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Only six individuals had a right of entrance to Monsieur Grandet'shouse. The most important of the first three was a nephew of MonsieurCruchot. Since his appointment as president of the Civil courts ofSaumur this young man had added the name of Bonfons to that ofCruchot. He now signed himself C. de Bonfons. Any litigant so ill-advised as to call him Monsieur Cruchot would soon be made to feel hisfolly in court. The magistrate protected those who called him Monsieurle president, but he favored with gracious smiles those who addressedhim as Monsieur de Bonfons. Monsieur le president was thirty-threeyears old, and possessed the estate of Bonfons (Boni Fontis), worthseven thousand francs a year; he expected to inherit the property ofhis uncle the notary and that of another uncle, the Abbe Cruchot, adignitary of the chapter of Saint-Martin de Tours, both of whom werethought to be very rich. These three Cruchots, backed by a goodlynumber of cousins, and allied to twenty families in the town, formed aparty, like the Medici in Florence; like the Medici, the Cruchots hadtheir Pazzi. wigwam

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Madame des Grassins, mother of a son twenty-three years of age, cameassiduously to play cards with Madame Grandet, hoping to marry herdear Adolphe to Mademoiselle Eugenie. Monsieur des Grassins, thebanker, vigorously promoted the schemes of his wife by means of secretservices constantly rendered to the old miser, and always arrived intime upon the field of battle. The three des Grassins likewise hadtheir adherents, their cousins, their faithful allies. On the Cruchotside the abbe, the Talleyrand of the family, well backed-up by hisbrother the notary, sharply contested every inch of ground with hisfemale adversary, and tried to obtain the rich heiress for his nephewthe president. wigs for kids

This secret warfare between the Cruchots and des Grassins, the prizethereof being the hand in marriage of Eugenie Grandet, kept thevarious social circles of Saumur in violent agitation. WouldMademoiselle Grandet marry Monsieur le president or Monsieur Adolphedes Grassins? To this problem some replied that Monsieur Grandet wouldnever give his daughter to the one or to the other. The old cooper,eaten up with ambition, was looking, they said, for a peer of France,to whom an income of three hundred thousand francs would make all thepast, present, and future casks of the Grandets acceptable. Othersreplied that Monsieur and Madame des Grassins were nobles, andexceedingly rich; that Adolphe was a personable young fellow; and thatunless the old man had a nephew of the pope at his beck and call, sucha suitable alliance ought to satisfy a man who came from nothing,,aman whom Saumur remembered with an adze in his hand, and who had,moreover, worn the /bonnet rouge/. Certain wise heads called attentionto the fact that Monsieur Cruchot de Bonfons had the right of entry tothe house at all times, whereas his rival was received only onSundays. Others, however, maintained that Madame des Grassins was moreintimate with the women of the house of Grandet than the Cruchotswere, and could put into their minds certain ideas which would lead,sooner or later, to success. To this the former retorted that the AbbeCruchot was the most insinuating man in the world: pit a woman againsta monk, and the struggle was even. "It is diamond cut diamond," said aSaumur wit. vogue wigs

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The oldest inhabitants, wiser than their fellows, declared that theGrandets knew better than to let the property go out of the family,and that Mademoiselle Eugenie Grandet of Saumur would be married tothe son of Monsieur Grandet of Paris, a wealthy wholesale wine-merchant. To this the Cruchotines and the Grassinists replied: "In thefirst place, the two brothers have seen each other only twice inthirty years; and next, Monsieur Grandet of Paris has ambitiousdesigns for his son. He is mayor of an arrondissement, a deputy,colonel of the National Guard, judge in the commercial courts; hedisowns the Grandets of Saumur, and means to ally himself with someducal family,,ducal under favor of Napoleon." In short, was thereanything not said of an heiress who was talked of through acircumference of fifty miles, and even in the public conveyances fromAngers to Blois, inclusively!

At the beginning of 1811, the Cruchotines won a signal advantage overthe Grassinists. The estate of Froidfond, remarkable for its park, itsmansion, its farms, streams, ponds, forests, and worth about threemillions, was put up for sale by the young Marquis de Froidfond, whowas obliged to liquidate his possessions. Maitre Cruchot, thepresident, and the abbe, aided by their adherents, were able toprevent the sale of the estate in little lots. The notary concluded abargain with the young man for the whole property, payable in gold,persuading him that suits without number would have to be broughtagainst the purchasers of small lots before he could get the money forthem; it was better, therefore, to sell the whole to Monsieur Grandet,who was solvent and able to pay for the estate in ready money. Thefine marquisate of Froidfond was accordingly conveyed down the gulletof Monsieur Grandet, who, to the great astonishment of Saumur, paidfor it, under proper discount, with the usual formalities.This affair echoed from Nantes to Orleans. Monsieur Grandet tookadvantage of a cart returning by way of Froidfond to go and see hischateau. Having cast a master's eye over the whole property, hereturned to Saumur, satisfied that he had invested his money at fiveper cent, and seized by the stupendous thought of extending andincreasing the marquisate of Froidfond by concentrating all hisproperty there. Then, to fill up his coffers, now nearly empty, heresolved to thin out his woods and his forests, and to sell off thepoplars in the meadows.

II

It is now easy to understand the full meaning of the term, "the houseof Monsieur Grandet,",that cold, silent, pallid dwelling, standingabove the town and sheltered by the ruins of the ramparts. The twopillars and the arch, which made the porte-cochere on which the dooropened, were built, like the house itself, of tufa,,a white stonepeculiar to the shores of the Loire, and so soft that it lasts hardlymore than two centuries. Numberless irregular holes, capriciouslybored or eaten out by the inclemency of the weather, gave anappearance of the vermiculated stonework of French architecture to thearch and the side walls of this entrance, which bore some resemblanceto the gateway of a jail. Above the arch was a long bas-relief, inhard stone, representing the four seasons, the faces already crumblingaway and blackened. This bas-relief was surmounted by a projectingplinth, upon which a variety of chance growths had sprung up,,yellowpellitory, bindweed, convolvuli, nettles, plantain, and even a littlecherry-tree, already grown to some height.

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