Random Quote #58 topic: zola-dictionary, A Zola Dictionary; the Characters of the Rougon-Macquart Novels of Emile Zola, Patterson, J. G
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HENNEBEAU, general manager of the Montsou Mining Company, was born in
the Ardennes. In his early life he had undergone the hardships of a poor
boy thrown as an orphan on the Paris streets. After having followed
the courses of the Ecole des Mines, at the age of twenty-four he became
engineer to the Sainte-Barbe mine, and three years later he became
divisional engineer in the Pas-de-Calais, at the Marles mines. When
there he married the daughter of the rich owner of a spinning factory at
Arras. For fifteen years they lived in the same small provincial town,
and no event broke the monotony of existence, not even the birth of
a child. An increasing irritation detached Madame Hennebeau, who
was disdainful of this husband who gained a small salary with such
difficulty. The misunderstandings between them became more pronounced,
but with the view of pleasing his wife Hennebeau accepted a situation in
an office in Paris. But Paris only completed their separation, for she
immediately threw herself into all the luxurious follies of the period.
During the ten years spent there she carried on an open intrigue with
a man whose desertion nearly killed her. It was then that her husband
accepted the management of the Montsou mines, still hoping that his wife
might be changed down there in that desolate black country. When the
great strike of miners broke out he at first minimized its seriousness,
thinking that it would not last a week. By his lack of decided action
he forfeited to some extent the confidence of his directors, but he
regained this by the subsequent measures taken by him for bringing the
strike to an end, and ultimately received the decoration of an officer
of the Legion of Honour. His domestic life was, however, once more
embittered by the discovery of a liaison between his wife and his
nephew, Paul Negrel. Germinal.



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