The Amethyst Ring

Works by France

Book 5
谷月社
1
Free sample

CHAPTER I

True to her word, Madame Bergeret quitted the conjugal roof and betook herself to the house of her mother, the widow Pouilly.

As the time for her departure drew near, she had half a mind not to go, and with a little coaxing would have consented to forget the past and resume the old life with her husband, at the same time vaguely despising M. Bergeret as the injured party.

She was quite ready to forgive and forget, but the unbending esteem in which she was held by the circle in which she moved did not allow of such a course. Madame Dellion had made it clear to her that any such weakness on her part would be judged unfavourably; all the drawing-rooms in the place were unanimous upon that score. There was but one opinion among the tradespeople: Madame Bergeret must return to her mother. In this way did they uphold the proprieties and, at the same time, rid themselves of a thoughtless, common, compromising person, whose vulgarity was apparent even to the vulgar, and who was a burden on everybody about her. They made her believe there was something heroic in her conduct.

“I have the greatest admiration for you, my child,” said old Madame Dutilleul from the depths of her easy chair, she who had survived four husbands, and was a truly terrible woman. People suspected her of everything, except of ever having loved, and in her old age she was honoured and respected by all.

Madame Bergeret was delighted at having inspired sympathy in Madame Dellion and admiration in Madame Dutilleul, and still she could not finally make up her mind to go, for she was of a homely disposition and accustomed to regular habits and quite content to live on in idleness and deceit. Having grasped this fact, M. Bergeret redoubled his efforts to ensure his deliverance. He stoutly upheld Marie, the servant, who kept every one in the house in a state of wretchedness and trepidation, was suspected of harbouring thieves and cut-throats in her kitchen, and only brought herself into prominence by the catastrophes she caused....

 

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About the author

About Anatole France

Anatole France (16 April 1844 – 12 October 1924) was a French poet, journalist, and novelist. He was born in Paris, and died in Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire. He was a successful novelist, with several best-sellers. Ironic and skeptical, he was considered in his day the ideal French man of letters. He was a member of the Académie française, and won the 1921 Nobel Prize in Literature "in recognition of his brilliant literary achievements, characterized as they are by a nobility of style, a profound human sympathy, grace, and a true Gallic temperament".

France is also widely believed to be the model for narrator Marcel's literary idol Bergotte in Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time.

Anatole France began his literary career as a poet and a journalist. In 1869, Le Parnasse Contemporain published one of his poems, La Part de Madeleine. In 1875, he sat on the committee which was in charge of the third Parnasse Contemporain compilation. As a journalist, from 1867, he wrote many articles and notices. He became famous with the novel Le Crime de Sylvestre Bonnard (1881). Its protagonist, skeptical old scholar Sylvester Bonnard, embodied France's own personality. The novel was praised for its elegant prose and won him a prize from the Académie française.

In La Rotisserie de la Reine Pedauque (1893) Anatole France ridiculed belief in the occult; and in Les Opinions de Jérôme Coignard (1893), France captured the atmosphere of the fin de siècle. France was elected to the Académie française in 1896.

France took an important part in the Dreyfus affair. He signed Émile Zola's manifesto supporting Alfred Dreyfus, a Jewish army officer who had been falsely convicted of espionage. France wrote about the affair in his 1901 novel Monsieur Bergeret.

France's later works include L'Île des Pingouins (1908) which satirizes human nature by depicting the transformation of penguins into humans – after the animals have been baptized by mistake by the nearsighted Abbot Mael. Les dieux ont soif (1912) is a novel, set in Paris during the French Revolution, about a true-believing follower of Robespierre and his contribution to the bloody events of the Reign of Terror of 1793–94. It is a wake-up call against political and ideological fanaticism and explores various other philosophical approaches to the events of the time. La Revolte des Anges (1914) is often considered France's most profound novel. It tells the story of Arcade, the guardian angel of Maurice d'Esparvieu. Arcade falls in love, joins the revolutionary movement of angels, and towards the end realizes that the overthrow of God is meaningless unless "in ourselves and in ourselves alone we attack and destroy Ialdabaoth."

He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1921. He died in 1924 and is buried in the Neuilly-sur-Seine community cemetery near Paris.

On 31 May 1922, France's entire works were put on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum (Prohibited Books Index) of the Roman Catholic Church. He regarded this as a "distinction". This Index was abolished in 1966.

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Publisher
谷月社
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Published on
Dec 31, 2015
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Pages
308
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Classics
Fiction / Fantasy / General
Fiction / Literary
Literary Collections / European / General
Literary Collections / General
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December 24, 1849.

I had put on my slippers and my dressing-gown. I wiped away a tear with which the north wind blowing over the quay had obscured my vision. A bright fire was leaping in the chimney of my study. Ice-crystals, shaped like fern-leaves, were sprouting over the windowpanes and concealed from me the Seine with its bridges and the Louvre of the Valois.

I drew up my easy-chair to the hearth, and my table-volante, and took up so much of my place by the fire as Hamilcar deigned to allow me. Hamilcar was lying in front of the andirons, curled up on a cushion, with his nose between his paws. His think find fur rose and fell with his regular breathing. At my coming, he slowly slipped a glance of his agate eyes at me from between his half-opened lids, which he closed again almost at once, thinking to himself, "It is nothing; it is only my friend."

"Hamilcar," I said to him, as I stretched my legs—"Hamilcar, somnolent Prince of the City of Books—thou guardian nocturnal! Like that Divine Cat who combated the impious in Heliopolis—in the night of the great combat—thou dost defend from vile nibblers those books which the old savant acquired at the cost of his slender savings and indefatigable zeal. Sleep, Hamilcar, softly as a sultana, in this library, that shelters thy military virtues; for verily in thy person are united the formidable aspect of a Tatar warrior and the slumbrous grace of a woman of the Orient. Sleep, thou heroic and voluptuous Hamilcar, while awaiting the moonlight hour in which the mice will come forth to dance before the Acta Sanctorum of the learned Bolandists!"

The beginning of this discourse pleased Hamilcar, who accompanied it with a throat-sound like the song of a kettle on the fire. But as my voice waxed louder, Hamilcar notified me by lowering his ears and by wrinkling the striped skin of his brow that it was bad taste on my part so to declaim.

"This old-book man," evidently thought Hamilcar, "talks to no purpose at all while our housekeeper never utters a word which is not full of good sense, full of significance—containing either the announcement of a meal or the promise of a whipping. One knows what she says. But this old man puts together a lot of sounds signifying nothing."

I

variste Gamelin, painter, pupil of David, member of the Section du Pont-Neuf, formerly Section Henri IV, had betaken himself at an early hour in the morning to the old church of the Barnabites, which for three years, since 21st May 1790, had served as meeting-place for the General Assembly of the Section. The church stood in a narrow, gloomy square, not far from the gates of the Palais de Justice. On the façade, which consisted of two of the Classical orders superimposed and was decorated with inverted brackets and flaming urns, blackened by the weather and disfigured by the hand of man, the religious emblems had been battered to pieces, while above the doorway had been inscribed in black letters the Republican catchword of "Liberty, Equality, Fraternity or Death." Évariste Gamelin made his way into the nave; the same vaults which had heard the surpliced clerks of the Congregation of St. Paul sing the divine offices, now looked down on red-capped patriots assembled to elect the Municipal magistrates and deliberate on the affairs of the Section. The Saints had been dragged from their niches and replaced by the busts of Brutus, Jean-Jacques and Le Peltier. The altar had been stripped bare and was surmounted by the Table of the Rights of Man.

It was here in the nave that twice a week, from five in the evening to eleven, were held the public assemblies. The pulpit, decorated with the colours of the Nation, served as tribune for the speakers who harangued the meeting. Opposite, on the Epistle side, rose a platform of rough planks, for the accommodation of the women and children, who attended these gatherings in considerable numbers.

On this particular morning, facing a desk planted underneath the pulpit, sat in red cap andcarmagnole complete the joiner from the Place Thionville, the citoyen Dupont senior, one of the twelve forming the Committee of Surveillance. On the desk stood a bottle and glasses, an ink-horn, and a folio containing the text of the petition urging the Convention to expel from its bosom the twenty-two members deemed unworthy.



INTRODUCTION

What one first notes about The Queen Pedauque is the fact that in this ironic and subtle book is presented a story which, curiously enough, is remarkable for its entire innocence of subtlety and irony. Abridge the "plot" into a synopsis, and you will find your digest to be what is manifestly the outline of a straightforward, plumed romance by the elder Dumas.

Indeed, Dumas would have handled the "strange surprising adventures" of Jacques Tournebroche to a nicety, if only Dumas had ever thought to have his collaborators write this brisk tale, wherein d'Astarac and Tournebroche and Mosaide display, even now, a noticeable something in common with the Balsamo and Gilbert and Althotas of the Memoires d'un Medecin. One foresees, to be sure, that, with the twin-girthed Creole for guide, M. Jerome Coignard would have waddled into immortality not quite as we know him, but with somewhat more of a fraternal resemblance to the Dom Gorenflot of La Dame de Monsoreau; and that the blood of the abbe's death-wound could never have bedewed the book's final pages, in the teeth of Dumas' economic unwillingness ever to despatch any character who was "good for" a sequel.

And one thinks rather kindlily of The Queen Pedauque as Dumas would have equipped it... Yes, in reading here, it is the most facile and least avoidable of mental exercises to prefigure how excellently Dumas would have contrived this book,—somewhat as in the reading of Mr. Joseph Conrad's novels a many of us are haunted by the sense that the Conrad "story" is, in its essential beams and stanchions, the sort of thing which W. Clark Russell used to put together, in a rather different way, for our illicit perusal. Whereby I only mean that such seafaring was illicit in those aureate days when, Cleveland being consul for the second time, your geography figured as the screen of fictive reading-matter during school-hours.

One need not say that there is no question, in either case, of "imitation," far less of "plagiarism"; nor need one, surely, point out the impossibility of anybody's ever mistaking the present book for a novel by Alexandre Dumas. Ere Homer's eyesight began not to be what it had been, the fact was noted by the observant Chian, that very few sane architects commence an edifice by planting and rearing the oaks which are to compose its beams and stanchions. You take over all such supplies ready hewn, and choose by preference time-seasoned timber. Since Homer's prime a host of other great creative writers have recognised this axiom when they too began to build: and "originality" has by ordinary been, like chess and democracy, a Mecca for little minds.



CHAPTER I. "I NEED LOVE"

She gave a glance at the armchairs placed before the chimney, at the tea-table, which shone in the shade, and at the tall, pale stems of flowers ascending above Chinese vases. She thrust her hand among the flowery branches of the guelder roses to make their silvery balls quiver. Then she looked at herself in a mirror with serious attention. She held herself sidewise, her neck turned over her shoulder, to follow with her eyes the spring of her fine form in its sheath-like black satin gown, around which floated a light tunic studded with pearls wherein sombre lights scintillated. She went nearer, curious to know her face of that day. The mirror returned her look with tranquillity, as if this amiable woman whom she examined, and who was not unpleasing to her, lived without either acute joy or profound sadness.

On the walls of the large drawing-room, empty and silent, the figures of the tapestries, vague as shadows, showed pallid among their antique games and dying graces. Like them, the terra-cotta statuettes on slender columns, the groups of old Saxony, and the paintings of Sevres, spoke of past glories. On a pedestal ornamented with precious bronzes, the marble bust of some princess royal disguised as Diana appeared about to fly out of her turbulent drapery, while on the ceiling a figure of Night, powdered like a marquise and surrounded by cupids, sowed flowers. Everything was asleep, and only the crackling of the logs and the light rattle of Therese's pearls could be heard.

THE BARD OF KYME

Along the hill-side he came, following a path which skirted the sea. His forehead was bare, deeply furrowed and bound by a fillet of red wool. The sea-breeze blew his white locks over his temples and pressed the fleece of a snow-white beard against his chin. His tunic and his feet were the colour of the roads which he had trodden for so many years. A roughly made lyre hung at his side. He was known as the Aged One, and also as the Bard. Yet another name was given him by the children to whom he taught poetry and music, and many called him the Blind One, because his eyes, dim with age, were overhung by swollen lids, reddened by the smoke of the hearths beside which he was wont to sit when he sang. But his was no eternal night, and he was said to see things invisible to other men. For three generations he had been wandering ceaselessly to and fro. And now, having sung all day to a King of Ægea, he was returning to his home, the roof of which he could already see smoking in the distance; for now, after walking all night without a halt for fear of being overtaken by the heat of the day, in the clear light of the dawn he could see the white Kyme, his birthplace. With his dog at his side, leaning on his crooked staff, he walked with slow steps, his body upright, his head held high because of the steepness of the way leading down into the narrow valley and because he was still vigorous in his age. The sun, rising over the mountains of Asia, shed a rosy light over the fleecy clouds and the hill-sides of the islands that studded the sea. The coast-line glistened. But the hills that stretched away eastward, crowned with mastic and terebinth, lay still in the freshness and the shadow of night.

The Aged One measured along the incline the length of twelve times twelve lances and found, on the left, between the flanks of twin rocks, the narrow entrance to a sacred wood. There, on the brink of a spring, rose an altar of unhewn stones....

Winner of the 1921 Nobel Prize for Literature, Anatole France was a French poet, journalist and novelist, whose works were celebrated for their nobility of style and profound human sympathy. For the first time in publishing history, this comprehensive eBook presents France’s complete fictional works, with numerous illustrations, many rare texts, informative introductions and the usual Delphi bonus material. (Version 1)

* Beautifully illustrated with images relating to France’s life and works
* Concise introductions to the novels and other texts
* ALL 16 novels, with individual contents tables
* Images of how the books were first published, giving your eReader a taste of the original texts
* All the novels, including all four volumes of A CHRONICLE OF OUR OWN TIMES, available in no other collection
* Excellent formatting of the texts
* All the shorter fiction, with rare tales appearing here for the first time in digital print
* Special chronological and alphabetical contents tables for the poetry and the short stories
* Easily locate the poems or short stories you want to read
* Includes France’s seminal historical study of Joan of Arc
* Special criticism section, with 8 essays and articles evaluating France’s contribution to literature
* Scholarly ordering of texts into chronological order and literary genres

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CONTENTS:

The Novels
THE CRIME OF SYLVESTRE BONNARD
THE ASPIRATIONS OF JEAN SERVIEN
HONEY-BEE
THAÏS
AT THE SIGN OF THE REINE PÉDAUQUE
THE OPINIONS OF JEROME COIGNARD
THE RED LILY
A CHRONICLE OF OUR OWN TIMES I: THE ELM-TREE ON THE MALL
A CHRONICLE OF OUR OWN TIMES II: THE WICKER-WORK WOMAN
A CHRONICLE OF OUR OWN TIMES III: THE AMETHYST RING
A CHRONICLE OF OUR OWN TIMES IV: MONSIEUR BERGERET IN PARIS
A MUMMER’S TALE
THE WHITE STONE
PENGUIN ISLAND
THE GODS ARE ATHIRST
THE REVOLT OF THE ANGELS

The Shorter Fiction
JOCASTA AND THE FAMISHED CAT
BALTHASAR AND OTHER WORKS
MOTHER OF PEARL
THE WELL OF SAINT CLARE
CLIO
CRAINQUEBILLE, PUTOIS, RIQUET AND OTHER PROFITABLE TALES
THE MERRIE TALES OF JACQUES TOURNEBROCHE
THE SEVEN WIVES OF BLUEBEARD AND OTHER MARVELLOUS TALES
CHILD LIFE IN TOWN AND COUNTRY
MISCELLANEOUS STORIES

The Short Stories
LIST OF SHORT STORIES IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER
LIST OF SHORT STORIES IN ALPHABETICAL ORDER

The Plays
CRAINQUEBILLE
THE COMEDY OF A MAN WHO MARRIED A DUMB WIFE
COME WHAT MAY

The Poetry
LIST OF POETICAL WORKS

The Non-Fiction
THE LIFE OF JOAN OF ARC

The Criticism
ANATOLE FRANCE — 1904 by Joseph Conrad
ANATOLE FRANCE by Arnold Bennett
HOMAGE TO ANATOLE FRANCE by John Galsworthy
ANATOLE FRANCE by John Cowper Powys
ANATOLE FRANCE by Robert Lynd
THE WISDOM OF ANATOLE FRANCE by John Middleton Murry
ANATOLE FRANCE by George Brandes
ANATOLE FRANCE by Winifred Stephens

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December 24, 1849.

I had put on my slippers and my dressing-gown. I wiped away a tear with which the north wind blowing over the quay had obscured my vision. A bright fire was leaping in the chimney of my study. Ice-crystals, shaped like fern-leaves, were sprouting over the windowpanes and concealed from me the Seine with its bridges and the Louvre of the Valois.

I drew up my easy-chair to the hearth, and my table-volante, and took up so much of my place by the fire as Hamilcar deigned to allow me. Hamilcar was lying in front of the andirons, curled up on a cushion, with his nose between his paws. His think find fur rose and fell with his regular breathing. At my coming, he slowly slipped a glance of his agate eyes at me from between his half-opened lids, which he closed again almost at once, thinking to himself, "It is nothing; it is only my friend."

"Hamilcar," I said to him, as I stretched my legs—"Hamilcar, somnolent Prince of the City of Books—thou guardian nocturnal! Like that Divine Cat who combated the impious in Heliopolis—in the night of the great combat—thou dost defend from vile nibblers those books which the old savant acquired at the cost of his slender savings and indefatigable zeal. Sleep, Hamilcar, softly as a sultana, in this library, that shelters thy military virtues; for verily in thy person are united the formidable aspect of a Tatar warrior and the slumbrous grace of a woman of the Orient. Sleep, thou heroic and voluptuous Hamilcar, while awaiting the moonlight hour in which the mice will come forth to dance before the Acta Sanctorum of the learned Bolandists!"

The beginning of this discourse pleased Hamilcar, who accompanied it with a throat-sound like the song of a kettle on the fire. But as my voice waxed louder, Hamilcar notified me by lowering his ears and by wrinkling the striped skin of his brow that it was bad taste on my part so to declaim.

"This old-book man," evidently thought Hamilcar, "talks to no purpose at all while our housekeeper never utters a word which is not full of good sense, full of significance—containing either the announcement of a meal or the promise of a whipping. One knows what she says. But this old man puts together a lot of sounds signifying nothing."
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