Random Quote #47 topic: zola-dictionary, A Zola Dictionary; the Characters of the Rougon-Macquart Novels of Emile Zola, Patterson, J. G
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MACQUART (JEAN), born 1811, son of Antoine Macquart, was apprenticed to
a carpenter. A quiet, industrious lad, Jean's father took advantage of
his simple nature and made him give up his whole earnings to assist in
keeping him in idleness. Like his sister Gervaise, he ran off soon after
the death of his mother. La Fortune des Rougon.

He entered the army, and, after seven years of soldiering was discharged
in 1859. When he had left the ranks he turned up at Bazoches-le-Doyen
with a comrade, a joiner like himself; and he resumed his occupation
with the latter's father, a master carpenter in the village. But his
heart was no longer in his work, and having been sent to La Borderie to
make some repairs, he stayed on to assist at the harvest, and eventually
became a regular farm servant. He was not popular, however, with the
peasants, who resented his having had a trade before he came back to the
soil. He became acquainted at Rognes with Mouche and his daughters,
Lise and Francoise, and eventually married the latter, in spite of the
determined opposition of her brother-in-law, Buteau. Notwithstanding his
marriage, he remained a stranger, and, after the death of his wife, went
away, leaving everything in the hands of her relatives. The war with
Germany had just broken out, and Jean, disgusted with his life, again
enlisted in the service of his country. La Terre.

He was made corporal in the 106th Regiment of the line, commanded by
Colonel Vineuil. An excellent soldier, and invaluable by reason of his
former experience, his want of education prevented him being promoted to
higher rank. Maurice Levasseur was in his company, and between the two
men there was at first deep antagonism, caused by difference of class
and education, but little by little Jean was able to gain over the
other, till the two men became close friends. In the fierce fighting at
Sedan, each in turn saved the other's life. After the battle, they were
made prisoners, but escaped, Jean receiving a severe wound during their
flight. They took refuge at Remilly in the house of Fouchard, and Jean
was nursed by Henriette Weiss, Levasseur's sister. Under her care, the
wounded man came to dream of the possibility of a life of happiness with
this woman, so tender, so sweet, and so active, whose fate had been so
sad. But the chances of war were too hard; Maxime returned to Paris, and
after the conclusion of the war took part in the Communist rising, which
Jean assisted to quell. By an extraordinary chance, the two men, loving
one another as brothers, came to be fighting on opposite sides, and it
was the hand of Jean that was fated to inflict the fatal wound upon his
friend. He had killed the brother of the woman he loved, and henceforth
there could be nothing between them, so he passed from her life,
returning to assist in that cultivation of the soil which was needed to
rejuvenate his country. La Debacle.

He settled at Valqueyras, near Plassans, where he married Melanie Vial,
the only daughter of a peasant farmer in easy circumstances, whose land
he cultivated. Calm and sensible, always at his plough, his wife
simple and strong, he raised a large and healthy family to assist
in replenishing the soil exhausted by the horrors of war. Le Docteur
Pascal.



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