de Rênal,
with all the haughtiness of a scion of nobility.
"I will never demean myself to speak about my courage,"
"it would be mean to do so.
Let the world judge by the facts.
taking her hand,
"you have no idea how devoted I am to you and how over-joyed I am of being able to say good-bye to you before this cruel separation."
MANNERS OF PROCEDURE IN 1830
Speech has been given to man to conceal his thought.
Julien had scarcely arrived at Verrières before he reproached himself with his injustice towards Madame de Rênal.
"I should have despised her for a weakling of a woman if she had not had the strength to go through with her scene with M. de Rênal.
But she has acquitted herself like a diplomatist and I sympathise with the defeat of the man who is my enemy.
There is a bourgeois prejudice in my action;
my vanity is offended because M. de Rênal is a man.
Men form a vast and illustrious body to which I have the honour to belong.
I am nothing but a fool."
M. Chélan had refused the magnificent apartments which the most important Liberals in the district had offered him,
when his loss of his living had necessitated his leaving the parsonage.
The two rooms which he had rented were littered with his books.
wishing to show Verrières what a priest could do,
went and fetched a dozen pinewood planks from his father,
carried them on his back all along the Grande-Rue,
borrowed some tools from an old comrade and soon built a kind of book-case in which he arranged M. Chélan's books.
"I thought you were corrupted by the vanity of the world,"
said the old man to him as he cried with joy,
"but this is something which well redeems all the childishness of that brilliant Guard of Honour uniform which has made you so many enemies."
M. de Rênal had ordered Julien to stay at his house.
No one suspected what had taken place.
The third day after his arrival Julien saw no less a personage than M. the sub-prefect de Maugiron come all the way up the stairs to his room.
It was only after two long hours of fatuous gossip and long-winded lamentations about the wickedness of man,
the lack of honesty among the people entrusted with the administration of the public funds,
the dangers of his poor France,
that Julien was at last vouchsafed a glimpse of the object of the visit.
They were already on the landing of the staircase and the poor half disgraced tutor was escorting with all proper deference the future prefect of some prosperous department,
when the latter was pleased to take an interest in Julien's fortune,
to praise his moderation in money matters,
Finally M. de Maugiron,
embracing him in the most paternal way,
proposed that he should leave M. de Rênal and enter the household of an official who had children to educate and who,
like King Philippe,
thanked Heaven not so much that they had been granted to him,
but for the fact that they had been born in the same neighbourhood as M. Julien.
Their tutor would enjoy a salary of 800 francs,
payable not from month to month,
which is not at all aristocratic,
said M. de Maugiron,
but quarterly and always in advance.
It was Julien's turn now.
After he had been bored for an hour and a half by waiting for what he had to say,
his answer was perfect and,
as long as a bishop's charge.
It suggested everything and yet said nothing clearly.
It showed at the same time respect for M. de Rênal,
veneration for the public of Verrières and gratitude to the distinguished sub-prefect.
astonished at finding him more Jesuitical than himself,
tried in vain to obtain something definite.
Julien was delighted,
seized the opportunity to practise,
and started his answer all over again in different language.
Never has an eloquent minister who wished to make the most of the end of a session when the Chamber really seemed desirous of waking up,
said less in more words.
M. de Maugiron had scarcely left before Julien began to laugh like a madman.
In order to exploit his Jesuitical smartness,
he wrote a nine-page letter to M. de Rênal in which he gave him an account of all that had been said to him and humbly asked his advice.
"But the old scoundrel has not told me the name of the person who is making the offer.
It is bound to be M. Valenod who,
sees in my exile at Verrières the result of his anonymous letter."
Having sent off his despatch and feeling as satisfied as a hunter who at six o'clock in the morning on a fine autumn day,
comes out into a plain that abounds with game,
he went out to go and ask advice of M. Chélan.
But before he had arrived at the good curé's,
wishing to shower favours upon him,
threw in his path M. de Valenod,
to whom he owned quite freely that his heart was torn in two;
a poor lad such as he was owed an exclusive devotion to the vocation to which it had pleased Heaven to call him.
But vocation was not everything in this base world.
In order to work worthily at the vine of the Lord,
and to be not totally unworthy of so many worthy colleagues,
it was necessary to be educated;
it was necessary to spend two expensive years at the seminary of Besançon;
saving consequently became an imperative necessity,
and was certainly much easier with a salary of eight hundred francs paid quarterly than with six hundred francs which one received monthly.
On the other hand,
did not Heaven,
by placing him by the side of the young de Rênals,
and especially by inspiring him with a special devotion to them,
seem to indicate that it was not proper to abandon that education for another one.
Julien reached such a degree of perfection in that particular kind of eloquence which has succeeded the drastic quickness of the empire,
that he finished by boring himself with the sound of his own words.
On reaching home he found a valet of M. Valenod in full livery who had been looking for him all over the town,
with a card inviting him to dinner for that same day.
Julien had never been in that man's house.
Only a few days before he had been thinking of nothing but the means of giving him a sound thrashing without getting into trouble with the police.
Although the time of the dinner was one o'clock,
Julien thought it was more deferential to present himself at half-past twelve at the office of M. the director of the workhouse.
He found him parading his importance in the middle of a lot of despatch boxes.
His large black whiskers,
his enormous quantity of hair,
his Greek bonnet placed across the top of his head,
his immense pipe,
his embroidered slippers,
the big chains of gold crossed all over his breast,
and the whole stock-in-trade of a provincial financier who considers himself prosperous,
failed to impose on Julien in the least: They only made him think the more of the thrashing which he owed him.
He asked for the honour of being introduced to Madame Valenod.
She was dressing and was unable to receive him.
By way of compensation he had the privilege of witnessing the toilet of M. the director of the workhouse.
They subsequently went into the apartment of Madame Valenod,
who introduced her children to him with tears in her eyes.
This lady was one of the most important in Verrières,
had a big face like a man's,
on which she had put rouge in honour of this great function.
She displayed all the maternal pathos of which she was capable.
Julien thought all the time of Madame de Rênal.
His distrust made him only susceptible to those associations which are called up by their opposites,
but he was then affected to the verge of breaking down.
This tendency was increased by the sight of the house of the director of the workhouse.
He was shown over it.
Everything in it was new and magnificent,
and he was told the price of every article of furniture.
But Julien detected a certain element of sordidness,
which smacked of stolen money into the bargain.
Everybody in it,
down to the servants,
had the air of setting his face in advance against contempt.
The collector of taxes,
the superintendent of indirect taxes,
the officer of gendarmerie,
and two or three other public officials arrived with their wives.
They were followed by some rich Liberals.
Dinner was announced.
It occurred to Julien,
who was already feeling upset,
that there were some poor prisoners on the other side of the dining-room wall,
and that an illicit profit had perhaps been made over their rations of meat in order to purchase all that garish luxury with which they were trying to overwhelm him.
"Perhaps they are hungry at this very minute,"
he said to himself.
He felt a choking in his throat.
He found it impossible to eat and almost impossible to speak.
Matters became much worse a quarter of an hour afterwards;
they heard in the distance some refrains of a popular song that was,
it must be confessed,
a little vulgar,
which was being sung by one of the inmates.
M. Valenod gave a look to one of his liveried servants who disappeared and soon there was no more singing to be heard.
At that moment a valet offered Julien some Rhine wine in a green glass and Madame Valenod made a point of asking him to note that this wine cost nine francs a bottle in the market.
Julien held up his green glass and said to M. Valenod,
"They are not singing that wretched song any more."
I should think not,"
answered the triumphant governor.
"I have made the rascals keep quiet."
These words were too much for Julien.
He had the manners of his new position,
but he had not yet assimilated its spirit.
In spite of all his hypocrisy and its frequent practice,
he felt a big tear drip down his cheek.
He tried to hide it in the green glass,
but he found it absolutely impossible to do justice to the Rhine wine.
"Preventing singing he said to himself: Oh,
and you suffer it."
Fortunately nobody noticed his ill-bred emotion.
The collector of taxes had struck up a royalist song.
reflected Julien's conscience during the hubbub of the refrain which was sung in chorus,
"is the sordid prosperity which you will eventually reach,
and you will only enjoy it under these conditions and in company like this.
have a post worth twenty thousand francs;
but while you gorge yourself on meat,
you will have to prevent a poor prisoner from singing;
you will give dinners with the money which you have stolen out of his miserable rations and during your dinners he will be still more wretched.
how sweet it was to climb to fortune in your way through the dangers of a battle,
but to think of aggravating the pain of the unfortunate in this cowardly way."
I own that the weakness which Julien had been manifesting in this soliloquy gives me a poor opinion of him.
He is worthy of being the accomplice of those kid-gloved conspirators who purport to change the whole essence of a great country's existence,
without wishing to have on their conscience the most trivial scratch.
Julien was sharply brought back to his role.
He had not been invited to dine in such good company simply to moon dreamily and say nothing.
A retired manufacturer of cotton prints,
a corresponding member of the Academy of Besançon and of that of Uzès,
spoke to him from the other end of the table and asked him if what was said everywhere about his astonishing progress in the study of the New Testament was really true.
A profound silence was suddenly inaugurated.
A New Testament in Latin was found as though by magic in the possession of the learned member of the two Academies.
After Julien had answered,
part of a sentence in Latin was read at random.
Julien then recited.
His memory proved faithful and the prodigy was admired with all the boisterous energy of the end of dinner.
Julien looked at the flushed faces of the ladies.
A good many were not so plain.
He recognised the wife of the collector,
who was a fine singer.
"I am ashamed,
as a matter of fact,
to talk Latin so long before these ladies,"
turning his eyes on her.
"If M. Rubigneau,"
that was the name of the member of the two Academies,
"will be kind enough to read a Latin sentence at random instead of answering by following the Latin text,
I will try to translate it impromptu."
This second test completed his glory.
Several Liberals were there,
were none the less the happy fathers of children capable of obtaining scholarships,
and had consequently been suddenly converted at the last mission.
In spite of this diplomatic step,
M. de Rênal had never been willing to receive them in his house.
These worthy people,
who only knew Julien by name and from having seen him on horseback on the day of the king of -- --'s entry,
were his most noisy admirers.
"When will those fools get tired of listening to this Biblical language,
which they don't understand in the least,"
on the contrary,
that language amused them by its strangeness and made them smile.
But Julien got tired.
As six o'clock struck he got up gravely and talked about a chapter in Ligorio's New Theology which he had to learn by heart to recite on the following day to M. Chélan,
he added pleasantly,
"my business is to get lessons said by heart to me,
and to say them by heart myself."
There was much laughter and admiration;
such is the kind of wit which is customary in Verrières.
Julien had already got up and in spite of etiquette everybody got up as well,
so great is the dominion exercised by genius.
Madame Valenod kept him for another quarter of an hour.
He really must hear her children recite their catechisms.
They made the most absurd mistakes which he alone noticed.
He was careful not to point them out.
"What ignorance of the first principles of religion,"
Finally he bowed and thought he could get away;
but they insisted on his trying a fable of La Fontaine.
"That author is quite immoral,"
said Julien to Madame Valenod.
A certain fable on Messire Jean Chouart dares to pour ridicule on all that we hold most venerable.
He is shrewdly blamed by the best commentators.
Before Julien left he received four or five invitations to dinner.
"This young man is an honour to the department,"
cried all the guests in chorus.
They even went so far as to talk of a pension voted out of the municipal funds to put him in the position of continuing his studies at Paris.
While this rash idea was resounding through the dining-room Julien had swiftly reached the front door.
three or four times in succession in a low voice as he indulged in the pleasure of breathing in the fresh air.
He felt quite an aristocrat at this moment,
though he was the very man who had been shocked for so long a period by the haughty smile of disdainful superiority which he detected behind all the courtesies addressed to him at M. de Rênal's.
He could not help realising the extreme difference.
Why let us even forget the fact of its being money stolen from the poor inmates,
he said to himself as he went away,
let us forget also their stopping the singing.
M. de Rênal would never think of telling his guests the price of each bottle of wine with which he regales them,
and as for this M. Valenod,
and his chronic cataloguing of his various belongings,
he cannot talk of his house,
in the presence of his wife without saying,
who was apparently so keenly alive to the delights of decorum,
had just had an awful scene during the dinner with a servant who had broken a wine-glass and spoilt one of her dozens;
and the servant too had answered her back with the utmost insolence.
"What a collection,"
said Julien to himself;
"I would not live like they do were they to give me half of all they steal.
I shall give myself away one fine day.
I should not be able to restrain myself from expressing the disgust with which they inspire one."
It was necessary,
to obey Madame de Rênal's injunction and be present at several dinners of the same kind.
Julien was the fashion;
he was forgiven his Guard of Honour uniform,
or rather that indiscretion was the real cause of his successes.
Soon the only question in Verrières was whether M. de Rênal or M. the director of the workhouse would be the victor in the struggle for the clever young man.
These gentlemen formed,
together with M. Maslon,
a triumvirate which had tyrannised over the town for a number of years.
People were jealous of the mayor,
and the Liberals had good cause for complaint,
he was noble and born for a superior position,
while M. Valenod's father had not left him six hundred francs a year.
His career had necessitated a transition from pitying the shabby green suit which had been so notorious in his youth,
to envying the Norman horses,
his gold chains,
his Paris clothes,
his whole present prosperity.
Julien thought that he had discovered one honest man in the whirlpool of this novel world.
He was a geometrist named Gros,
and had the reputation of being a Jacobin.
who had vowed to say nothing but that which he disbelieved himself,
was obliged to watch himself carefully when speaking to M. Gros.
He received big packets of exercises from Vergy.
He was advised to visit his father frequently,
and he fulfilled his unpleasant duty.
In a word he was patching his reputation together pretty well,
when he was thoroughly surprised to find himself woken up one morning by two hands held over his eyes.
It was Madame de Rênal who had made a trip to the town,
running up the stairs four at a time while she left her children playing with a pet rabbit,
had reached Julien's room a moment before her sons.
This moment was delicious but very short: Madame de Rênal had disappeared when the children arrived with the rabbit which they wanted to show to their friend.
Julien gave them all a hearty welcome,
including the rabbit.
He seemed at home again.
He felt that he loved these children and that he enjoyed gossiping with them.
He was astonished at the sweetness of their voices,
at the simplicity and dignity of their little ways;
he felt he needed to purge his imagination of all the vulgar practices and all the unpleasantnesses among which he had been living in Verrières.
For there everyone was always frightened of being scored off,
and luxury and poverty were at daggers drawn.
The people with whom he would dine would enter into confidences over the joint which were as humiliating for themselves as they were nauseating to the hearer.
who are nobles,
you are right to be proud,"
he said to Madame de Rênal,
as he gave her an account of all the dinners which he had put up with.
"You're the fashion then,"
and she laughed heartily as she thought of the rouge which Madame Valenod thought herself obliged to put on each time she expected Julien.
"I think she has designs on your heart,"
The breakfast was delicious.
The presence of the children,
though apparently embarrassing,
increased as a matter of fact the happiness of the party.
The poor children did not know how to give expression to the joy at seeing Julien again.
The servants had not failed to tell them that he had been offered two hundred francs a year more to educate the little Valenods.
who was still pale from his illness,
suddenly asked his mother in the middle of the breakfast,
the value of his silver cover and of the goblet in which he was drinking.
"Why do you want to know that?"
"I want to sell them to give the price to M. Julien so that he shan't be _done_ if he stays with us."
Julien kissed him with tears in his eyes.
His mother wept unrestrainedly,
for Julien took Stanislas on his knees and explained to him that he should not use the word "done" which,
when employed in that meaning was an expression only fit for the servants' hall.
Seeing the pleasure which he was giving to Madame de Rênal,
he tried to explain the meaning of being "done" by picturesque illustrations which amused the children.
"it's like the crow who is silly enough to let his cheese fall and be taken by the fox who has been playing the flatterer."
Madame de Rênal felt mad with joy and covered her children with kisses,
a process which involved her leaning a little on Julien.
Suddenly the door opened.
It was M. de Rênal.
His severe and discontented expression contrasted strangely with the sweet joy which his presence dissipated.
Madame de Rênal grew pale,
she felt herself incapable of denying anything.
Julien seized command of the conversation and commenced telling M. the mayor in a loud voice the incident of the silver goblet which Stanislas wanted to sell.
He was quite certain this story would not be appreciated.
M. de Rênal first of all frowned mechanically at the mere mention of money.
Any allusion to that mineral,
he was accustomed to say,
is always a prelude to some demand made upon my purse.
But this was something more than a mere money matter.
His suspicions were increased.
The air of happiness which animated his family during his absence was not calculated to smooth matters over with a man who was a prey to so touchy a vanity.
as his wife started to praise to him the combined grace and cleverness of the way in which Julien gave ideas to his pupils.
he renders me hateful to my own children.
It is easy enough for him to make himself a hundred times more loveable to them than I am myself,
though after all,
I am the master.
In this century everything tends to make _legitimate_ authority unpopular.
Madame de Rênal had not stopped to examine the fine shades of the welcome which her husband gave her.
She had just caught a glimpse of the possibility of spending twelve hours with Julien.
She had a lot of purchases to make in the town and declared that she positively insisted in going to dine at the tavern.
She stuck to her idea in spite of all her husband's protests and remonstrances.
The children were delighted with the mere word tavern,
which our modern prudery denounces with so much gusto.
M. de Rênal left his wife in the first draper's shop which she entered and went to pay some visits.
He came back more morose than he had been in the morning.
He was convinced that the whole town was busy with himself and Julien.
As a matter of fact no one had yet given him any inkling as to the more offensive part of the public gossip.
Those items which had been repeated to M. the mayor dealt exclusively with the question of whether Julien would remain with him with six hundred francs,
or would accept the eight hundred francs offered by M. the director of the workhouse.
when he met M. de Rênal in society,
gave him the cold shoulder.
These tactics were not without cleverness.
There is no impulsiveness in the provinces.
Sensations are so rare there that they are never allowed to be wasted.
M. le Valenod was what is called a hundred miles from Paris a _faraud_;
that means a coarse imprudent type of man.
His triumphant existence since 1815 had consolidated his natural qualities.
so to say,
in Verrières subject to the orders of M. de Rênal;
but as he was much more energetic,
was ashamed of nothing,
had a finger in everything,
and was always going about writing and speaking,
and was oblivious of all snubs,
although without any personal pretensions,
eventually come to equal the mayor in reputation in the eyes of the ecclesiastical authorities.
M. Valenod had,
as it were,
said to the local tradesmen "Give me the two biggest fools among your number;"
to the men of law "Show me the two greatest dunces;"
to the sanitary officials "Point out to me the two biggest charlatans."
When he had thus collected the most impudent members of each separate calling,
he had practically said to them,
"Let us reign together."
The manners of those people were offensive to M. de Rênal.
The coarseness of Valenod took offence at nothing,
not even the frequency with which the little abbé Maslon would give the lie to him in public.
But in the middle of all this prosperity M. Valenod found it necessary to reassure himself by a number of petty acts of insolence on the score of the crude truths which he well realised that everybody was justified in addressing to him.
His activity had redoubled since the fears which the visit of M. Appert had left him.
He had made three journeys to Besançon.
He wrote several letters by each courier;
he sent others by unknown men who came to his house at nightfall.
Perhaps he had been wrong in securing the dismissal of the old curé Chélan.
For this piece of vindictiveness had resulted in his being considered an extremely malicious man by several pious women of good birth.
the rendering of this service had placed him in absolute dependence on M. the Grand Vicar de Frilair from whom he received some strange commissions.
He had reached this point in his intrigues when he had yielded to the pleasure of writing an anonymous letter,
and thus increasing his embarrassment.
His wife declared to him that she wanted to have Julien in her house;
her vanity was intoxicated with the idea.
Such being his position M. Valenod imagined in advance a decisive scene with his old colleague M. de Rênal.
The latter might address to him some harsh words,
which he would not mind much;
but he might write to Besançon and even to Paris.
Some minister's cousin might suddenly fall down on Verrières and take over the workhouse.
Valenod thought of coming to terms with the Liberals.
It was for that purpose that several of them had been invited to the dinner when Julien was present.
He would have obtained powerful support against the mayor but the elections might supervene,
and it was only too evident that the directorship of the workhouse was inconsistent with voting on the wrong side.
Madame de Rênal had made a shrewd guess at this intrigue,
and while she explained it to Julien as he gave her his arm to pass from one shop to another,
they found themselves gradually taken as far as the _Cours de la Fidélité_ where they spent several hours nearly as tranquil as those at Vergy.
At the same time M. Valenod was trying to put off a definite crisis with his old patron by himself assuming the aggressive.
These tactics succeeded on this particular day,
but aggravated the mayor's bad temper.
Never has vanity at close grips with all the harshness and meanness of a pettifogging love of money reduced a man to a more sorry condition than that of M. de Rênal when he entered the tavern.
on the other hand,
had never been more joyful and more merry.
This contrast put the finishing touch on his pique.
"So far as I can see I am not wanted in my family,"
he said as he entered in a tone which he meant to be impressive.
his wife took him on one side and declared that it was essential to send Julien away.
The hours of happiness which she had just enjoyed had given her again the ease and firmness of demeanour necessary to follow out the plan of campaign which she had been hatching for a fortnight.
The finishing touch to the trouble of the poor mayor of Verrières was the fact that he knew that they joked publicly in the town about his love for cash.
Valenod was as generous as a thief,
and on his side had acquitted himself brilliantly in the last five or six collections for the Brotherhood of St. Joseph,
the congregation of the Virgin,
the congregation of the Holy Sacrament,
M. de Rênal's name had been seen more than once at the bottom of the list of gentlefolk of Verrières,
and the surrounding neighbourhood who were adroitly classified in the list of the collecting brethren according to the amount of their offerings.
It was in vain that he said that he was _not making money_.
The clergy stands no nonsense in such matters.
SORROWS OF AN OFFICIAL
Il piacere di alzar la testa tutto l'anno,
è ben pagato da certi quarti d'ora che bisogna passar.
Let us leave this petty man to his petty fears;
why did he take a man of spirit into his household when he needed someone with the soul of a valet?
Why can't he select his staff?
The ordinary trend of the nineteenth century is that when a noble and powerful individual encounters a man of spirit,
he kills him,
exiles him and imprisons him,
or so humiliates him that the other is foolish enough to die of grief.
In this country it so happens that it is not merely the man of spirit who suffers.
The great misfortunes of the little towns of France and of representative governments,
like that of New York,
is that they find it impossible to forget the existence of individuals like M. de Rênal.
It is these men who make public opinion in a town of twenty thousand inhabitants,
and public opinion is terrible in a country which has a charter of liberty.
though of a naturally noble and generous disposition,
who would have been your friend in the natural course of events,
but who happens to live a hundred leagues off,
judges you by the public opinion of your town which is made by those fools who have chanced to be born noble,
rich and conservative.
Unhappy is the man who distinguishes himself.
Immediately after dinner they left for Vergy,
but the next day but one Julien saw the whole family return to Verrières.
An hour had not passed before he discovered to his great surprise that Madame de Rênal had some mystery up her sleeve.
Whenever he came into the room she would break off her conversation with her husband and would almost seem to desire that he should go away.
Julien did not need to be given this hint twice.
He became cold and reserved.
Madame de Rênal noticed it and did not ask for an explanation.
"Is she going to give me a successor,"
"And to think of her being so familiar with me the day before yesterday,
but that is how these great ladies are said to act.
It's just like kings.
One never gets any more warning than the disgraced minister who enters his house to find his letter of dismissal."
Julien noticed that these conversations which left off so abruptly at his approach,
often dealt with a big house which belonged to the municipality of Verrières,
a house which though old was large and commodious and situated opposite the church in the most busy commercial district of the town.
"What connection can there be between this house and a new lover,"
said Julien to himself.
In his chagrin he repeated to himself the pretty verses of Francis I.
which seemed novel to him,
for Madame de Rênal had only taught him them a month before:
Souvent femme varie Bien fol est qui s'y fie.
M. de Rênal took the mail to Besançon.
This journey was a matter of two hours.
He seemed extremely harassed.
On his return he threw a big grey paper parcel on the table.
"Here's that silly business,"
he said to his wife.
An hour afterwards Julien saw the bill-poster carrying the big parcel.
He followed him eagerly.
"I shall learn the secret at the first street corner."
He waited impatiently behind the bill-poster who was smearing the back of the poster with his big brush.
It had scarcely been put in its place before Julien's curiosity saw the detailed announcement of the putting up for public auction of that big old house whose name had figured so frequently in M. de Rênal's conversations with his wife.
The auction of the lease was announced for to-morrow at two o'clock in the Town Hall after the extinction of the third fire.
Julien was very disappointed.
He found the time a little short.
How could there be time to apprise all the other would-be purchasers.
which was dated a fortnight back,
and which he read again in its entirety in three distinct places,
taught him nothing.
He went to visit the house which was to let.
who had not seen him approach,
was saying mysteriously to a neighbour:
waste of time.
M. Maslon has promised him that he shall have it for three hundred francs;
as the mayor kicked,
he has been summoned to the bishop's palace by M. the Grand Vicar de Frilair."
Julien's arrival seemed very much to disconcert the two friends who did not say another word.
Julien made a point of being present at the auction of the lease.
There was a crowd in the badly-lighted hall,
but everybody kept quizzing each other in quite a singular way.
All eyes were fixed on a table where Julien perceived three little lighted candle-ends on a tin plate.
The usher was crying out "Three hundred francs,
"Three hundred francs,
that's a bit too thick,"
said a man to his neighbour in a low voice.
Julien was between the two of them.
"It's worth more than eight hundred,
I will raise the bidding."
"It's cutting off your nose to spite your face.
What will you gain by putting M. Maslon,
this terrible Grand Vicar de Frilair and the whole gang on your track."
"Three hundred and twenty francs,"
shouted out the other.
answered his neighbour.
"Why here we have a spy of the mayor,"
Julien turned sharply round to punish this remark,
but the two,
were no longer paying any attention to him.
Their coolness gave him back his own.
At that moment the last candle-end went out and the usher's drawling voice awarded the house to M. de St. Giraud of the office of the prefecture of -- -- for a term of nine years and for a rent of 320 francs.
As soon as the mayor had left the hall,
the gossip began again.
"Here's thirty francs that Grogeot's recklessness is landing the municipality in for,"
said one --"But,"
de Saint Giraud will revenge himself on Grogeot."
said a big man on Julien's left.
"A house which I myself would have given eight hundred francs for my factory,
and I would have got a good bargain."
answered a young manufacturer,
"doesn't M. de St. Giraud belong to the congregation?
Haven't his four children got scholarships?
The community of Verrières must give him five hundred francs over and above his salary,
that is all."
"And to say that the mayor was not able to stop it,"
remarked a third.
"For he's an ultra he is,
I'm glad to say,
but he doesn't steal."
"Suppose it's simply a mere game of
Everything goes into a big common purse,
and everything is divided up at the end of the year.
But here's that little Sorel,
let's go away."
Julien got home in a very bad temper.
He found Madame de Rênal very sad.
"You come from the auction?"
she said to him.
where I had the honour of passing for a spy of M. the Mayor."
"If he had taken my advice,
he would have gone on a journey."
At this moment Monsieur de Rênal appeared: he looked very dismal.
The dinner passed without a single word.
Monsieur de Rênal ordered Julien to follow the children to Vergy.
Madame de Rênal endeavoured to console her husband.
"You ought to be used to it,
That evening they were seated in silence around the domestic hearth.
The crackle of the burnt pinewood was their only distraction.
It was one of those moments of silence which happen in the most united families.
One of the children cried out gaily,
supposing it's Monsieur de Saint Giraud who has come under the pretext of thanking me,"
exclaimed the mayor.
"I will give him a dressing down.
It is outrageous.
It is Valenod to whom he'll feel under an obligation,
and it is I who get compromised.
What shall I say if those damned Jacobin journalists get hold of this anecdote,
and turn me into a M. Nonante Cinque."
A very good-looking man,
with big black whiskers,
entered at this moment,
preceded by the servant.
"Monsieur the mayor,
I am Signor Geronimo.
Here is a letter which M. the Chevalier de Beauvoisis,
who is attached to the Embassy of Naples,
gave me for you on my departure.
That is only nine days ago,
added Signor Geronimo,
gaily looking at Madame de Rênal.
and my good friend,
Signor de Beauvoisis says that you know Italian,
The Neapolitan's good humour changed this gloomy evening into a very gay one.
Madame de Rênal insisted upon giving him supper.
She put the whole house on the go.
She wanted to free Julien at any price from the imputation of espionage which she had heard already twice that day.
Signor Geronimo was an excellent singer,
and had very gay qualities which,
at any rate in France,
are hardly compatible with each other.
After dinner he sang a little duet with Madame de Rênal,
and told some charming tales.
At one o'clock in the morning the children protested,
when Julien suggested that they should go to bed.
"Another of those stories,"
said the eldest.
"It is my own,
answered Signor Geronimo.
"Eight years ago I was,
a young pupil of the Naples Conservatoire.
I mean I was your age,
but I did not have the honour to be the son of the distinguished mayor of the pretty town of Verrières."
This phrase made M. de Rênal sigh,
and look at his wife.
continued the young singer,
somewhat exaggerating his action,
and thus making the children burst into laughter,
"Signor Zingarelli was an excellent though severe master.
He is not popular at the Conservatoire,
but he insists on the pretence being kept up that he is.
I went out as often as I could.
I used to go to the little Theatre de San Carlino,
where I used to hear divine music.
the question was to scrape together the eight sous which were the price of admission to the parterre?
An enormous sum,"
looking at the children and watching them laugh.
director of the San Carlino,
heard me sing.
I was sixteen.
'That child is a treasure,'
"'Would you like me to engage you,
my dear boy?'
"'And how much will you give me?'
"'Forty ducats a month.'
That is one hundred and sixty francs,
I thought the gates of heaven had opened.
I said to Giovannone,
'how shall I get the strict Zingarelli to let me go out?'
"'_Lascia fare a me_.'"
"Leave it to me,"
exclaimed the eldest of the children.
my young sir.
Signor Giovannone he says to me,
'First sign this little piece of paper,
my dear friend.'
"He gives me three ducats.
I had never seen so much money.
Then he told me what I had to do.
"Next day I asked the terrible Zingarelli for an audience.
His old valet ushered me in.
"'What do you want of me,
you naughty boy?'
'I repent of all my faults.
I will never go out of the Conservatoire by passing through the iron grill.
I will redouble my diligence.'
"'If I were not frightened of spoiling the finest bass voice I have ever heard,
I would put you in prison for a fortnight on bread and water,
'I will be the model boy of the whole school,
_credete a me_,
but I would ask one favour of you.
If anyone comes and asks permission for me to sing outside,
As a favour,
please say that you cannot let me.'
"'And who the devil do you think is going to ask for a ne'er-do-well like you?
Do you think I should ever allow you to leave the Conservatoire?
Do you want to make fun of me?
trying to give me a kick,
'or look out for prison and dry bread.'"
One thing astonished Julien.
The solitary weeks passed at Verrières in de Rênal's house had been a period of happiness for him.
He had only experienced revulsions and sad thoughts at the dinners to which he had been invited.
And was he not able to read,
write and reflect,
without being distracted,
in this solitary house?
He was not distracted every moment from his brilliant reveries by the cruel necessity of studying the movement of a false soul in order to deceive it by intrigue and hypocrisy.
"To think of happiness being so near to me --the expense of a life like that is small enough.
I could have my choice of either marrying Mademoiselle Elisa or of entering into partnership with Fouqué.
But it is only the traveller who has just scaled a steep mountain and sits down on the summit who finds a perfect pleasure in resting.
Would he be happy if he had to rest all the time?"
Madame de Rênal's mind had now reached a state of desperation.
In spite of her resolutions,
she had explained to Julien all the details of the auction.
"He will make me forget all my oaths!"
She would have sacrificed her life without hesitation to save that of her husband if she had seen him in danger.
She was one of those noble,
romantic souls who find a source of perpetual remorse equal to that occasioned by the actual perpetration of a crime,
in seeing the possibility of a generous action and not doing it.
None the less,
there were deadly days when she was not able to banish the imagination of the excessive happiness which she would enjoy if she suddenly became a widow,
and were able to marry Julien.
He loved her sons much more than their father did;
in spite of his strict justice they were devoted to him.
She quite realised that if she married Julien,
it would be necessary to leave that Vergy,
whose shades were so dear to her.
She pictured herself living at Paris,
and continuing to give her sons an education which would make them admired by everyone.
They would be all perfectly happy!
Strange result of marriage such as the nineteenth century has made it!
The boredom of matrimonial life makes love fade away inevitably,
when love has preceded the marriage.
But none the less,
said a philosopher,
married life soon reduces those people who are sufficiently rich not to have to work,
to a sense of being utterly bored by all quiet enjoyments.
And among women,
it is only arid souls whom it does not predispose to love.
The philosopher's reflection makes me excuse Madame de Rênal,
but she was not excused in Verrières,
and without her suspecting it,
the whole town found its sole topic of interest in the scandal of her intrigue.
As a result of this great affair,
the autumn was less boring than usual.
The autumn and part of the winter passed very quickly.
It was necessary to leave the woods of Vergy.
Good Verrières society began to be indignant at the fact that its anathemas made so little impression on Monsieur de Rênal.
Within eight days,
several serious personages who made up for their habitual gravity of demeanour by their pleasure in fulfilling missions of this kind,
gave him the most cruel suspicions,
at the same time utilising the most measured terms.
who was playing a deep game,
had placed Elisa in an aristocratic family of great repute,
where there were five women.
so she said,
not to find a place during the winter,
had only asked from this family about two-thirds of what she had received in the house of the mayor.
The girl hit upon the excellent idea of going to confession at the same time to both the old curé Chélan,
and also to the new one,
so as to tell both of them in detail about Julien's amours.
The day after his arrival,
the abbé Chélan summoned Julien to him at six o'clock in the morning.
"I ask you nothing,"
"I beg you,
and if needs be I insist,
that you either leave for the Seminary of Besançon,
or for your friend Fouqué,
who is always ready to provide you with a splendid future.
I have seen to everything and have arranged everything,
but you must leave,
and not come back to Verrières for a year."
Julien did not answer.
He was considering whether his honour ought to regard itself offended at the trouble which Chélan,
was not his father,
had taken on his behalf.
"I shall have the honour of seeing you again to-morrow at the same hour,"
he said finally to the curé.
who reckoned on carrying so young a man by storm,
talked a great deal.
cloaked in the most complete humbleness,
both of demeanour and expression,
did not open his lips.
Eventually he left,
and ran to warn Madame de Rênal whom he found in despair.
Her husband had just spoken to her with a certain amount of frankness.
The weakness of his character found support in the prospect of the legacy,
and had decided him to treat her as perfectly innocent.
He had just confessed to her the strange state in which he had found public opinion in Verrières.
The public was wrong;
it had been misled by jealous tongues.
what was one to do?
Madame de Rênal was,
for the moment,
under the illusion that Julien would accept the offer of Valenod and stay at Verrières.
But she was no longer the simple,
timid woman that she had been the preceding year.
Her fatal passion and remorse had enlightened her.
She soon realised the painful truth (while at the same time she listened to her husband),
that at any rate a temporary separation had become essential.
When he is far from me,
Julien will revert to those ambitious projects which are so natural when one has no money.
I am so rich,
and my riches are so useless for my happiness.
He will forget me.
Loveable as he is,
he will be loved,
and he will love.
You unhappy woman.
What can I complain of?
Heaven is just.
I was not virtuous enough to leave off the crime.
Fate robs me of my judgment.
I could easily have bribed Elisa if I had wanted to;
nothing was easier.
I did not take the trouble to reflect for a moment.
The mad imagination of love absorbed all my time.
I am ruined.
When Julien apprised Madame de Rênal of the terrible news of his departure,
he was struck with one thing.
He did not find her put forward any selfish objections.
She was evidently making efforts not to cry.
"We have need of firmness,
She cut off a strand of her hair.
"I do no know what I shall do,"
she said to him,
"but promise me if I die,
never to forget my children.
Whether you are far or near,
try to make them into honest men.
If there is a new revolution,
all the nobles will have their throats cut.
Their father will probably emigrate,
because of that peasant on the roof who got killed.
Watch over my family.
Give me your hand.
These are our last moments.
Having made this great sacrifice,
I hope I shall have the courage to consider my reputation in public."
Julien had been expecting despair.
The simplicity of this farewell touched him.
I am not going to receive your farewell like this.
I will leave you now,
as you yourself wish it.
But three days after my departure I will come back to see you at night."
Madame de Rênal's life was changed.
So Julien really loved her,
since of his own accord he had thought of seeing her again.
Her awful grief became changed into one of the keenest transports of joy which she had felt in her whole life.
Everything became easy for her.
The certainty of seeing her lover deprived these last moments of their poignancy.
From that moment,
both Madame de Rênal's demeanour and the expression of her face were noble,
and perfectly dignified.
M. de Rênal soon came back.
He was beside himself.
He eventually mentioned to his wife the anonymous letter which he had received two months before.
"I will take it to the Casino,
and shew everybody that it has been sent by that brute Valenod,
whom I took out of the gutter and made into one of the richest tradesmen in Verrières.
I will disgrace him publicly,
and then I will fight him.
This is too much."
I may become a widow,"
thought Madame de Rênal,
and almost at the same time she said to herself,
"If I do not,
as I certainly can,
prevent this duel,
I shall be the murderess of my own husband."
She had never expended so much skill in honoring his vanity.
Within two hours she made him see,
and always by virtue of reasons which he discovered himself,
that it was necessary to show more friendship than ever to M. Valenod,
and even to take Elisa back into the household.
Madame de Rênal had need of courage to bring herself to see again the girl who was the cause of her unhappiness.
But this idea was one of Julien's.
having been put on the track three or four times,
M. de Rênal arrived spontaneously at the conclusion,
disagreeable though it was from the financial standpoint,
that the most painful thing that could happen to him would be that Julien,
in the middle of the effervescence of popular gossip throughout Verrières,
should stay in the town as the tutor of Valenod's children.
It was obviously to Julien's interest to accept the offer of the director of the workhouse.
it was essential for M. de Rênal's prestige that Julien should leave Verrières to enter the seminary of Besançon or that of Dijon.
But how to make him decide on that course?
And then how is he going to live?
M. de Rênal,
seeing a monetary sacrifice looming in the distance,
was in deeper despair than his wife.
As for her,
she felt after this interview in the position of a man of spirit who,
tired of life,
has taken a dose of stramonium.
He only acts mechanically so to speak,
and takes no longer any interest in anything.
In this way,
came to say on his death-bed,
"When I was king."
An admirable epigram.
M. de Rênal received quite early an anonymous letter.
It was written in a most insulting style,
and the coarsest words applicable to his position occurred on every line.
It was the work of some jealous subordinate.
This letter made him think again of fighting a duel with Valenod.
Soon his courage went as far as the idea of immediate action.
He left the house alone,
went to the armourer's and got some pistols which he loaded.
he said to himself,
"even though the strict administration of the Emperor Napoleon were to become fashionable again,
I should not have one sou's worth of jobbery to reproach myself with;
at the outside,
I have shut my eyes,
and I have some good letters in my desk which authorise me to do so."
Madame de Rênal was terrified by her husband's cold anger.
It recalled to her the fatal idea of widowhood which she had so much trouble in repelling.
She closeted herself with him.
For several hours she talked to him in vain.
The new anonymous letter had decided him.
Finally she succeeded in transforming the courage which had decided him to box Valenod's ears,
into the courage of offering six hundred francs to Julien,
which would keep him for one year in a seminary.
M. de Rênal cursed a thousand times the day that he had had the ill-starred idea of taking a tutor into his house,
and forgot the anonymous letter.
He consoled himself a little by an idea which he did not tell his wife.
With the exercise of some skill,
and by exploiting the romantic ideas of the young man,
he hoped to be able to induce him to refuse M. Valenod's offer at a cheaper price.
Madame de Rênal had much more trouble in proving to Julien that inasmuch as he was sacrificing the post of six hundred francs a year in order to enable her husband to keep up appearances,
he need have no shame about accepting the compensation.
But Julien would say each time,
"I have never thought for a moment of accepting that offer.
You have made me so used to a refined life that the coarseness of those people would kill me."
Cruel necessity bent Julien's will with its iron hand.
His pride gave him the illusion that he only accepted the sum offered by M. de Rênal as a loan,
and induced him to give him a promissory note,
repayable in five years with interest.
Madame de Rênal had,
many thousands of francs which had been concealed in the little mountain cave.
She offered them to him all a tremble,
feeling only too keenly that they would be angrily refused.
"Do you wish,"
said Julien to her,
"to make the memory of our love loathsome?"
Finally Julien left Verrières.
M. de Rênal was very happy,
but when the fatal moment came to accept money from him the sacrifice proved beyond Julien's strength.
He refused point blank.
M. de Rênal embraced him around the neck with tears in his eyes.
Julien had asked him for a testimonial of good conduct,
and his enthusiasm could find no terms magnificent enough in which to extol his conduct.
Our hero had five louis of savings and he reckoned on asking Fouqué for an equal sum.
He was very moved.
But one league from Verrières,
where he left so much that was dear to him,
he only thought of the happiness of seeing the capital of a great military town like Besançon.
During the short absence of three days,
Madame de Rênal was the victim of one of the cruellest deceptions to which love is liable.
Her life was tolerable,
because between her and extreme unhappiness there was still that last interview which she was to have with Julien.
Finally during the night of the third day,
she heard from a distance the preconcerted signal.
having passed through a thousand dangers,
appeared before her.
In this moment she only had one thought --"I see him for the last time."
Instead of answering the endearments of her lover,
she seemed more dead than alive.
If she forced herself to tell him that she loved him,
she said it with an embarrassed air which almost proved the contrary.
Nothing could rid her of the cruel idea of eternal separation.
The suspicious Julien thought for the moment that he was already forgotten.
His pointed remarks to this effect were only answered by great tears which flowed down in silence,
and by some hysterical pressings of the hand.
Julien would answer his mistress's cold protestations,
How can you expect me to believe you?
You would show one hundred times more sincere affection to Madame Derville to a mere acquaintance."
Madame de Rênal was petrified,
and at a loss for an answer.
"It is impossible to be more unhappy.
I hope I am going to die.
I feel my heart turn to ice."
Those were the longest answers which he could obtain.
When the approach of day rendered it necessary for him to leave Madame de Rênal,
her tears completely ceased.
She saw him tie a knotted rope to the window without saying a word,
and without returning her kisses.
It was in vain that Julien said to her.
"So now we have reached the state of affairs which you wished for so much.
Henceforward you will live without remorse.
The slightest indisposition of your children will no longer make you see them in the tomb."
"I am sorry that you cannot kiss Stanislas,"
she said coldly.
Julien finished by being profoundly impressed by the cold embraces of this living corpse.
He could think of nothing else for several leagues.
His soul was overwhelmed,
and before passing the mountain,
and while he could still see the church tower of Verrières he turned round frequently.
 C'est pigeon qui vole.
A reference to a contemporary animal game with a pun on the word "vole."
What a noise,
what busy people!
What ideas for the future in a brain of twenty!
What distraction offered by love.
Finally he saw some black walls near a distant mountain.
It was the citadel of Besançon.
"How different it would be for me,"
he said with a sigh,
"if I were arriving at this noble military town to be sub-lieutenant in one of the regiments entrusted with its defence."
Besançon is not only one of the prettiest towns in France,
it abounds in people of spirit and brains.
But Julien was only a little peasant,
and had no means of approaching distinguished people.
He had taken a civilian suit at Fouqué's,
and it was in this dress that he passed the drawbridge.
Steeped as he was in the history of the siege of 1674,
he wished to see the ramparts of the citadel before shutting himself up in the seminary.
He was within an ace two or three times of getting himself arrested by the sentinel.
He was penetrating into places which military genius forbids the public to enter,
in order to sell twelve or fifteen francs worth of corn every year.
The height of the walls,
the depth of the ditches,
the terrible aspect of the cannons had been engrossing him for several hours when he passed before the great café on the boulevard.
He was motionless with wonder;
it was in vain that he read the word _café_,
written in big characters above the two immense doors.
He could not believe his eyes.
He made an effort to overcome his timidity.
He dared to enter,
and found himself in a hall twenty or thirty yards long,
and with a ceiling at least twenty feet high.
everything had a fascination for him.
Two games of billiards were in progress.
The waiters were crying out the scores.
The players ran round the tables encumbered by spectators.
Clouds of tobacco smoke came from everybody's mouth,
and enveloped them in a blue haze.
The high stature of these men,
their rounded shoulders,
their heavy gait,
their enormous whiskers,
the long tailed coats which covered them,
everything combined to attract Julien's attention.
These noble children of the antique Bisontium only spoke at the top of their voice.
They gave themselves terrible martial airs.
Julien stood still and admired them.
He kept thinking of the immensity and magnificence of a great capital like Besançon.
He felt absolutely devoid of the requisite courage to ask one of those haughty looking gentlemen,
who were crying out the billiard scores,
for a cup of coffee.
But the young lady at the bar had noticed the charming face of this young civilian from the country,
who had stopped three feet from the stove with his little parcel under his arm,
and was looking at the fine white plaster bust of the king.
This young lady,
a big _Franc-comtoise_,
very well made,
and dressed with the elegance suitable to the prestige of the café,
had already said two or three times in a little voice not intended to be heard by any one except Julien,
Julien's eyes encountered big blue eyes full of tenderness,
and saw that he was the person who was being spoken to.
He sharply approached the bar and the pretty girl,
as though he had been marching towards the enemy.
In this great manœuvre the parcel fell.
What pity will not our provincial inspire in the young lycée scholars of Paris,
at the early age of fifteen,
know already how to enter a café with so distinguished an air?
But these children who have such style at fifteen turn commonplace at eighteen.
The impassioned timidity which is met with in the provinces,
sometimes manages to master its own nervousness,
and thus trains the will.
"I must tell her the truth,"
who was becoming courageous by dint of conquering his timidity as he approached this pretty girl,
who deigned to address him.
this is the first time in my life that I have come to Besançon.
I should like to have some bread and a cup of coffee in return for payment."
The young lady smiled a little,
and then blushed.
She feared the ironic attention and the jests of the billiard players might be turned against this pretty young man.
He would be frightened and would not appear there again.
"Sit here near me,"
she said to him,
showing him a marble table almost completely hidden by the enormous mahogany counter which extended into the hall.
The young lady leant over the counter,
and had thus an opportunity of displaying a superb figure.
Julien noticed it.
All his ideas changed.
The pretty young lady had just placed before him a cup,
and a little roll.
She hesitated to call a waiter for the coffee,
as she realised that his arrival would put an end to her _tête-à-tête_ with Julien.
Julien was pensively comparing this blonde and merry beauty with certain memories which would often thrill him.
The thought of the passion of which he had been the object,
nearly freed him from all his timidity.
The pretty young woman had only one moment to save the situation.
She read it in Julien's looks.
"This pipe smoke makes you cough;
come and have breakfast to-morrow before eight o'clock in the morning.
I am practically alone then."
"What is your name?"
with the caressing smile of happy timidity.
"Will you allow me to send you within an hour's time a little parcel about as big as this?"
The beautiful Amanda reflected a little.
"I am watched.
What you ask may compromise me.
All the same,
I will write my address on a card,
which you will put on your parcel.
Send it boldly to me."
"My name is Julien Sorel,"
said the young man.
"I have neither relatives nor acquaintances at Besançon."
she said joyfully.
"You come to study law."
"I am being sent to the Seminary."
The most complete discouragement damped Amanda's features.
She called a waiter.
She had courage now.
The waiter poured out some coffee for Julien without looking at him.
Amanda was receiving money at the counter.
Julien was proud of having dared to speak: a dispute was going on at one of the billiard tables.
The cries and the protests of the players resounded over the immense hall,
and made a din which astonished Julien.
Amanda was dreamy,
and kept her eyes lowered.
"If you like,
he said to her suddenly with assurance,
"I will say that I am your cousin."
This little air of authority pleased Amanda.
"He's not a mere nobody,"
She spoke to him very quickly,
without looking at him,
because her eye was occupied in seeing if anybody was coming near the counter.
"I come from Genlis,
Say that you are also from Genlis and are my mother's cousin."
"I shall not fail to do so."
"All the gentlemen who go to the Seminary pass here before the café every Thursday in the summer at five o'clock."
"If you think of me when I am passing,
have a bunch of violets in your hand."
Amanda looked at him with an astonished air.
This look changed Julien's courage into audacity.
he reddened considerably,
as he said to her.
"I feel that I love you with the most violent love."
"Speak in lower tones,"
she said to him with a frightened air.
Julien was trying to recollect phrases out of a volume of the _Nouvelle Héloise_ which he had found at Vergy.
His memory served him in good stead.
For ten minutes he recited the _Nouvelle Héloise_ to the delighted Mademoiselle Amanda.
He was happy on the strength of his own bravery,
when suddenly the beautiful Franc-contoise assumed an icy air.
One of her lovers had appeared at the café door.
He approached the bar,
and swaggering his shoulders.
He looked at Julien.
The latter's imagination,
which always indulged in extremes,
suddenly brimmed over with ideas of a duel.
He paled greatly,
put down his cup,
assumed an assured demeanour,
and considered his rival very attentively.
As this rival lowered his head,
while he familiarly poured out on the counter a glass of brandy for himself,
Amanda ordered Julien with a look to lower his eyes.
and for two minutes kept motionless in his place,
and only thinking of what was going to happen.
He was truly happy at this moment.
The rival had been astonished by Julien's eyes.
Gulping down his glass of brandy,
he said a few words to Amanda,
placed his two hands in the pockets of his big tail coat,
and approached the billiard table,
and looking at Julien.
The latter got up transported with rage,
but he did not know what to do in order to be offensive.
He put down his little parcel,
and walked towards the billiard table with all the swagger he could muster.
It was in vain that prudence said to him,
"but your ecclesiastical career will be ruined by a duel immediately on top of your arrival at Besançon."
"What does it matter.
It shall never be said that I let an insolent fellow go scot free."
Amanda saw his courage.
It contrasted prettily with the simplicity of his manners.
She instantly preferred him to the big young man with the tail coat.
She got up,
and while appearing to be following with her eye somebody who was passing in the street,
she went and quickly placed herself between him and the billiard table.
"Take care not to look askance at that gentleman.
He is my brother-in-law."
"What does it matter?
He looked at me."
"Do you want to make me unhappy?
No doubt he looked at you,
why it may be he is going to speak to you.
I told him that you were a relative of my mother,
and that you had arrived from Genlis.
He is a Franc-contois,
and has never gone beyond Dôleon the Burgundy Road,
so say what you like and fear nothing."
Julien was still hesitating.
Her barmaid's imagination furnished her with an abundance of lies,
and she quickly added.
"No doubt he looked at you,
but it was at a moment when he was asking me who you were.
He is a man who is boorish with everyone.
He did not mean to insult you."
Julien's eye followed the pretended brother-in-law.
He saw him buy a ticket for the pool,
which they were playing at the further of the two billiard tables.
Julien heard his loud voice shouting out in a threatening tone,
"My turn to play."
He passed sharply before Madame Amanda,
and took a step towards the billiard table.
Amanda seized him by the arm.
"Come and pay me first,"
she said to him.
"That is right,"
"She is frightened that I shall leave without paying."
Amanda was as agitated as he was,
and very red.
She gave him the change as slowly as she could,
while she repeated to him,
in a low voice,
"Leave the café this instant,
or I shall love you no more,
and yet I do love you very much."
Julien did go out,
"Am I not in duty bound,"
he repeated to himself,
"to go and stare at that coarse person in my turn?"
This uncertainty kept him on the boulevard in the front of the café for an hour;
he kept looking if his man was coming out.
He did not come out,
and Julien went away.
He had only been at Besançon some hours,
and already he had overcome one pang of remorse.
The old surgeon-major had formerly given him some fencing lessons,
in spite of his gout.
That was all the science which Julien could enlist in the service of his anger.
But this embarrassment would have been nothing if he had only known how to vent his temper otherwise than by the giving of a blow,
for if it had come to a matter of fisticuffs,
his enormous rival would have beaten him and then cleared out.
"There is not much difference between a seminary and a prison,"
said Julien to himself,
"for a poor devil like me,
without protectors and without money.
I must leave my civilian clothes in some inn,
where I can put my black suit on again.
If I ever manage to get out of the seminary for a few hours,
I shall be able to see Mdlle.
Amanda again in my lay clothes."
This reasoning was all very fine.
Though Julien passed in front of all the inns,
he did not dare to enter a single one.
as he was passing again before the Hôtel des Ambassadeurs,
his anxious eyes encountered those of a big woman,
still fairly young,
with a high colour,
and a gay and happy air.
He approached her and told his story.
my pretty little abbé,"
said the hostess of the Ambassadeurs to him,
"I will keep your lay clothes for you,
and I will even have them regularly brushed.
In weather like this,
it is not good to leave a suit of cloth without touching it."
She took a key,
and conducted him herself to a room,
and advised him to make out a note of what he was leaving.
How well you look like that,
M. the abbé Sorel,"
said the big woman to him when he came down to the kitchen.
I will go and get a good dinner served up to you,
and she added in a low voice,
"It will only cost twenty sous instead of the fifty which everybody else pays,
for one must really take care of your little purse strings."
"I have ten louis,"
Julien replied with certain pride.
answered the good hostess in alarm.
"Don't talk so loud,
there are quite a lot of bad characters in Besançon.
They'll steal all that from you in less than no time,
and above all,
never go into the café s,
they are filled with bad characters."
to whom those words gave food for thought.
"Don't go anywhere else,
except to my place.
I will make coffee for you.
Remember that you will always find a friend here,
and a good dinner for twenty sous.
So now you understand,
Go and sit down at table,
I will serve you myself."
"I shan't be able to eat,"
said Julien to her.
"I am too upset.
I am going to enter the seminary,
as I leave you."
The good woman,
would not allow him to leave before she had filled his pockets with provisions.
Finally Julien took his road towards the terrible place.
The hostess was standing at the threshold,
and showed him the way.