Random Quote #84 topic: zola-dictionary, A Zola Dictionary; the Characters of the Rougon-Macquart Novels of Emile Zola, Patterson, J. G

ROUGON (PIERRE), born 1787, legitimate son of Adelaide Fouque, was a
thrifty, selfish lad who saw that his mother by her improvident conduct
was squandering the estate to which he considered himself sole heir. His
aim was to induce his mother and her two illegitimate children to remove
from the house and land, and in this he was ultimately successful.
Having sold the property for fifty thousand francs, he induced his
mother, who by this time was of weak intellect, to sign a receipt for
that sum, and was so able to defraud his half-brother and sister of
the shares to which they would have been entitled. Soon thereafter he
married Felicite Puech, the daughter of an oil dealer in Plassans. The
firm of Puech and Lacamp was not prosperous, but the money brought by
Pierre Rougon retrieved the situation, and after a few years the two
original partners retired. Fortune, however, soon changed, and for
thirty years there was a continual struggle to make ends meet. Three
sons and two daughters were born, and their education was a heavy drain
upon their parents' means. In 1845 Pierre and his wife retired from
business with forty thousand francs at the most. Instigated by the
Marquis de Carnavant, they went in for politics, and soon regular
meetings of the reactionary party came to be held in their "yellow
drawing-room." Advised, however, by their son Eugene, they resolved
to support the cause of the Bonapartes, and at the time of the _Coup
d'Etat_ of 1851 Pierre was the leader of that party in Plassans. Having
concealed himself when the Republican insurgents entered Plassans, he
avoided capture, and after they retired he led the band of citizens
which recaptured the town hall. This bloodless victory having been
somewhat minimized by the townspeople, Pierre and his wife, with a view
to establishing a strong claim for subsequent reward, bribed Antoine
Macquart to lead the Republicans left in Plassans to an attack on
the town hall. To meet this he prepared a strong ambuscade, and the
Republicans were repulsed with considerable loss. As a result of this
treachery, Pierre was regarded by his fellow-citizens as the saviour
of the town, and the Government subsequently appointed him Receiver of
Taxes, decorating him with the Cross of the Legion of Honour. La Fortune
des Rougon.

He settled down quietly and took little part in public affairs, though
his wife continued to hold weekly receptions at which members of the
different political parties were represented. La Conquete de Plassans.

He became so corpulent that he was unable to move, and was carried off
by an attack of indigestion on the night of 3rd September, 1870, a few
hours after hearing of the catastrophe of Sedan. The downfall of the
regime which he prided himself on having helped to establish seemed to
have crushed him like a thunderbolt. Le Docteur Pascal.


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