Random Quote #49 topic: zola-dictionary, A Zola Dictionary; the Characters of the Rougon-Macquart Novels of Emile Zola, Patterson, J. G
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ROUBAUD, assistant station-master at Havre. Born in the south of France,
at Plassans, he had a carter for father. He had quitted the army with
the stripes of a sergeant-major, and for a long time had been general
porter at the station at Nantes. He had been promoted head porter
at Barentin, and it was there that he first saw Severine Aubry, the
god-daughter of President Grandmorin, whom he married. This was the sole
romance of his existence, and it was coupled with fortune, for apart
from Severine and her marriage portion of ten thousand francs, the
President, now a director of the Western Railway Company, got him
appointed assistant station-master at Havre. He proved an excellent
official, and the only thing against him was a suspicion that he was
affected by republican principles. For three years Roubaud's married
life was a happy one, until a chance lie of his wife's gave him a clue
to her former relations with Grandmorin. Driven frantic by jealousy, he
forced her to reveal the truth, afterwards compelling her to become
his accomplice in the murder of the President in the Havre express. The
Roubauds established an alibi, though slight suspicion attached to them,
and Denizet, the examining magistrate, endeavoured to fasten the crime
on Cabuche. For political reasons it was not considered desirable that
Grandmorin's character should be publicly discussed, and the inquiry
regarding the murder was dropped. Roubaud was aware, however, that
Jacques Lantier had strong suspicions, and tried to secure his silence
by making him a friend; a friendship which soon developed into a
liaison between Lantier and Severine. With the murder of Grandmorin,
the disintegration of Roubaud's character began; he gradually became a
confirmed gambler, and having lost all his own money began to use that
which he had taken from the body of his victim in order to establish
a false motive for the crime. The relations between him and his wife
became more and more strained, until they reached such a pitch that
Lantier and she planned his murder. The homicidal frenzy of Lantier, to
which Severine fell a victim, ended the plot, but Roubaud and Cabuche,
who arrived on the scene immediately after the murder, were arrested
under what appeared to be suspicious circumstances, and, after trial,
were sentenced to penal servitude for a crime which they did not commit.
La Bete Humaine.



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