Short summary - Roman comique - Comic Novel
The action takes place in the modern author of France, mainly in Mans - a city that is located two hundred kilometers from Paris.
The Comic Novel is conceived as a parody of fashionable novels of the “high style” - instead of itinerant knights, its heroes are itinerant comedians, countless fights replace duels, and abduction scenes obligatory in adventure novels are unusually funny. Each chapter is a separate comic episode, strung on the core of a simple plot. The novel is distinguished by a whimsical composition, it is replete with inserted episodes - as a rule, these are short stories told by one of the characters, or the memories of heroes. The plots of the short stories are taken mainly from the life of the noble Moors and the Spaniards. I would especially like to say about the short story "Your Own Judge" - the story of a Spanish cavalry girl: young Sofia is forced to hide in a man's dress. Once in the military camp of Emperor Charles V, she shows such courage and military talent that she receives a cavalry regiment under the command, and then an appointment as Viceroy of her native Valencia, but, having married, cedes all titles to her husband.
Scarron managed to complete two parts of the novel. The third after his death was written by Offre, who hastily completed the plot.
Three fancifully dressed people appear in the Mansa market - an elderly woman, an old man and a stately young man. This is a traveling troupe. The comedians angered the Governor of Tours and lost their comrades during the flight. But the three of them are ready to give a performance in the upper room of the inn. The local judge, Mr. Rappinier, orders the innkeeper to lend to the actors for the duration of the performance the clothes of young people playing ball left for her to preserve. The handsome comedian Desten amazes everyone with his skill, but the ball players appear, see the actors in their dress and begin to beat the referee, who ordered them without the knowledge of the owners. The fight becomes general, and Destin is destined to once again delight the inhabitants of Mans: he mercilessly beats people who interfere with the performance. When leaving the inn, the friends of the beaten are attacking Rappinier with swords. Destin again saves the life of the judge, he also wields a sword very skillfully, chopping off the attackers over the ears with it. The grateful Rappinier invites the comedians to his house. At night, he creates a terrible commotion, deciding that Madame Rappinier went to the young comedian's room. In fact, it is a goat wandering around the house, feeding orphaned puppies with its milk. The next morning, the judge asks about Desten the second actor, sarcastic Rankyun. According to him, Desten has been in the troupe quite recently, and he owes his skill to Rankyun, and his life too. After all, Rankune saved him in Paris, when a young man was attacked by robbers who took away some of his jewels. Learning when the attack took place, the judge and his servant Dogen are terribly embarrassed. On the same day, Dogen is mortally wounded by one of the youths beaten by him in the tavern. Before dying, he calls for Desten. To Rappinier, the actor says that the dying man was simply delirious. The rest of the actors gather: the daughter of the old actress, sixteen-year-old Angelica, the student of Desten Leandre, and several other people. Only Etoile, Desten's sister, is absent: she sprained her leg, and a horse stretcher is sent for her. Some armed horsemen forcibly inspect all stretchers on the road. They are looking for a girl with a damaged leg, but they kidnap a priest on his way to see a doctor. Etoile arrives safely in Mans. Angelica and her mother, Cavern, ask young people to tell them their story as a sign of friendship. Desten agrees. He is the son of a village rich man, a man of anecdotal stinginess. His parents did not like him, all their attention was absorbed by the offspring of a certain Scottish count, given to them for education. Desten is taken by his magnanimous godson. The boy is an excellent student, he is accompanied by the children of Baron d'Arc - the rude Saint-Phar and the noble Verville. After completing their education, young people go to Italy for military service. In Rome, Destin meets a French lady and her secretly born daughter Leonora. He saves them from the insolence of some traveling Frenchman and, of course, falls in love with his daughter. Leonora is also not indifferent to him, but Saint-Phar tells her mother that Desten is just a servant, and the poor girl is taken away without being allowed to tell about her feelings. Destena is lured into an ambush and severely wounded by the impudent one he taught a lesson when meeting Leonora. Having recovered, Desten seeks death on the battlefields, but instead finds the glory of a desperate grunt. At the end of the campaign, the young people return to France. Verville falls in love with her neighbor, Mademoiselle Saldagne. Her parents died, and the tyrant brother wants to send her and her second sister to the monastery so as not to spend money on a dowry. Desten accompanies a friend on a secret date. Suddenly, Saldani appears - this, it turns out, is the Roman enemy of our hero. A fight breaks out, Saldani is lightly wounded. Having recovered, he challenges Verville to a duel. According to the custom of that time, the second of Verville Desten was forced to fight with the second of Saldane. alas, this is the eldest son of his benefactor Saint-Phar. The young man at first spares the enemy, but he basely abuses this. In order not to die, Destin wounds him. Verville disarms Saldan. The matter is settled by a double wedding - Verville marries his beloved, Saint-Phar - her sister. The offended Desten, despite the persuasion of a friend, leaves the house of Baron d'Arc. He again goes to Italy and on the way meets his beloved and her mother. They are looking for Leonora's father, but their search is unsuccessful, moreover, all their money has been stolen from them. Desten decides to accompany them.
Leonora's mother dies during the search. Robbers steal from Desten a diamond-set portrait of his beloved's father - proof of her origin. In addition, Saldani is on their trail. The need to hide and the need make young people pass themselves off as brothers and sisters and, under assumed names, join the troupe of comedians. In Tours, Saldani meets them again, he tries to kidnap Leonora-Etual. The story takes several evenings. Meanwhile, a visiting physician, his Spanish wife, who knows a myriad of fascinating stories, and a certain widow lawyer Ragoten, make acquaintance with the comedians. This little man is impudent, stupid and ill-mannered, but has a peculiar talent for always getting into ridiculous alterations, which are described in detail in the novel. He decides that he is in love with Etoile. Rankyun agrees to help the lawyer gain her favor while eating and drinking at his expense. The troupe is invited out of town - they celebrate a wedding there. The comedians arrive, but the performance is not destined to take place - Angelica is kidnapped. Cavern is sure that the kidnapper is Leander, this is clear from the love letters she found. Desten rushes in pursuit. In a hotel in one of the villages, he finds a wounded Leander and listens to his story. Leandre joined the troupe only out of love for Angelica. He is a nobleman, and a large inheritance awaits him, but his father does not agree to marry his son with a comedian. He chased the kidnappers, entered into a fight with them - the villains beat him and threw him half-dead on the road.
After a while Angelica herself appears in the hotel - she was taken away by mistake. This became clear when the kidnappers met Etual on the way. Rappinier tried to lure her into his nets with the help of a bribed servant. The servant was beaten, Angelica was thrown in the forest, and Etual was taken away to no one knows where. There is no doubt that this is Saldania's trick. However, with the help of Verville who appeared in time, Desten helps his beloved, this is all the more easy because a horse fell under Saldan and he was terribly hurt. It is possible to bring Rappinier to clean water, the judge is forced to return the portrait of Leonora's father: it was he and his late servant who robbed Destena in Paris. The comedians move from Mans to Alencon. Ragoten, in order not to part with the object of his love and to show off his talents, enters the troupe. But Leander leaves his comrades - the news has come that his father is dying and wants to say goodbye to his son. The very first performance in a new place could end badly - the restless Saldan recovered from his injury and again tried to kidnap Etual. But theater fans from among the local nobles take the side of the comedians. Saldani is killed in a firefight, which he himself provoked. Leander inherits the baronial title and fortune from his father, but is not going to part with the theater and remains in the troupe. It was decided to play two weddings at the same time. On the eve of a happy day, Cavern meets his brother, also a comedian, from whom they were separated as children. So everyone is happy except Ragoten. He tries to play suicide, and then drowns in the river, trying to water the horse. The evil joker Rankyun also leaves the troupe - his brother Kavern will take his place.