"Life is very hard! It has many griefs! Cruchot," he continuedsolemnly, "you would not deceive me? Swear to me upon your honor thatall you've told me is legally true. Show me the law; I must see thelaw!"rried out by Monsieur andMadame Cornoiller.
At thirty years of age Eugenie knew none of the joys of life. Herpale, sad childhood had glided on beside a mother whose heart, alwaysmisunderstood and wounded, had known only suffering. Leaving this lifejoyfully, the mother pitied the daughter because she still must live;and she left in her child's soul some fugitive remorse and manylasting regrets. Eugenie's first and only love was a wellspring ofsadness within her. Meeting her lover for a few brief days, she hadgiven him her heart between two kisses furtively exchanged; then hehad left her, and a whole world lay between them. This love, cursed byher father, had cost the life of her mother and brought her onlysorrow, mingled with a few frail hopes. Thus her upward spring towardshappiness had wasted her strength and given her nothing in exchangefor it. In the life of the soul, as in the physical life, there is aninspiration and a respiration; the soul needs to absorb the sentimentsof another soul and assimilate them, that it may render them backenriched. Were it not for this glorious human phenomenon, there wouldbe no life for the heart; air would be wanting; it would suffer, andthen perish. Eugenie had begun to suffer. For her, wealth was neithera power nor a consolation; she could not live except through love,through religion, through faith in the future. Love explained to herthe mysteries of eternity. Her heart and the Gospel taught her to knowtwo worlds; she bathed, night and day, in the depths of two infinitethoughts, which for her may have had but one meaning. She drew backwithin herself, loving, and believing herself beloved. For seven yearsher passion had invaded everything. Her treasuries were not themillions whose revenues were rolling up; they were Charles's dressing-case, the portraits hanging above her bed, the jewels recovered fromher father and proudly spread upon a bed of wool in a drawer of theoaken cabinet, the thimble of her aunt, used for a while by hermother, which she wore religiously as she worked at a piece ofembroidery,--a Penelope's web, begun for the sole purpose of puttingupon her finger that gold so rich in memories.
It seemed unlikely that Mademoiselle Grandet would marry during theperiod of her mourning. Her genuine piety was well known. Consequentlythe Cruchots, whose policy was sagely guided by the old abbe,contented themselves for the time being with surrounding the greatheiress and paying her the most affectionate attentions. Every eveningthe hall was filled with a party of devoted Cruchotines, who sang thepraises of its mistress in every key. She had her doctor in ordinary,her grand almoner, her chamberlain, her first lady of honor, her primeminister; above all, her chancellor, a chancellor who would fain havesaid much to her. If the heiress had wished for a train-bearer, onewould instantly have been found. She was a queen, obsequiouslyflattered. Flattery never emanates from noble souls; it is the gift oflittle minds, who thus still further belittle themselves to worm theirway into the vital being of the persons around whom they crawl.Flattery means self-interest. So the people who, night after night,assembled in Mademoiselle Grandet's house (they called herMademoiselle de Froidfond) outdid each other in expressions ofadmiration. This concert of praise, never before bestowed uponEugenie, made her blush under its novelty; but insensibly her earbecame habituated to the sound, and however coarse the complimentsmight be, she soon was so accustomed to hear her beauty lauded that ifany new-comer had seemed to think her plain, she would have felt thereproach far more than she might have done eight years earlier. Sheended at last by loving the incense, which she secretly laid at thefeet of her idol. By degrees she grew accustomed to be treated as asovereign and to see her court pressing around her every evening.Monsieur de Bonfons was the hero of the little circle, where his wit,his person, his education, his amiability, were perpetually praised.One or another would remark that in seven years he had largelyincreased his fortune, that Bonfons brought in at least ten thousandfrancs a year, and was surrounded, like the other possessions of theCruchots, by the vast domains of the heiress. cheap hair
"Do you know, mademoiselle," said an habitual visitor, "that theCruchots have an income of forty thousand francs among them!""And then, their savings!" exclaimed an elderly female Cruchotine,Mademoiselle de Gribeaucourt. real hair extensions
"A gentleman from Paris has lately offered Monsieur Cruchot twohundred thousand francs for his practice," said another. "He will sellit if he is appointed /juge de paix/."
"He wants to succeed Monsieur de Bonfons as president of the Civilcourts, and is taking measures," replied Madame d'Orsonval. "Monsieurle president will certainly be made councillor."