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The Man With The Broken Ear   By: (1828-1885)

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THE MAN WITH THE BROKEN EAR

TRANSLATED FROM THE FRENCH OF EDMOND ABOUT

BY HENRY HOLT

NEW YORK HOLT & WILLIAMS 1872

Entered, according to the Act of Congress, in the year 1867, by HENRY HOLT, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States, for the Southern District of New York.

DEDICATION OF THE FIRST EDITION.[A]

DEAR LEYPOLDT:

You have not forgotten that nearly two years ago, before our business connection was thought of, this identical translation was 'respectfully declined' by you with that same courtesy, the exercise of which in frequent similar cases, each one of us now tries so hard to shove on the other's shoulders. I hope that your surprise on reading this note of dedication will not interfere with your forgiving the pertinacity with which, through it, I still strive to make the book yours .

H. H.

451 BROOME STREET, May 16, 1867.

[Footnote A: Published by Leypoldt & Holt.]

The Translator has placed a few explanatory Notes at the end of the volume. They are referred to by numbers in the text.

THE MAN

WITH THE BROKEN EAR.

CHAPTER I.

WHEREIN THEY KILL THE FATTED CALF TO CELEBRATE THE RETURN OF A FRUGAL SON.

On the 18th of May, 1859, M. Renault, formerly professor of physics and chemistry, now a landed proprietor at Fontainebleau, and member of the Municipal Council of that charming little city, himself carried to the post office the following letter:

" To Monsieur Leon Renault, Civil Engineer, Berlin, Prussia.

(To be kept at the Post Office till called for.)

"MY DEAR CHILD:

"The good news you sent us from St. Petersburg caused us the greatest joy. Your poor mother had been ailing since winter, but I had not spoken to you about it from fear of making you uneasy while so far from home. As for myself, I had not been very well; and there was yet a third person (guess the name if you can!) who was languishing from not seeing you. But content yourself, my dear Leon: we have been recuperating more and more since the time of your return is almost fixed. We begin to believe that the mines of the Ural will not swallow up that which is dearer to us than all the world. Thank God! that fortune which you have so honorably and so quickly made will not have cost your life, nor even your health, since you tell us you have been growing fat off there in the desert. If you have not finished up all your business out there, so much the worse for you: there are three of us who have sworn that you shall never go back again. You will not find it hard to accede, for you will be happy among us. Such, at least, is the opinion of Clementine.... I forget that I was pledged not to name her. Master Bonnivet, our excellent neighbor, has not rested content with investing your funds in a good mortgage, but has also drawn up, in his leisure moments, a most edifying little indenture, which now lacks nothing but your signature. Our worthy mayor has ordered, on your account, a new official scarf, which is on the way from Paris. You will have the first benefit of it. Your apartment (which will soon belong to a plural 'you') is elegant, in proportion to your present fortune. You are to occupy....; but the house has changed so in three years, that my description would be incomprehensible to you. M. Audret, the architect of the imperial chateau, directed the work. He actually wanted to construct me a laboratory worthy of Thénard or Duprez. I earnestly protested against it, and said that I was not yet worthy of one, as my celebrated work on the Condensation of Gases had only reached the fourth chapter. But as your mother was in collusion with the old scamp of a friend, it has turned out that science has henceforth a temple in our house a regular sorcerer's den, according to the picturesque expression of your old Gothon: it lacks nothing, not even a four horse power steam engine... Continue reading book >>




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