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Le mari de madame de Solange   By: (1806-1854)

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First Page:

Heath's Modern Language Series.

LE MARI DE

MADAME DE SOLANGE

Par ÉMILE SOUVESTRE.

EDITED, WITH ENGLISH NOTES

BY

O. B. SUPER, PH.D.

Professor of Modern Languages in Dickinson College

BOSTON, U. S. A.

D. C. HEATH & CO., PUBLISHERS

1892

Copyright, 1889,

BY O. B. SUPER.

PRINTED MY C. H. HEINTZEMANN, BOSTON, MASS., U. S. A.

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH.

EMILE SOUVESTRE was born at Morlaix in Brittany, April 15, 1806. His father was a civil engineer, and he intended following the same profession. After his father's death he changed his mind and began to study law, but being ambitious to shine as a writer he soon abandoned the law also.

His first literary work was a drama entitled "The Siege of Missolonghi," but this, like many other works of its class, was never produced on the stage. The misfortunes of his family soon compelled him to devote himself to making money, and in 1828 he became a book keeper in Nantes. He did not, however, entirely renounce literature, but published numerous articles in various periodicals, the most noted of which was a series entitled "Les Derniers Bretons," which appeared in "La Revue des Deux Mondes." These established his reputation as a writer of taste, and during the next twenty years he wrote a large number of stories and tales, most of which were originally published in newspapers and reviews. His constant aim was not only to please the reading public, but also to inculcate the principles of sound morality.

His next venture was the co principalship of a private school at Nantes, but he soon resigned his position and became the editor of a paper at Brest. This he was soon compelled to give up for political reasons, and he then accepted a professorship of rhetoric in the same place, and afterwards in Mühlhausen.

The professor's chair, however, does not seem to have been congenial to his tastes, for in 1836 he removed to Paris, determined to devote himself exclusively to literature. He took up his abode in the fourth story of a house in a retired part of the city, and of his life there he gives us charming glimpses in his "Philosophe sous les Toits." His thoroughly human and sympathetic nature made him a favorite with all who knew him, especially with the laboring classes, with whom he loved to associate. It is to this circumstance that we owe "Les Confessions d'un Ouvrier."

The State in 1848 founded an "École d'Administration," in order to train young men for the civil service, and he was made one of the professors. Here he delivered four lectures to workingmen, which were very popular; but when Louis Napoleon overthrew the republic he regarded Souvestre's lectures as dangerous to his pretensions, and they were suppressed.

In 1851 the French Academy awarded him a prize for his work "Un Philosophe sous les Toits." In 1853 he was invited by Vinet to visit Switzerland in order to deliver a series of popular lectures on literature, which were received with great favor. Soon after his return to Paris he died, July 5, 1854.

LE MARI DE MADAME DE SOLANGE.

I.

ON se trouvait aux derniers mois de l'année 1775. Deux hommes étaient assis l'un vis à vis de l'autre auprès d'un bureau chargé d' in folios ouverts, de parchemins timbrés et de sacs à procès.[1]

Le costume du premier annonçait l'un des plus brillants gentilhommes de la cour de Louis XVI, tandis que le second portait l'habit de drap noir et le jabot en organdi, qui désignait alors l'homme de loi d'une manière presque certaine.

Ainsi, maître Durocher, reprit le jeune seigneur comme s'il eût voulu résumer les renseignements que le notaire venait de lui fournir, vous m'assurez que la fortune de madame de Solange ne monte pas à moins de cent mille livres[2] de revenu; qu'elle est liquide de toute dette et susceptible d'augmentations.

Je puis vous l'affirmer, répondit le notaire.

Fort bien; mais vous n'êtes point seulement un habile praticien, maître; tout ce que vous m'avez appris jusqu'à ce jour des personnes que je voulais connaître, l'expérience l'a justifié; voulez vous me donner une nouvelle preuve de vos lumières?

Monsieur de Lanoy peut compter en toute occasion sur mon dévouement, répondit le notaire sérieusement... Continue reading book >>




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