Random Quote #74 topic: zola-dictionary, A Zola Dictionary; the Characters of the Rougon-Macquart Novels of Emile Zola, Patterson, J. G

ROUGON (PASCAL), born 1813, second son of Pierre Rougon, "had an
uprightness of spirit, a love of study, a retiring modesty which
contrasted strangely with the feverish ambitions and unscrupulous
intrigues of his family." Having acquitted himself admirably in his
medical studies at Paris, he returned to Plassans, where he lived a life
of quiet study and work. He had few patients, but devoted himself
to research, particularly on the subject of heredity, with special
reference to its results on his own family. In the hope of alleviating
suffering, he followed the Republican insurgents in their march from
Plassans in December, 1851. La Fortune des Rougon.

In 1854 his niece Clotilde, daughter of his brother Aristide, went to
live with him. He had frequently offered to take her, but nothing was
arranged till after the death of her mother, at which time she was about
seven years old. La Curee.

His practice as a medical man extended to Les Artaud, and he attended
his nephew Abbe Serge Mouret during an attack of brain fever. On the
priest's partial recovery, he removed him to the Paradou, and left him
in the care of Albine, niece of old Jeanbernat, the caretaker of that
neglected demesne. Dr. Pascal was much attached to Albine, and deeply
regretted the sad love affair which resulted from Mouret's forgetfulness
of his past. He had no religious beliefs himself, and he urged Mouret to
return to Albine, but the voice of the Church proved too strong in the
end. La Faute de l'Abbe Mouret.

At sixty years of age Pascal was so fresh and vigorous that, though his
hair and beard were white, he might have been mistaken for a young man
with powdered locks. He had lived for seventeen years at La Souleiade,
near Plassans, with his niece Clotilde and his old servant Martine,
having amassed a little fortune, which was sufficient for his needs. He
had devoted his life to the study of heredity, finding typical examples
in his own family. He brought up Clotilde without imposing on her his
own philosophic creed, even allowing Martine to take her to church
regularly. But this tolerance brought about a serious misunderstanding
between them, for the girl fell under the influence of religious
mysticism, and came to look with horror on the savant's scientific
pursuits. Discovered by him in an attempt to destroy his documents, he
explained to Clotilde fully and frankly the bearing of their terrible
family history on his theory of heredity, with the result that her
outlook on life was entirely changed; he had opposed the force of human
truth against the shadows of mysticism. The struggle between Pascal
and Clotilde brought them to a knowledge of mutual love, and an illicit
relationship was established between them. He would have married her
(this being legal in France), but having lost most of his money he
was unwilling to sacrifice what he believed to be her interests, and
persuaded her to go to Paris to live with her brother Maxime. Soon after
her departure he was seized with an affection of the heart, and,
after some weeks of suffering, died only an hour before her return.
Immediately after his death his mother, Madame Felicite Rougon, took
possession of his papers, and in an immense _auto-da-fe_ destroyed in an
hour the records of a lifetime of work. Le Docteur Pascal.


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