Short summary - A Chronicle of Our Own Times - L'Histoire contemporaine - Anatole France

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - A Chronicle of Our Own Times - L'Histoire contemporaine
Anatole France

Under the city elms,

Abbot Lantenin, rector of the theological seminary in the city ***, wrote a letter to Monsignor Cardinal-Archbishop, in which he bitterly complained about Abbot Guitrel, a teacher of spiritual eloquence. Through the aforementioned Guitrel, who dishonors the good name of the clergyman, Madame Worms-Clavelin, the wife of the prefect, acquired the vestments that had been kept in the sacristy of the Luzansky church for three hundred years, and put them on the upholstery of the furniture, from which it is clear that the teacher of eloquence is not distinguished either by the severity of manners or staunchness beliefs. Meanwhile, Abbot Lantenu learned that this unworthy pastor was going to lay claim to the episcopal dignity and the vacant Turcoen see at that moment. Needless to say, the rector of the seminary - an ascetic, ascetic, theologian and the best preacher of the diocese - himself would not refuse to shoulder the burden of heavy episcopal duties. Moreover, it is difficult to find a more worthy candidate, for if Abbot Lantheny is capable of inflicting harm on his neighbor, it is only to increase the glory of the Lord.

Abbot Guitrel really constantly saw the Prefect of Worms-Clavelin and his wife, whose main sin was that they were Jews and Freemasons. Friendly relations with a representative of the clergy flattered the Jewish official. The abbot, with all his humility, was on his own mind and knew the value of his deference. She was not that great - episcopal rank.

There was a party in the city that openly called Abbot Lantenay a shepherd worthy to occupy the vacant Turcoin pulpit. Since the city *** had the honor of giving Tourquin a bishop, the believers agreed to part with the rector for the benefit of the diocese and the Christian homeland. The only problem was the stubborn General Cartier de Chalmeau, who did not want to write to the minister of cults, with whom he was on good terms, and put in a word for the applicant. The general agreed that Abbot Lantenin was an excellent shepherd and, if he were a military man, he would have made an excellent soldier, but the old soldier never asked the government for anything, and now he was not going to ask. So the poor abbot, deprived, like all fanatics, of the ability to live, had no choice but to indulge in pious reflections and pour out bile and vinegar in conversations with Monsieur Bergeret, a professor at the Faculty of Philology. They perfectly understood each other, for even though Monsieur Bergeret did not believe in God, he was an intelligent man and disappointed in life. Having been deceived in his ambitious hopes, having tied the knot with a real shit, unable to become pleasant to his fellow citizens, he found pleasure in the fact that little by little he tried to become unpleasant for them.

Abbot Guitrel, an obedient and respectful child of His Holiness the Pope, did not waste time and unobtrusively brought to the attention of the Prefect of Worms-Clavelin that his rival Abbot Lantenin is disrespectful not only towards his spiritual leadership, but even towards himself a prefect who cannot be forgiven for being a Freemason or Jewish. Of course, he repented of what he had done, which, however, did not prevent him from pondering the next wise moves and promising himself that, as soon as he acquired the title of Prince of the Church, he would become irreconcilable with the secular authorities, Freemasons, the principles of free thought, republic and revolution. —The struggle around the Turquen cathedra was serious. Eighteen applicants sought episcopal vestments; the President And the papal nuncio had his own candidates, the bishop of the city *** had his own. Abbot Lantenu managed to enlist the support of General Cartier de Chalmeau, who is highly respected in Paris. So Abbot Guitrell, behind whose back is only a Jewish prefect, fell behind in this race.

Willow dummy

Mr. Bergeret was not happy. He had no honorary titles and was unpopular in the city. Of course, as a true scholar, our philologist despised honors, but still felt that it was much more beautiful to despise them when you have them. Monsieur Bergeret dreamed of living in Paris, meeting the metropolitan academic elite, arguing with her, publishing in the same magazines and surpassing everyone, for he knew that he was smart. But he was unrecognized, poor, his life was poisoned by his wife, who believed that her husband was a hunks and insignificance, whose presence she was forced to endure near. Bergeret studied the Aeneid, but never visited Italy, devoted his life to philology, but did not have money for books, and shared his office, already small and inconvenient, with his wife's willow dummy, on which she tried on skirts of her own work.

Dejected by the unattractiveness of his life, Monsieur Bergeret indulged in sweet dreams of a villa on the shores of a blue lake, of a white terrace, where one could plunge into a serene conversation with selected colleagues and students, among myrtles streaming a divine scent. But on the first day of the new year, fate dealt a crushing blow to the humble Latinist. Returning home, he found his wife with his favorite student, Mr. Roux. The unambiguousness of their posture meant that Monsieur Bergeret had grown horns. At the first moment, the newly-made cuckold felt that he was ready to kill the wicked adulterers at the crime scene. But considerations of a religious and moral order supplanted instinctive bloodthirstiness, and disgust flooded the flame of his anger in a powerful wave. M. Bergeret silently left the room. From that moment on, Madame Bergeret was plunged into the hellish abyss that opened up under the roof of her house. A deceived husband is not a herd to kill an unfaithful spouse. He just fell silent. He deprived Madame Bergeret of the pleasure of seeing her faithful rampaging, demanding explanations, emanating bile ... After the iron bed of the Latinist was placed in the office in deathly silence, Madame Bergeret realized that her life as a sovereign mistress of the house was over. for the husband has excluded the fallen wife from his outer and inner world. Just abolished. Mute evidence of the coup d'état was a new servant who was brought into the house by Mr. Bergeret: a village cowgirl who knew how to cook only a stew with lard, who understood only the vernacular, drank vodka and even alcohol. The new maid entered the house like death. The unhappy Madame Bergeret could not stand the silence and loneliness. The apartment seemed to her a crypt, and she fled from it to the salons of city gossips, where she sighed heavily and complained about her tyrant husband. In the end, the local society was affirmed in the opinion that Madame Bergeret was a poor thing, and her husband was a despot and a lecher, keeping the family from hand to mouth to satisfy his dubious whims. But at home, a deathly silence awaited her, a cold bed and an idiot servant ...

And Madame Bergeret could not stand it: she bowed her proud head of a representative of the glorious Pouilly family and went to her husband to make peace. But M. Bergeret was silent. Then, driven to despair, Madame Bergeret announced that she was taking her youngest daughter with her and leaving home. Hearing these words, Monsieur Bergeret realized that with his wise calculation and persistence he had achieved the desired freedom. He said nothing, just tilted his head in agreement.

Amethyst ring

Madame Bergeret did as she said and did - she left the family hearth. And she would have left a good memory for herself in the city if, on the eve of her departure, she had not compromised herself with a rash act. Having come with a farewell visit to Madame Lacarelle, she found herself in the living room alone with the owner of the house, who enjoyed the fame in the city as a merry fellow, a warrior and an inveterate kisser. To maintain his reputation at the proper level, he kissed all the women, girls and girls he met, but he did it innocently, for he was a moral man. This is exactly how Mr. Lacarelle kissed Madame Réregère, who took the kiss for a declaration of love and responded with passion. It was at that moment that Madame Lacarelle entered the drawing-room.

Monsieur Bergeret knew no sadness, for he was finally free. He was absorbed in arranging a new apartment to his liking. The dreaded cowgirl servant received the settlement, and was replaced by the virtuous Mrs. Bornish. It was she who brought into the house of the Latinist a creature that became his best friend. One morning Mrs. Bornish laid a puppy of indeterminate breed at the owner's feet. While Monsieur Bergeret climbed into a chair to retrieve a book from the top shelf of the bookcase, the little dog snuggled into the chair. Monsieur Bergeret fell from his knee-legged chair, and the dog, disdaining the peace and comfort of the chair, rushed to save him from the terrible danger and, in consolation, lick his nose. So the Latinist acquired a faithful friend. To top it all off, Monsieur Bergeret was given the coveted position of an ordinary professor. The joy was overshadowed only by the cries of the crowd under his windows, which, knowing that the professor of Roman law sympathized with a Jew convicted by a military tribunal, demanded the blood of a venerable Latinist. But soon he was delivered from provincial ignorance and fanaticism, for he received a course not just anywhere, but at the Sorbonne.

While the events described above were developing in the Bergeret family, Abbot Guitrel wasted no time. He took an active part in the fate of the chapel of Our Lady of Belf, which, according to the abbot, was miraculous, and won the respect and favor of the Duke and Duchess de Brese. Thus, the teacher of the seminary became necessary for Ernst Bonmont, the son of the Baroness de Bonmont, who with all his heart strove to be accepted into the house of de Brese, but his Jewish origin prevented this. The persistent young man made a deal with the cunning abbot: bishopric in exchange for the de Brese family.

So the clever Abbot Guitrell became Monsignor Hitrell, Bishop of Turcoen. But the most striking thing is that he kept his word given to himself at the very beginning of the struggle for episcopal vestments, and blessed the resistance of the authorities of the congregation of his diocese, who refused to pay the exorbitant taxes imposed on them by the government.

Monsieur Bergeret in Paris Monsieur Bergeret

settled in Paris with his sister Zoe and daughter Pauline. He received a chair at the Sorbonne, his article in defense of Dreyfus was published in Le Figaro, among the honest people of his quarter he earned the fame of a man who broke away from his brethren and did not follow the defenders of the saber and sprinkler. Monsieur Bergeret hated falsifiers, which he thought was permissible for a philologist. For this innocent weakness, the right-wing newspaper immediately declared him a German Jew and an enemy of the fatherland. Monsieur Bergeret took this insult philosophically, for he knew that these wretched people had no future. With all his being, this humble and honest man longed for change. He dreamed of a new society in which everyone would receive their full price for their work. But, as a true sage, Monsieur Bergeret understood that he would not be able to see the kingdom of the future, since all changes in the social system, as well as in the structure of nature, occur slowly and almost imperceptibly. Therefore, a person must work to create the future in the same way that carpet makers work on tapestries - without looking. And his only instrument is word and thought, unarmed and naked.