Put thousands together less bad,

But the cage less gay.


The little town of Verrières can pass for one of the prettiest in Franche-Comté.

Its white houses with their pointed red-tiled roofs stretch along the slope of a hill,

whose slightest undulations are marked by groups of vigorous chestnuts.

The Doubs flows to within some hundred feet above its fortifications,

which were built long ago by the Spaniards,

and are now in ruins.

Verrières is sheltered on the north by a high mountain which is one of the branches of the Jura.

The jagged peaks of the Verra are covered with snow from the beginning of the October frosts.

A torrent which rushes down from the mountains traverses Verrières before throwing itself into the Doubs,

and supplies the motive power for a great number of saw mills.

The industry is very simple,

and secures a certain prosperity to the majority of the inhabitants who are more peasant than bourgeois.

It is not,


the wood saws which have enriched this little town.

It is the manufacture of painted tiles,

called Mulhouse tiles,

that is responsible for that general affluence which has caused the façades of nearly all the houses in Verrières to be rebuilt since the fall of Napoleon.

One has scarcely entered the town,

before one is stunned by the din of a strident machine of terrifying aspect.

Twenty heavy hammers which fall with a noise that makes the paved floor tremble,

are lifted up by a wheel set in motion by the torrent.

Each of these hammers manufactures every day I don't know how many thousands of nails.

The little pieces of iron which are rapidly transformed into nails by these enormous hammers,

are put in position by fresh pretty young girls.

This labour so rough at first sight is one of the industries which most surprises the traveller who penetrates for the first time the mountains which separate France and Helvetia.

If when he enters Verrières,

the traveller asks who owns this fine nail factory which deafens everybody who goes up the Grande-Rue,

he is answered in a drawling tone "Eh!

it belongs to M. the Mayor."

And if the traveller stops a few minutes in that Grande-Rue of Verrières which goes on an upward incline from the bank of the Doubs to nearly as far as the summit of the hill,

it is a hundred to one that he will see a big man with a busy and important air.

When he comes in sight all hats are quickly taken off.

His hair is grizzled and he is dressed in grey.

He is a Knight of several Orders,

has a large forehead and an aquiline nose,

and if you take him all round,

his features are not devoid of certain regularity.

One might even think on the first inspection that it combines with the dignity of the village mayor that particular kind of comfortableness which is appropriate to the age of forty-eight or fifty.

But soon the traveller from Paris will be shocked by a certain air of self-satisfaction and self-complacency mingled with an almost indefinable narrowness and lack of inspiration.

One realises at last that this man's talent is limited to seeing that he is paid exactly what he is owed,

and in paying his own debts at the latest possible moment.

Such is M. de Rênal,

the mayor of Verrières.

After having crossed the road with a solemn step,

he enters the mayoral residence and disappears from the eye of the traveller.

But if the latter continues to walk a hundred steps further up,

he will perceive a house with a fairly fine appearance,

with some magnificent gardens behind an iron grill belonging to the house.

Beyond that is an horizon line formed by the hills of Burgundy,

which seem ideally made to delight the eyes.

This view causes the traveller to forget that pestilential atmosphere of petty money-grubbing by which he is beginning to be suffocated.

He is told that this house belongs to M. de Rênal.

It is to the profits which he has made out of his big nail factory that the mayor of Verrières owes this fine residence of hewn stone which he is just finishing.

His family is said to be Spanish and ancient,

and is alleged to have been established in the country well before the conquest of Louis XIV.

Since 1815,

he blushes at being a manufacturer: 1815 made him mayor of Verrières.

The terraced walls of this magnificent garden which descends to the Doubs,

plateau by plateau,

also represent the reward of M. de Rênal's proficiency in the iron-trade.

Do not expect to find in France those picturesque gardens which surround the manufacturing towns of Germany,

like Leipsic,

Frankfurt and Nurenburgh,


The more walls you build in Franche-Comté and the more you fortify your estate with piles of stone,

the more claim you will acquire on the respect of your neighbours.

Another reason for the admiration due to M. de Rênal's gardens and their numerous walls,

is the fact that he has purchased,

through sheer power of the purse,

certain small parcels of the ground on which they stand.

That saw-mill,

for instance,

whose singular position on the banks of the Doubs struck you when you entered Verrières,

and where you notice the name of SOREL written in gigantic characters on the chief beam of the roof,

used to occupy six years ago that precise space on which is now reared the wall of the fourth terrace in M. de Rênal's gardens.

Proud man that he was,

the mayor had none the less to negotiate with that tough,

stubborn peasant,

old Sorel.

He had to pay him in good solid golden louis before he could induce him to transfer his workshop elsewhere.

As to the _public_ stream which supplied the motive power for the saw-mill,

M. de Rênal obtained its diversion,

thanks to the influence which he enjoyed at Paris.

This favour was accorded him after the election of 182-.

He gave Sorel four acres for every one he had previously held,

five hundred yards lower down on the banks of the Doubs.

Although this position was much more advantageous for his pine-plank trade,

father Sorel (as he is called since he has become rich) knew how to exploit the impatience and _mania for landed ownership_ which animated his neighbour to the tune of six thousand francs.

It is true that this arrangement was criticised by the wiseacres of the locality.

One day,

it was on a Sunday four years later,

as M. de Rênal was coming back from church in his mayor's uniform,

he saw old Sorel smiling at him,

as he stared at him some distance away surrounded by his three sons.

That smile threw a fatal flood of light into the soul of the mayor.

From that time on,

he is of opinion that he could have obtained the exchange at a cheaper rate.

In order to win the public esteem of Verrières it is essential that,

though you should build as many walls as you can,

you should not adopt some plan imported from Italy by those masons who cross the passes of the Jura in the spring on their way to Paris.

Such an innovation would bring down upon the head of the imprudent builder an eternal reputation for _wrongheadedness_,

and he will be lost for ever in the sight of those wise,

well-balanced people who dispense public esteem in Franche-Comté.

As a matter of fact,

these prudent people exercise in the place the most offensive despotism.

It is by reason of this awful word,

that anyone who has lived in that great republic which is called Paris,

finds living in little towns quite intolerable.

The tyranny of public opinion (and what public opinion!) is as _stupid_ in the little towns of France as in the United States of America.




What is it,

sir after all?

The respect of fools,

the wonder of children,

the envy of the rich,

the contempt of the wise man.


Happily for the reputation of M. de Rênal as an administrator an immense wall of support was necessary for the public promenade which goes along the hill,

a hundred steps above the course of the Doubs.

This admirable position secures for the promenade one of the most picturesque views in the whole of France.

But the rain water used to make furrows in the walk every spring,

caused ditches to appear,

and rendered it generally impracticable.

This nuisance,

which was felt by the whole town,

put M. de Rênal in the happy position of being compelled to immortalise his administration by building a wall twenty feet high and thirty to forty yards long.

The parapet of this wall,

which occasioned M. de Rênal three journeys to Paris (for the last Minister of the Interior but one had declared himself the mortal enemy of the promenade of Verrières),

is now raised to a height of four feet above the ground,

and as though to defy all ministers whether past or present,

it is at present adorned with tiles of hewn stone.

How many times have my looks plunged into the valley of the Doubs,

as I thought of the Paris balls which I had abandoned on the previous night,

and leant my breast against the great blocks of stone,

whose beautiful grey almost verged on blue.

Beyond the left bank,

there wind five or six valleys,

at the bottom of which I could see quite distinctly several small streams.

There is a view of them falling into the Doubs,

after a series of cascades.

The sun is very warm in these mountains.

When it beats straight down,

the pensive traveller on the terrace finds shelter under some magnificent plane trees.

They owe their rapid growth and their fine verdure with its almost bluish shade to the new soil,

which M. the mayor has had placed behind his immense wall of support for (in spite of the opposition of the Municipal Council) he has enlarged the promenade by more than six feet (and although he is an Ultra and I am a Liberal,

I praise him for it),

and that is why both in his opinion and in that of M. Valenod,

the fortunate Director of the workhouse of Verrières,

this terrace can brook comparison with that of Saint-Germain en Laye.

I find personally only one thing at which to cavil in the COURS DE LA FIDELITE,

(this official name is to be read in fifteen to twenty places on those immortal tiles which earned M. de Rênal an extra cross.)

The grievance I find in the Cours de la Fidélité is the barbarous manner in which the authorities have cut these vigorous plane trees and clipped them to the quick.

In fact they really resemble with their dwarfed,

rounded and flattened heads the most vulgar plants of the vegetable garden,

while they are really capable of attaining the magnificent development of the English plane trees.

But the wish of M. the mayor is despotic,

and all the trees belonging to the municipality are ruthlessly pruned twice a year.

The local Liberals suggest,

but they are probably exaggerating,

that the hand of the official gardener has become much more severe,

since M. the Vicar Maslon started appropriating the clippings.

This young ecclesiastic was sent to Besançon some years ago to keep watch on the abbé Chélan and some cures in the neighbouring districts.

An old Surgeon-Major of Napoleon's Italian Army,

who was living in retirement at Verrières,

and who had been in his time described by M. the mayor as both a Jacobin and a Bonapartiste,

dared to complain to the mayor one day of the periodical mutilation of these fine trees.

"I like the shade,"

answered M. de Rênal,

with just a tinge of that hauteur which becomes a mayor when he is talking to a surgeon,

who is a member of the Legion of Honour.

"I like the shade,

I have _my_ trees clipped in order to give shade,

and I cannot conceive that a tree can have any other purpose,

provided of course _it is not bringing in any profit_,

like the useful walnut tree."

This is the great word which is all decisive at Verrières.


this word alone sums up the habitual trend of thought of more than three-quarters of the inhabitants.

_Bringing in profit_ is the consideration which decides everything in this little town which you thought so pretty.

The stranger who arrives in the town is fascinated by the beauty of the fresh deep valleys which surround it,

and he imagines at first that the inhabitants have an appreciation of the beautiful.

They talk only too frequently of the beauty of their country,

and it cannot be denied that they lay great stress on it,

but the reason is that it attracts a number of strangers,

whose money enriches the inn-keepers,

a process which _brings in profit_ to the town,

owing to the machinery of the octroi.

It was on a fine,

autumn day that M. de Rênal was taking a promenade on the Cours de la Fidélité with his wife on his arm.

While listening to her husband (who was talking in a somewhat solemn manner) Madame de Rênal followed anxiously with her eyes the movements of three little boys.

The eldest,

who might have been eleven years old,

went too frequently near the parapet and looked as though he was going to climb up it.

A sweet voice then pronounced the name of Adolphe and the child gave up his ambitious project.

Madame de Rênal seemed a woman of thirty years of age but still fairly pretty.

"He may be sorry for it,

may this fine gentleman from Paris,"

said M. de Rênal,

with an offended air and a face even paler than usual.

"I am not without a few friends at court!"

But though I want to talk to you about the provinces for two hundred pages,

I lack the requisite barbarity to make you undergo all the long-windedness and circumlocutions of a provincial dialogue.

This fine gentleman from Paris,

who was so odious to the mayor of Verrières,

was no other than the M. Appert,

who had two days previously managed to find his way not only into the prison and workhouse of Verrières,

but also into the hospital,

which was gratuitously conducted by the mayor and the principal proprietors of the district.


said Madame de Rênal timidly,

"what harm can this Paris gentleman do you,

since you administer the poor fund with the utmost scrupulous honesty?"

"He only comes to _throw_ blame and afterwards he will get some articles into the Liberal press."

"You never read them,

my dear."

"But they always talk to us about those Jacobin articles,

all that distracts us and prevents us from doing good.[1] Personally,

I shall never forgive the curé."

[1] Historically true.



A virtuous curé who does not intrigue is a providence for the village.


It should be mentioned that the curé of Verrières,

an old man of ninety,

who owed to the bracing mountain air an iron constitution and an iron character,

had the right to visit the prison,

the hospital and the workhouse at any hour.

It had been at precisely six o'clock in the morning that M. Appert,

who had a Paris recommendation to the curé,

had been shrewd enough to arrive at a little inquisitive town.

He had immediately gone on to the curé's house.

The curé Chélan became pensive as he read the letter written to him by the M. le Marquis de La Mole,

Peer of France,

and the richest landed proprietor of the province.

"I am old and beloved here,"

he said to himself in a whisper,

"they would not dare!"

Then he suddenly turned to the gentleman from Paris,

with eyes,

which in spite of his great age,

shone with that sacred fire which betokens the delight of doing a fine but slightly dangerous act.

"Come with me,


he said,

"but please do not express any opinion of the things which we shall see,

in the presence of the jailer,

and above all not in the presence of the superintendents of the workhouse."

M. Appert realised that he had to do with a man of spirit.

He followed the venerable curé,

visited the hospital and workhouse,

put a lot of questions,

but in spite of somewhat extraordinary answers,

did not indulge in the slightest expression of censure.

This visit lasted several hours;

the curé invited M. Appert to dine,

but the latter made the excuse of having some letters to write;

as a matter of fact,

he did not wish to compromise his generous companion to any further extent.

About three o'clock these gentlemen went to finish their inspection of the workhouse and then returned to the prison.

There they found the jailer by the gate,

a kind of giant,

six feet high,

with bow legs.

His ignoble face had become hideous by reason of his terror.



he said to the curé as soon as he saw him,

"is not the gentleman whom I see there,

M. Appert?"

"What does that matter?"

said the curé.

"The reason is that I received yesterday the most specific orders,

and M. the Prefect sent a message by a gendarme who must have galloped during the whole of the night,

that M. Appert was not to be allowed in the prisons."

"I can tell you,

M. Noiroud,"

said the curé,

"that the traveller who is with me is M. Appert,

but do you or do you not admit that I have the right to enter the prison at any hour of the day or night accompanied by anybody I choose?"


M. the curé,"

said the jailer in a low voice,

lowering his head like a bull-dog,

induced to a grudging obedience by fear of the stick,


M. the curé,

I have a wife and children,

and shall be turned out if they inform against me.

I only have my place to live on."



should be sorry enough to lose mine,"

answered the good curé,

with increasing emotion in his voice.

"What a difference!"

answered the jailer keenly.

"As for you,

M. le curé,

we all know that you have eight hundred francs a year,

good solid money."

Such were the facts which,

commented upon and exaggerated in twenty different ways,

had been agitating for the last two days all the odious passions of the little town of Verrières.

At the present time they served as the text for the little discussion which M. de Rênal was having with his wife.

He had visited the curé earlier in the morning accompanied by M. Valenod,

the director of the workhouse,

in order to convey their most emphatic displeasure.

M. Chélan had no protector,

and felt all the weight of their words.



I shall be the third curé of eighty years of age who has been turned out in this district.

I have been here for fifty-six years.

I have baptized nearly all the inhabitants of the town,

which was only a hamlet when I came to it.

Every day I marry young people whose grandparents I have married in days gone by.

Verrières is my family,

but I said to myself when I saw the stranger,

'This man from Paris may as a matter of fact be a Liberal,

there are only too many of them about,

but what harm can he do to our poor and to our prisoners?'"

The reproaches of M. de Rênal,

and above all,

those of M. Valenod,

the director of the workhouse,

became more and more animated.



turn me out then,"

the old curé exclaimed in a trembling voice;

"I shall still continue to live in the district.

As you know,

I inherited forty-eight years ago a piece of land that brings in eight hundred francs a year;

I shall live on that income.

I do not save anything out of my living,


and that is perhaps why,

when you talk to me about it,

I am not particularly frightened."

M. de Rênal always got on very well with his wife,

but he did not know what to answer when she timidly repeated the phrase of M. le curé,

"What harm can this Paris gentleman do the prisoners?"

He was on the point of quite losing his temper when she gave a cry.

Her second son had mounted the parapet of the terrace wall and was running along it,

although the wall was raised to a height of more than twenty feet above the vineyard on the other side.

The fear of frightening her son and making him fall prevented Madame de Rênal speaking to him.

But at last the child,

who was smiling at his own pluck,

looked at his mother,

saw her pallor,

jumped down on to the walk and ran to her.

He was well scolded.

This little event changed the course of the conversation.

"I really mean to take Sorel,

the son of the sawyer,

into the house,"

said M. de Rênal;

"he will look after the children,

who are getting too naughty for us to manage.

He is a young priest,

or as good as one,

a good Latin scholar,

and will make the children get on.

According to the curé,

he has a steady character.

I will give him three hundred francs a year and his board.

I have some doubts as to his morality,

for he used to be the favourite of that old Surgeon-Major,

Member of the Legion of Honour,

who went to board with the Sorels,

on the pretext that he was their cousin.

It is quite possible that that man was really simply a secret agent of the Liberals.

He said that the mountain air did his asthma good,

but that is something which has never been proved.

He has gone through all _Buonaparte's_ campaigns in Italy,

and had even,

it was said,

voted against the Empire in the plebiscite.

This Liberal taught the Sorel boy Latin,

and left him a number of books which he had brought with him.

Of course,

in the ordinary way,

I should have never thought of allowing a carpenter's son to come into contact with our children,

but the curé told me,

the very day before the scene which has just estranged us for ever,

that Sorel has been studying theology for three years with the intention of entering a seminary.

He is,


not a Liberal,

and he certainly is a good Latin scholar.

"This arrangement will be convenient in more than one way,"

continued M. de Rênal,

looking at his wife with a diplomatic air.

"That Valenod is proud enough of his two fine Norman horses which he has just bought for his carriage,

but he hasn't a tutor for his children."

"He might take this one away from us."

"You approve of my plan,


said M. de Rênal,

thanking his wife with a smile for the excellent idea which she had just had.


that's settled."

"Good gracious,

my dear,

how quickly you make up your mind!"

"It is because I'm a man of character,

as the curé found out right enough.

Don't let us deceive ourselves;

we are surrounded by Liberals in this place.

All those cloth merchants are jealous of me,

I am certain of it;

two or three are becoming rich men.


I should rather fancy it for them to see M. de Rênal's children pass along the street as they go out for their walk,

escorted by _their tutor_.

It will impress people.

My grandfather often used to tell us that he had a tutor when he was young.

It may run me into a hundred crowns,

but that ought to be looked upon as an expense necessary for keeping up our position."

This sudden resolution left Madame de Rênal quite pensive.

She was a big,

well-made woman,

who had been the beauty of the country,

to use the local expression.

She had a certain air of simplicity and youthfulness in her deportment.

This naive grace,

with its innocence and its vivacity,

might even have recalled to a Parisian some suggestion of the sweets he had left behind him.

If she had realised this particular phase of her success,

Madame de Rênal would have been quite ashamed of it.

All coquetry,

all affectation,

were absolutely alien to her temperament.

M. Valenod,

the rich director of the workhouse,

had the reputation of having paid her court,

a fact which had cast a singular glamour over her virtue;

for this M. Valenod,

a big young man with a square,

sturdy frame,

florid face,

and big,

black whiskers,

was one of those coarse,


and noisy people who pass in the provinces for a "fine man."

Madame de Rênal,

who had a very shy,

and apparently a very uneven temperament,

was particularly shocked by M. Valenod's lack of repose,

and by his boisterous loudness.

Her aloofness from what,

in the Verrières' jargon,

was called "having a good time,"

had earned her the reputation of being very proud of her birth.

In fact,

she never thought about it,

but she had been extremely glad to find the inhabitants of the town visit her less frequently.

We shall not deny that she passed for a fool in the eyes of _their_ good ladies because she did not wheedle her husband,

and allowed herself to miss the most splendid opportunities of getting fine hats from Paris or Besançon.

Provided she was allowed to wander in her beautiful garden,

she never complained.

She was a naïve soul,

who had never educated herself up to the point of judging her husband and confessing to herself that he bored her.

She supposed,

without actually formulating the thought,

that there was no greater sweetness in the relationship between husband and wife than she herself had experienced.

She loved M. de Rênal most when he talked about his projects for their children.

The elder he had destined for the army,

the second for the law,

and the third for the Church.

To sum up,

she found M. de Rênal much less boring than all the other men of her acquaintance.

This conjugal opinion was quite sound.

The Mayor of Verrières had a reputation for wit,

and above all,

a reputation for good form,

on the strength of half-a-dozen "chestnuts" which he had inherited from an uncle.

Old Captain de Rênal had served,

before the Revolution,

in the infantry regiment of M. the Duke of Orleans,

and was admitted to the Prince's salons when he went to Paris.

He had seen Madame de Montesson,

the famous Madame de Genlis,

M. Ducret,

the inventor,

of the Palais-Royal.

These personages would crop up only too frequently in M. de Rênal's anecdotes.

He found it,


more and more of a strain to remember stories which required such delicacy in the telling,

and for some time past it had only been on great occasions that he would trot out his anecdotes concerning the House of Orleans.



he was extremely polite,

except on money matters,

he passed,

and justly so,

for the most aristocratic personage in Verrières.



E sara mia colpa Se cosi è?


"My wife really has a head on her shoulders,"

said the mayor of Verrières at six o'clock the following morning,

as he went down to the saw-mill of Father Sorel.

"It had never occurred to me that if I do not take little Abbé Sorel,


they say,

knows Latin like an angel,

that restless spirit,

the director of the workhouse,

might have the same idea and snatch him away from me,

though of course I told her that it had,

in order to preserve my proper superiority.

And how smugly,

to be sure,

would he talk about his children's tutor! ...

The question is,

once the tutor's mine,

shall he wear the cassock?"

M. de Rênal was absorbed in this problem when he saw a peasant in the distance,

a man nearly six feet tall,

who since dawn had apparently been occupied in measuring some pieces of wood which had been put down alongside the Doubs on the towing-path.

The peasant did not look particularly pleased when he saw M. the Mayor approach,

as these pieces of wood obstructed the road,

and had been placed there in breach of the rules.

Father Sorel (for it was he) was very surprised,

and even more pleased at the singular offer which M. de Rênal made him for his son Julien.

None the less,

he listened to it with that air of sulky discontent and apathy which the subtle inhabitants of these mountains know so well how to assume.

Slaves as they have been since the time of the Spanish Conquest,

they still preserve this feature,

which is also found in the character of the Egyptian fellah.

Sorel's answer was at first simply a long-winded recitation of all the formulas of respect which he knew by heart.

While he was repeating these empty words with an uneasy smile,

which accentuated all the natural disingenuousness,

if not,


knavishness of his physiognomy,

the active mind of the old peasant tried to discover what reason could induce so important a man to take into his house his good-for-nothing of a son.

He was very dissatisfied with Julien,

and it was for Julien that M. de Rênal offered the undreamt-of salary of 300 fcs.

a year,

with board and even clothing.

This latter claim,

which Father Sorel had had the genius to spring upon the mayor,

had been granted with equal suddenness by M. de Rênal.

This demand made an impression on the mayor.

It is clear,

he said to himself,

that since Sorel is not beside himself with delight over my proposal,

as in the ordinary way he ought to be,

he must have had offers made to him elsewhere,

and whom could they have come from,

if not from Valenod.

It was in vain that M. de Rênal pressed Sorel to clinch the matter then and there.

The old peasant,

astute man that he was,

stubbornly refused to do so.

He wanted,

he said,

to consult his son,

as if in the provinces,


a rich father consulted a penniless son for any other reason than as a mere matter of form.

A water saw-mill consists of a shed by the side of a stream.

The roof is supported by a framework resting on four large timber pillars.

A saw can be seen going up and down at a height of eight to ten feet in the middle of the shed,

while a piece of wood is propelled against this saw by a very simple mechanism.

It is a wheel whose motive-power is supplied by the stream,

which sets in motion this double piece of mechanism,

the mechanism of the saw which goes up and down,

and the mechanism which gently pushes the piece of wood towards the saw,

which cuts it up into planks.

Approaching his workshop,

Father Sorel called Julien in his stentorian voice;

nobody answered.

He only saw his giant elder sons,


armed with heavy axes,

were cutting up the pine planks which they had to carry to the saw.

They were engrossed in following exactly the black mark traced on each piece of wood,

from which every blow of their axes threw off enormous shavings.

They did not hear their father's voice.

The latter made his way towards the shed.

He entered it and looked in vain for Julien in the place where he ought to have been by the side of the saw.

He saw him five or six feet higher up,

sitting astride one of the rafters of the roof.

Instead of watching attentively the action of the machinery,

Julien was reading.

Nothing was more anti-pathetic to old Sorel.

He might possibly have forgiven Julien his puny physique,

ill adapted as it was to manual labour,

and different as it was from that of his elder brothers;

but he hated this reading mania.

He could not read himself.

It was in vain that he called Julien two or three times.

It was the young man's concentration on his book,

rather than the din made by the saw,

which prevented him from hearing his father's terrible voice.

At last the latter,

in spite of his age,

jumped nimbly on to the tree that was undergoing the action of the saw,

and from there on to the cross-bar that supported the roof.

A violent blow made the book which Julien held,

go flying into the stream;

a second blow on the head,

equally violent,

which took the form of a box on the ears,

made him lose his balance.

He was on the point of falling twelve or fifteen feet lower down into the middle of the levers of the running machinery which would have cut him to pieces,

but his father caught him as he fell,

in his left hand.

"So that's it,

is it,

lazy bones!

always going to read your damned books are you,

when you're keeping watch on the saw?

You read them in the evening if you want to,

when you go to play the fool at the curé's,

that's the proper time."

Although stunned by the force of the blow and bleeding profusely,

Julien went back to his official post by the side of the saw.

He had tears in his eyes,

less by reason of the physical pain than on account of the loss of his beloved book.

"Get down,

you beast,

when I am talking to you,"

the noise of the machinery prevented Julien from hearing this order.

His father,

who had gone down did not wish to give himself the trouble of climbing up on to the machinery again,

and went to fetch a long fork used for bringing down nuts,

with which he struck him on the shoulder.

Julien had scarcely reached the ground,

when old Sorel chased him roughly in front of him and pushed him roughly towards the house.

"God knows what he is going to do with me,"

said the young man to himself.

As he passed,

he looked sorrowfully into the stream into which his book had fallen,

it was the one that he held dearest of all,

the _Memorial of St. Helena_.

He had purple cheeks and downcast eyes.

He was a young man of eighteen to nineteen years old,

and of puny appearance,

with irregular but delicate features,

and an aquiline nose.

The big black eyes which betokened in their tranquil moments a temperament at once fiery and reflective were at the present moment animated by an expression of the most ferocious hate.

Dark chestnut hair,

which came low down over his brow,

made his forehead appear small and gave him a sinister look during his angry moods.

It is doubtful if any face out of all the innumerable varieties of the human physiognomy was ever distinguished by a more arresting individuality.

A supple well-knit figure,

indicated agility rather than strength.

His air of extreme pensiveness and his great pallor had given his father the idea that he would not live,

or that if he did,

it would only be to be a burden to his family.

The butt of the whole house,

he hated his brothers and his father.

He was regularly beaten in the Sunday sports in the public square.

A little less than a year ago his pretty face had begun to win him some sympathy among the young girls.

Universally despised as a weakling,

Julien had adored that old Surgeon-Major,

who had one day dared to talk to the mayor on the subject of the plane trees.

This Surgeon had sometimes paid Father Sorel for taking his son for a day,

and had taught him Latin and History,

that is to say the 1796 Campaign in Italy which was all the history he knew.

When he died,

he had bequeathed his Cross of the Legion of Honour,

his arrears of half pay,

and thirty or forty volumes,

of which the most precious had just fallen into the public stream,

which had been diverted owing to the influence of M. the Mayor.

Scarcely had he entered the house,

when Julien felt his shoulder gripped by his father's powerful hand;

he trembled,

expecting some blows.

"Answer me without lying,"

cried the harsh voice of the old peasant in his ears,

while his hand turned him round and round,

like a child's hand turns round a lead soldier.

The big black eyes of Julien filled with tears,

and were confronted by the small grey eyes of the old carpenter,

who looked as if he meant to read to the very bottom of his soul.



Cunctando restituit rem.


"Answer me without lies,

if you can,

you damned dog,

how did you get to know Madame de Rênal?

When did you speak to her?"

"I have never spoken to her,"

answered Julien,

"I have only seen that lady in church."

"You must have looked at her,

you impudent rascal."

"Not once!

you know,

I only see God in church,"

answered Julien,

with a little hypocritical air,

well suited,

so he thought,

to keep off the parental claws.

"None the less there's something that does not meet the eye,"

answered the cunning peasant.

He was then silent for a moment.

"But I shall never get anything out of you,

you damned hypocrite,"

he went on.

"As a matter of fact,

I am going to get rid of you,

and my saw-mill will go all the better for it.

You have nobbled the curate,

or somebody else,

who has got you a good place.

Run along and pack your traps,

and I will take you to M. de Rênal's,

where you are going to be tutor to his children."

"What shall I get for that?"



and three hundred francs salary."

"I do not want to be a servant."

"Who's talking of being a servant,

you brute,

do you think I want my son to be a servant?"

"But with whom shall I have my meals?"

This question discomforted old Sorel,

who felt he might possibly commit some imprudence if he went on talking.

He burst out against Julien,

flung insult after insult at him,

accused him of gluttony,

and left him to go and consult his other sons.

Julien saw them afterwards,

each one leaning on his axe and holding counsel.

Having looked at them for a long time,

Julien saw that he could find out nothing,

and went and stationed himself on the other side of the saw in order to avoid being surprised.

He wanted to think over this unexpected piece of news,

which changed his whole life,

but he felt himself unable to consider the matter prudently,

his imagination being concentrated in wondering what he would see in M. de Rênal's fine mansion.

"I must give all that up,"

he said to himself,

"rather than let myself be reduced to eating with the servants.

My father would like to force me to it.

I would rather die.

I have fifteen francs and eight sous of savings.

I will run away to-night;

I will go across country by paths where there are no gendarmes to be feared,

and in two days I shall be at Besançon.

I will enlist as a soldier there,


if necessary,

I will cross into Switzerland.

But in that case,

no more advancement,

it will be all up with my being a priest,

that fine career which may lead to anything."

This abhorrence of eating with the servants was not really natural to Julien;

he would have done things quite,

if not more,

disagreeable in order to get on.

He derived this repugnance from the _Confessions_ of Rousseau.

It was the only book by whose help his imagination endeavoured to construct the world.

The collection of the Bulletins of the Grand Army,

and the _Memorial of St. Helena_ completed his Koran.

He would have died for these three works.

He never believed in any other.

To use a phrase of the old Surgeon-Major,

he regarded all the other books in the world as packs of lies,

written by rogues in order to get on.

Julien possessed both a fiery soul and one of those astonishing memories which are so often combined with stupidity.

In order to win over the old curé Chélan,

on whose good grace he realized that his future prospects depended,

he had learnt by heart the New Testament in Latin.

He also knew M. de Maistre's book on The Pope,

and believed in one as little as he did in the other.

Sorel and his son avoided talking to each other to-day as though by mutual consent.

In the evening Julien went to take his theology lesson at the curé's,

but he did not consider that it was prudent to say anything to him about the strange proposal which had been made to his father.

"It is possibly a trap,"

he said to himself,

"I must pretend that I have forgotten all about it."

Early next morning,

M. de Rênal had old Sorel summoned to him.

He eventually arrived,

after keeping M. de Rênal waiting for an hour-and-a-half,

and made,

as he entered the room,

a hundred apologies interspersed with as many bows.

After having run the gauntlet of all kinds of objections,

Sorel was given to understand that his son would have his meals with the master and mistress of the house,

and that he would eat alone in a room with the children on the days when they had company.

The more clearly Sorel realized the genuine eagerness of M. the Mayor,

the more difficulties he felt inclined to raise.

Being moreover full of mistrust and astonishment,

he asked to see the room where his son would sleep.

It was a big room,

quite decently furnished,

into which the servants were already engaged in carrying the beds of the three children.

This circumstance explained a lot to the old peasant.

He asked immediately,

with quite an air of assurance,

to see the suit which would be given to his son.

M. de Rênal opened his desk and took out one hundred francs.

"Your son will go to M. Durand,

the draper,

with this money and will get a complete black suit."

"And even supposing I take him away from you,"

said the peasant,

who had suddenly forgotten all his respectful formalities,

"will he still keep this black suit?"



said Sorel,

in a drawling voice,

"all that remains to do is to agree on just one thing,

the money which you will give him."


exclaimed M. de Rênal,


"we agreed on that yesterday.

I shall give him three hundred francs,

I think that is a lot,

and probably too much."

"That is your offer and I do not deny it,"

said old Sorel,

speaking still very slowly;

and by a stroke of genius which will only astonish those who do not know the Franche-Comté peasants,

he fixed his eyes on M. de Rênal and added,

"We shall get better terms elsewhere."

The Mayor's face exhibited the utmost consternation at these words.

He pulled himself together however and after a cunning conversation of two hours' length,

where every single word on both sides was carefully weighed,

the subtlety of the peasant scored a victory over the subtlety of the rich man,

whose livelihood was not so dependent on his faculty of cunning.

All the numerous stipulations which were to regulate Julien's new existence were duly formulated.

Not only was his salary fixed at four hundred francs,

but they were to be paid in advance on the first of each month.

"Very well,

I will give him thirty-five francs,"

said M. de Rênal.

"I am quite sure,"

said the peasant,

in a fawning voice,

"that a rich,

generous man like the M. mayor would go as far as thirty-six francs,

to make up a good round sum."


said M. de Rênal,

"but let this be final."

For the moment his temper gave him a tone of genuine firmness.

The peasant saw that it would not do to go any further.


on his side,

M. de Rênal managed to score.

He absolutely refused to give old Sorel,

who was very anxious to receive it on behalf of his son,

the thirty-six francs for the first month.

It had occurred to M. de Rênal that he would have to tell his wife the figure which he had cut throughout these negotiations.

"Hand me back the hundred francs which I gave you,"

he said sharply.


Durand owes me something,

I will go with your son to see about a black cloth suit."

After this manifestation of firmness,

Sorel had the prudence to return to his respectful formulas;

they took a good quarter of an hour.


seeing that there was nothing more to be gained,

he took his leave.

He finished his last bow with these words:

"I will send my son to the Château."

The Mayor's officials called his house by this designation when they wanted to humour him.

When he got back to his workshop,

it was in vain that Sorel sought his son.

Suspicious of what might happen,

Julien had gone out in the middle of the night.

He wished to place his Cross of the Legion of Honour and his books in a place of safety.

He had taken everything to a young wood-merchant named Fouqué,

who was a friend of his,

and who lived in the high mountain which commands Verrières.

"God knows,

you damned lazy bones,"

said his father to him when he re-appeared,

"if you will ever be sufficiently honourable to pay me back the price of your board which I have been advancing to you for so many years.

Take your rags and clear out to M. the Mayor's."

Julien was astonished at not being beaten and hastened to leave.

He had scarcely got out of sight of his terrible father when he slackened his pace.

He considered that it would assist the rôle played by his hypocrisy to go and say a prayer in the church.

The word hypocrisy surprises you?

The soul of the peasant had had to go through a great deal before arriving at this horrible word.

Julien had seen in the days of his early childhood certain Dragoons of the 6th[1] with long white cloaks and hats covered with long black plumed helmets who were returning from Italy,

and tied up their horses to the grilled window of his father's house.

The sight had made him mad on the military profession.

Later on he had listened with ecstasy to the narrations of the battles of Lodi,

Arcola and Rivoli with which the old surgeon-major had regaled him.

He observed the ardent gaze which the old man used to direct towards his cross.

But when Julien was fourteen years of age they commenced to build a church at Verrières which,

in view of the smallness of the town,

has some claim to be called magnificent.

There were four marble columns in particular,

the sight of which impressed Julien.

They became celebrated in the district owing to the mortal hate which they raised between the Justice of the Peace and the young vicar who had been sent from Besançon and who passed for a spy of the congregation.

The Justice of the Peace was on the point of losing his place,

so said the public opinion at any rate.

Had he not dared to have a difference with the priest who went every fortnight to Besançon;

where he saw,

so they said,

my Lord the Bishop.

In the meanwhile the Justice of the Peace,

who was the father of a numerous family,

gave several sentences which seemed unjust: all these sentences were inflicted on those of the inhabitants who read the "_Constitutionnel_."

The right party triumphed.

It is true it was only a question of sums of three or five francs,

but one of these little fines had to be paid by a nail-maker,

who was god-father to Julien.

This man exclaimed in his anger "What a change!

and to think that for more than twenty years the Justice of the Peace has passed for an honest man."

The Surgeon-Major,

Julien's friend,


Suddenly Julien left off talking about Napoleon.

He announced his intention of becoming a priest,

and was always to be seen in his father's workshop occupied in learning by heart the Latin Bible which the curé had lent him.

The good old man was astonished at his progress,

and passed whole evenings in teaching him theology.

In his society Julien did not manifest other than pious sentiments.

Who could not possibly guess that beneath this girlish face,

so pale and so sweet,

lurked the unbreakable resolution to risk a thousand deaths rather than fail to make his fortune.

Making his fortune primarily meant to Julien getting out of Verrières: he abhorred his native country;

everything that he saw there froze his imagination.

He had had moments of exultation since his earliest childhood.

He would then dream with gusto of being presented one day to the pretty women of Paris.

He would manage to attract their attention by some dazzling feat: why should he not be loved by one of them just as Buonaparte,

when still poor,

had been loved by the brilliant Madame de Beauharnais.

For many years past Julien had scarcely passed a single year of his life without reminding himself that Buonaparte,

the obscure and penniless lieutenant,

had made himself master of the whole world by the power of his sword.

This idea consoled him for his misfortune,

which he considered to be great,

and rendered such joyful moments as he had doubly intense.

The building of the church and the sentences pronounced by the Justice of the Peace suddenly enlightened him.

An idea came to him which made him almost mad for some weeks,

and finally took complete possession of him with all the magic that a first idea possesses for a passionate soul which believes that it is original.

"At the time when Buonaparte got himself talked about,

France was frightened of being invaded;

military distinction was necessary and fashionable.


one sees priests of forty with salaries of 100,000 francs,

that is to say,

three times as much as Napoleon's famous generals of a division.

They need persons to assist them.

Look at that Justice of the Peace,

such a good sort and such an honest man up to the present and so old too;

he sacrifices his honour through the fear of incurring the displeasure of a young vicar of thirty.

I must be a priest."

On one occasion,

in the middle of his new-found piety (he had already been studying theology for two years),

he was betrayed by a sudden burst of fire which consumed his soul.

It was at M. Chélan's.

The good curé had invited him to a dinner of priests,

and he actually let himself praise Napoleon with enthusiasm.

He bound his right arm over his breast,

pretending that he had dislocated it in moving a trunk of a pine-tree and carried it for two months in that painful position.

After this painful penance,

he forgave himself.

This is the young man of eighteen with a puny physique,

and scarcely looking more than seventeen at the outside,

who entered the magnificent church of Verrières carrying a little parcel under his arm.

He found it gloomy and deserted.

All the transepts in the building had been covered with crimson cloth in celebration of a feast.

The result was that the sun's rays produced an effect of dazzling light of the most impressive and religious character.

Julien shuddered.

Finding himself alone in the church,

he established himself in the pew which had the most magnificent appearance.

It bore the arms of M. de Rênal.

Julien noticed a piece of printed paper spread out on the stool,

which was apparently intended to be read,

he cast his eyes over it and saw: --"_Details of the execution and the last moments of Louis Jenrel,

executed at Besançon the ...._" The paper was torn.

The two first words of a line were legible on the back,

they were,

"_The First Step_."

"Who could have put this paper there?"

said Julien.

"Poor fellow!"

he added with a sigh,

"the last syllable of his name is the same as mine,"

and he crumpled up the paper.

As he left,

Julien thought he saw blood near the Host,

it was holy water which the priests had been sprinkling on it,

the reflection of the red curtains which covered the windows made it look like blood.


Julien felt ashamed of his secret terror.

"Am I going to play the coward,"

he said to himself:

"_To Arms!_" This phrase,

repeated so often in the old Surgeon-Major's battle stories,

symbolized heroism to Julien.

He got up rapidly and walked to M. de Rênal's house.

As soon as he saw it twenty yards in front of him he was seized,

in spite of his fine resolution,

with an overwhelming timidity.

The iron grill was open.

He thought it was magnificent.

He had to go inside.

Julien was not the only person whose heart was troubled by his arrival in the house.

The extreme timidity of Madame de Rênal was fluttered when she thought of this stranger whose functions would necessitate his coming between her and her children.

She was accustomed to seeing her sons sleep in her own room.

She had shed many tears that morning,

when she had seen their beds carried into the apartment intended for the tutor.

It was in vain that she asked her husband to have the bed of Stanislas-Xavier,

the youngest,

carried back into her room.

Womanly delicacy was carried in Madame de Rênal to the point of excess.

She conjured up in her imagination the most disagreeable personage,

who was coarse,

badly groomed and encharged with the duty of scolding her children simply because he happened to know Latin,

and only too ready to flog her sons for their ignorance of that barbarous language.

[1] The author was sub-lieutenant in the 6th Dragoons in 1800.



Non so piú cosa son Cosa facio.

MOZART (_Figaro_).

Madame de Rênal was going out of the salon by the folding window which opened on to the garden with that vivacity and grace which was natural to her when she was free from human observation,

when she noticed a young peasant near the entrance gate.

He was still almost a child,

extremely pale,

and looked as though he had been crying.

He was in a white shirt and had under his arm a perfectly new suit of violet frieze.

The little peasant's complexion was so white and his eyes were so soft,

that Madame de Rênal's somewhat romantic spirit thought at first that it might be a young girl in disguise,

who had come to ask some favour of the M. the Mayor.

She took pity on this poor creature,

who had stopped at the entrance of the door,

and who apparently did not dare to raise its hand to the bell.

Madame de Rênal approached,

forgetting for the moment the bitter chagrin occasioned by the tutor's arrival.


who was turned towards the gate,

did not see her advance.

He trembled when a soft voice said quite close to his ear:

"What do you want here,

my child."

Julien turned round sharply and was so struck by Madame de Rênal's look,

full of graciousness as it was,

that up to a certain point he forgot to be nervous.

Overcome by her beauty he soon forgot everything,

even what he had come for.

Madame de Rênal repeated her question.

"I have come here to be tutor,


he said at last,

quite ashamed of his tears which he was drying as best as he could.

Madame de Rênal remained silent.

They had a view of each other at close range.

Julien had never seen a human being so well-dressed,

and above all he had never seen a woman with so dazzling a complexion speak to him at all softly.

Madame de Rênal observed the big tears which had lingered on the cheeks of the young peasant,

those cheeks which had been so pale and were now so pink.

Soon she began to laugh with all the mad gaiety of a young girl,

she made fun of herself,

and was unable to realise the extent of her happiness.

So this was that tutor whom she had imagined a dirty,

badly dressed priest,

who was coming to scold and flog her children.



she said to him at last,

"you know Latin?"

The word "Monsieur" astonished Julien so much that he reflected for a moment.



he said timidly.

Madame de Rênal was so happy that she plucked up the courage to say to Julien,

"You will not scold the poor children too much?"

"I scold them!"

said Julien in astonishment;

"why should I?"

"You won't,

will you,


she added after a little silence,

in a soft voice whose emotion became more and more intense.

"You will be nice to them,

you promise me?"

To hear himself called "Monsieur" again in all seriousness by so well dressed a lady was beyond all Julien's expectations.

He had always said to himself in all the castles of Spain that he had built in his youth,

that no real lady would ever condescend to talk to him except when he had a fine uniform.

Madame de Rênal,

on her side,

was completely taken in by Julien's beautiful complexion,

his big black eyes,

and his pretty hair,

which was more than usually curly,

because he had just plunged his head into the basin of the public fountain in order to refresh himself.

She was over-joyed to find that this sinister tutor,

whom she had feared to find so harsh and severe to her children,


as a matter of fact,

the timid manner of a girl.

The contrast between her fears and what she now saw,

proved a great event for Madame de Rênal's peaceful temperament.


she recovered from her surprise.

She was astonished to find herself at the gate of her own house talking in this way and at such close quarters to this young and somewhat scantily dressed man.

"Let us go in,


she said to him with a certain air of embarrassment.

During Madame de Rênal's whole life she had never been so deeply moved by such a sense of pure pleasure.

Never had so gracious a vision followed in the wake of her disconcerting fears.

So these pretty children of whom she took such care were not after all to fall into the hands of a dirty grumbling priest.

She had scarcely entered the vestibule when she turned round towards Julien,

who was following her trembling.

His astonishment at the sight of so fine a house proved but an additional charm in Madame de Rênal's eyes.

She could not believe her own eyes.

It seemed to her,

above all,

that the tutor ought to have a black suit.

"But is it true,


she said to him,

stopping once again,

and in mortal fear that she had made a mistake,

so happy had her discovery made her.

"Is it true that you know Latin?"

These words offended Julien's pride,

and dissipated the charming atmosphere which he had been enjoying for the last quarter of an hour.



he said,

trying to assume an air of coldness,

"I know Latin as well as the curé,

who has been good enough to say sometimes that I know it even better."

Madame de Rênal thought that Julien looked extremely wicked.

He had stopped two paces from her.

She approached and said to him in a whisper:

"You won't beat my children the first few days,

will you,

even if they do not know their lessons?"

The softness and almost supplication of so beautiful a lady made Julien suddenly forget what he owed to his reputation as a Latinist.

Madame de Rênal's face was close to his own.

He smelt the perfume of a woman's summer clothing,

a quite astonishing experience for a poor peasant.

Julien blushed extremely,

and said with a sigh in a faltering voice:

"Fear nothing,


I will obey you in everything."

It was only now,

when her anxiety about her children had been relieved once and for all,

that Madame de Rênal was struck by Julien's extreme beauty.

The comparative effeminancy of his features and his air of extreme embarrassment did not seem in any way ridiculous to a woman who was herself extremely timid.

The male air,

which is usually considered essential to a man's beauty,

would have terrified her.

"How old are you,


she said to Julien.

"Nearly nineteen."

"My elder son is eleven,"

went on Madame de Rênal,

who had completely recovered her confidence.

"He will be almost a chum for you.

You will talk sensibly to him.

His father started beating him once.

The child was ill for a whole week,

and yet it was only a little tap."

What a difference between him and me,

thought Julien.


it was only yesterday that my father beat me.

How happy these rich people are.

Madame de Rênal,

who had already begun to observe the fine nuances of the workings in the tutor's mind,

took this fit of sadness for timidity and tried to encourage him.

"What is your name,


she said to him,

with an accent and a graciousness whose charm Julien appreciated without being able to explain.

"I am called Julien Sorel,


I feel nervous of entering a strange house for the first time in my life.

I have need of your protection and I want you to make many allowances for me during the first few days.

I have never been to the college,

I was too poor.

I have never spoken to anyone else except my cousin who was Surgeon-Major,

Member of the Legion of Honour,

and M. the curé Chélan.

He will give you a good account of me.

My brothers always used to beat me,

and you must not believe them if they speak badly of me to you.

You must forgive my faults,


I shall always mean everything for the best."

Julien had regained his confidence during this long speech.

He was examining Madame de Rênal.

Perfect grace works wonders when it is natural to the character,

and above all,

when the person whom it adorns never thinks of trying to affect it.


who was quite a connoisseur in feminine beauty,

would have sworn at this particular moment that she was not more than twenty.

The rash idea of kissing her hand immediately occurred to him.

He soon became frightened of his idea.

A minute later he said to himself,

it will be an act of cowardice if I do not carry out an action which may be useful to me,

and lessen the contempt which this fine lady probably has for a poor workman just taken away from the saw-mill.

Possibly Julien was a little encouraged through having heard some young girls repeat on Sundays during the last six months the words "pretty boy."

During this internal debate,

Madame de Rênal was giving him two or three hints on the way to commence handling the children.

The strain Julien was putting on himself made him once more very pale.

He said with an air of constraint.

"I will never beat your children,


I swear it before God."

In saying this,

he dared to take Madame de Rênal's hand and carry it to his lips.

She was astonished at this act,

and after reflecting,

became shocked.

As the weather was very warm,

her arm was quite bare underneath the shawl,

and Julien's movement in carrying her hand to his lips entirely uncovered it.

After a few moments she scolded herself.

It seemed to her that her anger had not been quick enough.

M. de Rênal,

who had heard voices,

came out of his study,

and assuming the same air of paternal majesty with which he celebrated marriages at the mayoral office,

said to Julien:

"It is essential for me to have a few words with you before my children see you."

He made Julien enter a room and insisted on his wife being present,

although she wished to leave them alone.

Having closed the door M. Rênal sat down.

"M. the curé has told me that you are a worthy person,

and everybody here will treat you with respect.

If I am satisfied with you I will later on help you in having a little establishment of your own.

I do not wish you to see either anything more of your relatives or your friends.

Their tone is bound to be prejudicial to my children.

Here are thirty-six francs for the first month,

but I insist on your word not to give a sou of this money to your father."

M. de Rênal was piqued against the old man for having proved the shrewder bargainer.



for I have given orders for everybody here to call you Monsieur,

and you will appreciate the advantage of having entered the house of real gentle folk,



it is not becoming for the children to see you in a jacket."

"Have the servants seen him?"

said M. de Rênal to his wife.


my dear,"

she answered,

with an air of deep pensiveness.

"All the better.

Put this on,"

he said to the surprised young man,

giving him a frock-coat of his own.

"Let us now go to M. Durand's the draper."

When M. de Rênal came back with the new tutor in his black suit more than an hour later,

he found his wife still seated in the same place.

She felt calmed by Julien's presence.

When she examined him she forgot to be frightened of him.

Julien was not thinking about her at all.

In spite of all his distrust of destiny and mankind,

his soul at this moment was as simple as that of a child.

It seemed as though he had lived through years since the moment,

three hours ago,

when he had been all atremble in the church.

He noticed Madame de Rênal's frigid manner and realised that she was very angry,

because he had dared to kiss her hand.

But the proud consciousness which was given to him by the feel of clothes so different from those which he usually wore,

transported him so violently and he had so great a desire to conceal his exultation,

that all his movements were marked by a certain spasmodic irresponsibility.

Madame de Rênal looked at him with astonishment.


said M. de Rênal to him,

"dignity above all is necessary if you wish to be respected by my children."


answered Julien,

"I feel awkward in my new clothes.

I am a poor peasant and have never wore anything but jackets.

If you allow it,

I will retire to my room."

"What do you think of this

'acquisition?'" said M. de Rênal to his wife.

Madame de Rênal concealed the truth from her husband,

obeying an almost instinctive impulse which she certainly did not own to herself.

"I am not as fascinated as you are by this little peasant.

Your favours will result in his not being able to keep his place,

and you will have to send him back before the month is out."



we'll send him back then,

he cannot run me into more than a hundred francs,

and Verrières will have got used to seeing M. de Rênal's children with a tutor.

That result would not have been achieved if I had allowed Julien to wear a workman's clothes.

If I do send him back,

I shall of course keep the complete black suit which I have just ordered at the draper's.

All he will keep is the ready-made suit which I have just put him into at the the tailor's."

The hour that Julien spent in his room seemed only a minute to Madame de Rênal.

The children who had been told about their new tutor began to overwhelm their mother with questions.

Eventually Julien appeared.

He was quite another man.

It would be incorrect to say that he was grave --he was the very incarnation of gravity.

He was introduced to the children and spoke to them in a manner that astonished M. de Rênal himself.

"I am here,


he said,

as he finished his speech,

to teach you Latin.

You know what it means to recite a lesson.

Here is the Holy Bible,

he said,

showing them a small volume in thirty-two mo.,

bound in black.

It deals especially with the history of our Lord Jesus Christ and is the part which is called the New Testament.

I shall often make you recite your lesson,

but do you make me now recite mine."


the eldest of the children,

had taken up the book.

"Open it anywhere you like,"

went on Julien and tell me the first word of any verse,

"I will then recite by heart that sacred book which governs our conduct towards the whole world,

until you stop me."

Adolphe opened the book and read a word,

and Julien recited the whole of the page as easily as though he had been talking French.

M. de Rênal looked at his wife with an air of triumph The children,

seeing the astonishment of their parents,

opened their eyes wide.

A servant came to the door of the drawing-room;

Julien went on talking Latin.

The servant first remained motionless,

and then disappeared.

Soon Madame's house-maid,

together with the cook,

arrived at the door.

Adolphe had already opened the book at eight different places,

while Julien went on reciting all the time with the same facility.

"Great heavens!"

said the cook,

a good and devout girl,

quite aloud,

"what a pretty little priest!"

M. de Rênal's self-esteem became uneasy.

Instead of thinking of examining the tutor,

his mind was concentrated in racking his memory for some other Latin words.

Eventually he managed to spout a phrase of Horace.

Julien knew no other Latin except his Bible.

He answered with a frown.

"The holy ministry to which I destine myself has forbidden me to read so profane a poet."

M. de Rênal quoted quite a large number of alleged verses from Horace.

He explained to his children who Horace was,

but the admiring children,

scarcely attended to what he was saying: they were looking at Julien.

The servants were still at the door.

Julien thought that he ought to prolong the test --"M.

Stanislas-Xavier also,"

he said to the youngest of the children,

"must give me a passage from the holy book."

Little Stanislas,

who was quite flattered,

read indifferently the first word of a verse,

and Julien said the whole page.

To put the finishing touch on M. de Rênal's triumph,

M. Valenod,

the owner of the fine Norman horses,

and M. Charcot de Maugiron,

the sub-prefect of the district came in when Julien was reciting.

This scene earned for Julien the title of Monsieur;

even the servants did not dare to refuse it to him.

That evening all Verrières flocked to M. de Rênal's to see the prodigy.

Julien answered everybody in a gloomy manner and kept his own distance.

His fame spread so rapidly in the town that a few hours afterwards M. de Rênal,

fearing that he would be taken away by somebody else,

proposed to that he should sign an engagement for two years.



Julien answered coldly,

"if you wished to dismiss me,

I should have to go.

An engagement which binds me without involving you in any obligation is not an equal one and I refuse it."

Julien played his cards so well,

that in less than a month of his arrival at the house,

M. de Rênal himself respected him.

As the curé had quarrelled with both M. de Rênal and M. Valenod,

there was no one who could betray Julien's old passion for Napoleon.

He always spoke of Napoleon with abhorrence.



They only manage to touch the heart by wounding it.

--_A Modern_.

The children adored him,

but he did not like them in the least.

His thoughts were elsewhere.

But nothing which the little brats ever did made him lose his patience.


just and impassive,

and none the less liked,

inasmuch his arrival had more or less driven ennui out of the house,

he was a good tutor.

As for himself,

he felt nothing but hate and abhorrence for that good society into which he had been admitted;


it is true at the bottom of the table,

a circumstance which perhaps explained his hate and his abhorrence.

There were certain

'full-dress' dinners at which he was scarcely able to control his hate for everything that surrounded him.

One St. Louis feast day in particular,

when M. Valenod was monopolizing the conversation of M. de Rênal,

Julien was on the point of betraying himself.

He escaped into the garden on the pretext of finding the children.

"What praise of honesty,"

he exclaimed.

"One would say that was the only virtue,

and yet think how they respect and grovel before a man who has almost doubled and trebled his fortune since he has administered the poor fund.

I would bet anything that he makes a profit even out of the monies which are intended for the foundlings of these poor creatures whose misery is even more sacred than that of others.




And I too,

am a kind of foundling,

hated as I am by my father,

my brothers,

and all my family."

Some days before the feast of St. Louis,

when Julien was taking a solitary walk and reciting his breviary in the little wood called the Belvedere,

which dominates the _Cours de la Fidélité_,

he had endeavoured in vain to avoid his two brothers whom he saw coming along in the distance by a lonely path.

The jealousy of these coarse workmen had been provoked to such a pitch by their brother's fine black suit,

by his air of extreme respectability,

and by the sincere contempt which he had for them,

that they had beaten him until he had fainted and was bleeding all over.

Madame de Rênal,

who was taking a walk with M. de Rênal and the sub-prefect,

happened to arrive in the little wood.

She saw Julien lying on the ground and thought that he was dead.

She was so overcome that she made M. Valenod jealous.

His alarm was premature.

Julien found Madame de Rênal very pretty,

but he hated her on account of her beauty,

for that had been the first danger which had almost stopped his career.

He talked to her as little as possible,

in order to make her forget the transport which had induced him to kiss her hand on the first day.

Madame de Rênal's housemaid,


had lost no time in falling in love with the young tutor.

She often talked about him to her mistress.

Elisa's love had earned for Julien the hatred of one of the men-servants.

One day he heard the man saying to Elisa,

"You haven't a word for me now that this dirty tutor has entered the household."

The insult was undeserved,

but Julien with the instinctive vanity of a pretty boy redoubled his care of his personal appearance.

M. Valenod's hate also increased.

He said publicly,

that it was not becoming for a young abbé to be such a fop.

Madame de Rênal observed that Julien talked more frequently than usual to Mademoiselle Elisa.

She learnt that the reason of these interviews was the poverty of Julien's extremely small wardrobe.

He had so little linen that he was obliged to have it very frequently washed outside the house,

and it was in these little matters that Elisa was useful to him.

Madame de Rênal was touched by this extreme poverty which she had never suspected before.

She was anxious to make him presents,

but she did not dare to do so.

This inner conflict was the first painful emotion that Julien had caused her.

Till then Julien's name had been synonymous with a pure and quite intellectual joy.

Tormented by the idea of Julien's poverty,

Madame de Rênal spoke to her husband about giving him some linen for a present.

"What nonsense,"

he answered,

"the very idea of giving presents to a man with whom we are perfectly satisfied and who is a good servant.

It will only be if he is remiss that we shall have to stimulate his zeal."

Madame de Rênal felt humiliated by this way of looking at things,

though she would never have noticed it in the days before Julien's arrival.

She never looked at the young abbé's attire,

with its combination of simplicity and absolute cleanliness,

without saying to herself,

"The poor boy,

how can he manage?"

Little by little,

instead of being shocked by all Julien's deficiencies,

she pitied him for them.

Madame de Rênal was one of those provincial women whom one is apt to take for fools during the first fortnight of acquaintanceship.

She had no experience of the world and never bothered to keep up the conversation.

Nature had given her a refined and fastidious soul,

while that instinct for happiness which is innate in all human beings caused her,

as a rule,

to pay no attention to the acts of the coarse persons in whose midst chance had thrown her.

If she had received the slightest education,

she would have been noticeable for the spontaneity and vivacity of her mind,

but being an heiress,

she had been brought up in a Convent of Nuns,

who were passionate devotees of the _Sacred Heart of Jesus_ and animated by a violent hate for the French as being the enemies of the Jesuits.

Madame de Rênal had had enough sense to forget quickly all the nonsense which she had learned at the convent,

but had substituted nothing for it,

and in the long run knew nothing.

The flatteries which had been lavished on her when still a child,

by reason of the great fortune of which she was the heiress,

and a decided tendency to passionate devotion,

had given her quite an inner life of her own.

In spite of her pose of perfect affability and her elimination of her individual will which was cited as a model example by all the husbands in Verrières and which made M. de Rênal feel very proud,

the moods of her mind were usually dictated by a spirit of the most haughty discontent.

Many a princess who has become a bye-word for pride has given infinitely more attention to what her courtiers have been doing around her than did this apparently gentle and demure woman to anything which her husband either said or did.

Up to the time of Julien's arrival she had never really troubled about anything except her children.

Their little maladies,

their troubles,

their little joys,

occupied all the sensibility of that soul,


during her whole life,

had adored no one but God,

when she had been at the Sacred Heart of Besançon.

A feverish attack of one of her sons would affect her almost as deeply as if the child had died,

though she would not deign to confide in anyone.

A burst of coarse laughter,

a shrug of the shoulders,

accompanied by some platitude on the folly of women,

had been the only welcome her husband had vouchsafed to those confidences about her troubles,

which the need of unburdening herself had induced her to make during the first years of their marriage.

Jokes of this kind,

and above all,

when they were directed at her children's ailments,

were exquisite torture to Madame de Rênal.

And these jokes were all she found to take the place of those exaggerated sugary flatteries with which she had been regaled at the Jesuit Convent where she had passed her youth.

Her education had been given her by suffering.

Too proud even to talk to her friend,

Madame Derville,

about troubles of this kind,

she imagined that all men were like her husband,

M. Valenod,

and the sub-prefect,

M. Charcot de Maugiron.


and the most brutal callousness to everything except financial gain,


or orders,

together with blind hate of every argument to which they objected,

seemed to her as natural to the male sex as wearing boots and felt hats.

After many years,

Madame de Rênal had still failed to acclimatize herself to those monied people in whose society she had to live.

Hence the success of the little peasant Julien.

She found in the sympathy of this proud and noble soul a sweet enjoyment which had all the glamour and fascination of novelty.

Madame de Rênal soon forgave him that extreme ignorance,

which constituted but an additional charm,

and the roughness of his manner which she succeeded in correcting.

She thought that he was worth listening to,

even when the conversation turned on the most ordinary events,

even in fact when it was only a question of a poor dog which had been crushed as he crossed the street by a peasant's cart going at a trot.

The sight of the dog's pain made her husband indulge in his coarse laugh,

while she noticed Julien frown,

with his fine black eyebrows which were so beautifully arched.

Little by little,

it seemed to her that generosity,

nobility of soul and humanity were to be found in nobody else except this young abbé.

She felt for him all the sympathy and even all the admiration which those virtues excite in well-born souls.

If the scene had been Paris,

Julien's position towards Madame de Rênal would have been soon simplified.

But at Paris,

love is a creature of novels.

The young tutor and his timid mistress would soon have found the elucidation of their position in three or four novels,

and even in the couplets of the Gymnase Theatre.

The novels which have traced out for them the part they would play,

and showed them the model which they were to imitate,

and Julien would sooner or later have been forced by his vanity to follow that model,

even though it had given him no pleasure and had perhaps actually gone against the grain.

If the scene had been laid in a small town in Aveyron or the Pyrenees,

the slightest episode would have been rendered crucial by the fiery condition of the atmosphere.

But under our more gloomy skies,

a poor young man who is only ambitious because his natural refinement makes him feel the necessity of some of those joys which only money can give,

can see every day a woman of thirty who is sincerely virtuous,

is absorbed in her children,

and never goes to novels for her examples of conduct.

Everything goes slowly,

everything happens gradually,

in the provinces where there is far more naturalness.

Madame de Rênal was often overcome to the point of tears when she thought of the young tutor's poverty.

Julien surprised her one day actually crying.

"Oh Madame!

has any misfortune happened to you?"


my friend,"

she answered,

"call the children,

let us go for a walk."

She took his arm and leant on it in a manner that struck Julien as singular.

It was the first time she had called Julien "My friend."

Towards the end of the walk,

Julien noticed that she was blushing violently.

She slackened her pace.

"You have no doubt heard,"

she said,

without looking at him,

"that I am the only heiress of a very rich aunt who lives at Besançon.

She loads me with presents ....

My sons are getting on so wonderfully that I should like to ask you to accept a small present as a token of my gratitude.

It is only a matter of a few louis to enable you to get some linen.

But --" she added,

blushing still more,

and she left off speaking --

"But what,


said Julien.

"It is unnecessary,"

she went on lowering her head,

"to mention this to my husband."

"I may not be big,


but I am not mean,"

answered Julien,


and drawing himself up to his full height,

with his eyes shining with rage,

"and this is what you have not realised sufficiently.

I should be lower than a menial if I were to put myself in the position of concealing from M de.

Rênal anything at all having to do with my money."

Madame de Rênal was thunderstruck.

"The Mayor,"

went on Julien,

"has given me on five occasions sums of thirty-six francs since I have been living in his house.

I am ready to show any account-book to M. de Rênal and anyone else,

even to M. Valenod who hates me."

As the result of this outburst,

Madame de Rênal remained pale and nervous,

and the walk ended without either one or the other finding any pretext for renewing the conversation.

Julien's proud heart had found it more and more impossible to love Madame de Rênal.

As for her,

she respected him,

she admired him,

and she had been scolded by him.

Under the pretext of making up for the involuntary humiliation which she had caused him,

she indulged in acts of the most tender solicitude.

The novelty of these attentions made Madame de Rênal happy for eight days.

Their effect was to appease to some extent Julien's anger.

He was far from seeing anything in them in the nature of a fancy for himself personally.

"That is just what rich people are,"

he said to himself --"they snub you and then they think they can make up for everything by a few monkey tricks."

Madame de Rênal's heart was too full,

and at the same time too innocent,

for her not too tell her husband,

in spite of her resolutions not to do so,

about the offer she had made to Julien,

and the manner in which she had been rebuffed.

"How on earth,"

answered M. de Rênal,

keenly piqued,

"could you put up with a refusal on the part of a servant,"


when Madame de Rênal protested against the word "Servant,"

"I am using,


the words of the late Prince of Condé,

when he presented his Chamberlains to his new wife.

'All these people' he said

'are servants.'

I have also read you this passage from the Memoirs of Besenval,

a book which is indispensable on all questions of etiquette.

'Every person,

not a gentleman,

who lives in your house and receives a salary is your servant.'

I'll go and say a few words to M. Julien and give him a hundred francs."


my dear,"

said Madame De Rênal trembling,

"I hope you won't do it before the servants!"


they might be jealous and rightly so,"

said her husband as he took his leave,

thinking of the greatness of the sum.

Madame de Rênal fell on a chair almost fainting in her anguish.

He is going to humiliate Julien,

and it is my fault!

She felt an abhorrence for her husband and hid her face in her hands.

She resolved that henceforth she would never make any more confidences.

When she saw Julien again she was trembling all over.

Her chest was so cramped that she could not succeed in pronouncing a single word.

In her embarrassment she took his hands and pressed them.


my friend,"

she said to him at last,

"are you satisfied with my husband?"

"How could I be otherwise,"

answered Julien,

with a bitter smile,

"he has given me a hundred francs."

Madame de Rênal looked at him doubtfully.

"Give me your arm,"

she said at last,

with a courageous intonation that Julien had not heard before.

She dared to go as far as the shop of the bookseller of Verrières,

in spite of his awful reputation for Liberalism.

In the shop she chose ten louis worth of books for a present for her sons.

But these books were those which she knew Julien was wanting.

She insisted on each child writing his name then and there in the bookseller's shop in those books which fell to his lot.

While Madame de Rênal was rejoicing over the kind reparation which she had had the courage to make to Julien,

the latter was overwhelmed with astonishment at the quantity of books which he saw at the bookseller's.

He had never dared to enter so profane a place.

His heart was palpitating.

Instead of trying to guess what was passing in Madame de Rênal's heart he pondered deeply over the means by which a young theological student could procure some of those books.

Eventually it occurred to him that it would be possible,

with tact,

to persuade M. de Rênal that one of the proper subjects of his sons' curriculum would be the history of the celebrated gentlemen who had been born in the province.

After a month of careful preparation Julien witnessed the success of this idea.

The success was so great that he actually dared to risk mentioning to M. de Rênal in conversation,

a matter which the noble mayor found disagreeable from quite another point of view.

The suggestion was to contribute to the fortune of a Liberal by taking a subscription at the bookseller's.

M. de Rênal agreed that it would be wise to give his elder son a first hand acquaintance with many works which he would hear mentioned in conversation when he went to the Military School.

But Julien saw that the mayor had determined to go no further.

He suspected some secret reason but could not guess it.

"I was thinking,


he said to him one day,

"that it would be highly undesirable for the name of so good a gentleman as a Rênal to appear on a bookseller's dirty ledger."

M. de Rênal's face cleared.

"It would also be a black mark,"

continued Julien in a more humble tone,

"against a poor theology student if it ever leaked out that his name had been on the ledger of a bookseller who let out books.

The Liberals might go so far as to accuse me of having asked for the most infamous books.

Who knows if they will not even go so far as to write the titles of those perverse volumes after my name?"

But Julien was getting off the track.

He noticed that the Mayor's physiognomy was re-assuming its expression of embarrassment and displeasure.

Julien was silent.

"I have caught my man,"

he said to himself.

It so happened that a few days afterwards the elder of the children asked Julien,

in M. de Rênal's presence,

about a book which had been advertised in the _Quotidienne_.

"In order to prevent the Jacobin Party having the slightest pretext for a score,"

said the young tutor,

"and yet give me the means of answering M. de Adolphe's question,

you can make your most menial servant take out a subscription at the booksellers."

"That's not a bad idea,"

said M. de Rênal,

who was obviously very delighted.

"You will have to stipulate all the same,"

said Julien in that solemn and almost melancholy manner which suits some people so well when they see the realization of matters which they have desired for a long time past,

"you will have to stipulate that the servant should not take out any novels.

Those dangerous books,

once they got into the house,

might corrupt Madame de Rênal's maids,

and even the servant himself."

"You are forgetting the political pamphlets,"

went on M. de Rênal with an important air.

He was anxious to conceal the admiration with which the cunning "middle course" devised by his children's tutor had filled him.

In this way Julien's life was made up of a series of little acts of diplomacy,

and their success gave him far more food for thought than the marked manifestation of favouritism which he could have read at any time in Madame de Rênal's heart,

had he so wished.

The psychological position in which he had found himself all his life was renewed again in the mayor of Verrières' house.

Here in the same way as at his father's saw-mill,

he deeply despised the people with whom he lived,

and was hated by them.

He saw every day in the conversation of the sub-perfect,

M. Valenod and the other friends of the family,

about things which had just taken place under their very eyes,

how little ideas corresponded to reality.

If an action seemed to Julien worthy of admiration,

it was precisely that very action which would bring down upon itself the censure of the people with whom he lived.

His inner mental reply always was,

"What beasts or what fools!"

The joke was that,

in spite of all his pride,

he often understood absolutely nothing what they were talking about.

Throughout his whole life he had only spoken sincerely to the old Surgeon-Major.

The few ideas he had were about Buonaparte's Italian Campaigns or else surgery.

His youthful courage revelled in the circumstantial details of the most terrible operations.

He said to himself.

"I should not have flinched."

The first time that Madame de Rênal tried to enter into conversation independently of the children's education,

he began to talk of surgical operations.

She grew pale and asked him to leave off.

Julien knew nothing beyond that.

So it came about that,

though he passed his life in Madame de Rênal's company,

the most singular silence would reign between them as soon as they were alone.

When he was in the salon,

she noticed in his eyes,

in spite of all the humbleness of his demeanour,

an air of intellectual superiority towards everyone who came to visit her.

If she found herself alone with him for a single moment,

she saw that he was palpably embarrassed.

This made her feel uneasy,

for her woman's instinct caused her to realise that this embarrassment was not inspired by any tenderness.

Owing to some mysterious idea,

derived from some tale of good society,

such as the old Surgeon-Major had seen it,

Julien felt humiliated whenever the conversation languished on any occasion when he found himself in a woman's society,

as though the particular pause were his own special fault.

This sensation was a hundred times more painful in _tête-à-tête_.

His imagination,

full as it was of the most extravagant and most Spanish ideas of what a man ought to say when he is alone with a woman,

only suggested to the troubled youth things which were absolutely impossible.

His soul was in the clouds.

Nevertheless he was unable to emerge from this most humiliating silence.


during his long walks with Madame de Rênal and the children,

the severity of his manner was accentuated by the poignancy of his sufferings.

He despised himself terribly.


by any luck,

he made himself speak,

he came out with the most absurd things.

To put the finishing touch on his misery,

he saw his own absurdity and exaggerated its extent,

but what he did not see was the expression in his eyes,

which were so beautiful and betokened so ardent a soul,

that like good actors,

they sometimes gave charm to something which is really devoid of it.

Madame de Rênal noticed that when he was alone with her he never chanced to say a good thing except when he was taken out of himself by some unexpected event,

and consequently forgot to try and turn a compliment.

As the friends of the house did not spoil her by regaling her with new and brilliant ideas,

she enjoyed with delight all the flashes of Julien's intellect.

After the fall of Napoleon,

every appearance of gallantry has been severely exiled from provincial etiquette.

People are frightened of losing their jobs.

All rascals look to the religious order for support,

and hypocrisy has made firm progress even among the Liberal classes.

One's ennui is doubled.

The only pleasures left are reading and agriculture.

Madame de Rênal,

the rich heiress of a devout aunt,

and married at sixteen to a respectable gentleman,

had never felt or seen in her whole life anything that had the slightest resemblance in the whole world to love.

Her confessor,

the good curé Chélan,

had once mentioned love to her,

in discussing the advances of M. de Valenod,

and had drawn so loathsome a picture of the passion that the word now stood to her for nothing but the most abject debauchery.

She had regarded love,

such as she had come across it,

in the very small number of novels with which chance had made her acquainted,

as an exception if not indeed as something absolutely abnormal.

It was,

thanks to this ignorance,

that Madame de Rênal,

although incessantly absorbed in Julien,

was perfectly happy,

and never thought of reproaching herself in the slightest.



"Then there were sighs,

the deeper for suppression,

And stolen glances sweeter for the theft,

And burning blushes,

though for no transgression."

_Don Juan_,





It was only when Madame de Rênal began to think of her maid Elisa that there was some slight change in that angelic sweetness which she owed both to her natural character and her actual happiness.

The girl had come into a fortune,

went to confess herself to the curé Chélan and confessed to him her plan of marrying Julien.

The curé was truly rejoiced at his friend's good fortune,

but he was extremely surprised when Julien resolutely informed him that Mademoiselle Elisa's offer could not suit him.


my friend,

of what is passing within your heart,"

said the curé with a frown,

"I congratulate you on your mission,

if that is the only reason why you despise a more than ample fortune.

It is fifty-six years since I was first curé of Verrières,

and yet I shall be turned out,

according to all appearances.

I am distressed by it,

and yet my income amounts to eight hundred francs.

I inform you of this detail so that you may not be under any illusions as to what awaits you in your career as a priest.

If you think of paying court to the men who enjoy power,

your eternal damnation is assured.

You may make your fortune,

but you will have to do harm to the poor,

flatter the sub-prefect,

the mayor,

the man who enjoys prestige,

and pander to his passion;

this conduct,

which in the world is called knowledge of life,

is not absolutely incompatible with salvation so far as a layman is concerned;

but in our career we have to make a choice;

it is a question of making one's fortune either in this world or the next;

there is no middle course.


my dear friend,


and come back in three days with a definite answer.

I am pained to detect that there is at the bottom of your character a sombre passion which is far from indicating to me that moderation and that perfect renunciation of earthly advantages so necessary for a priest;

I augur well of your intellect,

but allow me to tell you,"

added the good curé with tears in his eyes,

"I tremble for your salvation in your career as a priest."

Julien was ashamed of his emotion;

he found himself loved for the first time in his life;

he wept with delight;

and went to hide his tears in the great woods behind Verrières.

"Why am I in this position?"

he said to himself at last,

"I feel that I would give my life a hundred times over for this good curé Chélan,

and he has just proved to me that I am nothing more than a fool.

It is especially necessary for me to deceive him,

and he manages to find me out.

The secret ardour which he refers to is my plan of making my fortune.

He thinks I am unworthy of being a priest,

that too,

just when I was imagining that my sacrifice of fifty louis would give him the very highest idea of my piety and devotion to my mission."

"In future,"

continued Julien,

"I will only reckon on those elements in my character which I have tested.

Who could have told me that I should find any pleasure in shedding tears?

How I should like some one to convince me that I am simply a fool!"

Three days later,

Julien found the excuse with which he ought to have been prepared on the first day;

the excuse was a piece of calumny,

but what did it matter?

He confessed to the curé,

with a great deal of hesitation,

that he had been persuaded from the suggested union by a reason he could not explain,

inasmuch as it tended to damage a third party.

This was equivalent to impeaching Elisa's conduct.

M. Chélan found that his manner betrayed a certain worldly fire which was very different from that which ought to have animated a young acolyte.

"My friend,"

he said to him again,

"be a good country citizen,

respected and educated,

rather than a priest without a true mission."

So far as words were concerned,

Julien answered these new remonstrances very well.

He managed to find the words which a young and ardent seminarist would have employed,

but the tone in which he pronounced them,

together with the thinly concealed fire which blazed in his eye,

alarmed M. Chélan.

You must not have too bad an opinion of Julien's prospects.

He invented with correctness all the words suitable to a prudent and cunning hypocrisy.

It was not bad for his age.

As for his tone and his gestures,

he had spent his life with country people;

he had never been given an opportunity of seeing great models.


as soon as he was given a chance of getting near such gentlemen,

his gestures became as admirable as his words.

Madame de Rênal was astonished that her maid's new fortune did not make her more happy.

She saw her repeatedly going to the curé and coming back with tears in her eyes.

At last Elisa talked to her of her marriage.

Madame de Rênal thought she was ill.

A kind of fever prevented her from sleeping.

She only lived when either her maid or Julien were in sight.

She was unable to think of anything except them and the happiness which they would find in their home.

Her imagination depicted in the most fascinating colours the poverty of the little house,

where they were to live on their income of fifty louis a year.

Julien could quite well become an advocate at Bray,

the sub-prefecture,

two leagues from Verrières.

In that case she would see him sometimes.

Madame de Rênal sincerely believed she would go mad.

She said so to her husband and finally fell ill.

That very evening when her maid was attending her,

she noticed that the girl was crying.

She abhorred Elisa at that moment,

and started to scold her;

she then begged her pardon.

Elisa's tears redoubled.

She said if her mistress would allow her,

she would tell her all her unhappiness.

"Tell me,"

answered Madame de Rênal.



he refuses me,

some wicked people must have spoken badly about me.

He believes them."

"Who refuses you?"

said Madame de Rênal,

scarcely breathing.

"Who else,


but M. Julien,"

answered the maid sobbing.


the curé had been unable to overcome his resistance,

for M. the curé thinks that he ought not to refuse an honest girl on the pretext that she has been a maid.

After all,

M. Julien's father is nothing more than a carpenter,

and how did he himself earn his living before he was at Madame's?"

Madame de Rênal stopped listening;

her excessive happiness had almost deprived her of her reason.

She made the girl repeat several times the assurance that Julien had refused her,

with a positiveness which shut the door on the possibility of his coming round to a more prudent decision.

"I will make a last attempt,"

she said to her maid.

"I will speak to M. Julien."

The following day,

after breakfast,

Madame de Rênal indulged in the delightful luxury of pleading her rival's cause,

and of seeing Elisa's hand and fortune stubbornly refused for a whole hour.

Julien gradually emerged from his cautiously worded answers,

and finished by answering with spirit Madame de Rênal's good advice.

She could not help being overcome by the torrent of happiness which,

after so many days of despair,

now inundated her soul.

She felt quite ill.

When she had recovered and was comfortably in her own room she sent everyone away.

She was profoundly astonished.

"Can I be in love with Julien?"

she finally said to herself.

This discovery,

which at any other time would have plunged her into remorse and the deepest agitation,

now only produced the effect of a singular,

but as it were,

indifferent spectacle.

Her soul was exhausted by all that she had just gone through,

and had no more sensibility to passion left.

Madame de Rênal tried to work,

and fell into a deep sleep;

when she woke up she did not frighten herself so much as she ought to have.

She was too happy to be able to see anything wrong in anything.

Naive and innocent as she was,

this worthy provincial woman had never tortured her soul in her endeavours to extract from it a little sensibility to some new shade of sentiment or unhappiness.

Entirely absorbed as she had been before Julien's arrival with that mass of work which falls to the lot of a good mistress of a household away from Paris,

Madame de Rênal thought of passion in the same way in which we think of a lottery: a certain deception,

a happiness sought after by fools.

The dinner bell rang.

Madame de Rênal blushed violently.

She heard the voice of Julien who was bringing in the children.

Having grown somewhat adroit since her falling in love,

she complained of an awful headache in order to explain her redness.

"That's just like what all women are,"

answered M. de Rênal with a coarse laugh.

"Those machines have always got something or other to be put right."

Although she was accustomed to this type of wit,

Madame de Rênal was shocked by the tone of voice.

In order to distract herself,

she looked at Julien's physiognomy;

he would have pleased her at this particular moment,

even if he had been the ugliest man imaginable.

M. de Rênal,

who always made a point of copying the habits of the gentry of the court,

established himself at Vergy in the first fine days of the spring;

this is the village rendered celebrated by the tragic adventure of Gabrielle.

A hundred paces from the picturesque ruin of the old Gothic church,

M. de Rênal owns an old château with its four towers and a garden designed like the one in the Tuileries with a great many edging verges of box and avenues of chestnut trees which are cut twice in the year.

An adjacent field,

crowded with apple trees,

served for a promenade.

Eight or ten magnificent walnut trees were at the end of the orchard.

Their immense foliage went as high as perhaps eighty feet.

"Each of these cursed walnut trees,"

M. de Rênal was in the habit of saying,

whenever his wife admired them,

"costs me the harvest of at least half an acre;

corn cannot grow under their shade."

Madame de Rênal found the sight of the country novel: her admiration reached the point of enthusiasm.

The sentiment by which she was animated gave her both ideas and resolution.

M. de Rênal had returned to the town,

for mayoral business,

two days after their arrival in Vergy.

But Madame de Rênal engaged workmen at her own expense.

Julien had given her the idea of a little sanded path which was to go round the orchard and under the big walnut trees,

and render it possible for the children to take their walk in the very earliest hours of the morning without getting their feet wet from the dew.

This idea was put into execution within twenty-four hours of its being conceived.

Madame de Rênal gaily spent the whole day with Julien in supervising the workmen.

When the Mayor of Verrières came back from the town he was very surprised to find the avenue completed.

His arrival surprised Madame de Rênal as well.

She had forgotten his existence.

For two months he talked with irritation about the boldness involved in making so important a repair without consulting him,

but Madame de Rênal had had it executed at her own expense,

a fact which somewhat consoled him.

She spent her days in running about the orchard with her children,

and in catching butterflies.

They had made big hoods of clear gauze with which they caught the poor _lepidoptera_.

This is the barbarous name which Julien taught Madame de Rênal.

For she had had M. Godart's fine work ordered from Besançon,

and Julien used to tell her about the strange habits of the creatures.

They ruthlessly transfixed them by means of pins in a great cardboard box which Julien had prepared.

Madame de Rênal and Julien had at last a topic of conversation;

he was no longer exposed to the awful torture that had been occasioned by their moments of silence.

They talked incessantly and with extreme interest,

though always about very innocent matters.

This gay,


active life,

pleased the fancy of everyone,

except Mademoiselle Elisa who found herself overworked.

Madame had never taken so much trouble with her dress,

even at carnival time,

when there is a ball at Verrières,

she would say;

she changes her gowns two or three times a day.

As it is not our intention to flatter anyone,

we do not propose to deny that Madame de Rênal,

who had a superb skin,

arranged her gowns in such a way as to leave her arms and her bosom very exposed.

She was extremely well made,

and this style of dress suited her delightfully.

"You have never been _so young_,


her Verrières friends would say to her,

when they came to dinner at Vergy (this is one of the local expressions).

It is a singular thing,

and one which few amongst us will believe,

but Madame de Rênal had no specific object in taking so much trouble.

She found pleasure in it and spent all the time which she did not pass in hunting butterflies with the children and Julien,

in working with Elisa at making gowns,

without giving the matter a further thought.

Her only expedition to Verrières was caused by her desire to buy some new summer gowns which had just come from Mulhouse.

She brought back to Vergy a young woman who was a relative of hers.

Since her marriage,

Madame de Rênal had gradually become attached to Madame Derville,

who had once been her school mate at the _Sacré Cœur_.

Madame Derville laughed a great deal at what she called her cousin's mad ideas:

"I would never have thought of them alone,"

she said.

When Madame de Rênal was with her husband,

she was ashamed of those sudden ideas,


are called sallies in Paris,

and thought them quite silly: but Madame Derville's presence gave her courage.

She would start to telling her her thoughts in a timid voice,

but after the ladies had been alone for a long time,

Madame de Rênal's brain became more animated,

and a long morning spent together by the two friends passed like a second,

and left them in the best of spirits.

On this particular journey,


the acute Madame Derville thought her cousin much less merry,

but much more happy than usual.


on his side,

had since coming to the country lived like an absolute child,

and been as happy as his pupils in running after the butterflies.

After so long a period of constraint and wary diplomacy,

he was at last alone and far from human observation;

he was instinctively free from any apprehension on the score of Madame de Rênal,

and abandoned himself to the sheer pleasure of being alive,

which is so keen at so young an age,

especially among the most beautiful mountains in the world.

Ever since Madame Derville's arrival,

Julien thought that she was his friend;

he took the first opportunity of showing her the view from the end of the new avenue,

under the walnut tree;

as a matter of fact it is equal,

if not superior,

to the most wonderful views that Switzerland and the Italian lakes can offer.

If you ascend the steep slope which commences some paces from there,

you soon arrive at great precipices fringed by oak forests,

which almost jut on to the river.

It was to the peaked summits of these rocks that Julien,

who was now happy,


and king of the household into the bargain,

would take the two friends,

and enjoy their admiration these sublime views.

"To me it's like Mozart's music,"

Madame Derville would say.

The country around Verrières had been spoilt for Julien by the jealousy of his brothers and the presence of a tyranous and angry father.

He was free from these bitter memories at Vergy;

for the first time in his life,

he failed to see an enemy.


as frequently happened,

M. de Rênal was in town,

he ventured to read;


instead of reading at night time,

a procedure,


which involved carefully hiding his lamp at the bottom of a flower-pot turned upside down,

he was able to indulge in sleep;

in the day,


in the intervals between the children's lessons,

he would come among these rocks with that book which was the one guide of his conduct and object of his enthusiasm.

He found in it simultaneously happiness,

ecstasy and consolation for his moments of discouragement.

Certain remarks of Napoleon about women,

several discussions about the merits of the novels which were fashionable in his reign,

furnished him now for the first time with some ideas which any other young man of his age would have had for a long time.

The dog days arrived.

They started the habit of spending the evenings under an immense pine tree some yards from the house.

The darkness was profound.

One evening,

Julien was speaking and gesticulating,

enjoying to the full the pleasure of being at his best when talking to young women;

in one of his gestures,

he touched the hand of Madame de Rênal which was leaning on the back of one of those chairs of painted wood,

which are so frequently to be seen in gardens.

The hand was quickly removed,

but Julien thought it a point of duty to secure that that hand should not be removed when he touched it.

The idea of a duty to be performed and the consciousness of his stultification,

or rather of his social inferiority,

if he should fail in achieving it,

immediately banished all pleasure from his heart.



M. Guérin's Dido,

a charming sketch!


His expression was singular when he saw Madame de Rênal the next day;

he watched her like an enemy with whom he would have to fight a duel.

These looks,

which were so different from those of the previous evening,

made Madame de Rênal lose her head;

she had been kind to him and he appeared angry.

She could not take her eyes off his.

Madame Derville's presence allowed Julien to devote less time to conversation,

and more time to thinking about what he had in his mind.

His one object all this day was to fortify himself by reading the inspired book that gave strength to his soul.

He considerably curtailed the children's lessons,

and when Madame de Rênal's presence had effectually brought him back to the pursuit of his ambition,

he decided that she absolutely must allow her hand to rest in his that evening.

The setting of the sun which brought the crucial moment nearer and nearer made Julien's heart beat in a strange way.

Night came.

He noticed with a joy,

which took an immense weight off his heart,

that it was going to be very dark.

The sky,

which was laden with big clouds that had been brought along by a sultry wind,

seemed to herald a storm.

The two friends went for their walk very late.

All they did that night struck Julien as strange.

They were enjoying that hour which seems to give certain refined souls an increased pleasure in loving.

At last they sat down,

Madame de Rênal beside Julien,

and Madame Derville near her friend.

Engrossed as he was by the attempt which he was going to make,

Julien could think of nothing to say.

The conversation languished.

"Shall I be as nervous and miserable over my first duel?"

said Julien to himself;

for he was too suspicious both of himself and of others,

not to realise his own mental state.

In his mortal anguish,

he would have preferred any danger whatsoever.

How many times did he not wish some matter to crop up which would necessitate Madame de Rênal going into the house and leaving the garden!

The violent strain on Julien's nerves was too great for his voice not to be considerably changed;

soon Madame de Rênal's voice became nervous as well,

but Julien did not notice it.

The awful battle raging between duty and timidity was too painful,

for him to be in a position to observe anything outside himself.

A quarter to ten had just struck on the château clock without his having ventured anything.

Julien was indignant at his own cowardice,

and said to himself,

"at the exact moment when ten o'clock strikes,

I will perform what I have resolved to do all through the day,

or I will go up to my room and blow out my brains."

After a final moment of expectation and anxiety,

during which Julien was rendered almost beside himself by his excessive emotion,

ten o'clock struck from the clock over his head.

Each stroke of the fatal clock reverberated in his bosom,

and caused an almost physical pang.


when the last stroke of ten was still reverberating,

he stretched out his hand and took Madame de Rênal's,

who immediately withdrew it.


scarcely knowing what he was doing,

seized it again.

In spite of his own excitement,

he could not help being struck by the icy coldness of the hand which he was taking;

he pressed it convulsively;

a last effort was made to take it away,

but in the end the hand remained in his.

His soul was inundated with happiness,

not that he loved Madame de Rênal,

but an awful torture had just ended.

He thought it necessary to say something,

to avoid Madame Derville noticing anything.

His voice was now strong and ringing.

Madame de Rênal's,

on the contrary,

betrayed so much emotion that her friend thought she was ill,

and suggested her going in.

Julien scented danger,

"if Madame de Rênal goes back to the salon,

I shall relapse into the awful state in which I have been all day.

I have held the hand far too short a time for it really to count as the scoring of an actual advantage."

At the moment when Madame Derville was repeating her suggestion to go back to the salon,

Julien squeezed vigorously the hand that was abandoned to him.

Madame de Rênal,

who had started to get up,

sat down again and said in a faint voice,

"I feel a little ill,

as a matter of fact,

but the open air is doing me good."

These words confirmed Julien's happiness,

which at the present moment was extreme;

he spoke,

he forgot to pose,

and appeared the most charming man in the world to the two friends who were listening to him.


there was a slight lack of courage in all this eloquence which had suddenly come upon him.

He was mortally afraid that Madame Derville would get tired of the wind before the storm,

which was beginning to rise,

and want to go back alone into the salon.

He would then have remained _tête-à-tête_ with Madame de Rênal.

He had had,

almost by accident that blind courage which is sufficient for action;

but he felt that it was out of his power to speak the simplest word to Madame de Rênal.

He was certain that,

however slight her reproaches might be,

he would nevertheless be worsted,

and that the advantage he had just won would be destroyed.

Luckily for him on this evening,

his moving and emphatic speeches found favour with Madame Derville,

who very often found him as clumsy as a child and not at all amusing.

As for Madame de Rênal,

with her hand in Julien's,

she did not have a thought;

she simply allowed herself to go on living.

The hours spent under this great pine tree,

planted by by Charles the Bold according to the local tradition,

were a real period of happiness.

She listened with delight to the soughing of the wind in the thick foliage of the pine tree and to the noise of some stray drops which were beginning to fall upon the leaves which were lowest down.

Julien failed to notice one circumstance which,

if he had,

would have quickly reassured him;

Madame de Rênal,

who had been obliged to take away her hand,

because she had got up to help her cousin to pick up a flower-pot which the wind had knocked over at her feet,

had scarcely sat down again before she gave him her hand with scarcely any difficulty and as though it had already been a pre-arranged thing between them.

Midnight had struck a long time ago;

it was at last necessary to leave the garden;

they separated.

Madame de Rênal swept away as she was,

by the happiness of loving,

was so completely ignorant of the world that she scarcely reproached herself at all.

Her happiness deprived her of her sleep.

A leaden sleep overwhelmed Julien who was mortally fatigued by the battle which timidity and pride had waged in his heart all through the day.

He was called at five o'clock on the following day and scarcely gave Madame de Rênal a single thought.

He had accomplished his duty,

and a heroic duty too.

The consciousness of this filled him with happiness;

he locked himself in his room,

and abandoned himself with quite a new pleasure to reading exploits of his hero.

When the breakfast bell sounded,

the reading of the Bulletins of the Great Army had made him forget all his advantages of the previous day.

He said to himself flippantly,

as he went down to the salon,

"I must tell that woman that I am in love with her."

Instead of those looks brimful of pleasure which he was expecting to meet,

he found the stern visage of M. de Rênal,

who had arrived from Verrières two hours ago,

and did not conceal his dissatisfaction at Julien's having passed the whole morning without attending to the children.

Nothing could have been more sordid than this self-important man when he was in a bad temper and thought that he could safely show it.

Each harsh word of her husband pierced Madame de Rênal's heart.

As for Julien,

he was so plunged in his ecstasy,

and still so engrossed by the great events which had been passing before his eyes for several hours,

that he had some difficulty at first in bringing his attention sufficiently down to listen to the harsh remarks which M. de Rênal was addressing to him.

He said to him at last,

rather abruptly,

"I was ill."

The tone of this answer would have stung a much less sensitive man than the mayor of Verrières.

He half thought of answering Julien by turning him out of the house straight away.

He was only restrained by the maxim which he had prescribed for himself,

of never hurrying unduly in business matters.

"The young fool,"

he said to himself shortly afterwards,

"has won a kind of reputation in my house.

That man Valenod may take him into his family,

or he may quite well marry Elisa,

and in either case,

he will be able to have the laugh of me in his heart."

In spite of the wisdom of these reflections,

M. de Rênal's dissatisfaction did not fail to vent itself any the less by a string of coarse insults which gradually irritated Julien.

Madame de Rênal was on the point of bursting into tears.

Breakfast was scarcely over,

when she asked Julien to give her his arm for a walk.

She leaned on him affectionately.

Julien could only answer all that Madame de Rênal said to him by whispering.

"_That's what rich people are like!_"

M. de Rênal was walking quite close to them;

his presence increased Julien's anger.

He suddenly noticed that Madame de Rênal was leaning on his arm in a manner which was somewhat marked.

This horrified him,

and he pushed her violently away and disengaged his arm.


M. de Rênal did not see this new piece of impertinence;

it was only noticed by Madame Derville.

Her friend burst into tears.

M. de Rênal now started to chase away by a shower of stones a little peasant girl who had taken a private path crossing a corner of the orchard.

"Monsieur Julien,

restrain yourself,

I pray you.

Remember that we all have our moments of temper,"

said madame Derville rapidly.

Julien looked at her coldly with eyes in which the most supreme contempt was depicted.

This look astonished Madame Derville,

and it would have surprised her even more if she had appreciated its real expression;

she would have read in it something like a vague hope of the most atrocious vengeance.

It is,

no doubt,

such moments of humiliation which have made Robespierres.

"Your Julien is very violent;

he frightens me,"

said Madame Derville to her friend,

in a low voice.

"He is right to be angry,"

she answered.

"What does it matter if he does pass a morning without speaking to the children,

after the astonishing progress which he has made them make.

One must admit that men are very hard."

For the first time in her life Madame de Rênal experienced a kind of desire for vengeance against her husband.

The extreme hatred of the rich by which Julien was animated was on the point of exploding.


M. de Rênal called his gardener,

and remained occupied with him in barring by faggots of thorns the private road through the orchard.

Julien did not vouchsafe any answer to the kindly consideration of which he was the object during all the rest of the walk.

M. de Rênal had scarcely gone away before the two friends made the excuse of being fatigued,

and each asked him for an arm.

Walking as he did between these two women whose extreme nervousness filled their cheeks with a blushing embarrassment,

the haughty pallor and sombre,

resolute air of Julien formed a strange contrast.

He despised these women and all tender sentiments.


he said to himself,

"not even an income of five hundred francs to finish my studies!


how I should like to send them packing."

And absorbed as he was by these stern ideas,

such few courteous words of his two friends as he deigned to take the trouble to understand,

displeased him as devoid of sense,



in a word --feminine.

As the result of speaking for the sake of speaking and of endeavouring to keep the conversation alive,

it came about that Madame de Rênal mentioned that her husband had come from Verrières because he had made a bargain for the May straw with one of his farmers.

(In this district it is the May straw with which the bed mattresses are filled).

"My husband will not rejoin us,"

added Madame de Rênal;

"he will occupy himself with finishing the re-stuffing of the house mattresses with the help of the gardener and his valet.

He has put the May straw this morning in all the beds on the first storey;

he is now at the second."

Julien changed colour.

He looked at Madame de Rênal in a singular way,

and soon managed somehow to take her on one side,

doubling his pace.

Madame Derville allowed them to get ahead.

"Save my life,"

said Julien to Madame de Rênal;

"only you can do it,

for you know that the valet hates me desperately.

I must confess to you,


that I have a portrait.

I have hidden it in the mattress of my bed."

At these words Madame de Rênal in her turn became pale.

"Only you,


are able at this moment to go into my room,

feel about without their noticing in the corner of the mattress;

it is nearest the window.

You will find a small,

round box of black cardboard,

very glossy."

"Does it contain a portrait?"

said Madame de Rênal,

scarcely able to hold herself upright.

Julien noticed her air of discouragement,

and at once proceeded to exploit it.

"I have a second favour to ask you,


I entreat you not to look at that portrait;

it is my secret."

"It is a secret,"

repeated Madame de Rênal in a faint voice.

But though she had been brought up among people who are proud of their fortune and appreciative of nothing except money,

love had already instilled generosity into her soul.

Truly wounded as she was,

it was with an air of the most simple devotion that Madame de Rênal asked Julien the questions necessary to enable her to fulfil her commission.

"So" she said to him as she went away,

"it is a little round box of black cardboard,

very glossy."



answered Julien,

with that hardness which danger gives to men.

She ascended the second storey of the château as pale as though she had been going to her death.

Her misery was completed by the sensation that she was on the verge of falling ill,

but the necessity of doing Julien a service restored her strength.

"I must have that box,"

she said to herself,

as she doubled her pace.

She heard her husband speaking to the valet in Julien's very room.


they passed into the children's room.

She lifted up the mattress,

and plunged her hand into the stuffing so violently that she bruised her fingers.


though she was very sensitive to slight pain of this kind,

she was not conscious of it now,

for she felt almost simultaneously the smooth surface of the cardboard box.

She seized it and disappeared.

She had scarcely recovered from the fear of being surprised by her husband than the horror with which this box inspired her came within an ace of positively making her feel ill.

"So Julien is in love,

and I hold here the portrait of the woman whom he loves!"

Seated on the chair in the ante-chamber of his apartment,

Madame de Rênal fell a prey to all the horrors of jealousy.

Her extreme ignorance,


was useful to her at this juncture;

her astonishment mitigated her grief.

Julien seized the box without thanking her or saying a single word,

and ran into his room,

where he lit a fire and immediately burnt it.

He was pale and in a state of collapse.

He exaggerated the extent of the danger which he had undergone.

"Finding Napoleon's portrait,"

he said to himself,

"in the possession of a man who professes so great a hate for the usurper!



by M. de Rênal,

who is so great an _ultra_,

and is now in a state of irritation,


to complete my imprudence,

lines written in my own handwriting on the white cardboard behind the portrait,



which can leave no doubt on the score of my excessive admiration.

And each of these transports of love is dated.

There was one the day before yesterday."

"All my reputation collapsed and shattered in a moment,"

said Julien to himself as he watched the box burn,

"and my reputation is my only asset.

It is all I have to live by --and what a life to,

by heaven!"

An hour afterwards,

this fatigue,

together with the pity which he felt for himself made him inclined to be more tender.

He met Madame de Rênal and took her hand,

which he kissed with more sincerity than he had ever done before.

She blushed with happiness and almost simultaneously rebuffed Julien with all the anger of jealousy.

Julien's pride which had been so recently wounded made him act foolishly at this juncture.

He saw in Madame de Rênal nothing but a rich woman,

he disdainfully let her hand fall and went away.

He went and walked about meditatively in the garden.

Soon a bitter smile appeared on his lips.

"Here I am walking about as serenely as a man who is master of his own time.

I am not bothering about the children!

I am exposing myself to M. de Rênal's humiliating remarks,

and he will be quite right."

He ran to the children's room.

The caresses of the youngest child,

whom he loved very much,

somewhat calmed his agony.

"He does not despise me yet,"

thought Julien.

But he soon reproached himself for this alleviation of his agony as though it were a new weakness.

The children caress me just in the same way in which they would caress the young hunting-hound which was bought yesterday.



But passion most disembles,

yet betrays,

Even by its darkness,

as the blackest sky Foretells the heaviest tempest.

_Don Juan_,





M. De Rênal was going through all the rooms in the château,

and he came back into the children's room with the servants who were bringing back the stuffings of the mattresses.

The sudden entry of this man had the effect on Julien of the drop of water which makes the pot overflow.

Looking paler and more sinister than usual,

he rushed towards him.

M. de Rênal stopped and looked at his servants.


said Julien to him,

"Do you think your children would have made the progress they have made with me with any other tutor?

If you answer

'No,'" continued Julien so quickly that M. de Rênal did not have time to speak,

"how dare you reproach me with neglecting them?"

M. de Rênal,

who had scarcely recovered from his fright,

concluded from the strange tone he saw this little peasant assume,

that he had some advantageous offer in his pocket,

and that he was going to leave him.

The more he spoke the more Julien's anger increased,

"I can live without you,


he added.

"I am really sorry to see you so upset,"

answered M. de Rênal shuddering a little.

The servants were ten yards off engaged in making the beds.

"That is not what I mean,


replied Julien quite beside himself.

"Think of the infamous words that you have addressed to me,

and before women too."

M. de Rênal understood only too well what Julien was asking,

and a painful conflict tore his soul.

It happened that Julien,

who was really mad with rage,

cried out,

"I know where to go,


when I leave your house."

At these words M. de Rênal saw Julien installed with M. Valenod.



he said at last with a sigh,

just as though he had called in a surgeon to perform the most painful operation,

"I accede to your request.

I will give you fifty francs a month.

Starting from the day after to-morrow which is the first of the month."

Julien wanted to laugh,

and stood there dumbfounded.

All his anger had vanished.

"I do not despise the brute enough,"

he said to himself.

"I have no doubt that that is the greatest apology that so base a soul can make."

The children who had listened to this scene with gaping mouths,

ran into the garden to tell their mother that M. Julien was very angry,

but that he was going to have fifty francs a month.

Julien followed them as a matter of habit without even looking at M. de Rênal whom he left in a considerable state of irritation.

"That makes one hundred and sixty-eight francs,"

said the mayor to himself,

"that M. Valenod has cost me.

I must absolutely speak a few strong words to him about his contract to provide for the foundlings."

A minute afterwards Julien found himself opposite M. de Rênal.

"I want to speak to M. Chélan on a matter of conscience.

I have the honour to inform you that I shall be absent some hours."


my dear Julien,"

said M. de Rênal smiling with the falsest expression possible,

"take the whole day,

and to-morrow too if you like,

my good friend.

Take the gardener's horse to go to Verrières."

"He is on the very point,"

said M. de Rênal to himself,

"of giving an answer to Valenod.

He has promised me nothing,

but I must let this hot-headed young man have time to cool down."

Julien quickly went away,

and went up into the great forest,

through which one can manage to get from Vergy to Verrières.

He did not wish to arrive at M. Chélan's at once.

Far from wishing to cramp himself in a new pose of hypocrisy he needed to see clear in his own soul,

and to give audience to the crowd of sentiments which were agitating him.

"I have won a battle,"

he said to himself,

as soon as he saw that he was well in the forest,

and far from all human gaze.

"So I have won a battle."

This expression shed a rosy light on his situation,

and restored him to some serenity.

"Here I am with a salary of fifty francs a month,

M. de Rênal must be precious afraid,

but what of?"

This meditation about what could have put fear into the heart of that happy,

powerful man against whom he had been boiling with rage only an hour back,

completed the restoration to serenity of Julien's soul.

He was almost able to enjoy for a moment the delightful beauty of the woods amidst which he was walking.

Enormous blocks of bare rocks had fallen down long ago in the middle of the forest by the mountain side.

Great cedars towered almost as high as these rocks whose shade caused a delicious freshness within three yards of places where the heat of the sun's rays would have made it impossible to rest.

Julien took breath for a moment in the shade of these great rocks,

and then he began again to climb.

Traversing a narrow path that was scarcely marked,

and was only used by the goat herds,

he soon found himself standing upon an immense rock with the complete certainty of being far away from all mankind.

This physical position made him smile.

It symbolised to him the position he was burning to attain in the moral sphere.

The pure air of these lovely mountains filled his soul with serenity and even with joy.

The mayor of Verrières still continued to typify in his eyes all the wealth and all the arrogance of the earth;

but Julien felt that the hatred that had just thrilled him had nothing personal about it in spite of all the violence which he had manifested.

If he had left off seeing M. de Rênal he would in eight days have forgotten him,

his castle,

his dogs,

his children and all his family.

"I forced him,

I don't know how,

to make the greatest sacrifice.


more than fifty crowns a year,

and only a minute before I managed to extricate myself from the greatest danger;

so there are two victories in one day.

The second one is devoid of merit,

I must find out the why and the wherefore.

But these laborious researches are for to-morrow."

Standing up on his great rock,

Julien looked at the sky which was all afire with an August sun.

The grasshoppers sang in the field about the rock;

when they held their peace there was universal silence around him.

He saw twenty leagues of country at his feet.

He noticed from time to time some hawk,

which launching off from the great rocks over his head was describing in silence its immense circles.

Julien's eye followed the bird of prey mechanically.

Its tranquil powerful movements struck him.

He envied that strength,

that isolation.

"Would Napoleon's destiny be one day his?"



Yet Julia's very coldness still was kind,

And tremulously gently her small hand Withdrew itself from his,

but left behind A little pressure,


and so bland,

And slight,

so very slight that to the mind,

'Twas but a doubt.

_Don Juan_,


I. st,


It was necessary,


to put in an appearance at Verrières.

As Julien left the curé house he was fortunate enough to meet M. Valenod,

whom he hastened to tell of the increase in his salary.

On returning to Vergy,

Julien waited till night had fallen before going down into the garden.

His soul was fatigued by the great number of violent emotions which had agitated him during the day.

"What shall I say to them?"

he reflected anxiously,

as he thought about the ladies.

He was far from realising that his soul was just in a mood to discuss those trivial circumstances which usually monopolise all feminine interests.

Julien was often unintelligible to Madame Derville,

and even to her friend,

and he in his turn only half understood all that they said to him.

Such was the effect of the force and,

if I may venture to use such language,

the greatness of the transports of passion which overwhelmed the soul of this ambitious youth.

In this singular being it was storm nearly every day.

As he entered the garden this evening,

Julien was inclined to take an interest in what the pretty cousins were thinking.

They were waiting for him impatiently.

He took his accustomed seat next to Madame de Rênal.

The darkness soon became profound.

He attempted to take hold of a white hand which he had seen some time near him,

as it leant on the back of a chair.

Some hesitation was shewn,

but eventually the hand was withdrawn in a manner which indicated displeasure.

Julien was inclined to give up the attempt as a bad job,

and to continue his conversation quite gaily,

when he heard M. de Rênal approaching.

The coarse words he had uttered in the morning were still ringing in Julien's ears.

"Would not taking possession of his wife's hand in his very presence,"

he said to himself,

"be a good way of scoring off that creature who has all that life can give him.


I will do it.


the very man for whom he has evidenced so great a contempt."

From that moment the tranquillity which was so alien to Julien's real character quickly disappeared.

He was obsessed by an anxious desire that Madame de Rênal should abandon her hand to him.

M. de Rênal was talking politics with vehemence;

two or three commercial men in Verrières had been growing distinctly richer than he was,

and were going to annoy him over the elections.

Madame Derville was listening to him.

Irritated by these tirades,

Julien brought his chair nearer Madame de Rênal.

All his movements were concealed by the darkness.

He dared to put his hand very near to the pretty arm which was left uncovered by the dress.

He was troubled and had lost control of his mind.

He brought his face near to that pretty arm and dared to put his lips on it.

Madame de Rênal shuddered.

Her husband was four paces away.

She hastened to give her hand to Julien,

and at the same time to push him back a little.

As M. de Rênal was continuing his insults against those ne'er-do-wells and Jacobins who were growing so rich,

Julien covered the hand which had been abandoned to him with kisses,

which were either really passionate or at any rate seemed so to Madame de Rênal.

But the poor woman had already had the proofs on that same fatal day that the man whom she adored,

without owning it to herself,

loved another!

During the whole time Julien had been absent she had been the prey to an extreme unhappiness which had made her reflect.


she said to herself,

"Am I going to love,

am I going to be in love?

Am I,

a married woman,

going to fall in love?


she said to herself,

"I have never felt for my husband this dark madness,

which never permits of my keeping Julien out of my thoughts.

After all,

he is only a child who is full of respect for me.

This madness will be fleeting.

In what way do the sentiments which I may have for this young man concern my husband?

M. de Rênal would be bored by the conversations which I have with Julien on imaginative subjects.

As for him,

he simply thinks of his business.

I am not taking anything away from him to give to Julien."

No hypocrisy had sullied the purity of that naïve soul,

now swept away by a passion such as it had never felt before.

She deceived herself,

but without knowing it.

But none the less,

a certain instinct of virtue was alarmed.

Such were the combats which were agitating her when Julien appeared in the garden.

She heard him speak and almost at the same moment she saw him sit down by her side.

Her soul was as it were transported by this charming happiness which had for the last fortnight surprised her even more than it had allured.

Everything was novel for her.

None the less,

she said to herself after some moments,

"the mere presence of Julien is quite enough to blot out all his wrongs."

She was frightened;

it was then that she took away her hand.

His passionate kisses,

the like of which she had never received before,

made her forget that perhaps he loved another woman.

Soon he was no longer guilty in her eyes.

The cessation of that poignant pain which suspicion had engendered and the presence of a happiness that she had never even dreamt of,

gave her ecstasies of love and of mad gaiety.

The evening was charming for everyone,

except the mayor of Verrières,

who was unable to forget his _parvenu_ manufacturers.

Julien left off thinking about his black ambition,

or about those plans of his which were so difficult to accomplish.

For the first time in his life he was led away by the power of beauty.

Lost in a sweetly vague reverie,

quite alien to his character,

and softly pressing that hand,

which he thought ideally pretty,

he half listened to the rustle of the leaves of the pine trees,

swept by the light night breeze,

and to the dogs of the mill on the Doubs,

who barked in the distance.

But this emotion was one of pleasure and not passion.

As he entered his room,

he only thought of one happiness,

that of taking up again his favourite book.

When one is twenty the idea of the world and the figure to be cut in it dominate everything.

He soon,


laid down the book.

As the result of thinking of the victories of Napoleon,

he had seen a new element in his own victory.


he said to himself,

"I have won a battle.

I must exploit it.

I must crush the pride of that proud gentleman while he is in retreat.

That would be real Napoleon.

I must ask him for three days' holiday to go and see my friend Fouqué.

If he refuses me I will threaten to give him notice,

but he will yield the point."

Madame de Rênal could not sleep a wink.

It seemed as though,

until this moment,

she had never lived.

She was unable to distract her thoughts from the happiness of feeling Julian cover her hand with his burning kisses.

Suddenly the awful word adultery came into her mind.

All the loathesomeness with which the vilest debauchery can invest sensual love presented itself to her imagination.

These ideas essayed to pollute the divinely tender image which she was fashioning of Julien,

and of the happiness of loving him.

The future began to be painted in terrible colours.

She began to regard herself as contemptible.

That moment was awful.

Her soul was arriving in unknown countries.

During the evening she had tasted a novel happiness.

Now she found herself suddenly plunged in an atrocious unhappiness.

She had never had any idea of such sufferings;

they troubled her reason.

She thought for a moment of confessing to her husband that she was apprehensive of loving Julien.

It would be an opportunity of speaking of him.

Fortunately her memory threw up a maxim which her aunt had once given her on the eve of her marriage.

The maxim dealt with the danger of making confidences to a husband,

for a husband is after all a master.

She wrung her hands in the excess of her grief.

She was driven this way and that by clashing and painful ideas.

At one moment she feared that she was not loved.

The next the awful idea of crime tortured her,

as much as if she had to be exposed in the pillory on the following day in the public square of Verrières,

with a placard to explain her adultery to the populace.

Madame de Rênal had no experience of life.

Even in the full possession of her faculties,

and when fully exercising her reason,

she would never have appreciated any distinction between being guilty in the eyes of God,

and finding herself publicly overwhelmed with the crudest marks of universal contempt.

When the awful idea of adultery,

and of all the disgrace which in her view that crime brought in its train,

left her some rest,

she began to dream of the sweetness of living innocently with Julien as in the days that had gone by.

She found herself confronted with the horrible idea that Julien loved another woman.

She still saw his pallor when he had feared to lose her portrait,

or to compromise her by exposing it to view.

For the first time she had caught fear on that tranquil and noble visage.

He had never shewn such emotion to her or her children.

This additional anguish reached the maximum of unhappiness which the human soul is capable of enduring.


Madame de Rênal uttered cries which woke up her maid.

Suddenly she saw the brightness of a light appear near her bed,

and recognized Elisa.

"Is it you he loves?"

she exclaimed in her delirium.


the maid was so astonished by the terrible trouble in which she found her mistress that she paid no attention to this singular expression.

Madame de Rênal appreciated her imprudence.

"I have the fever,"

she said to her,

"and I think I am a little delirious."

Completely woken up by the necessity of controlling herself,

she became less unhappy.

Reason regained that supreme control which the semi-somnolent state had taken away.

To free herself from her maid's continual stare,

she ordered her maid to read the paper,

and it was as she listened to the monotonous voice of this girl,

reading a long article from the _Quotidienne_ that Madame de Rênal made the virtuous resolution to treat Julien with absolute coldness when she saw him again.



Elegant people are to be found in Paris.

People of character may exist in the provinces.


At five o'clock the following day,

before Madame de Rênal was visible,

Julien obtained a three days' holiday from her husband.

Contrary to his expectation Julien found himself desirous of seeing her again.

He kept thinking of that pretty hand of hers.

He went down into the garden,

but Madame de Rênal kept him waiting for a long time.

But if Julien had loved her,

he would have seen her forehead glued to the pane behind the half-closed blinds on the first floor.

She was looking at him.


in spite of her resolutions,

she decided to go into the garden.

Her habitual pallor had been succeeded by more lively hues.

This woman,

simple as she was,

was manifestly agitated;

a sentiment of constraint,

and even of anger,

altered that expression of profound serenity which seemed,

as it were,

to be above all the vulgar interests of life and gave so much charm to that divine face.

Julien approached her with eagerness,

admiring those beautiful arms which were just visible through a hastily donned shawl.

The freshness of the morning air seemed to accentuate still more the brilliance of her complexion which the agitation of the past night rendered all the more susceptible to all impressions.

This demure and pathetic beauty,

which was,

at the same time,

full of thoughts which are never found in the inferior classes,

seemed to reveal to Julien a faculty in his own soul which he had never before realised.

Engrossed in his admiration of the charms on which his his greedy gaze was riveted,

Julien took for granted the friendly welcome which he was expecting to receive.

He was all the more astonished at the icy coldness which she endeavoured to manifest to him,

and through which he thought he could even distinguish the intention of putting him in his place.

The smile of pleasure died away from his lips as he remembered his rank in society,

especially from the point of view of a rich and noble heiress.

In a single moment his face exhibited nothing but haughtiness and anger against himself.

He felt violently disgusted that he could have put off his departure for more than an hour,

simply to receive so humiliating a welcome.

"It is only a fool,"

he said to himself,

"who is angry with others;

a stone falls because it is heavy.

Am I going to be a child all my life?

How on earth is it that I manage to contract the charming habit of showing my real self to those people simply in return for their money?

If I want to win their respect and that of my own self,

I must shew them that it is simply a business transaction between my poverty and their wealth,

but that my heart is a thousand leagues away from their insolence,

and is situated in too high a sphere to be affected by their petty marks of favour or disdain."

While these feelings were crowding the soul of the young tutor,

his mobile features assumed an expression of ferocity and injured pride.

Madame de Rênal was extremely troubled.

The virtuous coldness that she had meant to put into her welcome was succeeded by an expression of interest --an interest animated by all the surprise brought about by the sudden change which she had just seen.

The empty morning platitudes about their health and the fineness of the day suddenly dried up.

Julien's judgment was disturbed by no passion,

and he soon found a means of manifesting to Madame de Rênal how light was the friendly relationship that he considered existed between them.

He said nothing to her about the little journey that he was going to make;

saluted her,

and went away.

As she watched him go,

she was overwhelmed by the sombre haughtiness which she read in that look which had been so gracious the previous evening.

Her eldest son ran up from the bottom of the garden,

and said as he kissed her,

"We have a holiday,

M. Julien is going on a journey."

At these words,

Madame de Rênal felt seized by a deadly coldness.

She was unhappy by reason of her virtue,

and even more unhappy by reason of her weakness.

This new event engrossed her imagination,

and she was transported far beyond the good resolutions which she owed to the awful night she had just passed.

It was not now a question of resisting that charming lover,

but of losing him for ever.

It was necessary to appear at breakfast.

To complete her anguish,

M. de Rênal and Madame Derville talked of nothing but Julien's departure.

The mayor of Verrières had noticed something unusual in the firm tone in which he had asked for a holiday.

"That little peasant has no doubt got somebody else's offer up his sleeve,

but that somebody else,

even though it's M. Valenod,

is bound to be a little discouraged by the sum of six hundred francs,

which the annual salary now tots up to.

He must have asked yesterday at Verrières for a period of three days to think it over,

and our little gentleman runs off to the mountains this morning so as not to be obliged to give me an answer.

Think of having to reckon with a wretched workman who puts on airs,

but that's what we've come to."

"If my husband,

who does not know how deeply he has wounded Julien,

thinks that he will leave us,

what can I think myself?"

said Madame de Rênal to herself.


that is all decided."

In order to be able at any rate to be free to cry,

and to avoid answering Madame Derville's questions,

she pleaded an awful headache,

and went to bed.

"That's what women are,"

repeated M. de Rênal,

"there is always something out of order in those complicated machines,"

and he went off jeering.

While Madame de Rênal was a prey to all the poignancy of the terrible passion in which chance had involved her,

Julien went merrily on his way,

surrounded by the most beautiful views that mountain scenery can offer.

He had to cross the great chain north of Vergy.

The path which he followed rose gradually among the big beech woods,

and ran into infinite spirals on the slope of the high mountain which forms the northern boundary of the Doubs valley.

Soon the traveller's view,

as he passed over the lower slopes bounding the course of the Doubs towards the south,

extends as far as the fertile plains of Burgundy and Beaujolais.

However insensible was the soul of this ambitious youth to this kind of beauty,

he could not help stopping from time to time to look at a spectacle at once so vast and so impressive.


he reached the summit of the great mountain,

near which he had to pass in order to arrive by this cross-country route at the solitary valley where lived his friend Fouqué,

the young wood merchant.

Julien was in no hurry to see him;

either him,

or any other human being.

Hidden like a bird of prey amid the bare rocks which crowned the great mountain,

he could see a long way off anyone coming near him.

He discovered a little grotto in the middle of the almost vertical slope of one of the rocks.

He found a way to it,

and was soon ensconced in this retreat.


he said,

"with eyes brilliant with joy,

men cannot hurt me."

It occurred to him to indulge in the pleasure of writing down those thoughts of his which were so dangerous to him everywhere else.

A square stone served him for a desk;

his pen flew.

He saw nothing of what was around him.

He noticed at last that the sun was setting behind the distant mountains of Beaujolais.

"Why shouldn't I pass the night here?"

he said to himself.

"I have bread,

and I am free."

He felt a spiritual exultation at the sound of that great word.

The necessity of playing the hypocrite resulted in his not being free,

even at Fouqué's.

Leaning his head on his two hands,

Julien stayed in the grotto,

more happy than he had ever been in his life,

thrilled by his dreams,

and by the bliss of his freedom.

Without realising it,

he saw all the rays of the twilight become successively extinguished.

Surrounded by this immense obscurity,

his soul wandered into the contemplation of what he imagined that he would one day meet in Paris.

First it was a woman,

much more beautiful and possessed of a much more refined temperament than anything he could have found in the provinces.

He loved with passion,

and was loved.

If he separated from her for some instants,

it was only to cover himself with glory,

and to deserve to be loved still more.

A young man brought up in the environment of the sad truths of Paris society,


on reaching this point in his romance,

even if we assume him possessed of Julien's imagination,

have been brought back to himself by the cold irony of the situation.

Great deeds would have disappeared from out his ken together with hope of achieving them and have been succeeded by the platitude.

"If one leave one's mistress one runs alas!

the risk of being deceived two or three times a day."

But the young peasant saw nothing but the lack of opportunity between himself and the most heroic feats.

But a deep night had succeeded the day,

and there were still two leagues to walk before he could descend to the cabin in which Fouqué lived.

Before leaving the little cave,

Julien made a light and carefully burnt all that he had written.

He quite astonished his friend when he knocked at his door at one o'clock in the morning.

He found Fouqué engaged in making up his accounts.

He was a young man of high stature,

rather badly made,

with big,

hard features,

a never-ending nose,

and a large fund of good nature concealed beneath this repulsive appearance.

"Have you quarelled with M. de Rênal then that you turn up unexpectedly like this?"

Julien told him,

but in a suitable way,

the events of the previous day.

"Stay with me,"

said Fouqué to him.

"I see that you know M. de Rênal,

M. Valenod,

the sub-prefect Maugron,

the curé Chélan.

You have understood the subtleties of the character of those people.

So there you are then,

quite qualified to attend auctions.

You know arithmetic better than I do;

you will keep my accounts;

I make a lot in my business.

The impossibility of doing everything myself,

and the fear of taking a rascal for my partner prevents me daily from undertaking excellent business.

It's scarcely a month since I put Michaud de Saint-Amand,

whom I haven't seen for six years,

and whom I ran across at the sale at Pontarlier in the way of making six thousand francs.

Why shouldn't it have been you who made those six thousand francs,

or at any rate three thousand.

For if I had had you with me that day,

I would have raised the bidding for that lot of timber and everybody else would soon have run away.

Be my partner."

This offer upset Julien.

It spoilt the train of his mad dreams.

Fouqué showed his accounts to Julien during the whole of the supper --which the two friends prepared themselves like the Homeric heroes (for Fouqué lived alone) and proved to him all the advantages offered by his timber business.

Fouqué had the highest opinion of the gifts and character of Julien.



the latter was alone in his little room of pinewood,

he said to himself:

"It is true I can make some thousands of francs here and then take up with advantage the profession of a soldier,

or of a priest,

according to the fashion then prevalent in France.

The little hoard that I shall have amassed will remove all petty difficulties.

In the solitude of this mountain I shall have dissipated to some extent my awful ignorance of so many of the things which make up the life of all those men of fashion.

But Fouqué has given up all thoughts of marriage,

and at the same time keeps telling me that solitude makes him unhappy.

It is clear that if he takes a partner who has no capital to put into his business,

he does so in the hopes of getting a companion who will never leave him."

"Shall I deceive my friend,"

exclaimed Julien petulantly.

This being who found hypocrisy and complete callousness his ordinary means of self-preservation could not,

on this occasion,

endure the idea of the slightest lack of delicate feeling towards a man whom he loved.

But suddenly Julien was happy.

He had a reason for a refusal.


Shall I be coward enough to waste seven or eight years.

I shall get to twenty-eight in that way!

But at that age Bonaparte had achieved his greatest feats.

When I shall have made in obscurity a little money by frequenting timber sales,

and earning the good graces of some rascally under-strappers who will guarantee that I shall still have the sacred fire with which one makes a name for oneself?

The following morning,

Julien with considerable sangfroid,

said in answer to the good Fouqué,

who regarded the matter of the partnership as settled,

that his vocation for the holy ministry of the altars would not permit him to accept it.

Fouqué did not return to the subject.

"But just think,"

he repeated to him,

"I'll make you my partner,

or if you prefer it,

I'll give you four thousand francs a year,

and you want to return to that M. de Rênal of yours,

who despises you like the mud on his shoes.

When you have got two hundred louis in front of you,

what is to prevent you from entering the seminary?

I'll go further: I will undertake to procure for you the best living in the district,


added Fouqué,

lowering his voice,

I supply firewood to M. le  -- --,

M. le  -- --,

M.  -- --.

I provide them with first quality oak,

but they only pay me for plain wood,

but never was money better invested.

Nothing could conquer Julien's vocation.

Fouqué finished by thinking him a little mad.

The third day,

in the early morning,

Julien left his friend,

and passed the day amongst the rocks of the great mountain.

He found his little cave again,

but he had no longer peace of mind.

His friend's offers had robbed him of it.

He found himself,

not between vice and virtue,

like Hercules,

but between mediocrity coupled with an assured prosperity,

and all the heroic dreams of his youth.

"So I have not got real determination after all,"

he said to himself,

and it was his doubt on this score which pained him the most.

"I am not of the stuff of which great men are made,

because I fear that eight years spent in earning a livelihood will deprive me of that sublime energy which inspires the accomplishment of extraordinary feats."



A novel: a mirror which one takes out on one's walk along the high road.


When Julien perceived the picturesque ruins of the old church at Vergy,

he noticed that he had not given a single thought to Madame de Rênal since the day before yesterday.

The other day,

when I took my leave,

that woman made me realise the infinite distance which separated us;

she treated me like a labourer's son.

No doubt she wished to signify her repentance for having allowed me to hold her hand the evening before. ...

It is,

however very pretty,

is that hand.

What a charm,

what a nobility is there in that woman's expression!

The possibility of making a fortune with Fouqué gave a certain facility to Julien's logic.

It was not spoilt quite so frequently by the irritation and the keen consciousness of his poverty and low estate in the eyes of the world.

Placed as it were on a high promontory,

he was able to exercise his judgment,

and had a commanding view,

so to speak,

of both extreme poverty and that competence which he still called wealth.

He was far from judging his position really philosophically,

but he had enough penetration to feel different after this little journey into the mountain.

He was struck with the extreme uneasiness with which Madame de Rênal listened to the brief account which she had asked for of his journey.

Fouqué had had plans of marriage,

and unhappy love affairs,

and long confidences on this subject had formed the staple of the two friends' conversation.

Having found happiness too soon,

Fouqué had realised that he was not the only one who was loved.

All these accounts had astonished Julien.

He had learnt many new things.

His solitary life of imagination and suspicion had kept him remote from anything which could enlighten him.

During his absence,

life had been nothing for Madame de Rênal but a series of tortures,


though different,

were all unbearable.

She was really ill.

"Now mind,"

said Madame Derville to her when she saw Julien arrive,

"you don't go into the garden this evening in your weak state;

the damp air will make your complaint twice as bad."

Madame Derville was surprised to see that her friend,

who was always scolded by M. de Rênal by reason of the excessive simplicity of her dress,

had just got some open-work stockings and some charming little shoes which had come from Paris.

For three days Madame de Rênal's only distraction had been to cut out a summer dress of a pretty little material which was very fashionable,

and get it made with express speed by Elisa.

This dress could scarcely have been finished a few moments before Julien's arrival,

but Madame de Rênal put it on immediately.

Her friend had no longer any doubt.

"She loves,"

unhappy woman,

said Madame Derville to herself.

She understood all the strange symptoms of the malady.

She saw her speak to Julien.

The most violent blush was succeeded by pallor.

Anxiety was depicted in her eyes,

which were riveted on those of the young tutor.

Madame de Rênal expected every minute that he would give an explanation of his conduct,

and announce that he was either going to leave the house or stay there.

Julien carefully avoided that subject,

and did not even think of it.

After terrible struggles,

Madame de Rênal eventually dared to say to him in a trembling voice that mirrored all her passion:

"Are you going to leave your pupils to take another place?"

Julien was struck by Madame de Rênal's hesitating voice and look.

"That woman loves me,"

he said to himself!

"But after this temporary moment of weakness,

for which her pride is no doubt reproaching her,

and as soon as she has ceased fearing that I shall leave,

she will be as haughty as ever."

This view of their mutual position passed through Julien's mind as rapidly as a flash of lightning.

He answered with some hesitation,

"I shall be extremely distressed to leave children who are so nice and so well-born,

but perhaps it will be necessary.

One has duties to oneself as well."

As he pronounced the expression,

"well-born" (it was one of those aristocratic phrases which Julien had recently learnt),

he became animated by a profound feeling of antipathy.

"I am not well-born,"

he said to himself,

"in that woman's eyes."

As Madame de Rênal listened to him,

she admired his genius and his beauty,

and the hinted possibility of his departure pierced her heart.

All her friends at Verrières who had come to dine at Vergy during Julien's absence had complimented her almost jealously on the astonishing man whom her husband had had the good fortune to unearth.

It was not that they understood anything about the progress of children.

The feat of knowing his Bible by heart,

and what is more,

of knowing it in Latin,

had struck the inhabitants of Verrières with an admiration which will last perhaps a century.


who never spoke to anyone,

was ignorant of all this.

If Madame de Rênal had possessed the slightest presence of mind,

she would have complimented him on the reputation which he had won,

and Julien's pride,

once satisfied,

he would have been sweet and amiable towards her,

especially as he thought her new dress charming.

Madame de Rênal was also pleased with her pretty dress,

and with what Julien had said to her about it,

and wanted to walk round the garden.

But she soon confessed that she was incapable of walking.

She had taken the traveller's arm,

and the contact of that arm,

far from increasing her strength,

deprived her of it completely.

It was night.

They had scarcely sat down before Julien,

availing himself of his old privilege,

dared to bring his lips near his pretty neighbour's arm,

and to take her hand.

He kept thinking of the boldness which Fouqué had exhibited with his mistresses and not of Madame de Rênal;

the word "well-born" was still heavy on his heart.

He felt his hand pressed,

but experienced no pleasure.

So far from his being proud,

or even grateful for the sentiment that Madame de Rênal was betraying that evening by only too evident signs,

he was almost insensible to her beauty,

her elegance,

and her freshness.

Purity of soul,

and the absence of all hateful emotion,

doubtless prolong the duration of youth.

It is the face which ages first with the majority of women.

Julien sulked all the evening.

Up to the present he had only been angry with the social order,

but from that time that Fouqué had offered him an ignoble means of obtaining a competency,

he was irritated with himself.

Julien was so engrossed in his thoughts,


although from time to time he said a few words to the ladies,

he eventually let go Madame de Rênal's hand without noticing it.

This action overwhelmed the soul of the poor woman.

She saw in it her whole fate.

If she had been certain of Julien's affection,

her virtue would possibly have found strength to resist him.

But trembling lest she should lose him for ever,

she was distracted by her passion to the point of taking again Julien's hand,

which he had left in his absent-mindedness leaning on the back of the chair.

This action woke up this ambitious youth;

he would have liked to have had for witnesses all those proud nobles who had regarded him at meals,

when he was at the bottom of the table with the children,

with so condescending a smile.

"That woman cannot despise me;

in that case,"

he said to himself.

"I ought to shew my appreciation of her beauty.

I owe it to myself to be her lover."

That idea would not have occurred to him before the naive confidences which his friend had made.

The sudden resolution which he had just made formed an agreeable distraction.

He kept saying to himself,

"I must have one of those two women;"

he realised that he would have very much preferred to have paid court to Madame Derville.

It was not that she was more agreeable,

but that she had always seen him as the tutor distinguished by his knowledge,

and not as the journeyman carpenter with his cloth jacket folded under his arm as he had first appeared to Madame de Rênal.

It was precisely as a young workman,

blushing up to the whites of his eyes,

standing by the door of the house and not daring to ring,

that he made the most alluring appeal to Madame de Rênal's imagination.

As he went on reviewing his position,

Julien saw that the conquest of Madame Derville,

who had probably noticed the taste which Madame de Rênal was manifesting for him,

was out of the question.

He was thus brought back to the latter lady.

"What do I know of the character of that woman?"

said Julien to himself.

"Only this: before my journey,

I used to take her hand,

and she used to take it away.


I take my hand away,

and she seizes and presses it.

A fine opportunity to pay her back all the contempt she had had for me.

God knows how many lovers she has had,

probably she is only deciding in my favour by reason of the easiness of assignations."



is the misfortune of an excessive civilisation.

The soul of a young man of twenty,

possessed of any education,

is a thousand leagues away from that _abandon_ without which love is frequently but the most tedious of duties.

"I owe it all the more to myself,"

went on the petty vanity of Julien,

"to succeed with that woman,

by reason of the fact that if I ever make a fortune,

and I am reproached by anyone with my menial position as a tutor,

I shall then be able to give out that it was love which got me the post."

Julien again took his hand away from Madame de Rênal,

and then took her hand again and pressed it.

As they went back to the drawing-room about midnight,

Madame de Rênal said to him in a whisper.

"You are leaving us,

you are going?"

Julien answered with a sigh.

"I absolutely must leave,

for I love you passionately.

It is wrong  ...

how wrong indeed for a young priest?"

Madame de Rênal leant upon his arm,

and with so much abandon that her cheek felt the warmth of Julien's.

The nights of these two persons were quite different.

Madame de Rênal was exalted by the ecstacies of the highest moral pleasure.

A coquettish young girl,

who loves early in life,

gets habituated to the trouble of love,

and when she reaches the age of real passion,

finds the charm of novelty lacking.

As Madame de Rênal had never read any novels,

all the refinements of her happiness were new to her.

No mournful truth came to chill her,

not even the spectre of the future.

She imagined herself as happy in ten years' time as she was at the present moment.

Even the idea of virtue and of her sworn fidelity to M. de Rênal,

which had agitated her some days past,

now presented itself in vain,

and was sent about its business like an importunate visitor.

"I will never grant anything to Julien,"

said Madame de Rênal;

"we will live in the future like we have been living for the last month.

He shall be a friend."