O. de Balzac
Evgenia Grande was considered the most enviable bride in Saumur. Her father, a simple bocar, grew rich in the days of the Revolution, buying up the confiscated church possessions for a pittance-the best vineyards in the Saumur okrug and several farms. At the Consulate, he was elected mayor, and during the time of the Empire he was already called only Mr. Grande – however, for his familiar names were called “daddies”. Nobody knew exactly what kind of capital the former bocar had, but people who were clever said that Daddy Grande had six or seven million francs faithful. Only two people could confirm this, but the notary Cruchet and the banker de Grassen knew how to keep their mouths shut. However, both of them openly gossiped before
The co-workers watched with interest the battle of the Titans and wondered who would get the tidbit. Some, it is true, argued that the old man was going to give his daughter for his nephew – the son of Guillaume Grande, who made a million fortune in wholesale wine trade and settled in Paris. The Khrushots and Grassenists amicably denied this, stating that the Parisian Grande was aiming for a son much higher, and could well be related to some “duke of Napoleon’s mercy.” At the beginning of 1819, Pope Grande, with the help of the Krušo family, acquired the magnificent estate of the Marquis de Fruafón. But this circumstance by no means changed the habitual way of life of the old man: he is still in his ramshackle house with his wife, daughter and the only servant Naneta, nicknamed Gromadin for his tall stature and manlike appearance. Thirty-five years ago, Papa Grande warmed the impoverished peasant girl who was being driven from all the doors – and since then Nanet has performed any job for her tiny salary, tirelessly blessing the owner for her kindness. However, Eugene and his mother sat all day at the needlework, and the old miser gave them candles on the account.
The event that turned the life of Eugenia Grande happened in the first half of October 1819, the day of her birth. On the occasion of the holiday, father Grande allowed to flood the fireplace, although November had not yet arrived, and presented his daughter with an ordinary gift – a gold coin. At a memorable dinner for all the men, the dinner was ready for the decisive battle between Kriusho and de Grassena. At the height of the party, a knock sounded at the door, and the son of the Parisian millionaire Charles Grande appeared before the astonished provincials. Handing his father a letter from his father, he began to look around, clearly amazed at the paucity of the table and the situation. Everything convinced the young man that the Sumerian kin was vegetating in poverty – a mistake that would become fatal for Eugenia. At twenty-three, this timid, pure girl did not know about her wealth or her beauty. An adorable, elegant cousin seemed to her a stranger from another world.
The Paris Grande in his death letter informed his brother about his bankruptcy and his intention to shoot himself, begging only one thing – to take care of Charles. The poor boy is spoiled by the love of his family and is treated with the attention of the world – he will not bear shame and poverty. In the morning in Saumur, everyone knew about the suicide of Guillaume Grande. The old miser with rough frankness told the nephew terrible news, and the gentle young man could not resist sobbing. Evgenia felt such compassion for him that even the meek Mistress Grande deemed it necessary to warn her daughter, for from pity to love, only one step. And Charles deeply touched the sincere participation of his aunt and cousin – he knew well, with what indifferent contempt would have met in Paris.
After listening to conversations about his uncle’s bankruptcy and reading the furtive letter from Charles, Evgenia first thought about money. She realized that her father could help his cousin, but the old miser had become enraged at the mere suggestion that he would have to fork out for the sake of a miserable boy. However, soon Papa Grande softened: nevertheless the good name of the family was touched upon, and with arrogant Parisians it was necessary to get even. The banker de Grassen went to the capital to take care of the liquidation of the rancid firm, and at the same time to invest the old man’s savings in state rent. Saumurians up to heaven extolled father Grande – such generosity from him no one expected.
Meanwhile, Eugene asked Charles to accept her savings – gold coins worth about six thousand francs. In turn, Charles handed her to save a golden dressing-case with portraits of her father and mother. For both young people came the spring of love: they swore to each other in fidelity to the grave and secured their vow with a chaste kiss. Soon, Charles went to the East Indies in the hope of gaining wealth. And the mother and her daughter trembled, waiting for the New Year: the old man used to admire the golden coins of Eugenia on holidays. There was a horrifying scene: Papa Grande almost cursed his daughter and ordered her to be kept in confinement on bread and water. Even the downtrodden Mrs. Grande could not carry this off: for the first time in her life, she dared to contradict her husband, and then got out of grief. Evgenie stoically tolerated father’s disgrace, finding solace in her love. Only when his wife became completely ill, Papa Grande changed his anger at mercy – the notary Krušo explained to him that Eugenia could demand the division of the inheritance after the death of her mother. To the great joy of the patient, the father solemnly forgave her daughter. But then he caught the eye of Charles’s casket, and the old miser decided to tear off the gold plates for melting-only the threat of Eugenia to commit suicide had stopped him. For the dying, it turned out to be the last blow – it faded in October 1822, regretting only the daughter left to be torn to the cruel world. After her death, Eugene unquestioningly signed the renunciation of the inheritance. But then he caught the eye of Charles’s casket, and the old miser decided to tear off the gold plates for melting-only the threat of Eugenia to commit suicide had stopped him. For the dying, it turned out to be the last blow – it faded in October 1822, regretting only the daughter left to be torn to the cruel world. After her death, Eugene unquestioningly signed the renunciation of the inheritance. But then he caught the eye of Charles’s casket, and the old miser decided to tear off the gold plates for melting-only the threat of Eugenia to commit suicide had stopped him. For the dying, it turned out to be the last blow – it faded in October 1822, regretting only the daughter left to be torn to the cruel world. After her death, Eugene unquestioningly signed the renunciation of the inheritance.
The next five years did not change the monotonous existence of Eugenia. True, the party of the Grassenists suffered a complete collapse; arriving in Paris for Grande, the banker went into full swing, and his wife had to abandon plans to marry Adolf to Eugene. Papa Grande, through clever machinations with his brother’s bills, reduced the amount of debt from four million to one million two hundred thousand. Feeling the approach of death, the old man began to introduce his daughter to the affairs and instilled into her his concepts of stinginess. At the end of 1827, he died at the age of eighty-two. By this time, Charles Grande has already returned to France. A sensitive young man turned into a hardened businessman who got rich on the slave trade. He almost did not remember Eugenia. Only in August 1828 she received from him the first letter to which a check was attached.
Already this letter was enough to crush all of Eugene’s hopes. The oil was poured into the fire by Madame de Grassen, who was burning with thirst for revenge: Eugene learned from her that the cousin had been in Paris for a long time, but before the wedding, the Marquis d’Abrion would never give his daughter for the son of an insolvent debtor, and Charles was so stupid that he did not want to part with three thousand francs, which would completely satisfy the remaining creditors. In the evening of the same day, Yevgenia agreed to marry Chairman Kriusho and asked him to immediately leave for Paris – she wanted to pay off all her uncle’s debt obligations together with interest and allocated two million for this purpose. Handing Charles an act on the satisfaction of financial claims, the chairman did not deny himself the pleasure of clicking on the nose of a stupid ambitious:
Mindful of the terms of the marriage contract, Mr. Crucheau always showed the greatest respect to his wife, although in the heart he longed for her death. But the all-seeing Lord soon tidied him-Eugenia was widowed at thirty-six. Despite her immense wealth, she lives according to her father’s order, although, unlike him, generously donates to charitable deeds. In Saumur, they talk about her new marriage – the rich widow is courted in every way by the Marquis de Fruafón.