Summary (Masterplots: Revised Category Edition, European Fiction Series)
Cesar Birotteau was a strong peasant lad employed by ragon in his perfumery. He ran errands, cleaned and nailed boxes, and submitted to the gibes and impositions of the other employees. He often was tired out after the day’s work, but his strong constitution and peasant stubbornness made him persist in learning his trade. His life was a little easier after ursule, the picard cook, began to look after his needs.
Cesar, influenced by ragon and his wife, became a royalist. As a member of the guard, he fought in some of the street skirmishes against napoleon. When he was wounded in the thigh, rumor said that Bonaparte himself had fired the shot. This wound was Cesar’s claim to distinction; he never wearied of telling the tale of his military exploits.
Cesar was twenty years old when he met Constance Pillerault, a shop girl in a nearby store. By patient attendance and much admiration, Cesar won her hand with the approval of her uncle and guardian, a well-to-do ironmonger. His own modest savings and her dowry enabled him to buy a controlling interest in the perfumery. By the time he was twenty-one years old, the peasant boy possessed a wife and a business, and when his daughter cesarine was born he counted himself a happy man.
In spite of his rather narrow outlook, Cesar was an honest businessman who treated his employees well. Only once did he have any trouble. Du Tillet, his chief assistant, tried to seduce Constance and then stole...
(The entire section is 1340 words.)
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