Theresa Deskairu leaves the courtroom. She was accused of attempting to poison her husband, but with the efforts of her relatives the case was stopped “for lack of corpus delicti.” The honor of the family is saved. Teresa is to return home, to Argelouz, where her husband is waiting, who saved her with her false testimony. Theresa is afraid of curious views, but fortunately, at this time of year it gets dark early, and her face is hard to see, Teresa is accompanied by her father Larock and lawyer Duro. Theresa thinks about the grandmother on the maternal side, which she has never seen, and which only she knows that she left home. Not preserved her daguerreotypes, no photographs. “Imagination told Teresa that she, too, could disappear like this, go into oblivion, and later her daughter, little Marie, would not find in the family album the image of the one who produced it.” Theresa says, that he was going to stay with his husband for several days, and when he was better, he would return to his father. The father objects: Theresa and her husband should be inseparable, they must observe decency, everything should be as before. “You will do whatever your husband tells you, I think that I am expressing myself very clearly,” Larock said. Theresa decides that the salvation for her is to open her whole soul to her husband, without hiding anything. This thought brings her relief. She recalls the words of Anna’s childhood friend, de la Trav. Pretty
However, Teresa was persistent, and finally Anna gave in. This was facilitated by the news of the imminent arrival of the Degilemians – Anna did not want to see the young Degilem, who was supposed to be her husband. Theresa did not feel pity for Anna. Her own pregnancy was not fun either. “She wanted to believe in God and beg from him, so that this unknown creature, which she still carries in the womb, never appeared.” Theresa promised after Anna’s departure and the de la Trava’s spouses to find some way to influence Jean Azevedo, but she was drawn to sleep, to rest, and she was not in a hurry to fulfill the promised. In the middle of October, Jean had to leave, and Bernard began to rush Teresa.
Bernard began to show the first signs of suspiciousness. He was haunted by the fear of death, amazing for such a big guy. He complained of his heart, of nerves. Theresa believed that Bernard is ridiculous, because the life of people like them is completely useless and surprisingly similar to death. When Theresa spoke of this Bernard, he only shrugged his shoulders. She irritated him with her paradoxes. Theresa did not hate Bernard. At times, he was disgusted with her, but it never occurred to her that another man would have seemed dearer to her. In the end, Bernard was not so bad. She could not stand the images of extraordinary personalities created in the novels, which never occur in life. She considered Bernard above her environment exactly until she met with Jean Azevedo.
They met by chance. Theresa walked to an abandoned hunting hut during a walk, where she and Anna once had a snack and where Anna then made appointments to Jean Azevedo. There Teresa met Jean, who, upon recognizing her, immediately spoke to her about Anna. His eyes and gaze were beautiful. Theresa spoke haughtily with him, accusing him of “bringing confusion and strife into the venerable family.” In response, Jean sincerely laughed: “So you imagine that I want to marry Anna?” Theresa was amazed: it turns out that Jean was not at all in love with Anna. He said that he could not resist the charm of such a charming girl, but never behaved dishonestly and did not go too far. Concerning Anna’s suffering, he said that these sufferings are the best that she can expect from fate, that all her further dull life she will remember these moments of sublime passion. Theres liked to talk with Jean Azevedo, he liked to listen to his reasoning. Theresa was not in love with him, she just met a man for the first time, for whom the spiritual side of life was most important. Concerning Anna Theresa came up with a plan that Jean realized: he wrote her a letter, where in very mild terms deprived her of all hope.
Bernard did not believe Teresa’s story, it seemed to him incredible that Jean Azevedo did not dream of marrying Anna de la Trav. Theresa saw Jean five or six times. He described to her Paris, his comradely circle, where one law reigned – to become oneself. In late October, Jean left, appointing Theresa a meeting in a year. On the third day after his departure Anna returned, she wanted at all costs to see Jean, believing that she could win it again. When Theresa told her that Jean had left, Anna did not believe until she was convinced of this with her own eyes. When Teresa had a daughter, Teresa did little about her, but Anna adored little Marie and gave her all her time.
One day a forest fire broke out near Mano. Everyone was agitated, and Bernard mistakenly drank a double dose of the medicine. She was full of heat, but she did not stop her husband, and when he later forgot whether he took a drop or not, and drank another dose, she again said nothing. At night, Bernard excruciated vomiting, Dr. Pedme lost in conjecture, what could it be. Theresa thought that there was no evidence that it all happened because of the drops. She even became curious: are the drops really guilty? On a counterfeit prescription, Teresa bought drops and dripped them to her husband in a glass. When the pharmacist showed the doctor a prescription, the doctor filed a complaint with the court. Theresa said that a few days ago she met on the road an unknown person who asked her to buy a prescription drug at the pharmacy: he himself allegedly could not do it, since he owed the pharmacist. Then this man came and took his drops. The father begged Teresa to come up with something more plausible, but she obstinately kept repeating the same thing. She was rescued by the lies of Bernard, who confirmed that his wife told him about a meeting with a stranger.
Theresa thinks about. That she will tell Bernard at a meeting. The only thing that would solve all the problems, he still does not: if he opened her arms, not asking about anything! If she could come to his chest and cry, feeling her living heat! Teresa decides to tell Bernard that she is ready to disappear, but when they come and she pronounces these words, Bernard is indignant: how dare she have her opinion? She should only obey, only carry out his orders. Bernard describes Teresa as a new way of life: from now on, Teresa is forbidden to walk around the house, she will be brought food to her bedroom. On Sundays, he and Bernard will go to St. Clair to see them all together. Marie with her mother Bernard and Anna will go to the south, and in a few months, when public opinion will assume that peace and harmony prevail in the family of Desqueira, Anna will marry young Degilem. After her wedding, Bernard will settle in Saint-Clair, and Teresa, under the pretext of neurasthenia, will stay in Argelouz. Theresa is horrified at the thought that she will have to live in Arzeluz all the way until her death. When, in Bernard’s opinion, there is an atmosphere of sympathy for Saint Terre in Saint-Claire, he frees her from the obligation to go to mass and leaves Argelouz.
Teresa remains alone. She dreams of fleeing to Paris and living there, not depending on anyone. A letter comes from Bernard, where he promises to come with Anna and Degilem. Young people are engaged, but before the official engagement, Degil wants to see Teresa. Bernard hopes that Teresa will behave with dignity and will not interfere with the successful implementation of the plan of the de la Trav family. When the whole company comes to Argelouz, Teresa does not take an interest in her daughter. She is so full of herself that she despises Anna, who does not value her individuality and will forget all her high impulses “at the first squeak of the baby, whom she will be rewarded with this dwarf, without even taking her business card.” Teresa is sick. Bernard promises her that after Anna’s wedding she will be free. He will take her to Paris under the pretext of poor health, and he will return to his homeland and will send her her share of the income from collecting tar. With Teresa, they establish an even, calm relationship with Bernard.
When they come to Paris in the spring, Bernard at the cafe asks Teresa why she was trying to poison him. It is difficult for her to explain this to him, especially since she herself does not fully understand this. She says that she did not want to play the role of a respectable lady, to pronounce hackneyed phrases. Besides Teresa, which Bernard knows, there is another Teresa, and she is just as real. For a moment, Teresa appears that if Bernard had said to her: “I forgive you, come with me,” she would get up and follow him, but Bernard leaves, and soon this fleeting feeling already makes Teresa wonder. Therese does not hurry to leave the cafe, she is not bored and not sad. She does not hurry to see Jean Azevedo. Carefully tinted lips, she goes out and goes where the eyes look.