Short summary - Horace
George Sand - Amantine Lucile Aurore Dupin
The action takes place immediately after the establishment of the July Monarchy.
Nineteen-year-old Opac Dumont, the son of a minor provincial official, having received a bachelor's degree, comes to Paris. Parents deny themselves everything in order to provide their son with a decent content and give him the opportunity to break out into people.
Opac enters the law faculty, quickly feels aversion to the law, but is not going to pursue other science, because he believes that only the profession of a lawyer is a reliable step on the path to fame. Opac is handsome, graceful and easy-going, but "not always in his clothes and manners is impeccable taste." One of his acquaintances claims that he "poses even in front of flies." Horace's character is a mixture of pretense and naturalness artfully combined, so that it is impossible to discern where one ends and another begins.
Opac meets Théophile, a medical student, son of the Comte de Monde. Horace is flattering friendship with a young aristocrat, especially since Théophile often lends him money. However, he is disappointed that Théophile's girlfriend Eugénie is just a grisette. He is even more surprised at the friendship of Théophile with the student-brawler Jean Laraviniere, the owner of a "hoarse voice, broken in the first days of August 1830 by singing the Marseillaise", and with the son of a village shoemaker Paul Arsen. A talented artist, Paul is forced to leave painting and go to work as a garcon in a cafe in order to feed his relatives, which is why Opac despises him even more.
Paul has long, since childhood, secretly in love with the beautiful Madame Poisson, the wife of the owner of the cafe, where Théophile and his friends often gather. But Madame Poisson is actually Martha's worker, born in the same town, on the same street as Paul Arsene. At one time, the traveling salesman Poisson seduced her, took her to Paris, but did not marry her, which does not prevent him from being jealous and turning Martha's life into hell. Unable to bear it, she flees from her hated lover, finds temporary refuge with Théophile and Eugénie, and then, settling in an apartment next to them, together with Eugénie, opens a sewing workshop. Martha does not suspect that Paul, through Eugénie, secretly supports her with money so that she does not need anything.
Opac decides to become a writer. He has sketches for several novels, a poem, a ballad, a vaudeville and even a political pamphlet ready. But writing is also work, and Opac just doesn't like to work. Broken by his failures, he reclines all day on the balcony of Theophile, smoking a pipe and dreaming of great love.
Gradually Horace begins to "find charm in Martha's company" and once declares his love to her. Upon learning of this, Eugénie, worried about her friend, suggests that Theophilus bring Horace out into the light, "to distract him from love or to make sure of its power."
Théophile leads Horace to the Countess de Chailly, an old friend of his father, where he shows himself to be an intelligent and original interlocutor, albeit too passionate and noisy. The Countess's daughter-in-law, Viscountess de Chailly, makes an indelible impression on Horace. Here is the woman whose love he always dreamed of! But when Horace learns that Arsen is in love with Martha, passion for Martha flares up in him with renewed vigor. But at the same time, he was “ashamed of his love,” since his rival is the son of a shoemaker. Martha is desperate because she loves Horace.
Eugénie tries to prove to Horace that he is not ready for family life, however, Horace is convinced that his feelings are so passionate and ardent that everyday trifles cannot interfere with their happiness with Martha.
Tormented by baseless jealousy for Paul, Horace plagues Martha with unfair reproaches. Proving her love, Martha spends the night with Horace. Leaving him early in the morning, she is amazed to see Paul waiting for her. Without reproaching her for anything, he escorts her home. Martha realizes that Paul's love is purer and nobler than Horace's passion. But she cannot resist the feeling and chooses Horace.
Horace likes to rule over his beloved. He demands that Martha chase away Paul Arsene, who, out of old friendship, sometimes comes to visit her. Martha begs Paul to disappear from her life, and the unfortunate lover submits. Having rented a room in a quarter far from the house of Théophile and Eugénie, Horace takes Marta away, forbids her to work, and turns her against her former friends.
Horas examines his beloved "as if through the prism of various female images known to him from the books he has read." Therefore, her satiety with love is inevitable for him, which happens when he is faced with everyday difficulties. Creditors besiege him, he is in debt. Martha offers to start working, and first to lay down her new shawl. Horace is outraged, but the next morning, getting hungry, finds such a decision reasonable. The owner of the room, whom they owe for two months, gives Horace a scandal. At the noise from the next apartment, Laravigneres appears. He vouches for Horace before his master. Horace borrows money from Laravigneres. Despite the fact that Martha takes home work, the financial difficulties continue to grow.
Horace continues toaround, feeling that "it's even harder for him to work than before." Accusing the thrifty beloved of "petty stinginess", he squanders both the money she earned and the money sent by her parents. He is "not averse to leaving Martha." She is even more confirmed in her love for him.
Laravigneres takes an active part in the republican organization. Paul Arsen, who still loves Marta and consoles himself with the fact that he “will have the courage to lay down his head in the name of the republic,” also joins it. Horace also begins to believe in the success of the Laravignera movement. The role of the conspirator captures him entirely. He likes to "excite Martha", hinting at "the dangers to which he will soon be exposed." In the future republic, he sees himself as "a great orator or influential publicist."
A cholera epidemic breaks out. Horace gets sick. Martha is looking for Théophile and begs to save Horace. But the next day Horace recovers. And Théophile is already worried about Marta: he assumes that she is pregnant. Horace plagues Martha with reproaches, instills in her that he has an "irresistible disgust for babies." Martha disappears, writing to Horace that "he is not threatened by the boring worries and duties of a father."
Laravigneres informs Horace about the start of the performance. At the same time, the father informs Horace that his mother is seriously ill. Relieved to find a valid reason for leaving, Horace leaves for home.
Théophile was invited by the family doctor to the Countess de Chailly in her ancestral castle. Upon learning of this, Horace, returning to Paris, stops by to visit a friend and falls under the spell of the Viscountess. They become lovers. Horace thinks that he has conquered the proud aristocrat with his intelligence and brilliant literary abilities. In fact, an experienced coquette plays with him like a cat with a mouse.
Soon Horace begins to suffer from the fact that "his victory has caused so little noise." He talks about his relationship with the Viscountess Théophile and Eugénie, several other acquaintances. The Viscountess breaks up with him.
There is an uprising in Paris. June 5, 1832 Laraviniere and Arsene fight on a barricade near the Convent of Saint-Merry. Laraviniere falls, riddled with bullets; Paul Arsene, all wounded, escapes the pursuit and accidentally ends up in the attic where Martha lives with her child. A young woman nurses him. Having recovered, Paul stays with Martha to help her out of poverty. He gets a place as a prompter in the theater, where he sews Mart's costumes. After a while, Paul becomes an indispensable person in the theater - he paints magnificent scenery. Martha is unexpectedly given the lead role, and she has extraordinary success. But she is still a simple and noble woman. Paul's devotion and love finally evoke a reciprocal feeling in her soul. Paul recognizes her child. The young couple visit Théophile and Eugénie, who have long believed both dead. The doctor and his girlfriend are sincerely happy about the success and happiness of their friends.
Horace, having received money from a wealthy friend, wins a huge amount and immediately begins to live in grand style. Lighthearted generosity and "a dandy costume that wonderfully conceals plebeian origins" open the doors of secular salons for Horace. He writes and publishes a novel of "notable success", signing it with the name du Monte. At the same time, it does not even occur to him to repay the debts.
Luck turns away from Horace. He writes a second novel, but it turns out to be quite mediocre. He fails to marry a rich widow. He gets into debt. In the end, his new socialites turn their backs on him. Horace learns that the Viscountess, who has not forgiven him for chatting about their relationship, is in no small part contributing to his failures. Horace is ruined, defeated in the light. Finding shelter with Theophile, he accidentally learns that Martha and Paul have finally found their happiness, and jealousy flares up in him: he is still convinced that Martha loves him alone.
Théophile, fearing for the happiness of the Arsene couple, invites Horace to leave for Italy and supplies him with money. On the day of departure, Horas comes to Martha, throws himself at her feet and, after a passionate explanation, invites her to run with him. Martha refuses and even convinces her that the child is not his, but Paul's. Horace draws a dagger and threatens to kill Martha, himself and the child. Swinging the dagger, he slightly wounds Marta, and then tries to stab himself. He is stopped by Laraviniere, who miraculously survived the uprising,
Fearing charges of murder, Horace flees Paris, taking neither things nor money. After a while, he sends Theophilus a letter of apology and a request to send a wallet and suitcase.
In Italy, Horas did not succeed at anything. He writes a drama that is booed in the theater, is hired as a teacher of children, but he is quickly fired for trying to look after their mother, writes several unsuccessful novels and uninteresting articles. Finally, after returning to his homeland, he completes his law degree and “works hard to create a clientele for himself” in his province.