L'Abbe Constantin — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 120 pages of information about L'Abbe Constantin Complete.

Personal recollections of the great war are to be found in ‘L’Invasion’ (1872); and ‘Notes et Souvenirs’, 1871-1872 (1889).  Most extraordinary, however, was the success of ‘L’Abbe Constantin’ (1882), crowned by the Academy, which has gone through no less than one hundred and fifty editions up to 1904, and ranks as one of the greatest successes of contemporaneous literature.  It is, indeed, his ‘chef-d’oeuvre’, very delicate, earnest, and at the same time ironical, a most entrancing family story.  It was then that the doors of the French Academy opened wide before Halevy.  ‘L’Abbe Constantin’ was adapted for the stage by Cremieux and Decourcelle (Le Gymnase, 1882).  Further notable novels are:  ‘Criquette, Deux Mariages, Un Grand Mariage, Un Mariage d’Amour’, all in 1883; ‘Princesse, Les Trois Coups de Foudre, Mon Camarade Moussard’, all in 1884; and the romances, ‘Karikari (1892), and Mariette (1893)’.  Since that time, I think, Halevy has not published anything of importance.

E. LEGOUVE
de l’Academie Francaise.

THE ABBE CONSTANTIN

BOOK 1.

CHAPTER I

THE SALE OF LONGUEVAL

With a step still valiant and firm, an old priest walked along the dusty road in the full rays of a brilliant sun.  For more than thirty years the Abbe Constantin had been Cure of the little village which slept there in the plain, on the banks of a slender stream called La Lizotte.  The Abbe Constantin was walking by the wall which surrounded the park of the castle of Longueval; at last he reached the entrance-gate, which rested high and massive on two ancient pillars of stone, embrowned and gnawed by time.  The Cure stopped, and mournfully regarded two immense blue posters fixed on the pillars.

The posters announced that on Wednesday, May 18, 1881, at one o’clock P.M., would take place, before the Civil Tribunal of Souvigny, the sale of the domain of Longueval, divided into four lots: 

1.  The castle of Longueval, its dependencies, fine pieces of water, extensive offices, park of 150 hectares in extent, completely surrounded by a wall, and traversed by the little river Lizotte.  Valued at 600,000 francs.

2.  The farm of Blanche-Couronne, 300 hectares, valued at 500,000 francs.

3.  The farm of La Rozeraie, 250 hectares, valued at 400,000 francs.

4.  The woods and forests of La Mionne, containing 450 hectares, valued at 550,000 francs.

And these four amounts, added together at the foot of the bill, gave the respectable sum of 2,050,000 francs.

Then they were really going to dismember this magnificent domain, which, escaping all mutilation, had for more than two centuries always been transmitted intact from father to son in the family of Longueval.  The placards also announced that after the temporary division into four lots, it would be possible to unite them again, and offer for sale the entire domain; but it was a very large morsel, and, to all appearance, no purchaser would present himself.

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L'Abbe Constantin — Complete from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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