We find the rich family of Revolu at the critical moment of their life. Madame Revolution, her sons Denis and Julien, her daughter Rosie learn the terrible news – their father, the owner of the largest notary office in the city – Oscar Revolution – is ruined. He kept a lover-dancer Regina Lorati. But to suicide he was pushed not so much by ruin as by Regina’s infidelity.
For each family member, this is a failure. For Rosie it’s a wedding that failed. For Julien – the refusal of high-society fun. For their mother – Lucien Revolution – a loss of money, equivalent to the loss of everything in the world. And only the youngest Denis, noticing how little he and everyone else thinks about his father’s death, finds something positive in it – he is very attached to Rosie’s sister and is glad that her wedding will be upset, he does not believe her fiancé.
In this tragic hour for the Revolution family, Leonie Costado, the mother of Rosie-Robert’s fiancé, and two other sons, the poet Pierre and the cackler and womanizer Gaston, appeared in their house, who “took away” the dancer. She knew that Lucien’s dowry was untouched, and she came to wrest her four hundred thousand francs, which she gave to Oscar Revolution, so that he would put them into circulation. She explained her act by saying that “this is the money of my sons”. Money for her – holy, for them it is not a sin to “finish off” an old girlfriend. To reproach her sons for cruelty, she gives them a rebuff: “You, if you please, see, despise money, and you yourself live without denying yourself anything, and you will not even have to think about what your grandfathers needed to save money. This money should be for you are sacred… “
Money is sacred in this world – this is understood also by its rebellious sons. However, Pierre, the youngest, resists this. “I hate money because I’m totally in their power. We live in a world where the essence of everything – money to rebel against them – means to rebel against our whole world, against its way of life.”
A devoted clerk of the notary’s office, Oscar Revolu, assisted the ruined family to put things in order and managed to leave behind them a manor – Leonyon, in which they all moved to live. Analyzing the papers of the late chief, he stumbles upon his notebook. In it he finds notes about himself: “How disgusting is the closeness of this person who entered my life in school years. This is a garbage pit near which I worked, loved, enjoyed, suffered, which I did not choose, which chose me… “Revolution realizes that Landen will destroy him. “The mad pace of my life, the transformation of my office into a real factory, is his handiwork If it was not for him, the self-preservation instinct would already have begun to sound in me, the voice of desire would have already been muffled, because of the crap everything in my life turned upside down, I know that his true,
Landen, whose appearance aroused involuntary disgust, leaves at the invitation of a notary office in Paris, succeeds, leads a shameful relationship and becomes a victim of a murderer.
But... let’s go back to the Revolution family. The only one who did not give in to despondency was Rosie – Rosetta. She is full of life, strength, and she does not give up. Rosie arranged a saleswoman in a bookstore. Now she gets up early in the morning and goes by tram to work. She again meets with Robert. He again turns out to be the groom. But not for long. Rosette is full of happiness and does not notice what Robert sees. And he sees a thin girl with dull hair, worn-out shoes and a plain dress. It can not be said that he loved the money of Rosetta Revolution, but he loved the face of the girl created by this money. And Rosetta, who lives by the same laws, suffering, recognizes his rightness. The gap devastates her soul. But gradually she comes out of her condition. Robert’s farewell letter, in which he sincerely repents of his weakness and calls himself a miserable creature, led her “
Madame Revolution dies of cancer, not daring for surgery, mainly because of money. Money is more precious than life. Her friend-enemy, Madame Leoni Costado, dies, Julien dies.
Denis fails in the exam for matriculation and seeks consolation in the lines of Racine, so adored by his friend Pierre Costado: “The misfortune is terrible, but I swear / I look in his face – I’m not afraid of him…” In fact, he surrenders. He can not stand in this life. And he agrees that Cavelier – a long-time neighbor – invested in their estate money in exchange for the marriage of Denis to his beloved daughter, the fatty Irene. “She or another… Does it matter?” – so decided Denis and entered his dungeon, no matter how resisted his sister.
Pierre Costado – the youngest in the family of Costado, having his share of the inheritance, travels. He wrote the poem “Atis and Cybele”, he dreams and seeks his own way in life. He is tormented by contradictions – on the one hand, he hates money and despises their power. But on the other hand – can not part with them, since they give comfort, independence, the opportunity to engage in poetry. He’s in Paris. Here is his landmark meeting with Aanden on the eve of the murder of the clerk. He reveals all the abomination of Landen’s life. He became a suspect in the murder. He rushes in despair and finds comfort in the arms of a prostitute. But in fact once he was sincerely and purely in love with Rosie. “He could not endure a life full of the very pleasures that he needed more than bread and wine…”
The story ends gloomily.
“The life of most people is a dead road and does not lead anywhere, but some people know from the very childhood that they are going to the unknown sea, and they feel the breeze of the wind, marveling at its bitterness, and the taste of salt on their lips, but they do not yet see the goal until they will not overcome the last dune, and then they will face an unlimited, bubbling breadth and strike them with sand and sea foam in their face… And what remains for them to rush into the abyss or return… “