"If you knew me, my cousin, you would know that I abhor ridicule; itwithers the heart and jars upon all my feelings." Here he swallowedhis buttered sippet very gracefully. "No, I really have not enoughmind to make fun of others; and doubtless it is a great defect. InParis, when they want to disparage a man, they say: 'He has a goodheart.' The phrase means: 'The poor fellow is as stupid as arhinoceros.' But as I am rich, and known to hit the bull's-eye atthirty paces with any kind of pistol, and even in the open fields,ridicule respects me."。，
。， In the pure and monotonous life of young girls there comes a delicioushour when the sun sheds its rays into their soul, when the flowersexpress their thoughts, when the throbbings of the heart send upwardto the brain their fertilizing warmth and melt all thoughts into avague desire,--day of innocent melancholy and of dulcet joys! Whenbabes begin to see, they smile; when a young girl first perceives thesentiment of nature, she smiles as she smiled when an infant. If lightis the first love of life, is not love a light to the heart? Themoment to see within the veil of earthly things had come for Eugenie.An early riser, like all provincial girls, she was up betimes and saidher prayers, and then began the business of dressing,--a businesswhich henceforth was to have a meaning. First she brushed and smoothedher chestnut hair and twisted its heavy masses to the top of her headwith the utmost care, preventing the loose tresses from straying, andgiving to her head a symmetry which heightened the timid candor of herface; for the simplicity of these accessories accorded well with theinnocent sincerity of its lines. As she washed her hands again andagain in the cold water which hardened and reddened the skin, shelooked at her handsome round arms and asked herself what her cousindid to make his hands so softly white, his nails so delicately curved.She put on new stockings and her prettiest shoes. She laced her corsetstraight, without skipping a single eyelet. And then, wishing for thefirst time in her life to appear to advantage, she felt the joy ofhaving a new gown, well made, which rendered her attractive.As she finished her toilet the clock of the parish church struck thehour; to her astonishment, it was only seven. The desire of havingplenty of time for dressing carefully had led her to get up too early.Ignorant of the art of retouching every curl and studying everyeffect, Eugenie simply crossed her arms, sat down by the window, andlooked at the court-yard, the narrow garden, and the high terracedwalls that over-topped it: a dismal, hedged-in prospect, yet notwholly devoid of those mysterious beauties which belong to solitary oruncultivated nature. Near the kitchen was a well surrounded by a curb,with a pulley fastened to a bent iron rod clasped by a vine whoseleaves were withered, reddened, and shrivelled by the season. Fromthence the tortuous shoots straggled to the wall, clutched it, and ranthe whole length of the house, ending near the wood-pile, where thelogs were ranged with as much precision as the books in a library. Thepavement of the court-yard showed the black stains produced in time bylichens, herbage, and the absence of all movement or friction. Thethick walls wore a coating of green moss streaked with waving brownlines, and the eight stone steps at the bottom of the court-yard whichled up to the gate of the garden were disjointed and hidden beneathtall plants, like the tomb of a knight buried by his widow in the daysof the Crusades. Above a foundation of moss-grown, crumbling stoneswas a trellis of rotten wood, half fallen from decay; over themclambered and intertwined at will a mass of clustering creepers. Oneach side of the latticed gate stretched the crooked arms of twostunted apple-trees. Three parallel walks, gravelled and separatedfrom each other by square beds, where the earth was held in by box-borders, made the garden, which terminated, beneath a terrace of theold walls, in a group of lindens. At the farther end were raspberry-bushes; at the other, near the house, an immense walnut-tree droopedits branches almost into the window of the miser's sanctum.A clear day and the beautiful autumnal sun common to the banks of theLoire was beginning to melt the hoar-frost which the night had laid onthese picturesque objects, on the walls, and on the plants whichswathed the court-yard. Eugenie found a novel charm in the aspect ofthings lately so insignificant to her. A thousand confused thoughtscame to birth in her mind and grew there, as the sunbeams grew withoutalong the wall. She felt that impulse of delight, vague, inexplicable,which wraps the moral being as a cloud wraps the physical body. Herthoughts were all in keeping with the details of this strangelandscape, and the harmonies of her heart blended with the harmoniesof nature. When the sun reached an angle of the wall where the "Venus-hair" of southern climes drooped its thick leaves, lit with thechanging colors of a pigeon's breast, celestial rays of hope illuminedthe future to her eyes, and thenceforth she loved to gaze upon thatpiece of wall, on its pale flowers, its blue harebells, its wiltingherbage, with which she mingled memories as tender as those ofchildhood. The noise made by each leaf as it fell from its twig in thevoid of that echoing court gave answer to the secret questionings ofthe young girl, who could have stayed there the livelong day withoutperceiving the flight of time. Then came tumultuous heavings of thesoul. She rose often, went to her glass, and looked at herself, as anauthor in good faith looks at his work to criticise it and blame it inhis own mind.
The ancient mansions of the old town of Saumur are at the top of thishilly street, and were formerly occupied by the nobility of theneighborhood. The melancholy dwelling where the events of thefollowing history took place is one of these mansions,--venerablerelics of a century in which men and things bore the characteristicsof simplicity which French manners and customs are losing day by day.Follow the windings of the picturesque thoroughfare, whoseirregularities awaken recollections that plunge the mind mechanicallyinto reverie, and you will see a somewhat dark recess, in the centreof which is hidden the door of the house of Monsieur Grandet. It isimpossible to understand the force of this provincial expression--thehouse of Monsieur Grandet--without giving the biography of MonsieurGrandet himself.。，
"Holy Virgin! what a beautiful altar-cloth it would make for theparish church! My dear darling monsieur, give it to the church, andyou'll save your soul; if you don't, you'll lose it. Oh, how nice youlook in it! I must call mademoiselle to see you."。， "Nanon, my good Nanon, make a little cream for my cousin's breakfast.""Why, mademoiselle, you should have thought of that yesterday," saidNanon, bursting into a loud peal of laughter. "I can't make cream.Your cousin is a darling, a darling! oh, that he is! You should haveseen him in his dressing-gown, all silk and gold! I saw him, I did! Hewears linen as fine as the surplice of monsieur le cure.""Nanon, please make us a /galette/."
。， Eugenie and her mother silently exchanged a glance of intelligence.Madame Grandet was a dry, thin woman, as yellow as a quince, awkward,slow, one of those women who are born to be down-trodden. She had bigbones, a big nose, a big forehead, big eyes, and presented at firstsight a vague resemblance to those mealy fruits that have neithersavor nor succulence. Her teeth were black and few in number, hermouth was wrinkled, her chin long and pointed. She was an excellentwoman, a true la Bertelliere. L'abbe Cruchot found occasionalopportunity to tell her that she had not done ill; and she believedhim. Angelic sweetness, the resignation of an insect tortured bychildren, a rare piety, a good heart, an unalterable equanimity ofsoul, made her universally pitied and respected. Her husband nevergave her more than six francs at a time for her personal expenses.Ridiculous as it may seem, this woman, who by her own fortune and hervarious inheritances brought Pere Grandet more than three hundredthousand francs, had always felt so profoundly humiliated by herdependence and the slavery in which she lived, against which thegentleness of her spirit prevented her from revolting, that she hadnever asked for one penny or made a single remark on the deeds whichMaitre Cruchot brought for her signature. This foolish secret pride,this nobility of soul perpetually misunderstood and wounded byGrandet, ruled the whole conduct of the wife.
。， The three Cruchots felt crushed as they saw the joyous, animated lookcast upon Adolphe des Grassins by the heiress, to whom such richeswere unheard-of. Monsieur des Grassins offered Grandet a pinch ofsnuff, took one himself, shook off the grains as they fell on theribbon of the Legion of honor which was attached to the button-hole ofhis blue surtout; then he looked at the Cruchots with an air thatseemed to say, "Parry that thrust if you can!" Madame des Grassinscast her eyes on the blue vases which held the Cruchot bouquets,looking at the enemy's gifts with the pretended interest of asatirical woman. At this delicate juncture the Abbe Cruchot left thecompany seated in a circle round the fire and joined Grandet at thelower end of the hall. As the two men reached the embrasure of thefarthest window the priest said in the miser's ear: "Those peoplethrow money out of the windows."