My uncle’s library

My uncle’s library

Rodolphe Tepfer
Library of my uncle.
The action takes place at the beginning of the XIX century. The narrative is conducted on behalf of the protagonist. In the secluded quarter of Geneva, in a house located near St. Paul’s Cathedral and the episcopal prison, a young contemplative is growing up, who soon lost his parents and his guarded uncle. He studies under the strict supervision of Mr. Rathen, a mentor and educator, not only in matters of science, but also in morality. Jules is a diligent teenager, but apart from respect the teacher causes him and ridicule, he does not mind stunting Rathen with “causeless” laughter over the wart with hairs on the nose of the tutor.
The boy gradually becomes a young man, a premonition of love hovers in his still childish

consciousness. When reading pastors, images of young cowherd boys fill his heart. However, Mr. Rathen, a man of extraordinary education and chastity, tries to protect Jules from any hints of feeling, missing whole pages in the works on the vicissitudes of love. But, as Jules, who has matured, tells and analyzes his story from the top of the years he lived, such education instills many prejudices, and prohibitions that suppress feelings do not tame them. For blots, committed in the pages of the Notes on the Gallic War, Rathen punishes his pupil, not allowing him to leave the room for two days. The boy rejoices at the forced idleness, regrets the hot pies, gives the will of his observation during the bout of a neighbor’s cat with a rat. Wanting to scare the cat, he accidentally breaks the lock in the door leading to the uncle’s library. Here, Jules’s attention is attracted by a book that the rat managed to partially gnaw out. In the dictionary article, he reads about the love of the abbess Eloise and Abelard. Jules is struck by the letters of Eloise, written in Latin. Love story ignites the boy, and he flies into the world of the Middle Ages, experiencing a sweet ecstasy with fiction.
The thirst for feeling is embodied in Jules’s first passion. His dream – a young Englishwoman Lucy, attending accompanied
by his father’s sessions of the painter. This is a skilful portraitist who knows how to please the “sprout of vanity” that grows in every person. He has the talent to portray people as self-similar and at the same time beautiful. Usually the artist hangs out work for drying on rods nailed to the window, and then Jules can look at them.
Left in the lock-up, the enamored young man decides to climb through his uncle’s library to the studio to see a portrait of Lucy. But an unsuccessful fall suits in the painter’s room an incredible rout. Jules looks at the portrait, then returns to his room, not knowing how to explain to Rathen what happened in the workshop. A witness of the boy’s adventures is a criminal who watches from the prison window, recently sentenced to life imprisonment. Singing psalms, he plays on Jules’s pity. The touched young man passes him the Bible, and at the same time a file to free himself from the pain of pain caused by the shackles. At this time, the artist is amazed at the chaos prevailing in the studio. Jules is ready to confess everything, but the prisoner deceives the painter, telling a fable about the raging cats. Dissatisfied with the explanation of the artist, together with Mr. Rathen, he examines the room with his uncle’s library, as he climbed onto the roof, and then he could get into the workshop only from there. Jules hears Rathen finding his handkerchief, and the gendarmes report the prisoner’s escape.
Driven by remorse, shame and fear, the young man flees to Lausanne, hoping to find understanding and protection from his uncle. Along the way, enjoying the greatness of the Alps, he calms down and begins to believe in the happy outcome of the misadventures. Suddenly, on the way of Jules the Englishwoman’s carriage stops, her father, the venerable noble old man, offers help. Jules confesses to the deed, but Lucy and the old man forgive him. Good Englishmen take the fugitive to Lausanne and hand them to Uncle Tom. Next, Jules tells how his youth ended.
Three years passed. Now Jules is an eighteen-year-old student who devotes himself to the study of jurisprudence. Often he is distracted from his studies and stands at the window for a long time, watching the street, the roofs of the houses, looking to the sky, rejoicing in the rain. This “useful idleness” allows him to immerse himself in meditation, to connect with the infinite space of the external world. Jules lives with Uncle Tom, who “reads, composes notes, compiles, formulates his thoughts and collects in his brain the quintessence of the thousands of volumes that his room is set up,” his whole life is serving science and oblivion of reality.
Jules’s heart revives the feeling for the stranger who passes by his windows every day. She once turns to Uncle Tom for a Bible written in Hebrew to read to the dying old Jew. Seeing the girl, Jules involuntarily gasps, she catches his enthusiastic look and immediately blushes. From the conversation with his uncle, the young man learns that his lover is Jewish, but this is even more attractive to Jules. Having built a stand of books, the admirer watches the windows of the hospital, examining the beautiful Jewess at the bedside of the sick old man. But the volumes crash with a crash, an anxious uncle enters the room. A young man can not explain his behavior, and his uncle decides that he is sick. In disarray Jules is forgotten, he dreams of the favor of his beloved, waking up, the young man decides to explain. Smastering a scarecrow, Jules covers him with his blanket and runs to the library. At the time when the uncle goes to see his nephew, a girl comes. Jules opens the door to her. Both are in some confusion. The young man hides in the room, and the beautiful Jewess meets the returning old man and talks about the incident. Uncle Tom finds this unbelievable. While he is looking for a book, the guest smiles over the page of some folio. After her departure, Jules studies the book, trying to find the place that liked his lover. At last he succeeds, he reads about the love of a timid nobleman, like Jules, for the sake of meeting his beloved hiding in the upper room. Then the young man understands that he can hope for reciprocity. He hurries to the hospital to meet the girl, but finds out that the old man is a Jew. A few days later, Uncle Tom was handed the Bible, in the postscript to which the beautiful Jewess asks to give the book to Jules in memory of her. The girl died from smallpox.
Jules seriously experiences the loss of his beloved, he opens his uncle and finds support in him. With the death of his beloved Jules is saying goodbye to his youth. Time heals wounds, but the young man is haunted by thoughts of death. He throws lessons right, feeling the vocation for painting. At first, Uncle obstructs Jules, but then blesses him in the artist’s field. And the young man is devoted to art, drawing sketches during walks.
Unexpectedly, Jules meets mourning over the father of Lucy and her husband. The Englishwoman acquainted with the works of Jules and orders copies from his father’s portrait.
The young artist works in the attic, divided by a partition into two parts, next to it there is a surveyor. His daughter – a shy, shy girl Henrietta, brought up in austerity and simplicity, attracts the attention of Jules. Every morning, heading to his part of the attic, he meets Henriette on the stairs. Jules falls in love with the girl. This time feeling that his dreams are destined to come true, he seriously thinks about marriage. But the lover does not have enough determination to open Henrietta. The case comes to the rescue. Lucy, inquiring about working on copies, begins a conversation about the daughter of a surveyor. Jules, knowing that behind the partition Henrietta will hear everything he says, confesses his love for her. After some time, the surveyor comes to the artist, they are talking about a possible marriage and about whether the artist is able to support the family. Lucy again helps Jules, paying a large sum for copies and making a new order, and then recommending it to his compatriots. Henrietta’s father agrees, believing that the highest value in marriage is not wealth, but mutual trust and love of work. Uncle hands the groom a small fortune, bequeathed by Jules’s parents, in addition, decides to sell his library to ensure the future of young spouses. After the marriage, Jules enters the family surveyor, thanks to his work and the patronage of Ayushi, he becomes known and lives in prosperity. In addition, he decides to sell his library to ensure the future of young spouses. After the marriage, Jules enters the family surveyor, thanks to his work and the patronage of Ayushi, he becomes known and lives in prosperity. In addition, he decides to sell his library to ensure the future of young spouses. After the marriage, Jules enters the family surveyor, thanks to his work and the patronage of Ayushi, he becomes known and lives in prosperity.
After two years, Uncle Tom dies, and Jules, mourning his death, writes a letter to Lucy, emphasizing the common in their lives – the loss of a loved one.


My uncle’s library