Random Quote #32 topic: zola-dictionary, A Zola Dictionary; the Characters of the Rougon-Macquart Novels of Emile Zola, Patterson, J. G

ROUGON (EUGENE), born 1811, eldest son of Pierre Rougon, was educated at
Plassans and Paris, and was called to the Bar. He practised in the
local Court for a number of years, but with little success. Though of
lethargic appearance, he was a man of ability, who "cherished lofty
ambitions, possessed domineering instincts, and showed a singular
contempt for trifling expedients and small fortunes." With the
Revolution of February, 1848, Eugene felt that his opportunity had come,
and he left for Paris with scarcely five hundred francs in his pocket.
He was able to give his parents early information of the designs of the
Bonapartes, and so prepared the way for the events of the _Coup d'Etat_
of 1851, when the family fortunes were made. La Fortune des Rougon.

During his early days in Paris Rougon resided at the Hotel Vanneau, kept
by Madame Correur, and while there he made the acquaintance of Gilquin
and Du Poizet, both of whom assisted him in spreading the Bonapartist
propaganda. By his exertions in this cause he established a claim for
reward, and he was appointed a member of the State Council, ultimately
becoming its President. He fell into disfavour, however, with the Court
on account of his opposition to a claim for two million francs by a
distant relative of the Empress Eugenie. Finding that his position was
insecure, he tendered his resignation to the Emperor, who accepted
it. About this time he met Clorinde Balbi, an Italian adventuress, who
endeavoured to induce him to marry her. Carried away for the time being,
Rougon made overtures to her which she resented, and he was on the point
of offering her marriage. Reflection on her somewhat equivocal position
in society induced him to think better of this, and he offered to
arrange a marriage between her and his friend Delestang. The offer
was accepted, and the marriage took place. Soon after, Rougon married
Veronique Beulin-d'Orchere. During his retirement Rougon was surrounded
by a band of followers, the Charbonnels, Du Poizet, Kahn, and others,
who in the hope of profiting by his return to office lost no chance of
establishing a claim upon him. After the Orsini plot against the life of
the Emperor, of which Rougon had prior information through Gilquin, the
need for a strong man arose, and he was again called to office, being
appointed Minister of the Interior. His harshness in carrying out
reprisals against the Republican party, and even more, his recklessness
in finding appointments for his friends, led to a public outcry, and his
position again became undermined. Clorinde, who had never forgiven him
for not marrying her, did much to foment the disaffection, and even his
own band of followers turned against him. Always quick to act, Rougon
again placed his resignation in the hands of the Emperor, who to his
surprise accepted it. Three years later he was once more a member of the
Corps Legislatif, and having brought his principles into accordance with
the more liberal views then professed by the Emperor, he gave his strong
support to the measures giving effect to them. In consequence, he
was appointed by the Emperor as a Minister without department, and
commissioned to defend the new Policy. Son Excellence Eugene Rougon.

When his brother Aristide came to Paris, Eugene found a situation for
him, but, fearing to be compromised by him, suggested that he should
change his name to Saccard which he did. There was no intimacy between
the brothers, but Eugene occasionally visited Aristide at the great
house built by him in the Parc Monceau. La Curee.

After Saccard's bankruptcy, Eugene refused to have any further
connection with him, though he tacitly approved of the foundation of the
Universal Bank. The Bank having failed, however, he did nothing to
stay legal proceedings against his brother; but, after a sentence of
imprisonment had been passed, he connived at his escape from the country
while the sentence was under appeal. L'Argent.

He continued to take a lively interest in Plassans, and it was by him
that Abbe Faujas was sent there to counteract the clerical influence,
which at that time was strongly Legitimist. He kept up a correspondence
with his mother, whom he advised as to each step she should take in
political matters. La Conquete de Plassans.

After the fall of the Empire, Eugene became a simple Deputy, and in the
Assembly remained to defend the old order of things which the downfall
had swept away. Le Docteur Pascal.


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