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Conscience   By: (1830-1907)

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By Hector Malot

With a Preface by EDOUARD PAILLERON, of the French Academy


HECTOR HENRI MALOT, the son of a notary public, was born at La Brouille (Seine Inferieure), March 20, 1830. He studied law, intending to devote himself also to the Notariat, but toward 1853 or 1854 commenced writing for various small journals. Somewhat later he assisted in compiling the 'Biographie Generale' of Firmin Didot, and was also a contributor to some reviews. Under the generic title of 'Les Victimes d'Amour,' he made his debut with the following three family romances: 'Les Amants (1859), Les Epoux (1865), and Les Enfants (1866).' About the same period he published a book, 'La Vie Moderne en Angleterre.' Malot has written quite a number of novels, of which the greatest is 'Conscience,' crowned by the French Academy in 1878.

His works have met with great success in all countries. They possess that lasting interest which attends all work based on keen observation and masterly analysis of the secret motives of human actions.

The titles of his writings run as follows: 'Les Amours de Jacques (1868); Un Beau Frere (1869); Romain Kalbris (1864), being a romance for children; Une Bonne Afaire, and Madame Obernin (1870); Un Cure de Province (1872); Un Mariage sons le Second Empire (1873); Une Belle Mere (1874); L'Auberge du Monde (1875 1876, 4 vols.); Les Batailles du Mariage (1877, 3 vols.); Cara (1877); Le Docteur Claude (1879); Le Boheme Tapageuse (1880, 3 vols.); Pompon, and Une Femme d'Argent (1881); La Petite Soeur, and Les Millions Honteux (1882); Les Besogneux, and Paulette (1883); Marichette, and Micheline (1884.); Le Lieutenant Bonnet, and Sang Bleu (1885); Baccara, and Zyte (1886); Viceo Francis, Seduction, and Ghislaine (1887); Mondaine (1888); Mariage Riche, and Justice (1889); Mere (1890), Anie (1891); Complices (1892); Conscience (1893); and Amours de Jeunes et Amours de Vieux (1894).'

About this time Hector Malot resolved not to write fiction any more. He announced this determination in a card published in the journal, 'Le Temps,' May 25, 1895 It was then maliciously stated that "M. Malot his retired from business after having accumulated a fortune." However, he took up his pen again and published a history of his literary life: Le Roman de mes Romans (1896); besides two volumes of fiction, L'Amour dominateur (1896), and Pages choisies (1898), works which showed that, in the language of Holy Writ, "his eye was not dimmed nor his natural force abated," and afforded him a triumph over his slanderers.

EDOUARD PAILLERON de l'Academie Francaise.




When Crozat, the Bohemian, escaped from poverty, by a good marriage that made him a citizen of the Rue de Vaugirard, he did not break with his old comrades; instead of shunning them, or keeping them at a distance, he took pleasure in gathering them about him, glad to open his house to them, the comforts of which were very different from the attic of the Rue Ganneron, that he had occupied for so long a time.

Every Wednesday, from four to seven o'clock, he had a reunion at his house, the Hotel des Medicis, and it was a holiday for which his friends prepared themselves. When a new idea occurred to one of the habitues it was caressed, matured, studied in solitude, in order to be presented in full bloom at the assembly.

Crozat's reception of his friends was pleasing, simple, like the man, cordial on the part of the husband, as well as on the part of the wife, who, having been an actress, held to the religion of comradeship: On a table were small pitchers of beer and glasses; within reach was an old stone jar from Beauvais, full of tobacco. The beer was good, the tobacco dry, and the glasses were never empty.

And it was not silly subjects that were discussed here, worldly babblings, or gossiping about absent friends, but the great questions that ruled humanity: philosophy, politics, society, and religion... Continue reading book >>

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