HAUTECOEUR (MONSEIGNEUR JEAN D') was a member of one of the oldest and
proudest families in France. He was for some time in the army, and
until he was forty years of age he led an adventurous life, travelling
everywhere and having many strange experiences. At last he chanced
to meet Mademoiselle Pauline, daughter of the Comte de Valencay, very
wealthy, marvellously beautiful, and scarcely nineteen years of age.
They were married, but at the end of a year Pauline had a son and died.
A fortnight later M. d'Hautecoeur entered into Holy Orders, and soon
became a priest; twenty years afterwards he was made a bishop. During
all that time he refused to see Felicien, his son, who had been brought
up by an old abbot, a relation of his wife. He intended to have his son
brought up as a priest, but the lad having no vocation, he gave up the
idea and brought him to live at Beaumont. There Felicien met and fell
in love with Angelique, but the Bishop sternly forbade any thought of
marriage between them, and even went the length of arranging a marriage
between his son and Claire de Voincourt. A touching personal appeal
by Angelique had no effect in gaining the Bishop's consent, but he was
secretly much moved, and when she fell into ill-health he himself came
to administer the last rites of the Church. Her semi-miraculous recovery
led to the Bishop consenting to his son's marriage, which was celebrated
a few months later in the cathedral of Beaumont. Le Reve.