Table of Contents

+ Add to Library

Previous Next

Chapter 4 Researches in Archæology.

  • 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!"
  • "What, pray?"
  • "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!"
  • "How?"
  • "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.
  • "1797.—His marriage.
  • "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.
  • "What tricks?"
  • "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.
  • "Let us send for some historical romances!"