A ZOLA DICTIONARY
The Characters Of The Rougon-Macquart Novels Of Emile Zola
By J. G. Patterson
With a Biographical and Critical Introduction, Synopses of the Plots, Bibliographical Note, Map, Genealogy, etc.
In the preparation of my Introduction I have, of course, relied for information on the recognized Biographies of Zola, namely Notes d'un Ami, by Paul Alexis (Paris, Charpentier); Emile Zola, A biographical and Critical Study, by R. H. Sherrard (London, Chatto & Windus, 1893); Emile Zola, Novelist and Reformer: An account of his Life and Work, by Ernest Alfred Vizetelly (London, John Lane, 1904). Reference has also been made to Mr. Arthur Symons' Studies in Prose and Verse, and to articles in the Fortnightly Review by Mr. Andrew Lang, in the Atlantic Monthly by Mr. Henry James, and in the Contemporary Review by M. Edouard Rod, as well as to articles in the Encyclopaedia Britannica and in the Dictionnaire Universel des Contemporains.
By kind permission of Messrs. Chatto & Windus it has been possible to include the diagram of the Rougon-Macquart Genealogical Tree, which appears in the Preface to their edition of Doctor Pascal, and to make use of their translations in the preparation of the Dictionary. In compiling the latter, Zola's own words have been adopted so far as possible, though usually they have required such condensation as to make direct quotation difficult. This difficulty was increased by the fact that occasional use was made of different translations of the same book, and that frequent references to the original were found necessary.
The Synopses of the Plots of the novels are arranged in the order in which the books should be read, as indicated by their Author in Le Docteur Pascal, and confirmed by his biographer, Mr. E. A. Vizetelly.
EDINBURGH, May, 1912. J. G. P.
Emile Zola was born at Paris on 2nd April, 1840. His father, Francois Zola, was a man whose career up to that time had not been a success, though this was not due to any lack of energy or ability. Zola pere was of mixed nationality, his father being an Italian and his mother a Greek, and it is not unlikely that his unrest and want of concentration were due to the accident of his parentage. When quite a young man, Francois fought under the great Napoleon, after whose fall he became a civil engineer. He spent some time in Germany, where he was engaged in the construction of the first tramway line in Europe, afterwards visiting Holland and possibly England. Failure seems to have accompanied him, for in 1831 he applied for and obtained an appointment, as lieutenant in the Foreign Legion in Algeria. His career in Africa was, however, of short duration; some irregularities were discovered, and he disappeared for a time, though ultimately he came forward and made up his accounts, paying the balance that was due. No prosecution took place, and resignation of his commission was accepted. Nothing more was heard of the matter till 1898, when his son Emile identified himself with the cause of Dreyfus, and in the campaign of calumny that followed had to submit to the vilest charges against the memory of his father. The old dossier was produced by the French Ministry of War, the officials of which did not hesitate to strengthen their case by the forgery of some documents and the suppression of others. In view of these proved facts, and of the circumstance that Francois Zola, immediately after his resignation from the Foreign Legion, established himself as a civil engineer at Marseilles and prepared a scheme for new maritime docks there, and that in connection with this scheme he visited Paris repeatedly, obtaining private audiences with the King and interviewing statesmen, it must be held that the charges against him were of a venial nature, in no way warranting the accusations brought forward by the War Office nearly seventy years later to cast discredit on his son. Nothing came of the Marseilles harbour scheme, and the same fate attended subsequent plans for the fortification of Paris. Zola pere, who by this time had married, then turned his attention to a proposal to supply water to the town of Aix, in Provence, by means of a reservoir and canal. He removed thither with his wife and child, and after many delays and disappointments ultimately signed an agreement for the construction of the works. Even then further delays took place, and it was not till three years later that the work could be commenced. But the engineer's ill fortune still attended him, for one morning while he was superintending his workmen the treacherous mistral began to blow, and he took a chill, from the effects of which he died a few days afterwards.
The young widow, with her son Emile, then a child of seven, was left in poor circumstances, her only fortune being a claim against the municipality of Aix. Fortunately her parents had some means, and came to her assistance during the years of fruitless struggle to establish the rights of her dead husband. Emile had up to this time been allowed to run wild, and he had spent most of his time out of doors, where he acquired a love of the country which he retained in later years. Even when he was sent to school he was backward, only learning his letters with difficulty and showing little inclination for study. It was not till 1852, when he was twelve years sold, that his education really began. By this time he was able to realize his mother's financial position, and to see the sacrifices which were being made to send him as a boarder to the lycee at Aix. His progress then became rapid, and during the next five years he gained many prizes. Throughout all these years the struggle between Madame Zola and the municipality had gone on, each year diminishing her chance of success. In the end her position became desperate, and finding it impossible to continue to reside at Aix, the little family removed to Paris in 1858. Fortunately Emile was enabled by the intervention of certain friends of his late father to continue his studies, and became a day pupil at the Lycee St. Louis, on the Boulevard St. Michael. For some reason he made little progress there, and when he presented himself for his baccalaureat degree he failed to pass the examination. A later attempt at the University of Marseilles had the same result. As this examination is in France the passport to all the learned professions, Zola's failure to pass it placed him in a serious position. His mother's resources were by this time entirely exhausted, and some means of support had to be sought without delay. After many attempts, he got a place as clerk in a business house at a salary of twenty-six pounds a year, but the work proved so distasteful that after two months of drudgery he threw it up. Then followed a period of deep misery, but a period which must have greatly influenced the work of the future novelist. Wandering the streets by day and, when he could find money to buy a candle, writing poems and short stories by night, he was gaining that experience in the school of life of which he was later to make such splendid use. Meantime his wretchedness was deep. A miserable lodging in a garret, insufficient food, inadequate clothing, and complete absence of fire may be an incentive to high endeavour, but do not render easy the pathway of fame. The position had become all but untenable when Zola received an appointment in the publishing house of M. Hachette, of Paris, at a salary beginning at a pound a week, but soon afterwards increased. During the next two years he wrote a number of short stories which were published later under the title Contes a Ninon. The book did not prove a great success, though its undoubted ability attracted attention to the writer and opened the way to some journalistic work. About this time he appears to have been studying Balzac, and the recently published Madame Bovary of Flaubert, which was opening up a new world not only in French fiction, but in the literature of Europe. He had also read the Germinie Lacerteux of Edmond and Jules de Goncourt, on which he wrote an appreciative article, and this remarkable book cannot have been without its influence on his work. The effect was indeed immediate, for in 1865 he published his next book, La Confession de Claud, which showed strong traces of that departure from conventional fiction which he was afterwards to make more pronounced. The book was not a financial success, though it attracted attention, and produced many reviews, some favourable, others merciless. Influenced by the latter, the Public Prosecutor caused inquiries regarding the author to be made at Hachette's, but nothing more was done, and it is indeed doubtful if any successful prosecution could have been raised, even at a period when it was thought necessary to indict the author of Madame Bovary.
Zola's employers had, however, begun to look askance at his literary work; they may have considered that it was occupying too much of the time for which they paid, or, more probably, they were becoming alarmed at their clerk's advanced views both on politics and literary art. As Zola afterwards explained the matter, one of the partners said to him, "You are earning two hundred francs a month here, which is ridiculous. You have plenty of talent, and would do better to take up literature altogether. You would find glory and profit there." The hint was a direct one, and it was taken. The young author was again thrown upon his own resources, but was no longer entirely unknown, for the not unfavourable reception of his first book and the violent attacks on his second had given him a certain position, even though it may to some extent have partaken of the nature of a succes de scandale. As he wrote at the time, he did not mean to pander to the likes or the dislikes of the crowd; he intended to force the public to caress or insult him.
Journalism was the avenue which now appeared most open, and Zola got an appointment on the staff of a newspaper called L'Evenement, in which he wrote articles on literary and artistic subjects. His views were not tempered by moderation, and when he depreciated the members of the Salon in order to exalt Manet, afterwards an artist of distinction, but then regarded as a dangerous revolutionary, the public outcry was such that he was forced to discontinue publication of the articles. He then began a second story called Le Vaeu d'une Morte in the same newspaper. It was intended to please the readers of L'Evenement, but from the first failed to do so, and its publication was stopped before it was half completed. Soon afterwards L'Evenement was incorporated with the Figaro, and Zola's connection with it terminated. A time of hardship again began, and during the year 1867 the wolf was only kept from the door by unremitting toil of the least agreeable kind. In the midst of his difficulties Zola wrote two books simultaneously, one supremely good and the other unquestionably bad. The one was Therese Raquin, and the other Les Mysteres de Marseille. The latter, which was pure hack-work, was written to the order of the publisher of a Marseillaise newspaper, who supplied historical material from researches made by himself at the Marseilles and Aix law courts, about the various causes celebres which during the previous fifty years had attracted the most public attention. These were to be strung together, and by an effort of legerdemain combined into a coherent whole in the form of a novel. Zola, desiring bread, undertook the task, with results that might have been anticipated.
Therese Raquin is a work of another kind, for into it Zola put the best that was in him, and elaborated the story with the greatest care. It is a tale of Divine Justice, wherein a husband is murdered by his wife and her lover, who, though safe from earthly consequence, are yet separated by the horror of their deed, and come to hate each other for the thing they have done. The book is one of remarkable power, and it is interesting to note that in the preface to it Zola first made use of the word naturalisme as describing that form of fiction which he was afterwards to uphold in and out of season. A violent attack in the Figaro gave opportunity for a vigorous reply, and the advertisement so obtained assisted the sales of the book, which from the first was a success. It was followed by Madeleine Ferat, which, however, was less fortunate. The subject is unpleasant, and its treatment lacks the force which made Therese Raquin convincing.
Up to this time Zola's life had been a steady struggle against poverty. He was terribly in earnest, and was determined to create for himself a place in literature; to accomplish this end he counted no labour too arduous, no sacrifice too great. His habits were Spartan in their simplicity; he was a slave to work and method, good equipment for the vast task he was next to undertake. He had long been an earnest student of Balzac, and there is no doubt that it was the example of the great Comedie Humaine which inspired his scheme for a series of novels dealing with the life history of a family during a particular period; as he described it himself, "the history natural and social of a family under the Second Empire." It is possible that he was also influenced by the financial success of the series of historical novels written by Erckmann-Chatrian, known as the Romans Nationaux. It was not, however, the past about which he proposed to write; no period was more suitable for his purpose than that in which he lived, that Second Empire whose regime began in blood and continued in corruption. He had there, under his own eyes and within his personal knowledge, a suitable mise-en-scene wherein to further develop those theories of hereditary influence which had already attracted his attention while he was writing Madeleine Ferat. The scheme was further attractive in as much as it lent itself readily to the system of treatment to which he had applied the term naturalisme, to distinguish it from the crudities of the realistic school. The scientific tendency of the period was to rely not on previously accepted propositions, but on observation and experience, or on facts and documents. To Zola the voice of science conveyed the word of ultimate truth, and with desperate earnestness he set out to apply its methods to literary production. His position was that the novelist is, like the scientist, an observer and an experimentalist combined. The observer, he says, gives the facts as he has observed them, fixes the starting-point, lays the solid ground on which his characters are to walk and his phenomena to develop. Then the experimentalist appears and starts the experiment, that is to say, he makes the personages in a particular story move, in order to show that the succession of events will be just what the determinism of phenomena together with study demand that they should be. The author must abstain from comment, never show his own personality, and never turn to the reader for sympathy; he must, as Mr. Andrew Lang has observed, be as cold as a vivisectionist at a lecture. Zola thought the application of this method would raise the position of the novel to the level of a science, and that it would become a medium for the expression of established truths. The fallacy of the argument has been exposed by more than one critic. It is self-evident that the "experiments" by the novelist cannot be made on subjects apart from himself, but are made by him and in him; so that they prove more regarding his own temperament than about what he professes to regard as the inevitable actions of his characters. The conclusion drawn by a writer from such actions must always be open to the retort that he invented the whole himself and that fiction is only fiction. But to Zola in the late sixties the theory seemed unassailable and it was upon it that he founded the whole edifice of Les Rougon-Macquart. The considerations then that influenced Zola in beginning a series of novels connected by subject into one gigantic whole were somewhat various. There was the example of Balzac's great Comedie Humaine; there was the desire of working out the theories of heredity in which he had become interested; there was the opportunity of putting into operation the system which he had termed naturalisme; and there was also the consideration that if he could get a publisher to agree to his proposals he would secure a certain income for a number of years. His original scheme was a series of twelve novels to be written at the rate of two a year, and he entered into a contract with a publisher named Lacroix, who was to pay him five hundred francs a month as an advance. M. Lacroix would, however, only bind himself to publish four out of the twelve novels. The arrangement could not be carried out, and at the end of three years only two volumes of the Rougon-Macquart series had been published, while Zola found that he had become indebted to the publisher for a very considerable sum.
The first novel of the series was begun in 1869, but was not published till the winter of 1871, delay having occurred on account of the war with Germany. Zola was never a rapid writer, and seems to have regulated his literary production with machinelike uniformity. As his friend and biographer Paul Alexis writes: "Only four pages, but four pages every day, every day without exception, the action of the drop of water always falling on the same place, and in the end wearing out the hardest stone. It seems nothing, but in course of time chapters follow chapters, volumes follow upon volumes, and a whole life's work sprouts, multiplies its branches, extends its foliage like a lofty oak, destined to rise high into the air and to remain standing in the forest of human productions."
His literary creed at the time he began the Rougon-Macquart series may be conveniently summed up in a few words from an article which he had only a month before written in the Gaulois: "If I kept a school of morals," he says, "I would hasten to place in the hands of my pupils Madame Bovary or Germinie Lacerteux, persuaded that truth alone can instruct and fortify generous souls."
In La Fortune des Rougon, then, Zola set out to plant the roots of the great family tree which was to occupy his attention during the next twenty years of his life. His object was to describe the origin of the family which he had selected for dissection in his series, and to outline the various principal characters, members of that family. Mr. Andrew Lang, writing on this subject in the Fortnightly Review, points out that certain Arab tribes trace their descent from a female Dog, and suggests that the Rougon-Macquart family might have claimed the same ancestry. Adelaide Fouque came of a race of peasants who had long lived at Plassans, a name invented by Zola to conceal the identity of Aix, the town in Provence where his youth had been spent. She was highly neurotic, with a tendency to epilepsy, but from the point of view of the naturalistic novelist she offered many advantages. When a mere girl she married a man named Rougon, who died soon afterwards, leaving her with a son named Pierre, from whom descended the legitimate branch of the family. Then followed a liaison with a drunken smuggler named Macquart, as a result of which two children were born, the Macquarts. Adelaide's original neurosis had by this time become more pronounced, and she ultimately became insane. Pierre married and had five children, but his financial affairs had not prospered, though by underhand methods he had contrived to get possession of his mother's property, to the exclusion of her other children. Then came the Coup d'Etat of 1851, and Pierre, quick to seize his opportunity, rendered such services to the Bonapartist party as to lay the foundation of the family fortune, a foundation which was, however, cemented with treachery and blood. It was with these two families, then, both descended from a common ancestress, and sometimes subsequently united by intermarriage, that the whole series of novels was to deal. They do not form an edifying group, these Rougon-Macquarts, but Zola, who had based his whole theory of the experimental novel upon the analogy of medical research, was not on the outlook for healthy subjects; he wanted social sores to probe. This is a fact much too often overlooked by readers of detached parts of the series, for it should always be kept in mind that the whole was written with the express purpose of laying bare all the social evils of one of the most corrupt periods in recent history, in the belief that through publicity might come regeneration. Zola was all along a reformer as well as a novelist, and his zeal was shown in many a bitter newspaper controversy. It has been urged against him that there were plenty of virtuous people about whom he could have written, but these critics appear to forget that he was in a sense a propagandist, and that it was not his metier to convert persons already in the odour of sanctity.
La Fortune des Rougon was not particularly successful on its publication, but in view of the fact that the war with Germany was barely concluded no surprise need be experienced. Zola's financial position was, however, by the arrangement with his publisher now more secure, and he felt justified in marrying. This he did, and settled down into the quiet bourgeois existence in which his life was spent.
The next book was La Curee, a study of the mushroom society of the Second Empire. The subject—the story of Phaedra adapted to modern environment—is unpleasant and the treatment is daring; but despite a slight succes de scandale, its reception by the public was no more favorable than that of La Fortune des Rougon.
La Curee was followed by Le Ventre de Paris, which reached a second edition. It contained some excellent descriptive writing, but was severely attacked by certain critics, who denounced it as the apotheosis of gluttony, while they resented the transference of a pork butcher's shop to literature and took particular exceptions to a certain "symphony of cheeses."
Next came La Conquete de Plassans, an excellent story, to be followed by La Faute de l'Abbe Mouret, one of Zola's most romantic books, and the first to attain any considerable success. He next wrote Son Excellence Eugene Rougon, in which he dealt with the political side of the Second Empire and sketched the life of the Imperial Court at Compiegne. For this task he was not particularly well equipped, and the book was only moderately successful. Then came L'Assommoir, and with it fame and fortune for the writer. It is a terrible story of working-class life in Paris, a study of the ravages wrought by drink. Again to quote Mr. Andrew Lang, "It is a dreadful but not an immoral book. It is the most powerful temperance tract that ever was written. As M. Zola saw much of the life of the poor in his early years, as he once lived, when a boy, in one of the huge lodging-houses he describes, one may fear that L'Assommoir is a not untruthful picture of the lives of many men and women in Paris."
In order to heighten the effect, Zola deliberately wrote the whole of L'Assommoir in the argot of the streets, sparing nothing of its coarseness and nothing of its force. For this alone he was attacked by many critics, and from its publication onwards an unexampled controversy arose regarding the author and his methods. Looking backwards it is difficult to see why such an outcry should have arisen about such a masterpiece of literature, but water has flowed beneath many bridges since 1877, and, largely by the influence of Zola's own work, the limits of convention have been widely extended. At the time, however, the work was savagely attacked, and to the author the basest motives were assigned, while libels on his own personal character were freely circulated. Zola replied to these attacks in a manner so calm and so convincing that quotation may be permitted. "It would be well," he said, "to read my novels, to understand them, to see them clearly in their entirety, before bringing forward the ready-made opinions, ridiculous and odious, which are circulated concerning myself and my works. Ah! if people only knew how my friends laugh at the appalling legend which amuses the crowd! If they only knew how the blood-thirsty wretch, the formidable novelist, is simply a respectable bourgeois, a man devoted to study and to art, living quietly in his corner, whose sole ambition is to leave as large and living a work as he can. I contradict no reports, I work on, and I rely on time, and on the good faith of the public, to discover me at last under the accumulation of nonsense that has been heaped upon me." This statement is absolutely in accordance with fact, and when it is realized that the writer of the Rougon-Macquart novels was merely a hard-working, earnest man, filled with a determination to complete the vast task which he had planned, and not to be turned from his ideas by praise or blame, it will go far to promote a better understanding of his aims and methods. It is necessary too, as has already been said, that the various novels forming the Rougon-Macquart series be considered not as separate entities, but as chapters of one vast whole.
L'Assommoir was an immediate success with the public, and the sales were unusually large for the time, while now (1912) they amount to one hundred and sixty-two thousand copies in the original French alone.
In 1878 Zola published Une Page d'Amour, the next volume of the series, a simple love story containing some very beautiful and romantic descriptions of Paris. Then followed Nana, to which L'Assommoir was the prelude. Nana dealt with the vast demimonde of Paris, and while it was his greatest popular success, was in every sense his worst book. Of no subject on which he wrote was Zola more ignorant than of this, and the result is a laboured collection of scandals acquired at second-hand. Mr. Arthur Symons, in his Studies in Prose and Verse, recounts how an English paper once reported an interview in which the author of Nana, indiscreetly questioned as to the amount of personal observation he had put into the book, replied that he had once lunched with an actress of the Varietes. "The reply was generally taken for a joke," says Mr. Symons, "but the lunch was a reality, and it was assuredly a rare experience in the life of a solitary diligence to which we owe so many impersonal studies in life." The sales of the book were, however, enormous, and Zola's financial position was now assured.
Publication of the Rougon-Macquart series went steadily on. Pot-Bouille a story of middle-class life, was followed by its sequel Au Bonheur des Dames, a study of life in one of the great emporiums which were beginning to crush out the small shopkeepers of Paris. La Joie de Vivre, that drab story of hypochondria and self-sacrifice, was succeeded by Germinal, the greatest, if not the only really great, novel of labour that has ever been written in any language. After Germinal came L'Oeuvre, which deals with art life in Paris, and is in part an autobiography of the author. We now come to La Terre around which the greatest controversy has raged. In parts the book is Shakespearian in its strength and insight, but it has to be admitted at once that the artistic quality of the work has been destroyed in large measure by the gratuitous coarseness which the author has thought necessary to put into it. Even allowing for the fact that the subject is the brutishness and animality of French peasant life, and admitting that the picture drawn may be a true one, the effect had been lessened by the fact that nothing has been left to the imagination. On the other hand there has, since Shakespeare, been nothing so fine as the treatment of Pere Fouan, that peasant King Lear, by his ungrateful family. It has been urged that Zola overdid the horrors of the situation and that no parent would have been so treated by his children. By a singular chance a complete answer to this objection may be found in a paragraph which appeared in the Daily Mail of 18th April, 1911. A few days before, a peasant woman in France had entered her father's bedroom and struck him nine times on the head with an axe, afterwards going home to bed. The reason for the crime was that the old man two years previously had divided his property between his two daughters on condition that they paid him a monthly allowance. His elder daughter was always in arrear with her share of the pension, and, after constant altercations between father and daughter, the latter extinguished her liability in the manner indicated. Now this tragedy in real life is the actual plot of La Terre, which was written twenty-four years before it occurred.
In accordance with the author's usual plan, whereby a heavy book was followed by a light one, La Terre was succeeded by Le Reve, a work at the other extreme of the literary gamut. As La Terre is of the earth, earthy, so is Le Reve spiritual and idyllic, the work of a man enamoured of the refined and the beautiful. It has indeed been described as the most beautiful work written in France during the whole of the nineteenth century.
La Bete Humaine, the next of the series, is a work of a different class, and is to the English reader the most fascinating of all Zola's novels. It deals with human passions in their elemental forms, with a background of constant interest in the railway life of Western France. The motives are always obvious and strong, a criticism which can by no means be invariably applied to French fiction.
Next appeared L'Argent, which is the sequel to La Curee and deals with financial scandals. It was inspired by the failure of the Union Generale Bank a few years before, and is a powerful indictment of the law affecting joint-stock companies. To L'Argent there succeeded La Debacle, that prose epic of modern war, more complete and coherent than even the best of Tolstoi. And to end all came Le Docteur Pascal, winding up the series on a note of pure romance.
Regarded as a literary tour de force the work is only comparable to the Comedie Humaine. It occupied nearly twenty-five years in writing, consists of twenty volumes containing over twelve hundred characters, and a number of words estimated by Mr. E. A. Vizetelly at two million five hundred thousand.
There can be little doubt that Zola's best work was expended on the Rougon-Macquart series. With its conclusion his zeal as a reformer began to outrun his judgment as an artist, and his later books partake more of the nature of active propaganda than of works of fiction. They comprise two series: Les Trois Villes (Lourdes, Paris, Rome) and Les Quatre Evangiles, of which only three (Fecondite, Travail, and Verite) were written before the author's death. Politics had begun to occupy his attention, and from 1896 onwards he increasingly interested himself in the Jewish question which culminated in the Dreyfus case. His sense of justice, always keen, was outraged by the action of the authorities and on 13th January, 1898, he published his famous letter, beginning with the words J'accuse, a letter which altered the whole course of events in France. It is difficult now to realize the effect of Zola's action in this matter; he was attacked with a virulence almost unexampled, a virulence which followed him beyond the grave. Four years later, on the day after his death, the Paris correspondent of The Times wrote: "It is evident the passions of two or three years ago are still alive. Many persons expressed their joy with such boisterous gestures as men indulge in on learning of a victory, and some exclaimed savagely, 'It is none too soon.' The unseemliness of this extraordinary spectacle evoked no retort from the passers-by." The feeling of resentment is still alive in France, and it is necessary to take it into account in the consideration of any estimates of his literary work by his own countrymen. It is a mistake to attribute Zola's campaign for the rehabilitation of Dreyfus to mere lust of fame, as has been freely done. He certainly was ambitious, but had he wished to gain the plaudits of the crowd he would not have adopted a cause which was opposed by the majority of the nation. As a result of the agitation, he was obliged to leave France and take refuge in England, till such time as a change of circumstances enabled him to return.
On 29th September, 1902, the world was startled to learn that Emile Zola had been found dead in his bedroom, suffocated by the fumes of a stove, and that his wife had narrowly escaped dying with him. A life of incessant literary labour had been quenched.
The reputation of Zola has suffered, it is to be feared, in no small degree from the indiscretions of his friends. In England he was introduced to the notice of the reading public by Mr. Henry Vizetelly, who between 1884 and 1889 published a number of translations of his novels. The last of these was The Soil, a translation of La Terre, which aroused such an outcry that a prosecution followed, and Mr. Vizetelly was sentenced to three months' imprisonment. Without raising any question as to the propriety of this prosecution, it is difficult to avoid pointing out that Mr. Vizetelly was singularly ill advised not to have taken into account the essential differences between English and French literature, and not have seen that the publication of this particular book in its entirety was an impossibility under existing conditions. It is regrettable also that Mr. Vizetelly, who though a gentleman of the highest character, was no doubt anxious to make the most possible out of his venture, did not duly appreciate that the word "Realistic," which was blazoned on the covers of the various books issued by him, was in the early eighties invariably interpreted as meaning pornographic. Presumably nothing was further from Mr. Vizetelly's wish—his defence at the trial was that the books were literature of the highest kind—but it is unquestionable that the format was such as to give the impression indicated, an impression deepened by the extremely Gallic freedom of the illustrations. There can be little doubt that had the works been issued in an unobtrusive form, without illustrations, they would have attracted less attention of the undesirable kind which they afterwards received. The use of the term "Realistic" was the more remarkable as Zola had previously invented the word Naturalisme to distinguish his work from that of the Realistic school. But if Zola's reputation in England suffered in this way, it is right to refer here to the debt of gratitude to Mr. E. A. Vizetelly under which the English public now lies. Some time after the prosecution of his father, Mr. Vizetelly began to publish, through Messrs. Chatto & Windus, a series of versions of Zola's works. The translations were admirably done, and while it was found necessary to make certain omissions, the task was so skilfully accomplished that in many cases actual improvement has resulted. These versions are at present the chief translations of Zola's works in circulation in this country; but while their number has been added to from time to time, it has not been found possible to include the whole of the Rougon-Macquart series. In 1894-5, however, the Lutetian Society issued to its members a literal and unabridged translation of six of the novels, made by writers of such eminence as Havelock Ellis, Arthur Symons, and Ernest Dowson. These are the only translations of these works which are of any value to the student, but they are unfortunately almost unobtainable, as the entire edition was restricted to three hundred copies on hand-made paper and ten on Japanese vellum.
A charge not unfrequently brought against Zola is that he was a somewhat ignorant person, who required to get up from textbooks every subject upon which he wrote. Now there seems to be little doubt that it was in the first instance due to the indiscretion of his biographer, M. Paul Alexis, that this charge has arisen. Impressed by the vast industry of his friend, M. Alexis said so much about "research" and "documents" that less friendly critics seized the opportunity of exaggerating the importance of these. Every novelist of any consequence has found it necessary to "cram" his subjects, but says little about the fact. James Payn, for instance, could not have written his admirable descriptions of China in By Proxy without much reading of many books, and Mr. Rudyard Kipling has not been blamed for studying the technicalities of engineering before he wrote The Ship that found Herself. It is open to question even whether Mr. Robert Hichens acquired his intimate knowledge of the conditions of life in Southern Europe and Northern Africa entirely without the assistance of Herr Baedeker. Zola undoubtedly studied his subjects, but far too much has been made of the necessity for his doing so. His equipment for the task he undertook was not less complete than that of many another novelist, and, like Dickens, he studied life in that school of a "stony-hearted stepmother," the streets of a great city.
Zola's literary method may be described as a piling up of detail upon detail till there is attained an effect portentous, overwhelming. He lacked, however, a sense of proportion; he became so carried away by his visions of human depravity, that his characters developed powers of wickedness beyond mortal strength; he lay under an obsession regarding the iniquities of mankind. In dealing with this it was unfortunately his method to leave nothing to the imagination, and herein lies the most serious blemish on his work. There is undoubtedly much coarseness in some of his books, and the regrettable feature is that it is not only unnecessary, but in some cases actually lessens the effect at which he aimed. It is doubtful whether he was possessed of any sense of humour. Mr. Andrew Lang says that his lack of it was absolute, a darkness that can be felt; Mr. R. H. Sherrard, on the other hand, indicates that his work "teems with quiet fun." On the whole, truth seems to lie with Mr. Lang. M. and Madame Charles Badeuil, in La Terre may seem Dickensian to an English reader, but there is always the Gallic point of view to be reckoned with, and it is doubtful if Zola did not regard these persons merely as types of a virtuous bourgeoisie.
It was in the treatment of crowds in motion that Zola chiefly excelled; there is nothing finer in literature than the march of the strikers in Germinal or the charges of the troops in La Debacle. Contrast him with such a master of prose as George Meredith, and we see how immensely strong the battle scenes in La Debacle are when compared with those in Vittoria; it is here that his method of piling detail on detail and horror on horror is most effectual. "To make his characters swarm," said Mr. Henry James in a critical article in the Atlantic Monthly (August, 1903), "was the task he set himself very nearly from the first, that was the secret he triumphantly mastered."
"Naturalism" as a school had a comparatively brief existence—Zola himself departed largely from its principles after the conclusion of the Rougon-Macquart series—but its effects have been far-reaching on the literature of many countries. In England the limits of literary convention have been extended, and pathways have been opened up along which later writers have not hesitated to travel, even while denying the influence of the craftsman who had cleared the way. It is safe to say that had L'Assommoir never been written there would have been no Jude the Obscure, and the same remark applies to much of the best modern fiction. In America, Frank Norris, an able writer who unfortunately died before the full fruition of his genius had obviously accepted Zola as his master, and the same influence is also apparent in the work of George Douglas, a brilliant young Scotsman whose premature death left only one book, The House with the Green Shutters, as an indication of what might have sprung from the methods of modified naturalism. M. Edouard Rod, an able critic, writing in the Contemporary Review (1902), pointed out that the influence of Zola has transformed novel writing in Italy, and that its effect in Germany has been not less pronounced. The virtue of this influence on German letters was undoubtedly great. It made an end of sentimentality, it shook literature out of the sleepy rut into which it had fallen and forced it to face universal problems.
One must regret for his own sake that Zola was unable to avoid offending those prejudices which were so powerful in his time. The novelist who adopts the method of the surgeon finds it necessary to expose many painful sores, and is open to the taunt that he finds pleasure in the task. On no one did this personal obloquy fall more hardly than on Zola, and never with less reason. It may be that he accumulated unseemly details and risky situations too readily; but he was an earnest man with a definite aim in view, and had formulated for himself a system which he allowed to work itself out with relentless fatality. The unredeemed baseness and profligacy of the period with which he had to deal must also be borne in mind. As to his personal character, it has been fitly described by M. Anatole France, himself a distinguished novelist. Zola, said he, "had the candour and sincerity of great souls. He was profoundly moral. He has depicted vice with a rough and vigorous hand. His apparent pessimism ill conceals a real optimism, a persistent faith in the progress of intelligence and justice. In his romances, which are social studies, he attacks with vigorous hatred an idle, frivolous society, a base and noxious aristocracy. He combated social evil wherever he encountered it. His work is comparable only in greatness with that of Tolstoi. At the two extremities of European thought the lyre has raised two vast cities. Both are generous and pacific; but whereas Tolstoi's is the city of resignation, Zola's is the city of work."
It is still too soon to form an opinion as to the permanent value of Zola's writings, for posterity has set aside many well-considered judgments; but their influence has been, and will continue to be, far reaching. They have opened up new avenues in literature, and have made possible to others much that was formerly unattainable.
THE ROUGON-MACQUART GENEALOGICAL TREE.
1. ADELAIDE FOUQUE, called AUNT DIDE, born in 1768, married in 1786 to Rougon, a placid, lubberly gardener; bears him a son in 1787; loses her husband in 1788; takes in 1789 a lover, Macquart, a smuggler, addicted to drink and half crazed; bears him a son in 1789, and a daughter in 1791; goes mad, and is sent to the Asylum of Les Tulettes in 1851; dies there of cerebral congestion in 1873 at 105 years of age. Supplies the original neurosis.
2. PIERRE ROUGON, born in 1787, married in 1810 to Felicite Puech, an intelligent, active and healthy woman; has five children by her; dies in 1870, on the morrow of Sedan, from cerebral congestion due to overfeeding. An equilibrious blending of characteristics, the moral average of his father and mother, resembles them physically. An oil merchant, afterwards receiver of taxes.
3. ANTOINE MACQUART, born in 1789; a soldier in 1809; married in 1829 to a market dealer, Josephine Gavaudan, a vigorous, industrious, but intemperate woman; has three children by her; loses her in 1851; dies himself in 1873 from spontaneous combustion, brought about by alcoholism. A fusion of characteristics. Moral prepotency of and physical likeness to his father. A soldier, then a basket-maker, afterwards lives idle on his income.
4. URSULE MACQUART, born in 1791; married in 1810 to a journeyman-hatter, Mouret, a healthy man with a well-balanced mind. Bears him three children, dies of consumption in 1840. An adjunction of characteristics, her mother predominating morally and physically.
5. EUGENE ROUGON, born in 1811, married in 1857 to Veronique Beulin d'Orcheres, by whom he has no children. A fusion of characteristics. Prepotency and ambition of his mother. Physical likeness to his father. A politician, at one time Cabinet Minister. Still alive in Paris, a deputy.
6. PASCAL ROUGON, born in 1813, never marries, has a posthumous child by Clotilde Rougon in 1874; dies of heart disease on November 7, 1873. Innateness, a combination in which the physical and moral characteristics of the parents are so blended that nothing of them appears manifest in the offspring. A doctor.
7. ARISTIDE ROUGON, alias SACCARD, born in 1815, married in 1836 to Angele Sicardot, the calm, dreamy-minded daughter of an officer; has by her a son in 1840, a daughter in 1847; loses his wife in 1854; has a natural son in 1853 by a work-girl, Rosalie Chavaille, counting consumptives and epileptics among her forerunners; remarried in 1855 to Renee Beraud Du Chatel, who dies childless in 1864. An adjunction of characteristics, moral prepotency of his father, physical likeness to his mother. Her ambition, modified by his father's appetites. A clerk, then a speculator. Still alive in Paris, directing a newspaper.
8. SIDONIE ROUGON, born in 1818, married at Plassans in 1838 to a solicitor's clerk, who dies in Paris in 1850. Has, by a stranger, in 1851, a daughter Angelique, whom she places in the foundling asylum. Prepotency of her father, physical likeness to her mother. A commission agent and procuress, dabbling in every shady calling; but eventually becomes very austere. Still alive in Paris, treasurer to the OEuvre du Sacrement.
9. MARTHE ROUGON, born in 1820, married in 1840 to her cousin Francois Mouret, bears him three children, dies in 1864 from a nervous disease. Reverting heredity, skipping one generation. Hysteria. Moral and physical likeness to Adelaide Fouque. Resembles her husband.
10. FRANCOIS MOURET, born in 1817, married in 1840 to Marthe Rougon, who bears him three children; dies mad in 1864 in a conflagration kindled by himself. Prepotency of his father. Physical likeness to his mother. Resembles his wife. At first a wine-merchant, then lives on his income.
11. HELENE MOURET, born in 1824, married in 1841 to Grandjean, a puny man, inclined to phthisis, who dies in 1853; has a daughter by him in 1842; remarried in 1857 to M. Rambaud, by whom she has no children. Innateness as in Pascal Rougon's case. Still living, at Marseilles, in retirement with her second husband.
12. SILVERE MOURET, born in 1834; shot dead by a gendarme in 1851. Prepotency of his mother. Innateness with regard to physical resemblance.
13. LISA MACQUART, born in 1827, married in 1852 to Quenu, a healthy man with a well-balanced mind. Bears him a daughter, dies in 1863 from decomposition of the blood. Prepotency of and physical likeness to her mother. Keeps a large pork-butcher's shop at the Paris markets.
14. GERVAISE MACQUART, born in 1828, has three sons by her lover Lantier, who counts paralytics among his ancestors; is taken to Paris, and there deserted by him; is married in 1852 to a workman, Coupeau, who comes of an alcoholic stock; has a daughter by him; dies of misery and drink in 1869. Prepotency of her father. Conceived in drunkenness. Is lame. A washerwoman.
15. JEAN MACQUART, born in 1831, married in 1867 to Francoise Mouche, who dies childless in 1870; remarried in 1871 to Melanie Vial, a sturdy, healthy peasant-girl, by whom he has a son, and who is again enceinte. Innateness, as with Pascal and Helene. First a peasant, then a soldier, then peasant again. Still alive at Valqueyras.
16. MAXIME ROUGON, alias SACCARD, born in 1840, has a son in 1857 by a servant, Justine Megot, the chlorotic daughter of drunken parents; married in 1863 to Louise de Mareuil, who dies childless the same year; succumbs to ataxia in 1873. A dissemination of characteristics. Moral prepotency of his father, physical likeness to his mother. Idle, inclined to spending unearned money.
17. CLOTILDE ROUGON, alias SACCARD, born in 1847, has a son by Pascal Rougon in 1874. Prepotency of her mother. Reverting heredity, the moral and physical characteristics of her maternal grandfather preponderant. Still alive at Plassans.
18. VICTOR ROUGON, alias SACCARD, born in 1853. Adjunction of characteristics. Physical resemblance to his father. Has disappeared.
19. ANGELIQUE ROUGON, born in 1851, married in 1869 to Felicien de Hautecoeur, and dies the same day of a complaint never determined. Innateness: no resemblance to her mother or forerunners on the maternal side. No information as to her father.
20. OCTAVE MOURET, born in 1840, married in 1865 to Madame Hedouin, who dies the same year; remarried in 1869 to Denise Baudu, a healthy girl with a well-balanced mind, by whom he has a boy and a girl, still too young to be classified. Prepotency of his father. Physical resemblance to his uncle, Eugene Rougon. Indirect heredity. Establishes and directs "The Ladies' Paradise." Still alive in Paris.
21. SERGE MOURET, born in 1841. A dissemination of characteristics; moral and physical resemblance to his mother. Has his father's brain, influenced by the diseased condition of his mother. Heredity of a form of neurosis developing into mysticism. A priest, still alive at St. Eutrope.
22. DESIREE MOURET, born in 1844. Prepotency of and physical likeness to her mother. Heredity of a form of neurosis developing into idiocy. Still alive at St. Eutrope with her brother Serge.
23. JEANNE GRANDJEAN, born in 1842, dies of a nervous complaint in 1855. Reverting heredity, skipping two generations. Physical and moral resemblance to Adelaide Fouque.
24. Pauline Quenu, born in 1852, never marries. An equilibrious blending of characteristics. Moral and physical resemblance to her father and mother. An example of honesty. Still alive at Bonneville.
25. CLAUDE LANTIER, born in 1842, married in 1865 to Caroline Hallegrain, whose father succumbed to paraplegia; has by her, prior to marriage, a son, Jacques, who dies in 1869; hangs himself in 1870. A fusion of characteristics. Moral prepotency of and physical resemblance to his mother. Heredity of a form of neurosis developing into genius. A painter.
26. JACQUES LANTIER, born in 1844, killed in an accident in 1870. Prepotency of his mother. Physical likeness to his father. Heredity of alcoholism, developing into homicidal mania. An example of crime. An engine-driver.
27. ETIENNE LANTIER, born in 1846. A dissemination of characteristics. Physical resemblance, first to his mother, afterwards to his father. A miner. Still alive, transported to Noumea, there married, with children, it is said, who cannot, however, be classified.
28. ANNA COUPEAU, alias NANA, born in 1852, gives birth to a child, Louis, in 1867, loses him in 1870, dies herself of small-pox a few days later. A blending of characteristics. Moral prepotency of her father. Physical resemblance to her mother's first lover, Lantier. Heredity of alcoholism developing into mental and physical perversion. An example of vice.
29. CHARLES ROUGON, alias SACCARD, born in 1857, dies of hemorrhage in 1873. Reverting heredity skipping three generations. Physical and moral resemblance to Adelaide Fouque. The last outcome of an exhausted stock.
30. JACQUES LOUIS LANTIER, born in 1860, a case of hydrocephalus, dies in 1869. Prepotency of his mother, whom he physically resembles.
31. LOUIS COUPEAU, called LOUISET, born in 1867, dies of small-pox in 1870. Prepotency of his mother, whom he physically resembles.
32. THE UNKNOWN CHILD will be born in 1874. What will it be?
SYNOPSES OF THE PLOTS OF THE ROUGON-MACQUART NOVELS
La Fortune des Rougon.
In the preface to this novel Zola explains his theories of heredity, and the work itself forms the introductory chapter to that great series which deals with the life history of a family and its descendants during the second empire.
The common ancestress of the Rougons and the Macquarts was Adelaide Fouque, a girl who from youth had been subject to nervous seizures. From her father she inherited a small farm, and at the age of eighteen married one of her own labourers, a man named Rougon, who died fifteen months afterwards, leaving her with one son, named Pierre. Shortly after her husband's death she fell completely under the influence of Macquart, a drunken smuggler and poacher, by whom in course of time she had a son named Antoine and a daughter named Ursule. She became more and more subject to cataleptic attacks, until eventually her mind was completely unhinged. Pierre Rougon, her legitimate son, was a man of strong will inherited from his father, and he early saw that his mother's property was being squandered by the Macquarts. By means approximating to fraud he induced his mother, who was then facile, to sell her property and hand over the proceeds to him. Soon after he married Felicite Peuch, a woman of great shrewdness and keen intelligence, by whom he had three sons (Eugene, Aristide, and Pascal) and two daughters (Marthe and Sidonie). Pierre Rougon was not particularly prosperous, but his eldest son, Eugene, went to Paris and became mixed up in the Bonapartist plots which led to the Coup d'Etat of 1851. He was consequently able to give his parents early information as to the probable course of events, and the result of their action was to lay the foundations of the family fortune.
The scene of the book is the Provencal town of Plassans, and the tragic events attending the rising of the populace against the Coup d'Etat are told with accuracy and knowledge. There is a charming love idyll between Silvere Mouret, a son of Ursule Macquart, and a young girl named Miette, both of whom fall as victims in the rising which followed the Coup d'Etat.
Mr. E. A. Vizetelly, in his introduction to the English translation of The Conquest of Plassans (London: Chatto & Windus), points out that almost every incident in The Fortune of the Rougons is based upon historical fact. "For instance," he says, "Miette had a counterpart in Madame Ferrier, that being the real name of the young woman who, carrying the insurgents' blood-red banner, was hailed by them as the Goddess of Liberty on their dramatic march. And in like way the tragic death of Silvere, linked to another hapless prisoner, was founded by M. Zola on an incident that followed the rising, as recorded by an eye-witness."
Son Excellence Eugene Rougon.
An account of the career of Eugene Rougon, the eldest son of Pierre Rougon (La Fortune des Rougon), who went to Paris from Plassans, becoming involved in the plots which resulted in the Coup d'Etat of 1851 and the return of a Bonaparte to Imperial power. The future career of Rougon was assured; his services had been too important to be overlooked, and he ultimately became Minister of State and practically Vice-Emperor. He fell for a time under the influence of Clorinde Balbi, the daughter of an Italian adventuress, but realizing the risk of compromising himself, he shook himself free, and married a lady whose position in society tended to make his own still more secure. The novel gives an excellent account of the political and social life of the Second Empire, and of the cynical corruption which characterized the period.
In a preface to the English translation (His Excellency. London: Chatto & Windus), Mr. E. A. Vizetelly states that in his opinion, "with all due allowance for its somewhat limited range of subject, Son Excellence Eugene Rougon is the one existing French novel which gives the reader a fair general idea of what occurred in political spheres at an important period of the Empire. But His Excellency Eugene Rougon is not, as many critics and others have supposed, a mere portrait or caricature of His Excellency Eugene Rouher, the famous Vice-Emperor of history. Symbolism is to be found in every one of Zola's novels, and Rougon, in his main lines, is but the symbol of a principle, or, to be accurate, the symbol of a certain form of the principle of authority. His face is Rouher's, like his build and his favorite gesture; but with Rouher's words, actions, opinions, and experiences are blended those of half a dozen other personages. He is the incarnation of that craving, that lust for power which impelled so many men of ability to throw all principle to the winds and become the instruments of an abominable system of government. And his transformation at the close of the story is in strict accordance with historical facts."
In this novel Aristide Saccard, who followed his brother Eugene to Paris in the hope of sharing the spoils of the Second Empire (La Fortune des Rougon), was successful in amassing a vast fortune by speculation in building-sites. His first wife having died, he married Renee Beraud du Chatel, a lady of good family, whose dowry first enabled him to throw himself into the struggle of financial life. In a magnificent mansion which he built in the Parc Monceau a life of inconceivable extravagance began. The mushroom society of Paris was at this period the most corrupt in Europe, and the Saccards soon came to be regarded as leaders in every form of pleasure. Vast though their fortune was, their expenses were greater, and a catastrophe was frequently imminent. Renee, satisfied with prodigality of every kind, entered on an infamous liaison with her husband's son, a liaison which Aristide condoned in order to extract money from his wife. Rene ultimately died, leaving her husband immersed in his feverish speculations.
The novel gives a powerful though unpleasant picture of Parisian society in the period which followed the restoration of the Empire in 1851.
After a disastrous speculation, Aristide Saccard (La Fortune des Rougon and La Curee) was forced to sell his mansion in the Parc Monceau and to cast about for means of creating a fresh fortune. Chance made him acquainted with Hamelin, an engineer whose residence in the East had suggested to him financial schemes which at once attracted the attention of Saccard. With a view to financing these schemes the Universal Bank was formed, and by force of advertising became immediately successful. Emboldened by success, Saccard launched into wild speculation, involving the bank, which ultimately became insolvent, and so caused the ruin of thousands of depositors. The scandal was so serious that Saccard was forced to disappear from France and to take refuge in Belgium.
The book was intended to show the terrible effects of speculation and fraudulent company promotion, the culpable negligence of directors, and the impotency of the existing laws. It deals with the shady underwoods of the financial world.
Mr. E. A. Vizetelly, in his preface to the English translation (Money. London: Chatto & Windus), suggests that Zola in sketching Saccard, that daring and unscrupulous financier, "must have bethought himself of Mires, whose name is so closely linked to the history of Second Empire finance. Mires, however, was a Jew, whereas Saccard was a Jew-hater, and outwardly, at all events, a zealous Roman Catholic. In this respect he reminds one of Bontoux, of Union General notoriety, just as Hamelin the engineer reminds one of Feder, Bontoux's associate. Indeed, the history of M. Zola's Universal Bank is much the history of the Union General. The latter was solemnly blessed by the Pope, and in a like way Zola shows us the Universal receiving the Papal benediction. Moreover, the second object of the Union General was to undermine the financial power of the Jews, and in the novel we find a similar purpose ascribed to Saccard's Bank. The union, we know, was eventually crushed by the great Israelite financiers, and this again is the fate which overtakes the institution whose meteor-like career is traced in the pages of L'Argent."
Written as a "passport to the Academy," this novel stands alone among the Rougon-Macquart series for its pure, idyllic grace. Angelique, a daughter of Sidonie Rougon (Le Curee), had been deserted by her mother, and was adopted by a maker of ecclesiastical embroideries, who with his wife lived and worked under the shadow of an ancient cathedral. In this atmosphere the child grew to womanhood, and as she fashioned the rich embroideries of the sacred vestments she had a vision of love and happiness which was ultimately realized, though the realization proved too much for her frail strength, and she died in its supreme moment. The vast cathedral with its solemn ritual dominates the book and colours the lives of its characters.
La Conquete de Plassans.
The heroine of this book is Marthe Rougon, the youngest daughter of Pierre and Felicite Rougon (La Fortune des Rougon), who had inherited much of the neurasthenic nature of her grandmother Adelaide Fouque. She married her cousin, Francois Mouret. Plassans, where the Mourets lived, was becoming a stronghold of the clerical party, when Abbe Faujas, a wily and arrogant priest, was sent to win it back for the Government. This powerful and unscrupulous ecclesiastic ruthlessly set aside every obstacle to his purpose, and in the course of his operations wrecked the home of the Mourets. Marthe having become infatuated with the priest, ruined her family for him and died neglected. Francois Mouret, her husband, who by the machinations of Faujas was confined in an asylum as a lunatic, became insane in fact, and having escaped, brought about a conflagration in which he perished along with the disturber of his domestic peace.
The book contains a vivid picture of the petty jealousies and intrigues of a country town, and of the political movements which followed the Coup d'Etat of 1851.
A study of middle-class life in Paris. Octave, the elder son of Francois Mouret, has come to the city, where he has got a situation in "The Ladies' Paradise," a draper's shop carried on by Madame Hedouin, a lady whom he ultimately marries. The interest of the book centres in a house in Rue de Choiseul which is let in flats to various tenants, the Vabres, Duvreyiers, and Josserands among others. The inner lives of these people, their struggles, their jealousies and their sins, are shown with an unsparing hand. Under the thin skin of an intense respectability there is a seething mass of depravity, and with ruthless art Zola has laid his subjects upon the dissecting-table. Of plot there is little, but as a terrible study in realism the book is a masterpiece.
An Bonheur des Dames.
Octave Mouret, after his marriage with Madame Hedouin, greatly increased the business of "The Ladies' Paradise," which he hoped would ultimately rival the Bon Marche and other great drapery establishments in Paris. While an addition to the shop was in progress Madame Mouret met with an accident which resulted in her death, and her husband remained a widower for a number of years. During this time his business grew to such an extent that his employees numbered many hundreds, among whom was Denise Baudu, a young girl who had come from the provinces. Mouret fell in love with her, and she, after resisting his advances for some time, ultimately married him. The book deals chiefly with life among the assistants in a great drapery establishment, their petty rivalries and their struggles; it contains some pathetic studies of the small shopkeepers of the district, crushed out of existence under the wheels of Mouret's moneymaking machine.
La Faute de l'Abbe Mouret.
Serge Mouret, the younger son of Francois Mouret (see La Conquete de Plassans), was ordained to the priesthood and appointed cure of Les Artaud, a squalid village in Provence, to whose degenerate inhabitants he ministered with small encouragement. He had inherited the family taint of the Rougon-Macquarts, which in him took the same form as in the case of his mother—a morbid religious enthusiasm bordering on hysteria. Brain fever followed, and bodily recovery left the priest without a mental past. Dr. Pascal Rougon, his uncle, hoping to save his reason, removed him from his accustomed surroundings and left him at the Paradou, the neglected demesne of a ruined mansion-house near Les Artaud, where he was nursed by Albine, niece of the caretaker. The Abbe fell in love with Albine, and, oblivious of his vows, broke them. A meeting with Archangias, a Christian Brother with whom he had been associated, and a chance glimpse of the world beyond the Paradou, served to restore his memory, and, filled with horror at himself, he fled from that enchanted garden. A long mental struggle followed, but in the end the Church was victorious, and the Abbe returned to her service with even more feverish devotion than before. Albine, broken-hearted, died among her loved flowers in the Paradou.
The tale is to some extend an indictment of the celibacy of the priesthood, though it has to be admitted that the issue is not put quite fairly, inasmuch as the Abbe was, at the time of his lapse, in entire forgetfulness of his sacred office. As a whole, the book contains some of Zola's best work, and is both poetical and convincing.
Une Page d'Amour.
A tale of Parisian life, in which the principal character is Helene Mouret, daughter of Mouret the hatter, and sister of Silvere Mouret (La Fortune des Rougon) and Francois Mouret (La Conquete de Plassans). Helene married M. Grandjean, son of a wealthy sugar-refiner of Marseilles, whose family opposed the marriage on the ground of her poverty. The marriage was a secret one, and some years of hardship had followed, when an uncle of M. Grandjean died, leaving his nephew a substantial income. The couple then moved to Paris with their young daughter Jeanne, but the day after their arrival Grandjean was seized with illness from which he died. Helene remained in Paris, though she had at first no friends there except Abbe Jouve and his half-brother M. Rambaud. Jeanne had inherited much of the family neurosis, along with a consumptive tendency derived from her father, and one of her sudden illnesses caused her mother to make the acquaintance of Doctor Deberle. An intimacy between the two families followed, which ripened into love between the doctor and Helene. Events were precipitated by an attempt on the part of Helene to save Madame Deberle from the consequences of an indiscretion in arranging an assignation with M. Malignon, with the result that she was herself seriously compromised in the eyes of Doctor Deberle and for the first and only time fell from virtue. Jeanne, whose jealous affection for her mother amounted to mania, was so affected by the belief that she was not longer the sole object of her mother's love that she became dangerously ill and died soon afterwards. This bitter punishment for her brief lapse killed Helene's love for Doctor Deberle, and two years later she married M. Rambaud. As Mr. Andrew Lang has observed, Helene was a good and pure woman, upon whom the fate of her family fell.
In writing the book Zola announced that his intention was to make all Paris weep, and there is no doubt that, though a study in realism, it contains much that is truly pathetic. The descriptions of Paris under varying atmospheric aspects, with which each section of the book closes, are wholly admirable.
Le Ventre de Paris.
A study of the teeming life which surrounds the great central markets of Paris. The heroine is Lisa Quenu, a daughter of Antoine Macquart (La Fortune des Rougon). She has become prosperous, and with prosperity her selfishness has increased. Her brother-in-law Florent had escaped from penal servitude in Cayenne and lived for a short time in her house, but she became tired of his presence and ultimately denounced him to the police. The book contains vivid pictures of the markets, bursting with the food of a great city, and of the vast population which lives by handling and distributing it. "But it also embraces a powerful allegory," writes Mr. E. A. Vizetelly in his preface to the English translation (The Fat and the Thin. London: Chatto & Windus), "the prose song of the eternal battle between the lean of this world and the fat—a battle in which, as the author shows, the latter always come off successful. M. Zola had a distinct social aim in writing this book."
La Joie de Vivre.
Pauline Quenu (Le Ventre de Paris), having been left an orphan, was sent to live with relatives in a village on the Normandy coast. It was a bleak, inhospitable shore, and its inhabitants lived their drab, hopeless lives under the morbid fear of inevitable death. The Chanteaus, Pauline's guardians, took advantage of her in every way, and Lazare Chanteau, her cousin, with whom she fell in love, got from her large sums of money to carry out wild schemes which he devised. The character of Pauline is a fine conception; basely wronged and treated with heartless ingratitude, her hopes blighted and her heart broken, she found consolation in the complete renunciation of herself for the sake of those who had so greatly injured her.
"The title selected by M. Zola for this book," says Mr. E. A. Vizetelly in his preface to the English translation (The Joy of Life. London: Chatto & Windus), "is to be taken in an ironical or sarcastic sense. There is no joy at all in the lives of the characters whom he portrays in it. The story of the hero is one of mental weakness, poisoned by a constantly recurring fear of death; whilst that of his father is one of intense physical suffering, blended with an eager desire to continue living, even at the cost of yet greater torture. Again, the story of the heroine is one of blighted affections, the wrecking of all which might have made her life worth living."
A terrible study of the effects of drink on the moral and social condition of the working-class in Paris. There is probably no other work of fiction in which the effects of intemperance are shown with such grimness of realism and uncompromising force.
Gervaise Macquart, daughter of Antoine Macquart (La Fortune des Rougon), having accompanied her lover Lantier to Paris, taking with her their two children, was deserted by him a few weeks after their arrival in the city. She got employment in the laundry of Madame Fauconnier, and a few months later married Coupeau, a zinc-worker, who, though the son of drunken parents, was himself steady and industrious. For a while everything prospered with the Coupeaus; by hard work they were able to save a little money, and in time a daughter (Nana) was born to them. Then an accident to Coupeau, who fell from the roof of a house, brought about a change. His recovery was slow, and left him with an unwillingness to work and an inclination to pass his time in neighbouring dram-shops. Meantime Gervaise, with money borrowed from Goujet, a man who loved her with almost idyllic affection, had started a laundry of her own. She was successful for a time, in spite of her husband's growing intemperance and an increasing desire in herself for ease and good living; but deterioration had begun, and with the reappearance of Lantier, her old lover, it became rapid. Coupeau was by this time a confirmed loafer and drunkard, while Gervaise was growing careless and ease-loving. Lantier, having become a lodger with the Coupeaus, ceased doing any work, and as he never paid anything for his board, his presence not unnaturally hastened the downfall of his hosts. Circumstances conspired to renew the old relations between Gervaise and Lantier, and by easy stages she descended that somewhat slippery stair which leads to ruin. The shop was given up, and she again got employment in the laundry of Madame Fauconnier, though she was no longer the capable workwoman of former times. Nana, her daughter, vicious from childhood, had taken to evil courses; her husband had at least one attack of delirium tremens; and she herself was fast giving way to intemperance. The end was rapid. Coupeau died in the asylum of Sainte-Anne after an illness the description of which is for pure horror unparalleled in fiction; while Gervaise, after sinking to the lowest depths of degradation and poverty, died miserably in a garret. The tragedy of it all is that Gervaise, despite her early lapse with Lantier, was a good and naturally virtuous woman, whose ruin was wrought by circumstances and by the operation of the relentless laws of heredity.
It may be useful to note here that though Zola states in L'Assommoir that Gervaise and Lantier had two sons (Claude, born 1842, and Etienne, born 1846), he makes a third son (Jacques, born 1844), not elsewhere mentioned, the hero of La Bete Humaine, a subsequent work in the Rougon-Macquart series.
A novel dealing with artistic life in Paris towards the close of the Second Empire.
Claude Lantier, the eldest son of Auguste Lantier and Gervaise Macquart (La Fortune des Rougon and L'Assommoir), had been educated at Plassans by an old gentleman who was interested in his childish skill in drawing. His benefactor died, leaving him a sum which yielded an annual income of a thousand francs, and he came to Paris to follow an artistic career. There he met Dubuche, Pierre Sandoz, and others of his former schoolboy friends, and the little band formed a coterie of revolutionary spirits, whose aim was to introduce new ideas and drastic changes into the accepted canons of art. Claude attempted to embody his theories in a picture which he called Plein Air ("Open Air") in which he went direct to nature for inspiration, and threw aside all recognized conventions. The picture was refused by the committee of the Salon, and when subsequently shown at a minor exhibition was greeted with derision by the public. The artist was in despair, and left Paris with Christine Hallegrain, a young girl between whom and himself a chance acquaintanceship had ripened into love. They lived happily in a little cottage in the country for several years, a son being born to them, but Claude became restless, and they returned to Paris. Here he gradually became obsessed by an idea for a great picture, which would show the truth of his theories and cover his detractors with confusion. By this time there is no doubt that his mind was becoming affected by repeated disappointments, and that the family virus was beginning to manifest itself in him. Everything was now sacrificed to this picture; his little fortune was gradually encroached on, and his wife and child (he had married Christine some time after their return to Paris) were frequently without the necessaries of life. Christine was, however, devoted to her husband, and did all she could to induce him to leave the picture, which she saw was increasing his mental disturbance. This was becoming more serious, and in the death of his child he saw only the subject of a picture, L'Enfant Mort, which was exhibited at the Salon and was received with even more contempt than Plein Air. Despite all the efforts of Christine, Claude returned to his intended masterpiece, and one morning, in despair of achieving his aims, hanged himself in front of the fatal picture.
As a study of artistic life the novel is full of interest. There is little doubt that the character of Claude Lantier was suggested by that of Edouard Manet, the founder of the French Impressionist school, with whom Zola was on terms of friendship. It is also certain that Pierre Sandoz, the journalist with an idea for a vast series of novels dealing with the life history of a family, was the prototype of Zola himself.
La Bete Humaine.
A novel dealing with railway life in France towards the close of the Second Empire. The hero is Jacques Lantier, the second son of Gervaise Macquart and August Lantier (La Fortune des Rougon and L'Assommoir). When his parents went to Paris with his two brothers, he remained at Plassans with his godmother, "Aunt Phasie," who afterwards married Misard, a railway signalman, by whom she was slowly poisoned to secure a small legacy which she had concealed. After Jacques had passed through the School of Arts and Crafts at Plassans he became a railway engine-driver, and entered the service of the Western Railway Company, regularly driving the express train between Paris and Havre. He was a steady man and a competent engineer, but from his early youth he had been affected by a curious form of insanity, the desire to murder any woman of whom he became fond. "It seemed like a sudden outburst of blind rage, an ever-recurring thirst to avenge some very ancient offences, the exact recollection of which escaped him." There was also in the employment of the railway company, as assistant station-master at Havre, a compatriot of Lantier named Roubaud, who had married Severine Aubry, the godchild of President Grandmorin, a director of the company. A chance word of Severine's roused the suspicions of Roubaud regarding her former relations with the President, and, driven to frenzy by jealousy, he compelled her to become his accomplice in the murder of Grandmorin in an express train between Paris and Havre.
Though slight suspicion fell upon the Roubauds, they were able to prove an alibi, and as, for political reasons, it was not desired that Grandmorin's character should be publicly discussed, the inquiry into the murder was dropped. By a singular chance, however, Jacques Lantier had been a momentary witness of the crime, and the Roubauds became aware of his suspicions. To secure his silence they invited him constantly to their house, and a liaison with Severine followed. For the first time Lantier's blood lust was not aroused; the knowledge that this woman had killed seemed to constitute her a being apart and sacred. After the murder of Grandmorin a gradual disintegration of Roubaud's character set in, and he became in time a confirmed gambler. His relations with his wife were ultimately so strained that she induced Lantier to promise to murder him, in order that they might fly together to America with the proceeds of a small legacy she had received from Grandmorin. The arrangements were made, but at the last moment Lantier's frenzy overtook him, and it was Severine who was struck down by the knife destined for her husband. Lantier escaped without suspicion; but Roubaud, who was found on the scene of the crime under circumstances considered compromising, was tried, and along with a companion equally innocent, was sentenced to penal servitude for life. But Nemesis was not distant; Jacques had aroused the jealous fury of his fireman, Pecqueux, who, one night in 1870, attacked him as they were driving a train loaded with soldiers bound for the war. A fierce struggle followed, and in the end the two men fell from the engine and were cut in pieces beneath the wheels of the train, which, no longer under control, rushed on into the darkness with its living freight.
A novel dealing with the labour question in its special relation to coal-mining. The scene of the book is laid in the north of France at a time preceding and during a great strike; the hero is Etienne Lantier (La Fortune des Rougon and L'Assommoir). In a moment of passion Lantier had struck one of his superiors, and having been dismissed from his employment as an engineer, found it difficult to get work, till, after drifting from place to place, he eventually became a coal-miner. The hardships of the life and its miserable remuneration impressed him deeply, and he began to indoctrinate his comrades with a spirit of revolt. His influence grew, and he became the acknowledged leader of the strike which followed. The result was disastrous. After weeks of misery from cold and hunger the infuriated workmen attempted to destroy one of the pits, and were fired upon by soldiers sent to guard it. Many were killed, and the survivors, with their spirits crushed, returned to work. But worse was yet to come. Souvarine, an Anarchist, disgusted with the ineffectual struggle, brought about an inundation of the pit, whereby many of his comrades were entombed. Among them was Lantier, who was, however, eventually rescued.
As a study of the ever-lasting struggle between capital and labour the work has no rival in fiction; the miseries and degradation of the mining class, their tardy revolt against their employers, and their sufferings from hunger during its futile course, these are the theme, and the result is a picture of gloom, horrible and without relief.
A novel dealing largely with theatrical life in Paris. Nana, the daughter of Coupeau and Gervaise Macquart his wife (L'Assommoir), has been given a part in a play produced at the Theatre des Varietes, and though she can neither sing nor act, achieves by the sheer force of her beauty an overwhelming success. All Paris is at her feet, and she selects her lovers from among the wealthiest and best born. But her extravagance knows no bounds, and ruin invariably overtakes those who yield to her fascination. After squandering vast sums she goes to the East, and stories spread that she had captivated a viceroy and gained a great fortune in Russia. Her return to Paris is speedily followed by her death from small-pox. In this novel the life of the courtesan class is dealt with by Zola with unhesitating frankness; there are many vivid studies of theatrical manners; and the racecourse also comes within its scope. The work was intended to lay bare the canker which was eating into the social life of the Second Empire and ultimately led to the debacle of 1870.
This is a novel which treats of the conditions of agricultural life in France before the war with Prussia, and the subsequent downfall of the Second Empire. It is, in some respects, the most powerful of all Zola's novels, but in dealing with the subject he unfortunately thought it necessary to introduce incidents and expressions which, from their nature, must always render it impossible to submit the book in its entirety to the general English reader.
Its connection with the Rougon-Macquart series is somewhat slight. Jean Macquart, son of Antoine Macquart and brother of Gervaise (La Fortune des Rougon), having served his time in the Army, came to the plain of La Beauce, and became an agricultural labourer on the farm of La Borderie, which belonged to Alexandre Hourdequin. He fell in love with Lise Mouche, who, however, married Buteau, and Macquart subsequently married her sister Francoise. Constant quarrels now arose between the two sisters as to the division of their father's property, and in the end Francoise was murdered by her sister. Macquart, tired of the struggle, decided to rejoin the army, which he did immediately after the outbreak of war.
The interest of the book is, however, largely connected with the history of the Fouans, a family of peasants, the senior member of which, having grown old, divided his land among his three children. The intense and brutish rapacity of these peasants, their utter lack of any feeling of morality or duty, their perfect selfishness, not stopping short of parricide, form a picture of horror unequalled in fiction. It is only to be regretted that the author, in leaving nothing to the imagination, has produced a work suitable only for the serious student of sociology.
In the earlier volumes of the Rougon-Macquart series Zola had dealt with every phase of life under the Second Empire, and in this novel he tells the story of that terrific land-slide which overwhelmed the regime. It is a story of war, grim and terrible; of a struggle to the death between two great nations. In it the author has put much of his finest work, and the result is one of the masterpieces of literature. The hero is Jean Macquart, son of Antoine Macquart and brother of Gervaise (La Fortune des Rougon). After the terrible death of his wife, as told in La Terre, Jean enlisted for the second time in the army, and went through the campaign up to the battle of Sedan. After the capitulation he was made prisoner, and in escaping was wounded. When he returned to active service he took part in crushing the excesses of the Commune in Paris, and by a strange chance it was his hand that killed his dearest friend, Maurice Levasseur, who had joined the Communist ranks. La Debacle has been described as "a prose epic of modern war," and vast though the subject be, it is treated in a manner that is powerful, painful, and pathetic.
In the preface to the English translation (The Downfall. London: Chatto & Windus) Mr. E. A. Vizetelly quotes from an interview with Zola regarding his aim in writing the work. A novel, he says, "contains, or may be made to contain, everything; and it is because that is my creed that I am a novelist. I have, to my thinking, certain contributions to make to the thought of the world on certain subjects, and I have chosen the novel as the best way of communicating these contributions to the world. Thus La Debacle, in the form of a very precise and accurate relation of a series of historical facts—in other words, in the form of a realistic historical novel—is a document on the psychology of France in 1870. This will explain the enormous number of characters which figure in the book. Each character represents one etat d'ame psychologique of the France of the day. If my work be well done, the reader will be able to understand what was in men's minds and what was the bent of men's minds—what they thought and how they thought at that period."
Le Docteur Pascal.
In this, the concluding novel of the Rougon-Macquart series, Zola gathers together the threads of the preceding volumes and makes a vigorous defence of his theories of heredity. The story in the book is both simple and sad. Doctor Pascal Rougon, a medical man at Plassans and a distinguished student of heredity, had brought up his niece Clotilde (daughter of Aristide Rougon alias Saccard) from childhood. Years afterwards they found that they passionately loved one another, but they did not marry, as Pascal, who had lost money, thought that by doing so she would sacrifice her interests. (In this connection it is right to mention that marriage between an uncle and a niece is legal in France, and is not uncommon.) With fine self-sacrifice Pascal persuaded Clotilde to go to Paris to live with her brother who was wealthy and wanted her to nurse him. Soon after her departure Pascal showed symptoms of a fatal affection of the heart, and after some weeks of great suffering telegraphed for Clotilde to come back. One hour before her return he died. His mother, Madame Felicite Rougon, who feared that his researches on heredity might bring scandal on the family, burned all his papers, and in one hour destroyed the work of a lifetime. A child was born to Clotilde seven months after the death of Doctor Pascal; a child which he intensely desired, in the hope that through it might come the regeneration and rejuvenation of his race.
Zola, in an interview quoted by Mr. E. A. Vizetelly in the preface to his translation of Le Docteur Pascal (London: Chatto & Windus), states that in this book he has been able to defend himself against all the accusations which have been brought against him. "Pascal's works on the members of his family," says Zola, "is, in small, what I have attempted to do on humanity, to show all so that all may be cured. It is not a book which, like La Debacle, will stir the passions of the mob. It is a scientific work, the logical deduction and conclusion of all my preceding novels, and at the same time it is my speech in defence of all that I have done before the court of public opinion."
THE ZOLA DICTIONARY
ADELE, the girl for whom Auguste Lantier deserted Gervaise Macquart. They lived together for seven years, a life of constant bickerings and quarrels, accompanied, not infrequently, by blows, until the connection was ended by Adele running away. Her sister was Virginie, with whom Gervaise fought in the public washing-house on the day of her desertion by Lantier. L'Assommoir.
ADELE, maid-servant to the Josserands, and one of Hector Trublot's friends. Pot-Bouille.
ADELE, an assistant in the shop of Quenu, the pork-butcher. It was she who took charge of the shop on the sudden death of her master. And subsequently sent Pauline Quenu to Madame Chanteau. La Joie de Vivre.
ADOLPHE, an artillery driver in the same battery as Honore Fouchard. In accordance with a rule of the French artillery, under which a driver and a gunner are coupled, he messed with Louis, the gunner, whom, however, he was inclined to treat as a servant. At the battle of Sedan, before the Calvary d'Illy, where the French were almost exterminated by the Prussian artillery, Adolphe fell, killed by a wound in the chest; in a last convulsion he clasped in his arms Louis, who had fallen at the same moment, killed by the same shot. La Debacle.
ALBINE, niece of Jeanbernat, keeper of the Paradou, a neglected demesne in Provence. Her father had ruined himself and committed suicide when she was nine years old, and she then came to live with her uncle. She grew up in that vast garden of flowers, herself its fairest, almost in ignorance of the world outside, and when Abbe Mouret came to the Paradou forgetful of his past, she loved him unconsciously from the first. As she nursed him towards health, and his mind began again to grow from that fresh starting-point to which it had been thrown back, there developed an idyll as beautiful and as innocent as that which had its place in another and an earlier garden. The awakening of Abbe Mouret to the recollections of his priesthood ended the romance, for the call of his training was too strong for his love. One effort Albine made to bring him back, and it was successful in so much that one day he returned to the Paradou. Again there followed the struggle between the flesh and the Church, and again the Church prevailed. Broken-hearted, Albine passed for the last time through her loved garden, gathering as she went vast heaps of flowers. More and more she gathered, till her room was nearly full; then, closing the door and windows, she lay down amongst the flowers, and allowed herself to be suffocated by their overpowering perfume. La Faute de l'Abbe Mouret.
ALEXANDRE, a porter at the Halles Centrales, where he became a friend of Claude Lantier. He was involved along with Florent and Gavard in the revolutionary meetings at Lebigre's wine-shop, and was sentenced to two years' imprisonment. Le Ventre de Paris.
ALEXANDRE, one of the warders at the asylum of Les Tulettes. He was a friend of Antoine Macquart, and at his request allowed Francois Mouret to escape from the asylum, with disastrous results to Abbe Faujas and his relations. La Conquete de Plassans.
ALEXANDRE, a boy employed in the shop known as Au Bonheur des Dames. Pot-Bouille.
AMADIEU, a speculator on the Paris Bourse who made a fortune by a rash purchase of mining stock. He went into the affair without calculation or knowledge, but his success made him revered by the entire Bourse. He placed no more orders, however, but seemed to be satisfied with his single victory. L'Argent.
AMANDA, one of the singers at a cafe concert in Boulevard Rochechouart. L'Assommoir.
AMELIE, a demi-mondaine who lodged at the Hotel Vanneau, which was kept by Madame Correur. Son Excellence Eugene Rougon.
AMELIE, wife of a journeyman carpenter who occupied a little room at the top of Vabre's tenement-house in Rue Choiseul. Pot-Bouille.
ANDRE (LE PERE), an old countryman at Chavanoz, the village where Miette spent her childhood. La Fortune des Rougon.
ANGELE (SISTER), a nun attached to the infirmary of the college of Plassans. Her Madonna-like face turned the heads of all the older pupils, and one morning she disappeared with Hermeline, a student of rhetoric. L'Oeuvre.
ANGELIQUE MARIE, born 1851, was the daughter of Sidonie Rougon, by an unknown father. Soon after her birth she was taken to the Foundling Hospital by a nurse, Madame Foucart, and no further inquiries were ever made about her. She was at first boarded with Francoise Hamelin, by whom she was not unkindly treated, and subsequently went to Paris with Louis Franchomme and his wife, who wished to teach her the trade of artificial-flower making. Franchomme having died three months later, his widow went to reside at Beaumont with her brother, Rabier, taking Angelique with her. Unfortunately, Madame Franchomme died a few months afterwards, leaving Angelique to the care of the Rabiers, who used her badly, not even giving her enough to eat. In consequence of their treatment, she ran away on Christmas Day, 1860, and the following morning was found in a fainting condition by Hubert, the chasuble-maker, who noticed her lying in the snow within the porch of the cathedral of Beaumont. Hubert and his wife took the child into their home, and, becoming attached to her, ultimately adopted her as their daughter, teaching her the art of embroidering vestments, in which she became very skilful. Angelique, though an amiable girl, was at first liable to violent attacks of temper, and it was only by the exercise of much patience and tact on the part of Madame Hubert that this tendency was overcome. The girl was always a dreamer, and her cloistered life with the Huberts, along with constant reading of the lives of the saints, brought out all that was mystic in her nature. A chance meeting between Angelique and a young man named Felicien led to their falling in love, she being in entire ignorance of the fact that he was the son of Monseigneur d'Hautecoeur, and a member of one of the oldest and proudest families in France. Felicien's father having refused his consent to a marriage, and a personal appeal to him by Angelique having failed, the lovers were separated for a time. The girl gradually fell into ill-health, and seemed at the point of death when Monseigneur himself came to administer the last rites of the Church. Having been miraculously restored to a measure of health, Angelique was married to Felicien d'Hautecoeur in the great cathedral of Beaumont. She was very feeble, and as she was leaving the church on the arm of her husband she sank to the ground. In the midst of her happiness she died; quietly and gently as she had lived. Le Reve.