Germain Malorty, nicknamed Mushette, the sixteen-year-old daughter of the Campanian brewer, once entering the dining room with a full bucket of fresh milk, felt unwell; parents immediately guessed that she was pregnant. The obstinate girl does not want to say who the father of the future child is, but her father realized that they can only be the Marquis de Cadignan, a local red tape, to which the fifth decade has already gone. Papa Malorti goes to the marquise with the proposal to “settle the matter amicably,” but the marquis confuses him with his coolness, and the confused brewer begins to doubt the correctness of his conjecture, especially since the Marquis, learning that Musetta is engaged to her son Ravo, is trying to dump “guilt ” on him. Malorti resorts to the last resort: he says that the daughter opened to him, and, seeing the mistrust of the Marquis, swears in it. Having said,
Malorthy yearns for revenge; returning home, he yells that he will pull the Marquis to court: Muskett is a minor. Mouschette says that the marquis has nothing to do with it, but his father is passionate and says that he told the Marquise that Musetta told him everything, and he had to confess everything. Musshetta is desperate: she loves the Marquis and is afraid of losing his respect, and now he considers her to be a perjurer, because she promised to keep silent. At night, she leaves the house. Arriving at the marquise, Mouschette says that he will not return
Soon she really becomes the mistress of the deputy Galya. Appearing to him in the absence of his wife, she reports that she is pregnant. Galya is a doctor, he is not easily deceived: he thinks that Musetta is either mistaken, or not pregnant with him, and in no case agrees to help Musetta get rid of the child – this is a violation of the law. Mouchette asks Galya not to drive her away – she’s not herself. But then Galya notices that the laundry door is open and the kitchen window too – it seems that the wife, who is very afraid of him, suddenly returned. In a fit of frankness, Musetta tells Galya that she is pregnant with the Marquise de Cadignan, and confesses that she killed him. Seeing that Musetta is on the verge of insanity, Galya prefers not to believe her, because she does not have any evidence. The shot was fired from such a close distance that no one doubted that, that the Marquis committed suicide. Consciousness of its own powerlessness causes Mouettet’s attack of violent insanity: she begins to howl like an animal. Gala calls for help. A young wife who is in time helps him to cope with Musketta, who allegedly came on behalf of his father. She is sent to a psychiatric hospital, where she comes out a month later, “having given birth to a dead child there and completely cured of her illness.”
Bishop Papuen sends to the abbot Menu-Segre a newly ordained seminary graduate Donissan – a broad-shouldered child, simple-minded, ill-bred, not very intelligent and not very educated. His piety and diligence do not atone for his awkwardness and inability to connect two words. He himself believes that he can not perform the duties of a parish priest, and is going to petition that he be recalled to Tourcoing. He earnestly believes, hangs over books all night, sleeps two hours a day, and gradually his mind develops, sermons become more eloquent, and parishioners begin to treat him with respect and listen attentively to his teachings. The rector of the Oburden district, who undertook the conduct of the penitential meetings, asks Menu-Segra to enlist Donissan to the confession of penitents. Donissan zealously fulfills his duty, but he does not know the joy, all the time he doubts himself, in his abilities. Secretly from all, he is engaged in self-flagellation, with all his strength lashes himself with a chain. One day, Donissan goes on foot to Ethall, which is three leagues to help the priest there to confess the faithful. He gets off the road and wants to go back to Campan, but he can not find the return road either. Suddenly, he meets a stranger, who is going to the Shalendar and offers some of the way to go together. The stranger says that he is a horse hawk and knows the local places well, therefore, despite the fact that the night is moonless and the darkness is at least as far away as the eye, he will easily find the way. He talks very kindly to Donissan, who is already exhausted from a long walk. Staggering with fatigue, the priest grasps his companion, feeling in him a support. Suddenly, Donissan realizes that the marshmallow is Satan himself, but he does not give in, he resists all his strength, and Satan retreats. Satan says he was sent to try Donissan. But Donisan objected: “The Lord is sending me a trial. In the time of this day the Lord sent me a power that you can not overcome.” And at the same instant his companion spreads, the outlines of his body become vague – and the priest sees his double in front of him. Despite all his efforts, Donisan can not distinguish himself from the double, but still retains a part of his sense of integrity. He is not afraid of his double, which suddenly turns into a mistress again. Donissan throws himself at him – but all around is nothing but emptiness and darkness. Donnissan is unconscious. He is brought to life by a coachman from Saint-Pré. He tells, which, along with the mistress, moved him away from the road. Hearing that the young lady is a real person, Donissan still can not understand what happened to him, “whether he is possessed by demons or insanity, whether he has become a plaything of his own imagination or evil spirit”, but it does not matter if he grace will come.
Before dawn, Donissan is already on the way to Campania. Not far from the castle of the Marquis de Cadignan, he meets Musetta, who often roams there, and wants to take her away from there. He has the gift of reading in his soul: he sees the mystery of Musetta. Donissan feels sorry for Musetta, considering her innocent of murder, for she was an instrument in the hands of the Devil. Donissan gently exhorts her. Returning to Kamlan, Donissan tells Menu-Segre about his meeting with the bounty-satan and about his gift to read in human souls. Menu-Segre accuses him of pride. Mouchette comes home on the verge of a new fit of insanity. She calls on Satan. He is, and she realizes that it’s time to kill yourself. She steals from her father’s razor and cuts her throat. Dying, she asks her to move to the church, and Donissan, despite the protests of the torturer Malorti, takes her there.
Many years pass. Everyone reveres Donissana as a saint, and the owner of the farm of Pluey Avre, whose only son falls ill, comes to Donissan, asking him to save the boy. When Donissan, together with Sabir, the priest of the Luzarn parish, to which the Plui belong, come to Avra, the boy is already dead. Donissan wants to resurrect the child, it seems to him that this should happen, but he does not know. God or the Devil inspired him with this thought. The attempt of resurrection is unsuccessful.
A parish priest from Luzarn together with a young doctor from Shavransha decide to make a pilgrimage to the Lumbras. Donissana is not at home, he is already waiting for the visitor – the famous writer Antoine Saint-Marin. This empty and bilious old man, an idol who reads the public, calls himself the last of the Hellenes. Driven primarily by curiosity, he wants to look at the Lumbre saint, whose fame reached Paris. The home of Donissan is striking in its ascetic simplicity. In the room of Donissan on the wall are visible dried blood sprays – the result of his self-torture. Saint-Maren is shocked, but he takes possession of himself and argues passionately with the Luzarn priest. Without waiting for Donissan at his house, all three go to church, but he is not there either. They are seized with anxiety: Donissan is already old and suffers from a chest frog. They are looking for Donissan and finally decide to go on the Werneway road to Roy, where there is a cross. Saint-Maren remains in the church and, when everyone leaves, he feels how peace gradually reigns in his soul. Suddenly, he comes up with the idea to look into the confessional: he opens the door and sees Donissana, who died of a heart attack. “Leaning against the back wall of the confessional… resting with stiff legs in a thin plaque… the pathetic frame of the Lumbrian saint, numb in exaggerated immobility, looks as if a man wanted to jump to his feet after seeing something absolutely startling – and so frozen.”