Short summary - Famille Boussardel - Philippe Hériat

French literature summaries - 2021

Short summary - Famille Boussardel
Philippe Hériat

The novel is a family chronicle with a sequel. The events described in the novel take place in Paris in the 19th century. and begins with the fact that in 1815, after serving in the French National Guard, Florent Bussardel, the son of a prominent customs official who had died shortly before, returned to the bosom of the family. He goes to work in the office of a stockbroker, where he quickly learns, so that his business goes up. He has two daughters: nine-year-old Adeline and five-year-old Julie. Soon, two more twin sons are born - Ferdinand and Louis. During childbirth, his wife Lydia dies, and Florent is left alone with four children in her arms. Ramelo, a fifty-year-old neighbor who later becomes almost a member of the family, and Batistina, a country girl taken by Lydia to help him during the war years, help him around the house and with the children.
Adeline grows up and studies in a boarding house for noble girls. Julie takes care of the brothers. One day, playing Indians with them, she sets a small fire in the apartment. Batistine, not figuring out who is to blame, brutally beat the twins. Subconsciously, she cannot forgive them for the death of their mother, to whom she was very attached. She's getting fired.
Companion Florent Bussardel, who was stealing on military supplies, is imprisoned, and Bussardel buys out his share in the office and becomes its sole owner.
In 1826, the question of Adeline's marriage arises. Her father finds a party for her in the person of Felix Mignon, the son of one of the shareholders of a company engaged in the resale of land in Paris. Adeline scares off a young man with her sanctimonious speeches, and he passionately falls in love with the lively and charming Julie, who is not yet sixteen. Florent Bussardel agrees to marry his youngest daughter, and Adeline remains an old maid, explaining that the twins need someone to replace their mother and take care of them.
Meanwhile, the office of the stockbroker Bussardel becomes one of the first in Paris, business is in full swing and it becomes necessary to buy an estate where the broker could invite friends to hunt. In 1832 Bussardel acquired the Grantsy estate, where the whole family left during the cholera that raged in Paris in the same year. Ferdinand Bussardel, by that time turned into a temperamental sixteen-year-old boy, seduces the young dishwasher Clemence Blondeau into Grancy. This is his first experience in the field of love, and it costs the girl dearly: due to the operation to terminate pregnancy, she subsequently becomes unable to have children and dies of cancer in her youth. From his connection with Clemence Ferdinand takes out only the first acquaintance with such pleasures and the desire to know them again. He spends his entire youth in the Latin Quarter in the company of grisettes, unlike his confidant Louis, a chaste and timid young man. At the age of twenty, a change takes place in Ferdinand. He is bored with his monotonous pleasures, and he decides to marry in order to acquire the status of a serious married man and become a worthy successor to his father. On the advice of those close to him, his choice falls on Theodorina Biziu, the daughter of the owner of a spinning manufactory, a native of Savoy. Four months after the family council, Theodorina becomes Ferdinand's wife and so far the only Mrs. Bussardel. Louis is getting married soon. The day after his wedding, Ramelo dies, she is buried in the family crypt of the Bussardels, where her beloved Lydia still rested alone. Before she dies, she cannot forgive them for the death of their mother, to whom she was very attached. She's getting fired.
Companion Florent Bussardel, who was stealing on military supplies, is imprisoned, and Bussardel buys out his share in the office and becomes its sole owner.
In 1826, the question of Adeline's marriage arises. Her father finds a party for her in the person of Felix Mignon, the son of one of the shareholders of a company engaged in the resale of land in Paris. Adeline scares off a young man with her sanctimonious speeches, and he passionately falls in love with the lively and charming Julie, who is not yet sixteen. Florent Bussardel agrees to marry his youngest daughter, and Adeline remains an old maid, explaining that the twins need someone to replace their mother and take care of them.
Meanwhile, the office of the stockbroker Bussardel becomes one of the first in Paris, business is in full swing and it becomes necessary to buy an estate, where the broker could invite friends to hunt. In 1832 Bussardel acquired the Grantsy estate, where the whole family left during the cholera that raged in Paris in the same year. Ferdinand Bussardel, by that time turned into a temperamental sixteen-year-old boy, seduces the young dishwasher Clemence Blondeau into Grancy. This is his first experience in the field of love, and it costs the girl dearly: due to the operation to terminate pregnancy, she subsequently becomes unable to have children and dies of cancer in her youth. From his connection with Clemence Ferdinand takes out only the first acquaintance with such pleasures and the desire to know them again. He spends his entire youth in the Latin Quarter in the company of grisettes, unlike his confidant Louis, a chaste and timid young man. At the age of twenty, a change takes place in Ferdinand. He is bored with his monotonous pleasures, and he decides to marry in order to acquire the status of a serious married man and become a worthy successor to his father. On the advice of those close to him, his choice falls on Theodorina Biziu, daughter of the owner of a spinning manufactory, originally from Savoy. Four months after the family council, Theodorina becomes Ferdinand's wife and so far the only Mrs. Bussardel. Louis is getting married soon. The day after his wedding, Ramelo dies, she is buried in the family crypt of the Bussardels, where her beloved Lydia still rested alone. Before her death, she forgives Florent Bussardel for the fact that when the birth of twins threatened Lydia with death, Bussardel preferred that the children survive, and not their mother.
Florent Bussardel bought the Villette mansion for his son, and now Ferdinand lives there with his wife, who, having married, immediately becomes a mother and soon gives hopes that the child will not be the only one. Her first son, Victorin, who was given for a year in the village to a nurse, together with his foster brother, falls ill with cereal, from which the latter dies.
Florent Bussardel, not yet sharing his plans with anyone, buys up the lands of the village of Monceau, which, with the permission of the king, are now annexed to Paris. As a result, a year and a half after the start of his activity, Boussardel becomes the owner of all the sites that he looked at, and only then decides to open up to his sons, who fully approved of him.
In 1845, during the uprising in Paris, Ferdinand and Louis served in the National Guard. The whole family: Florent Bussardel, Teodorina with three sons and a daughter, as well as Laura, wife of Louis, with children - go to the "Terrace", one of the sites in the village of Monceau, where Bussardel ordered to equip a peasant house for temporary residence of his family. After the establishment of the Republic, the family returns to Paris, where the survivors of the shootings, Ferdinand and Louis, are already awaiting them.
Advertising:
Years go by, filled in the family of Ferdinand Bussardel with worries about Victorin, giving parents a lot of anxiety because of his character. His two brothers and three sisters have much better inclinations. The second son in the family, Edgar, is silent and reasonable, weak in health and very similar to his mother. The youngest, Amory, is a spitting image of his father, already in his youth he shows outstanding abilities in drawing. In 1854 Florent Bussardel went for the summer to the estate of his old friend Albare. At the end of the summer, Ferdinand goes there, along with Victorin and Amory. Victorin is unusually noisy and restless, but is still distinguished by stupidity, laziness and an evil character. Ferdinand tries to apply a new upbringing system to his son and provides this difficult teenager with the most pleasant living conditions, as if he were an exemplary boy, but Victorin loses his girdle even more, and his father has no choice but to place his son in a special educational institution in Javel for the difficult adolescents, where he remains until his very marriage under the tutelage of a strict overseer.
Advertising:
Old man Florent dies suddenly, never having time to tell Ferdinand about the secret of his birth and about his mother, Lydia. The plots acquired by the old man are rapidly increasing in value, grandiose construction begins on them, the state of the Bussardels is increasing every day. In Monceau, near the park, Bussardels and themselves are erecting luxurious mansions.
At twenty-two and a half years old, having sat in almost every class twice, Victorin receives a certificate of maturity, and his parents marry Amelie, daughter of the Count and Countess of Clapier. The honeymoon journey begins on the Mediterranean coast in the city of Giera, where Edgar, Victorin's brother, is being treated for a chest disease, and there, at the mutual request of the newlyweds, it ends. Amelie, making friends with Edgar, tells him about her life and the circumstances of her marriage: she was raised in a monastery for a long time, and when the time came for her parents to take her out of there, they expressed a desire for Amelie to become a nun, because due to the unsuccessful deals of her brother, the family she was left without a significant part of her fortune and was not able to give her daughter a proper dowry. However, after the scandal that broke out due to the violence of the parents over the daughter, which many of their acquaintances learned about, Clapier were forced to take their daughter out of the monastery and find a party for her, but not give a dowry. That's why Amelie agreed to marry Victorin; she would have gone for anyone, just to escape from the hypocritical and oppressive care of the family. The first child is born to Amelie only a few years after marriage, and then after a long treatment, which became necessary due to the rough treatment of her by Victorin in the very first days after their wedding. Amelie's relationship with her father-in-law is very warm. Soon, despite her young age, Amelie becomes a real "mother" of the entire Bussardele family. In 1870, when riots break out in Paris, she takes all the offspring of Ferdinand and Louis Bussardeley to Grancy, where she makes every effort so that her relatives do not need anything. Theodorina dies in the same year. After returning to Paris, Amelie has her third child. As a nanny, she takes Aglaya, Dubo's wife, Victorin's servant, who, with her exceptional devotion, wins Amelie's affection. However, after Victorin forces Aglaya to become his mistress and Amelie finds out about this, she is fired and kicked out of the house. Amelie, whose dignity is deeply hurt, decides to divorce her husband, because after the death of her aunt, who left her a significant inheritance, she may not depend materially on Victorin. To begin with, she leaves for Grancy. Only the active intervention of Ferdinand makes it possible to avoid divorce and the associated inevitable scandal and shame for the whole family.
Advertising:
After a while, Victorin's aunt, Adeline, Ferdinand's older sister, falls ill. She tells the secret about her husband to Amelie caring for her. Adedina claims that Victorin is not Ferdinand's son, since the child of Theodorina and Ferdinand died in infancy from croup, and Victorin is none other than the son of the nurse, whom she replaced the son of the Bussardels out of fear. Amelie goes to the suburbs and there finds confirmation of Adeline's words, but does not tell anyone about this, not wanting to harm her children. Adeline, who begins to spread rumors further, Amelie is placed in an expensive institution for the mentally ill, where a few years later she dies of old age. Amelie begins to understand the reasons for the behavior and appearance of her husband so unusual for Bussardels. From now on, her main occupation is to ensure that Victorin does not disgrace his surname too much outside the house. She again subscribes Dubo's wife to Paris, and when she, too, enters a venerable age, instructs her to search for accommodating maids for her husband. After the death of Ferdinand Bussardel, Amelie takes over the reins of the family and takes care of it with the warmth and love that attracts the entire younger generation to her and contributes to the prosperity of the family. By that time, both Louis and Julie Boussardel had gone to the grave. A little later, Amelie marries her sons to their "cousins" sisters, thus grafting their offspring to the main genealogical trunk of the tree. In 1902 she already had four grandchildren. Victorin dies during another visit to a brothel, and Aglaya helps Amelie hide this shameful fact from her relatives. The Bussardela crypt is replenished with another deceased, and the family, greatly expanded, continues to flourish in prosperity and universal respect.