Six months later they had become archæologists, and their house was like _useum.
In the vestibule stood an old wooden beam. The staircase was encumbered wit_he geological specimens, and an enormous chain was stretched on the groun_ll along the corridor. They had taken off its hinges the door between the tw_ooms in which they did not sleep, and had condemned the outer door of th_econd in order to convert both into a single apartment.
As soon as you crossed the threshold, you came in contact with a stone trough (a Gallo-Roman sarcophagus); the ironwork next attracted your attention. Fixe_o the opposite wall, a warming-pan looked down on two andirons and _earthplate representing a monk caressing a shepherdess. On the boards al_round, you saw torches, locks, bolts, and nuts of screws. The floor wa_endered invisible beneath fragments of red tiles. A table in the centr_xhibited curiosities of the rarest description: the shell of a Cauchoise cap, two argil urns, medals, and a phial of opaline glass. An upholstered armchai_ad at its back a triangle worked with guipure. A piece of a coat of mai_dorned the partition to the right, and on the other side sharp spike_ustained in a horizontal position a unique specimen of a halberd.
The second room, into which two steps led down, contained the old books whic_hey had brought with them from Paris, and those which, on their arrival, the_ad found in a press. The leaves of the folding-doors had been removed hither.
They called it the library.
The back of the door was entirely covered by the genealogical tree of th_roixmare family. In the panelling on the return side, a pastel of a lady i_he dress of the period of Louis XV. made a companion picture to the portrai_f Père Bouvard. The casing of the glass was decorated with a sombrero o_lack felt, and a monstrous galoche filled with leaves, the remains of a nest.
Two cocoanuts (which had belonged to Pécuchet since his younger days) flanke_n the chimney-piece an earthenware cask on which a peasant sat astride. Clos_y, in a straw basket, was a little coin brought up by a duck.
In front of the bookcase stood a shell chest of drawers trimmed with plush.
The cover of it supported a cat with a mouse in its mouth—a petrifaction fro_t. Allyre; a work-box, also of shell work, and on this box a decanter o_randy contained a Bon Chrétien pear.
But the finest thing was a statue of St. Peter in the embrasure of the window.
His right hand, covered with a glove of apple-green colour, was pressing th_ey of Paradise. His chasuble, ornamented with fleurs-de-luce, was azure blue, and his tiara very yellow, pointed like a pagoda. He had flabby cheeks, bi_ound eyes, a gaping mouth, and a crooked nose shaped like a trumpet. Abov_im hung a canopy made of an old carpet in which you could distinguish tw_upids in a circle of roses, and at his feet, like a pillar, rose a butter-po_earing these words in white letters on a chocolate ground: "Executed in th_resence of H.R.H. the Duke of Angoulême at Noron, 3rd of October, 1847."
Pécuchet, from his bed, saw all these things in a row, and sometimes he wen_s far as Bouvard's room to lengthen the perspective.
One spot remained empty, exactly opposite to the coat of arms, that intende_or the Renaissance chest. It was not finished; Gorju was still working at it, jointing the panels in the bakehouse, squaring them or undoing them.
At eleven o'clock he took his breakfast, chatted after that with Mélie, an_ften did not make his appearance again for the rest of the day.
In order to have pieces of furniture in good style, Bouvard and Pécuchet wen_couring the country. What they brought back was not suitable; but they ha_ome across a heap of curious things. Their first passion was a taste fo_rticles of _virtù_ ; then came the love of the Middle Ages.
To begin with, they visited cathedrals; and the lofty naves mirrorin_hemselves in the holy-water fonts, the glass ornaments dazzling as hanging_f precious stones, the tombs in the recesses of the chapels, the uncertai_ight of crypts—everything, even to the coolness of the walls, thrilled the_ith a shudder of joy, a religious emotion.
They were soon able to distinguish the epochs, and, disdainful of sacristans, they would say: "Ha! a Romanesque apsis!" "That's of the twelfth century!"
"Here we are falling back again into the flamboyant!"
They strove to interpret the sculptured symbols on the capitals, such as th_wo griffins of Marigny pecking at a tree in blossom; Pécuchet read a satir_n the singers with grotesque jaws which terminate the mouldings a_eugerolles; and as for the exuberance of the man that covers one of th_ullions at Hérouville, that was a proof, according to Bouvard, of ou_ncestors' love of broad jokes.
They ended by not tolerating the least symptom of decadence. All wa_ecadence, and they deplored vandalism, and thundered against badigeon.
But the style of a monument does not always agree with its supposed date. Th_emicircular arch of the thirteenth century still holds sway in Provence. Th_give is, perhaps, very ancient; and authors dispute as to the anteriority o_he Romanesque to the Gothic. This want of certainty disappointed them.
After the churches they studied fortresses—those of Domfront and Falaise. The_dmired under the gate the grooves of the portcullis, and, having reached th_op, they first saw all the country around them, then the roofs of the house_n the town, the streets intersecting one another, the carts on the square, the women at the washhouse. The wall descended perpendicularly as far as th_alisade; and they grew pale as they thought that men had mounted there, hanging to ladders. They would have ventured into the subterranean passage_ut that Bouvard found an obstacle in his stomach and Pécuchet in his horro_f vipers.
They desired to make the acquaintance of the old manor-houses—Curcy, Bully, Fontenay, Lemarmion, Argonge. Sometimes a Carlovingian tower would show itsel_t the corner of some farm-buildings behind a heap of manure. The kitchen, garnished with stone benches, made them dream of feudal junketings. Others ha_ forbiddingly fierce aspect with their three enceintes still visible, thei_oopholes under the staircase, and their high turrets with pointed sides. The_hey came to an apartment in which a window of the Valois period, chased so a_o resemble ivory, let in the sun, which heated the grains of colza tha_trewed the floor. Abbeys were used as barns. The inscriptions on tombstone_ere effaced. In the midst of fields a gable-end remained standing, clad fro_op to bottom in ivy which trembled in the wind.
A number of things excited in their breasts a longing to possess them—a ti_ot, a paste buckle, printed calicoes with large flowerings. The shortness o_oney restrained them.
By a happy chance, they unearthed at Balleroy in a tinman's house a Gothi_hurch window, and it was big enough to cover, near the armchair, the righ_ide of the casement up to the second pane. The steeple of Chavignolle_isplayed itself in the distance, producing a magnificent effect. With th_ower part of a cupboard Gorju manufactured a prie-dieu to put under th_othic window, for he humoured their hobby. So pronounced was it that the_egretted monuments about which nothing at all is known—such as the vill_esidence of the bishops of Séez.
"Bayeux," says M. de Caumont, "must have possessed a theatre." They searche_or the site of it without success.
The village of Montrecy contained a meadow celebrated for the number of medal_hich chanced formerly to have been found there. They calculated on making _ine harvest in this place. The caretaker refused to admit them.
They were not more fortunate as to the connection which existed between _istern at Falaise and the faubourg of Caen. Ducks which had been put in ther_eappeared at Vaucelles, quacking, "Can, can, can"—whence is derived the nam_f the town!
No step, no sacrifice, was too great for them.
At the inn of Mesnil-Villement, in 1816, M. Galeron got a breakfast for th_um of four sous. They took the same meal there, and ascertained with surpris_hat things were altered!
Who was the founder of the abbey of St. Anne? Is there any relationshi_etween Marin Onfroy, who, in the twelfth century, imported a new kind o_otato, and Onfroy, governor of Hastings at the period of the Conquest? Ho_ere they to procure _L'Astucieuse Pythonisse_ , a comedy in verse by on_utrezor, produced at Bayeux, and just now exceedingly rare? Under Louis XIV., Hérambert Dupaty, or Dupastis Hérambert, composed a work which has neve_ppeared, full of anecdotes about Argentan: the question was how to recove_hese anecdotes. What have become of the autograph memoirs of Madame Dubois d_a Pierre, consulted for the unpublished history of L'Aigle by Louis Dasprès, curate of St. Martin? So many problems, so many curious points, to clear up.
But a slight mark often puts one on the track of an invaluable discovery.
Accordingly, they put on their blouses, in order not to put people on thei_uard, and, in the guise of hawkers, they presented themselves at houses, where they expressed a desire to buy up old papers. They obtained heaps o_hem. These included school copybooks, invoices, newspapers that were out o_ate—nothing of any value.
At last Bouvard and Pécuchet addressed themselves to Larsoneur.
He was absorbed in Celtic studies, and while summarily replying to thei_uestions put others to them.
Had they observed in their rounds any traces of dog-worship, such as are see_t Montargis, or any special circumstances with regard to the fires on St.
John's night, marriages, popular sayings, etc.? He even begged of them t_ollect for him some of those flint axes, then called _celtæ_ , which th_ruids used in their criminal holocausts.
They procured a dozen of them through Gorju, sent him the smallest of them, and with the others enriched the museum. There they walked with delight, swep_he place themselves, and talked about it to all their acquaintances.
One afternoon Madame Bordin and M. Marescot came to see it.
Bouvard welcomed them, and began the demonstration in the porch.
The beam was nothing less than the old gibbet of Falaise, according to th_oiner who had sold it, and who had got this information from his grand- father.
The big chain in the corridor came from the subterranean cells of the keep o_orteval. In the notary's opinion it resembled the boundary chains in front o_he entrance-courts of manor-houses. Bouvard was convinced that it had bee_sed in former times to bind the captives. He opened the door of the firs_hamber.
"What are all these tiles for?" exclaimed Madame Bordin.
"To heat the stoves. But let us be a little regular, if you please. This is _omb discovered in an inn where they made use of it as a horse-trough."
After this, Bouvard took up the two urns filled with a substance whic_onsisted of human dust, and he drew the phials up to his eyes, for th_urpose of showing the way the Romans used to shed tears in it.
"But one sees only dismal things at your house!"
Indeed it was a rather grave subject for a lady. So he next drew out of a cas_everal copper coins, together with a silver denarius.
Madame Bordin asked the notary what sum this would be worth at the presen_ay.
The coat of mail which he was examining slipped out of his fingers; some o_he links snapped.
Bouvard stifled his annoyance. He had even the politeness to unfasten th_alberd, and, bending forward, raising his arms and stamping with his heels, he made a show of hamstringing a horse, stabbing as if with a bayonet an_verpowering an enemy.
The widow inwardly voted him a rough person.
She went into raptures over the shell chest of drawers.
The cat of St. Allyre much astonished her, the pear in the decanter not quit_o much; then, when she came to the chimney-piece: "Ha! here's a hat tha_ould need mending!"
Three holes, marks of bullets, pierced its brims.
It was the head-piece of a robber chief under the Directory, David de l_azoque, caught in the act of treason, and immediately put to death.
"So much the better! They did right," said Madame Bordin.
Marescot smiled disdainfully as he gazed at the different objects. He did no_nderstand this galoche having been the sign of a hosier, nor the purport o_he earthenware cask—a common cider-keg—and, to be candid, the St. Peter wa_amentable with his drunkard's physiognomy.
Madame Bordin made this observation:
"All the same, it must have cost you a good deal?"
"Oh! not too much, not too much."
A slater had given it to him for fifteen francs.
After this, she found fault on the score of propriety with the low dress o_he lady in the powdered wig.
"Where is the harm," replied Bouvard, "when one possesses somethin_eautiful?" And he added in a lower tone: "Just as you are yourself, I'_ure."
(The notary turned his back on them, and studied the branches of the Croixmar_amily.)
She made no response but began to play with her long gold chain. Her boso_welled out the black taffeta of her corsage, and, with her eyelashes slightl_rawn together, she lowered her chin like a turtle-dove bridling up; then, with an ingenuous air:
"What is this lady's name?"
"It is unknown; she was one of the Regent's mistresses, you know; he wh_layed so many pranks."
"I believe you; the memoirs of the time——"
And the notary, without giving her time to finish the sentence, deplored thi_xample of a prince carried away by his passions.
"But you are all like that!"
The two gentlemen protested, and then followed a dialogue on women and o_ove. Marescot declared that there were many happy unions; sometimes even, without suspecting it, we have close beside us what we require for ou_appiness.
The allusion was direct. The widow's cheeks flushed scarlet; but, recoverin_er composure almost the next moment:
"We are past the age for folly, are we not, M. Bouvard?"
"Ha! ha! For my part, I don't admit that."
And he offered his arm to lead her towards the adjoining room.
"Be careful about the steps. All right? Now observe the church window."
They traced on its surface a scarlet cloak and two angels' wings. All the res_as lost under the leads which held in equilibrium the numerous breakages i_he glass. The day was declining; the shadows were lengthening; Madame Bordi_ad become grave.
Bouvard withdrew, and presently reappeared muffled up in a woollen wrapper, then knelt down at the prie-dieu with his elbows out, his face in his hands, the light of the sun falling on his bald patch; and he was conscious of thi_ffect, for he said:
"Don't I look like a monk of the Middle Ages?"
Then he raised his forehead on one side, with swimming eyes, and trying t_ive a mystical expression to his face. The solemn voice of Pécuchet was hear_n the corridor:
"Don't be afraid. It is I." And he entered, his head covered with a helmet—a_ron pot with pointed ear-pieces.
Bouvard did not quit the prie-dieu. The two others remained standing. A minut_lipped away in glances of amazement.
Madame Bordin appeared rather cold to Pécuchet. However he wished to kno_hether everything had been shown to them.
"It seems to me so." And pointing towards the wall: "Ah! pray excuse us; ther_s an object which we may restore in a moment."
The widow and Marescot thereupon took their leave. The two friends conceive_he idea of counterfeiting a competition. They set out on a race after eac_ther; one giving the other the start. Pécuchet won the helmet.
Bouvard congratulated him upon it, and received praises from his friend on th_ubject of the wrapper.
Mélie arranged it with cords, in the fashion of a gown. They took turns abou_n receiving visits.
They had visits from Girbal, Foureau, and Captain Heurtaux, and then fro_nferior persons—Langlois, Beljambe, their husbandmen, and even the servant- girls of their neighbours; and, on each occasion, they went over the sam_xplanations, showed the place where the chest would be, affected a tone o_odesty, and claimed indulgence for the obstruction.
Pécuchet on these days wore the Zouave's cap which he had formerly in Paris, considering it more in harmony with an artistic environment. At a particula_oment, he would put the helmet on his head, and incline it over the back o_is neck, in order to have his face free. Bouvard did not forget the movemen_ith the halberd; finally, with one glance, they would ask each other whethe_he visitor was worthy of having "the monk of the Middle Ages" represented.
What a thrill they felt when M. de Faverges' carriage drew up before th_arden gate! He had only a word to say to them. This was the occasion of hi_isit:
Hurel, his man of business, had informed him that, while searching everywher_or documents, they had bought up old papers at the farm of Aubrye.
That was perfectly true.
Had they not discovered some letters of Baron de Gonneval, a former aide-de- camp of the Duke of Angoulême, who had stayed at Aubrye? He wished to hav_his correspondence for family reasons.
They had not got it in the house, but they had in their possession somethin_hat would interest him if he would be good enough to follow them into thei_ibrary.
Never before had such well-polished boots creaked in the corridor. The_nocked against the sarcophagus. He even went near smashing several tiles, moved an armchair about, descended two steps; and, when they reached th_econd chamber, they showed him under the canopy, in front of the St. Peter, the butter-pot made at Noron.
Bouvard and Pécuchet thought that the date might some time be of use. Throug_oliteness, the nobleman inspected their museum. He kept repeating, "Charming!
very nice!" all the time giving his mouth little taps with the handle of hi_witch; and said that, for his part, he thanked them for having rescued thos_emains of the Middle Ages, an epoch of religious faith and chivalrou_evotion. He loved progress, and would have given himself up like them t_hese interesting studies, but that politics, the General Council, agriculture, a veritable whirlwind, drove him away from them.
"After you, however, one would have merely gleanings, for soon you will hav_aptured all the curiosities of the department."
"Without vanity, we think so," said Pécuchet.
However, one might still discover some at Chavignolles; for example, ther_as, close to the cemetery wall in the lane, a holy-water basin buried unde_he grass from time immemorial.
They were pleased with the information, then exchanged a significan_lance—"Is it worth the trouble?"—but already the Count was opening the door.
Mélie, who was behind it, fled abruptly.
As he passed out of the house into the grounds, he observed Gorju smoking hi_ipe with folded arms.
"You employ this fellow? I would not put much confidence in him in a time o_isturbance."
And M. de Faverges sprang lightly into his tilbury.
Why did their servant-maid seem to be afraid of him?
They questioned her, and she told them she had been employed on his farm. Sh_as that little girl who poured out drink for the harvesters when they cam_here two years before. They had taken her on as a help at the château, an_ismissed her in consequence of false reports.
As for Gorju, how could they find fault with him? He was very handy, an_howed the utmost consideration for them.
Next day, at dawn, they repaired to the cemetery. Bouvard felt with hi_alking-stick at the spot indicated. They heard the sound of a hard substance.
They pulled up some nettles, and discovered a stone basin, a baptismal font, out of which plants were sprouting. It is not usual, however, to bur_aptismal fonts outside churches.
Pécuchet made a sketch of it; Bouvard wrote out a description of it; and the_ent both to Larsoneur. His reply came immediately.
"Victory, my dear associates! Unquestionably, it is a druidical bowl!"
However, let them be careful about the matter. The axe was doubtful; and a_uch for his sake as for their own, he pointed out a series of works to b_onsulted.
In a postscript, Larsoneur confessed his longing to have a look at this bowl, which opportunity would be afforded him in a few days, when he would b_tarting on a trip from Brittany.
Then Bouvard and Pécuchet plunged into Celtic archæology.
According to this science, the ancient Gauls, our ancestors, adored Kirk an_ron, Taranis Esus, Nelalemnia, Heaven and Earth, the Wind, the Waters, and, above all, the great Teutates, who is the Saturn of the Pagans; for Saturn, when he reigned in Phœnicia, wedded a nymph named Anobret, by whom he had _hild called Jeüd. And Anobret presents the same traits as Sara; Jeüd wa_acrificed (or near being so), like Isaac; therefore, Saturn is Abraham; whence the conclusion must be drawn that the religion of the Gauls had th_ame principles as that of the Jews.
Their society was very well organised. The first class of persons amongst the_ncluded the people, the nobility, and the king; the second, th_urisconsults; and in the third, the highest, were ranged, according t_aillepied, "the various kinds of philosophers," that is to say, the Druids o_aronides, themselves divided into Eubages, Bards, and Vates.
One section of them prophesied, another sang, while a third gave instructio_n botany, medicine, history, and literature, in short, all the arts of thei_ime.
Pythagoras and Plato were their pupils. They taught metaphysics to the Greeks, sorcery to the Persians, aruspicy to the Etruscans, and to the Romans th_lating of copper and the traffic in hams.
But of this people, who ruled the ancient world, there remain only stone_ither isolated or in groups of three, or placed together so as to resemble _ude chamber, or forming enclosures.
Bouvard and Pécuchet, filled with enthusiasm, studied in succession the ston_n the Post-farm at Ussy, the Coupled Stone at Quest, the Standing Stone nea_'Aigle, and others besides.
All these blocks, of equal insignificance, speedily bored them; and one day, when they had just seen the menhir at Passais, they were about to return fro_t when their guide led them into a beech wood, which was blocked up wit_asses of granite, like pedestals or monstrous tortoises. The most remarkabl_f them is hollowed like a basin. One of its sides rises, and at the furthe_nd two channels run down to the ground; this must have been for the flowin_f blood—impossible to doubt it! Chance does not make these things.
The roots of the trees were intertwined with these rugged pedestals. In th_istance rose columns of fog like huge phantoms. It was easy to imagine unde_he leaves the priests in golden tiaras and white robes, and their huma_ictims with arms bound behind their backs, and at the side of the bowl th_ruidess watching the red stream, whilst around her the multitude yelled, t_he accompaniment of cymbals and of trumpets made from the horns of the wil_ull.
Immediately they decided on their plan. And one night, by the light of th_oon, they took the road to the cemetery, stealing in like thieves, in th_hadows of the houses. The shutters were fastened, and quiet reigned aroun_very dwelling-place; not a dog barked.
Gorju accompanied them. They set to work. All that could be heard was th_oise of stones knocking against the spade as it dug through the soil.
The vicinity of the dead was disagreeable to them. The church clock struc_ith a rattling sound, and the rosework on its tympanum looked like an ey_spying a sacrilege. At last they carried off the bowl.
They came next morning to the cemetery to see the traces of the operation.
The abbé, who was taking the air at his door, begged of them to do him th_onour of a visit, and, having introduced them into his breakfast-parlour, h_azed at them in a singular fashion.
In the middle of the sideboard, between the plates, was a soup-turee_ecorated with yellow bouquets.
Pécuchet praised it, at a loss for something to say.
"It is old Rouen," returned the curé; "an heirloom. Amateurs set a high valu_n it—M. Marescot especially." As for him, thank God, he had no love o_uriosities; and, as they appeared not to understand, he declared that he ha_een them himself stealing the baptismal font.
The two archæologists were quite abashed. The article in question was not i_ctual use.
No matter! they should give it back.
No doubt! But, at least, let them be permitted to get a painter to make _rawing of it.
"Be it so, gentlemen."
"Between ourselves, is it not?" said Bouvard, "under the seal of confession."
The ecclesiastic, smiling, reassured them with a gesture.
It was not he whom they feared, but rather Larsoneur. When he would be passin_hrough Chavignolles, he would feel a hankering after the bowl; and hi_hatterings might reach the ears of the Government. Out of prudence they kep_t hidden in the bakehouse, then in the arbour, in the trunk, in a cupboard.
Gorju was tired of dragging it about.
The possession of such a rare piece of furniture bound them the closer to th_elticism of Normandy.
Its sources were Egyptian. Séez, in the department of the Orne, is sometime_ritten Saïs, like the city of the Delta. The Gauls swore by the bull, an ide_erived from the bull Apis. The Latin name of Bellocastes, which was that o_he people of Bayeux, comes from Beli Casa, dwelling, sanctuary of Belus—Belu_nd Osiris, the same divinity!
"There is nothing," says Mangou de la Londe, "opposed to the idea tha_ruidical monuments existed near Bayeux." "This country," adds M. Roussel, "i_ike the country in which the Egyptians built the temple of Jupiter Ammon."
So then there was a temple in which riches were shut up. All the Celti_onuments contain them.
"In 1715," relates Dom Martin, "one Sieur Heribel exhumed in the vicinity o_ayeux, several argil vases full of bones, and concluded (in accordance wit_radition and authorities which had disappeared) that this place, _ecropolis, was the Mount Faunus in which the Golden Calf is buried."
In the first place, where is Mount Faunus? The authors do not point it out.
The natives know nothing about it. It would be necessary to devote themselve_o excavations, and with that view they forwarded a petition to the prefect, to which they got no response.
Perhaps Mount Faunus had disappeared, and was not a hill but a barrow?
Several of them contain skeletons that have the position of the fœtus in th_other's womb. This meant that for them the tomb was, as it were, a secon_estation, preparing them for another life. Therefore the barrow symbolise_he female organ, just as the raised stone is the male organ.
In fact, where menhirs are found, an obscene creed has persisted. Witness wha_ook place at Guerande, at Chichebouche, at Croissic, at Livarot. In forme_imes the towers, the pyramids, the wax tapers, the boundaries of roads, an_ven the trees had a phallic meaning. Bouvard and Pécuchet collected whipple- trees of carriages, legs of armchairs, bolts of cellars, apothecaries'
pestles. When people came to see them they would ask, "What do you think tha_s like?" and then they would confide the secret. And, if anyone uttered a_xclamation, they would shrug their shoulders in pity.
One evening as they were dreaming about the dogmas of the Druids, the abbé cautiously stole in.
Immediately they showed the museum, beginning with the church window; but the_onged to reach the new compartment—that of the phallus. The ecclesiasti_topped them, considering the exhibition indecent. He came to demand back hi_aptismal font.
Bouvard and Pécuchet begged for another fortnight, the time necessary fo_aking a moulding of it.
"The sooner the better," said the abbé.
Then he chatted on general topics.
Pécuchet, who had left the room a minute, on coming back slipped a napoleo_nto his hand.
The priest made a backward movement.
"Oh! for your poor!"
And, colouring, M. Jeufroy crammed the gold piece into his cassock.
To give back the bowl, the bowl for sacrifices! Never, while they lived! The_ere even anxious to learn Hebrew, which is the mother-tongue of Celtic, unless indeed the former language be derived from it! And they had planned _ourney into Brittany, commencing with Rennes, where they had an appointmen_ith Larsoneur, with a view of studying that urn mentioned in the Memorials o_he Celtic Academy, which appeared to have contained the ashes of Quee_rtimesia, when the mayor entered unceremoniously with his hat on, like th_oorish individual he was.
"All this won't do, my fine fellows! You must give it up!"
"Rogues! I know well you are concealing it!"
Someone had betrayed them.
They replied that they had the curé's permission to keep it.
"We'll soon see that!"
Foureau went away. An hour later he came back.
They were obstinate.
In the first place, this holy-water basin was not wanted, as it really was no_ holy-water basin at all. They would prove this by a vast number o_cientific reasons. Next, they offered to acknowledge in their will that i_elonged to the parish. They even proposed to buy it.
"And, besides, it is my property," Pécuchet asseverated.
The twenty francs accepted by M. Jeufroy furnished a proof of the contract, and if he compelled them to go before a justice of the peace, so much th_orse: he would be taking a false oath!
During these disputes he had again seen the soup-tureen many times, and in hi_oul had sprung up the desire, the thirst for possession of this piece o_arthenware. If the curé was willing to give it to him, he would restore th_owl, otherwise not.
Through weariness or fear of scandal, M. Jeufroy yielded it up. It was place_mongst their collection near the Cauchoise cap. The bowl decorated the churc_orch; and they consoled themselves for the loss of it with the reflectio_hat the people of Chavignolles were ignorant of its value.
But the soup-tureen inspired them with a taste for earthenware—a new subjec_or study and for explorations through the country.
It was the period when persons of good position were looking out for old Roue_ishes. The notary possessed a few of them, and derived from the fact, as i_ere, an artistic reputation which was prejudicial to his profession, but fo_hich he made up by the serious side of his character.
When he learned that Bouvard and Pécuchet had got the soup-tureen, he came t_ropose to them an exchange.
Pécuchet would not consent to this.
"Let us say no more about it!" and Marescot proceeded to examine their cerami_ollection.
All the specimens hung up along the wall were blue on a background of dirt_hite, and some showed their horn of plenty in green or reddish tones. Ther_ere shaving-dishes, plates and saucers, objects long sought for, and brough_ack in the recesses of one's frock-coat close to one's heart.
Marescot praised them, and then talked about other kinds of faïence, th_ispano-Arabian, the Dutch, the English, and the Italian, and having dazzle_hem with his erudition:
"Might I see your soup-tureen again?"
He made it ring by rapping on it with his fingers, then he contemplated th_wo S's painted on the lid.
"The mark of Rouen!" said Pécuchet.
"Ho! ho! Rouen, properly speaking, would not have any mark. When Moutiers wa_nknown, all the French faïence came from Nevers. So with Rouen to-day.
Besides, they imitate it to perfection at El-bœuf."
"It isn't possible!"
"Majolica is cleverly imitated. Your specimen is of no value; and as for me, _as about to do a downright foolish thing."
When the notary had gone, Pécuchet sank into an armchair in a state of nervou_rostration.
"We shouldn't have given back the bowl," said Bouvard; "but you get excited, and always lose your head."
"Yes, I do lose my head"; and Pécuchet, snatching up the soup-tureen, flung i_ome distance away from him against the sarcophagus.
Bouvard, more self-possessed, picked up the broken pieces one by one; and som_ime afterwards this idea occurred to him: "Marescot, through jealousy, migh_ave been making fools of us!"
"There's nothing to show me that the soup-tureen was not genuine! Whereas th_ther specimens which he pretended to admire are perhaps counterfeit."
And so the day closed with uncertainties and regrets.
This was no reason for abandoning their tour into Brittany.
They even purposed to take Gorju along with them to assist them in thei_xcavations.
For some time past, he had slept at the house, in order to finish the mor_uickly the repairing of the chest.
The prospect of a change of place annoyed him, and when they talked abou_enhirs and barrows which they calculated on seeing: "I know better ones,"
said he to them; "in Algeria, in the South, near the sources of Bou-Mursoug, you meet quantities of them." He then gave a description of a tomb whic_hanced to be open right in front of him, and which contained a skeleto_quatting like an ape with its two arms around its legs.
Larsoneur, when they informed him of the circumstance, would not believe _ord of it.
Bouvard sifted the matter, and started the question again.
How does it happen that the monuments of the Gauls are shapeless, wherea_hese same Gauls were civilised in the time of Julius Cæsar? No doubt the_ere traceable to a more ancient people.
Such a hypothesis, in Larsoneur's opinion, betrayed a lack of patriotism.
No matter; there is nothing to show that these monuments are the work o_auls. "Show us a text!"
The Academician was displeased, and made no reply; and they were very glad o_t, so much had the Druids bored them.
If they did not know what conclusion to arrive at as to earthenware and as t_elticism, it was because they were ignorant of history, especially th_istory of France.
The work of Anquetil was in their library; but the series of "do-nothin_ings" amused them very little. The villainy of the mayors of the Palace di_ot excite their indignation, and they gave Anquetil up, repelled by th_neptitude of his reflections.
Then they asked Dumouchel, "What is the best history of France?"
Dumouchel subscribed, in their names, to a circulating library, and forwarde_o them the work of Augustin Thierry, together with two volumes of M. d_enoude.
According to Genoude, royalty, religion, and the national assemblies—here are
"the principles" of the French nation, which go back to the Merovingians. Th_arlovingians fell away from them. The Capetians, being in accord with th_eople, made an effort to maintain them. Absolute power was established unde_ouis XIII., in order to conquer Protestantism, the final effort of feudalism; and '89 is a return to the constitution of our ancestors.
Pécuchet admired his ideas. They excited Bouvard's pity, as he had rea_ugustin Thierry first: "What trash you talk with your French nation, seein_hat France did not exist! nor the national assemblies! and the Carlovingian_surped nothing at all! and the kings did not set free the communes! Read fo_ourself."
Pécuchet gave way before the evidence, and surpassed him in scientifi_trictness. He would have considered himself dishonoured if he had said
"Charlemagne" and not "Karl the Great," "Clovis" in place of "Clodowig."
Nevertheless he was beguiled by Genoude, deeming it a clever thing to joi_ogether both ends of French history, so that the middle period become_ubbish; and, in order to ease their minds about it, they took up th_ollection of Buchez and Roux.
But the fustian of the preface, that medley of Socialism and Catholicism, disgusted them; and the excessive accumulation of details prevented them fro_rasping the whole.
They had recourse to M. Thiers.
It was during the summer of 1845, in the garden beneath the arbour. Pécuchet, his feet resting on a small chair, read aloud in his cavernous voice, withou_eeling tired, stopping to plunge his fingers into his snuff-box. Bouvar_istened, his pipe in his mouth, his legs wide apart, and the upper part o_is trousers unbuttoned.
Old men had spoken to them of '93, and recollections that were almost persona_ave life to the prosy descriptions of the author. At that time the high-road_ere covered with soldiers singing the "Marseillaise." At the thresholds o_oors women sat sewing canvas to make tents. Sometimes came a wave of men i_ed caps, bending forward a pike, at the end of which could be seen _iscoloured head with the hair hanging down. The lofty tribune of th_onvention looked down upon a cloud of dust, amid which wild faces wer_elling cries "Death!" Anyone who passed, at midday, close to the basin of th_uileries could hear each blow of the guillotine, as if they were cutting u_heep.
And the breeze moved the vine-leaves of the arbour; the ripe barley swayed a_ntervals; a blackbird was singing. And, casting glances around them, the_elished this tranquil scene.
What a pity that from the beginning they had failed to understand one another!
For if the royalists had reflected like the patriots, if the court ha_xhibited more candour, and its adversaries less violence, many of th_alamities would not have happened.
By force of chattering in this way they roused themselves into a state o_xcitement. Bouvard, being liberal-minded and of a sensitive nature, was _onstitutionalist, a Girondist, a Thermidorian; Pécuchet, being of a biliou_emperament and a lover of authority, declared himself a _sans-culotte_ , an_ven a Robespierrist. He expressed approval of the condemnation of the King, the most violent decrees, the worship of the Supreme Being. Bouvard preferre_hat of Nature. He would have saluted with pleasure the image of a big woma_ouring out from her breasts to her adorers not water but Chambertin.
In order to have more facts for the support of their arguments they procure_ther works: Montgaillard, Prudhomme, Gallois, Lacretelle, etc.; and th_ontradictions of these books in no way embarrassed them. Each took from the_hat might vindicate the cause that he espoused.
Thus Bouvard had no doubt that Danton accepted a hundred thousand crowns t_ring forward motions that would destroy the Republic; while in Pécuchet'_pinion Vergniaud would have asked for six thousand francs a month.
"Never! Explain to me, rather, why Robespierre's sister had a pension fro_ouis XVIII."
"Not at all! It was from Bonaparte. And, since you take it that way, who i_he person that a few months before Égalité's death had a secret conferenc_ith him? I wish they would reinsert in the _Memoirs of La Campan_ th_uppressed paragraphs. The death of the Dauphin appears to me equivocal. Th_owder magazine at Grenelle by exploding killed two thousand persons. Th_ause was unknown, they tell us: what nonsense!" For Pécuchet was not far fro_nderstanding it, and threw the blame for every crime on the manœuvres of th_ristocrats, gold, and the foreigner.
In the mind of Bouvard there could be no dispute as to the use of the words,
"Ascend to heaven, son of St. Louis," as to the incident about the virgins o_erdun, or as to the _culottes_ clothed in human skin. He accepted Prudhomme'_ists, a million of victims, exactly.
But the Loire, red with gore from Saumur to Nantes, in a line of eightee_eagues, made him wonder. Pécuchet in the same degree entertained doubts, an_hey began to distrust the historians.
For some the Revolution is a Satanic event; others declare it to be a sublim_xception. The vanquished on each side naturally play the part of martyrs.
Thierry demonstrates, with reference to the Barbarians, that it is foolish t_nstitute an inquiry as to whether such a prince was good or was bad. Why no_ollow this method in the examination of more recent epochs? But history mus_eeds avenge morality: we feel grateful to Tacitus for having lacerate_iberius. After all, whether the Queen had lovers; whether Dumouriez, sinc_almy, intended to betray her; whether in Prairial it was the Mountain or th_irondist party that began, and in Thermidor the Jacobins or the Plain; wha_atters it to the development of the Revolution, of which the causes were fa_o seek and the results incalculable?
Therefore it was bound to accomplish itself, to be what it was; but, suppos_he flight of the King without impediment, Robespierre escaping or Bonapart_ssassinated—chances which depended upon an innkeeper proving less scrupulous, a door being left open, or a sentinel falling asleep—and the progress of th_orld would have taken a different direction.
They had no longer on the men and the events of that period a single well- balanced idea. In order to form an impartial judgment upon it, it would hav_een necessary to have read all the histories, all the memoirs, all th_ewspapers, and all the manuscript productions, for through the least omissio_ight arise an error, which might lead to others without limit.
They abandoned the subject. But the taste for history had come to them, th_eed of truth for its own sake.
Perhaps it is easier to find it in more ancient epochs? The authors, being fa_emoved from the events, ought to speak of them without passion. And the_egan the good Rollin.
"What a heap of rubbish!" exclaimed Bouvard, after the first chapter.
"Wait a bit," said Pécuchet, rummaging at the end of their library, where la_eaped up the books of the last proprietor, an old lawyer, an accomplished ma_ith a mania for literature; and, having put out of their places a number o_ovels and plays, together with an edition of Montesquieu and translations o_orace, he obtained what he was looking for—Beaufort's work on Roman History.
Titus Livius attributes the foundation of Rome to Romulus; Sallust gives th_redit of it to the Trojans under Æneas. Coriolanus died in exile, accordin_o Fabius Pictor; through the stratagems of Attius Tullius, if we may believ_ionysius. Seneca states that Horatius Cocles came back victorious; an_ionysius that he was wounded in the leg. And La Mothe le Vayer give_xpression to similar doubts with reference to other nations.
There is no agreement as to the antiquity of the Chaldeans, the age of Homer, the existence of Zoroaster, the two empires of Assyria. Quintus Curtius ha_anufactured fables. Plutarch gives the lie to Herodotus. We should have _ifferent idea of Cæsar if Vercingetorix had written his Commentaries.
Ancient history is obscure through want of documents. There is an abundance o_hem in modern history; and Bouvard and Pécuchet came back to France, an_egan Sismondi.
The succession of so many men filled them with a desire to understand the_ore thoroughly, to enter into their lives. They wanted to read th_riginals—Gregory of Tours, Monstrelet, Commines, all those whose names wer_dd or agreeable. But the events got confused through want of knowledge of th_ates.
Fortunately they possessed Dumouchel's work on mnemonics, a duodecimo i_oards with this epigraph: "To instruct while amusing."
It combined the three systems of Allevy, of Pâris, and of Fenaigle.
Allevy transforms numbers into external objects, the number 1 being expresse_y a tower, 2 by a bird, 3 by a camel, and so on. Pâris strikes th_magination by means of rebuses: an armchair garnished with clincher-nail_ill give "Clou, vis—Clovis"; and, as the sound of frying makes "ric, ric,"
whitings in a stove will recall "Chilperic." Fenaigle divides the univers_nto houses, which contain rooms, each having four walls with nine panels, an_ach panel bearing an emblem. A pharos on a mountain will tell the name of
"Phar-a-mond" in Pâris's system; and, according to Allevy's directions, b_lacing above a mirror, which signifies 4, a bird 2, and a hoop 0, we shal_btain 420, the date of that prince's accession.
For greater clearness, they took as their mnemotechnic basis their own house, their domicile, associating a distinct fact with each part of it; and th_ourtyard, the garden, the outskirts, the entire country, had for them n_eaning any longer except as objects for facilitating memory. The boundarie_n the fields defined certain epochs; the apple trees were genealogical stems, the bushes battles; everything became symbolic. They sought for quantities o_bsent things on their walls, ended by seeing them, but lost the recollectio_f what dates they represented.
Besides the dates are not always authentic. They learned out of a manual fo_olleges that the birth of Jesus ought to be carried back five years earlie_han the date usually assigned for it; that there were amongst the Greek_hree ways of counting the Olympiads, and eight amongst the Latin of makin_he year begin. So many opportunities for mistakes outside of those whic_esult from the zodiacs, from the epochs, and from the different calendars!
And from carelessness as to dates they passed to contempt for facts.
What is important is the philosophy of history!
Bouvard could not finish the celebrated discourse of Bossuet.
"The eagle of Meaux is a farce-actor! He forgets China, the Indies, an_merica; but is careful to let us know that Theodosius was 'the joy of th_niverse,' that Abraham 'treated kings as his equals,' and that the philosoph_f the Greeks has come down from the Hebrews. His preoccupation with th_ebrews provokes me."
Pécuchet shared this opinion, and wished to make him read Vico.
"Why admit," objected Bouvard, "that fables are more true than the truths o_istorians?"
Pécuchet tried to explain myths, and got lost in the _Scienza Nuova_.
"Will you deny the design of Providence?"
"I don't know it!" said Bouvard. And they decided to refer to Dumouchel.
The professor confessed that he was now at sea on the subject of history.
"It is changing every day. There is a controversy as to the kings of Rome an_he journeys of Pythagoras. Doubts have been thrown on Belisarius, Willia_ell, and even on the Cid, who has become, thanks to the latest discoveries, _ommon robber. It is desirable that no more discoveries should be made, an_he Institute ought even to lay down a kind of canon prescribing what it i_ecessary to believe!"
In a postscript he sent them some rules of criticism taken from Daunou'_ourse of lectures:
"To cite by way of proof the testimony of multitudes is a bad method of proof; they are not there to reply.
"To reject impossible things. Pausanias was shown the stone swallowed b_aturn.
"Architecture may lie: instance, the arch of the Forum, in which Titus i_alled the first conqueror of Jerusalem, which had been conquered before hi_y Pompey.
"Medals sometimes deceive. Under Charles IX. money was minted from the coinag_f Henry II.
"Take into account the skill of forgers and the interestedness of apologist_nd calumniators."
Few historians have worked in accordance with these rules, but all in view o_ne special cause, of one religion, of one nation, of one party, of on_ystem, in order to curb kings, to advise the people, or to offer mora_xamples.
The others, who pretend merely to narrate, are no better; for everythin_annot be told—some selection must be made. But in the selection of document_ome special predilection will have the upper hand, and, as this varie_ccording to the conditions under which the writer views the matter, histor_ill never be fixed.
"It is sad," was their reflection. However, one might take a subject, exhaus_he sources of information concerning it, make a good analysis of them, the_ondense it into a narrative, which would be, as it were, an epitome of th_acts reflecting the entire truth.
"Do you wish that we should attempt to compose a history?"
"I ask for nothing better. But of what?"
"Suppose we write the life of the Duke of Angoulême?"
"But he was an idiot!" returned Bouvard.
"What matter? Personages of an inferior mould have sometimes an enormou_nfluence, and he may have controlled the machinery of public affairs."
The books would furnish them with information; and M. de Faverges, no doubt, would have them himself, or could procure them from some elderly gentleman o_is acquaintance.
They thought over this project, discussed it, and finally determined to spen_ fortnight at the municipal library at Caen in making researches there.
The librarian placed at their disposal some general histories and som_amphlets with a coloured lithograph portrait representing at three-quarters'
length Monseigneur the Duke of Angoulême.
The blue cloth of his uniform disappeared under the epaulets, the stars, an_he large red ribbon of the Legion of Honour; a very high collar surrounde_is long neck; his pear-shaped head was framed by the curls of his hair and b_is scanty whiskers and heavy eyelashes; and a very big nose and thick lip_ave his face an expression of commonplace good-nature.
When they had taken notes, they drew up a programme:
"Birth and childhood but slightly interesting. One of his tutors is the Abbé Guénée, Voltaire's enemy. At Turin he is made to cast a cannon; and he studie_he campaigns of Charles VIII. Also he is nominated, despite his youth, colonel of a regiment of noble guards.
"1814.—The English take possession of Bordeaux. He runs up behind them an_hows his person to the inhabitants. Description of the prince's person.
"1815.—Bonaparte surprises him. Immediately he appeals to the King of Spain; and Toulon, were it not for Masséna, would have been surrendered to England.
"Operations in the South. He is beaten, but released under the promise t_estore the crown diamonds carried off at full gallop by the King, his uncle.
"After the Hundred Days he returns with his parents and lives in peace.
Several years glide away.
"War with Spain. Once he has crossed the Pyrenees, victories everywhere follo_he grandson of Henry IV. He takes the Trocadéro, reaches the pillars o_ercules, crushes the factions, embraces Ferdinand, and returns.
"Triumphal arches; flowers presented by young girls; dinners at th_refecture; 'Te Deum' in the cathedrals. The Parisians are at the height o_ntoxication. The city offers him a banquet. Songs containing allusions to th_ero are sung at the theatre.
"The enthusiasm diminishes; for in 1827 a ball organised by subscriptio_roves a failure.
"As he is High Admiral of France, he inspects the fleet, which is going t_tart for Algiers.
"July 1830.—Marmont informs him of the state of affairs. Then he gets int_uch a rage that he wounds himself in the hand with the general's sword. Th_ing entrusts him with the command of all the forces.
"He meets detachments of the line in the Bois de Boulogne, and has not a wor_o say to them.
"From St. Cloud he flies to the bridge of Sèvres. Coldness of the troops. Tha_oes not shake him. The Royal family leave Trianon. He sits down at the foo_f an oak, unrolls a map, meditates, remounts his horse, passes in front o_t. Cyr, and sends to the students words of hope.
"At Rambouillet the bodyguards bid him good-bye. He embarks, and during th_ntire passage is ill. End of his career.
"The importance possessed by the bridges ought here to be noticed. First, h_xposes himself needlessly on the bridge of the Inn; he carries the bridge St.
Esprit and the bridge of Lauriol; at Lyons the two bridges are fatal to him, and his fortune dies before the bridge of Sèvres.
"List of his virtues. Needless to praise his courage, to which he joined _ar-seeing policy. For he offered every soldier sixty francs to desert th_mperor, and in Spain he tried to corrupt the Constitutionalists with read_oney.
"His reserve was so profound that he consented to the marriage arrange_etween his father and the Queen of Etruria, to the formation of a new cabine_fter the Ordinances, to the abdication in favour of Chambord—to everythin_hat they asked him.
"Firmness, however, was not wanting in him. At Angers, he cashiered th_nfantry of the National Guard, who, jealous of the cavalry, had succeeded b_eans of a stratagem in forming his escort, so that his Highness found himsel_ammed into the ranks at the cost of having his knees squeezed. But h_ensured the cavalry, the cause of the disorder, and pardoned the infantry—_eritable judgment of Solomon.
"His piety manifested itself by numerous devotions, and his clemency b_btaining the pardon of General Debelle, who had borne arms against him.
"Intimate details; characteristics of the Prince:
"At the château of Beauregard, in his childhood, he took pleasure i_eepening, along with his brother, a sheet of water, which may still be seen.
On one occasion, he visited the barracks of the chasseurs, called for a glas_f wine, and drank the King's health.
"While walking, in order to mark the step, he used to keep repeating t_imself: 'One, two—one, two—one, two!'
"Some of his sayings have been preserved:—
"To a deputation from Bordeaux:
"'What consoles me for not being at Bordeaux is to find myself amidst you.'
"To the Protestants of Nismes:
"'I am a good Catholic, but I shall never forget that my distinguishe_ncestor was a Protestant.'
"To the pupils of St. Cyr, when all was lost:
"'Right, my friends! The news is good! This is right—all right!'
"After Charles X.'s abdication:
"'Since they don't want me, let them settle it themselves.'
"And in 1814, at every turn, in the smallest village:
"'No more war; no more conscription; no more united rights.'
"His style was as good as his utterance. His proclamations surpasse_verything.
"The first, of the Count of Artois, began thus:
"'Frenchmen, your King's brother has arrived!'
"That of the prince:
'"I come. I am the son of your kings. You are Frenchmen!'
"Order of the day, dated from Bayonne:
"'Soldiers, I come!'
"Another, in the midst of disaffection:
"'Continue to sustain with the vigour which befits the French soldier th_truggle which you have begun. France expects it of you.'
"Lastly, at Rambouillet:
"'The King has entered into an arrangement with the government established a_aris, and everything brings us to believe that this arrangement is on th_oint of being concluded.'
"'Everything brings us to believe' was sublime."
"One thing vexed me," said Bouvard, "that there is no mention of his lov_ffairs!" And they made a marginal note: "To search for the prince's amours."
At the moment when they were taking their leave, the librarian, bethinkin_imself of it, showed them another portrait of the Duke of Angoulême.
In this one he appeared as a colonel of cuirassiers, on a vaulting-horse, hi_yes still smaller, his mouth open, and his hair straight.
How were they to reconcile the two portraits? Had he straight hair, or rathe_risped—unless he carried affectation so far as to get it curled?
A grave question, from Pécuchet's point of view, for the mode of wearing th_air indicates the temperament, and the temperament the individual.
Bouvard considered that we know nothing of a man as long as we are ignorant o_is passions; and in order to clear up these two points, they presente_hemselves at the château of Faverges. The count was not there; this retarde_heir work. They returned home annoyed.
The door of the house was wide open; there was nobody in the kitchen. The_ent upstairs, and who should they see in the middle of Bouvard's room bu_adame Bordin, looking about her right and left!
"Excuse me," she said, with a forced laugh, "I have for the last hour bee_earching for your cook, whom I wanted for my preserves."
They found her in the wood-house on a chair fast asleep. They shook her. Sh_pened her eyes.
"What is it now? You are always prodding at me with your questions!"
It was clear that Madame Bordin had been putting some to her in their absence.
Germaine got out of her torpor, and complained of indigestion.
"I am remaining to take care of you," said the widow.
Then they perceived in the courtyard a big cap, the lappets of which wer_luttering. It was Madame Castillon, proprietress of a neighbouring farm. Sh_as calling out: "Gorju! Gorju!"
And from the corn-loft the voice of their little servant-maid answered loudly:
"He is not there!"
At the end of five minutes she came down, with her cheeks flushed and lookin_xcited. Bouvard and Pécuchet reprimanded her for having been so slow. Sh_nfastened their gaiters without a murmur.
Then they went to look at the chest. The bakehouse was covered with it_cattered fragments; the carvings were damaged, the leaves broken.
At this sight, in the face of this fresh disaster, Bouvard had to keep bac_is tears, and Pécuchet got a fit of nervous shivering.
Gorju, making his appearance almost immediately, explained the matter. He ha_ust put the chest outside in order to varnish it, when a wandering co_nocked it down on the ground.
"Whose cow?" said Pécuchet.
"I don't know."
"Ah! you left the door open, as you did some time ago. It is your fault."
At any rate, they would have nothing more to do with him. He had been triflin_ith them too long, and they wanted no more of him or his work.
"These gentlemen were wrong. The damage was not so great. It would be al_ettled before three weeks." And Gorju accompanied them into the kitchen, where Germaine was seen dragging herself along to see after the dinner.
They noticed on the table a bottle of Calvados, three quarters emptied.
"By you, no doubt," said Pécuchet to Gorju.
"By me! never!"
Bouvard met his protest by observing:
"You are the only man in the house."
"Well, and what about the women?" rejoined the workman, with a side wink.
Germaine caught him up:
"You'd better say 'twas I!"
"Certainly it was you."
"And perhaps 'twas I smashed the press?"
Gorju danced about.
"Don't you see that she's drunk?"
Then they squabbled violently with each other, he with a pale face and _iting manner, she purple with rage, tearing tufts of grey hair from under he_otton cap. Madame Bordin took Germaine's part, while Mélie took Gorju's.
The old woman burst out:
"Isn't it an abomination that you two should be spending days together in th_rove, not to speak of the nights?—a sort of Parisian, eating up honest women, who comes to our master's house to play tricks on them!"
Bouvard opened his eyes wide.
"I tell you he's making fools of you!"
"Nobody can make a fool of me!" exclaimed Pécuchet, and, indignant at he_nsolence, exasperated by the mortification inflicted on him, he dismisse_er, telling her to go and pack. Bouvard did not oppose this decision, an_hey went out, leaving Germaine in sobs over her misfortune, while Madam_ordin was trying to console her.
In the course of the evening, as they grew calmer, they went over thes_ccurrences, asked themselves who had drunk the Calvados, how the chest go_roken, what Madame Castillon wanted when she was calling Gorju, and whethe_e had dishonoured Mélie.
"We are not able to tell," said Bouvard, "what is happening in our ow_ousehold, and we lay claim to discover all about the hair and the lov_ffairs of the Duke of Angoulême."
Pécuchet added: "How many questions there are in other respects important an_till more difficult!"
Whence they concluded that external facts are not everything. It is necessar_o complete them by means of psychology. Without imagination, history i_efective.